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Christchurch's oldest WWII veteran, 106, leads dawn service for sixth year in a row

Every year he doesn't think he'll live to see the next Anzac service, but every year he proves himself wrong.

Christchurch's oldest World War II veteran, 106-year-old Bill Mitchell, again led the dawn service at Cranmer Square as he has done for the past six years.

The cheeky ex-Royal New Zealand Air Force engineer told TVNZ1 Breakfast reporter Maddy Lloyd his secret to living a long life was raw garlic and rum - and it seems to be working.

Bill served, working on the Air Force planes for New Zealand, 74 years ago. But after getting out of the army and returning home, he joined his local RSA the same afternoon.

His son-in-law Nick Nicholson became involved in the RSA through Bill to give him company as his former drinking buddies dwindled as the years went by.

"He'd lost all of his friends and he had nobody to come and talk to him," Mr Nicholson said. "I'm just looking after him and making sure he got in here and enjoyed it."

But in the past year or two, Bill has become quite the star in the RSA with people recognising his name and face.

"You can't get in here without people coming around and talking to him. It's great," Mr Nicholson said.

As for being around next year for the 2020 service, in his own words, Bill says "just don't put your house on it".

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    The cheeky 106-years-old says every year he doesn’t think he’ll live to see another service, but every year he proves himself wrong. Source: Breakfast