There are not many of them left. Tomorrow, the Great Southern will say goodbye to another of the heroes who fought to defend Australia in World War II. Richard “Dick” Hobley was a humble man who might cringe at the term “hero”. He was raised in a big family with a proud history of wartime sacrifice. But some of the those who count him as a hero will escort his hearse to his home town of Nyabing on horseback — six members of the 10th Light Horse Albany Troop. Mr Hobley, 98, who died surrounded by family in Albany on June 6, was inducted as the troop’s first honorary member at a ceremony in 2015 after he moved to Albany. For members of the troop, it was an opportunity to learn from someone who had lived the experiences they had only read about. On that day in 2015, at the age of 94, he got on a horse for the first time in more than 35 years. “He rode around for most of the afternoon on Taz, like he had not missed a day in the saddle,” troop president Maxine Brown said. “It was a very emotional experience for Dick but also for many family members.” Tomorrow, the 10th Light Horse Albany Troop will pay their respects in the traditional way, accompanying him to the cemetery where he will be buried next to his mother. “At arrival at the cemetery we will form a guard of honour, with a riderless horse accompanying his coffin from the hearse to his last resting place amongst other pioneers of Nyabing town,” Ms Brown said. “The symbolism of the lone riderless horse with a pair of boots set backwards in the stirrups and the saddle stripped is a symbol of respect and mourning — the rider looking back towards the living one last time.” “It’s quite moving.” Mr Hobley enlisted in the army in Katanning in May 1941 at the age of 19. As a member of the 10th Light Horse based in Bunbury, he was tasked with the protection of WA’s coastline. The bombing of Darwin in 1942 brought the reality of war even closer to home. He carried out that mission for almost three years, from Bunbury to Perth’s northern reaches until he transferred to the 2/1st Australian Pioneer Battalion and saw action at Balikpapan in Borneo. His eldest child, Jillian Anderson, said her father never talked about the “gruesome, nitty-gritty” parts of his service overseas. “He did talk about some of the funny things, like when he and another sniper grew moustaches and they were called Fearsome Fred and Dirty Dick,” Ms Anderson said. “He did have some very funny stories.” Ms Anderson said her father was a skilled marksman and a “staunch” RSL member who had a passion for poetry and had written a chapter in a book called Great Working Horse Stories by Angela Goode. She said he had raised seven children while running a farm. “On Anzac Day when he had all of his medals on and went off to the march, it was a proud moment,” she said. The Hobley family are spread across the Great Southern region, from Katanning to Albany. They will converge on Nyabing tomorrow for an emotional farewell.