18th of April 1921. My mother died in 1925 from a, I dunno, septicaemia it was called, I found out years later. But I think she must’ve had something gone wrong with her works, child bearing sort a thing. I had two sisters and a brother originally. I had one sister
who died at childbirth, I don’t know what year that was but my eldest sister she passed away quite a few years ago, she was born in 1920. So my father probably 1919, 1920, 1921, 1922, ’23, ’24 sort a thing, and when my young brother died in the Sandakan death march he was, before his
twenty-first birthday, he never reached twenty-one. But that’s going a bit ahead of myself. But I went to school in Richmond. We moved to Richmond from Mordialloc, we used to live in a house overlooking the old Epsom racecourse in Mordialloc, and we went to school in Richmond, moved to Richmond. I went to Cremorne Street State School, number 2084, I can still remember the number.
As a matter of fact my first rifle number I was issued with was 2084. Amazing isn’t it? So let me think now. School was just normal, you know, kids barefoot days sort a thing, in the Depression. I used to have to put cardboard in my boots so I could walk around and wouldn’t get wet feet, till the cardboard got saturated, then I still got wet feet anyway.
But that’s things were pretty crook in those days, in the 1929,’30, ’31. I left school when I was eleven and went to work on farms around Victoria. I went to work at a place, Labertouche just out of Longwarry. I was workin’ in Longwarry on Black Friday 1939, the bushfires went through Gippsland
I was up at the back of Jindivick fighting bushfires, I was only seventeen then but I turned eighteen in April that year. It was a momentous year because the war started that same year and I joined the army that same year. Now I joined at the 14th Battalion drill hall on the corner, or that used to be on the corner of Commercial Road and Punt Road in Prahran,
right alongside the Alfred Hospital, they were a well known unit from the First World War, the 14th Battalion. The mayor of St Kilda, Captain Albert Jacka, won the first VC [Victoria Cross]. So it was a bit of tradition. Not that I wanted to join the army, I was always interested in being, joining the navy. So this day I decided to go and join up, after I’d asked
my father’s permission and he said, “That’s okay,” and he gave me a letter. Now I was riding down to Port Melbourne, there was a stinkin’ north wind, and I was riding in my pushbike into the north wind, so I got tired and as I passed the 14th Battalion drill hall I said, “Oh bugger it, I’ll join the army instead.” I went in and the following week I was on, on the 9th of November 1939 I was taken into the
army at the showgrounds. My first squad sergeant there was a bloke named Abdul Guest a veteran of the First [World] War, the 2/5th Battalion. He was known as Abdul the Bull Bull Amir. That’s a song we used to sing about Abdul years ago. He used to drive a cable tram down Bourke Street and he was a signalman, he used to send out Morse code, dit, dit, dit, dots on his
bell clangin’ down the hill in Bourke Street. Abdul Guest, he was my first squad sergeant. But I went to the 2/6th Battalion, he was in 2/5th, the Victorian Scottish as they called themselves. So that was 1939.
There may have had a stop work meeting or something like that but I couldn’t tell you, not those days. Strikes weren’t so bad in the thirties, I couldn’t remember many strikes durin’ the Depression. I don’t think history could have many of ’em either. All these things happened since people got educated after the war I think, strikes and all that sort a thing. I can remember we,
when I went back after the war, I went back to Silent Rubber Products to work, got me job back there again and in 1946 I had to join the ironworkers union. Now that was a Commo [Communist] union, a bloke, he was a red-hot, red-ragger, was the secretary. Anyhow they went on strike, we had to go on strike from… I was
what they call the engineering, some engineering union and we were on strike for nine-weeks, no six-weeks. Six weeks on strike then they decided, “Oh we’ll go back, we’re not doin’ too good, so we’ll go back to work.” And the bosses said, “Pig’s bum you’ll come back to work, we’re on strike.” And they locked us out for nine-weeks.
It was fifteen-weeks without a job. So I had to go lookin’ for another job, and I was a transport driver in the army, after Italy came into the war, when things got out a hand as far as our recruits went, for drivers and motorcycle orderlies, so
I went drivin’ for W. Cross and Sons in Melbourne, round the wharves and that, you know, pickin’ up stuff, deliverin’ stuff, metropolitan area. Then I lasted about six-months in that, so I said, “I’ll go and get a job drivin’ cabs.” So I went to Yellow Cabs and started drivin’ a Yellow cab. Now I drove Yellow Cabs from 1948 to ’52 and I can tell you some stories about drivin’ Yellow Cabs around Melbourne in those days,
if you’re interested that is.
to take his clothes off, and I said, “What do you think you’re doin’?” And he, “Ggrrr.” I dunno if he was drunk or not but he didn’t seem to be drunk. But he threw one and it just grazed me across the chin. A course that was like a red-rag to a bull to me, there’s a man been six-years in the bloody army and you get in a taxi in Melbourne and a bloke’s takin’ a swing at ya, you know, it could caused anything if he’d a hit me. Who knows I might a had a head-on collision or something.
Cause at that time a night, even in those days, it was pretty heavy traffic across Princes Bridge, St Kilda Road. Anyhow that’s one story. My half sister, Norma, got married on Derby Day 1949. Now I dunno if you know the story about the [HMAHS] Centaur, the hospital ship that was sunk by the Japanese off Mackay,
there was a bit in the paper a few months ago. Two survivors of the crew got together, one of ’em was Matty Morris, we played as kids from two and three years old up to the time we moved, my mother died, then we sort of drifted apart. Well he was one of ’em. Now on this day I met him,
Matty Morris, in a pub in Richmond, the Greyhound Hotel, he’d just had a big party and, from the survivors get-together, Centaur, and he had two niners [9-gallon beer kegs] left over. Now I’m drivin’ a Yellow Cab, so. My sister didn’t have any beer it was hard, beer was hard to get even in 1949, so I thought
now she wants some beer, I’ll, there’s a niner, “You can have ’em for three-quid each.” This is Matty Morris, a survivor, he was one a the crew. I said, “Righto Matty.” And I went round and picked ’em up, gave ’em the six-quid and I’m puttin’ ’em in the boot, took one round to where the reception was gonna be, unloaded that for the reception and went to work on the bridge again. A bloke got on and he says, “St Kilda.” So I said,
you’re only goin’ to St Kilda for two things if a blokes goin’ in a taxi – for grog or ladies. I said, “What are you after?” He said, “I’m after some grog.” And I just happened to say, “What do you want, bottles or barrels?” Just like that, he said, “Barrels?” And I said, “Yeah.” He said, “I’ll have a barrel.” I said, “Where do you want me to drop it?” He said, “What do you mean?” I said, “It’s in the boot.” He said, “You’re bull shittin’.”
So I took him down to Port Melbourne where he wanted to go to have this party, helped ’em to tap the keg, help ’em to drink it and charged him five-quid for it. True story and my sister got her beer, Matty got his six-quid. I dunno what happened to the empty barrels cause you used to have to take ’em back, but they probably ended up in someone’s beer garden somewhere. God.
but he never made it. That’s something I, I don’t feel sorry for meself, but it hurts that I never grew up with him. The last time I seen him was I was home on final leave in March 1940, we left Port Melbourne on the 15th of April, no we left Port Melbourne on the
14th of April 1940, the second convoy to go overseas and we left the [Port Phillip] Bay and went through the heads the next day. We were camped off Rye for the night, one a the wildest nights you’ve ever seen in the Bay too, God the wind and rain, and I copped guard duty round the open decks. And we went through the rip the next day, through the heads and the rip,
up and down, God and I would say we had fourteen-hundred or nearly two-thousand troops onboard and I’d say thirteen thousand, whatever, thirteen hundred would be bloody seasick. It was a British troopship, the HMT Neuralia. They had two decks A and B deck, so two flights of stairs, up that way and then one up that way and
you couldn’t walk and you’d slip over, you’d go arse over head, it was that much sickness and they’d all get up and go to the wrong side and they’d be gettin’ back what they heaved out into the wind you know, instead a goin’ down with the wind and every, it was a chain reaction. One bloke’d see that and he’d be sick, the one next… They had Lascar [Indian] seamen on it, and this old Lascar said, “You drink-a this, no get seasick,” Worcestershire
sauce. So I had a couple a gulps of Worcestershire sauce and I wasn’t sick. Amazing, that’s a good seasickness cure, in rough seas have a couple a mouthfuls of Worcestershire sauce, settles your stomach, makes you gasp for breath too, it’s a bit strong in the neck I tell ya. Yeah, Lascars.
me one out attacked by a Messerschmitt, and he came up around a hill behind me, I’m lookin’ for everything that come from that way. We had sandbags across this little defile, overlooking Suda Bay and when he come over round behind me, I was over the sandbag and it’s down hill. Now where I was, was that level, when I went over the hill I was down on that level over the sandbags and I put me hand down, and that’s that hand there, it’s still,
it’s never healed up, it’s fractured the scaphoid bone, and did I abuse the bloody German pilot. So I came back from operation and I met my wife, she was the first person I met at Heidelberg when I come down to have that operation, which I’ve touched on before, for twenty-one days. Anyhow they made me B-class after
eight-months I was in plaster. So they sent me back to Royal Park to what they called the GDD, General Detail Depot, to be put somewhere else. So I went into see this sergeant and he’s an old battalion mate a mine I knew, not a mate, but a friend a mine I knew in the Battalion, 2/6th Battalion when I joined up, I said, “I want one a those cushy jobs where I can go home every bloody night, and knock off at nine,
and start at nine o’clock and knock off at five.” “Just got the job for you,” he says, “Vic LFC car company.” Now Vic LFC car company were up in Lonsdale Street opposite Wesley Church in Melbourne, it was the old Southern Motors garage showrooms. And part a my job was to drive these officers and civvies all round Victoria. And I had to go out to Essendon to pick up a Mr Walker, Mr Fred Walker of Kraft
Walker Cheese, you ever heard of Kraft Walker Cheese? The people who invented vegemite. And this old Fred Walker was the inventor, his idea of Vegemite. Now people say that he didn’t invent it, but it’s his idea and he come up with this vegetable extract, he used to show nine-millimetre films, sixteen-millimetre films around the POW [Prisoner of War] camps in Tatura, Murchison.
So I had to pick him up. Now we go away on the Monday, I’d pick him up in Essendon, in Reynolds Parade he lived, he’d load all his film cameras in and away we’d go. So we went to this place Tatura, now you’ve head of Warrag… not Warragul, Dhurringile, I think, it’s a place just out of Tatura, it’s an
old mansion where the prisoners of war off the Kormoran that sank the Sydney were ensconced, they were that was their jail sort a thing, and they used to show them films, and the Japanese that were around there too. And one a the blokes said to me, one a the Germans, I said to him “What happened? How come that you blokes’d sink a ship like the Sydney?” He said, “She come too close.” And that was
a view of one of the crew of the Kormoran that sank the Sydney. So isn’t it amazing hey? It comes back to that and, cause you know they never found any trace a the Sydney, not even a bit a wreckage. And I’ve got a letter, not a letter a, what do they call those inquiries? A senate
inquiry was going on about the Sydney a few years ago and they had this select committee or something, they call them, to find out what happened to the Sydney. So I rang this chief of the, he’s a senator about my theory, I said, “Now I joined the army in ’39 and I sailed for the Middle East in April 1940, and half way between Ceylon and Colombo
we lost a man overboard,” I said, “He was a lieutenant.” And he laughed, “Ha, ha, ho, ho,” you know how some a these politicians go on as if I was bull dustin’ to him. I said, “No this is fair dinkum,” I said. “Now this unidentified body that you reckon’s buried on Christmas Island, someone found him driftin’ at sea in a dinghy,” do you remember that story?
miles each bloody way, he’s got no hope. Well they never found him, but I’m just thinkin’ that’s that body, he probably got the Carley float, got into it and died, cause they found his body, eighteen-months, you know, “Was it emaciated?” He wouldn’t tell me, I said, “Was it skeletal, was…?” you know, he didn’t say anything, just laughed and never wrote back to me or never sent back to me anything about
what might’ve happened, how it could’ve happened. I didn’t want to mention any names, I didn’t mention the chap’s name at all because he’s probably still got relatives still livin’ and they wouldn’t want to know what the circumstances were, that he was actually, you could say he was murdered cause they threw him overboard. But he was a bit of a bastard himself. He only just got his commission too and he was in charge of the first reinforcements of the
2/6th Battalion. So if you wanted to dig in history, you could find out his name probably. But that’s another spin-off of how things relate and tie into each other. I s’pose everything ties into each other if you want to go back, and wide enough. But there y’are, they never found him, they had an inquiry on the boat and
a friend a mine, who was sub-editor of [The] Truth, Quentin Tilley, he was an old battalion friend a mine in the 2/6th Battalion, he held the inquiry on the troop ship the day after it happened, so they come up with the story that he was in the officers’ mess this lieutenant, got too much, got outside the mess and got into a lifeboat
and got out durin’ the night to urinate, and got out the wrong side a the lifeboat. Now I dunno if you know what a British troop ship’s like, the life boats are, they’re like drums and cords that hold ’em, you had to cut ’em with a knife to loosen ’em. Now if he was whacked he couldn’t, he was thrown over, that was their official what do you call it, inquest
into his disappearance. But I have no doubt because I was one of the crew, not crew I was one a the passengers that heard the rumours going round that they threw him overboard. There were some tough cookies in the 2/6th Division, I tell ya now. They’d been out a work for a bloody hell of a long time, durin’ the Depression.
sort of acclimatised me to what might be gonna happen in the army you know. I can remember we had a sports meeting at Puckapunyal and I entered into the mile race, so this is good, I’m runnin’ for the company, headquarter company, and I’ve done two laps and I’m about a hundred-yards in front, this is bloody easy. The next
thing, I’m running on good as gold, God I hit a brick wall, I couldn’t, I stopped and the rest a the, I didn’t even finish the race, the rest a the field went past me. But that’s how cocky I thought I was you know, and doin’ a John Landy or something, be eight-hundred yards in front and stop and do a walk. I learnt then, a little bit there, you’ve got to pace yourself in most things you do. But then, when we left Melbourne
and went through the rip which I spoke about, our first port of call was Fremantle. Now when we got to Fremantle we had a welcoming committee because the first convoy that stopped there, they had just about wrecked Perth. They even carried a baby Austin car up the portico, the steps a the town hall and dumped it up the bloody top. So they made sure that we weren’t gonna do the same thing. So I had a beautiful woman named Mrs Wedge,
she lived in Webbs Street, Nedlands which is one like the Toorak of Perth, to what Toorak is in Melbourne, and they entertained us, had a beautiful lunch. There was beer on the table, but I didn’t drink it, I had lemonade, lemon squash and we went up on the Canning Dam. Now the Canning Dam wasn’t even finished in those days, so we went up had a look at the Canning Dam, walked across the Canning Dam, the big causeway that
holds all the water back, that’s one of the main water supplies of Perth these days, but we was there to look around it. But she was a wonderful woman, she was the wife of some big land owner up in the north, the north-west frontier. Probably up somewhere where they’re findin’ diamonds and gold now, Hamersley or somewhere up that way, iron ore. But she was a wonderful woman. I corresponded with her a few times while
I was over in the Middle East, but when we came back those things just disappeared. I dunno, I touched on, we lost a bloke overboard across the Indian Ocean, had a big inquiry. But I still maintain that the bloke we lost overboard was the bloke they found eighteen-months later, driftin’ in the Indian Ocean in a Carley raft, not off the Sydney, off the Y2 [HMS Hasty]. Then Colombo,
you wouldn’t believe it, it’s about forty-degrees in the shade when we hit Colombo, and we had to march up to the village green and they had pay books, like paymasters there to pay us in Indian currency. And marched up in full service dress, you know, the service dress, that khaki drill, not drill but the full service dress. God did we sweat and they had again, non-drinker, they had all these troughs of
beer packed with ice, McNabb’s ale, I remember it clearly, McNabb’s ale, pale ale, a course all the would-be troops they got into the, the drinkers they got into it. But we had, I think I had a couple a lumps of ice, that had to do me. Went sightseeing but there wasn’t much to see in Colombo, all the natives with all their red teeth and red gums, they’d chew betel nuts and they’re spittin’ out this blessed
thing, coughin’ blood but it’s just the betel nut juice, that’s their drug like a cigarette I s’pose. Then we sailed for the Red Sea, up the Red Sea to a place called El Kantara on the Suez Canal, then we got off the ship there and on the trains to Palestine, and Beit Jirja was the camp we went to our battalion, it was about
an hour and a half’s drive from Jerusalem, or Tel Aviv. And 6th of June things changed, Italy come into the war. Before that we had all these tents in line, beautiful like parade ground stuff, you know, and we had to strike all the tents, camouflage ’em with mud, we were makin’ mud pies and throwin’ ’em all over the tent because Italy had just come into the war, and the third convoy
which left Melbourne, or left Australia I’m not sure if it was Melbourne, and they diverted ’em round the Cape of Good Hope, they wouldn’t let ’em go up the Red Sea because of Italy in the war, they were in Eritrea, in British Somaliland and all those countries on the Red Sea, and they went to England and the reinforcements that were due to come to Palestine all went to
England instead. So they were short of this and that in different places, so I transferred to the 6th Div [Division] Ammo [Ammunition] Company, AASC, Australian Army Service Corps cause I went over as a motorcycle rider. I could ride a motorbike, I’d ridden without a licence in Melbourne, and I used to ride a Matchless 350 c.c. But
we went to a place called Bar… from Barce to the Beit Jirja, we had the first race meeting of that Beit Jirja camp. All the Arabs with all their stallions and all their great horses, it was a great day. Dust and bull-dust flyin’ everywhere. Dust, I’m talkin’ about dust, it was a dusty place. But then I contracted diphtheria and I had to go down to Gaza
to the 2/2nd AGH [Australian General Hospital], they took swabs of me and the culture came back positive. So I was there for fifty-two days at hospital at Gaza. Now they couldn’t get me, you had to get three negative swabs in a row before they’d say you’re right, couldn’t get any negatives, so they decided to take my tonsils out, which they did under a local anaesthetic, and I felt every snip,
and I can still feel it when I think about it, and three-days after that I had a haemorrhage, they said, “We’ll keep ya here for another week.” Eventually after fifty-two days in hospital, I got back to the unit and that was not long before we moved up into Egypt to a place called Amiriya, and then from Amiriya up to the Libyan border to a
place called Sollum, where I first went into action on New Years Eve 1940, yeah. New Years Eve 1940 we were in action on that New Years Day. I had to take three tons of high explosive shells, the eighteen-pounders to the artillery, up Hell Fire Pass which the Italians were shelling every now and again,
there’s a shell comin’ over, we’re goin’ up sittin’ on top a three-tons of high explosive. Didn’t make you feel too safe, but they were bad shots anyway. They didn’t get anything. Dumped off the stuff and then back for another load and this went on all the way up to Tobruk, cause we took Tobruk, that’s the first push in the desert and we got up to a place called Agedabia,
about sixty-miles west of Benghazi, then we stopped because Bob Menzies had promised Churchill that he’d send some Australians to Greece to help the Greek government, and Bob Menzies bein’ the royalist that he is, he would hate to have upset the bloody Brits. I could tell you a story, in later years he became Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports,
which is heraldry office held by top Scotsmen in the Royal family, and how a colonial could ever get that job, you work it out. It was a pay back for thanks for helpin’ Winston Churchill out and we were not too happy troops in the 6th Divvy I tell ya, because I got a poem written here somewhere about the Isle of Crete, I dunno if you’ve ever heard it,
have you? “Here I sit on the Isle of Crete, Bludging on my blistered feet, Little wonder I’ve got the blues, With feet encased in great canoes, Living like a tribe of blacks, Except the blacks don’t sit and wail throughout the night for food, It was just a month ago no more, We sailed for Greece to win the war, We heard the news one night and portly Winston gave his views, The
RAF [Royal Air Force] he said, in Greece, Are fighting hard to give us peace, And we scratched our heads and thought, This smell was distinctly like a rort, For if in Greece the air force be, Then where the bloody hell are we? We saw the entire force one day, When the Spitfire spat the other way.” It goes on like that. It ends up, “On the Isle of Crete, And now it looks like
even betting, A man will soon become a Cretan, And spend his days in blackest gloom, On Adolf Hitler’s Isle of Doom.” That’s what Hitler called Crete, the Isle of Doom, for the Allies. But it’s worth noting that whilst the battle of Crete was on, London had twenty-something days without an air raid, Operation Barbarossa was put back by Hitler a fortnight, because of the
resistance in Greece. in Crete. And that fortnight brought him into the freezing temperatures of Stalingrad and that’s how they lost the bloody war, in my book, because otherwise he was still rolling on like the juggernaut as, in early 1939. But I’m digressing, we went back from…
“No thanks, no dirty photos, we don’t need dirty photos.” “Only ten piastres, only ten piastres,” that’s about two-bob or something ten-piastre. But that’s, nothing else, a course we went across the Sinai Desert, across the old battle grounds of World War I, the charge at Beersheba,
more or less another version of the charge of the light brigade, the Light Horse, course that was all history just glossed, not even, glossed over a little bit. So yeah, it happened a long time ago, this is now, so when you read about it you used to say what a hell of a thing it was. Then as I say, Italy come into the war, we had to strip the camp sorta thing and I transferred to the
ASC and then we went back from Benghazi to Ikingi Maryut, a staging camp, before we went over to Greece. Now I went across to Greece on a British supply ship, the [HMS] Breconshire. Now I’ve got a story about the Breconshire. She was sunk of Malta, or they tried to sink her off Malta a couple a years later, and she just managed to get
into the shoreline before it found it. Now the Breconshire was a supply ship and it had about two-and-a-half inch, three-inch steel decking on the holds, to cover the holds. We found out why, it had five-hundred tons of TNT [explosive] on it, in the holds. No wonder they didn’t want any bloody bombs goin’ down there, you’d go for a high ride all right. God.
Anyway we got to Piraeus, unloaded. Then we got up the Yugoslav boarder, this’d be about late March 1941, and the 6th of April 1941 the Germans came down through Yugoslavia, King Peter had done the dirty on ’em and turned on the Allies and let the Germans come through his country. That
started the big debacle of Greece, the evacuation, rear guard fights down, right down to the place where I got off, Navplion. As I said the destroyer I seen, in the light, dark against the dark and you could just see the shape, it was the HMAS Vendetta¸ God, what a great sight to get on there. And then we left, had to be away a certain
time, three-thirty was the latest to get so far out to sea that you had some room to manoeuvre in, in case of air attacks. Well I tell ya, we had fourteen air attacks from daylight, from dawn till we got to Crete, fourteen separate Stuka attacks, Stuka dive-bombers. Three and six at a time comin’ down with, and layin’ their eggs we used to call it, like a bloody chook sittin’ over a nest and away they’d go. You know that
story I gave earlier, that mentions that in that, “I Remember”, that’s why I called it “I Remember”, God there’s a lot a things to remember. But we had fourteen air raids and the captain would be there and they’d swing over this way and they’d go, “Nothing comin’!” Next thing you’d get, “Yellow alert, red alert!” That means they’re attacking, yellow alert they’re approaching, red, so you’d be watchin’ again. And he’d,
again and he’d….. They carried three bombs each Stuka, one in the centre, one on each wing, a thousand-pounder and two five-hundred pounders. So they had two-thousand pounds of bloody high explosive aimed at ya, but they had to sit on top of you to hit it. But these bloody captains of these destroyers flat out doin’ twenty-seven, twenty-eight knots and heel over and the rail would be brushin’ the water, that’s the angle they’d be on
and you’d have to hold on like grim death, otherwise you’d be swept off cause all the troops were on the deck. None down below unless they were pretty crook or been wounded or something in the evacuation. God you got to hand it to those navy blokes though, they did a great job, wonderful job.
Italian Bofors gun and it was anchored astern in midship but no, pom-pom. Like a pom-pom, they come in that quick and they had screamers in their wings the Stukas you know, they don’t come down just in a dive, they have these sirens in their wings and they turn ’em on or let the air go through them, they pull a flap or something and you wonna hear the scream, it’s enough to drive ya up the wall,
think, what the hell’s this, and they miss. But you can see the water, a bloody great explosion of water upwards, they’d missed and you could roll over that way and they’d come back again another one and you’d be over that way again. This happened fourteen times and blessed. See my turn wasn’t up, our turn wasn’t up in my book. But I tell ya what, I’m sittin’ here today talkin’ about it,
but my God, I’m a firm believer in when your ticket’s up, your ticket’s up. So mine hasn’t been up all those years. But god luck, good grace I don’t know. But a course then we get on Greece, on Crete, one blanket, one groundsheet to two men, very little bloody food, my boots had, my army boots had worn out,
and all I could get is a pair of size seven British army boots, black, so I had to cut the, I cut the toes right out so me toes were hangin’ over the front so that I could walk around on bloody Crete. We had no supplies, no nothing. No air support, well they reckoned there was air support there, but we didn’t see any. Cause this is what? The 25th of April I come out of Navplion, so
this is on the 26th of April, the day after Anzac Day, we land on Crete which is only about two-hundred miles as the crow flies from the Dardanelles and Gallipoli, it’s that close to it, history gets close together doesn’t it? So we survived. Now the unit I was in, the 6th Div ASC Ammo Company, there was a ship going back who could take half
of us, so they had a, I dunno how they did it but they picked out who they wanted to go. I wasn’t picked, I had to stop. So they were gettin’ rid of the chaff and takin’ the silk apparently, this is their idea. That’s the Australian army.
So there began more adventures. Now we’re talkin’ about the rum before, I said to my lieutenant, we were called Russell’s Rifles by, incidentally, Russell Force and we were overlooking Suda Bay with this position in front of us when I seen that Messerschmitt come behind me and I went over it. So all they did was painted me wrist with iodine, she said, “It’s only a sprain.”
So ok, it’s only a sprain. So I went up to Deany, Lieutenant Dean, I said, “Look, what about if I go down to Suda Bay to the naval base down here and look around for some bloody food, and see what’s down there?” “Yeah, go, go for it.” This is the 19th of May, 1941. Now I went down, it’s about two-mile down, I’m dodging between house,
wall, house, wall, lookin’ over your shoulder, there’s bloody planes everywhere, German planes I might add, not ours, pot shottin’ at everything that moved. Anyhow I get down into this naval installation and there’s these three LSTs [Landing Ship Tanks] lined up, those ones that the front drops down, like a landing thing, so I go on and all I can see are these crates of pineapple, tinned pineapple
and these demijohns of rum. So in my shirt I put a half a dozen tins if pineapple down me shirt tightened up the belt, picked up a demijohn in each rum, of rum in each arm and went out back to the, back to camp, back to our position. And this Lieutenant Dean said, “What the hell you got there?” I said, “Bottles of Jamaican rum,” you’ve seen the hillbillies how they put a jug on their shoulder
and glug glug from the side? He did that and this is OP [Overproof] rum, he took three big gulps and he bloody near killed himself, but he was a different bloke about five-minutes after I tell ya. So everyone had water bottles filled up half rum and half water, about twenty of us there on this little section. So I said, “Well that was easy. We’ll go back again and I’ll take a mate with me, we’ll get double the…” So I went back with a
bloke named Dick Vickery, me old mate Vic, well he wasn’t too happy about goin’ but he came with me anyway. So get back, same procedure, dodge this, dodge that. We get onto the barge again and we run into a British bloody naval bloke with a half a hook on his, I think he was a, what do they call ’em? A sub-lieutenant or something,
“What the hell ya think you’re doin’ here?” I said, “We’re after food.” This is on the 19th and on the 20th the attack came and on the 21st it was all in German hands, the whole bloody kit and caboodle. So we are, I said we just want a bit a food and that, and he said, “Two storey building up there, I got a man up there with a rifle with orders to shoot anyone that comes in here.” So Vic looks at me, I look at Vic, I said, “All right then,
we’ve got the message.” We picked up two demijohns of rum each and walked out. Nothing happened. Got back to camp, so we were well fortified and I’m a non-drinker. So anyhow the next day it’s on, bloody six-hundred and forty planes I counted, this is the daylight, I could hear this woo-woo-woo-woo
German planes don’t drone straight out, they go a triple, woo-woo-woo, woo-woo-woo, you could hear ’em comin’ and I counted six-hundred and forty, it darkened the sky, I lost count at six-hundred and forty, there were JU-52’s, JU [Junkers], Stukas, Messerschmitts, Pencil Dorniers, and the gliders, some of them towing gliders that crash landed on the rocks round Suda Bay. And
it was on for young and old then cause they didn’t actually drop on Suda Bay, they went about another five-mile further on to a place called Maleme which I revisited a couple a years ago and they had a re-enactment of it. Funny thing, at Maleme and at Retimo where that new memorial we were there to dedicate sort a thing, I went on my own back or with
the thirty-niners [1939 enlistment], I missed out on the official party from Canberra, I made the last forty, but I didn’t make the last twenty, only twenty could go, so I had to pay me own way. And at Retimo after the dedication was over, there was a British cruiser in the harbour, or anchored just off the harbour, HMS Richmond and they were gonna have a big do on it that night,
and I said to this officer from Canberra, with all the gold braid on with the, I said, “Any chance a going to that do tonight?” He says, “No,” he says, “it’s full up.” I said, “Well what about the captain?” I got a photo of the captain here somewhere, I said, “I’ll go and ask him.” He said, “I wouldn’t.” I said, “Why not?” He said, “I tell ya he’s full up,” I said, “Now if I tell him I barrack for Richmond, do
you think I’ve got a bloody chance to get on?” He said, “In a pig’s eye.” So I didn’t get on, but I just thought I barrack for Richmond in the AFL [Australian Football League] he might a said, “Well yeah son, come on,” but I never got a chance to tell him. So that was the, digressing again. But then we had to, orders to come is to evacuate, we’re
pulling out to Sfakia, Sfakia on the south side of the island. Now Crete’s about sixty-five ks [kilometres] wide at that part, from Suda Bay to Sfakia would be what forty-five, fifty ks gradually goin’ up and then ten ks goin’ straight down you know and that’s sharp an axe head, well it took us a day and two nights to finally get to the end of it, I won’t go into all the detail about,
I s’pose I should. About a Messerschmitt comin’ down the bloody valley and we’re not allowed to shoot at it because it’ll draw the crows as they say, you’ll only get us all bloody killed, and we’re sittin’ up on these mountains and the Messerschmitts comin’, we could look straight down into the cockpit as he’s comin’ through and he’s goin’ left right, left right, lookin’, don’t move, don’t fire a shot. Then we get to the other end of this bloody, little valley and then
the Pencil Dorniers come in, they’re got belly guns in ’em that point straight down and they’re up and down strafing and strafing and strafing, and they’re comin’ down like in a dive, strafing’ then they start to come up, right in the line of fire we are and as he starts to go up, he had to get up high too, and they stopped firin’. So the bullets never got to our area. We used to work it out
machine gun bullets land every six feet, now if you’ve been attacked how do you lay, horizontal or vertical to lessen the odds of gettin’ hit? If you’re six-foot six long and you lay vertically, you get shot in the arse or you get shot in the head. If you lay vertical you’ve got a chance of every six feet, that’s rough estimate and that’s what we did. If you was caught out in the open you had to go down that way.
I was at a little village before Sfakia, this is in daylight, its on the next afternoon, about three, three o’clock in the afternoon, these Dorniers comin’ across and they’re, we know they’re loaded, we’re watchin’. They dropped three bombs each and you could see them coming, you could see the bombs leave the plane and you’re sayin’ now, “How far, are we under or we
in it?” And you see ’em comin’ and you scream as you… and they land fifty-yards away from ya but you still scream, not because you were frightened but if the detonation would get your eardrums, if you exhaled and screamed out loudly, it wouldn’t affect you and they landed fifty-yards away. So I’m fifty-yards closer to eternity than I thought.
But this happened not once, but several times. As I’ve always said, how have you survived, I said it’s just the luck a the draw, I’ve got nothin’ to do with it. I’m not in the right place at the wrong time or something like that. But then Sfakia, middle of the night we come racin’ down, well not the middle of the night, it was about three-o’clock in the mornin’ the same, bout the same time as we got off
Greece at Navplion and we’re running at the end we’re running in single file down this tortuous bloody mountain, in the dark, pitch black, when I say pitch black you could see a little bit of where you’re gonna put your feet and onto these LSTs and out to another destroyer and this one was the HMS Hasty, you know the H-Class destroyers the British navy, there was [HMS] Hereward, [HMS] Hero,
Hasty, [HMS] Havelock, all historical names, and the Hasty was sunk off Benghazi about two-years later in the war, the one that got me off Crete, and we had nine air raids from there to Alex [Alexandria] in Egypt. And with us was the HMAS Perth in the same convoy. We had a yellow alert
and then a red alert and there’s one plane, one plane, you could just see a little glint in the sky, it dropped one bomb and hit the Perth dead and midship. The only thing that happened was the Perth getting’ hit, nine soldiers were killed and six sailors killed, it hit in the, what they call the mess deck. But how’s that for the odds? One Italian bloody plane
it was a Savoia dropping one bomb and hittin’ dead ship, that’s what you call precision bombing, or was it just pure arse hey? Then we get to Alex, welcomed with open arms, no one to say you’re back to Palestine and they put me on light duties for three-months when I got back to the unit in Palestine. They’d already been, the ones that got off Crete earlier
by selection, they were already there havin’ a whoopee time. Then we were there till 1941, about November 1941, then we moved up to Syria at the end of the Syrian campaign, to help out up in Syria and I can remember Christmas Eve 1941 I was at a place called Baalbek in…..
See things get mixed up. Now I found myself at a old, looked like a school a first aid dressing station and I walked in there, I was not wounded or anything like that, I walked in there to see what was goin’ on, see if I could give a hand and they had a chap there
he had a wound on his back, it just looked like a lot a skin taken off and they started pullin’ out this bandage they had and it was a hole you could put your fist in, in under his shoulder blade, must a been exposin’ his lungs. God these walkin’ wounded, I seen terrible things like that. But no, I met
another artillery driver, artillery truck, they have their own limbers sort a thing as you know, and he had his skin off his bottom, this is in a hospital in Athens, and I was talkin’ to him in the morning and I come back the next day, this is my twentieth birthday was the 18th of April, the same day as the prime minister of
Greece killed himself, Kory… Koryzis, I think his name was, he committed suicide. And I went back to see the bloke the next day and he’s not there and I said, “What happened to him?” He said, “He died durin’ the night.” He had gash gangrene, and that red, skinny thing I seen was the gash gangrene cause he’d been hit by a shell and the shell’d come up underneath and took all that skin off his posterior, his buttock, it was that quick, he
was dead. I met a German officer, we captured a German officer, I didn’t capture him he was in hospital gettin’ treatment, he’d been shot in the groin and they were tryin’ to get the bullet out and speakin’ to him, he said, “Where do you come from?” I said, “I come from Melbourne.” He said, “I’m gonna live in Melbourne one day.” This is this Austrian Alpine troops they were. I said, “Are you?” And he told me straight out, “Yeah I’m gonna live in Melbourne.” He didn’t say when Hitler won the war but,
which he didn’t. I thought that was amusing. But just shows you how cocky those Germans were. So that’s about my experience till I got off the beach at Navplion in Greece.
I couldn’t do a thing without, I couldn’t buy a thing, I wasn’t allowed to do this, I had to be sub, not subservient to ’em, but I had to do what they wanted me to do because they were that excited to have me there, especially the ((UNCLEAR) – non marker) who gave me that plaque. So that’s in appreciation and I take that all the blokes who served in Crete. I went to the war cemetery
in Suda Bay, I got photos of, I got about a hundred and fifty photos of that trip, there’s three sections there’s Australian, New Zealand, British and this German, there was four sections but I think they’re mixed up. In the middle of the cemetery is a monument and around the base are all these wreaths been laid for the
60th Anniversary and the biggest wreath there was red, black and yellow, ‘Deutschland zu aller Zeit’, ‘Germany forever’, and I’m standin’ down at the end a the Australian section and I’m lookin’ at these graves, tombstones actually, unknown, unknown, unknown, unknown, unknown. I say to my mate, this Greek
mate a mine, my mentor, Peter Kalinakis Senior, “Look at that, there’s the biggest wreath in this cemetery laid by the bastards who killed these poor bastards down here. Only for them, they wouldn’t be here.” That got to me.
As you might realise that it’s not only the unknown, it’s the known, the names, go back about forty or fifty rows of ’em and there’s the Germans lordin’ it over the rest of them. And as I say, if it hadn’t a been for the bloody Germans, those poor buggers would be there, they’d still be alive maybe you know.
So there you are mate. There’s no justice sometimes is there?
already but then they were roaming around for weeks and weeks and weeks on end before they were recaptured. Now during the occupation of Crete, seven hundred and fifty-two people, men women and children were executed for harbouring the enemy, which is Allied soldiers, so they did it hard the Cretans. I think I mentioned about the
woman I met in Crete, Sofia Fukanou, she was thirty-two at the time of the invasion and the Germans taking over and she harboured three Australians. Now when I found out this, when I came back, I got in touch with my federal member, Peter McGauran, he’s the minister for science or something as well as, portfolio, member for Gippsland
he got in touch with Bruce Scott who was the DVA [Department of Veterans’ Affairs] minister then, but they said they couldn’t do anything about it because they couldn’t write letters to everyone and thank them for what happened durin’ the war. Well that didn’t suit me, they changed the DVA to Dana Vale became the minister, Dana Vale, so I got in touch with Peter McGauran again and told him he had to do something about it, that I wanted a letter drafted and I don’t
mean a roneo letter, something from the government to say to Sofia thanks for what you did. Eventually they did and that was a pride in place on her wall of her little thousand year home she lived in, in Canea. And her son Peter, my mentor and his son which is her grandson, told me that when they went back there a couple a months before
she passed away in November, and it was a pride in place on her wall she wanted all her friends to come and look at it, the letter from the Australian government. That’s just something else I thought had to be done, to thank Sofia for what she went through. Then they did and it was personalised, it wasn’t just a normal screed you know, blah, blah, blah, but it mentioned her by name.
‘And the Australian government thanks you very deeply,’ sort a thing. I haven’t seen a copy of it. Peter was gonna take a photo of it and send it to me, but I think he forgot. But next time he goes back I’ll ask him to take a photograph of it and bring it to me. So that’s just another little ending story of what happened in Crete.
takin’ at Palestine, at a place called Julis on the way back, staging camp. So we went from Julis down to the Suez Canal to a place called Jenifer was a big British base camp on the Suez Canal, I’ve got a photo, I’ve got a program of what was on at the, in the local theatre, “Hold that Co-ed” was one of ’em and Carey Grant and some other
I’ve got the souvenir somewhere. So we were staged there for two-nights and then we went down to Suez the next day and boarded the, what they call RMS, Royal Mail Steamer, RMS Andes, A-N-D-E-S, after the South American mountain range. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is where Christ’s tomb
is and the big rock that rolled away on it’s own accord, it’d take about fifty-men to move was still there and you go into the tomb, you’ve got to bend down to get in underneath and as soon as you do you can smell the incense and there’s a bloke sittin’ there sayin’ “baksheesh, baksheesh, baksheesh,” you got to pay money. That’s goin’ back in 1940. But I did go along all stations of the cross
from the Church of the Mary of Zion is where Christ was entombed, where he was crowned with the crown of thorns and down in the dungeons is the games they used to, these little Indians, it’s like you know cherry bombs? You’ve heard of cherry bombs – kids used to throw cherries into a little hole? Well these are little indentations in the granite blocks where they used to sit and throw
little bits of pebbles or something into these. If they went into the hole you’d win sort a thing. This is where the guards used to play while JC [Jesus Christ] was awaiting to be crucified. This is the Church of Mary of Zion and that was when you went the stations of the cross, to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre which is built on Calvary and they got lights under the ground where you can
see the rock, of the Rock of Calvary and it’s all flood lit underneath and all the jewels in this above the ground is from all parts of the world, from England there was a solid gold heart with a giant red ruby in the middle of it. They were worth millions and millions of pounds back when I was there in those days. So that was, I’m not irreligious and I’m not religious if you know what I mean, I take it or leave it.
But it was an experience, and to go to the wailing wall where over the centuries you can see the indentations of the foreheads of rubbing up on the wall, how it’s gone convex, concave instead of convex the opposite, and over the years all these indentations in the wall which is another like granite.
Amazing how many foreheads have done that over the years, over the centuries. But that’s an experience in itself.
That’s another thing, I came from the Northern Territory, I spent fourteen-months in the Northern Territory after we came back from the Middle East, and they called us 12th Australian Division. Now we never had twelve Australian divisions, this was to confuse the Japs that we had twelve divisions, we only had four. The 12th Division, so they carried on, one, two, three, four, five was the First World War, six, seven, eight and nine was the
Second World War and it had an armoured division which never saw action outside Australia I don’t think, they spent most a the war in central Australia or northern Western Australia. But divisions is just a number. We were at Adelaide River for twelve-months. Noonamah for about four-months, three or four-
months, and we had air raids, we were attacked when we were at Noonamah because there was two strip dromes on the north south highway which was unnamed, it’s the road down headin’ straight south called Strauss and Livingstone, Spitfires and P-40s. The Yanks were there and the Aussies had the Spitfires and they were gettin’ air raids
every week, and there was Hughes field just opposite, when I say opposite about two-k’s down the track on the other side of the highway, which was Hughes field, where the bombers used to take off from, they got bombed several times. Then down further at Coomalie Creek was the P-38’s, they called ’em Lightnings, Whispering Death, they were camped there, they got bombed by the Japs.
You know there was about ninety-odd air raids over northern Australia in the, after the 19th of February when Darwin was first blitzed. There used to be a joke, was you in Darwin on the 19th? No, I was there on the 20th , I didn’t shoot through. Used to be a standing joke, yeah. But then they found them all parts of the world headin’ down to South Australia along the
way. Air force, navy blokes, army blokes, all panickin’, shot through. Yeah, actually call that desertion under fire. But I dunno if anything ever came of it. They probably rounded ’em all up and got ’em back into gear again. That’s, little things like that you never hear about it. You might hear about it in your line of work, sometime, but I was there on the 20th, not the 19th.
and then you got another best friend. But I know where you’re coming from but there’s mateship, camaraderie and all that. But to be a mate deep down, you got to trust, put your life in his hands. Now some a my acquaintances, I wouldn’t of put my life in their hands because I thought they were unstable that way,
that they would panic, only had to hear them talk and what we should do and what we’re not gonna do, and what’s orders and all that sort a thing. But I did have a couple of mates, but not in the true sense as I say, but they were close. One of ’em became a POW Frank Richardson and the other one, well I
wouldn’t a said he was a born leader of men, but he used to make us laugh, Rigby. Yeah, my mate Rigby yeah. But I met a lot a nice people friends over the years, unfortunately they’ve all departed this common vale at present. Whether I meet up with ’em in another place, who knows.
No one’s ever come back to tell us that they’ve met, have they? But I look on my army career as part of living. As I said, I went away as a callow youth and come back a man. I think I said that at the end of that story. True I did come back a man. With a lot a memories
good and bad. Good ones when you had a bit a fun went on leave, played a football match, played a cricket match whatever was in vogue. It’s amazing how a ball can come, or a piece of wood could come out from anywhere to have a hit of cricket. At a whim, here, here’s a bat, here’s a ball, even though it’s only a tennis ball. Ingenuity that’s Australianism.
You don’t get that in other services, other countries services I should say. But you do get it in the navy, air force, army. I was proud to wear khaki for seventy-months. It didn’t do me any harm, or not really any harm only this busted wrist. But I’m gettin’ recompensed for that by the government.
I’ve got an erratic heartbeat, I suffer from post-stress disorder, and I’m sittin’ here tellin’ you this. But the psychiatrist told me that anyway. So who knows whose right? I don’t feel different, I don’t act different, I never
settle down since I got out the army. Took me one job I had for seventeen years and then I was self-employed for ten-years till I retired. I’ve been a member of the RSL [Returned and Services League] sixty-years next July 14th. I don’t think I’ll get a telegram from the Queen but I want to get one from McLaughlan that took Bruce Ruxton’s place, Victorian
president who I met at the dedication of the Greek War Memorial and I told him, I said, “I want to see you in about twelve-months time.” He said, “Yeah, what for?” I said, “I’m sixty-years up.” He just looked at me. The lord mayor of Melbourne was with him too, John So, nice bloke, have you ever met him? Very nice man for an oriental.
There’s my cat, Littley. This is my bosom companion. Come here and join the party, c’mon.
first Yanks, they were in the bar with money all over the place buyin’ up whiskey and beer chasers or, was it beer and then whiskey chasers they used to drink. Used to go mad. But I had to go to hospital. I played tennis and I didn’t have any sandshoes, so I wore two pair a thick socks on as asphalt court, I blistered me feet playin’ tennis. So I spent a couple a days in the hospital down at
Adelaide where I met, who did I meet there? Dean Tozenan was a champion bike rider before the war, you probably wouldn’t have heard of him. Used to ride in the Melbourne to Warrnambool bike ride, nice fella Dean Tozenan. So then we got leave to Melbourne, seven-days. My father was overjoyed to see me, he actually broke down in tears on Spencer Street station
when he was there to meet the train, cause we’d written to ’em and let him know I was on me way home. But apart from that, it was a very small homecoming you know we didn’t have any parties and I had started to drink beer in Adelaide and I had those three pints and was violently ill. So it was one good thing I had a couple a beers with Dad. That was the
end of it. Then back to Adelaide and then back to Terowie a place in Adelaide where the narrow gauge met the wider gauge, from Terowie you used to go by the Ghan route to Alice Springs that’s as far as the railway went and then we went across country to Noonamah was our final stopping place and that was an unmake track,
it was just a surveyed track but it was only a track it wound here and there, just dirt and water and mud, all the way across central Australia. That’s before the built the north south highway, the Stuart Highway I think it’s called. So we had a lot a fun gettin’ up there and when I first see my first true Aboriginal, black as the ace of spades with a grey back, but that was all the flies on him.
Walkin’ round with just a, what do you call it? A thingo to cover his privates that’s all he had, like a loin cloth and he had a probably his son with him a young lad of about nine or ten. But they just stood and watched us go past, they didn’t say anything and he’s the only Aboriginal I ever seen in the Northern Territory. It’s amazing. Then we got to Noonamah, that’s where the railway line crossed the road at Noonamah, in between
the two strip dromes, Pell, not Pell, Strauss and Livingstone. Pell field was down at Adelaide River where we moved to a couple a months later. I was in ASC headquarters then as a despatch rider or motorcycle orderly cause you can’t be a despatch rider unless you’re in the signals. Others are motorcycle orderlies. A Don R is a despatch rider in a signal mob. So I got that
told to me and I used to ride from Adelaide River to Darwin twice a week on the motor bike, deliverin’ despatches, Noonamah on the way then up to Darwin. And we went out on manoeuvres in probably about July August 1942 to a place called Rum Jungle, no one had ever heard a that till then, that we were out there on manoeuvres and this is where they first
struck uranium, the yellow kind, the Rum Jungle, amazing. We were walkin’ over all that lethal stuff underneath us. Didn’t know a thing about it. And then we went on manoeuvres as I say, for a week out bivouacking, I became ill and had to go to hospital for some stomach upset, they put it down to neuralgia which I knew it was more than
that because I passed something out that wasn’t excreta from my stomach, bowels, they measured me up with this and that and gave me this stuff to drink and checked me there and checked me there, discharged me after five-days, said it was only neuralgia. But it had to be something else. What it was, I don’t know. Something that I’d eaten that didn’t agree with me. If I’d a known, I was workin’ out in Rum Jungle, I might a
said its uranium poisoning or something like that. Cause I dunno how far into the ground uranium was, very close to it apparently. So it might’ve been radioactive ground we were toiling in. That’s a thought that’s occurred to me many years later, when I heard about Rum Jungle. Then we, we were there for fourteen-months altogether. I played football against the air force
where my sprained wrist played up again, they x-rayed it and no nothing wrong with it, just painted it with iodine again. So we went back via the Duntroon when we went home on leave again for a fortnight round to Brisbane on the Duntroon from Darwin, by hospital, no not by hospital train, by troop
train down to Melbourne and had to change at Albury onto a different gauge of line. We got home for a fortnight, had a good time, went to a few parties and then back by troop train back to Queensland to a place called Yungaburra just out of Lake Eacham, and we were camped at Wongabel, which is a bit further out of Yungaburra again.
We were there for what six-months and I was playing football again, hurt me wrist again so they x-rayed it again and low and behold, they found an old un-united fracture that had happened in Crete. So that was the beginning of the end of the war for me because they sent me down to, from Tolga up in the Tablelands via hospital ship from Townsville to Sydney
and by hospital train from Sydney to Melbourne and where they operated on me. The first woman I met when I went into the hospital was my wife-to-be. Twenty-one days after I met her we married and that was on the 25th of May, 1944. My eldest son Graham was born in May 19, the year later May, the 7th of May, ’45.
Then Ian was born in December ’46. Only had the two boys. Good mother, good wife and I was still in the army and I got these postings, as I said, from a friend of mine who was saying you go there, you go there and I said I wanted a cushy job, he sent me to Vic LFC Car Company where I met the
Vegemite man, Fred Walker.
to Kerang, stop at Kerang over night, from Kerang go to Swan Hill, stop there overnight, then we’d go unmade roads on the other side a the boarder in these days, from Swan Hill over the river to Deniliquin, through all the towns there, down to Finley and Berrigan, well we used to stop at Deni [Deniliquin] overnight, that’d be on the Wednesdee night, we’d go to Berrigan, Finley and Shepparton,
down to Shepparton on that Thursday, stop at Shepparton on the Thursdee night, back to King Lake West in that next day, and back home to Melbourne on the Fridee afternoon. That was a week’s work and I could go home as soon as I put the car back into the depot and have the weekend off. Start at work again on Monday. So it was a pretty good job I’d had at the time. Not that I, didn’t think I deserved it but
it wasn’t a bad war for me then and I did that until VE [Victory in Europe] day and then VJ [Victory over Japan] day. I was in Melbourne at the Melbourne town hall picking up the army band who had been playing at the town hall in the lower town hall, I was in the car back when the news came through that the war was over, VJ day had happened, Victory Pacific and I drove out, I had a
utility, an army ute, and they all went mad, they stood over the ute, they bloody crushed the bonnet, they stood on the ute roof, they did everything, everyone screamin’ for joy. Every woman that went past us wanted to plant a kiss on your cheek, we didn’t mind that. Put me reminder of when we marched through Melbourne the first time before we went away that we were cheered by thousands and thousands, tens of thousands of people, the 1st
AIF marched through Melbourne in the Second World War prior to embarking. But we stopped at the showgrounds that night, not the showgrounds, the what, up in Carlton, what’s the big hall that, not, they got the new museum behind it now,