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Stanley Morton
Archive number: 33
Preferred name: Tex
Date interviewed: 30 May, 2003

Served with:

9th Division
2/23rd Battalion

Other images:

  • In Salvation Army uniform

    In Salvation Army uniform

  • With flag bayonetted by Japanese in Borneo

    With flag bayonetted by Japanese in Borneo

Stanley Morton 0033

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Transcript

Tape 01

01:01:07:00

I was wondering if you, starting at the beginning, take us through your life step-by-step but firstly a summary of your life?
I was born in Goulburn, went to the Bourke Street Public School. In those days normally, one finished school at fourteen. I

01:01:30:00

would have loved to gone to university actually but this wasn’t possible. My father was a drover which these days has gone out of operation altogether with the motor transport and rail transport, drovers don’t exist. So he was away from home a lot, so my training was or done by my mother. I left school of as I was14, had my first job delivering parcels around the town, threepence a head, threepence per parcel, that would be today about five cents. I went to the Salvation Army Training College

01:02:00:00

when I was twenty. Prior to that I did various jobs around Goulburn. The delivering of parcels was a very interesting thing, you got to know just about everybody in the city, you certainly knew every street just about every house. But you got to know literally hundreds of people

01:02:30:00

it was extremely interesting. I meet people in the street and all that I had done was delivered parcels to their house, but they remembered and the thing went on. But when I was 20 I had to make a decision. I was interested in politics. Very, very interested in politics, and those days politicians would give their policy speech before they started their

01:03:00:00

campaign

01:03:30:00

and then people then would start to work out who had the best policy. I think it’s a pity they dropped that. We might know a little more today if they’d kept it up. I’d follow-up each party. I’d go to practically every political meeting that was held in the city, but I also felt a calling to the church. Lucky thing

01:04:00:00

I was christened in the Anglican church, went to the choir when I was very young, the boys’ choir they had in Goulburn. And I went to the Presbyterian church, checked on what they were doing in those days, the Methodist church.

01:04:30:00

Finally I thought the Salvation Army has got a system of the practical religion that I liked. It wasn’t just a case of preaching, it was a case of doing as well and this appealed to me very, very much. So when I was 20 a went to the Salvation Army Training College in Petersham, in Sydney, which in those days was a

01:05:00:00

two-year course. One internal at the college all the time, the second year you’re out doing practical work and you are doing exams, so at the end of the two-year course then I was posted to Dalby, assisting in another Salvation Army office there. And in

01:05:30:00

1939 I was moved to Beaudesert, south of Queensland and was there, while I was there that Sir Robert, the late Sir Robert Menzies made the announcement, ‘We are at war’. And there had been a lot of talk about what would happen and

01:06:00:00

who would go away overseas etc. and very quickly I was certain that my place was with the soldiers. I contacted our headquarters and told them that I would be resigning to enlist but we had a very, I had a very helpful boss at the time he said “Don’t do that, don’t be in a hurry, I think we’ve got a job

01:06:30:00

that would interest you with the troops”, and that was so. In 1940, I was appointed to work with the AIF [Australian Imperial Force] and that meant I did about a year in camp and went overseas to the Middle East. This was

01:07:00:00

what I had been looking forward to naturally. But I found the work even in the camps and in Australia… the Salvation Army… well all the churches were allowed, as you would possibly know, to have chaplains, your chaplains were allocated according to the numerical strength of the church, but we also had welfare officers.

01:07:30:00

There were the YMCA [Young Men’s Christian Association] and the Salvation Army that time, Gazetteers Philanthropic members and we were appointed to battalions and my, a rank of lieutenant. The..

01:08:00:00

Just stop for a moment and, I think, I don’t think as quickly and clearly and I used to.
No that’s okay, that’s really good, that’s really very concise, that’s great. So you enlisted…

01:08:30:00

this was around 1940 was it?
I’ll be okay now. I went to Dubbo military camp in 1940 and had about 14 months there. I thought maybe I’ll never get overseas. There was a limit to how many were accepted by the military and it worked out at one to each battalion and one on divisional headquarters. Both

01:09:00:00

from the Y. C. M. A. and the Salvation Army. And I went on then to.. I was a battalion member at first and then on to divisional headquarters and the last position I held as far as the war was concerned, was with the Australian 9th Division. A very famous division, a division that made a name for itself before the war was completed.

01:09:30:00

Then I was there are until we landed in Labuan in Borneo.
Before Labuan where were you? Before Labuan?
Before Labuan, I met up with the 9th Division at El Alamein. At that time most of the 9th Division

01:10:00:00

had been in Tobruk and had been involved in the siege there for eight months which was recognised as the longest siege in British war history and we held the Germans up at El Alamein while the forces… Montgomery

01:10:30:00

had taken over in the Middle East and he was building up a huge force beyond El Alamein down around Alexandria and from there on the allies made themselves felt and…

01:11:00:00

have to do a bit of thinking…
That’s OK, that’s fine. We will come back to that, we’ll come back and cover that in great detail.
Yes there is a lot of detail.
You don’t have to go into that now, we’ll come back to that and take it slowly through that. And from El Alamein you…?
Then from El Alamein we came back to Australia

01:11:30:00

El Alamein was actually that turning point in the war. As Churchill said, ‘This may not be the end of the beginning but it is the beginning of the end’, and we were withdrawn then, the British got a lot of reinforcements mainly around the British Isles etc.

01:12:00:00

and we were recalled, we were needed in Australia because the Japanese getting very close. As a matter of fact when you are up at Port Moresby or Milne Bay, you suddenly realised that they were extremely close to Australia. After that we went to New Guinea. An interesting thing

01:12:30:00

we were the first landing by Australian troops since Gallipoli. And we landed at Red Beach in Lae. Lae we went around to Finschhafen and from Finschhafen we came back to Australia on leave

01:13:00:00

had a number of months to build up again, and go on further training. And then we went to Borneo, landed at a place called Labuan and all the landings from then on around New Guinea there, were done on a small basis, is quite small basis. And we didn’t work as a full division

01:13:30:00

like we did in the desert when you had the whole division together, we went to very small areas. From Labuan, which was… our objective came to halt there almost because the bomb had been dropped by the Japanese [Americans]

01:14:00:00

and we then were consolidating positions around Labuan and the south of Borneo

01:14:30:00

and from Borneo then I was posted to Corps headquarters which I looked upon as a promotion but I ‘spose, I only previously had held the rank of captain in the military at divisional headquarters. Now it meant going to Corps headquarters which was in Morotai at the Helmahu Islands.

01:15:00:00

And that possibly was one of the most interesting parts of my career there. When I arrived at Morotai, we knew that the war was just about finished. Labuan was the last landing we did and we just stayed put there, we didn’t go any further. But when the.. but when I got back to Morotai, the,

01:15:30:00

an occupational force was just being formed to go up to Manila in the Philippines and receive all Australian and British ex-prisoners. That was a sight one can never forget you saw what looked like skeletons coming down the gang-way from plane after plane, their bones

01:16:00:00

were literally pushing through their skin, you never saw anything like it. And our job was to then, the small group of Australians, the job was to find out as much as we could about each individual man and then arrange to get him back home as quickly as possible. That didn’t work out

01:16:30:00

that way. When you looked at them, they could hardly walk. Some of them practically crawled along, they thought, the authorities there on the spot, felt they just couldn’t send them home. You can never send them like that so they kept them back and we were the guests of the Americans. They had a massive camp there at Manila. We were their guests and we

01:17:00:00

sorted out all the ex-prisoners as they came through and decided when they could go home and what help they might need etc. and kept them at least two weeks in the camp…some other points will come from that

01:17:30:00

We’ll come back.. that sounds like a fascinating story really we will cover that in a lot of detail.
Yes ‘cause it was extremely interesting. One of the things that amazed me there, the whole idea was that if a man was starving you must only give him a the little bit of food at a time until he’s able to consume more , so it didn’t effect him in anyway. That was wiped completely.

01:18:00:00

And the Americans had this huge dining room, if a man woke up in the middle of the night and wanted a meal, all he had to do was go to the dining room and he could get a complete meal. Two, three, four o’clock in the morning, doesn’t matter how many times he went, he could always get a meal and the speed a which those men picked up was absolutely amazing.

01:18:30:00

But I’ve always said no matter what anybody said about the prisoners as they were released no one could exaggerate the conditions that they were in, would be impossible to. And then my last job then after that was just sort of mopping up. We had men as far as the Salvation Army was concerned, we had men in various parts of the islands up in the South Pacific

01:19:00:00

and I was, ended up, was in charge of the whole area there and had to go from place to place where we adjust equipment, some came back to Australia, other equipment had to be disposed of. The very interesting thing, we have a lot of equipment under the lease lend act

01:19:30:00

which was working between us and America at the time and when the war came to an end, the material was that was disposed of nearly broke your heart. Trucks were just driven into the water. It didn’t pay to bring them back to any particular spot. There were hundreds of trucks and vehicles that they had to dispose of and

01:20:00:00

they just went over the cliffs into the water. I finished, as far as my war career was concerned at Morotai, and I returned back to Australia in March 1946, was discharged from the army.

01:20:30:00

As Salvation Army officers working with the troops, it was only a change of an appointment as far as we were concerned, a lot of people then had to look for jobs. We’d didn’t, we just went back on, my appointment I went to was Goulburn Boys’ Home, which was extremely interesting,

01:21:00:00

after being with troops for five and a half years and then I was appointed the assistant manager of the Goulburn Salvation Army Boys’ Home which was very interesting work. We’d been destroying lives now we were working on building up lives.

01:21:30:00

I was there for two and a half years and I got itchy feet and while I was in Manila, I thought there was terrific work to be done in countries like the Philippines and I applied, my wife also was keen on going on missionary work

01:22:00:00

so we applied and I want to go to the Philippines, my wife I think wanted to go to India. But if you may, wanted to choose where you wanted to go, you just had to realise that you could only go where you want to go if you could wait long enough if there was a vacancy. That could be years and they said, “If you accept an appointment from us”, this

01:22:30:00

came from a headquarters, “If you accept an appointment from us, you’ll get away much quickly quicker” and that’s exactly what happened, but we didn’t go the Philippines. My wife didn’t go to India either. We went to Africa and we served in Africa there for over 28 and a half years. Much of our war work

01:23:00:00

was an advantage to us as we worked in a different country realised the advantages of Australia and the disadvantages of the people in these places. We went to Zimbabwe at first which was then Southern Rhodesia. Then we got moved up to

01:23:30:00

Northern Rhodesian which is now Zambia. We were doing, for the first seven years we did educational work in Zimbabwe. It was then the political and trade union movements

01:24:00:00

were beginning to make themselves felt in Africa. Prior to that they were colonies of Britain but they were all aiming at independence as Mr. Macmillan when he was Prime Minister England he said that the, ‘Winds of change are blowing across Africa’, but as somebody added to that

01:24:30:00

later on, ‘The wind of change eventually became a cyclone’, and that’s just what did happened that. They were nearly all boarding schools that we were involved in the Zimbabwe. The Prime Minister’s wife

01:25:00:00

was… he was a New Zealander, she wanted to train African girls. Now African girls were not considered in the educational field at all. The boys would be educated but not the girls, they just had to marry and... They had a dowry that mother and father…if they had six girls they knew then if they got a dowry from every girl

01:25:30:00

that married… and they usually did that by cattle. They could build up quite a nice herd of cattle. You wanted a few per wife, depending on the area, what tribal area you were in as to how much it cost to get wife.

01:26:00:00

How long after Zambia… where did you go?
We were moved up to Zambia to a place called Chickencarter (?) which was a big school and big hospital and leprosy colony all combined but with its separate administration. My wife and I were in charge of the school.

01:26:30:00

But they, my wife started to teach a training course which they never had in Zambia. It was the first one and we were training I think the first group we trained were about seventeen. But it was amazing, once the girls were training, how successful they were and it got around the Africans,

01:27:00:00

instead of getting an untrained wife they were all wanting then educated wives, especially the politicians and one of the girls that we trained married a minister in the government. We were invited to see them and go to their home and see them, and you’d be absolutely amazed when you saw those girls in the villages and then saw them after

01:27:30:00

they had a couple of years education, post primary school. They didn’t start school until very late and these ones then went on to do the teacher training. The world was completely open to them. You had to teach them when they were in training, how to use a knife and fork even, because they

01:28:00:00

simply used their fingers for all their eating and those girls went on to become inspectors of schools. It was absolutely an eye-opener to see what they could do when they had the opportunity do it.
Where did you go after Zambia, or was that your last posting before you came back to Australia?
We had a break for a period there in Zambia when we were

01:28:30:00

in local government then after Zambia we came back to Australia as far as the Salvation Army is concerned then, we did seven years as a term, which is rather long but today I think is down to about three years. So we…

01:29:00:00

came home to Australia two or three times on leave. We had a little girl, seven years of age… seven months-old when we went to Zimbabwe and then two other children were born there, one that was seven years old, she just got the Centenary

01:30:00:00

Medal from the Kingsgrove area here, because she is doing the community services work, social work in the St. George-Sutherland area. Our son, he was born in Bulawayo in Zimbabwe, he’s running his own big business in Kingsgrove also, renting

01:30:30:00

vehicles out and the youngest daughter, who was an accountant and was the second lady to become national president of the Certified Practising Accountants Association, she’s just been made a life member, only the second lady I think ever to become a life member of the CPA Association Australia. She works for the Shell Oil Company in, she’s at the head office in Hague and works between London, America and the Netherlands because the Shell Oil Company

01:31:00:00

is a Dutch company. So there is three children and we reached the stage in Africa when their education had to be considered and we came home then, back to Australia for seven years. When I was… I did a term in Maitland

01:31:30:00

as Minister in charge of the Salvation Army work there and then we went to, we were posted to the Bexley Boys’ Home which was very very…approximately 100 boys there all the time and we put a lot of things into operation there as far as reform was concerned because

01:32:00:00

the old idea running these homes, they didn’t concentrate on the individual boy, you were dealing with a mass almost, but we were able to change all that. We did away with uniforms for instance because they, they indicated a boy came from an institution, and we found it was a terrific advantage when a boy could dress

01:32:30:00

as he wanted to dress. The schools notice the difference, most of them were educated at Kingsgrove High School. And it’s very interesting today to be pulled up in the street, matter of fact “You know me?” And I look at his face and then I’ve seen him somewhere before but he was a man, a boy, when you

01:33:00:00

first knew him, now he was a man and “I was so and so when you were the manager at Bexley Boys’ Home”. It’s very interesting to see where they’ve got to. One of them had a VC {?] at his job at the Sydney Morning Herald, but every now and again you bump up against one. So from Bexley then,

01:33:30:00

they asked us to go back to Zambia. So we went back to Zambia then and by then they had got their independence and I was very friendly and Kenneth Kaunda who was the first president of Zambia, a very fine man and when we left Zambia to come back to Australia he wrote a very nice letter and finished up

01:34:00:00

with, ‘No matter where you find yourself in the future, remember you’ll always have a friend in Kenneth Kaunda’. Then the final job we had then… Zimbabwe had been, they had a year a war at least that had been going on internally with Britain.

01:34:30:00

They wanted their independence which they eventually got but it was a very sad situation because I don’t think there would have been a family, either African or they called, all white people were called Europeans, even though I tried to persuade them different times, that Australia was a long way from being Europeans, but the fact that you were white, you were European.

01:35:00:00

There had been a civil war, really it had gone on for about seven years and just about every family black or white had somebody that had been affected by that war. And then they eventually they got their independence the first president being Robert Mugabe who is still

01:35:30:00

their president. We were due then to retire, we came back to Australia and retired and I did welfare work around the Rockdale area for about 10 years. They asked to do it for a couple of years, for a couple of days a week but I ended up doing it about 10 years. Then I became

01:36:00:00

chaplain to the Rats of Tobruk Association which I’ve been chaplain to now for the last eleven years. I am also chaplain now to the Australian 9th Division. I do a tremendous lot of work around various RSL’s [Returned Services League] roundabout ANZACANZAC time. I think by that time I’ve finish,

01:36:30:00

April this year, I have fulfilled about 20 appointments doing dawn services, general ANZAC services, talks to Rotary clubs, to Lions clubs, Masonic Lodge. Covers a wide area. Only yesterday I did a senior citizens gathering out at Panania.

01:37:00:00

Couple of weeks before that, we did a very big one, Rusty Priest being the State Secretary of the RSL but has just retired now. We did a big service in conjunction with the Lions clubs out in the Bankstown area. We have done it now

01:37:30:00

for the last, three years now we’ve been with them and that will continue I think. The senior citizens have been brought in bus load after bus load, all around the whole of the area of the Bankstown district there.
I believe you have an OAM [Order of Australia Medal]? I believe you have a OAM?
Yes I got the OAM

01:38:00:00

back in ’95, that was the year Australia Remembers 50 years after the end of the Second World War. The government set up a coordinating council, the council was to coordinate

01:38:30:00

all the suggestions that were being made for the whole year covering the 50th anniversary. It was an extremely interesting council, it covered a very good cross section of the community.
Why were you,,, oh we might have to change the tape there.

01:39:00:00

Why were you nominated for an 0AM?
I don’t know why. It was done by the Rats of Tobruk and they…when it was… when we got the award Peter Sinclair was the Governor of New South Wales at the time, a naval man,

01:39:30:00

a Vice-Admiral in the Navy and he had a lot to do with this coordinating Council and it covered a very wide range. This Kokoda Track memorial they’ve got out at Concord, that was suggested and the council agreed to it and today it is doing very successful.
Where did you receive your 0AM?

01:40:00:00

At Government House. The Governor was still living in those days at the Government House in Sydney, but they also took into consideration our service in Africa and the citation said for ‘Service to Veterans and Salvation

01:40:30:00

Army Service in Africa’.
That’s wonderful.
Interviewee: Stanley Morton Archive ID 0033 Tape 02

02:00:34:00

That’s a really good summary I think. It allows us now to go back and start with I guess the meat of the this…
Yes there are plenty of points where you can pick up along the way… it’s a good job to get them into sequence.
What we’ll do is probably is just go back and talk about your pre-war, before you went to the army what led up to your time in the army.

02:01:00:00

So let’s go back to the Depression years in your life as a child in Goulburn and then you can discuss that, some of that and also I think…
That was a bad time that was in the 1930s I should have mentioned that, when there was a shocking depression on. Professional men that never had held a pick or shovel in their hands, were out working on the roads. Doctors were out working on the roads. It was amazing,

02:01:30:00

The dole as it was then was only just a voucher or something for sugar or of tea. It was a shocking affair.
Did you see much of your father? Where was he?
No, very little, he’d be away for weeks on end. What they did, in that period for instance,

02:02:00:00

they might have 1000 sheep and they’d just move them along where there was a bit of food somewhere. So you could be away weeks, months. It’s a very interesting life, just him and his dogs. But he was a marvellous horseman. Used to break in horses. When people had a horse that needed to be trained, he’d do it for them.
Did you ever go droving with him?

02:02:30:00

Only if it was a day trip. Sometimes he would make short trips. Never went out sleeping out. But if you could have only seen his outfit. Not big caravans like they have today, just a sulky. It’d have drawers and cupboards all around and had everything that he needed

02:03:00:00

from a needle to a pitch-fork.. He was a well-known drover. He employed other men. He would get the contract but he might need two or three other men. They all sort of knew each other all the ones that were doing it, and if it was a big job… over 1000

02:03:30:00

sheep, that on two men, anything under 1000, well one man could do it. He used to train dogs as well and breed sheep dogs and train them and they were as intelligent as any man, they were terrific. He could just stay in one spot, the dog would understand every direction it was given to it.

02:04:00:00

Even when my sister, I’ve got a brother younger than myself, when they were growing up, my mother would put a rug on the grass and call, one of the dogs, Chummy, I don’t know how it got that name and she would say, “Now watch him” or “Watch her”. You know that dog would walk around and around that rug that was there. The baby would never move off that rug. It would

02:04:03:00

nudge it if it did start to get off, it’d just nudge it with its head and the baby crawled back on to.
How many brothers and sisters did you have?
One sister and a stepsister, and then a stepbrother and two brothers.
Were they from your father’s previous marriage or your mother’s previous marriage?
My mother’s.

02:05:00:00

A sister and a brother and then there was four of us brothers and sisters and I’ve got one sister living and one brother, there is only three of us left. Naturally my father’s gone, my mother’s gone

02:05:30:00

and the eldest step brother and sister, they’re gone.
You were born and grew up in a period just when, after the First World War, can you talk a little bit about how you became aware of the ANZAC legend or the stories of the first AIF?
I was born actually in 1916

02:06:00:00

in the middle of the First World War, 19th January 1916 I was born and it was roundabout when I was in my teens, there was quite a lot of… there was silent films in those days,

02:06:30:00

talkies as we called them were introduced as I was growing up. There was no TV naturally. Very few people had radios. A lot did have a type of radio, the match box they called them, they made it themselves and you could hear somebody in another room

02:07:00:00

and it’s been very interesting over the years to see the advance in technology, absolutely amazing. In the 1930s when the drought… the Depression was on, it was a time of very slow progress everywhere. The unemployed rate was extremely high and

02:07:30:00

that’s when I was looking for a job. My first one was delivering parcels and then cleaning shop windows which was very interesting because my brother next to me, older, he worked for a

02:08:00:00

furniture factory and retail business and the boss of that business became friendly with the rest of the family, which was extremely interesting because he was able to pass on to us younger ones some of his experiences growing up. And my brother was the boss of two of his sons and the boss was speaking to me one day

02:08:30:00

and he said, “Well my boys will own this business some day and they’ll have to start from the bottom” and these boys had to sweep the footpath in front of the shop, wash down the paths leading into the shop and clean the windows. And he said “If they don’t do it now”, he said “they won’t do it later on and they won’t know how to handle the money later on”. Well I know two of his sons have businesses of their own. He’s

02:09:00:00

gone now of course. He always used to say to me when we met him in the street, he’d have some comment to make about advancement, now take motor cars for instance he’d say “I remember the time when if the man had a motor car, people would say, “Oh he’s got money”. Today it almost a sign that you haven’t got money, if you are trying to run a motor car”.

02:09:30:00

So I went on for, up until I was about twenty, nineteen actually, it was almost impossible to get a job anywhere only picking up odd types of work and if you wanted

02:10:00:00

to work you had to take anything, delivering milk, delivering bread. But the thought of getting a permanent job just seemed to be impossible and I watched that develop when I, well for example, when I wanted to go into the Salvation Army college, that was not an expensive thing, I would have liked to have gone to university, which was very

02:10:30:00

costly in those days, very costly. There weren’t very many around.
What did you want to study at university? What did you want to study at university?
I don’t think I’d really made up my mind what I want to study at that particular time, other than that I had the church in mind and I had politics in mind.
How did you get interested in politics?

02:11:00:00

It started off because it was interesting, these politicians speaking on street corners and all the main street corners in Goulburn, when it came to an election time they have their outdoor gatherings and lots of youngsters went along because they liked chit-chat going on between the politician

02:11:30:00

and the hecklers. Because all the politicians, irrespective of the party they belonged to, they were heckled. But I got interested in the answers, the way they were given. I thought I’d love to be able to do that. Some of those politicians were very clever, the way they would turn a question around and often, the one that thought he was going to take a rise out of the politician,

02:12:00:00

it was reversed and he was the one that was missed out.
Did you know much about international politics at that time?
Not a great deal but was interested in…you could not pick up news in those days like you can today. For instance we saw a war in Iraq now, you can almost see the war in your own dining room, lounge room at least. See what’s going on.

02:12:30:00

In those days, news was hard to get and I think that’s one of the big problems today, youngsters they see, almost see crime happening, but in those days a man could be murdered in the street next to you and it would, possibly not know anything about it for days or months.
Did you know about the build up of war in Europe?
Very little, very little. My father was,

02:13:00:00

he was in the Light Horse but he didn’t go overseas, and we saw a few in uniform but there was very little. Well I wouldn’t know much about anything, but I just heard them to talk about it, I was only two when the war finished. But as I grew up, there was more talk about the First World War

02:13:30:00

as I was growing up than there was about the Second World War. It seemed as though when the Second World War finished that everybody was so fed up with it, they didn’t want to talk about it.
What did your father tell you about the First World War?
Nothing, absolutely nothing. He was a man that didn’t

02:14:00:00

… wasn’t a good conversational. But he never spoke about the war at all, because he never went overseas. He was with the Light Horse home defence.
Did you go ANZAC Day ceremonials?
Yes because in those country towns like Goulburn, the whole town turned out. We had our ANZAC Day marches

02:14:30:00

but for the service afterwards, now there’s a park in Goulburn called Belmore Park, that would be a terrific crowd there and I always had a vision that one day, I’d like to do that service. If it rained we would go to the biggest theatre that was in the town, The Empire theatre, and you had an ANZAC Day dinner. But it was a,

02:15:00:00

I think we didn’t get big crowds on the streets like they do today but the actual service at the memorial at Goulburn was bigger than anything that you would get in a normal town today.
What was the feeling about ANZAC Day then, how did

02:15:30:00

you feel about ANZAC Day, what did it represent to you at that time?
I, strange to say but I was only thinking about this the other day, a gathering like that… we sort of felt it was our responsibility, even as a kid growing up, I felt if there was a war, I had to go. There was no argument as to whether

02:16:00:00

you would or not. I have my own mind as I was growing up, long before I left primary school, I knew that if there was a war I was gonna go. I had visions of a row of medals across my chest . That didn’t quite develop but I didn’t feel there was any doubt about it, if you were doing your job, and if there was a war, it was your job to go and

02:16:30:00

I saw a different attitude to what there is today, entirely different today. It makes you wonder whether they would be as keen today to go. I hope they would be but I wonder when you see some of these schoolchildren having demonstrations, marching down the streets of Sydney.
Do you think

02:17:00:00

it’s fair that they should question any war or just follow the government?
I myself as far as… I felt we didn’t know enough about what was happening over there, to have a demonstration here. If it was something a bit closer, I might have different thoughts on it. But I felt with a youngster going to school

02:17:30:00

especially when you realise that history is not compulsory subject today, they’re now gradually getting around to making Australia compulsory, our present Premier of New South Wales, Mr. Carr. I spoke to him at Concord Memorial, 12 months ago and I thanked him

02:18:00:00

because it was taking a step in the right direction and he said “It won’t go back now”, he said “We’ll continue, keep going on”. I hope he does and I hope he’s successful.
Perhaps we’ll, I’ll come back to this because it’s a big topic, so I think we might stay around that time before that leads you into a decision you had to make. You had to make a decision around this time

02:18:30:00

about going on to join… to go to theological college, as opposed to becoming a politician, can you talk about how that came about?
Well mainly because of this street political meeting, you got a lot of knowledge from that. We don’t know our politicians today. We might see the Premier or the Prime Minister on TV, we might hear the odd one

02:19:00:00

over the air, sometime or the other, but in those days we knew the men that were putting up or the women, although you never saw many women in those days, but the politicians, he stood there on the back of a vehicle usually, the back of a truck, or they might have a chair that he would sit on or stand on, but generally it was on the back of the vehicle

02:19:30:00

and you could question him anyway you liked and if you wanted to get to know what kind of a man he was, you did. As a speaker, how he could handle people, you learn much more about him. Today, I guarantee that there are a lot of constituencies today where a lot of the voters wouldn’t know

02:20:00:00

their own member, if he walked in front of them. They’d have to be introduced to him to know whom he was.
How did that influence your decision to go to theological college in Goulburn?
I had different feelings about religion to lot of people. I felt that religion was not a case of preaching, it was a case of living,

02:20:30:00

and I felt that well I must admit by… in the Bible in Mark, it mentions there that Christ was questioned as to what was the most important commandment and he said, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart’ and the second one was, ‘Love your neighbour

02:21:00:00

as you love yourself’, and I thought over that over the years, what better answer is there to get anywhere. There is your solution to wars if you want a solution to them. Because if you’re going to love God and then you’re going to love your neighbour as yourself, who are you going to fight? Because ‘neighbour’ wasn’t given as a person living next door to you. ‘Neighbour’ was as it was used at that time, while

02:21:30:00

relating to anyone that you associated with in any shape or form.
Did you come to that realisation when you were in Goulburn as a young, as a adolescent there?
Yes, I did a lot of reading. I couldn’t go to university as I wanted to. Different things I would have liked to have done, but I read and read and read, anything. As somebody said, I think it was my mother

02:22:00:00

at that time, I even read the advertisements in the paper as news. I couldn’t sit down and just sit. If there was anything about it at all, I would read it and practically all the knowledge I gained in the latter years and my teens was just from reading, reading, reading and I would always advise young people today,

02:22:30:00

read and get to know what’s happening around you. As I mentioned before I had no doubts whatsoever when volunteers were called for, I never felt that there could be a no. It was yes and I can’t see that atmosphere today, I wished I could, but I can’t quite see it.
You spoke

02:23:00:00

you had a calling? You had a calling?
Yes definitely. I think you have to have if you’re interested in. I think even in your work. I don’t think religion is confined to church, not by any means,

02:23:30:00

and I found that during the war, I was questioned by a correspondent when he came back from the first time away and that’s… your first time away as far as war is concerned, the excitement of going I think overwhelmed everything else. You might look at the headlines

02:24:00:00

as I know I did when I was sailing out of the heads, and said “Now, will I ever see it again”. But the excitement overwhelmed, of going, overwhelmed that. But the second time when I went away to New Guinea, a different atmosphere altogether because we knew what you’re going into but the previous time I didn’t and the third time I went away, I was hoping it wouldn’t last much longer.

02:24:30:00

What were you reading? You said you were reading a lot of things at the time, were you reading the Bible, as well novels or newspapers?
Yes the Bible and anything books relating to the Bible, commentaries, I don’t know how I got my first commentary but I did have one and the concordance and a commentary.
Can you explain what commentary

02:25:00:00

is?
Yeah, a commentary is somebody else’s comments on the Bible. You’ve got your concordance which helps you tremendously when you’re trying to find some thing in the Bible and then you’ll get books, bibles at least, with the scripture plus a commentary on it and they’re very valuable. Some are a lot better than others.

02:25:30:00

Now the Anglican church were renewing a lot of books in their cathedral at the time I was growing up, and went up and with a very small sum of money, I got a whole pile of books out of it . Half of them I didn’t know what they were about until I sat down and started to study them, and I said most of my study that way.
So you are self-educated?
Yes, yes

02:26:00:00

very much so, even though I would have liked to have been otherwise.
Were you also reading what was in the newspaper?
Yes I read newspapers cover to cover. Not so much now, but in those days when I was growing up, we had what we called the Penny Post in Goulburn, that was the local paper and that’s what it cost, a penny.

02:26:30:00

And when I started work full-time the paper Penny Post came out everyday except the weekend, and always on the way home I picked up my Penny Post from a particular shop, which was run by a chap I went to school with. His father owned the shop and when his father died, he took over and he just died himself

02:27:00:00

just recently. I’d go in and he had the paper there and I would read it from cover to cover. It was only about four, five, six pages but I wouldn’t miss it. And I did mentioned before about ANZAC Day in Goulburn. Did you know I always had a strong desire to give the ANZAC Day

02:27:30:00

address in Goulburn, never thought it would come to be.
Even when you really young?
Oh yes, long before I ever had anything to do with the military, I thought to myself, I wanted to do the ANZAC Day address and it became impossible in 1946.
Could you explain at this time where this idea came from, when you’re a young person why did you

02:28:00:00

have this desire to do that, to address the ANZAC Day service?
I tried to work that one out myself. I always liked to see my father in the uniform on a horse and I often wondered if that was the sort of initial beginning, because it always seemed to be there. I can’t point any particular time when I suddenly got an inspiration,

02:28:30:00

it seemed to be there.
You can remember your father on a horse in uniform?
Yes, yes, but even long after the war was finished, I didn’t remember him during the war, but when it was finished, they had national training and he always dressed to go, in the uniform, to go to the training sessions and that’s the first time when I was old enough to

02:29:00:00

understand going to.. when he was going to national service - the thing, I am sorry any government cut out. I believe in national service. I believe it’s good from a discipline point of view, and I think that’s one of the things we are lacking today, discipline to my mind. Unfortunately I had a discussion on this when they had a police commission here just a few years ago

02:29:30:00

on corruption and so forth, because I’d been Out Manager of children’s homes, the police asked me would I come in and talk to them on how we ran the homes, what discipline we used and so forth. And the commission was held a long while after I had finished but they wanted to know how it was done in those days. And as I

02:30:00:00

pointed out to them, in those days we had the cane in the schools, you don’t have a cane in school today.
Did you grow up with much discipline in your family?
My mother was strict, we had a time to be in if we went out night and I’m sure the, you’re out just a few minutes later than you should have been, a board on the floor would squeak or something. My mother, we never got to bed without her knowing

02:30:30:00

that we arrived home but my father, as I said before, he was not home enough to actually discipline us, but my mother did. She was a very…fair, I would say she was fair.
Would you say your adolescence you had a lot of discipline?
In the home yes.
Outside the home?

02:31:00:00

Well you are given a time to be home. Say it was 10 o’clock at night, well you had to be in at 10 o’clock at night, no excuses. I think there was more discipline with young people for instance, the police can give a good boot where it hurt and sent you home if you were found on the streets at night.

02:31:30:00

Or half a dozen kids might be fooling around the street, if a policeman came along, the kids scattered and ran. Today they give the policeman cheek and schools… I served on a school council here up until… it was a high school council, up until about three years ago,

02:32:00:00

and the headmaster called a special meeting of the school council to just discuss discipline only in the school.
I’m interested in what led you to go to the college and perhaps we could talk about the time you went to

02:32:30:00

the Salvation Army college and what happened during the time you were there?
The Salvation Army Training College was perhaps the most disciplined institution, if might call it that, you’d find anywhere, very strict, extremely strict. And yet it didn’t seem to worry me. For instance, it was

02:33:00:00

mixed, men and women, and yet you weren’t allowed to speak to the opposite sex, only if it was in a lecture hall, but if you were there and I was there, I wouldn’t be allowed to speak to you.
Did you want to speak to the women at the college?
Well we had four courting

02:33:30:00

couples there, they found it very difficult.
What about you?
I worked in the nursery… about three or four years before I went to the college, I worked in a nursery which I found extremely interesting. Because of that, our college in Sydney had been closed and

02:34:00:00

anyone from New South Wales had to go to Melbourne. Well when they re-opened Sydney, because I’d had a bit of knowledge of horticultural side, I was put in charge trying to get the grounds back into a good condition again. So that I had dozens of chances of meeting up with the girl cadets

02:34:30:00

because I had to do the whole grounds all the way around. The courting ones once used to get me to be the postman if they wanted to get a note to their girlfriends, it came via me because but I handed it to them. But I think I nearly got kicked out for being discovered but it was, their discipline was very strict.
Was there anyone you were

02:35:00:00

keen on at the time?
No not exactly.
Not exactly?
I thought I wanted to, but I hadn’t made my mind there by any means and didn’t until… I was 29 before I married. So I didn’t marry early.
And what was the other training at the college?

02:35:30:00

Our theology is limited, it’s not today, it’s changing a lot today. We did a lot of practical work such as going out, visiting around the homes, going on to Salvation Army Church that was established and assisting there so forth. But it wasn’t just book knowledge,

02:36:00:00

you did public speaking, you had to study. Now you get a lot of speakers, I get annoyed today. I don’t think we have the orators today that we had thirty, forty, fifty years ago. I get very disgusted when I listen to some of the speakers in public.

02:36:30:00

They bore you stiff. I think if you get a big crowd, well even in committee meetings today we have a progress association here in this area and yet you’ll get the committee on the top table that will conduct the meeting on their own, and if you’re sitting in the back a few seats, you’ll see you don’t hear them at all.

02:37:00:00

And I think it’s extremely important that they raise their voices sufficiently for everybody in that room to hear them. I think with the amplification today, the general public become lazy but those who study the need, they’re good. It’s a great pity that more don’t do so.

02:37:30:00

I like public speaking myself, I enjoy it. I do a lot of it, especially with Rotary, Lions and any of those clubs. It is paid off really because I can’t cope with the number of requests that I get to speak at small gatherings

02:38:00:00

and big gatherings. But the biggest one I think I was involved in what was, when I was with the coordinating council in Australia Remembers. We estimated we had 10,000 at the opera house. They were sitting everywhere.
Can you remember the first time after you left the Salvation Army College when you were out doing this work?

02:38:30:00

Yes I do very, very clearly, actually. It was back in 1937, we were finishing our training and I was appointed to Dalby. Well, there was nothing at Dalby, a little town and I think with, we got somewhere roundabout… well if we got 20 that was a big number

02:39:00:00

and yet we existed. The place Dalby itself, I suppose we got an average, we might have averaged twenty.
What was the underlying philosophy of the Salvation Army as opposed to be Anglican or Presbyterian religions that you mentioned you were interested in?
Well, I sat next to a retired Archbishop

02:39:30:00

in February this year. He wasn’t, he just retired actually, an Anglican Archbishop and we discussed the churches actually and I said “Well I was christened in the Anglican Church, I’ve

02:40:00:00

gone to quite a lot to Anglican churches”, and then he said to me, “Well”, this is the Archbishop, he said “Well why go the Salvation Army?” And I said “Well because I felt and I believed in the practical side of the Salvation Army, and that is what attracted

02:40:30:00

me to it”. We used to have open-airs, as we used to call them...
What do you mean by the practical side?
Not just telling people what to do but doing it yourself. So frequently people can tell you what to do. I think you’ve got to show them the practical side which you yourself would do.
Interviewee: Stanley Morton Archive ID 0033 Tape 03

03:00:33:00

Alright Stan I think we will just continue where a Rob left off. I’d like to know.. I don’t know a lot about the Salvation Army and I don’t know what they do and I am not sure that everybody does, so could you explain not so much now but what you did on a day to day basis in Dalby and later in BeaudesertBeaudesert, what sort of work did you do exactly, could you take us through a day?

03:01:00:00

If the thing was a volunteer we had a Salvation Army officer, normal ministers of churches, but when William Booth commenced the Salvation Army he said “We are an aggressive body. We attack. We don’t wait for the enemy to attack us”. Our practical

03:01:30:00

side I mentioned it, even in our training, we don’t do such a lot the theological side, we do much more today than what we did a few years ago. But the practical side of visiting homes which were very important thing. I think the Church lacks a lot in that today. When you know so and so is sick, there has

03:02:00:00

been a death in the family and to get around that home as is possible, can often mean a terrific a lot. We used to do a lot of open-airs, that’s church out in the open-air, now that was one of the things that attracted me very early on in the piece. We lived in a house that came right down to the footpath

03:02:30:00

when we stepped off our verandah, you stepped onto the footpath and the Salvation Army used to come. They had a meeting right opposite our house. My mother would dress… and that’s another thing I think we fail in today a lot. If we’re going to meet royalty we’d dress up to do so but when we go to church we’re slackening off now. Once we didn’t, we always dressed well and even when the Salvation Army

03:03:00:00

had the meetings outside our house, my mother would get a sheet newspaper, put on the step, we would be dressed in good clothes and we would sit on that newspaper and listen to the thing all the way through. But from a practical side if the Minister is doing his job, then people needing assistance, not financial, advice and guidance, counselling all the time,

03:03:30:00

it never really lets up.
Do you remember any people you gave advice or counselling to when you were working in the 1930s in Dalby or Beaudesert? Do you remember any people, any particular instances from that time?
Yes, I had a young lady, her son was 21 and he…

03:04:00:00

she felt that he had an overdose of medicine against his will and now he died. I found out and I was discussing the matter with her.
This was in a hospital or?
No, he was away from home, he was in Queensland and she was in Sydney, which made it all the worse.

03:04:30:00

She was a Roman Catholic person. Her husband was Muslim. She must have got a guilty conscience or something, anyhow she went to confession, told the priest exactly what happened and he said “Major Morton is helping you, is he?” And she said I told him you were

03:05:00:00

and that I felt much more comfortable after I had talked with him. He said “Don’t stop”. He said “If he’s helping you, perhaps he understands something about your difficulties, you keep on going with him”. He said “You can still come to the confession with me” and to my mind that is the way churches should run, because I might relate to you, you might

03:05:30:00

relate to me but might be another person you could not just relate to. And this is very important and I think in our training from a practical side you are trying to study people and get to know how to approach them, it’s a big thing but important, extremely important.
Has the Salvation Army or is it a very much like an army, is it a very military organisation?
That’s the idea. When William Booth

03:06:00:00

commenced the Salvation Army, and the more that I think about it, the more convinced I am that he must have been a marvellous man because of the fact that it spread so much. The Salvation Army is not an old church by any means and yet it spread so rapidly right around the world. And rather than slacking off, it seems its influence seems to be growing, which I think is very,

03:06:30:00

good. But we feel we’ve all got the same objective and that is one reason why the church in some of the missionary countries advance better. They don’t feel they are fighting each other, they have got the same objective and they all work for the same objective. The result is, is that you’ve got unity.

03:07:00:00

Alright I understand that a bit better now.
But the idea of the army business, is that William Booth, that’s where our practical work comes into it, William Bruce felt that we just shouldn’t think of the people coming into church, we should go out to the people.
But were they organised as an army in rank and…
Yes, but our ranks are not always the same, haven’t been as the military because

03:07:30:00

in the early days, they got some of the naval ranks and the army ranks and mixed up. That doesn’t happened today. It is very much the same Lieutenant, Captain, Major, Colonel. The big difference is though, we still have an international leader and he is the General. He works in London. There is only two churches in the world today

03:08:00:00

well I am not sure today how some of the Third World countries work but as far as we are concerned, it is the Roman Catholics and ourselves. The Catholics still have the Pope as an international leader, we have a General as our international leader.
So when you were in [the] Beaudesert is it, in 1939 and you heard about the war breaking out, can you remember that day?
I can

03:08:30:00

very much so.
Tell us, take us back to that day and tell us about how you heard about it?
Well it was announced that the late Sir Robert Menzies had a very important announcement to make. Well there weren’t many wirelesses about in those days and there was no TV at all, so that when people heard about anything like that happening,

03:09:00:00

then they would go to friend’s or somebody who might have a old wireless. If it was a shop, he might have it in the shop and you could just go and but this was a Sunday night. I was doing a service at Beaudesert and as soon as I finished I hurried off to a person I knew who had a wireless, and I knew a few others

03:09:30:00

were going to do so, so I did likewise. It was somewhere around 9 o’clock that the announcement was made.
Whose house were you at, do you remember, whose house were you at, who had the wireless?
The people’s name was Love, L. O. V. E, but they have passed on now, no family except there was a daughter

03:10:00:00

who rang me up recently.
So they were friends of yours in Beaudesert?
Yes well I, see usually in those days their were two people who would be stationed together, a Captain and a Lieutenant would be together. Well I had just been promoted to Captain then, but I was on my own. We were short in numbers then. I was on my own.

03:10:30:00

You get to know a lot of people and in those days people were keen to help single men. Single girls didn’t get so much help, but the single men… families thought, “Oh they won’t look after themselves, they don’t cook enough for themselves”, so they would send us meals, to you. Terrific lot of things the general public used to do for us. Which I felt was extremely helpful.

03:11:00:00

Even with washing, we had people coming up wanting to do washing for us. I found over the years in Australia, the general public has been terrific to us and we can never ever have accomplished what we’ve accomplished, had it not been for the generosity in all shapes and forms, and am not just thinking of money now. If it hadn’t been a generosity of the general

03:11:30:00

public and I take my hat off to them and I found that during the war as a padre…
Take us back to the Love family house, you were listening to the wireless, tell us about that?
Well we all sat around on the floor because there wasn’t enough chairs to go around and then we had Sir Robert Menzies,

03:12:00:00

and I must admit I liked listing to, he was a bit like Churchill in looks and also an the way he spoke but he started off, ‘We are at war. We know not how long nor how hard the road will be’, well many of us found out how long and just how hard it was. There was no hilarity, we walked away from that house very, very serious,

03:12:30:00

but I already had made at my mind what I was going to do. There had been references to a war, a lot of talk before it happened, but when he did make the announcement, I’d already made up my mind what I was going to do.
So what did you do?
I immediately contacted our headquarters and said that I would be resigning unless they had anything I could do relating to the war.

03:13:00:00

The person I had to see was a very good friend of mine and he said “Just be patient”. He said “I think you’ll be quite satisfied with what we’ve got for you”. I was out one day when I came home there was a little visiting card under my door, you are being appointed to Dubbo Military Camp.
As a Captain in the Salvation Army?

03:13:30:00

Yes as the Captain in the Salvation Army and I had the rank of Lieutenant in the military. That went with the position. My patience then ran out a little bit because I was in the camp longer than what I expected.
How did you feel when you got that calling card, you were told you would go to Dubbo Military Camp?
I was walking on air,

03:14:00:00

was absolutely thrilled. I didn’t even have time, they gave a date that I was to be there. Well generally if you are stationed in a town then you know when you are leaving, they generally arrange a little farewell for you, have a cup of tea here and a cup of tea somewhere else. I didn’t have time for any of that. I had to pack, store most of my things.

03:14:30:00

Going into the camp you could only take a limited clothing etc then of cause the military stuff…
What did you pack to take to Dubbo? Do you remember what you put in your suitcase?
Not much more than what you stand up because you knew you got the military clothing. It was never made to fit.
Did you have anything special that you remember taking with you when you left everything in Beaudesert?

03:15:00:00

No I didn’t actually…
So was their anything you remember putting into your suitcase, just clothes, your bible…?
No because it was very hurried and I even had to get permission to store

03:15:30:00

all my own goods because they told us at the start not to bring anything we didn’t feel we would need. So all I had was one small case that I took to the camp and I was glad I did because the military supplied everything, under-clothing, shirts, everything and anything else would have been quite out of place.

03:16:00:00

Did you contact your parents at this time when you heard you were going to the Dubbo Military Camp?
My mother had been very sick and I was up in Beaudesert and I applied to try and come down to Sydney and be closer. She did die when the war was on as a matter of fact. And I was sent down to Liverpool

03:16:30:00

from Beaudesert and my mother was in Sydney so everything was under control. But my mother understood. She was quite…. even though she was so sick and I wondered just if she would live, but had the war been a little shorter… she died in ‘44 and the war

03:17:00:00

started in ’39 so it..
Had your step brothers joined up? Had your step-brother joined up?
No, I was the only one actually. I was on my own. My step brother did later on. He had his own motor garage, so he joined the armoured division, which was a very highly trained division.

03:17:30:00

Never left Australia though. The government of the time, Churchill wanted them, even offered to give an infantry division in place of the armoured division, but Australia wouldn’t agree to that. And he was very disappointed about that because he wanted to go. He said, “Well I pick the armoured division that was my expertise, and I might as well use it

03:18:00:00

that way”.
So your mother was happy to see you join up?
Yes, she felt that it was the right thing to do so we had no problems there, but I was, when I left Sydney, well its quite possible that my mother might be gone by the time I come back, but I got back to the Middle East, from the Middle East, and I was up on the Atherton Tablelands

03:18:30:00

and I think I’d have had a better chance of getting home from the Middle East than what I did from the Tablelands, ‘cause I didn’t get down to Sydney in time. She died very suddenly at the end.
Let’s go back to the Dubbo training camp, who was based at the Dubbo training camp at the time?
It was a training camp. Not all the camps were training camps

03:19:00:00

but Dubbo was, and they had groups. Now the ASC [Army Service Corps] is the corps. that looks after the part of the army that looks after the supplies, food, ammunition, everything like that. And there was the ASC for the 8th Division in Dubbo camp, but in no other part of the division. Then we had machine gunners there,

03:19:30:00

we had pioneers there, we had bits and pieces being trained for to go to other units. It was a very good camp, I enjoyed it. I thought it was, the only thing, I was disappointed I didn’t get away quicker.
What was your role in the camp when you arrived? What we your duties, what did you get told to do?
I went away as a Salvation Army

03:20:00:00

welfare officer and there were two, there was the YMCA [Young Mens Christian Association] and the Salvation Army and we did all the welfare work as far as all the military was concerned. We didn’t carry arms. We were static for a while

03:20:30:00

but as the war continued, we went on for a long while and it was working, having the idea having the Salvation Army activity tended to. We had more men apply and as they did, we got away quicker. The older people were kept in the camps in New South Wales,

03:21:00:00

the younger ones went overseas.
What did they need you for in the camp?
We did a lot of the work that chaplains did. You never be able to have a big war, if you can have a big and a small war, because there was never enough chaplains to go around and a lot of the work we did for instance, we did church services,

03:21:30:00

we did entertainment, we did religious sing-a-long that type of thing. A lot of it was work for padre and sometimes the padre would work through like boxing. I used to run boxing tournaments. Well boxing tournaments were very popular entertainment in the camp, so we did a lot of entertainment.

03:22:00:00

We did a lot of helping people, as far as… we would have writing rooms in the camps. We would supply all the writing paper envelopes etc and the writing room was an area set aside, no noise, no fooling around. If the chaps wanted to sit down write a letter, they could write a letter there. And the problems

03:22:30:00

that would turn up various seldom problems would turn up in a town anywhere. If there was sickness in the house they wanted to write a letter home, want your advice on a 101 different things. I suppose you could say that as well as the practical side we placed a tremendous significance on the spiritual side,

03:23:00:00

so that the padre worked in very closely together.
Did anyone die in training at the Dubbo camp?
Yes, matter of fact, I had a man died… see the officers up to the rank of Major, four live in a tent. When you are a Major or above well you can have a tent to yourself.

03:23:30:00

When we were up North Queensland, chap died in a tent right next to me. We never knew anything about it. In the morning he didn’t get up, we went to the tent and he was dead. There was a lot of accidents. I know people wonder when they saw a person was killed didn’t die on the battlefield, but it’s a normal life in some respects. If you live in the camp

03:24:00:00

you go about things as a training camps see, you know you are being trained for a purpose, there are accidents.
What kind of accidents?
Car accidents, they used horses, men would be kicked with horses. In the early stage they had horses that they would use around the camp to do jobs. Normal

03:24:30:00

sicknesses that people get. One of the…I don’t think there would be any camp where there was not least one death because it was an accident, normal sickness that people get.
Did you have to go under training to bear arms yourself?
I did everything that would get me closer to the men

03:25:00:00

I even did a course on driving tanks, 9-ton tanks which was very interesting. I took a gunnery course, I did the cross-country running, all of those things brought you into contact with small groups and I heard it described once, our work was terrific as

03:25:30:00

far as morale building was concerned and morale was very important to the army, very important. Because you get a group of men who are disgruntled and discontent and you are not going to get much good out of them, but if the morale is high then it means a big thing to the camp, a very big thing.

03:26:00:00

Did you ever think about using those skills driving a tank or shooting a gun?
No, I’ve never ever used them, but I just wanted to know now for instance, people think you’re inside a tank, you’re as safe can be, bullet won’t go through a tank, but a shell will. And I’ll never forget the first time I

03:26:30:00

went, the tank had been disabled and I went up and lifted the cover off the top, looked in and everyone of them had been killed. When the shell had gone in, it hadn’t gone out the other side, and so it just went round and around. Horrible sight. Killed everybody inside of the tank. So tanks are not always…

03:27:00:00

I said after that I never want to drive around in a tank. I much rather be outside where I can get some fresh air. But you had to make… you didn’t have a set of rules that you just followed that didn’t exist. You had certain military orders that you had to obey for instance, leaving camp you would have to have a leave pass to leave camp

03:27:30:00

and all things like that. You were controlled, but your actual work, you sort of had to make it yourself, You could sit back in a tent all day until somebody woke up to it and told you to get out and do something. But you’re never short of something to do, never.
Were all the men you were training

03:28:00:00

keen to go war?
Those who come back from a war, it is a marvellous experience no one can say that it is not, it is. The greatest problem is the fact that is a terrific

03:28:30:00

cost in life, sickness etc, but the experience is… when I finished, I was I ‘spose ambitious, same as most young people were but I said when the war finished, there was five and a half years wasted.

03:29:00:00

But now when I look back it wasn’t. The experience of the war, the training, the things that I learned, they were all extremely valuable since then. I think of the numbers of funerals today that I do, somebody rings up. I had two girls ring up in one night, it is the most unusual, both of them had the same request.

03:29:30:00

Their father had died and he had left instructions for me to do the funeral. And that happened repeatedly. So for anyone to do that it means in some way or another you influenced that chap, always for the good I hope.

03:30:00:00

He might never say anything to you, he might never even thank you for what you did for him. A very good example of a man, a very good position in Sydney here, he had a lovely home everything he could wish for. The war was all over and he rang me up one day,

03:30:30:00

said “I just got the death sentence passed on me”. I said “Oh what was that?” He said, “Well I have been informed that I have an untreatable cancer, it could be two weeks, it could be two months”. He said, “I just accepted it, that’s all it was, but my wife said I’ve got to do something about your funeral,

03:31:00:00

you know, it won’t be long.” And he said, “I laughed at first but she insisted.” He said “I didn’t know any priest, didn’t know any minister” and he said, “I suddenly remembered you and I remembered the many talks we had together and the things we done together”, and he said “Can you do my funeral for me?” And I said “Yes, no problem”.

03:31:30:00

Matter of fact, we don’t always choose our words in the wisest manner, I said “Nothing would make me happier”. He just roared with laughter over the phone and he said “Thanks very much”. Anyway I did. I haven’t seen that man for years, this was not so very long ago…
Were you in the war with him?

03:32:00:00

A lady asked me one day. She said “Did you know so and so” and I said “No, who was he with?”. She said “The 9th Division, the same as you were with”. “Yes but do you realise there’s 15,000 men in the division?” You remember faces, you realise that you were, never ever remember all the names but you

03:32:30:00

remember the faces and even years later you can remember… you would see that face somewhere before and so this particular chap, he lived six months but we did his funeral. The Minister did part, I did the actual burial. His wife wanted to have a church service

03:33:00:00

in a particular church and the Minister did agree to do that. And I would keep my promise to him and I would do the actual burial. When you think of it a war is no different to normal living, except its uncertainty. You never know what is going to happen next,

03:33:30:00

but you get down on the dumps at home and you want to find a solution to the problem. Well the same thing happens if you’re in the military, there is sicknesses there the same as there are at your home.
You were very keen to go Europe, do you remember when you got the news that you would be leaving Dubbo finally and going into action

03:34:00:00

with the 9th Division?
It is hard to explain sometimes things relating to war. I always felt sorry for the ladies’ children back home. Now we know what was going on all the time but in their eyes

03:34:30:00

you were fighting all the time. They didn’t know that you might be sitting for a month just doing training camp because there was no actual fighting going on. And that’s where the families suffered most at back home. They had no idea, every day was a day of suspense, every night it was a suspense, because they didn’t know

03:35:00:00

what was happening to you. You could have been dead for a week, wouldn’t have known. You didn’t always know yourself when you are going into action. You’re given a rough idea but only the top ones. Montgomery is the one who tried to change that a lot. He maintained that the more knowledge the soldier had that better

03:35:30:00

he was able to fight and I think it could be a tremendous lot in that. So that a lot of information were never given to you. You eventually might be given that the last minute or you might not know for months ahead. For instance if you are leaving Sydney here to go to the Middle East, you might not know you are going to the Middle East until you’re actually almost there.

03:36:00:00

Did you know?
I did because I went as a reinforcement. And I knew who I was replacing. I was replacing somebody else who had been doing the same job as I wanted to go to do and they had to ship him back home from the Middle East quickly and change his work altogether

03:36:30:00

so I knew what I was going to do, where I was going but that didn’t come for everybody.
Had you heard much about what was happening in North Africa and in the Middle East?
Now that is really difficult. You couldn’t put anything in letters, now that is one of the jobs that we had,

03:37:00:00

censoring. You see every letter had to be censored and it was so little, it was just sort of chit-chat, you talked about things as though there was no war on I think. You couldn’t even mention what unit you were with,

03:37:30:00

or where you were, or where you were going. So for the family you, knew where you were but the family didn’t.
Interviewee: Stanley Morton Archive ID 0033 Tape 04

04:00:31:00

Stan, can you remember the first time you saw El Alamein?
Yes very much. When I first saw Alamein there wasn’t a single grave there, not one. When we left Alamein there were thousands. I seen the graves there, all the men… you couldn’t make

04:01:00:00

caskets they were wrapped up, sewn up in a blanket, you had to bury them like that. But today at Alamein there are thousands of graves there.
Are they Australian graves?
No not all. We had a visit, did a visit just recently to Gallipoli.

04:01:30:00

Now Lone Pine was a very well known spot as far as Gallipoli was concerned and when we were there I did a little church service actually right at the spot know as Lone Pine, 6,000 people died on that small area there. 4,000 were Turkish and 2,000

04:02:00:00

were Australian but there were 6,000 altogether and yet when I first saw Alamein it was just sand, nothing else.
Had the fighting commenced there when you arrived, what was happening when you arrived in El Alamein?
Australia… Alamein was a

04:02:30:00

it was a… Tobruk actually caused Alamein. There was the seige of Tobruk, the Australians were pulled out, they had been there for eight months and then we lost Tobruk again. Lots of Australians, others had gone in, but they did not hold it

04:03:00:00

and we had fallen back and then on Tobruk, on to Alamein, and we held Alamein there and build up until Montgomery had the force he had wanted there. He was determined that we were not going to move until he was going to have everything he needed. The result was that he was going to the very…. strong for force. Somewhere roundabout thirty

04:03:30:00

divisions. That’s a lot of men. And then the armoured regiments. He certainly had a marvellous army built up and it was not until he was absolutely certain he had all that he wanted that he moved, and he attacked again and that was when we came towards the end of the war of the Middle East.

04:04:00:00

What was your main role?
It’s very interesting, the Australians were recognised for their attacking force. They looked upon us as good attack troops and I don’t know how true it is but it was stated that the Germans found out… we had been further

04:04:30:00

in towards the desert and we were brought up on to the coast of the Mediterranean, and when the Germans heard that we had moved or found out that we had moved, they knew then where this attack was going to come from. And it did. We did have a reputation of our attacking powers.
Can you tell us the story I know

04:05:00:00

in the notes about the mail, the mail that was received and stockpiled in El Alamein, I think you mentioned that to one of the researchers?
I had two. Christmas in one, back in ’42, the saddest and possibly the happiest. I had

04:05:30:00

a chance to visit Bethlehem after the Alamein was all over, but the saddest was when the post master… we had just, as we had a pay master and a post master, we had almost the same as you would have in civilian life. The post master sent for me, he took me to a tent. That tent was full, a big tent about

04:06:00:00

the size of this room. There was nothing there but parcels, piles of them there. And he said “Tex, what can we do?” And we sat and talked for a while and he said “We can’t send these parcels back because there are the ones that were killed at El Alamein”.

04:06:30:00

I said, “What if we opened them all up, pool all the stuff, everything that’s there and then distribute it the best way we can amongst the troops” and he agreed. That was about the best thing we could do, so we did. Little realising how emotional that job was going to be because as you open the parcel, you’d find a little note in it,

04:07:00:00

“Dear Jack, we will be thinking about you this Christmas time”. “Dear Jack, we hope this will be your last Christmas away”. In every parcel had a little note something like that in. I can assure you, while we spent day after day trying to get those sorted out, you didn’t feel very good. I did a talk on one occasion…
Can you remember what some of those

04:07:30:00

notes said? Can you remember specifically?
Most of them were only… see you won’t supposed to put letters in the parcels, most of the people seemed to keep to that pretty well, and you might only have two or three lines. They all related to how much you were going to be missed and none of them sort of intimated that you might not be there for Christmas,

04:08:00:00

every one sort of took it for granted that you were still okay when the parcel was sent.
Why didn’t they send the parcels back?
They… I don’t know the real reason was, but they never ever sent any mail like that back. Whether it was space, the space is a big consideration all the time

04:08:30:00

See we were supposed to come home from the Middle East, the Church said “No we have no space in shipping, we can’t send them home”.
What was in the parcels?
Christmas parcels. See Alamein was in October, that was the time October- November when Christmas parcels would start to arrive and that was… they were typical. Nearly all of them

04:09:00:00

had a Christmas cake of some kind in, that we sliced that up if it was a Christmas cake. We wouldn’t give one person a whole cake, we would actually slice them up and pass them around.
What other things are in the parcels?
Tin fruit. They were, always stuff, mainly tinned fruit and things because other things didn’t carry.
Were there pictures?

04:09:30:00

Oh that was a very important one. It was sad. I even had to deal… some Italians had been killed and you would take the things out of their pockets and put them aside. And one of the saddest things I saw was a very pretty girl with two little children, and I said to somebody near me, “They could have been ours”.

04:10:00:00

You don’t somehow in a war, think of the enemy as being your enemy.
What did you do with that Italians soldiers’ personal possessions?
They tried to… I don’t know what finally happened to them. We handed them over to some of the…see you have what we called a rear echelon in the army,

04:10:30:00

they don’t do any fighting or they may have been wounded and were given a easier job, or sickness, they would be taken out of the fighting area and they were given jobs in the rear echelon, which looks after the meals, getting food to the troops and so forth and things like that would go over to them. What finally

04:11:00:00

happens to them, I don’t know.
Can you take us back to a burial service, time of day and how it started and takes us through the burial service at El Alamein for an Australian soldier?
Very interesting actually. The war graves,

04:11:30:00

British War Graves Commission, does a wonderful thing because they look after the cemetery. But you can’t if, a man could be shot beside you, he’d drop, you couldn’t stop to attend to him. Once you saw that he was killed, you keep on going. You didn’t even think about who it was or anything. I’ve said, frequently I’ve said,

04:12:00:00

“You can’t afford to think in war”. If it did, you would just go off your head. You just don’t think, you simply know what has to be done and go ahead. But the bodies are later on buried in a shallow grave usually, the rifle is put in the grave to mark the area. You can’t

04:12:30:00

have a headstone or anything, but you have the chaps number and so forth, put on their grave. The war graves commission then takeover and the bodies are moved over to a recognised cemetery. But there are frequent occasions… I had a case when I was passing from one area to another and the Japanese, this was up in the Pacific area, the Japanese had made an attack, five of these men,

04:13:00:00

five of our men, had been killed and the CO [Commanding Officer], I happened to see him and he said, “Tex you’re just the man I want to see”. He said “We’ve got five men killed last night, we want to give them a little burial service”. He said, “Can you do that for us?” I said “I can and I will”. And

04:13:30:00

there was no fighting at that time. Often you would have skirmishes at night, next day you’d have to clean up the area and so forth and these chaps had been killed overnight and we had to bury them the next day. Now this Colonel was a very considerate chap and he said he just felt that he wanted to give them a little burial service. I said alright and we buried

04:14:00:00

the five of them. Later they would be removed to a cemetery. But this Colonel I didn’t see him again for 20 years. We’d come back, the war was over, we came back to Australia and it was in George Street, and he said, “Tex”, he said, “I’ve been trying for 20 years, to try and contact you”, and he said, “Somehow never been able to do it”.

04:14:30:00

He said “Do you remember burying five men for me up in New Guinea.” I said “I do remember it very well”. He said “Well I wrote to five different families, I wrote to each one”. He said, “We were all impressed because the time taken and the reverence with which these men had been treated”. He said

04:15:00:00

“I personally wrote to each family and explained to them what had taken place at the service, and I finished each letter with, if your son or husband whatever was, had been home, he couldn’t have had a nicer service”.
Can you explain was that particular service? Can you tell us about that service?
I did it as near to the service we would do here at home, not the facilities,

04:15:30:00

but we had our prayers. We tried to sing, I don’t know that we did very well but a hymn or two that we knew and one or two chaps spoke about their mates and very similar to what you would have if we would have been right here in Australia, except that you would have the flowers etc.
Do you remember what they said about their mates? Do you remember what the other soldiers said about their mates

04:16:00:00

at that time?
Generally… and I did a few of these. I mentioned that one particular but generally you tried to…. it doesn’t matter how solemn a thing is in war, you try and have a bright side to it and the reference was usually we did this or we did something else together,

04:16:30:00

or we had a couple days leave and went down to Alexandria, that type of thing. But you didn’t dwell on the sad side of war, you just tried to be as bright as possible.
Did have a bugle?
Not always, this occasion we didn’t. I don’t remember having one of them I don’t think.

04:17:00:00

When the war started we had some nice bands but gradually those in the bands were used as stretcher bearers and after every action someone would be killed and you didn’t have replacements in the band, like you would in Australia. You would have learners brought to the stage when they could take

04:17:30:00

the place of someone else but it got to the stage where we didn’t have bands. Now there was one battalion that had one bugler right through the war and he died just recently. He was in the 13th Battalion, well now he carried the bugle, well a cornet actually and used it. But if they,

04:18:00:00

if we had one we used it but there wasn’t one about. Things were a lot different in the Pacific to what they were in the desert.
In the desert when you went there, how many people do you think you actually presided over the ceremony of the burial? How many burials did you preside over?
Not many

04:18:30:00

Because your casualties rates were a lot higher. I seen bodies halfway up the wall, just be waiting to be buried. So it was a very simple thing, you just put them on the grave, mark the grave and then when the actions were all over, they would be transferred over. Now as I said when I, Alamein

04:19:00:00

there wasn’t a grave there. Well today you’ve got that big cemetery there, very big.
In Alamein were you ever with people as they were passing away?
Yes. I never forgot some…what happens see you have an advanced dressing station and your stretcher bearers are called and in some cases an ambulance depending on where you are,

04:19:30:00

but usually stretcher bearers, they would bring them in to this advanced dressing station. There’d be doctors there who would diagnose. If there was something slight, they would treat them there right on the spot. If it was something very serious they’d send them further back to hospital. But there were many cases where doctors had to do emergency operations right at the advanced dressing stations.

04:20:00:00

Sometimes they were successful, sometimes they weren’t. But I remember this one particular case, it wasn’t one of our men it was Italian, and he was screaming out for help and the Australian soldier that I was speaking up to just near him, and the doctor came along

04:20:30:00

and this chap looked up at him, the Australian, you could see there was no hope for him and he simply said, “Doc,” he said “don’t worry about me. See what you can do for this other fellow there”. And he was an Italian.
Did you speak to the Italian and be with him when he was dying?
No. In action time we worked with the doctors very closely, for instance, you had wounds,

04:21:00:00

and you weren’t allowed to administer liquid is so you had to make sure you weren’t trying to help a person and doing him a lot of harm for them instead. We always had hot coffee boiling there and whether it was the enemy or whether it was all our own chaps, they were all treated them the same. And even in action, if a medical orderly is captured,

04:21:30:00

he then works for the enemy, the one who captured him. If the doctor is captured, say if we got a German doctor, that German doctor would then work for us. In Alamein, I saw how they worked, they didn’t let up, they worked just as hard on our men as what they would have on their own. It is something a lot of people don’t understand. But anyway anyone on the medical side if you’re captured,

04:22:00:00

you then work for the side that has captured you.
Did you ever speak to any of the German doctors?
Yes even after the…I can give the one example. The commencement of Alamein, it was 20 minutes before the actual first attack went in, there was 20 minutes bombardment, 800 odd guns, and bodies

04:22:30:00

were picked up, not a wound on them, just the shock had killed them. It was a terrific thing. And…
Did you speak to some of the German doctors?
Yes. We were bombed one night, with this, we had

04:23:00:00

underground wards, you might put it that way, where operations were done underground, and any emergency was done there. Ones we could get further back quickly they did, they put them in ambulances and send them back there. And there was one doctor there,

04:23:30:00

a German doctor, and we had been bombed and when the planes came back, they generally, when bombing, they come and they go, they come and they go, and we always lay flat on the ground. It’s the safest place to be, this German doctor wouldn’t. He stood up, “No no, that’s the Luftwaffe, they won’t bomb a hospital”.

04:24:00:00

And I said, “Well what happen the other night? They came over. They bombed here”. He said “You must have bombed one of ours and they must of retaliated”. But they, but he was amazing. The orderlies that had been captured, the medical orderly, and I said “What did you think when that barrage went over at the beginning?”

04:24:30:00

He said, “It was inhumane, absolutely humane.”
Where you at the frontline when that, the barrage was going on?
Yes. I counted it an honour actually to wear a medal that said ‘Frontline Service’. I was in Martin Place on an ANZAC Day and somebody said “How does a padre wear a frontline service badge?”

04:25:00:00

He must of been American because he said “combat”. “How does a padre wear a combat badge?” I didn’t have to answer. Our men that was with me there said, “Well if Tex wasn’t at the frontline none of us were”, so I wouldn’t have given a good of answer as that.
Can you describe being in the frontline that night when the artillery barrage was going off?

04:25:30:00

Well it happened… you go in sections and when the barrage started, well, we knew that we weren’t going in, our battalion, for a couple of days. We got up on a little mound, that you get in the desert, and we could see the shells landing well ahead of us. And it was,

04:26:00:00

well, it was a frightening site and thrilling actually. You wondered how anything could live. As somebody said, “Well an ant couldn’t live through that”. And when we were talking about Iraq the other day, I noticed that there was nothing that we could see to compare with Alamein, in size.

04:26:30:00

So that when we weren’t fighting we were watching. Now in a padre’s, always works with the doctor, they moved together and there was stretcher bearers to give... Sometimes I would see a chap dying and he’d ask to pray with him, but you were there, right at

04:27:00:00

the frontline where the fighting was taking place You are… if it’s an advance and you are moving on all the time, well you’re just moving, but if they stop or anything, well, maybe you move around and you try to… chaps do go bomb-happy. I saw one man become an old man in one night. He had black hair

04:27:30:00

and before the night was over it was white, as white as you could make it.
What does it smell like, the desert on that night? Can you remember the smells, the specific smells of that night?
It smelled like a giant Guy Fawkes night. It is more of a powdery smell. You could smell in the whole

04:28:00:00

atmosphere, it was just like an explosion spread into the air. But it was the smell of large crackers going that had gone off, that you get at night.
And what was the first wounded man that you came across that night during that attack?

04:28:30:00

That is a difficult one. I tell you what happened on the first night.
Okay.
The doctor said “Well Tex, would you like to come down we are doing some operations underneath, would you like to come down?” They were doing a stomach… they had a stomach wide open and I stood for a couple of minutes and said “I’m going up to get a bit of fresh air”. The doctors, they

04:29:00:00

had all the insides of this man, before they could, they had a stomach wound and before they could stitch him up they had to make sure that there wasn’t anything left amongst these stomach, not just where the bullet went in, but whether there was any shrapnel or anything still inside there.

04:29:30:00

And they were going through his… what’s his names… what’s the word I want… anyway his innards anyway, and he was passing them through his hand like this as quickly as could be either. I don’t understand how he could do it and all the insides sort of pushed into place and then he stitched them up again. But I can assure you, you have to, was strong stomach to see that,

04:30:00:00

to watch it being done.
What did the wounded men talk to you about, especially if they were badly wounded? What did they say to you?
You might get them, they’ll ask about home. Now this comes as to what I was going to mention to you before. We came back to Australia for the first time and there was a Sydney Morning Herald correspondent and he came up to me, I understand that

04:30:30:00

things like that, deaths and so forth, has turned many men against the church and men have gone completely against the church because of what you chaps have gone through. I said, “Well I beg your pardon but I haven’t seen it that way. My impression has been that it has turned men to the church”. And I said “The men

04:31:00:00

that I have prayed with, the men that I have talked to”, I’ve said, “to me it was just the reverse. It didn’t turned away”.
It has been said that there are no atheists at the frontline, is that right?
Well that’s how I would’ve felt. You’ll find the odd one, there’s always exceptions to every rule, but to answer your question, in general rule, there was a general turning towards spiritual things,

04:31:30:00

not away and so on. But there were the exceptions.
What specifically? Can you remember anyone specifically wounded telling you anything specific? And can you give us an example and perhaps their name??
It was a long while ago…

04:32:00:00

Think back to that night or during those first two days?
Yes, it was the first chap that I mentioned there, this chap said “Doctor, see what you can do about the other fellow”. There was always a feeling amongst them for the other fellow, rather strange, but it was always there.
Did they ask you to pray for them?
Yes many did.

04:32:30:00

They sort of expected you to do so even without asking, they expected you to offer. That’s why I said that I felt that it turned men more towards the church rather than away from it.
What other jobs did you do

04:33:00:00

as well as ministering? How did you keep up morale and faith and support the spiritual side of the troops after that barrage, during that particular attack?
We did a lot of distribution of coffee, we boiled up hundreds and hundreds of gallons. As a matter of the fact chap said to me only recently, he said to me, “I’ve never had a cup of coffee

04:33:30:00

spiked with petrol until I had one from you”. What used to happen you could carry receptacles around with you to boil up coffee or tea or anything else. So you had to get anything that would hold water or fluid, and frequently you’d get a petrol tin and you might not be able to get it completely cleansed as far as the fumes of petrol are concerned.

04:34:00:00

And every now and again you’d get a batch of coffee that had a distinct petrol smell about it. But they drank it and enjoyed it. We gave out thousands of cups of coffee. While there was actual fighting on in the desert, you couldn’t do this up in the Pacific, in the jungle, you would,

04:34:30:00

they’d usually be at an advanced dressing station, where you would boil up buckets of coffee and anything you could get to hold water and over and over again since the war, I have men say, “Look I’m giving you this because of the cup of coffee we got during the war”. And I said to one chap

04:35:00:00

one night and he gave me best answer I’ve ever heard. I said “You must have paid for this over and over and over again”, and as quick as can be he said, “No I haven’t,” he said “you couldn’t place a value on that hot cup of coffee given at the right moment”. Well I don’t think you could get a better answer.
Where you under fire when you’re bringing them coffee?
We’d been…

04:35:30:00

actually you didn’t fight in the daytime, you did most of your fighting on a moonlight night, but in the daytime the men would have their trenches, not like they did at Gallipoli, live in trenches, but you had your holes dug, where you could lie down just below the surface. Which saved a lot of lives when it came to bombing or shelling.

04:36:00:00

I had a little covered-in van. I think it had been hit by nearly everything under the sun including a 30 ton tank, but it went. The engine was alright, it wasn’t much of the body left.
Did it have a name, did you give your van have a name? Did your van have a name?
No unfortunately that was a silly move on my part, it never did. I’ve got a few pictures about…

04:36:30:00

that are being taken at different times, which gives a good idea how it got bashed about…
How did you take the coffee to the troops?
That’s was I was trying to get around.

04:37:00:00

We had this van, we had a couple of urns with a tap on them, that would hold roundabout 10 gallons, but generally you had anything that would hold… the vehicles we had were not car, they were more like utes, except some blokes had jeeps, they were alright.

04:37:30:00

We boiled up the coffee at the advanced dressing stations then we would move out to where the battalions were. Now everything depended on the CO who is usually a Lieutenant-Colonel, would depend on the CO, as to whether you could call the men out and give them a drink. I’ve had it where a Colonel would say, “Five men at a time,

04:38:00:00

pull your vehicle up, have it over there and only call out and take five men”. When they go back, another five could come out. So the men would come out from the holes where they were lying, they’d come up, bring a mug with them, they weren’t allowed to stand around the vehicle, because that would be too much movement. So with the five, they would bring their mug out and they’d get their coffee and then they would go back to their hole where they were lying

04:38:30:00

straight away. As a matter of fact I took five Italian prisoners one night and I put them to work, passing the coffee out. Rather interesting thing, I took them afterwards when I was finished. I took them back or down to where they called the prisoner of war cage and there was a Colonel there that I knew rather well,

04:39:00:00

and he said, “Tex, do you mind if I give you a little bit of advice?” I said “No sir, I’ll be quite happy”. He said, “When you take prisoners you disarm them immediately, because these five prisoners still have their rifles with them”. And they kept them slack over their shoulders. So that’s the only time I ever took prisoners, that they were delivering the coffee

04:39:30:00

until I had to move off. The desert is so flat that one vehicle even shows up a lot and they’ve spotting areas, the enemy does. And if they see a movement in a certain area, they contact the artillery and then they start to shell that particular area. So you had to get your movements

04:40:00:00

down to a minimum.
Were you ever shelled? Was your truck ever shelled?
Yes I had occasion there was three of us in the front. I was taking somebody somewhere, not quite sure what was happening, and there were some shelling went on. Well when that happens, you stop the vehicle and you drive out and lie flat on the ground somewhere.

04:40:30:00

So my driver, he jumped out and slammed the door on the other side. I was on the passenger side and I dived out and slammed the door and left the chap on the middle on his own. We weren’t very popular. He had to struggle to get out of the vehicle. But you never kept your vehicle going, you stopped and got out and laid down on the ground.
Interviewee: Stanley Morton Archive ID 0033 Tape 05

05:00:32:00

Good afternoon, Stan.
Good afternoon.
How are you?
Very good, hope to keep that way.
You’re looking well. Stan yesterday… we finished I think we were talking about just your general duties of keeping up the morale of the troops and I think one of them was making coffee. How many cups of coffee do you think you made during the war years?
I started to do a count on one occasion,

05:01:00:00

I think the most that I’d done in any one particular day, I think was when we serviced, was about 3,000 troops and we reckoned that we got about 8 cups to a gallon, but I never ever got a really perfect count and it was quite a common thing to do 3 - 4,000 cups in a day and the value

05:01:30:00

which the men placed on those cups of coffee, it surprised me. Absolutely surprised me, of all that I’d done. But it did turn me off coffee. We had to boil up in open receptacles and no lids to go so the fumes came up into your face all the time and you had that going all day for perhaps weeks on end, bits of breaks in between of course,

05:02:00:00

and you got tired of the smell. So when the war was over, I never even wanted to even look at coffee, I stuck to my old cup of tea. But, I don’t know who introduced it, I think it was the Salvation Army in England somewhere. But they never reached the same heights of achievement as what we did in the Australian army because the British administration was so different. The Australian

05:02:30:00

administration as far as the military is concerned was absolutely 100 percent. You might get the odd individual that thought you were getting in the way and you were a bit of a nuisance, but right from the General down, it was my privilege to have a visit from a war correspondent on one occasion from America at one stage. He said, “Where is your General’s tent?” I directed him to where it was. He said, “I’d like to go over

05:03:00:00

and have a word with him”. And he did and I saw him later on, when he came back he said “I’ll tell you something you might be pleased with”. “What’s that?” He said, “The general has just informed me he couldn’t do without you”. So apparently we did get all the help that we needed for the powers that be and I think that is very important.
It’s immensely important.

05:03:30:00

And from a morale point of view, it was good though, because the men themselves knew the General was behind it and so it was okay.
Did you ever serve coffee to the General or talk to the General?
Yes.
Who was that?
General Wootten. Before that we had General Morshead.
Did you meet General Morshead?
Yes, I did. Mainly on the ship coming back to Australia from the Middle East.

05:04:00:00

I was on the New Amsterdam and he was on the New Amsterdam. He was a marvellous man. He would just be sitting perhaps with one of two chaps after the night meal and he would come along and sit down just like an ordinary officer. Very good soldier and was well liked as far as the troops were concerned. But that cup of coffee was something that I think started in the British Army and it spread.

05:04:30:00

It was very well accepted in Australia and by Australians.
Were you making all that coffee by yourself? How many on your team?
No we always had a corporal. We were allowed… we had an officer’s rank and we were allowed one corporal on our establishment and they changed now and again, but the last one I had died only just a few months ago.

05:05:00:00

He was living in Brisbane. I was very disappointed I couldn’t get to Brisbane to go to his funeral because that individual whoever he might be, was always a tower of strength to you and if anything happened that, you were unwell or anything and our turn wanted to break, you could always depend on them. They did our work as batman, they did all the bits and pieces

05:05:30:00

that you couldn’t do yourself in the time they allowed you. He was always there. I’ve got a photo, matter of fact, of him, over there when he, we had a flag slashed to pieces by the Japanese and I’ve got a photo of the corporal holding part of it, after it. We escaped by lying in a shell hole until we could move out a little bit away from the direction the Japanese were coming from. But

05:06:00:00

that was a very nasty, it happened at night and it was very nasty.
Can you tell us that story?
Yes well it happened in Borneo…
We can come back to it if you like?
It’s only the name of it…I need. Alright we can come back to it.
We’ll talk about the Mediterranean

05:06:30:00

perhaps just a little more about that and we’ll come over to New Guinea later okay?
Yes, good.
You did go to Tobruk, didn’t you?
Yes but I was not in the siege. It was all over as far as the fighting was concerned. Later on I did get back there after the German started to retreat, so I really didn’t have anything to do…

05:07:00:00

What did you do at Tobruk?
The same as what were doing in an ordinary camp, so the fighting was beyond Tobruk, so we had no way, as far as shelling and bombing was concerned, it was just normal everyday life.
Did you ever have to administer to

05:07:30:00

shell-shocked troops in Tobruk?
Not in Tobruk, but I, at Alamein we did because the shelling and the bombing at El Alamein was tremendous, and I had one man who literally became an old man in one night. He had, he was a normal man during

05:08:00:00

the afternoon and by the time the night was over, I had to arrange for him to be moved further back beyond to where there was no fighting. He just couldn’t control himself at all. We often used to look at chaps and say “They’re bomb-happy”, well he was that, that’s how he went that night. He came an old man in a matter of hours. And that’s why in counselling, you’ve got to realise that every

05:08:30:00

individual is different. We might think of groups, but in a fact you can’t deal with groups, you’ve got to deal with the individual and what will help with one individual, doesn’t help with another and that’s why we have so much trouble with the drug addicts today. Very same type of thing it is.
Can you describe the symptoms of shell-shocked or bomb-happiness?

05:09:00:00

Yes, for example, we were at a spot in New Guinea and we were coming down to board ships to come back to Australia and all of a sudden, a chap came running along the beach, “They’re coming, they’re coming, they’re coming!” And do you know it panicked the whole lot. It took three days to overcome what he had caused just in that short time.

05:09:30:00

The very fact that he lost control of himself completely. And you really got to you must be or have some knowledge of these things to really appreciate the peculiar things that happen.
Did you understand the effects of bombing on people when you went there?
Yes because I knew how I felt.
How did you feel?
Oh you sort of, trying to think or work out what you can do,

05:10:00:00

and what you should do, and you’ve got to keep an absolute grip on yourself as a matter of fact but you mustn’t give in. The moment you give in that’s when they say “Oh his nerves are gone”. Well I don’t know how medically, how they mean that, but that is what happened. You’ve got no control at all over. You don’t get it in a mass, you just get the odd individual man.
And it spreads? It spreads,

05:10:30:00

if one gets it, it’s catching?
Yes. If you…now you’re on a drive in the truck, well that’s okay, you’ve only got one man to deal with, but if the same man was out among say 100 men, then that would be extremely serious because he could panic. It is most peculiar.. human beings, but even in civil life I saw that happen in Africa.
How did you, under

05:11:00:00

those circumstances, cope?
I don’t think one can explain. You are just as scared as anybody else, I said to a VC [Victoria Cross], or somebody said to a VC in my presence on one occasion. He said, “Oh so and so never gets scared” and the VC winner just turned around and said, “I wish I was like him” and that’s just the way it is,

05:11:30:00

every man is scared. I don’t know of any man that literally went into a battle, and, I guess, I saw as many as the average soldier did, who could say he wasn’t scared.
You were there to look after the soldiers in these circumstances…
But you’re still just as scared as what they are. I’ve been on a beach, the jungle in front of us in New Guinea and the water

05:12:00:00

behind us and the thought comes out, “How am I going to get through the situation?” And yet you sort of live a minute at a time. You’re planning just all falls to pieces and somehow you work your way through it.
You were providing spiritual assistance to the troops how did you keep your own spiritual well-being up

05:12:30:00

under those circumstances, who helped you?
Well I am quite convinced… we had a great chaplain in the First World War his name Commissioner McKenzie. He was known as ‘Fighting Mac’. At the battle of Lone Pine when an attack was about to….he jumped over the trenches waving a walking stick and said, “Men come follow me” and the men did.

05:13:00:00

He won a MC there a Military Cross there. But you do things on the spur of the moment, you can seldom plan for them.
Did you ever see what you considered to be a miracle?
No, I always felt I was very inferior to the situation, always did. I don’t know that I ever felt absolute confidence, and sort of went ahead confident,

05:13:30:00

“All will be well”. I always felt inferior and couldn’t get away from that. But as I say I’m sure we had spiritual help because this Commissioner McKenzie, he told me the same thing, he was the first boss when I became officer in the Salvation Army, he said, “There would days” he said “that I would hear this voice say ‘move!’” and he said “I’ve moved out and the shell has landed there.

05:14:00:00

You can’t account for that”. He said “I am satisfied that God is with you all the time in those circumstances”.
Do you think soldiers develop a sense of when death is near in battle?
I doubt it because you don’t do much thinking when there’s a battle on. You see a situation and you just act. Somebody asked me one day,

05:14:30:00

“How do you think? What lines do you think on when you going into battle?” I said, “You just don’t think”. A man could be shot beside you but you can’t do anything about it, you’ve got to keep going. Now in my situation I was able to stop to see what I could do for him, whether he needed… and that’s what your stretcher bearers do, that’s what a medical men do in a battalion, they’re there to look after those sort of cases. If you’re a normal soldier,

05:15:00:00

you keep going.
Did you ever have to administer the last rites to someone like that?
No I never did actually. I think the reason for that is that we were very seldom long enough with a person. We would have short prayers. A mate of mine once said, “You have short prayers” “No” I said “you just have a short prayer”. He said “I don’t think any prayer is very short

05:15:30:00

it is always big enough”. But I feel personality spiritually I’ve benefited by it, because I realised that God was real as anybody was real. He was under those circumstances.
But you must have seen some brutal things that challenged your faith?
You might get doubts but they don’t last long,

05:16:00:00

because something else will happened that will override what has already happened. I had many people from all walks of life asked how you could maintain a good spiritual experience under those circumstances, but you can and if ever man needed to realise the reality of God, well you can, did it in battle.

05:16:30:00

Did you see men who lost their faith?
Yes, yes unfortunately but I saw far more who retained it.
What do you do when a man comes to you and says he’s lost his faith and can’t go on?
You can do very little unless he gets… you can talk to him or let him talk. In counselling mainly the more talking you get your patient, if I might use that term,

05:17:00:00

the better and the more he can talk the better chance he has of overcoming.
Did you have that opportunity when you’re in the battlefield?
Not very often. Afterwards you did and that’s some of the worst period. Now I’ve been beside a padre, another padre, we laid down in the sand together and he just went to sleep muttering the names of men who had been killed, who had been his friends,

05:17:30:00

and I can assure you its the most emotional situation.
What was his name?
He’s dead now, I can mention it. John Simmon. He’s been dead a long while. John was an amazing man. You know the slouch hat soldiers wear, they come to a sort of a peak at the top. He had a bullet hole right through the top. When he was moving from,

05:18:00:00

we never called them trenches in those days our days, it was just a hole in the ground that’s all you had that’s all, but he was crawling from one to the other and he must have raised his head a little bit too high and the bullet went straight through. He still had that hat right up until he died. He wouldn’t part with it.
When did that happen?
That happened at El Alamein.
When you left El Alamein, when was that?

05:18:30:00

We finished up there in about the first or second week in November 1942. The reason for that, the breakthrough had occurred, the Germans were on the run, very much so and Montgomery had all the men that he wanted behind us. And when the break came,

05:19:00:00

then they took over from us. They went through us. We only went as far up as a place called Mersa Matruh. And by that time then, all the other reinforcements had taken over and were going ahead and we pulled out of the battle. Lasted 12 days, but I don’t remember even sleeping those 12 days. You’d lean against

05:19:30:00

a vehicle or some obstacle there, and you’d close your eyes standing up but you didn’t lie down to sleep. I wondered and wondered how it was that man could stay awake as long as they did. I saw a doctor, marvellous chap, I can’t recall his name today unfortunately, diagnosed over 300 cases

05:20:00:00

just straight off, one after the other, this man only needs this treatment, somebody else, something else. But when Alamein was over I saw that man just flake out on the ground, just blackout, completely exhausted and you wonder that the human body can stand up to, the things that it does stand up to, in times of need.
There was one big last German offensive

05:20:30:00

wasn’t there?
Well there were really a number at the end. Australians were looked upon as shock troops and we used to get a lot of strong opposition because the Germans looked upon us as shock troops and so we possibly attracted a little more attention than some of the

05:21:00:00

others did. But we, the Germans guessed where we were and attacked first. Simply because the fact that the Australian troops were there.
How did you know when the Germans were attacking, I know that sounds an obvious question but I am trying to imagine that I’m sitting there and suddenly… because they’re not telling you, they are going to give you a signal that they are going to attack… what happens when you your being attacked?
In a case like that, see,

05:21:30:00

there is a certain amount of, where possible, there is artillery start firing and they have a pattern that they used and you’ve got to… your frontline defence, a bit hard to describe I always find, you’ve got your frontline and all the other troops are sort of ready to go forward as soon as they are needed.

05:22:00:00

But I don’t know, perhaps the Americans might have the better idea. American said to me once, “Can’t understand you Aussies”, he said, “You walk into battle”. He said “You should march into battle, but you crawl in”. Well depends on the circumstances you keep going until firing gets severe

05:22:30:00

in front of you, then of course you go down then to what we said, you ‘go to earth’ or ‘you go to ground’ and then you sort of wait to see where you’re needed. The attack might be coming from there, you might be there, well you worked your way over there. It’s a little bit hard to describe because all these areas are different.
Did you ever see the enemy?
Oh yes. As a matter of fact

05:23:00:00

and this is where it goes back to Gallipoli they reckoned that they could talk to each other, the Turks and the Australians.
Were you that close in El Alamein?
No we weren’t quite that close. It was very difficult in New Guinea. The Japanese got very close. I met some indigenous people in New Guinea about 7 or 8 years ago, they lived in a place called Warrio [Wairopi?],

05:23:30:00

which we had to take the battalion I was with, and they reckoned that they could hear us talking to each other but it wasn’t quite correct. But there was only a ridge and we were on one side of the ridge and the Japanese were on the other side, but you could hear the noise coming from them. But in Gallipoli they reckon that they literally did talk to each other. I don’t know.

05:24:00:00

When you’re at the frontline at the desert, what was the atmosphere like, what were the very frontline troops doing when they’re sitting, waiting, watching, what are they doing? What is the atmosphere like?
Once again it affects people differently. I saw a chap he got a bottle of whisky from somewhere, no don’t know where, but he held it up like that and we were supposed to go forward

05:24:30:00

at a certain time, and he said “Tex it’s only this that will keep me alive tonight”. Well it kept him alive but I saw him carried back in a stretcher later in the evening.
Was he drunk?
No his nerves were gone. He’d…very interesting.. he’d been in Syria, not Syria Cyprus. Some of the 6th Division

05:25:00:00

were sent across to Greece and things were going very difficult, it wasn’t sufficient to do a lot of good, but they were sent across all to Greece because they needed help over there and this chap had been all through Greece and then he came back. I don’t know how it was, he must have been somehow away from his own unit

05:25:30:00

and he came across to where we were and he was just with us at this particular time…
Did the troops drink a lot? Alcohol?
I didn’t think so. As a matter of fact I thought they were very well controlled. And I mentioned that to more persons, more than one. Occasionally there was a limited rum

05:26:00:00

distribution, they get just a small amount each, but I’d don’t go along with talk. I had a radio commentator one occasion speak about the battle is being fought over the bar of a hotel. Well I wasn’t very pleased with him. I found that it was just the reverse, I thought they were quite moderate. You’d get the fool of course, makes a fool of himself but generally speaking

05:26:30:00

I would have said they didn’t overindulge. Others may not agree with me, but that was my own personal experience.
What wound did the troops fear the most or perhaps what wound did you fear?
In what way now?
If you were wounded what was the wound you’ve feared the most?
The greatest fear I had was that I would lose a limb.

05:27:00:00

To be killed well that was accepted you could do nothing about that but I shuddered and I’ve often refer to this, at the thought of coming home minus an arm. One chap I was speaking to just before he got moved over, had lost both legs and I shuddered at that thought absolutely.

05:27:30:00

And the fact that only one arm or one leg that really did worry me a lot I admit.
Did you speak to troops who would, lost a leg in battle?
Yes I spoke to one who lost two legs and I admired his spirit, absolutely admired him. You know he was lying on the bed at the hospital, they had the hospitals well back from where the fighting was.

05:28:00:00

I drove down to where this hospital was which was quite a few miles away and I went to see him because he was a young officer and I knew him well and you know, he’s lying on the bed there joking about this, and I thought, “Dear oh dear, what a man”.
What became of him?
I don’t know. That was a sad part about it the war, I felt, people that you knew so well …

05:28:30:00

Now I lived, I was attached actually to the or part of the 2/23rd Battalion, now they were nearly all Victorians and South Australians but I’d came from New South Wales near Sydney, so that if you were… now that same Battalion were nearly all recruited from Albury and Wodonga. Now by…

05:29:00:00

for them going back home, they would see each other quite a lot but I came from Sydney so the, only a few I see now, even, are the ones that have lived around here before they enlisted and if you were sent as a reinforcement you might go to a battalion that doesn’t come anywhere near where you are.
I’m from Albury, I know Albury.

05:29:30:00

Do you?
Yeah.
Well so the church there, we’ve got our colours laid up there.
We will spend a little bit more time on the Mediterranean. I’d just like to ask, do you remember the physical environment, what the Mediterranean was like? What was the light like in the Mediterranean?
In what way?

05:30:00:00

I know the Mediterranean a little bit I’ve seen and it is just a different atmosphere. It’s very far away. To me it seemed very exotic. Did it strike you that you’re in a very different world when you went there first?
No. When I went there it was a little bit different to normally. I went on a ship that had small numbers

05:30:30:00

of reinforcements, a lot of different units and I had to.. I was met by the person in charge of the Salvation Army worked there at the time, and I didn’t even go the normal channels of being, going through a transit camp. He had a car waiting for me, he said “We were that short up at the desert”, he said “I got permission to get you straight through now”. So

05:31:00:00

I was sort of thrown into it without any preparation whatsoever.
Where was that?
At… at the Suez Canal there….
In Egypt?
Yes. Tufic I think the name of the place was, it wasn’t a big place but there was a lot of shipping there. I think it was Tufic.

05:31:30:00

If not, people will understand.
Did you see the pyramids?
Yes, now there was an amazing thing. Now when we were there during the war, you had to travel through a lot of desert before you came to where the pyramids. Today you sit in a restaurant and have a cup of tea and there are the pyramids just outside your window.

05:32:00:00

We went back there well I saw them only last October but 10 years before that we see them again but today between El Alamein and Alexandria which is somewhere around about was between 60 and 70 miles, we used miles in those days,

05:32:30:00

there was nothing. At El Alamein was a railway station in a water supply but no houses. Today that’s all built up between Alexandria and El Alamein but they’re ghosts towns. Only the rich people from Egypt come out and spend a very hot months there and then they go back.

05:33:00:00

When you were thereduring the war do you remember much of the local culture and meeting much of the local people?
No. Yes on leave we did, on leave. But up where any of the fighting was, there was none of the local people there.
Where did you go on leave?
Usually Alexandria. Some of the Australians weren’t the most civilised of people and we had Cairo

05:33:30:00

put out of bounds for a long period time.
Why was that?
Because chaps playing up. They’d be at Perth, when I was there well weren’t let out of the ships in Perth because the previous troops came through, hadn’t behaved themselves.
What were they doing in Cairo?
When you’ve been away from civilization for a long while,

05:34:00:00

I think you go a little bit berserk. Young chaps normally wouldn’t have caused any trouble at all before would be upset by a bit of a fight somewhere and they did cause some disturbances here and there. But Alexandria was a lovely place, I liked Alexandria.
Were they going to brothels in Cairo?

05:34:30:00

No they were closer, they were at Alexandria. Well very interesting happening was for a padre. It was after the battle of El Alamein was finished we would just sort of resting before we were moved at a camp at Gaza and then we came home from there. But the Colonel of the Battalion, he said “Tex if your going down to Alex,

05:35:00:00

could you get some fish?” He said “We got some unit funds here and have something decent to eat”. And I said, “Yes sir, so he gave me the directions”, he said “You go down so and so and so and so”. And then he said, “Park your car and then you won’t have far to walk across to the fish markets”. So I said “I think I can find out all right sir.”

05:35:30:00

Anyway I went down and found things just as he said, parked my car or when I say car, vehicle and an Egyptian teenager came up. “Sieeta George”. I said “Sieeta”. He said “Me St. Kilda”. I said “You’re St Kilda?” He said “Yes me St Kilda on a ship”

05:36:00:00

Turned out that he had been on an Egyptian ship that had gone to Melbourne. At least he learnt where St Kilda was or something and he said, “Me help you?” And I said “I want some fish”. “Oh” he said. He took me down to the fish market, I have never ever seen so many flies in all my life.

05:36:30:00

They were everywhere, but anyhow he got the fish for me and at half the price I would have paid. The Colonel told me roughly about how much he thought I would have to pay, but this teenager got them for half that. And we got back to the car and he I gave a little bit of a tip and there was a military policeman standing by the car,

05:37:00:00

British, he said “This your vehicle sir?” I said “Yes”. And he said, “See where you are parked?” I said “No I don’t”. He said, “See that building there?” And there is a great big six the letter [number] 6.

05:37:30:00

This is a sister street and the six was, it was one of the biggest brothels in the area. It wasn’t out of bounds of the troops, it was pretty much well controlled.
What did you tell a soldier that comes up and expresses his guilt at feeling this longing about being away from female company, how do you advise him in those circumstances.
Well you know I had more than one that said to me, “Look padre, my wife said to me don’t make an attachment to anybody, I’d much rather that you went to a paid

05:38:00:00

brothel, she said rather than you fall for a young nurse or something or the sisters in the troops”. And more than once I got that type of story.
What do you advise them?
Well it is very difficult. We usually advise self-control, which wasn’t always well accepted but generally

05:38:30:00

venereal disease was high in those places, very high and we did our best to keep them on the straight and narrow. But I found troops were very good to deal with. I’ve gone out with five or six in an evening when we’ve had a bit of time, had a day or two leave

05:39:00:00

and you know those chaps were just as normal as anyone that went from here to Sydney to see a show at night. People conjure up in their minds troops being uncontrollable but…
They were banned from Cairo…
But to give you a very good example…
Interviewee: Stanley Morton Archive ID 0033 Tape 06

06:00:36:00

We were coming home on leave… we had, in New Guinea there was nowhere you could go on leave, you just hang around, but there was no such thing as leave in New Guinea unless somebody was being sent back to Australia that was a different thing, but for normal leave there is nowhere to go, there is only jungle. Where we were,

06:01:00:00

‘cause we were not anywhere near Port Moresby or that cities that had been built up at and then we boarded only this small ship. I think it carried only 1,000 and the chaps were pretty wild, not so much in a destructive attitude but the jungle plays, I’ll mention that shortly,

06:01:30:00

the jungle will play on your nerves. The desert is much better from a warfare point of view and we’d been in this jungle I think it was a best part of a year, and we came down, boarded this small ship and the boys just overran the ship. And the Captain went to the Colonel who was a very nice officer, a good friend of mind, he died only last September,

06:02:00:00

he came up to me “Tex”, he said, “The Captain is getting worried. The men are up in the life boats, they are going everywhere where they shouldn’t go on a ship”. So I had a little amplifier and I ran sort of a broadcasting session, I’d find out if the chaps had a birthday and if they had, we had something to say about it or if you heard

06:02:30:00

that some chap had done something stupid, you’d mention his name. We had quite good sessions and the Colonel come up and said “Tex, I’m worried”. He said, “The mood they’re in now”, he said, “if I go and say anything it is not gonna be to any advantage, but can you use your influence and see what happens?” So I happened to look at a life-boat, a long way

06:03:00:00

away from where I was actually, and recognised him, he was one of the leaders amongst the troops there, so I said to the Colonel before he left “Well what if they don’t take any notice of what I say”. He said “Well they might, try anyway if you will please”. And I said “Alright Sir”. And then he went away then. So I looked at this chap, I said, “By the way Bill”, that wasn’t his name,

06:03:30:00

“By the way Bill, we’re in dangerous waters. We could be torpedoed and those life-boats will be needed. What,” I said, “if you broke anything up there, some of the other boys could be drowned.” We talked little bit, and I said “By the way, when you come down bring your mates with you”. Do you know, they never said a word, they came down, they said “Sorry” and they got down to where we were and they said, “Sorry padre” and moved off and had no further trouble.

06:04:00:00

And the Colonel said, “I told you”. But you gotta act according to the circumstances, you can’t plan whatever the situation is you gotta think up something that will fit in to those particular circumstances. But I can assure you when you had 5 ½, nearly 6 years of that, you’ve almost learnt a lot yourself.

06:04:30:00

While you are talking about your name, it is an interesting point, went did you start being called Tex?
Almost the first day was I was in camp. It was easy around the area that I was, Tex seemed to be a name seemed to used quite frequently and I think I’ve been there are very short while

06:05:00:00

and Tex was being used. I think it might have been from the First World War though because most of our staff around the camp were older chaps. They were permanent can staff, they didn’t go overseas, and I got to the camp at 1940, so roughly about between 1940 and ‘41 was.

06:05:30:00

Never had it in private life at all. I went to school, finished, went to work, no one ever called me. It was always Sonny, don’t know how I got Sonny either, but that was my nickname. But never Tex, that was only from the war.
An affectionate name, do you think?
Yes because…

06:06:00:00

my name was supposed to go down on something on one occasion the officer concerned said “What will I put down there? Shall I put it down as Tex or Stan?” And I had I had a think for a while, “Maybe they would know better if you said Tex, they’ll know better that way”. That was correct. It worked out that way and never changed afterwards. It was kept and even now 60 years later, last ANZAC day, only a week ago, less than a week ago,

06:06:30:00

I’d done the dawn service at Brighton and I had to get in to Martin Place quickly for a wreath laying ceremony at Martin Place. My daughter fortunately was at the same dawn service at Brighton and she said, “I’ll get you in there in time”. She knew all the back roads better than I did.

06:07:00:00

So she did, she got right to George Street where the… Martin Place joins it and my group were on the other side of Martin Place of George Street, just about to cross and I got in there just in time.

06:07:30:00

And you heard somebody called you Tex…
And I had to walk past a lot of units to get, see the cars weren’t allowed to come in Martin Place. I had to get off a long way up near Macquarie Street and passed unit after unit and I met up with another unit from our Division and we were walking up together and every now and then

06:08:00:00

someone would call out “Tex”. Different units. I didn’t know who they were and this chap turned around to me and said, “My, the name Tex seems to, has stuck very well”. And that’s exactly what happened and today even, I’m Chaplain to the Rats of Tobruk but in their periodical they always put Tex, rather than the Stan.

06:08:30:00

You had an interesting experience because you joined the 9th Division quite late, you came as a reinforcement and the time when you were going off to Europe most Australian soldiers were being sent to New Guinea, to the north of Australia to defend against the Japanese. Did you feel strange leaving Australia at that time?
Yes I did as a matter of fact. Although I was going…

06:09:00:00

going to Tobruk, actually that’s where I was posted from because the man I was replacing had to be shipped out sick and the convoy I was going on then was dispersed. Apparently word had got out that a convoy was leaving Sydney, and I went out to Hay Camp for a while, I went out to Singleton for a short while, so I wasn’t sure what was happening and then eventually another convoy

06:09:30:00

was formed in Sydney and we when out. Even then when leaving Sydney I wasn’t quite sure what was going to happen but it did turn out to be the Middle East, which I was pleased at the time. Being in camp at Dubbo, it was a training camp, so that you could be sent anywhere from there.

06:10:00:00

Therefore I met a lot of men from other units, that normally I wouldn’t have met and being in the position that I was in, looking for after their entertainment and quite a few other things helpful to them, I had got to know people in the 8th Division, the 6th Division, 7th Division, odd groups, so that I was happy when I knew I was going to the Middle East because I didn’t want

06:10:30:00

to go to Singapore. I did go. Turned out the 9th Division was the only one in the Middle East then, so I was sure it was going to the Middle East, it had to be the 9th Division, which I was very pleased about.
The famous division at this time.
It had made name for itself at this time and after Alamein, well, it had a very good name

06:11:00:00

but I said this to many, there is all a certain amount of jealousy crops up between units. Sometimes it’s not in a good way, it can become a little bit nasty. But if said over and over again,

06:11:30:00

it’s not that one division’s any better than any other division. It is the circumstances that that division finds itself. The 8th Division went to Singapore, now who would want have gone there? It wasn’t their fault, that’s where they were posted. Maybe if they had been in the Middle East, Alamein, they would got the same name as what we did from Alamein. It is simply where you were at the particular time.
When Singapore fell, did you think

06:12:00:00

there was in Australia, was there a sense that Australia was under attack?
No not until we came back and we went to Milne Bay on our way to Lae. We were in transit at Milne Bay and my, you could feel you could almost reach out and touch Australia, and that’s when it hit, I think it hit most of the 9th Division, the fact that the Japs

06:12:30:00

were so close to Australia and it is that that makes me so convinced that if you can keep the war away from your own country, keep it away. Even if it means that your soldiers have to go somewhere else, it is better to stop the war from coming here than waiting until they got here.
Let’s talk a little bit about New Guinea, it was a very different campaign to what was going on in Alamein and Tobruk.
Absolutely entirely different.

06:13:00:00

We did a certain amount of training up in the Atherton Tablelands in jungle warfare and that. But to me it was quite inadequate for what we were going to face. Not anybody’s fault except that there was no time, they needed the troops there. We were experienced from a fighting point of view, but not experienced as far as the jungle was concerned and it was

06:13:30:00

absolutely shocking. As a matter of fact, if you want good humour, join a military unit, you get it. But chap in our crowd, he put the Japanese down as about number seven priority, he said there is malaria, there was dengue fever, he listed them all off and then he said, “Japanese”. But it was something similar… the fighting,

06:14:00:00

you accept that but the whole atmosphere, the whole set up there was so entirely different. In the desert you had the wide open spaces and nobody could sneak up on anyone very well, but in the jungle a twig would snap just beside you and you’d jump and that wasn’t good

06:14:30:00

for anyone. It played up on the nerves, the actual climatic conditions were shocking, it would rain. In some places you could almost set your clock by what time it was going to rain there. One of those, where it rained about four or five o’clock in the afternoon. Now you had no way, there was no such thing as a change of clothes.

06:15:00:00

That didn’t exist. You just wore what you had on until it practically fell off. Many a time I’d have to cut socks off, you left your socks on if they were wool, they get wet and dry and shrink. It was quite common thing if the chaps could not get their socks off, had to cut them off.
Did that happen to you?
Yes my word it did.
How did you deal with personal hygiene in those conditions?

06:15:30:00

Well an English war correspondent put it very nicely, he said, “If you’re on a narrow track and” he said “you see an Australian walking beside you, you get as far over on the other side as you can”. We said he only said it because he was English. But I had, I still have a good friend, he’s a doctor

06:16:00:00

in England and he said…he wasn’t a doctor when he went to the war. He was in the air force, when it came back from the war, he hadn’t qualified for medicine, so he did, he went to university, he qualified and did medical course and we met up with him in Africa and we’ve been good friends ever since.

06:16:30:00

But he said to me on one occasion, “Look we’re so fussy about hygiene these days, we have to wash our hands, the water has got to be pure and you think of what we ate, of what we drank during the war, it’s a wonder that anybody survived”. Well that’s almost what it was. If you are very thirsty in the desert, there, water was very scarce, you didn’t worry whether it was the water had been purified or whether it was

06:17:00:00

infected by anything. You just might not have drank as much, but you had something to drink. And food, somebody said “Back home if you got a fly in your tea, you threw the tea out, but” he said, “ here you squeeze the fly out and throw it away”.
How did they try and prepare you for jungle warfare? They took the division from the Middle East,

06:17:30:00

what did they do to try and prepare you?
We did…see the Middle East… it helped us as far as fighting was concerned, that is correct. You did learn how and the fact of being shot at wasn’t new to you and how to act if there was bombing all that.

06:18:00:00

But otherwise it was mainly the climatic conditions that was so different to what we were trying to prepare for up in the Tablelands before going into the jungle areas. There was more the climatic conditions that prepared you, whereas for the desert, your normal training in a military camp prepared you for that. Whereas in the jungle what you had to learn to…

06:18:30:00

it did affect your nerves. As one chap said, “The Japs could crawl right up to you and look down your rifle barrel” They could get that close to you and they had a horrible habit of penetrating camps at night that the Australian reaction to that was, we had to get something to counter that,

06:19:00:00

so the thing was, so after dark no matter where you were, you stopped and any movement you shot at. So it was extremely awkward but it turned out to be the answer actually. Even if you were going to the toilet, you couldn’t wander off, you just had to go where you were.
Did those rules

06:19:30:00

cause anyone of our own men to get shot?
No everyone accepted it. We were a little bit different to the Americans, they had people get killed by ‘friendly fire’ but I don’t know if ours were ever ‘friendly’ or not but that’s where Australians come out on top

06:20:00:00

in many occasions, they can adapt themselves. And it is recognised in many walks of life, that Australians are good at adapting to certain situations and I’m sure that is, as far as the war is concerned, and we eventually adapted ourselves to jungle conditions same as we had to in the desert.
You went to Milne Bay and then you prepared for the landing at Lae,

06:20:30:00

was that your first real engagement in New Guinea?
Yes that right, yes. Lae was…. I was interested in Gallipoli which was a shocking place but Lae had good landing places and we didn’t have such a terrible lot of opposition there, but further along a place called Finschhafen

06:21:00:00

and we were transported by American small boats from Lae along to Finschhafen and there it wasn’t quite so good. But the Lae landings were quite good and we got ashore without a great amount of trouble and our landing craft was quite good. I get some different to what was in the First World War

06:21:30:00

but they were… we had what we called Landing Craft Infantry or we had Landing Craft Vehicles and even the ones that carried the vehicles, carried a fair amount of troops. But one that carried the troops had delay of the ladders down the sides of them and the ship would run straight up the beach and the chaps would run straight down

06:22:00:00

the stairways on the side. The ones that the vehicles open up on the front and the vehicles just drove straight out and there were some good landing spots there.
Which one were you on, were you a vehicle carrier or a transport carrier?
No I was on vehicle carrier. I’ve often mentioned that they had some marvellous sunsets up there

06:22:30:00

and you got up on the highest part of the ship, which wasn’t very high because they were very flat ships, flat bottoms, and you had to climb up the side around the Captain’s cabin and so forth and have a good look at the sunset. But the…we did our landing practices and training for Lae at Cairns

06:23:00:00

and I only noticed recently the very beach that we used as landing craft, all our landings there, are now being sold for weekenders and so forth, it is being open up to the general public. But it was good training area, we liked it and Cairns was a nice place. Different I believe today, haven’t been back since.
A lot of tourists.
That was nearly 60 years ago.

06:23:30:00

When you landed at Lae, you didn’t meet such stiff opposition because the 7th Division was already there, is that right?
The 7th Division, now that’s an interesting one, you want an argument? Call a 7th Division chap in. They went by air, they went to a place called Nadzab, they were coming down and we were coming by the sea. And you’ll

06:24:00:00

be hard done by to convince the 7th Division we got there before them. I got away from the main part of the unit and I still reckon I was in Lae before the 7tthDivision but I can never convince them of that. No you can get a good friendly argument between the 7th and the 9th any day about Lae and Nadzab,

06:24:30:00

but they did, it was a good idea… tactics were good. They went up to Nadzab by air and they had to come in land and we were coming in by sea and the Japs just went like that. It wasn’t a great deal of heavy fighting there at all. There was more at Finschhafen when the Japs had a much

06:25:00:00

bigger force than what we thought they had there. I went back to near to Finschhafen to a place called Jivenaneng, only about three-four years ago. There is a small force of engineers up the New Guinea today. They do mainly maintenance work and that type of thing and they built a little memorial for us

06:25:30:00

up there. A few of us went up, I went as their padre. We dedicated it and unveiled it and dedicated it there. Well there was a lot of fighting up there at Jivenaneng, that was quite nasty fighting there, but it was entirely different warfare. See you dealt with divisions in the desert when you had thousands around, whereas in the New Guinea

06:26:00:00

they were small groups. Even a battalion was quite a big crowd to have in one spot.
How did that change the job that you were doing? How did that change the job you were doing working with small groups?
It made it more difficult, you had to use more initiative. Now that it interesting that remark because I was on the council over in Africa years after the war, a Ministers’ Council it was and we were responsible for padres

06:26:30:00

who were up in New Guinea, and we had one that had gone from Zimbabwe in Africa and he wrote home and said he couldn’t find anything to do there and I said well, I suggest we call him straight away because if he can’t find anything to do, he wouldn’t be good as a chaplain. And they did, they called him back home. You have to use your own initiative, you see where you’re leading and you act accordingly.

06:27:00:00

But there is no plan according to the book, you do your ordinary church services as well but… After we were established in New Guinea, now I went up to an officer. I knew he had troops in there. You couldn’t see them, they were in the jungle area there. I found out where the officer was and I said “Would you like a little

06:27:30:00

religious sing-song and” I said “a small church service?” He said “We would love something just to take our minds off the situation we’re in now”. And we got a little bit of a clearing, not much bigger than this and had a little bit of a sing- song, a hymn or two, a short sermon, prayers.
Were the needs of the men different? Were the needs of the men different in New Guinea,

06:28:00:00

did they need different things from you?
Not really from a point of view, of morale, a spiritual point of view, no. I thought the needs were much the same but perhaps you got a few extra because the conditions were such that you might have to sit down and talk to a man for a long while.

06:28:30:00

Those sort of things didn’t happen, you didn’t have long periods where we could sit down and talk to people. See malaria was a shocking thing out there. The difference there for instance was that when we first went up there, men just went down like nine pins

06:29:00:00

with malaria an you almost had to have another battalion waiting to come in. Anyway we were taken out of that area later on and we were given malaria, out, before it went back into another area we were given a tablet called Ataprin, and we took that 10 days before we went back. Now that built up the resistance in our bodies and I think, I forget just the exact

06:29:30:00

number of men, it ran into thousands though. Only two got malaria so once they discovered the method to be used, it made all the difference. But all those sort of things, you sort of learnt by experience.
Did you catch malaria yourself?
Never had a day off due to malaria. So you wouldn’t have to carry too much equipment

06:30:00:00

you often have, for instance, ground sheets, rubber, they were quite heavy actually, we’d have three men use one and I had a man each side of me and I’m in the middle. One, you know without a word of exaggeration, they were burning hot. It was just as if you touched something hot off a fire, their bodies were just like a flame.

06:30:30:00

You couldn’t have credited it. Well we couldn’t keep a man in the war area very long like that. You had to get him out as quickly as possible. But even sleeping, the one in the middle sleeping that close to them, I’ve never forgotten it. And I’ve never had it.
That bring on depression did you find, malaria?
I don’t know how it really hits people to be quite frank, having never had it myself.

06:31:00:00

I do know from a fever point of view that it knocks them to pieces and the temperatures soar up terrifically and a doctor told me towards the end of the war even after getting out of the malaria there, one should keep on taking malaria treatment tablets. Well he said to me two years, others have different ideas

06:31:30:00

but he said if it was me, I would keep going for at least two years to get it all out of your blood. That was the trouble with a lot of us, we came back to Australia, they came down with it after a few months and it kept on occurring.
Tell us about Finschhafen, what happened there?
Finschhafen was…I think they

06:32:00:00

underestimated the number of Japanese that were there. The main part there was a place called Sattelburg which we eventually, our division eventually captured that. But we were, on the way to it was a place called Warrio (?), and our battalion stopped there and another one went through

06:32:30:00

us and then went through to Sattelburg. But you were scattered, fought in little groups. When I say little groups, say 100, 200, 300, not sort of thousands. Finschhafen was very rugged but the Americans joined us there and that was absolutely amazing. We landed

06:33:00:00

straight in the bush. The jungle came right down to the beaches, terrific, and we went up tracks until we got well inland. We didn’t get back for quite a long time I forget how many months was to the beach. In the meantime, the Americans came with all the equipment under the sun and there was a big landing strip where there’d be trees and jungle almost down to the beach.

06:33:30:00

They landed big planes on it. So that was.. it became more established there I think quickly because of its location than what Lae did. But the Japs were very well established and that’s where I think, where we made a mistake and a lot of others made a mistake that there wasn’t as many Japs.

06:34:00:00

There was more Japs, than what we thought and that Australia was in more danger than what we anticipated.
How did the fighting take place? There was more Japanese than Australians, what happened in the fighting?
Oh we cleared the Japs all out of that area completely. They had been

06:34:30:00

in New Guinea for a fair while. They just were retreating, we could have only just gone back into the water, but they were alright they went back into the jungle and eventually they got pushed back and back and back. But they had and I doubt it if anybody even realises it today, how near Australia was to being invaded. Even up around Timor

06:35:00:00

and all those little islands, they were everywhere. We were at Morotai which is up further north, there was an island not far away and they said there were thousands of Japs there but they couldn’t leave the island. They couldn’t get supplies, so they were just left there to starve. And someone was speaking to me the other day, said, “I guarantee there are still Japanese up there and some of those islands”.

06:35:30:00

They probably mixed with the other indigenous people in the area. But Australia was in more danger I’m sure of that.
Did you see a lot of death? Were there a lot of casualties in these battles? Was there a lot of death, a lot of casualties in these battles?
The casualties were, the casualties were nowhere near as heavy as there were in the desert.

06:36:00:00

from casualty, war casualties. But health, normal health casualties, were much greater than in the desert. The physical problems were much greater. Now I think there was a Typhus bug, it was a little.. your legs would be covered with little red spots

06:36:30:00

and they said one in a million was infected, but they were fatal. Once you…they had at that time, I don’t think now, but at that time they had no cure for the Typhus bug as we called it and that worried chaps. You lifted your trousers up and you saw the whole of your leg covered in these spots, it did affect the chaps

06:37:00:00

very much because they didn’t know. How would you know which one? But once again I never had any...
How did you physically hold a service in these conditions?
Once again I’d say you just had to use your own initiative. You’d sit around on logs, you’d have to pick if you wanted to pick a hymn. We had a

06:37:30:00

great talent for a point of view of singing, ‘cause we used to organise our own concerts. It was amazing the talent that you’d find amongst the men and you had to find a hymn that somebody knew, I couldn’t carry supplies of anything with me. You’d have to read scripture that you knew by heart, you couldn’t

06:38:00:00

carry a bible with you. You could a little testament, but you couldn’t carry a bible with you and you used most of the things that you actually knew. And you found a lot of the chaps were used to church life and you got a lot of help and assistance from the men themselves.
What hymns were particularly popular? What hymns did the men know?
Oh old ones

06:38:30:00

like, Abide with Me, What a Friend We Have In Jesus… great job to think of them myself now. But they were mainly familiar ones that nearly every church used, some churches at they have their own set of hymns that are very rigid, but you have others

06:39:30:00

for instance Wesley’s hymns, the Methodist songs, perhaps every church in the world uses, one or two of those or so. While a church has its own particular hymns, there are still many stolen, a few from others as well. So you had to pick a hymn, even the.. many are the same. Now I had a little amplifier that I used, not when we were fighting. But any equipment that you had it was put into store when there is a battle on, even your dress uniform and I had this little amplifier and some of those chaps could give you everything on those records from A to Z because

06:40:00:00

we only, perhaps a dozen of them, and what they used to do, they used to bet on which one would be put on first. So and it was the same with the church, you just had to have things that you could memorise yourself and the chaps appreciated it and it went over very very well and this is where I disagree with this reporter but that I met on one occasion. He said that, understood that

06:40:30:00

men turned away from the church during wartime. I disagree with that.
Were you still able to give me coffee that kind of support, that coffee you were giving in the Middle East did that still happen in New Guinea?
Yes I know to many, it would be very hackneyed,

06:41:00:00

but it was repetition, it had to be, over and over again. Now we had a padre at Tobruk and he had one particular course that he used to sing. It was Sunshine on the Hill, there was shadows in the valley but there’s sunshine on the hill. I did a funeral not so long ago and there was a request for that to be made, and yet when he was in Tobruk,

06:41:30:00

when was that, 1941, and yet that chap had somehow remembered that. And where did we go? My wife and I somewhere, not so very long ago, and they asked for Sunshine on the Hill and that was the way you got through it.
Interviewee: Stanley Morton Archive ID 0033 Tape 07

07:00:42:00

One of the things, now you can relate it to coffee would be alright if you wouldn’t know where to fit it in…. one of the things that I found was to get near to the men was to do things

07:01:00:00

that they did and often it was for your own benefit too. So I learnt to do little bit of map reading which is not easy in the military, because you do training on map reading only. But still you get a rough idea about how to use them. We had a battalion going, a company at least, going in the jungle area on one occasion and it was all rainforest, so they had no possible hope

07:01:30:00

of lighting a fire or getting a hot drink not from early in the morning to late at night. But when I looked at a map, I could get a vehicle down a certain track that would bring out on a flat area where there were no trees or anything. So I thought “Alright, I’ll get a load of coffee up and see if I can take it, get to that spot”, and I did,

07:02:00:00

a long while before they got there because they were marching. Even though it was anything but a march, they called it marching and they, so I got to the spot the and had already for the men and most thought, they broke through just a few yards away from where I’d stopped this jeep and the officer came over to me,

07:02:30:00

he was literally crying and I said, “Had a bad day?” “Well”, he said, “I’ve been trying to put some sense into the men all day”. He said “We couldn’t get a drink only what we had just in their water bottles, we couldn’t get a hot drink, it was a rainforest, we couldn’t do anything in the rainforest”. And he said, “The boys kept saying, it’s alright Sir,

07:03:00:00

Tex will get to us tonight”. And he said “I tried to break it down as soft as I could and say no he can’t make it tonight”. And he said, and this went on nearly all day. And he said “Well look, when we broke through the jungle and saw your jeep”, he said “it was just too much for me”. And he said to me in years to come, he said, “These chaps will forget your name, they won’t even remember Tex,

07:03:30:00

but” he said, that “they will remember that, that is, certain time when they were in need the Salvation Army was there” He said that “Even though you won’t be remembered, the church that you work for will be remembered”. And I thought that should be our attitude in life all the time by rights, but it’s not. But it should be.
You were the coffee angel.

07:04:00:00

It was a need and it was supplied. Not so much what it is but it supplied a need. And a chap only recently said to me, he gave me a donation actually, I thought “Well thank you very much”. He said “That’s for all the coffee I had from your people during the war”. I said look, “You must have paid for that coffee

07:04:30:00

over and over and over again”. He said “No I haven’t”, he said “You could never place a value on that cup of hot coffee given at the right moment”. Well I wouldn’t have thought of answering that way, but that was his feelings and I feel a lot of the things that were done during the war, unplanned, wouldn’t find them in any textbook, but they were things that were done because they were necessary

07:05:00:00

or helpful just at that particular time.
Troops are human beings, they are not just weapons of war, they have to be cared about.
That’s right, they are human beings and they have feelings. I think that’s very important. I found the early stage, lots of people at home really looked down on the soldier, “Oh he is just going over to have good time” but I’ve got the highest respect

07:05:30:00

for the Australian soldier, absolutely the highest.
There must have been a lot of times when you were confronted with great brutality and I was just perhaps wondering… I know at Sattelburg there were instances of brutality towards Australians from the troops from the Japanese. Can you talk about

07:06:00:00

perhaps one of those instances?
I never really came in contact with any of them personally. Most of them were done …well there was a battalion of pioneers who were at Naine, who were hung up on trees and brutally treated, but because I was in a different area. I never had any contact whatsoever

07:06:30:00

with them. They were a battalion of pioneers and I never ever spoke to them but I knew what happened in the area. We had to retreat, not our group but the other group we were discussing, and we came, we had to retreat, and then re-attack the following morning.

07:07:00:00

But I wasn’t actually on the spot, I was just a few miles away and nearly all the cases of brutality that we read about and see about, I was never personally involved with them. But if I had been in the 8th Division that would have been a different story because they were involved a terrific lot of it. But where we were, prisoners were no good to them, they had nowhere, they only had to kill them,

07:07:30:00

nowhere to keep the prisoners.
What happened in that particular instance when the troops had to retreat and come back the next day, what happened then?
There were nine Australians, they were brutally mutilated and our chaps then got reinforcements and came up, well the Japs actually moved out further then.

07:08:00:00

All we got were the bodies. We never got never got any of the Japanese back but the bodies that had been mutilated, that’s all the Australians got, and that’s what happened in, a lot of New Guinea. See in the desert places like that they set up prisoner of war cages, and if you took a prisoner, he was transported immediately

07:08:30:00

to the place but in the jungle you couldn’t do that. It didn’t exist. If you killed a prisoner, if you took a prisoner, he was only a burden to everybody and goodness knows what he might do, so they killed them straight out, which was not very pleasant at all.
Did that shake your faith again?
No, no.

07:09:00:00

I think… see we didn’t come on to Japan straight away, like some other chaps did, we had the Middle East first, if I might use the term, harden us up. I never saw anything that, well, really badly disturbed us.
How were the Japanese prisoners treated by Australians?
Very well because I was in one of the camps

07:09:30:00

where they were, Hay Camp. Hay Camp was… brought in from many of the close areas to Australia, I don’t know how they really got to Australia. Cowra for instance was a Japanese prisoner of war camp. They had a break out there and quite a lot of deaths there.
In Finschhafen

07:10:00:00

battles were POWs taken, Japanese prisoners of war?
Yes not a large number, because they wouldn’t let themselves be taken, they would kill themselves before they would… take a hand grenade, strapped to their stomachs and blow themselves to pieces with it. We’d watch them do it. That was the worst thing because their own families wouldn’t

07:10:30:00

accept them back, absolute disgrace. And when I went to Hay Camp for a while, just a few months, the Japanese prisoner there as a prisoner, he was the perfect prisoner. If you asked to do anything he would bow, most polite. Cowra must have been a different type but I never got to Cowra, they had nasty shows in Cowra they

07:11:00:00

had a break out, and quite a few deaths over that.
Did you deal with Japanese POWs when you were up in Finschhafen and around Lae?
No. The only time I worked with the Japanese, had anything to do with Japanese prisoners was at Hay.
Did you hear of any stories of revenge by the Australian troops

07:11:30:00

on Japanese?
No, I didn’t actually, as a matter of fact. I heard others mention it, but I never saw any. The nearest I saw to anything and then they ended up taking Japanese prisoners, a chap had a hand grenade and he deloused it, so it was harmless and he gave it to this Japanese prisoner. We only got them in small numbers, we got this Japanese only, and immediately he got it, he slapped it to his stomach

07:12:00:00

like that, and our chaps scattered, and ran away as though they were frightened and he took it out and looked at it, shook it, put it us to his ear, shook it again, slapped it to his stomach again and nothing happened, so it took out, shook it again and he was about to throw it away and the boys picked him up an took it from him. But if they could possibly avoid it they did, being taken prisoner.

07:12:30:00

They would do their best to commit suicide, hari kari.
Can you understand the urge for revenge on the part of Australian troops if they were confronted by the brutality of the Japanese?
I find it very hard, it is not the Australian nature

07:13:00:00

Do you understand human nature?
Yes but we had a good example I think over the desert. We looked upon them as mutual respect.

07:13:30:00

We admired Rommel, thought he was a very good general. He fought a good, clean war and I think that’s why it, we were a bit surprised, the Japanese being as they were. I attended a gathering in England only a few months ago, there were Germans

07:14:00:00

there, quite a few Germans and Australians, few English chaps there and I said to, we have a lovely evening together actually, swapped stories and those that do drink, drank, and those who wanted coke had coke, and I turned to a German sitting beside me and said, “If countries want to discuss war,

07:14:30:00

why couldn’t they do it in an atmosphere such as this. Instead of letting politicians do it under the cold sort of parliamentary meeting”, because we had a lovely evening together, it was mutual admiration. In boxing, win or lose, you’re always admired as an opponent and that’s how we felt with our Germans.

07:15:00:00

They were supposed to be our enemies but not our choice. Well by government decision but not by our choice, and I read a very interesting letter by Rommel only a few days ago in which he apologised for not being able to be at the El Alamain anniversary this year, and he said because he knew it would have been his father’s wish

07:15:30:00

to attend. So that when you go out, I think there’s more spite, more viciousness on a football field than on the battlefield at times. You didn’t feel that you were picking on a certain man, you didn’t know who was in front of you, other than that he was on the other side and surely it wouldn’t have given you any satisfaction to kill a man,

07:16:00:00

just for the sake of killing him. And if he was doing what he felt right, you were doing what you were doing right, well it was, it was just mutual admiration. Now the Turkish people I think they have adopted a marvellous attitude towards Australia. They admire Australians very much

07:16:30:00

and these big signs they have put at the graves, Your son lies beside our son, buried in a friendly country.
That’s a really interesting point, Stan…. I’m just going on to move on to deal with Borneo

07:17:00:00

before we run out of time, because this is a very interesting part of your service experience, but before we do there was a story you were going to tell about the sunset on the ship on the way to Borneo.
We massed in Morotai. At Morotai, was a big island in the Helmahu Islands, north of Australia, and we massed our troops there and then

07:17:30:00

they went out to various battles in various areas. And we went there to… I can’t think of the name of the place we landed…I’ve been using the name all along…anyway we were going down for the landing

07:18:00:00

in Borneo..
In Labuan.
Labuan, Labuan, Labuan’s the one I wanted and the convoy formed up at Morotai. Now we were all sizes and shapes of ships and the majority of them were various ships especially for beach landing and then of course you had the normal naval escort. Now they went very slowly. They had a time

07:18:30:00

for the landing, they went very slowly and the sea was marvellous, just like billiard table, it was that smooth and when we came to.. it was about the 8th June we landed on the island, when it came nighttime, everyone admired the sunset. They were absolutely terrific and we climbed up on various parts of the ship

07:19:00:00

so we got a beautiful view. I’ve never seen sunsets like that, and with the sea so smooth, it was absolutely terrific and I thought then when you could see all those heads of the ships, lots of those chaps were looking at their very last sunsets. Landing at Labuan was quite a big landing.

07:19:30:00

Next morning then we landed there, but first of all there was a pounding from the Navy, they sent barrage after barrage and then the air force came in and they sent squadron after squadron, over, around.

07:20:00:00

It was a colossal thing. There were thousands just waiting for landing and then when the air force finished with them the Navy finished then we went in and do you know, well as I said to somebody, “I don’t think an ant could have lived through that”. The few buildings that were there, were blasted to pieces, trees were blasted to pieces.

07:20:30:00

And I said to somebody then, “Well last night we saw the handiwork of God, today we’re looking at the handiwork of man”, and that’s just the way the situation was.
There were some hard fighting in Labuan after the landing wasn’t there?
Yes yes there was a lot more than we anticipated and that’s when the flag

07:21:00:00

came into it. When we landed…
Just explain the flag for those who might not have seen it, you have a flag that you brought back from Borneo.
I carried two flags really, one was the Salvation Army flag and the other was the Australian flag. I haven’t got the Salvation Army flag here now, it’s over at the museum. That one that I have got on the table there, is the Australian one. So what we did,

07:21:30:00

we landed and then you establish the base on the beach, your supplies came in and there were certain troops stayed on the beach there, because when your initial supplies come in, those ships go out and then they bring the support troops and extra supplies in. So you first have to get established on the beaches which we had done. And I was with the first group,

07:22:00:00

and we set up a little coffee stand just under a tree so that the men who were working unloading the ships could get the benefit of that, it was like a headquarters and we had a couple of vehicles there. We would move out, then the troops going further up, then the Japs retreated when first started to land. Then they must have started to reform again

07:22:30:00

further up or a few kilometres away and it seemed as though everything was comparatively quiet because you do that on the landing. You land and you establish a base and that’s what even happened at Gallipoli and after we had been there for, I think about a week, we heard shooting at night.

07:23:00:00

and our forward troops were only a little way ahead from where we put this coffee place in, put a bit of a tarpaulin up to make it look like a tent and then we had our base to work from and then we heard this shooting, and then we heard this marching and we thought, “Oh that’s alright, must be our chaps”. It wasn’t our chap marching at all, it was the Japanese. They had marched right to where they had reformed,

07:23:30:00

came down, past a lot of little units of ours, until they were almost down to the beach where we had our main base set up and then we certainly… I said to my corporal “That’s not Australian shooting at all”, I said and we stopped and we listened and then when we realised… we could actually hear their marching then, we could tell they weren’t Australian

07:24:00:00

So we didn’t have beds but everyone had a mosquito net and you’d tie it up and put your ground sheet underneath it and then you tucked the mosquito net around you. We crawled out of those, they were tied to bits of trees, limbs of trees, we crawled out of those into a shell hole just nearby.

07:24:30:00

And then I said, “Look we have to get over to where we are”. We were only on our own, nobody else around us at all. I said, “We have to get over to where our troops are”, which we did. We crawled over there and then we were right. So we just made a bit of a hole for ourselves and then waited then to see what was going to happen. Well by then the Australians had realised what was happening, they were all in bed

07:25:00:00

and they had the support line set up and we just stayed with them. When daylight came, ‘cause it was all dark, you couldn’t tell, where the shooting was coming from. You could tell where it was coming from but you didn’t know what was involved there. So we were amazed how many dead Japanese there were, around that area.

07:25:30:00

You couldn’t choose where you fired, you just fired that’s all it was. You could see the area where there were. The casualties were very high. The next morning we looked around and that flag was hanging from a tree, they bayoneted that. The pieces, only have half of that now. And that everything they could bayonet, they did. My bed, well what we used as a bed, my mosquito net

07:26:00:00

they bayoneted the head, the middle and the feet, three bayonetings right in and…
How far had you retreated when they came into the camp? Where we you at this time?
We were in a shell hole, I ‘spose just a matter of a few yards away, it was dark, they couldn’t tell. You could have had a hundred people there, they wouldn’t have known.
Did you see them?
Yes, yes we could see them quite clearly.

07:26:30:00

It was a well-known road in those days, because the Japanese had their headquarters there, I should have told you that. The reason we landed there because intelligence said that that was where the bulk of the Japanese are and that’s where their headquarters are. But they retreated back when we started to land, reformed and then attacked again. They came down trying to drive us into the sea.

07:27:00:00

Can you remember what that was like, being in a shell hole with the Japanese troops so close?
It was a horrible feeling because they throw grenades as well and a grenade might go and the stove there would go off. But in a shell hole, this is where atomic bombs are devastating,

07:27:30:00

they don’t believe it, but every shell or bomb leaves a little crater, just enough for a couple of men, depending on the size of the one. You sort of below ground because when a bomb drops, it doesn’t penetrate, it makes a hole and the shrapnel sort of spreads out that way and if you are below the surface, you’re safe, unless it lands right on where you are. So you always made for an depression

07:28:00:00

in the ground, that was the best thing to find, and lie there until you got something better. And that’s what we’d all do then, because we didn’t have trenches like they did in the First World War. But you just dig a hole just enough to be below the level of the ground. Next morning when the shooting had stopped through the night

07:28:30:00

and we started to walk around when daylight came just to see the dead Japanese lying all around. Our casualties were very light because they all they knew was that we were about there, but they didn’t know where to look for us, that is why they stayed on the road I suppose.
Were you armed? Did you have a gun?
No, now that’s an interesting point that one.

07:29:00:00

No, we were not allowed to carry arms but and the Japanese they’d look now for the insignias on your shoulders to see… they selected officers to shoot first. See a lot of the Japanese were uneducated and were not…well they.. I forget the term they use now,

07:29:30:00

but sort of meant that they coolies, were, and I think that is why a lot of these atrocities took place. Nobody considered them as… they weren’t trained soldiers, they had a lot like that. They thought that we were the same, so when they saw anything on the shoulders, they knew he was an officer, he had to be killed. Because their officers were the leaders and the others just followed them.

07:30:00:00

When we did a survey of them in the morning, by then we’d crawled into what we called our Australian lines. We crawled over there and we were together, all of us in the one area, then they could concentrate on shooting then but every now and again a grenade would land just near you. They were within throwing distance of a grenade.

07:30:30:00

So those who could throw the furthest, had the best chance of getting somebody.
Did you feel like picking up a gun?
Well it would be much more comfortable. Anyhow we searched around the next morning we found, buried the dead etc, and the divisional headquarters send for me. They were about a kilometer away

07:31:00:00

and they said, “We were rather concerned with you being down there last night, because you were away from the actual bulk of the fighting troops”. And so the quartermaster came up to me and said, “I’ve been instructed to give you a hand gun and we want you, we know the situation, but we want to keep that with you, until we can sort the situation out”. That’s the only time I ever did.

07:31:30:00

But I did hang on to that until later on because I was shifted on back from there to Morotai. It was just about near the end of the war then, we only had…finished three or four weeks after.
Would you have been able to use that gun if it came to it?
Yeah, well I did all the training the men did. I did a gunnery course, a did a tank driving course..
But was it consistent with your beliefs?

07:32:00:00

I think if it came to self-defence you might have to use it, but I never did but I had done practice shooting. We’d go out with a bit of ammunition, and some hand guns, not in this particular area but out in an area where you could have target shooting and we use to have some target shooting. So I knew

07:32:30:00

how to handle them, but never did and never had to, never used them but it is amazing the difference of feeling. You feel so naked if you haven’t got some form of protection you literally feel naked, the most peculiar feeling. The moment you’ve got something to protect yourself, I’ve never discussed this with anyone else but,

07:33:00:00

when you realise you got something to protect yourself, there is the feeling of calmness somehow comes over you, you feel “Oh well at least we are on equal terms now anyhow”. Otherwise it’s no good throwing a stone or throwing a stick at him if you see an enemy coming but if you got arms, well it does protect you. That’s the only time and that was, I would say within a month of the end of the war.

07:33:30:00

It was very close to the end of the war.
It was, very, because I did Morotai and then I went up to Manila, where we received the ex-prisoners of war.
That was after the surrender.
That’s correct.
Because it was so close to the end of the war, a lot of people have said subsequently that those landings in Borneo were unnecessary.
They were actually. The idea was to release Singapore,

07:34:00:00

relieve Singapore, and you had the British in Burma, they were coming down towards Singapore and we would be going towards Singapore. I think there was a lot of queries... There was always a lot of these people that think they’re good strategists, they would have done this, and they wouldn’t have done something else.

07:34:30:00

Now at Tarakan, they felt, that wasn’t necessary and you’ll see books written out that say Tarakan was unnecessary. Tarakan was another part of Borneo and that was where my battalion was, but I’d been changed by then, I was different headquarters.
Did any of the men come up to you as padre and say that what they thought they were doing was futile, that they

07:35:00:00

didn’t want to be part of it?
No, never. I cannot remember either in the Middle East or New Guinea or Borneo, not one single person and that’s why I did get a little bit of annoyed with some demonstrations. Every man, he might have a reason for being there, but no man said they were going there to be killed, everybody thought they would go home again, but we know

07:35:30:00

that they all didn’t. I don’t think I ever had a man either, well I am going over there to be killed, never. As a ex-servicemen I would say, nobody ever thought they were going to be killed. They knew someone would be, but never thought they will be the one the would be killed. It is a most peculiar feeling but that’s the way you feel.

07:36:00:00

A common term that was used “Well if your numbers on it, you’ll go, if not, you’re right”. Another common term used to was, “Don’t worry about the bomb that you hear, it is the one that you don’t hear that will cause the trouble”.
Did you ever feel that you might not go home at any time during your service?
Once or twice yes.

07:36:30:00

The one where the flag went I thought well I will be very fortunate to get through that night. But not, although Alamein the feeling came at different times, you had to see and be at Alamein to appreciate how big a show that was and especially when, see the first, about the first week it was touch and go. It lasted twelve

07:37:00:00

days. Well it wasn’t until somewhere after about the ninth day that they were confident that the Germans would break and retreat but for the first week it was very touch and go. It wasn’t a case that the first night a big barrage and then everything go away, it didn’t work that way at all and it was a situation that was very touch and go. But we had a good leader,

07:37:30:00

we succeeded.
You did succeed, the war ended and you were still alive. Where were you when…well where were you when you heard about the atomic bomb?
We must have been in New Guinea then. It’s interesting that you should ask that..
In Borneo… or did you leave already.
Because

07:38:00:00

it wasn’t long before the end, but it wasn’t right at the end.
August 1945.
Yes and the war ended in September. I was up in Morotai then, I would have been in Morotai. I was questioned a lot about it once we got home. A lot of people,

07:38:30:00

youngish people were going around with petitions asking me to sign and when I said over and over again, I said “Look that bomb, whether we liked it or not, brought the war to an end”. And we had no idea, we thought it would go on for years but I saw the first film that was taken, the first one that was dropped,

07:39:00:00

and I can assure you… what happened was we had a big open-air theatre in Morotai, Americans were running it, but we had access to it and a war correspondent from London was passing and he had this film and he put it on. Now usually when an outdoor film was put on in any of these areas

07:39:30:00

you got a lot of shouting and the Americans would go, especially if it was a cowboy picture. Americans shoot their hats up in the air, they almost go berserk. Well that was a normal thing at the end of a show. This night, when they put this on, you could have heard a pin drop. Men got up from their seats where they were

07:40:00:00

and quietly, all of us had a long distance to get back to our tents, people weren’t even talking to each other, it was absolute silence, they just walked back hardly saying a word. For about five miles in the centre there was no hole anything. In the central of where the bomb exploded,

07:40:30:00

there was no hole in the ground but everything had disintegrated. A house like this would just disappear, no bricks, there would be no rubble, no debris about it at all and it made you feel well, hopeless, absolutely helpless and as it spread out, then you saw the tumble down houses that were partially destroyed, but all within the centre of that

07:41:00:00

was completely destroyed. Railway lines somehow the railway lines were running straight like that and the metal wasn’t even bent or anything like that. But every other thing seemed to..
And they showed you the film of this in Morotai? They showed you the film, footage of this?
Yes, they put it on, the first one. We understood we were the first ones to ever see it. ‘Cause they had only just taken it, come straight from the area.

07:41:30:00

It did more than frighten you, it made you realise you had no defence against a thing like that. Nothing at all.
Interviewee: Stanley Morton Archive ID 0033 Tape 08

08:00:29:00

Where were you when the Japanese surrendered, were you still in Morotai?
Yes.
Do you remember that day?
Yes but it was very quiet. From where we were we weren’t anywhere near where the big official gatherings were. The only difference we noticed was that mainly that there was no shooting going on anywhere

08:01:00:00

and that that they started to talk about prisoners. But it was at night that, the first night, we had about seven killed by American friendly firing. They just went berserk, shot.. I suppose they thought they were shooting in the air, but they were shooting in all directions

08:01:30:00

and the next morning… what a shocking thing it is to be killed like that the very night when the war was supposed to be over. But that’s when they were coming back from features theatres, these outdoor theatres that they had. The Americans did a big thing about those, had projectionists who were part and parcel of a military unit

08:02:00:00

and they must have, almost an archive of old films and so forth anyway you got new and old, sometimes you got the very latest films. We had a certain amount of that in the Australian army, but in a very small manner but the Americans had Gracie Fields.

08:02:30:00

They would fly her out to…she was in Morotai when I was there at one stage, and she entertained us for two hours on her own. But things like that as far as the entertainment was concerned, the Americans were streets and streets ahead of us but they never withheld anything. Even though we were given a certain part of an island, that’s where we had our administration, we did all our work

08:03:00:00

from that particular section, we were invited to anywhere where they were. We were welcomed, they were very friendly in that respect, very.
But they were undisciplined.
Well they are different. When you’re used to … my baptism was with the English or the English soldier’s right on the ball, no doubt about that.

08:03:30:00

They’d drive you mad as far as their ritual is concerned. An English officer, dear oh dear, we’d carry a sack on our back or something, he’d have great big bag that he was carrying. They were so different, but they were good soldiers and you felt confident if you were with them.

08:04:00:00

And the other countries, now the Scottish, they had the 51st Division, they were great chaps. They had other that we weren’t so keen on but we liked the Scots, we liked the English, we liked the Canadians. Some of the others… oh Indian Ghurkas.

08:04:30:00

Marvellous on patrol. They were quiet. You could be sitting here and somebody would suddenly tap up on the shoulder and you’d jump, you didn’t think anyone was around.
On that night when the surrender came through, you said that seven Australians were killed?
No we were Americans and Australians on that Morotai

08:05:00:00

No they were all Americans.
Seven Americans were killed?
Yes. As far as I know we didn’t have anyone at all like that, because I don’t think our chaps ever took their rifles to the theatre, but the Americans just don’t do the things the same way as we do.
So what happened to you after the surrender?
I had a very

08:05:30:00

interesting job then. They formed up a formation on Morotai, to go up to Manila in the Philippines and we were part of the American set up there. The Americans were handling a lot of released prisoners of war, handling them, and we had to handle English

08:06:00:00

and Australian. They had a big tent set up and tables and chairs and we had solicitors there, some of the top legal men of Australia there and the prisoners would be questioned who were coming through if they had information that could be passed on. The idea was the trial would come to punish ones…

08:06:30:00

Well you’ve got a code of fighting and if a country doesn’t abide by that, they can be charged as war criminals and these solicitors did all the questions like that and there was a few others. Padres and myself, we looked after the welfare of the men but they came in by plane loads but they are all listed. If you saw a name there that might have some meaning to you,

08:07:00:00

you went and saw that person, might be somebody who you had contact with but you were there to arrange anything they needed as far as going home was concerned. The old idea was that if you had been starved, or starved or were starving for months that you could only have a little bit of food at time until you could became accustomed to solid food again.

08:07:30:00

But that they found, that wasn’t necessary and the men, when they were coming down the gang-planks, the gang ways of the planes, you would have literally thought they were mechanical skeletons. Bones in their face, in their arms, and their legs, pushing out through the skin and coming down the gang way of the planes, they would be hanging both hands onto the side

08:08:00:00

and just a very steady, almost like a crawl down the gang way, until later they got to the bottom and then they could be taken off, some in chairs, some carried in stretchers. But they were in shocking conditions. But all the plans that the Americans had, because everything came under the Americans in the Pacific

08:08:30:00

and a man, if he felt like a meal at 3 o’clock in the morning, he was able to go up to the dining room, there was a full staff on duty, and he could have a hot meal, what ever he wanted. And any time he wanted to go, an hour later if he felt like he wanted more, he could go back again. And you’d be amazed how much difference there were in a fortnight with those men.

08:09:00:00

It was agreed that you couldn’t send men home like that in that condition. Their families would faint on the spot, you couldn’t credit it. Anything anyone tells you about it, couldn’t be exaggerated.
What was your role with POWs coming in? What did you have to do with the POWs?
We questioned them to find out if there was anyway in which they wanted a cable sent, letters

08:09:30:00

or anything at all, doesn’t matter, what any need they had, we were there to see that they got them, and I must admit everybody did everything possible… although bringing the men almost back to life again. I think they would have been finished with. It was very interesting, but nobody spared anything. The American administration,

08:10:00:00

all you had to do was say you wanted such an such for a prisoner and you had it.
What did they ask you for?
Mainly contact with home, letters, paper, envelopes, stamps, anything that needed to get a letter home. That seemed to be the first big consideration. Just trying to think of anything extraordinary

08:10:30:00

but there wasn’t. I’m trying to think, mainly the normal thing if you were travelling. Clothing, well they had that, was all provided for them. That was a big job with the clothing, getting them equipped.
What kind of clothes were they wearing when they arrived?

08:11:00:00

Rags, literally rags. If you have looked at some of those documentaries they’ve , these chaps getting around just with loin clothes in the camps. None that I had anything to do with had just loin cloths. They had a coat or a shirt, trousers, but literally rags.
Did they have a particular smell?
We didn’t notice that no, I didn’t anyhow. You would think so but I didn’t.
What colour was their skin?
It was sickly. We never knew whether it was, see we were taking Ataprin

08:12:00:00

for malaria which made you very yellow, whether it was the Ataprin or whether it was something else I don’t know, but they were more yellow than anything else. And certainly very pale… how you would you describe it?

08:12:30:00

They had no weight on at all. Their face was literally haggard, very haggard but pricked up quickly, very quickly.
You’d been in the 9th Division in the Middle East when most of those prisoners were taken so you wouldn’t have known much about that before you arrived, was that a shock to you?

08:13:00:00

Yes, see I went out to the planes at the airport by the time… these are mainly prisoners coming from Japan, even though they might have been at Singapore at some time or another, they’d been transferred over to Japan and the only ones we handled were the English and the Australian. I had dealings over in,

08:13:30:00

a little bit of prisoners before but never… I think of anyone that would have measured up to this these conditions. How they stayed alive, I don’t know.
What was their faith like?

08:14:00:00

One chap he came from the same town as I did, Goulburn, he was literally handsome. You don’t usually call a boy beautiful but he was handsome, and he was a heart-throb as far as the girls were concerned. All the girls in town would like to have had him as

08:14:30:00

a boyfriend and I saw his name on the list, I thought “Well it may be him, may not be I’ll go and find him”. I couldn’t find him. I said to somebody “Where is Bruce, so on so forth, I can’t find him?” They said, “Oh look that is him over there”. Now all I could see was an old man. I couldn’t for a moment believe

08:15:00:00

that he was… Last time I saw him it was just about being the end of a teenager, as I said it was good-looking, very popular chap, and there he was an old man sitting in a chair, completely changed. I often wondered, I never saw him again afterwards but he belonged to the Salvation Army and he,

08:15:30:00

well I couldn’t really get a good conversation out of him, it was very difficult and if any, he was one that I should have been able to but they seemed to be in a different world altogether.
Could you please explain something, why were the prisoners coming from Japan to Manila, why weren’t they going back

08:16:00:00

to Australia?
Manila was the American base for the whole of the Pacific area there and I don’t know anywhere else where they could have done.. see you got all the administration work that has to be done, which had to be done in a place where they had the facilities to do it. In this campfor instance which the Americans had was a very big thing but they had everything you could think of,

08:16:30:00

no shortages of anything, and more equipment than what they needed. I needed a jeep and trailer, no trouble at all. Anything you wanted was there, so I presume they had to have a centre where they could… they could use all those facilities because it wasn’t as though there was a small number, ran into the thousands

08:17:00:00

and they had to get them back to their own home town.
How long did they have to spend there before they could go back home?
It was only to have been a matter of hours but when before they finished at least almost before they started, they realise that could never work and the minimum anyone spent there was two weeks and if they were unfit to travel, longer.

08:17:30:00

But the two weeks was marvellous, did wonderful things for them.
Was the morale of the men, like you, good at the time, seeing these shocking prisoners of war?
Yes well the one that went up there to receive them, they only picked people that had medals on them, now I think that was more of a psychological move than anything, to let the prisoners know

08:18:00:00

that the people that were now picking them up had been ones that had experience of the war themselves but they weren’t there long enough for us to see if anyone had any big problems for us to solve. The only thought that any of them had was to get home and I wouldn’t blame them.
They must have been pretty anxious?
0h

08:18:30:00

they were…if they’d been, I think as half as well again as what they would have been, you might have had more trouble. I think they had reached a stage where they were just pathetic. If you said do this, do that, they just did it, no query about it but I’ve met a lot since, they’ve,

08:19:00:00

the way some of them have come on over the years, terrific absolutely terrific. I saw the, about five or six years ago the men that had, did the march from Sandakan or Sandakan, you would think just to look at them you wouldn’t think anything ever happened to them. Now, I think there’s only one left now alive,

08:19:30:00

but I did see different ones earlier than that, back further. Well it is amazing how a human being could pick up. The doctor said to me on one occasion just about in connection with New Guinea it was, he said, “You know, men that have gone through what has been happening here”,

08:20:00:00

he said, “will certainly be affected in years to come”. He said “The body is not built to take what they’ve had”. And that was only in New Guinea.
Was that the worst you saw in your entire Salvation Army career? You spent some time in Africa afterwards?
No Africa was…

08:20:30:00

the only person who should have starved in Africa was.. the one who didn’t want to live. No Africa was good, what they needed over there was just expertise to help them, education and… As far as education was concerned the trades, the trades school there. Academic schools, professional courses

08:21:00:00

didn’t do medicine because that was a long six years job. No Africa and you had the foundation there, all you had to do is build on that. But these men… didn’t know where to start. Fortunately they weren’t in our hands very long. They did get them back to Australia as soon as possible where they could get treatment that was necessary but they had,

08:21:30:00

I don’t know, I haven’t got the figures as to what the death rate was afterwards, after they got back to Australia, but the ones I saw, picked up marvellously well, absolutely marvellous.
What about yourself, at this time you’re a married man, you had been married during the war did you just want to get home yourself?
Yes, we got married in the last year of the war.

08:22:00:00

We had a sort of point system at working on in order to go home. I could have been home as soon as the war was finished. But I only got married in the last year of the war so others had little children and so forth so I was the second in charge, so I let my boss go because he had a baby he hadn’t

08:22:30:00

even seen and it was coming on to Christmas. I said “Well you can go on the next and I’ll took over then.” And he went home. The nasty part about it was the plane had trouble in Taiwan, instead of him getting home in time for Christmas, he got home about a week after Christmas. That was little bit unfortunate.

08:23:00:00

But those who had to stay back from administrative point of view only it was, there was still a lot of troops, you couldn’t get them all home in the first day or two, because we had thousands of them by then up in the Pacific area. We did. Australia had the 6th, 7th and 9th Divisions, the 8th there wasn’t much left of that.

08:23:30:00

And we had 15,000 to 20,000 in each group there and then you had thousands of Americans so you can’t just say, “Oh well war’s finished, lock the door, finished”. It took months to.. I didn’t get home until early March

08:24:00:00

or about the middle of March, ’46, well the war finished back in September ’45, quite a few months.
What did you do when you got home, were you discharged immediately or did you stay in the army as well as the Salvation Army?
No the moment I was discharged I was given leave and then automatically took on up another appointment in Australia

08:24:30:00

which was assistant manager at the boys’ home in Goulburn, which I enjoyed. We had about 100 boys there and I stayed there till my next appointment, was Africa, ’48.
In those first years coming back from the war, did you have trouble adjusting to civilian life?

08:25:00:00

Yes, for example I couldn’t sleep inside without getting a cold. We had lived out in the open for so long that the first night I slept inside I couldn’t sleep. You ask my wife. She said I nearly kicked her to pieces one time. You’d wake up in the middle of the night shouting. Some took much longer

08:25:30:00

than others did but I know it was a year, couple of years before I felt or longer than that until I felt really adjusted. But some had a dreadful job coming stabilized again. The longer you were in the war, the longer

08:26:00:00

I think it was to pick up again.
Did you have nightmares?
I’d yes. Oh they were shocking. You’d be killing Japs, you’d be shouting out. I think nearly everybody suffered there, I don’t know anyone that I’ve spoken to didn’t. Only some were worse than others. Nightmares were terrible.
Did they start while you were away, or only when you came back?
No, no, when I came back. While I was away, I could sleep anywhere.

08:26:30:00

In Alamein I slept standing up quite often and you would get that tired. See so much in a war is done at night and the daytime you don’t get the rest you should have had at night.
Do you remember any particularly bad nightmare you had?
No but they were all related to Japanese… strange I don’t remember anything relating back to the desert, it was always after what happened

08:27:00:00

after we’d left there.
Did you have any other habits that you picked up in the war that you found it difficult to get rid of ?
Except that.I was always touchy growing up about death. I hated going to funerals.

08:27:30:00

Dead seemed to be… it had no effect on you because you’re so used to it. See if a chap was killed in front of you in the war, it or it never meant anything to you, you just realise what’s happening, that was un-normal,

08:28:00:00

that was just something normal and it wasn’t until I got back home that… but sleeping inside it was a long time to get adjusted to that.
Did you ever look for any help, did you talk to people about it?
No I didn’t talk to people about it, no. I didn’t I always had clear views on counselling, I think counselling can be overdone.
But you were a counsellor yourself?
Yes, that’s why I watched very carefully for.

08:28:30:00

And there are people to the cotton on to it to. The slightest thing that make an excuse and want to be counselled and I think counselling is a thing that’s got to be handled very carefully. I was involved in some shooting in Kings Cross about 10-12 years ago or so and the police sent their counsellors down to council us.

08:29:00:00

and I said “I think we’re okay now, we can manage now”. But they had permanent counsellors. This is when that bloke ran amok and shot about seven people. One of them which was very sad, he’d been decorated by the Queen for a landing as a parachutist

08:29:30:00

in Holland during the war and somehow intelligence wasn’t good or good for the Germans, not for us and what was going to happen was a bridge had to be taken and this parachute group was sent over and they were shot to pieces and everyone that survived was decorated by the Queen.

08:30:00:00

He was shot recently? He was shot recently?
And he left, he was a Scot, left England, came out to Australia, and when he heard the shootings and so forth, he went to his door, he lived in the actual area, street where it was happening. He went to his door and was shot on his own doorstep and yet he went through that business

08:30:30:00

in… I think it was in the Netherlands. Anyhow it was towards the end of the war and he had his decorations from the Queen. He simply went and saw and was shot on the doorstep.
Why do you think it is that you are a little bit suspicious of counselling?

08:31:00:00

Because people can trade on it. And I did court work at one stage, I was in charge of all the court work for New South Wales and the number of people that tried to get out of cases simply because they wanted to be counselled, need to be counselled. I believe, it carried out correctly there are some people that

08:31:30:00

it’s very good but it can be overdone.
What about less official channels? What about talk to your wife or your family did you do that at all, talk about it?
No, and strange to say very few of ex-servicemen that I know, that was one of the big problems and one of the big mistakes

08:32:00:00

I think I made. Now my son, I’ve only got one son, he never says anything about the war, never asked I should say because I never talked to him about it and talking to others, I mix a lot with the ex-servicemen now, and we all admit, nearly all of us, that we all made the same mistake. The war went on so long and

08:32:30:00

everybody wanted it to be over and done with but when it did finish, they just didn’t want to talk about it. My grandson and, I’ve got one grandson now, he knows more about it than my, what my own son does. And I’ve questioned others and they say the same thing has happen in their homes and that’s why a lot of generation that was coming along at the end of the war

08:33:00:00

have missed out. And I think it is why battles like Alamein, what I saw what was happening in England and Scotland, I thought well what a pity that we just sort of shrugged it off and said, “Oh it was war, it’s the end”. But nobody wanted to talk, either the ex-servicemen themselves

08:33:30:00

or their families actually. They just said, “Well let’s forget about it. Now they are realising is wrong, and what you’re doing now is what I felt should have been done years ago. We have lost out on a lot, a terrific lot and there is no way of recovering it.
What are some of the things we lost out on?
The general history. Now every man makes

08:34:00:00

his own history and unless he puts it in writing it is lost and that’s what happens after the war. There are lots of little things that come to me even now, I’ve often told people, “I don’t know why I didn’t put it down on paper, have a book written” but I never

08:34:30:00

had the enthusiasm to do it.
What kind of lessons can we learn from that history?
I think there is a terrific lot, general attitudes of people, conditions in life,

08:35:00:00

I’m just trying to think of a good example, but just when you want it, it doesn’t come. But I think possibly if we discuss details of the Second World War, earlier on in the piece, we might have come

08:35:30:00

to a different opinions than what we have, but I think we have gained a lot in that we have gone almost 60 years without, we’ve had skirmishes in pay, see we only have about 20 years after the First World War with peace, but we’ve had a kind of a peace anyhow, nearly 60 years.

08:36:00:00

So that is almost a contradiction about what I said before about we should have spoken about it. But I still do think that. When I realise that on ANZAC day that we still can find that those who were involved in different sections of the war,

08:36:30:00

we could still, could have learnt a lot more, but still, now we bring up new things every ANZAC Day. I don’t know of any ANZAC Day that, what we haven’t discussed on a different angle.
Are there some things that you haven’t discussed even to this day?
No I don’t think so.

08:37:00:00

When the men are all together, well they are very candid about their discussions. But they are very touchy, especially about some of the jokes played on rookies, if ladies are around they’ll never touch on the subject. But the men themselves are pretty candid, very candid like that.

08:37:30:00

And that is where I have found, even where religion is concerned, that… Now I did a service over at the Rocks, the Garrison Church, don’t know if you know the Garrison Church and when we came out I walked around the corner and there was a chap I knew very well. He was

08:38:00:00

with the pioneers. The pioneer battalion were looked on as being pretty tough and he was there literally crying. I didn’t go near him, no, I thought it might embarrass him if I do so I didn’t. A little while later he saw me and he said, “You know, Sunday morning,

08:38:30:00

I just felt that I was facing up to something I never faced up before myself”. Pioneers as I mentioned were a pretty tough crowd and he said, “I just wanted to feel as though I wanted to cry”, and he said, “I did”. And he said, “It somehow just relieved me.” He said, “I felt different altogether afterwards”.

08:39:00:00

And he said, “Thanks very much for your talk”. Now that’s 60 years since the war finished. Our lives are so different. I didn’t, a funeral, I don’t know what I said, what it was, but a lady came out of the door crying

08:39:30:00

and gave me a kiss as she walked passed and said, “My mother died”, I knew that just about 6 months or so before this funeral. And she said, “You know I couldn’t cry”, she said, “It wasn’t until this morning” and she never told me what it was, but she said, “something in what you said when you gave the talk this morning, the tears just came”.

08:40:00:00

Frequently I don’t think we know ourselves how we felt. We did it accidentally somehow its been done… I feel that counselling has to be mutual, you got to, both the person that’s asking and the person trying to answer, have to try and

08:40:30:00

understand each other I think.
Have you found yourself crying about things that happened a long time ago?
Oh yes, yes, and I think it is good for you. I do. And you would be amazed if I could tell you all the chaps that I have seen crying, that are all soldiers. They say grown men don’t, boys cry.

08:41:00:00

I can assure you old soldiers do. And often happening, you didn’t cry at the time, it will come back to years later and it will. I’m all for Billy Graham when he says a little emotion doesn’t hurt anybody and I think

08:41:30:00

he is possibly right.

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