If Doug Keevers hadn't stood to prepare the parachutes, the bullet would have likely gone through his head instead of his leg.
The young man from Adamstown was the navigator on a Royal Australian Air Force plane that began to take heavy fire in the European sky one day in 1942.
Under RAAF regulations at the time, it was the navigator's job to prepare the pilot's parachute for a possible emergency exit when they became engaged in airborne combat.
Mr Keevers stood just before a bullet blasted through the plane, hitting him in the leg.
The aircraft went down in a field in Holland, where a Dutch farmer found the wounded Hunter man.
He was taken to a doctor but the German authorities soon got hold of him.
Mr Keevers was sent to a prisoner of war camp, where he remained until World War II finally ended.
The 97-year-old was one of many who made up a solemn crowd at Newcastle's Civic Park on Thursday for the mid-morning Anzac Day march and commemoration service.
Mr Keevers said he was surprised Anzac Day ceremonies continued to get strong attendance so many years down the track.
"I've come every year," he told the Newcastle Herald.
Newcastle RSL sub-branch president Ken Fayle said organisers were "more than happy" with the turnout.
Vietnam veteran Peter O'Davis was at the march marking Anzac Day with his children and grandchildren.
Mr O'Davis, of Whitebridge, served in the air force between 1968 and 1974.
When asked what it meant to have so many members of younger generations commemorating Anzac Day, he said: "it's a buzz, it's absolutely brilliant to have the young ones here".
"When I go, they have to carry it on for me so it's very important for me," he said.
"I carry the flag for all these guys [the younger generations] and I hope they'll carry it for me."
Michael Esler said he was marching for his father, Harry Esler, who fought in Vietnam, in the Battle of Long Tan.
Mr Esler said he brought his dad to the Newcastle Anzac Day march every year until he died a couple of years ago.
The Edgeworth man marched on Thursday with his two boys - Eamon, 11, and Finnan, 7.
"I just wanted to carry on his legacy," Mr Esler said.
"It's very important to me and I'm just extremely proud of what he did."