I had three brothers and two sisters and for quite a while we lived there and then Dad eventually moved over to Glebe and the sister still lives in the same house that we were really brought up in, in our youth. Then
from Glebe we enlisted in the army and we went, my first brother, he enlisted in May ’40 and I enlisted in June ’40. He went into the 2/5th Field Regiment, which was artillery, and
unfortunately there were that many people enlisting at the time that they created what they called ‘day boys’ and for quite awhile I was at Marrickville as a day boy. I was eventually went up to Tamworth with the 2/4th Battalion and all of a sudden they decided “You’re got a trade here.” Where they got the trade from I don’t know,
as a blacksmith, and they sent me down to the showground as a reinforcement for the 2/4th Field Company. I sailed in January 1941 to the Middle East and eventually joined the 2/4th Field Company in Tobruk. We served there
until most of the division was relieved and durin’ the evacuation, a lot of the troops was dissatisfied with being relieved as they felt that they should have been there when we broke outta Tobruk. The only unit that was left in Tobruk was the 2/13th Battalion and they eventually relieved
after the breaking out of Tobruk. Coming back from there we went to Syria well the first ah Jerusalem and places like that, the Israel, and then up into Syria to Baalbek. From Baalbek we come to the oil refinery at Tripoli.
It was occupied by I think an oil company and that’s where we were in the barracks there, although all the time we was there I was never with the unit. I was out with a team of, well Arabs they were, building the road between
Zagorta and up into the Cedars. I was in charge of about three hundred and we had a bit a difference of opinion with a chap in the monastery, who we chopped his olive trees down and at that time Sir John Lovery, he was the commander of the 7 Div [Division],
he sorted our problem out and from there we come back down into Israel and then from there we caught the bus back ah the boat back to Australia, landing in Adelaide in early March
1942. We was at Sandy Creek for awhile then we went up to Tenterfield. From Tenterfield we formed what they were then known as the Brisbane Line. We were at a place called Kilcoy and then eventually the other units was at Esk and Woodford.
There was a detachment at Caboolture and that formed the Brisbane line. In August we were going to go over to Milne Bay but just as we was leaving I was sent down to the school of military engineering where I remained for about twelve months as an instructor.
Come back up to the [Atherton] Tablelands. Rejoined the unit and we done amphibious training there. At the time we were going to do the underwater demolitions on Balikpapan but apparently they relieved us of that job and the American
SeaBees [US Naval Construction Force] done it, which was a very fortunate for us. Anyway we landed at Balikpapan about the 1st of July 1945 and it was not until late in November that I finally
was able to get my discharge and I come back to Australia and I was discharged on the 1st of December 1945. Immediately upon my discharge I joined the my other brother, who was immediately discharged, and we formed Tattersall Bros [Brothers], which was a part of my father’s business
or actually took the father’s business over, and as the other boys were discharged they come into the business with us. First of all the only money we had available was our money we got from our deferred pay and we put that into buying trucks and the unfortunate part, when we come back
the people who had never joined up, who probably for some reason or other, they had already bought cheap homes. The price of homes had started to well advance a bit more than they were and we more or less the had to buy homes for our families. Like the three of us had married durin’ the war
but anyway we got on living with life and although we was a bit disappointed the other people had more or less been able to buy homes cheaper than we were, we got on with life and the one of the brothers bought a home at Oatley. I bought a home at Greenacre
and the other brother, he bought a home at Greenacre and eventually the other youngest brother he built a house at Bexley. From there we started buildin’ the business up. We first of all we built a warehouse in Avon Street, Glebe, which my father he owned the block
around. We built the warehouse there and fortunately the brother he was with a chap by the name of Harry Allen and he was working for Matthew Thompsons and we got a contract with Matthew Thompsons doing quite a bit of their work. Matthew Thompsons sold out to
GJ Coles and from GJ Coles we formed an association with them and they sold us a place in Smile Street, Broadway, which was a warehouse. We bought that and that’s where we conducted the business. Eventually the city markets, they decided they was going to move to Homebush
and both the brother and I were on the committee for forming the Homebush or the markets at Homebush and although we had nothing to do with the actual building of the markets we were the advisory for the transport that went into the market. We at the same time Australian
General Electrics, they were sellin’ a property at Auburn. We bought that property at Auburn. It was six acres of ground. We bought that and we established a warehouse there like not it was only old buildings but it was a quite a considerable job to create
pullin’ those old buildin’s down but we eventually we did pull ’em all down and then the eldest brother, he died while that was in operation but his son kept the business and one a the other brothers his son also kept with the business and my eldest son, he
graduated from university and he more or less took over the running of the business. Anyway eventually we were gettin’ too old. To put it truthfully we were gettin’ too old, so we had an offer from Lindsay Fox for the business but he was too low in his price. We eventually sold the property to the Estate
Superannuation Board and we sold the rest of the business to Lindsay Fox, like the transport part of it, but the buildings and that. We kept the a place that we bought over Smithfield. In fact we still own the place at Smithfield under the name of Pakenham. It’s just straight opposite Coles warehouse. Fruit
freighters, we owned fruit freighters in Orange, and we sold that to Downard Pickfords. So we more or less broke the business up. Since then we’ve formed a family trust. Both the brother, the other brother and I, we formed a family trust and the family trust is still in operation. That’s what we’re livin’
on at the present moment but we’re been able to, through the family trust, we’ve been able to put the grandchildren through a good education, an education that we never had, and that’s how we are at the present moment.
he was able to, although he was owed a lotta money he was able to collect enough money for us to live and also too, the sale of fruit, it wasn’t as very saleable as it is today and at times he used to bring home fruit that had deteriorated and give it round the people and quite a few
times there’s a quite a few handouts. Other than that, things seemed to, in fact one morning like durin’ the school holidays, a chap come down and said, “Joe,” my Dad’s name was Joe, “Joe you mind givin’ me a lift into Railway Square?” and Dad said, “Oh yeah, you can come with me,” he said, “as long as you’re here round about six o’clock”
and he come and like I was on holidays at the school holidays and the chap come in and Dad was talkin’ to him and he said, “Why are ya goin’ into Railway?” He said, “I’m goin’ in to collect some food.” Apparently they handed food out in those days to people outta work. That’s what he was goin’ in and Dad said to him, “What are ya how are ya goin’ to get
home?” He said, “Oh I’ll walk back home Joe,” and Dad said, “Oh no. You don’t walk home.” He said, “You can either wait for me or here’s a shillin’. Catch the train back home.” The tram used to run from Railway Square to round about up what they called the Western Road, Victoria Road these days, and that’s where he did.
Tom Smith, he was a an Italian, he had a name a Tom Smith and he was in Oxford Street and he had the greatest team a no hopers workin’ for him. One day we was driving up George Street. I was with Dad and I was only a kid at the time and there’s three of the
other chaps they were on the wagon and the we come up to Liverpool Street. You used to go up Liverpool Street and go up Oxford Street that way. Anyway they were sittin’ there talkin’ to Dad and all of a sudden they hopped off the wagon and Coles had a store in George Street they’d go that went through into Liverpool Street. Anyway they hopped off the wagon and
we picked ’em up again in Liverpool Street. Dad said, “What happened Gillie?” Gillie was his name. He said, “Oh didn’t you see that big Sergeant Adam standin’ on the corner?” He said, “If he would a seen us, the three of us, we would a been in Long Bay,” and Dad said, “What, why at Long Bay?” He said, “Well Tom Smith
runs a few barrows,” he said, “and we’ve been picked up a couple of times on the barrows.” Apparently the barrows was illegal in those days and he said, “We don’t go out to Long Bay in the summertime. We only go out there in the winter time to cut the fine out.” A quite it you really got a good education down there you know,
Dad was a Catholic. Mum, she was what you’d say the brethren from Scotland and there was a vast difference. Mum insisted that we there was a Baptist Church in Mullins Street
and she insisted that we go to that church every Sunday to Sunday School. Other than that, that was the only religion we was instilled upon us. Now I, I’ve got no idea as far as religion is concerned. Like my
youngest daughter she married a Catholic and they I’ve got no qualms about them attendin’ the college at St Joseph College at Hunters Hill. In fact it’s the money from the trust that really educate them. In fact as far as I’m concerned, as long as they’re educated then that is all
I can ask for. In fact the son’s two daughters they went to university and education is the thing that children should be able to acquire. The that daughter
there, she’s adopted three children from Korea. One’s at the university at Canberra at the present moment and the other daughter her eldest boy is at university at down there at Sydney University and as long as the children are educated better than I
was. It’s a my education is well at fourteen you don’t not really educated. In fact I was educated more after I left work and went in the army. In fact some a the officers they were really good in educatin’ a lot a the soldiers. Like as I said,
Bertie Vettick, he was a first class. At the school of military engineering some a those chaps there, Major Harper, Major Sheen they all taught ya. They gave me more insight into engineering than ever
I’d learn outside. The practical part of it they instilled it into ya and the chap who was in charge of it was a Lieutenant Colonel McGowan.
very nice girls. In fact I used to play tennis with ’em, one of them. Used to go out to Kingsford years ago and yet I never had any intentions of takin’ her out and I always remember one girl she lived down the street. She was a very nice girl and she come up and she said to me one day
“I’d like to go and see a movie in town.” It was in Embassy. I’m not too sure of the movie but that Richard Tauber was in it. He was a German baritone and I said, “Oh well yeah. I’ll go into town with you providin’ you pay your fare” and we
went into town I on a Saturday night it was and her mother walked up to the bus, ah tram stop and when I come home, brought her home her father was at the tram stop to meet us. So you had no chance of really becomin’ really involved with the girls and the
wife she worked with my sister in the office and they were havin’ a ball and the sister come home one day, “Look would you like to take Betty to this ball?” I said, “Oh gee whiz. You’re askin’ a lot aren’t ya? I gotta go and buy a suit and all
to go to a ball.” Anyway I decided I’d go and we had what they called the market ball about it must a been a couple a months later. So I said to the sister I said, “Do you think
that Betty’d like to come to our ball?” Like they held it at Grace Bros and, Grace Bros, Broadway. So she said, “Oh yeah.” So we went and we I think we went to three or four balls. I thought “Oh I’ll ask her to come to the movies.” So we went to the Regent
and every Saturday night we kept goin’ to either the Regent or the Victory or one a those movies in town and then war broke out and I thought “Well gee whiz. What am I goin’ to do?” So I asked her to she said, “You’ll have to ask me father.” I said, “I’m askin’ you.” She said, “Well if Dad agrees with it I’ll marry ya.” So that’s how it
Like we thought that Chamberlain when he come back, “Peace in our time,” that’s what we thought. In fact my wife’s they lived in Victoria Road, Strathfield at the time and we couldn’t believe on the 3rd of September when they announced that war was goin’ to
we was goin’ to we really didn’t believe it would happen but it was a reality and when you have a look of how England stood by herself. Like if France would have retreated to the south and went over to North Africa
and fought the war from North Africa, Italy wouldn’t have come into the war. It was only that France surrendered that allowed Italy to come into the war and I’ll always remember the Italians that Dick Pavalora, he had a pretty big shop at Potts Point and he was talkin’ to Dad one day. He said, “Oh gee whiz Joe, I
don’t know,” he said, “I don’t want this war.” He said, “I’m a good Italian citizen,” and Dad says to him, “Ever thought of puttin’ a Greek flag up on your shop and sayin’ you’re a Greek?” and sure enough the Greek flag was up.
Like we were layin’ minefields, lookin’ after the water, water supply. Like for a time there I was a sent out what they call a lay battalion, labour battalion. It was all made of Sinais [people of the Sinai, or Bedouins]. There’s about five hundred in the
unit and we after the hostilities broke up in Tobruk like it quietened down a bit. They were going to build a what they called the blue line and I went out with a there was a section of a platoon we went out and we supervised the building of this blue line.
We had four compressors and they were spread right along there and they were mostly Muslims and there was a old Scottish colonel in charge of ’em, a chap by the name of McFarland,
and he I got on real well with him. He seemed to put up with all your complaints and never turned h(UNCLEAR) because they he had to do a certain amount every day and to get people usin’ the compressor and compressors’ layin’ idle and they’re down on their knees prayin’ for some damn
reason or other. It irritated ya and you’d go and you’d complain to him and he’d turn round and he every time he, ya’d complained to say to him he’d say, “Son, you gotta have patience with ’em. They’re different to you and they don’t understand what is going on. They they’ll do the job.” Anyway our colonel was a Colonel Frank Irwin,
or he was a major at the time. He come out with the CO [Commanding Officer] he was Aussie Myers and he got stuck into me. He turned round, he said, “You’re about a fortnight behind in building this blue line.” He said, “You’ve gotta smarten yourself up,” and
you got you can’t answer ’em back.” And you thought to yourself, “I don’t have to smarten meself up. You’ve gotta make these bludgers do a bit more work than they’re doin.” But it wasn’t long after that that they decided the blue line was wasn’t necessary. We wouldn’t have to evacuate Tobruk, but a lot late, oh
the same man who went crook on me he was a lieutenant colonel at the time. Then Blamey and them were inspectin’ the Kokoda Track and they said the same thing to him that they said to me. He wasn’t gettin’ enough supplies up to the forward troops. So I always
thought that, it was what he said to me was said to him.
what’s a name so that they couldn’t be stolen. The rifle was a val, very valuable product in the Arab world over there and you had to be very careful that ya kept ’em under lock or key more or less. In fact one time I was demonstratin’ the Teller
mine to one a the infantry battalions and we’d just come out a Tobruk and shown ’em you know the Teller mine and the S mine a the Germans and all of a sudden the chap yelled out “Hey! Hey!” and he picked up his rifle and there was a joker runnin’ with his pair a boots. You could see his pair a boots
and he let a shot go and he brought him down. It only hit him on the leg, but he brought him down and when the British police, like they were English police come out, he said, “It’s a pity you didn’t kill the bastard.” He said, “I got to file a report in about this.” He said, “If you would a killed him,” he said,
“it was I’d only have to bury him.” As casual as that.
They held that sector. 9 Div held Palestine and where the Germans had broken through but we was attached like sometimes attached to the 9th Battalion, sometimes to the 10th, sometimes
to the 11th and also they had the ASC [Army Service Corps] holding one a the waddies right over on the eastern front and sometimes we went over to them. They were pretty well involved in the whole a the like the work that we done there,
we laid minefields in front a their positions. There was a place called Cooma. I don’t know however they got the name a Cooma but they had a listening post there and in the early part we went out and more or less consolidated the listening post. You’d go out there of a night-time and work
quite a bit puttin’ sandbags up and things like that and I’d been out there about four or five times but you went out in the dark and come back in the dark and the listening post was more or less an observation post to see what was going on
and apparently they was able to hold that post all the time but they after the fighting died down well more or less those more or less minefields was a mostly the job looking after water point
and things like that. Like
That’s for the first, say for the first month but they improved gradually. They kept improvin’, improvin’. They got a field bakery goin’ there and they were startin’ to bake bread. You used to get a bit a bread now and again. You wouldn’t get it every day but you never got any fresh meat though. The meat was always
tinned meat and the vegetables, you used to get M&V, meat and vegetables in the tin. Same as the bacon. The bacon used to come in a tin and for the breakfast they did give you English
roll oats. Used to come in a square tin like that and our cook, Jack Campie, he didn’t know how to cook porridge. I’ll never forget, we used to have these biscuits. You know the hard biscuits? He used to crush them up, put in a bit of tinned milk and that used to
be the porridge. He could he didn’t know how to cook the porridge and what he used to do was go out when he got a one of these tins, bury it in the sand. Bury it in the desert. After awhile the sandstorm come and here’s all these tins layin’ around. So one a the boys said, “Look. If you can’t cook porridge we’ll cook it for ya.” So
we had porridge after that.
minefields or wire entanglements round their positions and a lotta the work as far as the mines was concerned we had to they had what they call an Egyptian mine. It was a cylinder like that and wasn’t too reliable.
Actually the had to run right over the square before it’d shear the detonator and start it made a film on it of mercury and they had to come down and shear it before it’d go off and it was only about six sticks of geli gelignite in it and sometimes the
Italian mine it was more useless than our mine because it was a long square box like that and the tank track ah the tank tracks had to run over that part where the detonator is before it’d go off and we used to get the they had picric acid in theirs
and we used to get some a that and put it in the gypo [Egyptian] mine to make it more effective and we done quite a few of the mines like that, changin’ a bit more effort into ’em and like the ingenuity of the Australian people they were very good but some of these things that they learnt or
we learnt was only through you know bein’ able to adapt to certain things. Like I remember one time there they the Philippines they had oil installation tanks under the water there. They thought it had been ruptured and they asked some a the boys to, oh
oh one a those crowd went down but when they went divin’ down into the harbour to have a look to see if it was fractured they couldn’t stay under long enough and I think that Sergeant Burgoyne he was in charge of the crowd and he suggested that they get the a compressor down to the wharf,
get ’em a gas mask, connect the gas mask up to the compressor and go down with the gas mask so they stayed there and that’s what they done and they could stay down there quite awhile with the down there you know lookin’ around the gas at the tank until they found
where the it was leakin’ so that they could plug it up. So it just shows ya like some a the things you have to do.
but we had a chap, he was Sergeant Steinbeck. I reckon if ever a man needed a Victoria Cross he did. We went out one day when the Teller mines were first
used. Teller mine was a German mine and he reckoned they was a better mine than ours. So he decided he’d go out and see how many he could pinch. He went out to this German minefield. He said, “I want a hundred” and they a mine like that, a round circular one, and you could either
the booby trap ’em four ways and fortunate none a them were booby trapped. He got a hundred a them. Brought ’em back and put ’em in our minefield. The crowd that went out with him they wanted to leave Simmons, the
apparently they had a big Italian vehicle like the Italians they took over quite a few a their vehicles and when they come up to pick the mines up where they’d put ’em the Germans must a seen what was goin’ on and they started to open fire but he wanted his hundred mines and he stayed there and he got ’em.
He finished up goin’ to when they come back to Australia he went to the coast watchers. I never heard of him after that and what happened to him or anything. He’s one a the real good soldiers though. I think he come from South Australia.
he said to me he said, “We need extra water.” He said, “We just can’t exist on the water we’ve got. You can’t even shave yourself and that of a morning.” He said, “And we’ve gotta shave ourself.” So he said to me, “Those Pommies on the water
point out on the El Addan Road,” he said, “when a air raid comes over,” he said, “they seem to leave that water pump and go into their foxholes.” He said, “Be a good time to go and see if you could get some.” So we loaded oh I think about four or five forty-four gallon drums up on the truck and we go and wait there for the raid to come over. The air raid comes and sure enough, away they
go. So we were just about finished five drums and the captain of our unit, ah what was his name? I just forget his name but he comes along. “What are ya doin’ here?” “We’re gettin’ some water.” “Don’t you
know you’re not supposed to get that?” I said, “Well we’re a bit short of water.” and he said, “Well I’m gonna put you on a charge sheet,” and so he went back and seen Buttle. I said, “He’s gonna put me on a charge sheet.” He said, “Oh don’t worry about him,” he says. “He’s too officious.” So that’s what the last I heard of it. So
what he was sayin’ was the exact what you’d find and like we went out with him a couple a times. They used to have that Cooma listening post. I went out with him quite a few time, well not quite a few but a few times with him and he was very reliable and all the men they really trusted him. One time we went out
after one a those guns that was firin’ into Tobruk Harbour and he was a lieutenant, a young lieutenant, and everything he told ya like when the a machine gun opened up he knew exactly where it was firing, what it was doing, if it was firing on fixed line or spraying
and you had every confidence that he was telling you right and like long as ya took notice of him, you had no troubles. He was only a young I never even knew his name to tell ya the truth. Like he was out the 2/9th Battalion and you had every confidence that he was leadin’ ya out to the right way.
It was unfortunate they had three machine guns (UNCLEAR) damn gun but like when he’s talkin’ to me he said, “Two a these are German machine guns and there’s one Italian.” He said, “I’m not frightened of the Italian guns,” he said, “that bloody German gun is the trouble.” So apparently he must a had a lot of experience with ’em.
onto the Mediterranean side, that blue water of the Mediterranean was worth seein’. We come down through Beirut and then further north up the coast to Tripoli. We went into the oil barracks there. I was only there for about I wouldn’t a been there a week and I went out
with these about oh be about three hundred labourers buildin’ the road up towards the Cedars, from Zagorta, and that’s where they all they gave me a plan where the road was going and it went through near a monastery
and in the monastery was these, well I thought they was dead trees and it showed ya the road goin’ through these dead trees and ‘course just knocked ’em over and the old chap who in charge of the monastery he come out like a ravin’ lunatic wantin’ to know why I was knockin’ his trees over. I said, “Oh they’re dead.”
“They’re not dead, they’re olive trees and that’s the way they are when they lose their leaves.” I said, “Well I didn’t know that” and I said, “this is where the road has gotta go” and I tried to show him the map but he wasn’t interested in the map. He raced off and all the Arabs, apparently they knew that they was olive trees
and they were laughin’ their heads off and thought it was a great joke but next mornin’ who should drive up was Major General Laverick. He come over and he said, “You seem to be in a bit a trouble.” I said, “No. I’m in no trouble. Why, what’s the trouble?” He said, “Well we’ve had a report you’ve been knockin’ olive trees over.”
I said, “Well that’s where the road’s goin’.” He said, “Have you got the plan there?” and I showed him the plan. He said, “Oh yeah.” He said, “It couldn’t go anywhere else could it?” I said, “Well I don’t think so.” I said, “Cause there’s a ravine on the left hand side and the monastery on the other.” So
he said to me, “I see you got a cuppa tea on here. Can we have a cuppa tea?” I said, “Yep. You have a cuppa.” Anyhow he had a cuppa tea with us and as he was leavin’ he said, “Don’t worry about those. We’ll fix it up.” So and he finished up bein’ the Governor of Queensland and he was a very nice chap. Easy to talk to and
he didn’t seem to be worried about his olive trees but I believe they compensated ’em for the trees.
Where we were in camp we was more or less the 2/5th ah the 2/6th Field Regiment was there and they used to have a truck goin’ in for leave and quite awhile we were you know just finished for the day and goin’ in the tent and make our own
amusement. They had like a kind of a hall that they played table tennis in and this George Pyre he said, “Hey, this is no good to me.” He said, “They go into leave into Tripoli every now and again.” He said, “How ’bout findin’ out?” They had a Salvation Army chap as a kind of a
community officer there and so I said to him, “How do these chaps go in for leave?” I said, “We’re got there’s twelve of us here and we haven’t been into Tripoli for quite a while.” “Leave it to me.” And the chap the adjutant he went and seen him and he said, “Once a week you’ll get a leave pass.” So he gave us a leave pass into Tripoli and
I’ll never forget we was in Tripoli this after awhile and this George Pyre he never liked the movies. We all used to go to the movies and that but keep together but George, he always wanted to go and have a drink. So we leave him here this night and when we come to pick the
bus like the truck back up to the camp, it was a fair way out of Tripoli where we were, no George. So we said, “Well we can’t leave here and go home,” get the truck used to leave at a certain time every night. So we chased around to try and find George and we finished up
finding him. He was quite drunk. So we wondered how we’d get back and one a the chaps suggested, like the contractor he lived in Tripoli. “We’ll go and wake him up and ask him to drive us back.” So we goes down and knocks on the door and a lady come out and, “What do ya want?”
and he more or less gave me the instructions where I had to report to, Sydney Central Station. To the transit officer there and he he’d take care a me from there. I reported back to him and he told me to come back in a week’s time.
So I had to go home for a week and I reported back as soon as he said. I gave him the papers again, he said, “Oh you’ll be goin’ out about two o’clock in the afternoon. You’re goin’ to a staging camp up at just out
Indooroopilly up there in outside a Brisbane.” I got up there and I was there for about a damn month and I said, “I’m supposed to go back to the unit,” and every time they turned round and told me to go and take charge of a work party that went out loadin’ forty-four gallon drums out at the petrol dump.
We used to load so many trailers a these forty-four gallon drums and that was the day’s work. I was there quite awhile until this Captain Merry, you ever met him? He was the chap in charge of the gatherin’ all the 7 Div engineers together at the staging camp at Strathpine. Like they were goin’ to come out a the
Ramu Valley and when I bumped into him in Brisbane he said, “Where in the bloody hell you been?” and I told him. He said, “Well you should a been back here.” He said, “I’ll see ya back there pretty quick,” and a couple a days later I was back in Strathpine. I stayed there until the unit come back off leave then
and then we moved up to, no they were there for quite awhile and we moved out to the Brisbane outside a to Ipswich to a bridging school at Dinmore and I think we was there for there for about a month before we moved north again up to the Tablelands.
when we was markin’ ’em it was just before they went to the wharf and when they got to the wharf, the wharfies had started to grumble about handling wet paint and things like that and they started to refuse to put the stuff aboard these Liberty boats. Anyway the chap who was at in charge,
Sergeant Moss, he was supervisin’ you know where they was goin’ and things like that. He come back and told Ray Taylor they weren’t loadin’ the boat. He said to me, “Go and get,” I think it was 3 Platoon, Rusty Burke’s platoon, “and line ’em up in the truck and follow me down to the wharf.” Went down to the wharf. He went
over to the stevedore and he said, “What’s the trouble here?” He said, “Well we’re not gonna handle these things with the paint,” and Ray Taylor turned round and said, “Listen. I’ve brought my men down here. We’re gonna load this boats and if any a you interfere you’ll be in that bloody water as quick as anything.” He said, “Now step aside and we’ll load them onto the boat.” So that’s what we
I was the first one down onto the what’s a name and as the chaps come down I’d hold the boat steady while they come on and I tell ya what, I was always glad when the chap put his foot onto the boat and walked up a way. Like that’s where we should have had training, comin’ those down those scrambling
nets. Did you come down ’em? Well we come down the scrambling nets and that’s the first time we seen ’em and it wasn’t too good of a job especially like standin’ there on the it wasn’t a big swell certainly, but even a small swell and then when everyone was in the boat we it was still pretty
dark and we started to drift. We left like it started up and just went and he turned the engine off waitin’ for a certain time and the we drifted down and we come I suppose about half a mile off the HMAS Shropshire and all of a sudden the Shropshire opened up
and the shells were goin’ straight over the top of us and fair dinkum, if ever anyone wasn’t frightened that’s when he’d a got frightened because pitch black. All of a sudden you didn’t know it was the Shropshire and she opened up with these eight-inch guns and ‘bang, bang, bang’. It was goin’ over the top a ya. That’s the first time that you really knew you was in the war zone
but like when we started to run in towards the beach there was the Australian destroyers and the Dutch destroyers and there was the first time I seen the rockets bein’ fired and you could actually follow the flight of that rocket for a fair way and it was really something to see. You had a
first class view of what they were firing. Then all of a sudden it ceased and you was within about oh I suppose about three or four hundred yards of the beach when they stopped and you’re just runnin’ the I I’m not too sure who they were on the LS, [LST] on the invasion barges but they knew how to handle ’em.
They run ’em right up on the beach and I suppose you was in about, by the time they dropped their ramp down you was only in about eighteen inches a water. Just walk to the beach and then you started up the beach and soon as you got to high water mark got the old mine detectors out and
there was no mines around where they put us.
was allotted a task. They had these sand maps there and they more or less with the we was with the 18th Brigade and they told us exactly where the 18th Brigade would be at a certain time, how far we advanced and like we would support them was the
9th and 10th Battalion. I think the 12th Battalion was in reserve and they were supposed to take be only go a certain way in a certain time because like these war ships, they were still shelling further up the hill and we just kept with
the like to the timetable that they allotted us and I think by lunchtime we had reached the target that they allotted us and by four o’clock in the afternoon we were supposed to be on what they called Farm Hill, just as you go up into the refinery. We’d already reached that point at four o’clock in the afternoon. So really
they weren’t positioned at all and the unfortunate part about it, like when we reached that object we were supposed to come back to our group up with our unit and we started to come back and we was back down on the base of the hill and the Liberators
come over and they bombed the part where those 2/9th Battalion and they lost a few men through that bombing but you couldn’t blame the Yanks. They weren’t supposed to be there but they overstepped where they were.
and number 2 platoon of ours they were gonna build a bridge and I’ll never forget that. Like we went out to have a look at the site where they was goin’ over and there was a well a kind of a old house just near the site and there’s Jacky
Simpson, there’s me, Ray Taylor, Junior Whitman, he was one of the lieutenants, Jack Collins and Bill Rouse. We were gonna you know survey the site before just to have a look where the bridge were goin’ and these in the hut on the verandah there was these we thought they was just local residents just sittin’ on the hut
and fortunately the two jeeps had Bren guns mounted on ’em and anyway the three chaps they went inside and one or the three of ’em come out with a rifle and they never had a chance to even aim the rifle. The chap with the Bren gun on there
he opened fire and he took the three of them out straight away. I think it was I think it was Roy Lewis who was on that on the jeep and firin’ the Bren gun. It was lucky that they never had a chance to use the rifle because we were unprotected. We didn’t have
the only thing was the two Bren guns we took out. So we was lucky in that way but like the next night they put the bridge across and they done a very good job. We only had one casualty in the bridge. Like cause apparently the Japs were on the other side of the river and the, and a machine gun
opened fire durin’ the construction of it and we had the 32nd left outer group, left outer battle group as their band. They were carryin’ the panels of the bridge and they dropped one and it hit Keith Hall in the back as it dropped. He was the only casualty.
couldn’t take that up. We had to find our own campsite somewhere else. So we went lookin’ for a campsite and there’s a brewery that had been bombed out but when we had a look over it, there’s quite a few good features about it. Had a spring runnin’ through it
and I think Captain Mackenzie was the chap in charge to find the site and he recommended this site and when the boys come and had a look at it they said, “Good God look at all the work we’ve got to do.” Level the brewery out and get rid of all the rubbish out of the old brewery but it turned out one of the best sites ever you seen. Like
when we invaded that part for a booby trap they’d put a sign and the some of these good cars. A couple of Rolls Royces, couple of German cars there that you’d never seen the likes of them. So they just put the signs on them and no one’d touch ’em. They’re booby trapped.
Soon as things quietened down they went and got the cars and they’re drivin’ round in a Rolls Royce and when we come to this site Lloyd Edwards, he was a an officer who was well up in the electricity he said to Ray Taylor, he said, “Look, those cars. No one owns ’em. They’re got good engines in.
We’re got generators here. They can drive a generator.” He took the engines out of ’em and drove these generators and we had lights right throughout the camp. That was one point and the water supply we had the spring. Like we had a pretty big pump that’d make a dam for the spring to go into
and we pumped running water and up on the what they call the tank farm where the f(UNCLEAR) was, a lot of galvanised piping. We had the piping runnin’ right through the camp. So we really set ourselves up in the campsite and when the war ended the Dutch administration took that over
and the Dutch administration turfed us out of that campsite back onto the beach and we lost our good camp. So but it was really a first class camp. You got no idea how well we had it but like all the scroungin’ that they done. They found pipe and everything. We had another thing,
they had an we had an Fijian sergeant and he like for the toilets what he done was somehow or other they got the dieseline to come down into the like all the excreta
and they he used to burn it and we had really a good camp there.
there’s a lot of rumours that we were going to go down and take over Java but there’s it’s only rumours. Some of them went over to Sumatra. Some I think some of the 2nd 6th didn’t they? Go to Sumatra. Mm and they were only there for a little while and they all come back but we found it
very easy goin’ as soon as the war was and everyone was thinkin’ about gettin’ home but they started to recruit for Japan and Colonel Gelbardi, he said, “I’ll put your name down as go up there as the RSM.” I said, “No, look
I got a father that’s got a business at home and I’m gonna get home.” He said, “Oh,” he said, “you signed up for the until the war finished and the war hasn’t finished yet.” I said, “Well I think it’s unfair that I should be have to go up to Japan when I don’t want to go.” I said, “I’d rather get home and help my father.” I said, “He’s a sick man.” I laid it on a bit thick for him. Anyway
I went to Ray Taylor and Ray Taylor said, “Don’t you worry. You’ll go home,” but it wasn’t until the end of November that I come home and I could a been like amongst the first draft out. So…
gain things out of like by being home. Like those able to establish a home and things like that. Whereas we come home after six years had to more or less start a afresh and you had to start a family and things like that whereas they had a family. They had their roots in the ground and we more or less was just startin’ off
and the very fact that you’d behind, there’s no question about when you left the army your six years had gone down the drain you may as well say. Whereas if the war wouldn’t a been on you would a been that much into a family life. Like
I was getting towards thirty before my first son was born and you felt that you’d get startin’ to get on a bit in life and like things that could have happened early in your life never happened as far as a family’s concerned
but as far as going to war I’ve got no regrets. I think it showed a better part of your life than ever you did and not bein’ in the army and some a the friends that in the army you’re still friends with ’em but like they ring up and I ring them up and you can that
relate to them whereas some a the chaps who never went to the war well they’ve gone out of my life a long time ago. They didn’t have the same feeling for it. They were good friends, I there’s no doubt about that, but not the same as chaps ya you’re strugglin’ to live with
and like even now some a the chaps who’s passed on I can still remember them and like some a the boys I went to school with you’ve forgot about ’em. You don’t even remember ’em but they really count, the men you
met in the army days. They really made ya know you was a man. Well, now we finished or…?
up ninety years ago since Anzac Day, the first one, and I think Anzac Day should be started to be celebrated right from now and get ready to finally commemorate Anzac Day ninety years on cause Anzac Day I think that’s when we found out we was a nation. It’s not
that we went to war or anything. I think Anzac Day, the spirit of Anzac Day is something that’s lived in most Australians through Anzac Day and I don’t think anyone can get such a good feeling that they’d walk down that street on Anzac Day along George Street. Down Martin Place. I’ve walked down Martin Place quite often
and it means nothing to me to walk down Martin Place, but on Anzac Day it’s a special day and that’s where, I think that should be in everyone’s spirit. That I think without Anzac Day it’d be quite a dull affair. Like the RSL [Returned and Services League] clubs
and that don’t mean anything to me but oh I belong to Auburn. I’ve belonged to Auburn for quite a lot a but I very seldom go there. I belong to Five Dock and the only time we go there is like when they have the meeting once a month. They have that meeting for Rats of Tobruk and I go there.
Other than that I never go near them but they do a good job, there’s no question about that. They do a good job for returned servicemen but I think the drawback if my wife would come with me I might go round more often but she don’t want to go, so.
In fact I kidded her join the race club with me but she decided now that she don’t want to be a member. So that’s her decision, not mine but I still go. I still I only go to the Rosehill, the SCC [Sydney Cricket Club] now. I used to belong to the AJC [Australian Jockey Club]
but I had to give that way. I couldn’t drive home with that sun in your eyes.
the secretary, I reckon he’s the president and he’s the chief writer. He keeps The Purple Diamond goin’ and I think The Purple Diamond keeps the association goin’. The same with that Rotor magazine that Joe Mosely, he keeps that association, him and Gordon Hughes. Like I’d
give Ted a hand but he’s on the other side of the world and I’ve got a son, he suffers from Parkinson’s disease and every afternoon we go up and give him a hand. We don’t do much but we just you know give him a hand to get things straightened out. Like sometimes, I say we don’t give a hand but
one afternoon we went up there and ah Red Leaf College. They were sendin’ out their annual reports and there’s about must be about a thousand of these reports that go out. Some a them they go out for two dollars forty-five and others goin’ overseas. They’ve gotta have overseas stamps on and some a them goin’ up to
Queensland, some to Victoria and places like that, different like. So Betty puts the stamps on and I tell her how much to put on ’em, but we enjoy it. It’s something to do, and like when all the mail is in I’ll tie the bags up, put ’em outside for the mailman to take ’em and something,
and if he elects to go to war and you don’t agree with that, next time you don’t vote for him. That’s the only thing I can say. But as far as this Gulf War is concerned, I think he’s done the right thing. Like when you read what just havin’ a look
at the information we’re gettin’ in the newspapers. Either our Prime Minister was wrong or those newspapers have been tellin’ us lies because you take what was happening in the newspapers, the atrocities that Saddam Hussein was committin’. And the present moment they’re against us goin’ to war but
you’ll remember that boat that was held up in one a the Grecian ports, Port Piraeus? And it’s supposed to have atomic material on? You never hear about it now. And all the photos that the weapons of mass destruction. All the chemicals that were around and where is it now? There’s none of it. It never existed. Well how did they get the photos of?
Someone must a been either telling them a lie or fabricatin’ something but other than that well, but as I say, if you don’t believe in what John Howard’s doin’ well don’t vote for him next time. Personally I’d rather not vote for Costello, he’s the treasurer
and every time I get a tax bill I more goes to Taxation Department than our Prime Minister. Where we used to go to Coopers & Lybrand as our tax agent, now it just shows ya, we changed over four years
ago to Macquarie Partners and we get our taxation through Macquarie Partners. Last bill I got from the Taxation Department, which was about six weeks overdue, it went to Coopers & Lybrand and yet every other one has come to Macquarie Partners. It wasn’t Macquarie Partners’ or Coopers & Lybrand’s whose fault, it was the Taxation Department’s.