over in England naturally, and I went to primary school and then to a central school. Then I left school at fourteen. I didn't do too much at school. I wasn't a brain and so they I found myself doing work for the teachers in the carpentry shop, filling orders etcetera,
and I remember one time the teacher saying "Pay attention Butterworth. Listen to what I'm saying. Now what are the dimensions of a brick?" I said "You said nine by four and a half by three sir." He said, "You might be a bricklayer one day," and I thought "Oh no chance. No chance of bein' a bricklayer," but as it turned out, fourteen and I went and got an apprenticeship, which wasn't indentured, as a bricklayer and
then I took to the trowel like a duck to water and I was really enjoying work and it and I was on ten shillings a week and a gentleman I worked with said "I'm going to take over as a foreman for a builder. What about coming to work with me as an improver and you'll get ninepence ha'penny a week" and that was big money. So they had to negotiate he had to
negotiate with Mum and Dad and eventually they said, "Okay." So I went as an improver brick layer and then a gentleman came along to his mother's funeral and he was the brother-in-law of my labourer. We used to do a good job at work you know chimney pots and fire places and all the rest of it and he said, "This is the lad I was telling you about," and he said,
"I've just been told that you're a brickie and I can get you one and fourpence ha'penny an hour down where I live down in Middlesex," which London. Place called Feltham, which is half way between Windsor and Waterloo Station, and just up from Wimbledon. So I said to Mum, "I'm going down to London." She said, "Oh no you're not." Said, "Oh yes I am."
They said "We won't let you go." I said "Well I'm off." So I left home at sixteen and off I went. I arrived in Kings Cross. Saw that dirty big station there and thought "Oh my God." I got butterflies in my stomach. "What am I up to? Why did you leave home?" but when I arrived in Feltham the place was beautiful. Blue sky. Little Tiger Moths
flying up there 'cause the Hanworth aerodrome was there. Not one little no smoke but where I lived in the heavy woollen industry there used to be dirty big stacks of black smoke comin' out all the time and I was in another world. So I arrived in number 140 I think it was Percival Street in Feltham and I could hear the music coming through the door of
this place and I didn't have a clue what I was gonna see and I always remember the music, which "To a small hotel there we'll go good night sleep well" and I knocked on the door and the door opened and the blonde-headed thin blonde-headed lass said "Watch it cocker", which is a Londoner you know and from then on I was I felt good. So then I had two years workin'
around London and I saw an advert in the paper and for New South Wales, farming, on a two year contract. So I said "That's for me." So I did a bit of fiddlin' around and I eventually I found I was on this Church of England group. So we signed everything. Oh Mum and Dad of course said "No, you're not going" but I said,
"Well I'll forge your signatures," I was a bad little fella, and away I went and slept on the 1st of November 1938 slept in the Salvation Army in London, Waterloo, and then caught the train the next morning down to Southhampton and we sailed on the 2nd of November on the [SS] Esperance Bay which was the Commonwealth line and
fourteen thousand tons and really enjoyed the trip. Met a lot of nice people and arrived in Sydney on the 12th of December. So it was a long trip but enjoyable. Met some lovely people and then we're slept in the YMCA [Young Men’s Christian Association] in Pitt Street and the next morning
we took off to a place called Mulgrave, which is up near Windsor, got off the train and went to Scheyville, which was a college teaching you the elementary of farming, and learnt how to milk a cow and harness a horse and all the rest of it and then someone came along. I wanted wheat and sheep by the way. I wanted to work on wheat farm or sheep farm
and they were all taken but there was a dairy job. I said "No I don't want dairy" but anyway eventually a fella called Buchanan said "Blue, this is not the place for you" because I was having a problem with the manager "you take this dairy job", which I did and I went to a place called Karangi, which is eight miles out of Coffs Harbour, which in those
days was a long way away and lo and behold the people I worked for, called McLeod, and they're lovely and I slept in I was part of the household and then I left there. They got a little bit I gave notice fourteen times by the way and eventually I did take off and I went back to city back to came down to Sydney and
then I got a job on a poultry farm at Turramurra, North Turramurra, and I was there when war started. Now I'm gonna tell you the interesting part. There was two English girls, who were the only two girls who came out on the ship with us who had employment when they arrived here, and they were gonna work for a fella called Darganit, ah Darganheart, who was the trump of the stock exchange
and he lived in Killara. So Amy and Edwina used to, and Bill, who was my old mate, he's long dead came from England with me, and they used to do our laundry. So this particular night, which was Sunday night and it was September the 3rd, and I arrived down there and used to have to sneak up the side walk because they weren't allowed
male visitors. When I got there, there was no light and I knocked and opened the door slightly and the next thing the transom light of the bedroom came on and a voice, very croaky voice, said "Is that you Ginger?" 'Cause all the Poms call me Ginger, right, and I said "Can I come in?" She said "Yes, come in." In I went and she's got a red thing around her neck
and I said "What's wrong?" She had some fever, right, and the next thing footsteps. "Oh quick" she said "Quick, that might be Mrs Darganheart comin' to see how I'm goin' along." Amy, by the way, was still working. Doin' her job, you see? Havin' to work back. So what did I do, which was just approximately nine o'clock at night. I'm under the bed and
the radio was put on and Bob Menzies announced "We're… Australia is goin' to war" at nine o'clock and I was under the bed. Now this, I've got to tell you this. I've told everybody before, under that bed was the guzunder. In other words a Jerry. A pot as they used to be called and it had been used. Anyway
ironically and another thing, a peculiar thing was, that I was smoking. So I dashed under the bed with a cigarette. It didn't turn out to be Mrs Darganheart. It was Amy and she said "What are doin' under there? Ginge come out" and we still talk about that. Excuse me again.
to take any notice. So I just shook my head and said "Cripes, what's next?" So then I went back and I by the way I moved into a place called a street called Kent Street. I went you know Kent Street and I was livin' with a radio announcer and his wife. They had a boarding house there and Dick Butler I think his name was he from 2KO
Newcastle [radio] and Peggy, his wife, used to run the establishment and when I told her I was going to join up she said "No you won't. No, if any correspondence comes here for you I'll destroy it. You're too young to be joining the army." So I had a mate livin' in Cleveland Street Redfern, and there's the proof of it all there on the table, and so I said to dear old
anyway the landlady where he was living, Mrs Barber is a Maltese lady, "Would you mind if I used your address when I join up?" She said "No problem." So on my paper, which I've got over there to brought it in to show you, I was in 50-odd Cleveland Street when I joined up but I was living in Kent Street
and so the next thing I went and enlisted on the 12th of September and then on the 20th of October I was attested, by the way I joined up in Millers Point 'cause it's just around the corner from where I was in Kent Street, and I was attested and joined
camp on the 20th of October 1939 and went to Liverpool camp and then in November Ingleburn, which is brand spanking new, we were moved up to Ingleburn and there 2/1st Battalion had already been formed and I became part of it. 2/1st
Infantry Battalion and occupation, first of all I put down bricklayer. They said "Right you'll be in the pioneers" but I must go back for when I first went to join up and they said occupation I said "Bricklayer." They said, "You can't mate. You're no good. You can't join. It's manpower. You're not allowed. Think of something else." I said "Poultry farmer." They said, "You're gone
again." Another manpower. He said, "But hang on a minute." He said, "You really want to join don't you?" I said, "Yeah of course I do." He said, "Well now you've only got two hundred chooks and while you're away your mother will be able to look after them won't she?" My Mum was in England and I'd put me age up to twenty one by the way and I said "Oh yeah." So on my paper it had occupation "Poultry
farmer" but when I was in Liverpool they said "Occupation?" and I said "Bricklayer." So I became the bricklayer of the 2/1st battalion but in those days all you did was listen to dear old Gladys Moncrieff, who was very good singer, and I loved her singing and Peter Dawson and I said to an old bloke, George Miller, he was a First World War bloke, I said, "George
what do bricklayers do and pioneers do when we get to war?" He said, "Oh dig latrines." I said, "Latrine, what's a latrine?" I didn't have a clue what a latrine was. He said, "A shithouse." I said, "What?" He said "Well if you don't like it, you apply for a
transfer." And I said, "Right. I'm going to." Anyway shot out and this little Scotch sergeant, acting sergeant, is standing there and I said "Sergeant, any jobs for me to do?" and he said "Well as you know Butterworth, Ingleburn's a new camp and there's no bricklaying to be done but I got a wee job for you" and lo and behold he headed straight away towards
the latrine and I said "Listen sport." I didn't say sport I didn't know the cavalry in those days. I said "Listen I'm not the battalion poop carter. I'm the battalion bricklayer." He said "I'll have you know you'll do as you're told." And I saw this tall gentleman standing up the top there and I shot straight up to him and I saluted him. He said, "Soldier you don't salute a
warrant officer." And I said, "Look you're so tall I couldn't see if you'd had anything on your shoulder or not" you see. He said, "What's your problem?" And this Scottish acting sergeant was stiffly to attention and he had my complexion in those days too and I said, "Well do you know of any jobs sir that I could do?" He said, "Ah hang on a minute." He said, "Yeah I want a batman." I didn't have a clue. I said, "I'll take it."
And this gentleman, this sergeant said, "Aye sir. I was after tellin' Butterworth you wanted a batman." And I said, "You so and so liar." "Ah ah soldier that's no way to speak to an NCO [non commissioned officer]." "Righto sergeant." he said, "dismissed. I'll look after Private Butterworth." Off he went and Wally Delves, WP Delves NX7597, took me into his room. He said, I said, "What do I have to do?" He said, "Oh clean
me Sam Brown, clean me boots, do you smoke?" I said, "Yeah." He said, "Well there's three, three, a tin of Three Threes ready to roll tobacco and cigarette papers. Just help yourself and by the way," he said, "I got a mate of mine too, the quartermaster RSM [regimental sergeant major]. Would you mind looking after the two of us?" I said "No problem." So that was my introduction to the army
and Wally and I, I must say, Wally he's ninety two years of age. He's still alive, in Melbourne and I spoke to Wal to tell Wal I was gonna mention his name, would he mind, and I was gonna bring up a couple a things about my time with Wal in the 2/1st Infantry and he said, "Go ahead mate." And I said, "Could you write something to prove?" He said, "Ah I'd rather
not," he said, "but tell them to ring me. If they don't believe you, tell them to ring me." I said, "Well I'll do that if they don't believe me" and so there you are.
to Western Australia and then left Western Australia and then off we went to Middle East and we arrived in this Bitter Lakes in Egypt. Anchored there for awhile and then next day we suddenly went up the Suez Canal to Kantara, El Kantara East. Then we disembarked and we went from there up to Palestine
and into a camp called Julis, which had been erected. All the tents were there. Had been done by the black watch. So we were in Julis until August of 1940 and then we went down to Egypt to a place called Helwan, which was
not far out of Cairo, and then the war was starting to come a bit closer and we moved then down to Egypt ah Egypt, ah beg yours, we were in Egypt but we went down to a place called Ikingi Mariut, which is about fourteen ks [kilometres] out of Alexandria
and we were there for awhile training etcetera and then we shot up to a place called Sollum, ready for the western desert and then on the way from Sollum we eventually went up the escarpment, Alpha Pass as they called it, and that was the battalion. Unfortunately I got crook
and I left and went back into hospital in Alexandria but I did get back on the eve of Tobruk and then we did Tobruk and then with Wally Delves, who was the RSM, but he'd been promoted he got a commission but his commission hadn't quite come through, he became intelligence officer and we
had the job of under the orders of the colonel, Colonel Ether, to go along and establish headquarters because the 2/1st were gonna garrison Tobruk. So we went and found what they called Al El Barco Tobruk, which was the hotel, Mussolini's hotel etcetera, and Wally said to me "Go 'round the back and see what you can find" and he stood at the front door
'cause we couldn't get in there and I went 'round the back and which was a side entrance. No back entrance, side entrance, and it was down underneath where all the kitchens were and all I hear were my knees knocking and a bayonet rifle and I could hear a 'tick tick tick' and I thought "Oh Wally, there's a time bomb here somewhere" and I'm lookin' around and it turned out, very humorous, you looked up
this pier and there it was, it was a kitchen clock. So I shot up top and opened the doors, let Wal in and right in front was a dirty big photograph of Mussolini in the foyer and I said, "Do you mind?" He said "Go your hardest." So with the butt of me rifle I destroyed that and so we established headquarters there and then the colonel moved in, Colonel Ether, and so we were
there for quite awhile and then we shot back to Mersa Matruh and from Mersa Matruh we went back to a place called ah Amiriya, which we'd been in previously before we'd left to go in the western desert and then we shot from Amiriya to Alex [Alexandria]
and boarded a Bombay packer steam line for Greece on the 17th of March 1941 and we arrived in Greece at Tanjong Priok [Java], ah or yeah Tanjong Priok [Piraeus] I think that oh I might be getting mixed up there. Anyway we arrived there and two of us were left
in charge of the luggage etcetera and I won't go into all that detail now and then we went to a place called Daphne, which was a camp where the 16th Brigade were established and then from there we went up to a place called oh geez
Levadia , Lamia. Good God, not the Florina. God, gracious me. Ah…
distance away and awaiting the orders to get up there and that's where we went, Veria, and we established and the next thing we knew that we weren't doing much good and Wally, dear old Wal, he said "Right" he'd gone for a conference with the colonel and he come back. He said
"You've got to get rid of all your gear. Not too much gear to be carried. Naturally you had to have your rifle and what have you and your bayonet and your eating utensils but your big pack and all that you're supposed to get rid of it" and we rendezvoused with a few of the other people and then we started the march,
which was a thirty mile march over the Olympic Range, and when we got down to the Aliakmon River and it's in there where my last time with the battalion. By the way, prior to all this my socks, army regulation socks, got so wet and
this Greek lad we had with us with a donkey, Greek soldier with his donkey, we were bringin' in stores off the main pass the road into where we were established with the mortar platoon and he gave me a pair of his socks made out of goat's wool and they were just like been knitted with any old thing and were like barbed wire on me feet.
Now I never had my boots or socks off for seventy two hours and did this thirty five thirty mile march, which is all gazetted. It's all in there and we're down the Aliakmon River and we had a spell before we crossed on a punt and nice cuppa. "On your feet." I got on me feet, went to move and down I went. Twice.
So Wally said "Right." So they carried me and put me on the punt and into a makeshift ambulance and I went into a ADMS [assistant director medical services] advanced turn out and then into a CCS [casualty clearing station] and a doctor had to cut my boot off and the boot my sock was impregnated into the soles of my feet and
I was in a hell of a bad way. I was on a train for three days back to Athens but somebody had knocked off all my Australian gear and I got a British battle dress on and I finished up in the English hospital and I felt a bit guilty
when wounded started to come in there that I wasn't wounded through bein' and I said, "Oh I want to get out." See it was on my papers "Unfit as further infantry infanteer" so they let me out and I went back to Daphne to be what they called ex-personnel. Anyway, the next thing Major Miller,
one of our battalion majors who was on his way back to Palestine to take over the infantry batt… ah 2/1st Infantry Training Battalion, he said, "You can drive Butterworth" and he tossed me a bunch of keys. Now I'd never driven a car. I'd had a go in a ute and a six-wheeler Morris. I'd no licence and I was told to report this major in 1st Aust Corps, 1st
Australian Corps, and right and I mean Brigadier Allen, who had gone he'd left, his I'm in his staff car which was a Chevy a 1941 Chevy with the first column gear change on and some people have got it down where I said Bentley,
but it was Chevy not Bentley. A Chevrolet and so the next thing he said, "Everything right?" This captain came along "Everything right with the car?" I said, "Oh yeah." I knew it had to have oil and water, that's all I and petrol. "Good." So I'm in the car. Nobody came near me and I put the groundsheet outside and
lay on it and went off into deep sleep and a little fella called Pee Wee out of the 2/1st battalion who was over there, he said "Hey Blue quick, quick." He said, "They've all gone. There's a fortune here. They've left everything." I said, "Go away. Go away." He said, "Come on. You wouldn't believe it" he said, "they've all gone." "What the hell is all this?" And sure enough, all their tents they'd just evacuated left everything.
"That's queer." Anyway at first light, dawn, they all came back again. There'd been a false evacuation. You don't read that in books. Anyway the next thing this captain came and said "Butterworth, your services are no longer required but you've got to go and pick up iron rations
and report to a Major Dunlop." So I went, got the iron rations and "Where is this Major Dunlop?" "At the Acropole Hotel in Athens." So there I am driving away and I saw this Acropole Hotel, went in, up on the third floor, knocked. The brigadier opened the door. I did all the usual
things, present arms and what you I said "I'm here to pick up a Major Dunlop." "Oh Dunlop old boy" he said, he's a British brig, he said "Your driver's arrived" and a very quietly spoken voice said "Ask him where is he parked?" I said "Right opposite near the park." "Good. I'll be down there shortly." So back I went
and I'm sitting in the car and over there you drive on the right hand side and the kerb is quite high to the footpath. So I'm sitting right up against the kerb and the next thing I look and there's this dirty big great coat right practically down to his feet, to his boots, and up I look and I said "Shit he'll never get in here."
He was six foot four and a half and around he came, introduced himself and I introduced myself. He said "Good. Now I want you to take me to the do you know the King George Hotel?" I said "No" and me knees are shaking and we're going through Omonia Square, which is a very, very busy square and it's this time of day when everyone's coming from work etcetera and a little car in front, air force car, put the brakes
on quick and my front bumper bar locked with his back bumper bar but we got over that and went to the hotel and he said "Now I don't want these people to know that I'm actually leaving" you know but he went in very quietly and picked up a few bits and pieces that he had there and then we shot in the car and off we went. Going north and he said "You must be tired Butterworth. I'll take over."
So and he's so quietly spoken and I'm trying to work out "I think this bloke must be intelligence or something" the way he you know and he said "I'll give you a rest. I'll drive." So it's dead dark. We're going up under evacuation. The evacuation's on and the people are coming back you see and I'm sayin' "A bit to the left. A bit to the right.
Over to the left. Over to the right" and the next thing, 'Woof' and we're on an angle. We've gone into a ditch. He said "Have you got the trenching tool?" I said "Yes, there is one in the boot. I had seen in the boot and there was a trenching tool and with that I went to take my he said "Give it to me." He took off his great coat and he took off his stuff and I thought, and I kid you not,
I was lookin' at Hercules. Big man and he started. Just grabbed that and then he gave me a little pencil torch with a purple globe in it. He said "Keep it like that and just show me" and that's when I woke up. I thought "This bloke must be a doctor." 'Cause that's the only time I'd ever seen one of those kind of torches, doctors, and so I had to
keep it there and believe it or not you'd have thought anyway we got out and the next day coming back you'd a thought a bulldozer had been in there where he'd been and but we shot up there to headquarters
the top and he said "Stop Butterworth" and he shot out over to the railway, right? "Who is this fellow? He's bloody mad. He's got no nerve." I said "I've only just met him." Anyway that was that. So then we got back to Athens. So we're dawdlin' around there for awhile and then Piraeus, that was the harbour we arrived in
when I said Tanjong Priok, but Piraeus was the place in Greece and then they bombed Piraeus and then Weary told me to see that we had plenty of petrol, etcetera, and I did and then somebody knocked off the petrol. We found out it was two Kiwis and then we went to
a place called Kifissia, where the 2/5th AGH [Australian General Hospital] the hospital were, and the next thing I'm talking to a fellow and "Private Butterworth. Report back to your car" and Weary was in the car and he's got the engine running. He said "No panic but I've just been told that the Germans are on the way. No panic." I immediately went to start the car but
he'd already started it so hell of a big shot across all the gardens on the way back to Athens to the Acropole and the sun was shining in my eye and he took my hat off and put his cap on me so I could pull the peak right down. We got back to the Acropole and there's a provost [military policeman] standing guard there and Weary shot in there. I see this poor devil
present arms to Weary. He shot in and come back. He said "The silly bastard." They'd burnt a hell of a lot of gear he wanted and he did chin wag to the provost there trying to persuade him to…,Anyway we're back in the car and off. Then we went to Daphne, back to Daphne and he there I saw the pay roll, thousand millions of drachmas, being burnt
because they didn't want the Germans to get onto this finance and he was in there for a quarter of an hour and I'll go into detail later but came out he came out and then off and we after catch up with the convoy.
We left the Acropole then shot down to a place called Argos and then we got to a place called Navplion. Oh prior to this, sorry,
but prior to this a gentleman come along and said "Is that you Dunlop?" In the dark of course. "Yeah." He said, "Right the brigadier's waiting for to see you." So Weary said to me, "Right, just go 'round the convoy." And I went 'round the convoy and the next thing whack, we're in a crater on a forty five degree angle and it looked
a bit grim and then in the dark an English officer said, "You'll have to abandon your vehicle and get in the vehicle at the back of the convoy." Now this is in books, what I'm gonna say, but Weary said, very nicely spoken "I don't know who you are or what you are. Will you
please f off." So they did. So there we are and the next thing I could hear the Greek voices singing, because they'd capitulated early, been withdrawn told to get back home the best way they could and around the corner they came and in about ten seconds flat they had the car back on terra firma and off we went and we caught up with the brigadier and we're goin'
over the Corinth canal and Weary said "Do you know where you are now?" I said, "Wouldn't have a clue" naturally, but we got the brigadier and then…
boat and took us back. We had to keep well away from roads because the we could a been bombed and went way up right out to sea alongside of Tobruk and then from Tobruk back to Alexandria and them from Alexandria went back again to Tasa, the old camp I used to be in, and then back to Palestine. Back to a place
called Dayr Nizam, which I knew from previous experience, and there we were informed that Crete had fallen and that we were no longer Anzacs. Now we had become Anzacs over in Greece and Crete under the command of General Freiberg, who was a New Zealander, and so I was an Anzac.
Anyway that was that and then next thing I know I'm gotta go and see this Colonel Johnson and he said, "We're trying to make contact with Major Dunlop and as soon as we find out we'll let you get back to him." And then I was put on forward movement on the Syrian campaign and we went to Nazareth. So
I was stationed in Nazareth for a few days and I then got the movement order that they'd found where Weary was and I went from Nazareth to Haifa, got the train and I've still got the tickets in there by the way, and back to Gaza on the train and back down to El Kantara.
El Kantara across the canal. Down to Alex, Alexandria, and then oh ay
in Tobruk during the siege and when I reported to this casualty clearing station they said, "Where did you meet this bastard? He's mad. He's got no nerve." I said, "Listen mate, that's why I'm here." I said, "I could have bailed out when they told me he was back here," I said, "but the episodes I encountered with him," and we become you know and I said, "That's why I'm here."
I said, "Anyway where?" They said, "He's in Tobruk. He's in the hospital operating. Up in the main hospital." I said, "What time will he get back?" They said, "Ah on dusk." So I shot out waiting for him and he walks along the wharf and I went up and he said, "How the so and so did you get here?" Yeah and there it was. So there and
so in Tobruk then we left Tobruk on the [HMS] Hero, a Pommie warship, by the way we I forgot to tell you we were on the Calcutta when we left Greece and we were on this Hero. It left Tobruk and went back to Alexandria and the Alexandria up to back to Egypt to a back to Palestine to a place called
Beit Jirja and then from Beit Jirja we did a bit of a stint up in Syria again, right, and then the next thing I know we're back in Egypt and we're on a ship called the Orf…, the [SS] Orcades and on the Orcades we shot to Ceylon
and we never went in right in to Ceylon. We were in the bay for awhile and then we took off lone wolf, no escort or anything, and we went through the Sunda Straits heading towards Sumatra and naturally we all had the compasses out, all thinking you know "Are we
going back to Australia?" but we go to Sumatra and we arrived at a place called Ousthaven, which is Dutch for East Harbour, and some went ashore and the next thing "Get out, the Nips [Japanese] are already here. Go for your life." So eventually we all back on the ship and we arrived in Tanjong Priok in
Java in Bandoeng (Bandung) and from Bandoeng we went from Bandoeng up to, from Batavia rather, up to Bandoeng. That's where Weary formed the hospital, the 1st AGH [Allied General Hospital] in the Crysallic Lyceum, which was a girls' college for all the uppercrust of the
Dutch nobility etcetera, and then next thing we're on our way, oh by the way the Nips came along and just turfed us out. We went into a civilian reformatory and we were in there for awhile and then to a place called Chu Mai, Chu Mai, then we shot into another camp which was an ex-
Dutch army camp which had been established for many, many years and then we took off and we went down to back a little out of Batavia into a camp called Makasura, which was a big been a big olive grove, yeah, and so Makasura there for awhile and then right
we went to Tanjong Priok and boarded we called it the [NK] Maru, the meaning ‘sick’ and, and Byoki, Byoki Maru and we set sail for Singapore. We arrived in Singapore and disembarked and went out to Selarang barracks, which is Changi, and we're in Changi
for awhile and the next thing we're goin' north. We on a train, rice wagon, thirty to each wagon and off we went and there we were and we arrived in a place called, oh good God, Bampong, disembarked
and then off we go and we arrived up in a place called Tahsao [alt. spelling: Tarsau] just Tahsao, for a little while and then up to Konyu [Kenyu Rd], established a camp there. Built the camp. Had to fell the trees and build a thing and then from there we went up to Hintok, which road camp jungle camp and then from there down to the
river camp and then from the river camp we moved up to Kinsayok and that is the furthest north we went, the Dunlop Force, and the next thing we came from there back to a place called Tamarkan, which was a shocking place, and from Tamarkan we then went to Chung Kai
and Chung Kai to a place called Tarsau, ah called ooh oh crikey, anyway we went back to this down to this camp and then from there we went to the Nakom Paton, which was a Red Cross supposed to be hospital, much better than anywhere else we'd been, and
that's where we were when we were freed and fortunately for me the day I walked out of that prison with Weary was on my birthday, 25th of August, which was very good.
and we were in Bangkok and we left there on the last official ex-POW [prisoner of war] plane 'cause Weary wanted to see everything was right and all ex-POWs etcetera, but we left on the last official plane and we arrived back on the 16th of October at a place called Egglesfield [Bamaga airfield],
right on the point of Cape York, spent the night there then in a DC3 and then we flew down to Archerfield, spent the night there and then from Archerfield to Mascot and I said "Right, Sir," and he said, "Where the so and so do you think you're going?" I said, "This is where I enlisted and this is where I," I said, "I got
Wally Delves' wife and sister-in-law gonna be meet me." He said, "You're coming to Melbourne with me." I said, "No I'm not." So we parted. "You keep in touch." What have you. Anyway I had a beautiful first night in Rose Bay, have a look at the harbour. Couldn't sleep on a soft bed by the way. Very difficult. I wanted to get down on the floor all the time and sleep and then I went to Manly and
with Connie Maher, who I'd met in the army in the battalion and then I got a letter from Weary. "Helen and I," which was his dear sweetheart. He'd been engaged by proxy for many years, "are getting married on the 8th of November.
Dewsbury because as I told you, there was stacks belchin' out black smoke, all these woollen mills and you know, and then on Sunday night the church bells, the parish church bell'd ring, and this used to annoy me. I oh cripes what an environment. Friday night I get paid. Mother used to give me, out of me ten bob she used to give me four bob
pocket money. We used to go and pie and peas, pork pie and peas, two or three of the boys, right, and then tripe. Eatin' tripe is and then ice-cream. Kadi Mataris [?], a beautiful icecream, in the billiard room and on Friday night I'd be broke and have to bite Mum
for some more money to go to the pictures or and I just it was so to me I felt really down. "I've got to get away from here. I must get away from Dewsbury," and when the opportunity came along I took it.
I found out later his name of course. Now Bruce he had shorts on, short shorts in those days. To what, you know, and as a matter of fact he was some old English lady dobbed him in for bein' not being nice, his shorts, and the skipper got onto the first mate to come and tell Bruce he'd have to put something different on, yeah? He's as
brown as a berry. Good bloke. Nice fellow and he said "Now listen young Blue." "Blue? What's this Blue?" He said "When you get to Aussie mate, they're gonna call you Blue." So it was from then on I got Blue. The first time I called Blue 'cause all the Poms call me Ginge and so Brownie's the bloke who called me Blue. Now can I just tell you something about when I saw Bob Brown again. Bruce Brown.
I was just about prior to me getting married, which was March 1949, I was workin' in Cobbitty for project up there for Peter Dawson's brother, Billy Dawson. Peter Dawson was a good baritone. Well known singer. Anyway so I went and bought some shoes. My wife was workin' for FW Hughes in Grosvenor Street, a book keeper, and I shot into the long
bar in The Australian. Now in those days beer was still very short and so I'm in the long bar and I said "Schooner of Reschs please" and the lass behind the bar, there was only two other people in the bar at the time, the lass behind the bar said "So you want a schooner of Resch’s." I said "Yeah thanks." She said "I wouldn't know you
from a bar of soap. Never seen you before in me life and you're askin' me for a schooner of Resch’s and here am I thinkin' how the hell I'm gonna be able to give all my regulars a beer." 'Cause the beer 'cause it was all rationed see, and I could hear this bit of a snigger and I swung around there's two blokes and I looked straight at this bloke and I got a good memory for
faces. I said "Listen mate you shouldn't be gigglin’ at me." I said "You should be helpin' me. I've known you" I said "I met you on the Esperance Bay in nine" and he looked at me. He said "Young Blue. Oh." He said "Give him his schooner of Resch’s" 'cause they were regulars, see. Yeah he just come out the army as an officer and
went into the second hand car game because he was buyin' all the stuff off the army and later on I met that very same bar maid, who became a very good friend of my wife and I, with her hubby who used to be a chef at The Australian who'd also been a POW and we were all members of the ex-POW Association on the Central Coast. Marvellous. Small world. So that's where I was first called Blue and in the army
no one, very very few, apart from the paymaster when he had saw me pay book me full name, no one knew I was Blue. Even to this day my army mates wouldn't know my name was Milton. Everybody Blue, Blue, Blue.
saddler. All this sort of thing. See and also when we joined up all our transport was horse transport. We had the jinkers and the horses and all the rest of it you know and Ingleburn bein' new there was of course no nothing for the bricklayer to be doing or a carpenter or anything. So we were just lounging around most of the time listening to Gladys Moncrieff, who was a nice singer,
and Peter Dawson singing and you were just loungin' around doing nought for quite a while and you know some of the officers, and some great blokes amongst them. One little fella, I'm goin' off the pioneers now sorry, but this little fella he only stood knee high to a grasshopper. Actually
according to regulation he should never have got in the army but he a militia man and A company, that's where you had most of the scallywags, and the name Kelly, the good Irish Kellys, see, and this Cocky Horam is walking in front of them and right from the back
one of these Kellys shouted out, "And a little child shall lead them," and he stopped, turned around, "Who said that?" Nobody said it of course. He said, "Right, but the little child'll be on a bloody big horse tomorrow" and the next day when he's marchin' 'em out he's on a big horse and he could hardly he could hardly stay, his legs were very short. Yeah. Old Cocky. He wound up as the top floor
of the taxation department. He a good bloke to know after the war and I did use him after the war you know. Yeah but so they're payin' him off. There's some rough mob 'cause they're all ex-building fraternity etcetera. Yeah but they're a good mob. I met some great blokes.
Wally was a great bloke. He soldier there's no smarter soldier. He was a Australian Army Instructional Corps and fit. He looked like a show pony you know done up and regimental on the on parade. Givin' the orders all the rest of it and he was a good bloke and he used to say to me "Righto, take off." He'd let me go early
to get down to town to meet the girls on a Friday, yeah, weekend leave. All that sorta thing. Met his wife and same with Clarrie Maher. Met his wife and family and still friends long after the war you know. Wally to me a great soldier and I went in to Tobruk alongside of Wally. I went with Wally
on the night on the eve of Tobruk to check the starting line. So I was and Wally omitted to say in that book, he never put my name in about that, and I had a go at him and also then when we established headquarters for the battalion when we garrisoned Tobruk and my name's not in there as Wally
told in the book about we established headquarters but it was Wally not me I and I said to Wally when I rang Wally "I'm gonna bring up your name mate. I hope you don't mind. Could you write me a letter to" "No no I don't. My writing's a bit scratchy Blue but tell them to phone me. If they don't believe you, tell them to phone me." So and Wally and I remained friends 'til long after the war and still friends, and he's ninety two now.
said "I'm" when he was leading me toward the latrines and I said "Hey hang on. I'm not I'm the battalion bricklayer, not the battalion shit carter" and that's when I saw Wally standing there and from then on, the way I approached him, and we became friends and that was it in a nutshell you know and Clarrie Maher, good old Clarrie and I are still friends.
Met his family 'cause they were permanent soldiers when war started. They were permanent and they joined up had to drop their rank and immediately after awhile got their rank back you know. They went in as privates and came out Wally retired as a colonel many years later of course. So Wally was POW in Germany. Now all my mates, all my battalion mates, all those fellas we were just talkin' about
became POWs, majority of them, with the Germans. They all got caught in Crete. A few in Greece. Well so I'm the only ex-2/1st Battalion bloke who became a prisoner of war with the Japanese and that's in the book. Yeah so but so I was lucky. I met wherever I went I met good blokes.
Seniors, juniors, the lot. I to me the majority of them were good.
with Weary later on I and I mean I to the extent, you've got me about this though. I'll go back to Jerusalem. A leave on a leave party and we used to have to assemble in the Russian compound to catch the bus on the way back to Julis camp and someone made a very nasty remark
about Wally and I said, "Hey cut it out or else" he said "Or else what?" And or else what it was. So it was on. So immediately the dear old Hen Diep, who was the lieutenant in charge of the leave party, put me under arrest for having fisticuffs, right,
and I had to sit on the front of the bus with him coming from Jerusalem back to Julis and he let everyone get off the bus at Julis and then he said to me "Piss off" and then he'd immediately gone and told Wally that Blue had been havin' a blue with a bloke who'd been sayin' nasty things about him, see. So that
was and that got around that Wally and I were and Wally then of course strengthened our friendship you know. To think that Blue and a long story and things I've got to you've got to be careful what you say because in those days Wally actually later on wanted to confront the same bloke and take his uniform off and his rank
and have a go at the bloke himself but he wouldn't be in it but all those things are in those days I mean officer and other rank having fisticuffs wasn't done. You had to be very careful. Aha.
day when I was lookin' for with but Dorothy, another Dorothy, her family had come from Glenelg, South Oz, and gone back to England and then when her parents got to England they didn't think England was as good as what it used to be or so I became a friend of the family on the ship with Dorothy, right, and
Dorothy and I became very thick. Not on board. There was nothing but now Dorothy got the word that ex-POW that I'd gone. So she married but when I came back I went and had Christmas over in Glenelg with Dorothy and parents
and her marriage hadn't turned out as good as she thought. So I more or less instigated a divorce. Now Dorothy was a air hosty, she was an air hostess, and she was with ANA [Australian National Airways] and New Guinea Airways and what have you and then she came with me and we had
a de facto relationship in Newport. TAA [Trans- Australia Airways], remember TAA? They advertised when they formed. In 1946 they formed TAA and they advertised for staff and she said "I'm gonna, Ginge I'm gonna apply for a job."
She said "I probably won't get it" because she was still married. She had her married name. "I probably won't get it" but lo and behold she got a telegram sayin' that she'd got the job. So she was the first married woman to work with TAA and then she that's when we parted. She said "Ginge I'm not comin' back. I won't be coming back" to we were livin' in Newport. Right on Pittwater and that was the
then the close relationship finished but to this very day we're still friends. Still phone one another. My late wife and I met her dear hubby, old Chidge and they're very nice homes over in Victoria they lived in, anyway Dorothy did better than what she'd have done if she'd have stayed with me
Well we were all we didn't know what we were up to you know, we just knew that we were gonna go overseas but we didn't know where and when and we had a fella called Norman Gordon. By the way he was a young bloke who came out to work for Sydney Snows as a counter jumper you know and he wasn't there when we were leaving. We got the orders to "Get your gear and off and march down to Ingleburn station."
So everybody's saying, all the Aussies are saying, "Where is the Pommie bastard? Where is he?" So one bloke had his rifle. Another bloke his bayonet. Another bloke his big pack. Another bloke his haversack and we all picked up gear and they're still nobody put him in that he wasn't there. He hadn't been missed and we got down to the station and he arrived and everybody said "Where you been you Pommie b…?"
and he come to me. He said, "Blue I got married." I said, "What? Who did you marry?" And he pulled out the photographs and beautiful blonde lass, see, and I said, "Where did…?" she was the daughter of an Indian army bloke, like a white man, retired army major his daughter. "Right" and then we all gave him his gear and what have you. Now he became POW Germany. After the war
I went to a reunion at the station in Central near the what they call it the workers' organisation. "G'day." I said "How you goin' mate?" I said, "And how's your wife and baby?" He said, "I don't know. They've gone. I haven't seen them." He was like one
of many where the girls cottoned onto them and got the money allotments sent to them, a lot of those did that. A lot of females did that but poor old I was on Tobruk on the perimeter still at Tobruk when he came to me with a letter and he said, his first letter from his wife, and this was eleven months later after
and he said "I'm a father. Baby boy" and there was a beer issue on. Two bottles of beer. So we got the two bottles of beer and we wet the baby's head and he went away and he came back about thirty minutes later. He said "Blue, is it possible for a lady to have an eleven months old baby?" and I thought "Well I know horses do."
I said "Yeah of course. Course. Yeah. Yeah mate. Yeah," but that was one of the so all those sort of things when I think about what hap… think of the poor bugger takin' off and getting married before we left Ingleburn and, right? So I had to come back to the baby and his wedding but he never ever saw her again and he disappeared off the scene. He went he came from Romford in Essex and I went back to England
so and so and so' and everybody waving and oh fantastic and fortunately Wally Delves and Clarrie they by the way, the Orford was still all exactly like it had been before war started. There hadn't been anything taken out. So the state rooms where the prime minister and all the toffs and
nobs had all travelled on, army officers were taking them over, see, so it's quite good and we had four in a cabin. The odd bods the privates etcetera and sergeants but it's quite good and it was a real nice trip. So we got to down to Fremantle
and we had leave and quite good and there was blokes goin' along pulling the things off the trams and makin' em kangaroo. The thing you pull the thing on the rope and it disconnected the tram and then they'd start it again so the trams were kangarooing. All diggers and then they lifted a baby Austin onto the
post office foyer, lifted it. I'm havin' a drink in a pub there and a bloke come in and said, "Hey George" or Bill, whatever his name was, the publican, "have you just sold a barrel of beer to one of the diggers?" He said, "No I bloody well haven't." He said, "Well he's rolling one down the street." Honest. Oh they really turned it on for us and then I'd gone to see a
bloke I'd come from England with, like nothing to do with our party but a fella a Welshman called Hughes, and he was married and I'd got his address. So I went out over the Rose Street Bridge to see where he lived and he wasn't there and his neighbour said, "No they've gone to the pictures," and I'd been intoxicated of course and I just fell on their verandah. I said, "Oh I'll have a snooze and wait for him," and he arrived
about eleven thirty and he's shakin' me. He's saying, "Hey, young Ginger what are you doing?" "Oh" I said, "What's the time?" I said, "Hell I've got to be back at twenty three fifty nine." That's when the one minute to midnight the leave pass expired. In the car. Top speed. Up the gangway and Wally Delves was there to check people and he said "How are you?"
out of the corner of his mouth. "Not bad thank you sir" because I knew maybe someone was listening and the next thing we had a one of the troops called Bonnington, Charlie Bonnington. He was an English bloke. Cambridge-educated and he'd been over in New Guinea unearthing graves and what have and all this sorta thing. He's one a that type of bloke you know looking for bones and whatever and
he was absolutely oh he was pie-eyed and he had two bottles of Gordon's gin under his arm and Wally distinctly said "Corporal you can't bring those on board." He said "What?" So straight he did a u-turn straight down the gangplank onto the thing and got a bottle opened one bottle and swigged
and with the other one he said "I do declare thee launched" and hit the side of the Orford with the other bottle. Smashed it and came back. He said "Am I alright now sir?" and Don Jackson, who was the adjutant, was standing in the shade sorta thing behind 'cause "Put him under arrest." So Wally had to charge him and
he had a night in the brig you know but he was Lord Bonnington's son and later on he was tran… he was the first Aussie transferred out of the Australian army into the British army and with the rank of captain. So there's another thing I remember pretty well but and then of course when we're takin' off a few blokes who'd missed the ship
were all bein' escorted out on a the launch to try and catch up with us, see, and they're all in the all in there and a lot of blokes we had quite a few Kiwis by the way who were in on other ships and they'd been changin' uniforms and so they didn't know whether they were Arthur or Martha. All been playin' up but they but Perth gave us a well we were the first
mob but they told me later on they got sick and tired of some of the other crowd playin' up and causin' a lot of vandalism but we didn't you know. We just enjoyed ourselves but no
that she met Moritz, a Jewish a German Jew, but in that period the Russians took over oh come off it, took over the town took over the property. The Communists just moved in and wiped them. So she was left with only the jewellery that she had, nothing else, and they settled in Tel Aviv
and Nathan of course he'd he got away from Warsaw and he settled in Tel Aviv also and he was the editor of the Jewish paper and he was a marvellous man. I you go there in his wheelchair, he had shoulders on 'im that wide and arms and he'd be there with the phone, he'd be listenin' he used to traverse the dial of the short wave radio and I got very
cagey about it at one stage. I thought "Hello this bloke might be a spy you know and he's trying to do this and that with me bein' friendly," but he'd traverse the dial pickin' up anything he could get about Russia or Germans or you know and then he'd be typing. He was marvellous. He'd be listening the radio, typin' and all the different, marvellous man yeah and he's the photograph's there of him by the way
for later but and Mrs Seratski she was a lovely she had the little boy, Danny as we called him, who I've got a photograph there of. Yep.
going back in those days, Tel Aviv is very small you know but we had a mate in hospital and Mrs Seratski, bloke by the name of Marchant, Neville Marchant, and I think Neville died not long ago but and I told her that Neville was in hospital and she said, "I'd like to go and see him. Could you take me?" So we went and got the little canteen the like most hospitals have now but
this is only small and we sit in the chair at the table and the gentleman offers her, good looking sort of a lad, and straight away "Shalom" greetings, the Jewish greetings, "Shalom” you know and they kick off yakkity yak in Jewish and then a bit of English'd come into it to let me in on the turn out and then he said, he had a thing, a
forage cap under his epaulets on his "Must go" and she said, "Bluey, Bluey he was an Arab. He was an Arab.” And I said, "So what? You enjoyed his company didn't you?" "Yeah" and so that was in those days and see in the early days when they went there, she told me and Gurdis,
they used to have gold cups to drink out of in the parks. You never had a lock on your door or window closed or anything and it wasn't 'til the black Jews came from Newman that things started to change. When they had to start puttin' locks on their doors yeah and beautiful there. I'd walk down the Boulevarde and
not recordings, tapes or anything, the dinki di you'd hear the violins playing, the pianos being played. Beautiful. Talented. So I got on very well with those people and then the next thing, young Mickey when I came back from Crete and I wasn't on the roll and there's another story. Old Mickey was
workin' in the canteen there speakin' lovely English which Blue helped him with early in the piece and in charge of the canteen and also he's in charge of The Palestine Post sellin' the papers. "You must go see my people." So I went and had a week in the Arab village.
You got sections and they'd be at loggerheads. So stupid and battalion against battalion and wanting punch ups when they got intoxicated and then one of our blokes unfortunately, a great bloke. He came from Kalgoorlie originally and when war broke out he joined up and became a 2/1st battalion. Now he was on leave in Jerusalem and
he'd been done over by the black watch and he was just on the verge of becomin' a deserter when he was found and news came where he'd been in hospital and the stupid people in hospital hadn't even let the Australians know, they had his paybook and everything, let 'em know that he was in there. Anyway that's a so our blokes they wanted to go and do the black watch over,
soldiers, and it was it was stupid you know. You'd go and have a drink and a Scottie, in one particular instance "Hey digger," the dig, "Hey Jock, what’ve ya got under your kilt," and all this behaviour you know and well if and the next thing 'whack' it was on. So
stupid the bloody then this bang bang bang and the provosts wanting to know where all the it was so damn silly and they said to me "Hey Blue comin' on leave mate? We're gonna get square with…" I said, "Oh cut it out. I'm neutral" and that's actually what went on. Really and truly.
first of all the first time without one I was in Jaffa Road in the brothel there, in Lil's brothel, and the air raid sirens went and the poor girl, she was Arab by the way, and she's saying, "Igari, igari, bomb, bomb, bomb, igari, quick, quick, quick, igari, bomb, bomb, bomb. Quick, quick, quick, bomb, bomb, bomb," you see, and I said, "Oh," and I pointed
and she said, "(UNCLEAR)" and she went (UNCLEAR) and immediately bingo it did the job. Right. So that meant blue light, yeah. Now that same girl, by the way she took off. She was dressed quick smart and I'm right behind her. Just before she steps into the street over went the veil. They're earnin' a quid. Anyway now the other. I was in Jerusalem and we had the
first level in the Fast Hotel, Jerusalem, and right underneath the 'otel the bottom 'round the corner there's a blue light outfit. So I done a winkie pop right next door to the synagogue, just opposite where The Palestine Post was printed and when I got back I thought I better go 'round into there and the bloke said,
"Righto digger, shorts over there. Underwear over there. Go there. Life Buoy soap 'round your privates your testicles," and then he said, "Where were you by the way?" I explained to him where we were
this mate and I, Johnny, and so then he came behind me and in those days I had a foreskin and the next thing I'm up on me toes. I "Hey," (UNCLEAR) whack.
Dressed. Out and but when I got up top the makin, the food, the mongaree, makin is the Japanese. The mongaree, which is food in Arabic, had gone and I said, "Hey mongaree ma fish. Ma fish mongaree." I said, "Al la Australian
Australian soldier, ooh zalan I'm angry you know. Ma fish." So I went to the sergeant, Watkins. I said, "Hey, what's all this? No bloody tucker." I said, "What?" He said, "Where ya been?" I said, "I was underneath havin' a wash out." He said, he had a big smile on his face, he said, "What did you think about that bloke?" I said, "He's a poofter. He's got to be." He said, "I thought that too."
This is humour in the it turned out, now this is honest, it turned out he got kicked out. They caught up with him. He'd been in the navy, in the permanent navy, and had been kicked out of the navy and when war started he had a smorgasbord. He joined the AIF and that's his occupation so he was on top of the world. So there you are, that's humour. That's so yeah, but I…
Lil I could tell you a story about the brothel. I became friendly with madam and she wanted to go to the pictures with me. I was in Jaffa Road and the picture was 'The Forty Thousand Horseman' you know with what's his name, big I used to see 'im in Newport Hotel. Anyway,
so I said, "Lil how did you become a madam in a brothel?" and she's tellin' me how she married an Egyptian who was, had, she was Egyptian by birth but she married an Irishman who was in the army and when his time was done he took her back to Ireland and her father, his father had a bakery, but she said, "I wasn't getting on too
well." I can imagine from over there to Ireland and she said, "Not very pleased." But then her hubby saw an ad in the payment paper 'Palestine police wanted. People with previous army service', right? So he and her brother, her brother-in-law, both applied and got it. So they're in Tel Aviv and she said, "My brother-in-law came to me
one day and said 'Lil why don't you start a brothel?'" "Oh," she said, "I was dumbfounded. Oooh I…" He said, "Now you don't have to be a…" he said, "I know a place you can get you can lease and I'll get the girls." That's it. So he said, now just as she's sayin', "And Blue that is how I started the brothel," the lights faded you know
to start the show and allst you can hear, you can hear it all, "And so you see Blue that is how I started the brothel" you know. So, and that by the way was Chips Rafferty in 'The Forty Thousand Horsemen.' So when just before interval again and you were allowed to smoke over there too but just before interval I said "I'll see ya, must go. I've gotta go to the toilet." I went outside and I smoked in Allenby Road until I heard the start of it and then
I snuck back again. So there you are. So you know her two boys her two children, her husband by the way finished up a superintendent of the Palestine police, and her two children were goin to the Golden School of English in Jerusalem. Private education. Top of the world. So there you are and then another lass who worked there, later on I'm back in Haifa now, this is
afterwards. Lo and behold, this is after Crete when I was waitin' orders how to pick up with Weary again, and that's another story if you want it now but if
he had to go out there and take care of the see that everything was right, the starting line. That's where the battalion was gonna move off from and I went with him. Naturally, bein' his batman, I went out with him, and we had to go in the desert to a find a little light, kerosene light which was surrounded from the view of the
Italians and to check that everything was intact for when we took off in the early hours of the next morning and so when we started, there was Colonel Ether, Ken Ether, who later on became General Ether, and Don Jackson the adjutant, eh
Wally Delves and other officers and I was alongside of Wally when Colonel Ether said, "Right, now all the watches have been synchronised," and I think from memory it was about six twenty or six twenty-five. As soon as he said, "Right,” the skies just opened up 'cause the ocean was way over on the right and the
fifteen inch gun was out there, monitor they call it, it started firing and we also had the eighteen pound, prior to this we had the eighteen pound artillery, but they kicked off with the twenty five pounders and they all opened up and then we started advancing. The crowd had been in with what they call Bangalore torpedoes, which they'd
attached to the wire near the tank trap that the Italians had done and as soon as that 'pffffsssst' the wire was blown then we started to advance along with the tank crowd, which was a British crowd, and I always remember vividly the top of the
tank poppin' up and the bloke in very nice English, the officer sayin' "Oh there we are" and I always remember that vividly and then we went in rolled in behind them. Started advancing and I always remember that 'bang' some poor devil holdin' onto his crutch and the words out of Ken Ether was "Oh well lad you've got a blighty." That's you've got a…
you're battery's gone. Yeah he was good. Yeah, really good and he by the way Ken Ether walked in he went into battle with a walking stick. Yeah. He's a very brave good bloke. Very brave.
tinned bully beef. Now our blokes used to back up to the fence and just grab the cases of bully beef, toss them over the fence and the tins of biscuits over the fence. Consequently the big Italians got the bully beef and biscuits. The poor little fellas who didn't have the energy
or and the rest of it to be able to get there to get some, they missed out and then later on when the movement started to get rid of them and they were bein' marched in from the other side of the harbour into the township side of the harbour and I felt so sorry. The 8th Battalion blokes, 2/8th battalion fellows, were in charge, the guards,
and they still retained as the Italians still retained as much of their gear as they possibly could. You know their great coats and uniforms and what have you and blankets and, which I don't blame them for, but up this bit of the hill comin' into Tobruk township two or three of them, who as I said hadn't been getting anything to eat because they couldn't get at it, all the strong blokes were eating the most of it,
getting most of it, they started to go down and our blokes said, "Get up you Dago [sl. Italian] bastard, get up," and putting the bayonet in the backsides givin' 'em a prod and I went to say a few words about it, and I was told, "What's wrong with you, you're on their side you bastard?" But I went and grabbed a tin of biscuits and I opened the top, large tin, and I started tossing them as they're marching by me, tossing the biscuits, but
when they got lower down I had to bend over to get right down to the bottom and when I did, a few of 'em charged me to get at the and I cut me wrist a little bit, just a, so what did I do? I just grabbed the lot and said, "Get to buggery you dago bastards," and that was it. Oh yeah, but that's the way they came out and there was a few accidents by the way getting on the ship where some of 'em
unfortunately fell alongside of the wharf and the ship, yeah, down off the wharf in Tobruk harbour.
Sean [interviewer], that all of a sudden Major Miller, who was on his way back to Palestine to take over the 2/1st Infantry Training Battalion, tossed me a bunch of keys and said, "You can drive Butterworth," and Butterworth had never driven a car. I'd had a go at a ute and a six-wheeler Morris. I'd no licence
and I was told to go and pick up a major in 1st Aust Corps headquarters and when I got there and I repeat I'm repeating what I said before that he said, "Is the car alright?" “Oh yeah, the car's alright." All I knew about a car, you put water and oil and petrol into it. He said, "Good. Stand by and we'll let you know when we need you." Anyway they,
no one came near me. Dark fell so I put the groundsheet alongside the car and stretched out and went off to sleep. That's when little Peewee, who was one of my battalion blokes, and he was on duty over in 1st Aust Corps "Hey Blue. Come on mate" he said "they've all gone. They've all p'd off. Come on. There's a fortune there." I said "Go away." I wanted to sleep. "Go away"
and "Come on." So sure enough, there it was. All their tents had been left exactly with all their gear. They'd just took off.
went up where Weary was, knocked on the door and a brigadier, English brigadier, Brigadier Larg, "Oh." I give him the old one, two. I sloped arms and all the rest, which you had to do when you had your rifle and bayonet there and what was me problem? What was I there for and I told him I had to come and pick up a Major Dunlop and then he called out "Dunlop
your car's here and your driver's here," and very softly I could hear "Ask him where he is." A very soft voice Weary and I told him right opposite. "Right, go and get the car and he'll come out and meet you over there." I said, "I'm near the park opposite," and as I just said a while ago, the kerb over there is very high in the footpath and you drive on the right
hand side and I'm sitting in the car and I wondered oh my knees I wondered "Bloody hell, what am I up to?" And the next thing I'm lookin' at these feet, the bottom of a great coat, his overcoat, and I started to I said, "Shit he'll never get in here." He's six foot four and a half, and 'round he came on the other side and introduced himself and that was
the start of our friendship.
the big stuff, we were coming back and all the Tommy army, British army, big vehicles and you're on these roads, pitch dark no lights and I'm saying, "Over to the left, pull over to the right, pull a little over to the left, pull to the right" and the next thing, we ditched. Got out. He said, "Have you got a trenching tool?"
I said, "Yeah. Yes sir, I have in the boot," because I'd looked in the boot when I'd picked up the car and I went to takeoff me tunic and to start digging and he said, "Give me that." Then he gave me the torch, a pencil torch with a purple globe. He said "Now hold it like that. Keep the light down."
He stripped off. He took his great coat off and he I said "Gee he's like bloody Hercules." I christened him Hercules and 'The Big Fella' but really and he started to dig and he trenches and we pulled out and the next day when we're coming back there's a spot and you'd a thought a bulldozer had been in there.
That's how much earth he moved. No really
and in between times by the way I filled up with petrol and had the boot filled with petrol in four gallon tins and the back seat and the back floor but there was two Kiwis we were told who were on the run and they thieved the lot. So then I had to take off to Kifissia and while the car was bein' refuelled and Weary was talkin'
to a major who was the quartermaster, next thing I was paged. I was waiting by the way for a fella to bring a letter out so I could give to his wife, because they had to stay with the unit. Bein' a hospital they had to stay behind as a skeleton staff and I said "Yeah mate." He was a Scotsman. I said "Yeah alright Jock. Aussie
Scotsman and I said "Yeah mate I'll deliver the letter." So I was waiting for that when I got the message return to my car and when I got there Weary said "Now don't panic. I've just been told the Germans are on the way." So no panic, I just went to switch on the car but he already had it running and then I shot straight across, I didn't bother about the thing over the hospital, I shot straight across the
lawns and onto the main road, which was the ah five cars wide by the way at Kifissia, runnin' along the waterfront, and the sun was down and I was blinded and he knocked my slouch hat off and gave me his cap and pulled the peak down, kept the sun right off my eyes while I was drivin'. Then we got back to the Acropole 'cause he wanted to go in there and pick up some gear
and I forgot to tell Sean there were horses where the cavalry, the Greek cavalry, had been ordered to shoot their horses and I was runnin' over some of their legs on the narrow guttered coast road goin' down 'round the mountain and then darkness had fallen by the way, by now, and pulled up behind this convoy and
a voice said, "Is that you Dunlop?" "Yeah." He said, "Oh, the brigadier's up front waiting for you." So Weary said, "Right, around you go." So I went to go around the convoy. Only went a little way and "Wsssst" the car again was on a forty five degree angle and the only thing that was holdin' the wheels of the car from goin' was where the blast, the explosion, this bomb had
exploded and taken half the road and Weary, one of his favourite expressions when anything went wrong was "Oh shit." That's the way he used to say it, "Shit." He said, "You alright Butterworth?" I said, "I'm Okay sir." "Try and get out." Get and all it skid, skid, skid and he got out the car and he's standin'
there holdin' the car and down below was the rocks and the ocean and I still swear to this day that eventually when you got used to the light, the darkness, down there was two vehicles and in the finish I said, "No sir, if this slips you'll go. No." By this time of course I got me feet on terra firma and I just got one
then leg tryin' to hit the accelerator but it wouldn't. It was no good and then this voice came along, very English, and said "You'll have to abandon your vehicle and get in the truck at the rear of the convoy" and dear old Weary. Very quietly, always nice, said, "I don't know who you are or what you are
but will you please f… off" and I thought "He's my boy. He's good. No wonder he's a good bloke" and that's really and truly and they all took off and all you could hear was the ocean below hittin' the wave hittin' the rocks but then in the distance all these Greeks singing, 'cause they'd capitulated early. They'd been the Greeks had pulled out of the war and all been told to "Get paddle your own canoe
and get back as quick as you can. Get back to wherever you came from," and they came around the corner and quick smart, the car was up. They lifted us bodily onto the lifted the car. So I emptied the glove box. I had Woodbines and Players cigarettes and they got the lot and then on we went.
So what would have happened if you'd have gone with the brigadier? If you'd said, "Yes" and gone joined the brigadier's convoy?
Well we went. I went to chase it. Right? So eventually it naturally he'd gone and he didn't know about us bein' left behind, the accident, but eventually we caught up and there was much to be said. Weary told me bits and pieces and we were goin' over the Corinth canal and that we were on our way to a place called Navplion, Navplion, and that's where
eventually we evacuated from and Weary, his job to see that all the wounded got out of anywhere you know. That was his job and there's another story. Now I'm I've got to tell you this, we'd picked up a fella called Livingstone, a doctor, and when we got to Navplion pulled in this yard which was covered I covered over
with a bit of whatcha call it, net for camouflage
told that "You're gonna be shipped out." We were gonna be shipped out I thought at that stage. So away we went back to Suda, Suda Bay and I'm alongside of him and I thought in that time there was a plane, a Sunderland flying boat, in the water and it wasn't 'til much hell of a time
later that I found out that Weary didn't come out on the flying boat. I told people he did but right, I'm alongside of him and this officer, plenty of red braid, he said, "Dunlop he can't go with you." And Weary said, "I want him to go with me." He said, "Dunlop he can't go with you and that's an that's an order." So
the next thing Weary slipped me a thousand drachma note, which is a lotta dough, and he said, "Righ,t" and to this lieutenant, Lieutenant McLeod, who by the way was a Geelong Grammar School boy ex-Grammar School boy and he said, "I want you to look after Butterworth until such time as when we get back to the island
back to the mainland. I'll catch up with him again" and he took off. That was it.
in like in a barn and there's some British ah some Greek navy, not navy shipping people, staying there and this Greek was named George. He'd had seventeen children, two wives they had. His first wife had died and he had young George and then he had these beautiful
daughters and I became friendly. So instead of being with the mob under the olive grove I was near the farm house with him and one of the fellas off the boat, off the ship, which later I came out on the same ship that they were in charge of had been in Yorkshire and knew all about the Yorkshire and Yorkshire people
and he was quite interesting and I'm drinkin' the cressi, that's the Greek wine, which is bloody awful. It's like vinegar and then George the old man, he was seventy seven by the way, off to he was a Turkish Greek. He wore what we call the poop catchers like and he sent young George up to the mountain village to buy some more cressi.
So and (UNCLEAR), eggs, so comes back and then they've got this goat in a big boiler boilin' the goat and the girls are makin' cheese, goat's cheese, which is a goat's turn out and they got a sling on it and they keep bashin' to churnin' to make it a
cheese. So there I am. I got this cressi like vinegar, or worse even, goat's meat and goat's cheese and the next thing a bloke come along, a runner as we call 'em "Butterworth you're wanted immediately." I said, "Why?" He said, "Movement. We're on the move."
And you wouldn't read about it, when we did move the crew who was stayin' at this place, they were the crew off the boat. I got to tell this story. The first mate was only a young fella and he didn't like me because I was talkin' to the young Greek girl that he liked, yeah? So right, away we go. We board the
ship. He's one of later on I you realise he's one of Onassis you know the Greek magnate around all the ships? The small ones. A coal burner. So there I am I got goat's cheese, goat's meat, and cressi and my mouth felt like the bottom of a bird cage and out to bunk on top of the coal. Anyway
I got down, and look up on the bridge, a little bridge, and there's this young fella, the first mate lookin' down and I looked up, smiled at him and he, "Come up." I had the water. He let me wash, which was good, and rinse me mouth out. Now then of course we took off and we had to keep out from Rhodes because we could have been bombed and we went way up,
way up the coast, way up the other side of Tobruk off the coast and then came back into Alex and then from Alex out to Amiriya. Amiriya camp again and then from Amiriya back to Palestine to a place called Dayr Nizam and that's when
we were told that we were no longer Anzacs. That Greece and Crete had gone and that was it and as I say listened to that and the roll call and I wasn't on it but so that's when I had the week off down at young Mickey's place
living like King Farouk. I had a cow sleepin' alongside of me in a bit of a barn there. Real so I got on pretty well with the Arabs.
I said, "Have you sir? Mm." He said, "Colonel Johnson wants to see you." He was the ADMS that and all in the book. So in I go to meet him and he said, "Butterworth we're trying to make contact with Major Dunlop and as soon as we do we'll let you know and send you on to him. Now in between times," he said, "what you've been through, you must have leave."
I said, "No sir, I don't want leave." I didn't have any money in me pay book or anything. I said, "No I don't want leave." "You must have leave," he said. I said, I'm appealing to him, "No I don't want leave sir." He said, "After what you've been through you've got to have leave. Now go down and see the RSM, Sergeant Major Lee, and tell him to give you a leave pass for a week." "Good sir." So away I go down to Sergeant Major Lee, the RSM,
into his and he was an in-betweener. He'd missed the First World War sort of thing and so he he's a little I suppose he'd be about forty then, which is an old man, and he said, "Who are you?" I said, "NX2592 Private Butterworth sir" and he's got the roll in front of him, nominal roll. He said, "You're not there." I said, "Well I should be." I knew I wasn't
because he said, "What's all this about?" I said, "Well I'm waiting to make contact again with the Major Dunlop," I said, "and Colonel Johnson said to come and see you to give me a week's…" He said, "Dunlop. Weary Dunlop." Now that's the first time I knew that that was his nickname. First time I ever heard it you know. Weary Dunlop. I couldn't believe it. He said, "Can't that big bastard fight and can't he play
football?" And this and in the finish he said, "A week's not long enough." And I said, "Yeah that's a week'll be long enough." Very nice I was goin' back and see the Gurdis' and the Seratskis and what have you. "No," I said. "No," he said, "look don't worry. If you're in any strife anyway make contact," but 'bang'. So he bung on a few more days on me and the days of the blotting paper
and he did it too quick and it smeared his signature. So it, now they had an interpreter who was French and spoke Arabic etcetera and he's goin' on leave for the weekend and he had a Citroen car. So he's driving me in this Citroen into Tel Aviv and we get to a place called Qastina and there's the provosts
there with a barrier. So the Frenchman pulls out his papers. Blue Butterworth pulls out right, and he's reading the smeared he said, "This is no bloody good is it mate? Hey?" I said, "Well it's dinkum." So into the tent and you could hear what they call the field service telephone
and he's checking and he come back and he give me me leave pass back. He said, "Righto on your way smart arse." I was thrilled to bits. So there I went into Tel Aviv and I stayed in a Café Olair, which was in Jaffa Road, and I stayed there in accommodation and the lady who owned it also owned the Balalaika Hotel
on the waterfront in Tel Aviv and she was the a Jewess and she had the most beautiful skin and skin like alibaster, alabaster I should say, and she told me, "I used to live in Essendon." "Oh yeah?" She said, "Yes. I run a brothel in Essendon." Straight out you know and I became friendly with them you know and the lass up in
the Empire Café, the other one which she owned, and I was on top a the world. Loved everything about it. There I was got away from here, got away from there and really enjoyin' myself. Back meeting people I liked.
Anyway I got into this place and every day I'd still go in there and the next thing a runner came along and said, "Private Butterworth. You're wanted in the orderly room immediately." I said, "What's it all about?" "Oh," he said, "Something about a bloody movement or something. "You beauty." So in I went and I said, "What's all this sir?" "Righto Butterworth," he said, "We've got word
for you about Major Dunlop and here's a movement order." I said, "Ah what about rations sir?" "Oh well," he said, "the quarter, see the quarter master. He'll fix you up with those." I said, "Oh by the way. Pay." He said, "Well there's the pay sergeant." I said, "I've got one pound in my pay book." So I got the quid
and I said, "What about transport sir?" He said, "There's private public transport." I said, "Sir I am not allowed to travel on public transport with side arms, even not even a rifle." I said, "I'm sorry but," 'cause I knew King's Rules and Regulations. When Wally was RSM I used to read his manual
you see. Anyway, "Right." So he said, "Sergeant go and see the transport sergeant and get him fixed up with fifteen hundred weight Morris to take Butterworth into Haifa to the RTO [railway transport officer]" that's the rail train officer where you had to get your tickets and what have you. So when I arrived there he just shunned me off. I got off and I thought "Cripes I'm gonna have a drink." So I went in and we weren't supposed to drink whiskey on the ranks. You weren't supposed
to. In I went and I got a whiskey. I had another whiskey. I hadn't been to see the RTO and I said, "Christ. Where you gonna sleep tonight?" So I said, "Hey mate where's the provosts around here?" He said, "The Poms? The red caps? They're up at Mount Carmel." "Oh." So out I go, two whiskeys and happy as Larry and full pack, rifle
and I'm walkin' up and down. This truck comin' towards me and I stop the sergeant. Broad Yorkshireman too. He jumped out. "Hey what the f'in hell's all this about?" I said, "Well I'm not a spy." I had me movement orders. "On the way to see Major, pick up Major Dunlop. Officer in charge of me, Private M Butterworth" see, on the movement order. He said, "What?" I said, "Can you give me a bed for the night?"
"Alright lad." He said, "Hey Ginger," he's the red-headed driver, "drop us off. Take him back. Take him back" he said, "see the cook and tell the cook to see he's up at five thirty. See that he gets bed, boards and palliasse to sleep on and then bring him back." So I went back and joined them and we went into a restaurant
which was a Greek Jew. Now this provosts had been over in Greece and Crete and we're havin' this I said, "Hey sergeant, I've got no money to pay for this." He said, "Bloody money?" He said, "You don't want money lad. We're not paying for it either." So, that's honest. So then eventually…
straw in it you know. So, undress no 'jamas and I lay down. The next thing I can feel things on me and here's a big cord for the light switch. I hit it and I kid you not, there was cockroaches as big as that. Bloody hell. Ooh, yeah? They shot they go like
hell you know. Pull the light off and they're on again. So I just slept with the light on and then sure enough "Come on. Rise and shine." Went and had bacon and egg and all the rest of it then taken down to the Misir station and I got the tickets there to go down to El Kantara East
and then El Kantara West and then down to Alexandria. The train went to Gaza. Had to go through Gaza and we pulled in at Gaza station and these two blokes, one's called Van Maradeth who unfortunately had lost his right wing in Bardia and a fella called Catterns, Basil Catterns and their names are in that book, in this book,
and I went like that. Knocked on the window. They just peered then they boarded the train and we took off and the next thing Maradeth come up and said, "Hey come on. You'd better come with us, sit with us" and it was just like civilian time. They had beer on the train and everything. So I got ooh didn't cost me anything. They were shouting. Been well laced, well paid
and they were goin' to Cairo. They were goin' to a school and I was goin' to Alexandria. So we got to a place called Zig Zag and that's where the train went to Alex and I had to change and wait and get a train. That's the way to Cairo and I had to go down there to Alex. So right, I flog my bed gear. I sell my gear to this station master to get a quid,
which was a very bad thing to do. Anyway I'm on the train. I sat on the train in the dark for starters and eventually the train started and then people started to get on the train who'd evacuated from their places because you were told that the suburbs of Alex and everything was gonna be bombed and believe you they had everything. They had chooks you name it, bringin' it on the train
and I'm sitting there on a long seat and I had a bint on this side, that's a girl, and I had a bint on that side and I'm full marching order. I've got all me gear, me rifle and everything and they start in their own lingo havin' a shot about me and one girl all of a sudden didn't like what this girl had said, and she swung a left, right in front of me, and as she did
my KD, which is your slouch hat, KDs the army term, shot off. So there I am, a soldier without head gear. So I arrive in at Alex and I went to this soldiers' club and booked in and then I thought "I'd better go and see the pay
master. See if I can get a few bob" and he said, "Soldier where are you from?" I said, "I'm in transit. I'm not a bloody spy mate" and I showed him all he said, "But do you realise you shouldn't be here? All movement's been cancelled and you should be in camp." "Oh" I said, "I didn't know that, did I?" He said, "Anyway we can't give you any pay. It wouldn't matter how much you had in there" he said, "You can't
get paid. You've got to return." So I'm there and I'm window gazing. No head gear. Soldier and a fella come and tapped me on the shoulder and I turned around and it's a tall English gentleman, soldier. He's a major and he had on his arm DPM, district provosts marshal. He's a British red cap
charge of and this 7th Divvie [Division] provosts had just arrived more or less had been long over there. They were over in Greece with us for awhile but, "Lance Corporal come over here. Take this soldier up to your headquarters. Have him investigated." See? So up we go. There's this lieutenant on a havin' a
siesta and the corporal told him who I was, the lance corporal, where I'd been. He said "What are you doin' here?" And I pitched him a good old yarn about I thought this twerp had only been out five minutes. I was an old veteran you see. He said, "Where's your gear?" I said, "Well I've lost my hat. It's on a railway line." He said, "And were are you stayin'?" I said, "'Round the soldiers' club." He said, "Corporal, take him 'round the soldiers'
club. Don't let your eyes off him. Take him up to the station to the RTO and see that he gets the train to take him to Amiriya." So that's when I got to Amiriya and I said "Excuse me sir. Where is Major Dunlop?" He said, "Don't you know?" I said, "No, where is he?" He says, "He's in Tobruk." I said, "Oh shit. Don't tell me I got to go back there again," you know and that was it. So that was the start
of the movement and I was treated like everything, once again I've put into a tent on me lonesome. Bed boards, palliasse and no kit. So I got everything I'd lost in transit. So I was decked out with everything again.
experiences with him," I said, "and that's why I came." I said, "I could have pulled out. I could have left and bailed out and said oh bugger it, I'm not goin' up there again" and I said, "Anyway where is, where is he at the moment?" They said, "He's up the hospital operating." I said, "What time will he get back?" They said, "Oh about dusk." "Oh." So I'm at dusk I'm out on the wharf and I see him walkin' along.
I up to him, saluted him, said, "How are you?" He said, "How the bloody hell how did you get here?" After all that you know I'd been given and I explained to him and that was it. So and you tell that story by the way I was told many times how he went to uni and he lectured and he always talked about Blue Butterworth and how he'd left me
there. He said goodbye to me more or less and in Crete and I caught him up in Tobruk. Caught up with him in Tobruk.
he got sick of administration and he wanted to get back on the tools again. He wanted to become a surgeon again and start operating and that's why he decided to take the CCS job on and get back on the tools and that was it. So anyway it was quite good and it well it, it cemented the friendship. Yeah. Yeah,
and I can remember we were what they call Bardia Bill, the original big gun the Italians had used to come out and fire and then they got a second one, Bardia Bill, and I'm walking with him alongside of him and they let drive and the shell, just prior to dusk, and you hear and I'm ready to go
down and he just kept walking and I had to keep walking too. So then I realised, "No, if I'm alongside of you mate, I'm righ,t" and that's the way it was. He had he I think he quoted that in the book somewhere where people who said he had no nerve, he had nerve but it didn't get him like most people you know. You nothing seemed
to affect him and even reading about his football days and all that you know and which I did. Anyway he
Blue, what kind of news on the ship back to the Pacific, what kind of news had you heard about the way the war had turned?
Well we didn't know much about it at that stage but when we did arrive in Java there was Wavell was on the wharf, General Wavell. General Burston. General ooh there was four generals, a couple of brigadiers on the wharf, they're in conference, and naturally Ginger Burston, who
was a friend of Weary's, eventually said to him that, "Weary I'm leaving and I'm afraid I don't know what happens to you people but would you like me to send a letter take a letter back to Helen," who he'd been engaged to by proxy for many years and Weary did. He sent a letter back with him and then Weary
told me that the Japs were gonna take over and on March the 8th is the day that the Dutch admiral, who was in charge, surrendered and that was the end of the section. From then on we became POWs.
to realise that things weren't going too hot for us. That we were being beaten again and the little air force that we did have over there unfortunately they'd go up there to try and fight against the Zeros, which was the latest planes that the Nips had, and they were just and knockin' hell out of our blokes and so we knew the it wouldn't be long before the
war'd be over and we'd be losing but in our back in Bandoeng in the hospital of course we didn't go through what the blokes were out there fighting and trying to they were retreating most of the time. They weren't advancing 'cause there were too many of them. Too many Nips. There were just thousands of them you know and they arrived. Now I don't know whether you've heard, we had the Perth, the HMAS
Perth and then we had the big Yankee cruiser, the [USS] Houston, and they both went down fighting and so we had all those survivors POW and we were beaten everywhere. We were just we had no chance. That was it. So it was a very bad feeling you know. We all felt down but we were told,
Weary told us all, "If you want to go, go" but we had to keep a skeleton staff lookin' after the wounded but, "If you want to go, those who want to leave just go but your chances are very remote of gettin' away."
and poor old Bill, he arrived and he looked like his leg was gonna go and I in the unit and with Weary I got away with murder. I could go anywhere and I used to be in the operating theatre. First of all he said, "Right you'll be first time," he said, "you want to stay you won't like it." I got a little bit but after that
I got that way nothing hurt me at all. I could watch anything and this fella arrived in there with both his arms blown, his leg, looked like he was gonna lose it. Major Moon, he was in civvie life was a gynaecologist from North Sydney and Major Ewen Collette, a physician and a top bloke.
A nickname by the name of The Gangster call him and they've got Bill on the table, Bill Griffiths, and the little boy's anaesthetic machine is just little bladder just moving and Major Collett said to me, "You know what? It's so silly. This poor fellow. If he should survive this, no future."
In between times I should have told you, but Major Moon said, "Ewen", Ewen Collette. He said, "Ewen, looks like we'll have to take them out. Both his eyes." And as soon as he said that I took off looking for Weary and as it turned out Weary was in the foyer of the school. The Crystalec Lyceum and I said, "Chief, they're gonna take Bill's eyes out."
And he galloped in there and he said, "Arthur," Arthur Moon, "you certain?" He said, "Look for yourself they're all," shrapnel right through all his eyes you know. So they took out Bill's eyes. So Weary titivated up his arms and the leg. By the way I said, "Major," to Ewen Collette, I said, "Why can't you?" He said, "All we've got to do is go like that and chop the
oxygen off." Now this is honest Indian what I'm tellin' you. He said, I said, "Well why don't you?" He said, "No, not allowed." I said, "Well if you look that way sir," I said, "I can," 'cause he'd said, "This boy's got no future if he gets back. He'll go to a place called St Dunstan's," which is the blind institute in England. Well known. Right. Bill's still alive today dear.
Telling you to cut your hair?
Oh yes. We had so much notice to cut our hair so you had every bloke doin' it you know. Runnin' the clippers the old fashioned clippers and anyway then also on top of all that we had second hand Dutch uniforms on, which were all green, and some of us had sneakers on and we looked a dreadful lookin' bunch I admit it
when you compared us with the Brylcream and the Sam Browns and pork pie hats, which were South African Red Cross and good boots and that's when we came across this officer called Blackjack Callaghan and that's another story but so he christens the Java Rabble because we one crowd failed to
salute him you know and he didn't like that. I gotta be careful because when this comes over some blokes are gonna say "The b…, knockin' us" but we were veterans and yet with all due respects to the 8th Divvie, they did a good job but we'd already done a good job. We'd been against the Jerries and the French, the Vichy French, and all that you know and the Italians.
We were veterans and they were all new chumps. See some of those poor buggers, excuse the lingo, some of those poor fellows only just arrived over there in Selarang in Changi, in Singapore I should say, and the war they're straight into it and over, five minutes. No training. Practically no training at all. Poor devils.
and the other bloke was 8 Divvie and see all the senior officers, the top notches, were all shipped over to Japan. When we arrived in Changi and then the debate was on with Weary and Blackjack. Blackjack reckoned that Major Dunlop,
who actually was made a temporary colonel by Blackburn, the brigadier, before he left Changi, he said that, "You are a non-combatant officer and therefore you should not be in charge of combatant people. Who's your next in charge?" and the next in charge combatant, the senior, was a Major Werne, Bill Werne. Poor old Bill's gone now too and so they fronted
like an ordinary time as if the war was still that we were still on top. They had to go to the orderly room and front him you know as if everything was normal and Bill Werne told him. He said, "No, no. I'm satisfied bein' under the command of Major Dunlop."
and on this particular occasion, I hadn't seen him for awhile, and I shot 'round to where he and an old mozzie net and he and Ewen Collette were in the same thing. I said, "How you goin' Major?" "Not bad." I said, "How's the big fella?" He said, "Oh alright." I said, "How's the…" and I pulled the mozzie net and there it was,
all these little batteries all bloody, I said, "Oh," he said, "For God's sake please don't tell anyone." I said, "I won't tell anyone," because we had the secret radio in Java, which I used to connect up. There's another story. In Java, back in Java, oh yeah. So there it was.
to the railway you, in what was called the Yankee grobbin [?] where they chopped down the bamboo and then the rains came so it exposed the bamboos, but no shoes, I had no footwear, slippin' and slidin' and hittin' me toes and I used to struggle into camp, I'd be two hours behind some of the blokes heading back to camp and a bloke said, "I'm gonna put you into Weary. I'm gonna dob you," 'cause I wouldn't, I didn't want to think that
you know I couldn't work with the other and as soon as he saw me he said, "You silly bastard. You won't be going to work in the morning." So he organised so I'm on the table, bamboo table, and a fella called Wiseman, Sergeant Wiseman, who was a chemist and they're lookin' at the Novocaine and I heard the confab was, you know, "Do you think this is gonna be alright?" And, "Oh yeah," and I'm layin' back. I thought "Oh geez."
Anyway he did the operation. Didn't feel a thing. Foot down there. Both off. First operation with Weary. Bing. Hundred per cent ever since and then that was good but when I couldn't go to work for two days and I was bed down, then whack. I got the malaria and then straight away
I got clinical diarrhoea. Not dysentery. No blood. So consequently it took me nearly three weeks to get back on deck and they were the bad times. That's when I felt a bit low.
Indonesian ah not Indonesian anyway the French border there. Vietnam it is today and I said, "Oh what a pity." I said, "What about an operation on before day of movement?" He said, "What have you got?" I said, "Well I got my tonsils. Do without those." Said, "I got my appendix.
Do without that." I said, "I got me foreskin. Do without it," and everything was made out of bamboo in those days and his reflex hammer was bamboo and he went like that on the top of me skull. He said, "Right, the foreskin." Now I used to go down to the amoebic dysentery ward and take forty leaves for a bloke, Squizzy Taylor, to wipe his bottom
with. He used to do forty motions in the small half of his dixie, amoebic dysentery, and a motion was about that big, blood and mucous, and he was down to little 'round the area of five stone, and I used to sit on the end of his bed boards and tell him a yarn and, "See you tomorrow Squiz," thinkin' "You won't be there tomorrow." But when I got back, this Scotch RSM we had he said, "Butterworth where you been?
The big fella as you call 'im wants you to go to him straight away." I said, "Why?" He said, "Something about an operation." I said, "But the bloody movement I'm told's been cancelled." He said, "I don't care. Up and see him." So up I go to the big bloke. I said, "You want to see me sir?" He said, "Yeah. Get up to the compound. The operation." I said, "It's been cancelled" and he went 'plop' hit me on top of the scone. He said, "Just in case," because the Nips used to change their mind a lot.
So two mates of mine said, "Could can we come up with ya?" I said, "I suppose so." So there I am and it was Sunday. Yasmai day they call that, rest day, and the bloke in the theatre was a Welshman. Taffy Jones more. "What is this? Indeed to goodness man what are you doing?" I said, "An operation Taff. You got to prepare me for an operation for circumcision," and he's going berserko. "Yasmai day." I said, "I
don't give a stuff mate. Go crook on the big fella when he walks in." So I'm on the table. So he has to shave me and he's got a little brush with about two bristles on it and he's got a bit of stuff which is supposed to soap and the razor is a table knife honed down. The big bronzed Anzac. I'm layin' back there. Oh and that knife
when he started to shave, holy hell. So in walks the big bloke, bamboo and starts scrubbin' up in the water. Over he come. He said, "Now I've only got this much", this is Novocaine, "I can only give you a little bit because if you've got too much of this it'd go black." Anyway so I'm just going, right. I'm laid back.
Bamboo. So he's got this needle and then with a scalpel he's goin' like that. He said, "Can you feel that?" I said, "No sir." Then this Spencer Welsh forceps and they've got ratchet which you use in operations for chopping off veins and cutting them and as soon as he did that, "Holy
Hell," I jack knifed and I hit him on the shoulders and he went back and immediately came back at me and hit me on the shoulders, wonder I wasn't unconscious, and I went down. He said, "You silly bastard." That's the way he used to talk, very quiet. "You silly bastard," he said, "You told me you couldn't feel that." I said, "I didn't but I..." Two of me mates that came to see me, one had fainted by the way behind me. So there you were and the next thing
"Righto," he said, "do you want to take it home with you?" Now that's the story of Weary and I and that's been on television. 'This is your Life.' It's been everywhere.
but don't get me wrong, even though I, the beer was my medicine. Grog was my, that was my, definitely my medicine and I used to tell people, "Well there's no bloody medicine bottles in the garbage. No pill boxes. I enjoy that," and that a lot of our blokes did the same and fortunately I've got to eighty three, so I must have done some good for me you know. I reckon it
did anyway, and also I must say I, my dear wife, I don't think if things had been like they are now I think my dear wife mighta bailed out but she stuck by me and that was it. My kids, my son, he said, "Dad you're a tough old bugger." I disciplined them you know. Different to what goes on today. I
was pretty strict as a parent. Too strict really, I realise now, but they still love me.