I’m not quite sure, I think it was about 400 or 500 come away in the first lot with us which was a lot for a little town like that. I think it was 400 or 500. Most of them went into the 12th Battalion, infantry battalion. As you lined up, when we got to (UNCLEAR), they lined us all up and as you went past they’d say, “What was you? What was that? What were you doing underground?” nearly everyone said miner, so they’d say, “Over there,
over there.” When it come my turn and I saw my mates, they went to the 12th Battalion and when I came along I said, “I’m a miner.” He said, “You go over there,” and I finished up with the engineers, but I wanted to go to the 12th Battalion and missed out on it, you see. I asked a couple of times to transfer me but they wouldn’t transfer me. I stopped there in engineers. I suppose I was lucky. But they talked, you know, in all these accounts they don’t talk much about the engineers.
They call them the pride of the army and the shit in the line. Of course they’re always there for infantry and they’re always last out. But engineers don’t get much recognition. See, they’ve got to be ahead of the infantry to let them out through the barbed wire or the mines, whatever the case may be. Then when you get up to the enemy lines, you’ve got to go; you might have to go ahead of the infantry to lift the enemy’s blown barbed wire. When you come back you’ve got
to connect the wires up in our own mine field. So the engineers don’t get much recognition. It’s always first in and last out.
spuds and all this. So he said, “Right.” So we’re sitting there one night half pissed and we used to drink cider because you never had enough money to buy beer. That rotten cider was shocking, you’d get pissed. Anyway, and my mate, I’ve got a photo of his grave over there, in a minute I’ll show you. We was this pissed this night, he said, “You’re a c.... of a cook.” He said, “You can’t even cook f...... bully beef.” I said, “No,” I said, “Go and so something.” I said, “Look at them f...... sheep,” that were on this bloody Earl Dabar’s property you see.
These sheep are over in the paddock. “Go and get half a dozen of them bastards,” I said, “I’ll cook your f...... meal.” The next day he went over, him and three or four (UNCLEAR) pissed. We got these bloody sheep and the next day I was in the cookhouse and I said, “Roast legs of lamb, baked potatoes,” blah blah. I didn’t know the f...... boss was coming, the major was coming. I’ve got all this f...... dinner, legs of lamb,
and the boss comes along with his f...... dixie, the major. Of course I had to give him f...... lamb, there was nothing else. So when he had his meal he kept looking at me while he was eating, the bastard, he said, “Don, where do you get your rations from?” I said, “The old Earl over here gave me the rations today, sir.” He said, “No, where did you get them from?” I said, “Well, what happened last night, sir,
I was sitting here,” I said, “And his sheep were running over the paddock and there were five of them fell over and broke their legs, so we went and got them.” He said, “You’re a bloody good cook,” he said. But that was the major. I tell you he was a champion bloke. He was a Victorian, he was a champion bloke. Yes, so anyway the next day they got on the piss again that night and the officer said, “I’ll take you on a route march.”
These c....s fill your water bottles up with f...... cider, you see. They’re getting drunker and drunker and he couldn’t make out how we were getting drunker and drunk, but they filled the water bottles up with cider. That’s the things they used to get up to over there.
and they’d call out towns where we wanted to go. I’ve got a photo of my mate out there, I said to him, “When they call out some bloody town and no bastard goes there we’ll put our hand up.” So Sheffield, away we go. On our way to Sheffield we had to go through London to go to Sheffield, you see, so we left London, they started bombing the railway line. We never got into Sheffield until about
12.00 o’clock that night, pitch black dark. We didn’t know where we was, and here’s all this f...... big provos, Pommy provos, red caps. “Who are you blokes?” “We’re Australians.” “Never ever heard of you.” Never heard of Australians, this is true. Anyway, I said, “Can you give us a bed in the gaol, mate?” It’s 12.00 o’clock at night and we wouldn’t know where to look and Sheffield is a bloody big steel city. “Give us a bed down the gaol?” They said, “No. There’s an Australian bloke got a pub down here
from the First World War, so we’ll take you down.” So we went down. Jack Andrews was his name, and he takes us down. As soon as old Jack sees us, “Oh gee, you’re stopping here. How long leave have you got?” “Six or seven days.” “You’re stopping with me, you’re stopping with me.” They’ve got big dance floor in their pubs, you see, and they were still dancing that hour of the morning. We were up there until about 4.00 o’clock in the morning
before we went to bed. The next morning we get up. Trevor and I had a bath. Had to have a bath, no showers you see. Had a bath and a shave, come down. Old Jack was up getting about, “Come here, have your breakfast,” he said. Goes into his kitchen, we only went to the door, here comes this sheila, his f...... daughter, about 19, she was gorgeous. My eyes were like f...... ball bearings, they kept rolling over.
So I got talking to her. We said, “Have you got another girlfriend?” So she was a banker’s daughter, so she got her down and old Jack, he had a bloody Austin car and he said to me, “Do any of youse drive?” Trevor said, “This bastard, he’ll drive anything,” and old Jack lent us his car and we took the sheilas for a drive. Anyway, that night everyone came down to his f...... pub to have a look at the Australians,
you see. He was making a f...... fortune, the old bastard. But he looked after us. A couple of days after, one morning he got up and he said, “I’ve got to go up the brewery and I’ve got to go the bank. I’ll take you with me.” So away we go, around the brewery. All the sheilas are working in this f...... brewery, f...... gee, you know. He had to go to the bloody brewery manager’s office and he said to old Jack, he said, “Where are you going?” Old Jack said, “I’ve got to go up to the bank
and I’ve got to go to some pub.” This f...... manager came with us. I had to get into the car with this brewery manager, Trevor sat with old Jack. So around we go to the bank, f...... bank manager comes, he comes with us. Then we go down to this, we’re drinking them f...... Pimms. We never drank Pimms in our life, we couldn’t afford it. Anyway, they said we’ll go out to Nottingham, that’s where all the big brothels are you see. We didn’t know, we’re f...... innocent Australians.
F...... sheilas were f...... lovely, so we put the night there. Old Jack and them had to come back, but the brewery manager and the bank manager, they stopped with Trevor and I because they had the money. We had nothing. They stopped the night. The next morning the brewery manager had to come back and the bank manager, “I’m stopping another day, do you want to stop?” “No,” because we had to go back to old Jack’s you see. So we go back the next day and that afternoon
the bloody bank people are ringing up, “Where’s the bank manager?” He said, “The last I seen he was out (UNCLEAR).” The old bastard stopped there. I mean that was the way it went on. We had a marvellous time in Sheffield, unbelievable. I never knocked her off because I didn’t like to. We had six, actually we stopped a couple of days. When we got back we were charged AWL for a couple of days, you see, you know what I mean.
I used to drive him a little bit now and again. I had to go into this, he owned a bloody (UNCLEAR) and guard and he tried and he said, pitched his trailer getting hung up with the bloody bombs, the railway, and he let us off you see. But that used to happen, you couldn’t get back sometimes. But yes, he was a fine old fellow.
they sent me and another bloke, or six of us, up on what they call the advance party. We had to go to bloody Scotland up to Glasgow, you see. They sent so many from each unit to get ready to go to the Middle East. Six of us up there and they put us in the asylum. There was a bit of an asylum building, so we got out,
we used to knock around in twos, you know what I mean. So me and my mate were down this bloody, Glasgow this night. Went down by tram, gets into the pub and you’ve got no idea how them Scotch people are. They used to have their big pint pots of beer and a bloody great big glass of whisky, and you and I might be over at this. Blokes over in that bar, “Give them two.” You’d have six of each of these f...... big glasses. He was pissed to the eyebrows.
Get back on the tram to get back up this asylum. It’d be full of bloody women and blokes in there going home. The tram guy, “Where you going, Digger?” “Drop us off at the asylum,” we used to say. Drop us off at the asylum. But anyway, we went out on this, one day we went down to Glasgow to have a bit of a look around and Woolworths used to be the big shops over there. So me and my mate went there looking for a sheila you see. We go down to Woolworths to pick up a sheila
and this f...... Aussie sailor came along. “How you going, Digger?” “Yeah, good mate.” He said, “Do you know your way around?” We didn’t know our f...... way at all. “Of course we know our way around.” He said, “I’ll come with you,” you see. We says, “Yeah.” He said, “I’ve just been six months at sea.” So I said to him straight out, “Look mate, we’ve got f...... near no money.” “Don’t worry,” he said, “I’ve got,”
first time I’d ever seen a £100 note. I’d never ever seen one in my life. He pulled it, “You have one.” “No.” We took about £10, you see. We got his name and address. We caught up with him years after in f...... Queensland. So away we goes and gets on the piss. We gets into this f...... pub. These three Irish sheilas are there so we gets onto them and gets a bottle of whisky each, down to one
of them f...... dugouts we went with these f...... Irish sheilas. F...... nearly killed us. So that was part of our trip in Glasgow, you see.
getting towards the end, the beginning of January, the middle. We got back about the middle, no training. We just off, you see. We followed the infantry up, the 6th Div up to Benghazi and they stopped there and anyway, they said to us, “You go up further.” So we went ahead of the infantry, went up past El Madjal and up
Mar Sobriga [?] and then we came to a place they called the Bottleneck. There were big marshes, supposed to be big marshes on the left hand side. They said no one can get around there, you see. So we’re up this Bottleneck doing a few patrols, probably about (UNCLEAR). Next thing he came down with all his army so we had to piss off, and I
was driving this little fifteen hundredweight forward truck or ute, and I had a corporal with me used to work in the bank in Hobart, a bloke named Les Patterson. He was a good map reader. So when the retreat started, like all our blokes had to spread out, different areas to blow up and whatever, and so when the big retreat came to Benghazi we had to go out and tell them to piss off and all this bullshit.
They were blowing up all ammunition dumps, petrol dumps and just putting diesoline down the water wells and oil down the water wells and all that sort of thing. So that started the retreat. When we came back from Benghazi we started blowing the bridges up around Bars and all them places. We came back getting toward dusk.
We were on the arse end. Engineers of course are always last out, you see. We were on the arse end of the line We’d been chasing the other blokes out, you see. So this bloody provo, big long provo pulled us up and these two generals. We didn’t realise it was General Neems [?] and O’Connor and this provo was a bloody German dressed in an English redcap,
and he said to us, “You go that way. You’ve got to go down the coast road. Don’t go down the desert road,” you see. Anyway, Ginger said to me, “You go down the f...... desert road, Don.” All he sent down there got taken prisoners, so we got back to Tobruk, you see. But we lost about forty of our engineers. They went down with this f...... lieutenant. They got taken prisoner.
and they got knocked back. But the night my mate got pinched up The Salient, I’d been up there that night. They build patrols, and I left, or me and another couple of engineers left, and I said to this Lefty, the bloke who wrote that book, I said, he was intelligence for the 12th Battalion. I said, “Are you coming back now Lefty?” He said, “No, I’ve got a couple of little things to do.” So we pissed off. A quarter of an hour later he was taken prisoner, about thirty other blokes
from the 12th Battalion. Just the luck of the draw you see. We got out, they got caught. But when they wanted meals up at The Salient after, they used to call a truce, say 8.00 o’clock. Of course we could shell his, he was up on the hill and he had a flat, you see, and we had to go up this way. Well he couldn’t get the food because
we could shell his and we couldn’t get our food to our blokes because he was looking down on. So what they used to do was, probably 8.00 o’clock or whatever the case may be, one of our, one of the infantry blokes would fire off so many rounds of ammo out of a machine gun and a German would do the same. That’s when they used come out of their f...... burrow and sit up and eat. Say they were out there an hour, yeah, roughly, and they’d fire another lot of
guns each. Down the f...... burrow they’d go, and you couldn’t put your f...... head up there during the day. That’s why they had to shit in the tins, piss in the tins and everything, you see, because you couldn’t get out to have a shit or anything. Snipers and that.
went back about ’38 to buy. They used to buy sort of a little village. They’d buy the whole lot, mainly grapes and all that, and they went back. They were good little blokes when they worked at Mount Lyall. They went back over there and Frankie, Frankie, I can’t think of his surname, little Frankie and the other bloke, can’t think of his name. But I remember little Frankie very well. Apparently they got picked up, sent
over to the desert and they were both in Tobruk as prisoners of war as I was going past there one day and they sang out. Little Frank, well Frankie, he wasn’t very tall but he had f...... shoulders about that big on him, you know, but he wasn’t that tall, probably pushing five foot eight, five foot nine, you know. So I went over to the f...... barbed wire and had a talk to him, asked him what was going on. He could talk good English because he’d been out here. (UNCLEAR)
Yes, I said, “You won’t come back to the f...... Comstock.” I heard later, years and years, I heard he was one who got sent to Canada or America when they sent the POWs to different countries, you see, and I heard he was one who went over there.
f...... all, “Have a look at the sheila doing, f...... French, look at the f...... fingernails. I’m going to get my f...... fingernails manicured.” I said, he went, he got his f......, he never got nothing. He put the hard word on her. Oh, laugh. Went down there, these officers come down, like some of our officers, we go down to this
f......, officers’ f...... joint. We got a lend of a coat off them, and this f...... lieut says to us, “Jeez, I’ve got a lovely sheila down here, Don.” I said, “Have you?” I said, Bamgarten was his name and I said, “Have you Bam?” “F......, she’s gorgeous.” His brain was here instead of up here. We go to this f...... cabaret. She wasn’t bad either, and the stupid c...., his f...... mind went, you see,
on this sheila. So a f...... fortnight after she was a f...... spy and he wanted us to f...... shoot her. She was a spy. So they used to work in these café joints, but we wouldn’t shoot her because that’s the provos job, not ours. The provos must’ve had to shoot her.
some New Zealanders behind the Free French. I don’t know what for, and some South Africans and a mob of Poms behind the South Africans. We don’t know what for, but they were there. Then it all started all over again, laying bloody mines, putting up barbed wire, running bloody patrols. I cut new bloody tracks in the desert for them, all things like that. When it come
to the night of the big attack we had to go out, the platoon I was with, I had to take twenty blokes with me. I’ve got them on that bloody, photostats out there after boys; I’ll show you what we done. We had to open the minefield up about sixteen or eighteen feet wide. We had to run a wide inch tape and then we had kerosene tins with the front
cut out and a kerosene lamp in it. So we got all that ready and then they opened the barrage up at twenty to 10.00, 21.40 hours. So about a quarter past 9.00 we had to take a blanket, get over the tin and light the kerosene lamps so it shone that way for them to come through in the tape.
We were sitting out there in f...... no man’s land when they opened up with a f...... thousand f...... guns. Frightened f...... shit, f...... near died of a heart attack. You can imagine 100,000 guns go off. Then they put two search lights up to join like that and that’s where the infantry had to head. As the infantry came through some of them had to join them and some had to go back and get more truck loads of mines in case they advanced. You had to put a minefield
out before the next morning, you see. So that was the night of the big attack. That went on for roughly ten days and if he hadn’t sort of break that night we would’ve broke. We were f……. I think it was about the 2nd of December we had to cut the railway line to let the bloody infantry and that, and the pioneers through, you see.
They had two platoons of us which were roughly about 120 officers. We had to dig through this f...... big railway line. F...... high as, we had to dig through to let them through, you see, the railway line. But we had to get the pioneers. It took us over three hours to dig through with picks and shovels. We had to get the pioneers to help, but when we got through the infantry spread out to head back towards the coast. They wanted to cut half his bloody army off,
you see. So that was the night of the big battle. I was there twelve days.
No wonder some of the poor bastards got bomb happy as they used to call it, their nerves, you know. The bloody shells are screaming over you. Well, you imagine 900 to 1,000 guns going off, whoof, whoof, whoof, that was non-stop. It went for twenty minutes before they stopped and then they opened up again. You could imagine what it would be like underneath, all these bloody shells screaming at you and by the time they finish you’ve got the f...... bullets coming at you from the f...... Germans and his f...... artillery shooting back
at you. It’s really hard to explain. It was an unbelievable sight but I wouldn’t like to be under that barrage again. Once was enough for me, not everyone. But the sight was unbelievable; it was just like broad daylight the way these bloody guns were going. And I’ve got no faith in the bloody tanks, the bastards.
Everywhere we got mixed up with f...... tanks they stuffed everything up. So we put this tape, used to be an inch wide, right through, and lamps right through. Half the c....s (UNCLEAR) and the c....s wanted to fight. They ran into a f......, and blew their f...... tracks off, and we always had trouble with the f...... tanks. We always did, in Tobruk and everywhere we were, f...... tanks caused trouble I don’t know what was wrong.
They all seemed to get off the f...... minefield or never turn up. They were too late turning up, all this sort of thing. F…. them f...... tanks. I never had much faith in them, but they’re handy. They’re good when they do get going. Bloody oath they are. I’ve seen some lovely tank battles at Alamein, beautiful tank battles, unbelievable. I never had faith in the bastard, never on time or they ran off onto a minefield and blow a track off. That gave us the impression the
punks didn’t want to go in, you see. How could you f...... run off a tape? You’ve got tapes and f...... lamps to do through. How could you run over there? Pull a f...... stick, (UNCLEAR).
and then you’ll see the top of the tank get f...... blown off and then you’ll see a tank a light and all these poor c....s trying to run away from it. It’s hard, very hard to describe it all, poor bastards. I wouldn’t go in a tank, f...... not going to get burnt to death. I’ll get burnt when I die but not in a f...... tank. The poor bastards, they have a c.... of a life really, the tankies, tank crews. You can imagine the f...... top of the tank getting blown off
and the c.... catching on fire and you’re trying to get out and then these c....s roam up in machine, both sides, you know. The Germans done it to our blokes and we done it to their blokes. They’re trying to run away. The bastards are sitting there with their f...... Bren, f...... machine. Not too good is it? No. So when we cut the railway line you’d see all these f...... red, blue and green tracers just above the railway line. We’re trying to get through and f...... red, blue and green,
white f...... tracer bullets. See every tenth bullet was a tracer, a different colour, you see. You can just imagine all these f...... machine guns trained on you. Yes, yeah. Between June and December about the 3rd, we had 5,000 Aussies killed at Alamein. They were just killed. I
can’t think how many prisoners. I think there were about 4,000 or 5,000 wounded. I know when we finished Alamein we were told there were only 8,000 left on their feet. That’s what we were told. When we did get through, like through the railway line and got down to the coast, and the New Zealanders, we were f………. We had not many men left. So the New Zealanders and the Poms kept going. We had to come back a couple of days after. We
were stuffed, and then we had to go and bury our blokes, bury the f...... Germans and that, and the poor bastards, they were going black and stink, smell was rotten. And everyone around, we used to take their tags off them so we knew who they were. It’s not a very nice job. Yeah, that was our turn out there. Then we came back and we had a big march past.
12,000 But they sent reinforcements. We had 12,000 marched past at the airfield at Gaza in front of [Field Marshall] Montgomery and all them big bastards before we came home, you see.
got to be fast on your feet, mate, and go for your f...... life, yeah. I carried a little German out one night. He cut his leg off, got blown off. Come along when I was coming back. I could hear this bloke singing, he was singing out, “Aqua, aqua.” I knew he wanted water, you see. Only a bloke about nineteen. I had f......
photos of him here and everything but I can’t find them. I carried him back to the first aid room, but after we came out of Alamein I had to go into Gaza one day. I went to the Gaza Hospital, he was there, sitting up with his leg. He said, “I’ll go back to Germany.” They were going to repatriate him, you see. Only about eighteen or nineteen, nice little fellow too.
But they were a funny lot, when you were taking them prisoner they’d be start taking their watches off or their bloody medals because they knew f...... well you were going to take them. But they’d be (UNCLEAR) their watches for you, their rings, medals. He was alright, the old German, yeah.
I’ll repeat myself. We could’ve had better officers (UNCLEAR). Not better officers at all, one in all in, you know what I mean. A photo of my mate’s grave over there. He won the MM [Military Medal] at Alamein that night. I was with him when he won it, that Bingham.
nests. He first caught this bloody infantry officer down the bloody leg and one of my mates, he got a burst leg, engineer, and it killed about ten infantry blokes, and he said, he had more f...... guts up here, he said, “I’ll go around the back, you go up here.” So he went around the back with three or four infantry, but he shot three or four
Germans in the back of the head. Anyway, we cleared one machine; there were two machine gun nests. The other blokes, they chucked their hand in. So we got one of them bloody German ground sheets and a couple of rifles and he made these four prisoners carry this officer back so he got an MM for it which he bloody earned it too. Pity, it played on his mind. He blew his f...... brains out with me up in Borneo
about a fortnight before the war finished, but it always played on his mind because when we come back from the Middle East up in the Tablelands he’d wake up screaming of a night, you know. He was in the same tent as me. He finished up a warrant officer, and he’d say, “I never gave them blokes a fair f...... go,” you know what I mean. It played on his mind, the poor bastard, but as I said to him, “Well look Fat, it’s you or f...... them. Shoot them from the f...... back or the front. They’d do the same to you.” But he never ever got over it.
So he got buried in Labuan. A bloke sent me a photo a while back of his grave. These things happen, and you’ll see another bloke do f...... nothing and get a f...... decoration. It depends who you are, where you are, who sees it. I said he should’ve got the VC [Victoria Cross] for what he done that night, but got an MM. F...... lucky to get that, but that goes on in all wars. Depends
where you are, who sees you, what happens, blah blah. I suppose I was from here to the road off the first VC ever won in the Second War, an airman from New South Wales in Tobruk. I’d beaten that road off him when he won it, and his officer got knocked, never killed him. He got wounded and f...... went mad with a rifle, bayonet. He cleaned about two machine gun posts out.
They killed him. He was the first one to win the VC in the Second World War, yeah.
When I was, after the war and I came back I had to go before the f...... medical board. I never got discharged until 1945. I had to go before this medical board and the bloke in charge, he said, “Why wasn’t you discharged in 1944?” He said, “You should’ve been discharged in 1944.” He said, “Your nerves were gone then,” but no one wanted you, you know what I mean. No bastard wants
you. Don’t you worry, they still f...... don’t want you a lot of these f...... governments either. Don’t you worry about that. Don’t tell me about these f...... governments. The only decent thing I will say about them, especially here in Tasmania, we get good treatment from the doctors and hospitals. As for our f...... pensioners, no. They’ll sit back and get all their f...... big super. They promise you this, I don’t want to talk. Hawke and Keating caused all this in 1984, ’88.
They said once you turn sixty-five you can’t get a TPI [Totally and Permanently Incapacitated pension]. Can’t get a, but if you were a doctor, a lawyer, a politician or had a farm, you could get one, and I said to the bloke, “That’s f...... class distinction.” I said it to a tribunal president, that’s class distinction. It’s just a f...... lie, that’s all. I said, “I’m three months over the age of sixty-five.
I’ve had three lots of f...... cancer. I can’t get a TPI?” He said, “No.” So where does your class f...... distinction come in?
Benghazi, they were out on a bloody, I can’t think of the name of the place. I’ve got it out on a f...... map out there, and we had to go out, like they were some of the blokes we had to tell get going. There was I suppose about eighty or ninety of them, infantry, and you could see the f...... armour coming, like we could see it coming and we said, “You’ve got to get out of it.” Officers told them not to go. They were f...... killed because they never left the post. They weren’t allowed to think for
themselves. If you said, “F...... stop there,” they’d f...... stop to the last man, mate. Not allowed to think for themselves. How can you fight f...... tanks with a f...... rifle and bayonet? Well how can you, you know what I mean? Live to fight another day I used to say, but you wasn’t. They were wonderful fighters, the Poms, mate, what I saw of them. I’ve seen them in Tobruk, that
80th, 70th Division went into Tobruk. They’re f...... wonderful fighters. I’ve seen all the Poms at Alamein, all good fighters, mate, what I’ve seen of them, yep.
over the river with these two sergeants and I sung out to these blokes down there, “Get away from that f...... creek, you c....s. You’re not supposed to be,” then whoof, he comes over and got the lot. But my mate, he always said to me, he came from Glenorchy over here. He was about six foot four and about fourteen stone, big, and he always said to me when we first, he said, “If ever we get, I’ll look after you mate.” So when the bombs came over we went down. He laid on top of me and my other mate
laid there. Whoosh, they’re gone, just like that, and I could feel this f...... stuff down my leg and I said, “Get off me, you big fat bastard, Woody,” you know, it’s only natural. And I said to Frank, “Frank, get this c.... off me.” I said, “The c.... won’t move.” Anyway Frank pulled him off, a f...... hole in his back like that, all the blood running. We put them f...... big dressings, about eight big
dressings, field dressings in this hole, got him to a jeep and sent him off to the beach at the hospital but he died the next morning. Terrific bloke, he was, yeah, poor old Woody, yeah, good bloke, yeah.
That’s when I got rid of the f...... lieut. The f...... lieut, he went down the river. What made me f...... wild was all the blokes I’d been all through Tobruk and the Western Desert with, they was all the c....s that stopped in the f...... creek. They knew f...... better. Now when this happened I got onto the wireless operator. We always had a wireless operator with you, I said, “Get in touch with f...... Dooley Mueller, the c...., and tell him to get rid of the f...... lieut and send some f...... men. We’ve got no f...... men left,” I said. And Dooley
got me to talk back and I told him. He said, “That c.... will be on the boat back to Australia tonight.” Yeah, he’d f...... gone too, the little c..... I said, “What about some more f...... men?” He said, “We’re short of men down here now.” He said, “Another couple of,” “Well I said, “We’re with the f...... infantry mate.” I said, “There’s only about f...... ten or eleven of us left. We’re trying to push up with a bulldozer and a couple of f......
jeeps,” I said. “We’re f……” I said. Anyway that was about 11.00 o’clock, 12.00 o’clock in the morning. About 3.00 o’clock in the afternoon he sent up a few blokes, eight or nine I think, yeah. Of course you stretch that thin, it’s such a big area, you see, yeah.
my mates, he came from the 24th Battalion. I don’t like telling you these things because you think you’re booming. He was attached to us, he was driving a bulldozer, he was attached to us, Bluey, a Queenslander, Bluey, Bluey? Anyway I said to him, he was under me, I was in charge of all that sort of equipment at the time, and I said, “Bluey.” So when we got
into Sattelberg the Japs were down these f...... fox holes, you see, and infantry couldn’t get in. I said to Bluey, I said, “We’ll get a sheet of steel.” Like we carry everything. “We’ll weld a f...... sheet of steel across the radiator of the bulldozer,” and I said, “we’ll get some corner flat sheets of steel to go across the windscreen and just leave about that much to look out.”
I said, “I’ll take the dozer, mate. I won’t be f...... fox hole, I’ll drop the f...... blade on them and push the dirt in on them.” He said, “No, you won’t, that’s my job, Don.” So he done that, we got the infantry out. He got an MM for that which was good. A nice bloke, Bluey, too, yeah.
this Joe Warner, he said, “You’re a c.....” He says, “You wander everywhere, mate.” But we wanted to watch the f...... dive bombers bomb the f...... mission, you see. Yeah, poor old Joe. They’re all f...... dead on me. All the c....s have died on me. Yeah, poor old Joe, yeah. We had a lovely young bloke,
they come to us as reinforcements, we had this young bloke from New South Wales. I see in the paper they sent me the other day he died. He was about eighteen, seventeen or eighteen when he came to us, and he said to me this day, “Don,” he said, “Don.” I said, “Yeah, Mack.” He was only about that wide across the f...... shoulders. They should never have sent the little c....s up there. they should’ve sent these other big c....s that were in these base camps. I’ll tell you about them c....s after too. Poor little bastards, seventeen and eighteen they sent them us to us. Anyway, he said to me this day,
he said, “Don, Don.” I said, “Yes Mack?” “If we get a Jap can I shoot him?” “OK, you shoot him.” We got a couple of prisoners, or the infantry did. We said to Mack, “Go and shoot that c.....” He took him out in the bush and shot him. He wanted to shoot a Jap. They were bastards. But why send kids up?
Now, this is, I’d clean that f...... big army camp out in Sydney, Wallgrove. When I got back to Melbourne I got crook and they said, “You’ve got to go to hospital for a couple of days.” I was in hospital for about three days. Well our blokes had gone to Queensland you see. So when I came out to the showgrounds in Melbourne to get my f...... thing to go back up to Queensland, they said, “You’ve got to go to South Australia,
to Woodville Camp.” “What for?” I said, you know. It’s a c.... on your own. He said, “You’ve got go on the engineering course.” Away they sent me over to f...... South Australia, never even had my name on the book over there. I said, “Fuck you, I’m off.” I came back to Melbourne because you had to go through Melbourne. “You’ve got to go up to Wagga Wagga.” “What for?” I said. “You c....s sent me to f...... South Australia.” “No, we sent you to the wrong
school, up to Wagga.” Big engineering school at Wagga Wagga. C...., up I go, up to see them. Go down to the orderly room to report in and this, “Haven’t got you down here for anything, mate,” he says, “Not you.” Fuck, I went back to Melbourne, go to Sydney, up the Tablelands, right. I got to f...... Wallgrove and all these f......, I seen the c....s in ’39. Never left Australia. So I goes in there
and I was a sergeant then and the major in charge of the camp, he said, “Don, you’ve got to stop here three or four days.” I said, “What f...... for? I want to get on the f...... train up to Queensland.” “No,” he said, “The sergeant here that calls the roll, he’s got two or three days leave.” So I said, “Alright.” You’ve got to do these. I said to this f...... sergeant, “What goes?” He said, “I call the roll at 6.00 o’clock. If they give you two and sixpence you wipe
them off the draft.” The c.... made a packet. Anyway, when he went, a couple of days I was there and he went. So I called this f...... draft, call the names out and they catch the train. He gave me two and six, “What’s your name, mate?” Two and six, “Yeah, mate, yeah, yeah.” I took all their two and six and then I went down the f...... orderly room and put them all on the draft. They’d been there for f...... (UNCLEAR). Fuck, I got into trouble there. I cleaned the f...... camp out, mate.
There’s f...... grown men, and f...... boys they’re sending to you. I cleaned that Wallgrove Camp out.
see, you might get four or five. The sergeants or the corporals will sort of take one or possibly two at the most under their wing and learn them. So that’s how the poor little buggers had to learn, you see. But this same little bloke, when we got to Borneo I’ll tell you about him. He said, I was a bastard, but this little kid used to f...... do anything for me. He used to idolise me for some unknown, he said, “Don, is that right,
the Jap sheilas (UNCLEAR)?” “Yeah, they are f......, Mack, yeah” I said. (UNCLEAR) f...... boy. So we got these Chinese sheilas. He said, “Can I have a look?” I said, “Yeah, we’ll put one up on the table.” I had the poor c.... convinced it went. I got this f...... Chinese, so have a look. He gets down, he said, “No, it’s f......,”
poor little kid, they didn’t know no f....... but they’re the little tricks that made the army life too, you know what I mean. Enjoyed it.
wing. You said don’t do this, don’t do blah blah. If I wanted to go out on patrol, if I had to go on a patrol in the Middle East, they might say, “You’ve got to take two or three sappers with you. Ask for volunteers.” Every time I’d have f...... hundreds, blokes would always want to go. Like the little black Abo from f...... Queensland, a bloke named Vince Bunder, fought like a f...... thrashing machine the black c.... could. And when he came to us we’d come
out of Tobruk, you know. I thought you poor little weasel c..... I don’t worry about them being black like that, got there talking to him and he said to me, “I was educated in one of them white missions up in Queensland. They took me away,” and nice young bloke, about twenty-one, twenty-two. So I sort of took him under my wing. We were going up to Syria and I took him under my wing type of thing, done what I could, plus the other blokes helped. When
we went to Alamein he’d be the first c.... who wanted to go with me. It’s funny like. Vince would say, “I’m going with you, are you going tonight, Don?” If I said, “Yes,” “I’m coming.” That was good to have someone the way they respected you. I was always a f...... lying c.... too up there. I’d tell them all the f...... bullshit around the place. You know me. But I mean you get the confidence of the man too, but it didn’t matter where I
was going, he was up in the Tablelands, if I was going out to f...... Babinda or anywhere, “We can’t get leave.” “I’ll get you a f...... leave pass,” I’d say. I’d go up the orderly room, I’d say to the 2I [second in charge], “Give us a leave pass for four or five blokes.” “Where are you going?” “I’m going down to Babinda.” I got four, see, that’s how they all paid you back. When they could get out you’d take them, get a leave pass. I used to have them f......
officers around my f...... finger. I always got on well with the officers. I’d go up the f...... orderly room, get tickets off. (UNCLEAR) one poor old c...., he was about 45, the captain, he was a f...... champion bloke too. His name was Varden and we used to call him Dolly Varden after the chocolate because his name was Captain Varden. We were running short of money this day. They were saying, “Can you get any money, Don?” “Yeah,” I said, “I’ll go up the f...... and I’ll get the
old c.... to write me out an indent for f...... 400 gallons of petrol.” I wrote the f...... thing out, the docket, “Sign this for us, Sir.” Never even looked at it. (UNCLEAR) f...... petrol, used to get the petrol in forty gallon drums. I said to one of the drivers, “Go and pick that f...... petrol up mate.” But I’d share the money, you see, it used to go around.
Did you talk about this stuff with your mates after the war?
Oh yes, we do, yes, when we get together. When we get together, mate, like to go over different things. I nearly killed my missus when I was dreaming of f...... war one night. Must’ve been f...... dreaming. She said I was screaming she said. I got her by the throat. I was choking her but she happened to get my f...... hands off her throat, see. I was killing all these Germans with my, up here. Just as well she was strong. I bloody near choked her to death. That happened about
twice. So it sort of never, I always say we’re all bloody queer to a certain extent because it never goes out of your head. Never goes out of your head. I meet different mates, sometimes they’re not my mates, they’ve been in different divisions, up to the barracks, have a couple of beers. They’ll talk about 6th Div blokes, 7th Div blokes, 9th Div, get there talking to one another and all of this comes out.
You know what I mean. But they’re strangers to me, them other division blokes, you know, and they tell me they still have bloody nightmares and I quite believe them. I really quite believe them, mate. It never leaves your brain. It’s alright for these bloody politicians and doctors to say blah blah. They’ve been through it and they don’t understand. They don’t understand it.
when you knock off work.” We used to knock off about 4.00 o’clock, you see, and come down by, but we’d get down there about half past 4.00, have a shower. I think we had about two bob each. We had no f...... money in them days. We walks in the RSL room and this voice, “Here’s my,” that’s how he used to talk, “Here’s my sappers.” He had all this f...... red and gold f...... braid on him, old f...... Bob. We had a couple of beers or something there and it came about 6.00 o’clock
and there was another bloke used to live next door to me. He was a sergeant, one of my mates. I said to this f...... Toohey, he is a f...... (UNCLEAR) too. I said, “That woman was only cooking a f...... stew,” I said, “I asked the old bastard to come up and have tea.” Well you talk like that. Of course he had a car outside with a f...... chauffeur and all, you see. About 6.00 o’clock I said, “Well sir, we’ve got to go home for tea. Will you come and have tea with
me?” “My jolly word, I’ll come and have tea with you.” I said, “It’s only a bloody stew mate.” Told him straight, you swear like that. “It’s right,” he said, “I’m coming,” and he said to the, the bloke that was behind the bar used to be in our company but he got hurt in the Middle East in Tobruk so he was sent home early. He was the bar manager at the RSL. He said to old Vic, he said, “How do you sell your bottles of beer here, Vic?” And Vic said, used to be in the big longnecks, a dozen
in the box. Vic said, “A dozen longnecks in a box, Bob.” “Well, how many can you drink, Don? “How many can you drink, Toohey? Couple of cartons?” he said. I said, “No, Jesus Christ, no woman will go f...... cook when I walk in with this bastard,” you know what I mean, half pissed too. “Let’s put a couple of cartons in the car,” he said. Away we go up home.
Of course Toohey goes inside. I said, “You bring your missus over and have f...... tea too, Toohey.” “No,” he says, “I’ll come over after I have my tea,” and we walks inside. My missus nearly dropped f...... dead when she seen us coming, all this f...... red and gold braid. “Jesus,” she said, “what the f...... hell is that bastard up to now.” I was a bastard. “This is my old boss, this is Major General Bob Brisher.” He said, “Yes,” and he put his arm around and he said, “This is one of my best sappers.”
He said, “What’s your wife’s name, Don.” I said, “Marce, Marcell.” “Marcell,” he said, “This is one of my best sappers.” He said, “I was sure I was coming to Queenstown.” He said, “Do you have a drink, Marcell?” She said, “I might have one.” She never used to drink. He said, “I never got a bottle of wine.” He said, “I’ll send the chauffeur down to get a bottle of wine,” he said. “No,” I said, “She’ll have a glass of beer.” So I said, “What about your chauffeur having tea?” He said, “No, he goes back to the pub. He’s
booked into the pub. He can have his tea down the pub.” He said, “When I want him,” he said, “we’ll get,” we had no f...... phones on in them days. We’ll get you there. Toohey and his missus came over after. Toohey and I were too f...... frightened and we’re trying to say, “Bob, don’t you f...... say too much, Bob, about us.” Getting half pissed. Anyway about 10.00 o’clock he said, “I best go, best go, how am I going to get my taxi? How am I going to get my car up here? Got the phone?” “No, we’re too poor to have phones here.”
I said, “The mine manager is a couple of doors up, he’s got the phone on.” I went and knocked on this f...... mine manager’s door half pissed and he rang up the pub. But anyway, he went back a couple of days after and we went over to the reunion in 1980, the world wide Rats of Tobruk reunion. They were out from Germany and Pommy land and everywhere and that’s where we were booked into this motel out at St Kilda, you see. This c.... came up about
f...... 5.00 o’clock. F...... f...... uniform done up f...... looking for Mr Cody. Them big motels, you know what they’re like, they’re f......, I went down to the f...... office. Cody there. “How are you? Are you Mr Cody?” “Yeah, I’m Mr Cody, yeah.” He said, “I’ve got to pick you up at 6.00 o’clock, you and your wife. I’ve got to go down to the Treasury building to the Premier of Victoria,
Mr Dick Hamer. I said, “That bastard’s not down there too, is he, old Dick?” I said, “Bugger that bastard.” He said, “The Premier.” F...... c...., fuck you, I thought. So the missus and I, all the other blokes, Rats of Tobruk from Tassie and Victoria are in this f...... motel. Mum and I and the two kids got in the car, down we go to the Treasury building and they announce you at the f...... door, you see, and this bloke said, “Mr and Mrs Cody.”
I said to Marce, “I’m Mr Cody.” So when we walks in the f...... door old Dick Hamer run over and grabbed my missus and started kissing her. I said, “Where’s your missus, Dick?” He said, so I run over and kissed her, you see. They had the full sized pigs cooked and all this f...... free grog. We had to go around to the St Kilda Town Hall for the big dinner there at 8.00 o’clock. We had a f...... good hour. That old Dick, couldn’t do enough for me either,
and old Bob. So when we go around to the Town Hall they’ve got all these f...... generals and all these piss pots up on the stage. I’m half pissed by this time and a bloke said to me, in the same unit, “I’d love to see old Bob.” I said, “Do you want to talk to him?” We walked up this big f......, you know. I said, “Come with me, I’ll take you up to him on the f...... stage,” I said, “F…. them cats.”
They’ve got blokes each end of the f...... stage with a bayonet, you know, dressed. Bloke said, “Where are you?” I said, “Up to see Bob.” “I beg your pardon?” he said. “Up to see Bob Brisher.” He said, “You can’t go up there.” “Don’t tell me I can’t go and see him, mate. I want to talk to Dick Hamer too,” and some other f...... sir c.... I knew in the army, just say goodday. “You can’t.” I said, “Look, I’m going up to see Bob and I’ll take that bloody bayonet and rifle off you and I’ll stick the bayonet up your
f...... arse.” “Wait a minute,” so he called another bloke down and wrote a note up to old Bob. “Come on,” up the f...... stage. He’s a champion bloke. So we go out to the f...... big dinner, oh, that was the dinner. Then the next morning we got to the f...... Shrine of Remembrance, (UNCLEAR) like that. Anyway, I don’t know what time I had to go there. Am I holding you up?
‘Cause he’d wireless through to headquarters. They told me in the orderly room, so I said, “I’ll go down.” It was a half past 5.00, 6.00 o’clock. Anyway, Fat said to me, “I’m coming too.” “F…. you,” I said, “You’re not.” He was a WO, but “No, f….. you.” He said, “I’m coming. Got my mates down there too the same as you have.” So down we go. We had a bottle of beer each when we got down there with them. Anyway, while we’re there talking I told
the corporal about the stuff he wanted and bullshit. So they wirelessed through and told us that the Japs had cut the f...... road. I said, and they told us to stop the night. This was from headquarters, “You’d best stop the night. We don’t know how many Japs have cut the road.” Well, I was prepared to stop there and have a few f...... beers, free, for nothing too. “No, f….. them,” he said, “We’ll go back. I’ll get up on the f...... Bren
gun,” he said, “I’ll give the f...... Japs, the c....s.” I said, “Alright,” so we goes back and we had to go into this cookhouse. Every c.... hated the sergeants’ cook. He was a c.... too. We had a little bloke named Jackie Clode, he’d been original, but his little nerves were going, poor little bugger, and they were playing crib you see, and Bingham, that’s my mate, he said to this Jackie Clode, blurter,
“If that f...... cook c.... play ups,” he said, “Shoot the c....,” and threw a 45 Wembley down, and poor little Jackie started to shake. The poor little bugger was stuffed. Bang bang bang and the f...... thing there next to him went boof, and I’m standing beside, his f...... brains were all over me. But anyway I ran around to headquarters and got the RAP [Regimental Aid Post]bloke. I had to get him.
I said, “He’s f...... dead,” but he had to come, you see. Anyway he got a f...... ambo and they took him down to some f...... hospital. They said they were going to operate and I said, “It’s no good operating. His f...... brains went across my face, mate.” Anyway, at 2.00 o’clock in the morning they came in and said, “He’s dead.” I said, “He was f...... dead before he left here.” There was a big stink. You’re supposed to have
a 38 Smith and Wesson, not the 45. When we were in New Guinea, the Yank wanted the 38 Smith and Wesson off him and Bingham wanted the f...... big Wembley. “(UNCLEAR) killed no c.....” There was a big f...... enquiry over that. I was the main f...... witness, you see. They wanted to know where he got this Smith and, I explained to the f...... board what happened, blah blah. “He shouldn’t have even,” see, and I was frightened they might want
to give him a dishonourable discharge because armies are funny, you see. But to cut a long story short they (UNCLEAR) and they buried him at Merry. Now we were coming home on the barge from Merry over to Labuan and we had to pick up another boat to go to Morotai from Labuan. Harry Bourne and I, both from Evandale,
and I knew some of the engineers on the boat were running the boat, you see. Got on the boat, this bloke said to me, “I’ve got your f...... mate up here.” I said, “Hey? What f...... mate?” “I’ve got him up here in a f...... blanket, he said. Taking him over to Labuan, it was f...... Bingham, you see. That was the story of my mate there, poor bastard.
east west and this bloke said to me, he was a nerve bloke, you know, blah blah, he said, “Well jeez, you’re crook mate.” “Crook, my f...... arse,” I said, you know what I mean. He said, “Millbrook,” in them days the rat house was up at New Norfolk and Millbrook Rise was a place to rest and you’d get those electric shock treatment, you see, and I was (UNCLEAR) this shock treatment. “Never have that bastard, Don,” he said.
He was a returned bloke too, you see. He said, “You go, we’ll put you into Millbrook Rise for three weeks rest.” I said, “You won’t be f...... putting me in Millbrook Rise, mate,” I said, “I’m f...... going.” I only lived around from Millbrook Rise at New Norfolk myself, you see. “Oh no,” he said, “You’ve got to go up there and have a rest,” he said, “You’re buggered.” But I should’ve went, but I wouldn’t go. If I’d have went then I would’ve got a TPI
‘cause he was all for me going, but there was that many blokes finished up in the asylum all over Australia, not only, all over Australia. But they used to give them that electric shock treatment, put them electrodes. It was bloody burning, mate, and I was frightened I was going to get one of them. I thought I was going to get when he said to go there.