IT was an Anzac Day the family of army engineer Major Brian Kimberley Florence will never forget.
After a battle with cancer, Major Florence died at 3.30am yesterday, making it to his 52nd Anzac Day.
Wife Sally and their two children, Tom and Kym, kept a bedside vigil, encouraging him to hang on "til Diggers' day".
They were proud to have a wreath laid in his memory at Nelson Bay's Apex Park cenotaph yesterday.
Major Florence, of Corlette, served 28 years, including postings with the United Nations in Namibia and Mozambique where he helped rid populated areas of land mines and booby traps.
"He was an officer with the engineers, a sapper, and he built roads and airfields, diffused bombs and dealt with chemical warfare," Mrs Florence said. The major also spent time in the Middle East as the commanding officer of an Australian contingent based variously in Israel, Lebanon and Syria.