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ANZAC day

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Sat 21 Oct 1944. He was in the 2/5th artillery, but was now aboard a ship ( I can't yet find the name of his ship, think it might have been 'Shropshire'), directing naval gun fire somewhere near Palo in the Leyte Gulf :

 

"Dawn phase at 5.40. From the plot the virbration of gunfire took me out on deck. 2 planes were circling between us and the 'Australian'. Passing down our starboard side, the first clung too low to be shot at without endangering the Aus. She circled left around to the far side of the Aus rising higher when one of our guns opened up. Smoking, she banked left and struck the Aus fairly on the fore mast and the bridge became an inferno of blazing petrol, while the greater part of plane fragments blazed yellow in the water beside to port. Meanwhile No2 passing us on starbd was hit again and again by the aft bofors, clipped the water, rose again and crashed in the hills ashore. As the sky lightened the Aus fire was brought under control and we saw what damage was done. The radar tower was bent forward against the main director, both enveloped in flames for 15 minutes and the top of the tower had crashed down on the compass platform. The Capt, Navigator and a Lieut were dead, some dozen officers and ratings seriously wounded and radar and directors crews unrecognizably incinerated. 50 was the total of casualties including miscellaneous burns".

 

Should really take his diaries to the War Memorial in Canberra, but when i get the time want to type it all in first. They are falling to bits however, need to do it soon.

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Should really take his diaries to the War Memorial in Canberra, but when i get the time want to type it all in first. They are falling to bits however, need to do it soon.

 

Thommo, you should take it to get scanned rather than trying to type it all up.

When I was back in Ireland last I visited some relos in Tipperary and they had an old bible that acted like a family tree and had all family members written in it going back 500 years. They just had it sitting around and I convinced them to get it scanned.

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Thanks for posting Thommo.

 

Makes me realise how lucky we are to have had these brave men & women go before us and fight and sacrifice for our country.

 

And as mentioned by Trev, get it scanned mate.

 

Lest we forget

 

Ayto

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Another except from the Old Mans diary:

 

Wed 1 Nov 1944.

 

"An hours stand to for air alert at 2.15 this morning. At about 9.30 the action alarm went off. The ships hereabouts were attacked simultaneously with single and twin engine planes. Working down in the gunnery office on a map for the navigator I didn't bother to go up expecting it to be the usual false alarm. Our guns large & small opened up with a roar and a hammering as a twin engined plane made a would be crash dive on us from the starboard quarter. He was hammered by bofors and pom poms particularly and swerved off to crash. The Ammen was bombed a bit, the Mullamy had a near miss, the Hardy took a fish (torpedo) & settled by the bows with only a few feet above water. We remained closed up for dinner. Another raid this afternoon at about 2 when a twin engined bomber crash dived into the Abner Read and enveloped it in flames. They fired their torps (torpedoes) to prevent them exploding & they barely missed us. The aft magazine blew up.

 

Then just before supper Peter Ewing told us a whole story. There were 2 battleships with cruisers and destroyers SW of us. The Japs were landing fresh forces at Ormot B which was occupying our PT boats. We were down to 3 battleships, & the carriers were not near at hand, & we were down to 30% fuel. The Capt told us over the speakers that he thought we were in for a heavy night of air attacks & that another surface action was probable."

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Hi Thommo,

 

I echo what others have said about having them scanned. My nan had a great deal of letters from relatives serving in WW1 & 2 written to various family members. Mum convinced her to have them all scanned for the family and the originals have all been donated to the war museum.

 

Conor

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Thommo

 

Those are treasures not only for you and your family but for the greater audience into the future. Im sure that the war memorial would gladly help you preserve them in the best possible way.

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Another except from the Old Mans diary:

 

Sat May 30th 1942, stationed in the Middle East with his 2/5th artillery group.

 

"I worked for an hour or so on the letter I'll have sent home if I am killed".

 

He was 22 years old in 1942.

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Thanks for sharing Thommo. I always find it amazing how matter of fact war diaries are - some things you have to read twice to absorb the enormity of what the writer experienced.

 

Out of curiosity, I did a search to see if there was any link between the 2/5th and the 8th Army where my Grandfather was a Gunner. I came across a book written on the 2/5th in World War II: O'Brien, J W, Guns and Gunners: the Story of the 2/5th Australian Field Regiment in World War II, Sydney, Angus & Robertson, 1950

 

A link to some extracts from Google Books: link

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Thanks for sharing Thommo. I always find it amazing how matter of fact war diaries are - some things you have to read twice to absorb the enormity of what the writer experienced.

 

Out of curiosity, I did a search to see if there was any link between the 2/5th and the 8th Army where my Grandfather was a Gunner. I came across a book written on the 2/5th in World War II: O'Brien, J W, Guns and Gunners: the Story of the 2/5th Australian Field Regiment in World War II, Sydney, Angus & Robertson, 1950

 

A link to some extracts from Google Books: link

 

 

I have that book. My father is mentioned on page 254, NX15688.

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I went to two ceremonies today. Went by myself to dawn service in Parramatta, and then took my grandfather to an afternoon service at my dad's local.

 

While we were waiting for dad to come back with our beers, my grandfather was telling me about some of the things he remembers doing while he was serving. He is 94, will be 95 in July and quite remarkable for his age really. He was in the Air Force, in the Airfield Construction Squadron. He was telling me about an airstrip they built in Port Moresby, and how they had planes flying on it from 2 weeks after they began work. He commented that he can't understand why it takes so long to build infrastructure these days, when in the war they had to turn over new airstrips every week or 2.

 

He reckoned that where there are B&Bs there's no B&B, and explained he meant that where there are bullets and bombs there's no brass and bull****. True I s'pose!!!

 

Amazing that he's never told me anything about the war, and I heard more about it today than ever before. Always worth listening to.

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With the diaries and the book, that must be a great record to have of your Dad's service.

 

 

Yeah, it's a shame I didn't get interested in it all until after he was gone.

 

He did tell us a bit about it. Interesting thing was he said the war worked out well for him (not many could say that?). He was very academic, loved studying, but his parents could not afford to keep him at school, so got him a job as a clerk in the Forestry Service in Sydney at age 16, which he hated.

 

The war started, he lied about his age, got into the army (artillery), then was subbed out to the navy where he was able to study for the equivalent of the HSC while at sea, then got into medicine when he returned and became a GP.

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Went to the War Memorial in Canberra today with our eldest daughter (who is very interested in history). It is a fantastic place, the displays etc. are absolutely outstanding. Had a chat to them about bringing in the Old Mans war diaries and photos at some stage for them to preserve in their archives. They have new displays now for the Vietnam & Korean war (very cool front half of a Meteor Jet sticking out of the wall - flying one of those against a Mig15 would have been like racing a 1960's Mini against a modern V8 Supercar) and the recent Iraq & Afghanistan conflicts (bloke I used to work with lost his son to an IED in Afghanistan).

 

Found the plaque for the Old Mans regiment on the path leading to the main entrance.

 

 

2-5th Plaque_Rotated.jpg

Edited by ComfortablyNumb
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Went to the War Memorial in Canberra today with our eldest daughter (who is very interested in history). It is a fantastic place, the displays etc. are absolutely outstanding. Had a chat to them about bringing in the Old Mans war diaries and photos at some stage for them to preserve in their archives. They have new displays now for the Vietnam & Korean war (very cool front half of a Meteor Jet sticking out of the wall - flying one of those against a Mig15 would have been like racing a 1960's Mini against a modern V8 Supercar) and the recent Iraq & Afghanistan conflicts (bloke I used to work with lost his son to an IED in Afghanistan).

 

Found the plaque for the Old Mans regiment on the path leading to the main entrance.

 

2-5thPlaque_Rotated_zpse6561698.jpg

RIP, LEST WE FORGET

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Thommo,

 

Staying up in the Tablelands with my inlaws and took my boys to visit the local War Memorial today, Rocky Creek War Memorial Park: "The units represented in the Memorial Park have an association with the Rocky Creek Australian Army Hospital or the troops that trained or provided unit support on the Atherton Tableland area during the World War II." Wandered around the plaques explaining to the boys what each unit did, and as I read your post earlier, I noticed the 2/5th were represented - here's a photo taken today:

 

2-5th.jpg

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Thommo,

 

Staying up in the Tablelands with my inlaws and took my boys to visit the local War Memorial today, Rocky Creek War Memorial Park: "The units represented in the Memorial Park have an association with the Rocky Creek Australian Army Hospital or the troops that trained or provided unit support on the Atherton Tableland area during the World War II." Wandered around the plaques explaining to the boys what each unit did, and as I read your post earlier, I noticed the 2/5th were represented - here's a photo taken today:

 

2-5th.jpg

 

Thanks TP. He describes in his diary the training sessions up on the Atherton T'lands.

 

Re the War Memorial, one of the most amazing exhibits is the rear machine-gun turret from the Lancaster Bomber. It is tiny, even I'd struggle to squeeze in there. Imagine being stuck in that thing with a Focke Wulf 190 bearing down on you & hurling cannon shells at you from 50m away.....bloody terrifying.

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From the Old Mans diary Sat 18th Nov 1944:

 

"Still sailing SE at some 12 knots. 2 letters delivered to me today. Tony (his brother in Z Special Force) paddled 50 miles by night in an inflated boat during his last op. & is still recovering from tropical ulcers. Now at Nov 8 he is reported on his way down to Melbourne for yet another stunt. Rumor has it here that another job is lined up for us 15 Dec. Tony's chance of surviving the armistice at this rate, if it continues, are terribly slender. If after the war we two could to a med-course together, we'd almost exactly complement each others failings".

 

Both did survive the war, my Old Man did do a med-course at NSW Uni and became a GP (it was 8yrs of Uni back then). Tony became a managers at Woolies in Sydney, he was the last of the 3 brothers to pass away 2 yrs ago. He witnessed terrible Japanese atrocities to Malayan villagers while hiding reporting from behind enemy lines which undoubtedly scarred him for life.

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It is brilliant that you have a record of what your family endured, thanks for sharing.

 

I have urged my mother to piece together the stories she has gathered from her parent's generation. The stories we have been told it is fortunate that we are here at all.

 

It is such a privilege to have had these brave people before us.

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It is brilliant that you have a record of what your family endured, thanks for sharing.

 

I have urged my mother to piece together the stories she has gathered from her parent's generation. The stories we have been told it is fortunate that we are here at all.

 

It is such a privilege to have had these brave people before us.

 

 

Indeed. ANZAC Day respects to all from me.

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We Poppies.

 

I feel the vibrations through the ground,

Thundering gunshots shake the dirt.

I’m still growing but it’s almost my time.

I know.

There is screaming above me.

I listen to it, feeling sad.

Wars. Death. Sadness. Loneliness. Gone.

I decide to go now.

I know that I will look beautiful.

I snake up, up, up, up.

Then I break the surface.

The sound deafens me.

But it’s something we have to live with,

We poppies.

This was written by my daughter when she was 10, she won $100 and a trip to Government house to receive and award as part of RSL competition.

 

She is nearly 17 now and much to her embarrassment is sometimes asked to read it at various ANZAC Day ceremonies. It had been a few years since I read it myself and I realised it is actually quite good so thought I would share it in Thommo's thread, hope you don't mind.

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I say thank you too all who made the Ultimate Sacrifice for their country and those men and women who have fought since.

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Both my wife's and my father fought in WW2. Her father in the Australian Navy aboard the HMAS Warramunga, my father in the 2/5th Australian Artillery Regiment, and later aboard the HMAS Shropshire directing naval gunfire in the PNG/Solomons theatre. Both lied about their ages and signed up for the war at ages 16 or 17.

Interestingly, on Sept 30 1944, my father writes in his diary "This afternoon the Warramunga moored alongside under the very skilfull manoevring of Lt Comdr Alliston (red bearded English officer who carried out some spectacular job in the Med)". My wife's father would have been on that ship and though the two men never met (my wife's father died when he was just 48), 45 years later their children got married. My father lived long enough to attend our wedding, but died just 6mths before his first grandchild was born.

My wife's father says in a letter back home "Probably get another injection shortly. I think the only thing they don't protect us from is shrapnel".

My wife's father in WW2

hwGnY0X.jpg

The Warramunga

gcakAp6.jpg

My father in WW2

r25BSxx.jpg

The Shropshire

aOyMT1F.png

A card my wife's father sent home

yHAslCx.jpg

Edited by ComfortablyNumb
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I've realised the Old Man's 1941 diary (when he was fighting in the Middle East) is missing, but in the back of his 1942 diary he has a synopsis of the 1941 diary.  Some entries include:

  • 7/6 reached point 7 miles from Syrian border in olive grove
  • 11/6 our first barrage at 2.30am
  • 12/6 advance held up by road block.  First air attack. J Grey killed.
  • 13/6 Capt King shell shocked
  • 14/6 Captn Morris and several men killed
  • 15/6 retreat from Ibles Saki
  • 19/6 Heavy shelling of Bty OP.  Finally took Marj'uyan and moved to a position 1000 south of town

It is likely this pic is of Sgt Gray whom was later killed & his gun crew gun (though the OM spelt it differently).

6SYg98T.jpg

Edited by ComfortablyNumb
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I had an interesting Anzac day. 

As much as I respect Anzac day I've never really had a connection to it, being an Irish immigrant and all, and my wifes family also have no (known) connection to the wars. My wife was talking to a neighbour over the fence (yes some people still do that :lol: ) and they were both reflecting on the fact that we all had no real connection to Anzacs even though our neighbours are both "aussie as"  

Fast forward an hour or so and my Dad, who is currently visiting from Ireland for his 80th gets out his phone and shows me a few old photos he has found since cleaning up a few things since mum has passed away ( he thought he was pretty clever taking photos of photos sop he could carry them on his phone) and up comes one of a grave stone. 

He then proceeds to tell me it was his Grand Father, my Great Grandfather who fought, died and is buried in Thessalonica 

He fought with the 6th Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers

2 Oct 1916 ROX, Private ARTHUR 22090. Age 34 D Coy

Still getting my head around it but certainly puts a whole new spin on days like these now. 

 

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I've moved some of the replies into the "In the News" thread here in the sandbox.  Feel free to carry on the discussion there as long as it's kept within the guidelines, however let's not allow this thread to descend into the area this has the capability of going

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Pinched a few pics from ANZAC Day in Canberra from my brothers Facebook feed:

The Old Mans plaque at the Canberra War Cemetery.  BEM = British Empire Medal. 

ISg1eWD.jpg

My niece and nephew putting a poppy on their great grandfathers plaque at the Canberra War Memorial

g1VXJbo.jpg

Info and pics about their great grandfather:

The crew

CbPzQ2u.jpg

The plane that crashed LS-W, Lancaster bomber, same as the one in Canberra War Memorial

BJchKHm.jpg

Info about the crash. 

RAAF FATALITIES IN SECOND WORLD WAR AMONG
RAAF PERSONNEL SERVING ON ATTACHMENT
IN ROYAL AIR FORCE SQUADRONS AND SUPPORT UNITS
436058 Pilot Officer NEWTON, Frederick John
Source:
AWM 237 (65) NAA : A705, 166/29/231 Commonwealth War Graves records
W RF Chorley : RAF Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War, Page 144
Volume 1945
Aircraft Type: Lancaster
Serial number: HK 773
Radio call sign: LS – W
Unit: ATTD 15 SQN RAF
Summary:
Lancaster HK773 took off from RAF Mildenhall at 1055 hours on the 23 March 1945 to
attack Bocholt by GH bombing methods. The aircraft was seen at approx 1100 hours
flying in a north-westerly direction at 150 feet with the port outer engine feathered and
apparently on fire. The aircraft gradually lost height finally striking the ground in dense
wood and the 4000 lb bomb on board exploded. The aircraft crashed in between Brandon
and Munford, Norfolk, UK.
Crew:
RAAF 436058 PO Newton, F J Captain (Pilot)
RAF Sgt W J Dee, (Flight Engineer)
RAF Sgt C A J Church, (Navigator)
RAF Sgt M F Matthews, (Bomb Aimer)
RAF Sgt G A Cope, (Wireless Operator Air)
RAF Sgt P Cooley (Mid Upper Gunner)
RAF Sgt T E Jenkins, (Rear Gunner)
All the crew were killed and they are buried in the Cambridge City Cemetery,
Cambridgeshire, UK. The cemetery is known locally as the Newmarket Road Cemetery.
The above fatalities were the last fatalities of 15 Sqn in WW2.

His daughter (my brothers mother-in-law) visited the crash site.  This story appeared in the Mildenhall Register 15, 90, 149 and 622 Bomber Squadrons’ Association newsletter.

Finding out what happen to a Father


I found the following e-mail to Swifty Swallow from Jacky Stewart, the daughter of Warrant Officer F J Newton, RAAF, Captain of the Lancaster that crashed and exploded near Mundford, to be very moving. It draws attention to one of the aims of the Register which is to help people track down what happened to their love ones in the War. I reproduce it with Jacky‟s permission, she hopes to be with us at the Register‟s Reunion this coming May. John Gentleman


“My name is Jacqueline Stewart (nee Newton) I am the daughter of pilot John Newton. I turned 3 years only 10 days after my dad's death. I am visiting my daughter & family in Wales. I live in Australia & have 4 beautiful daughters, 4 great son in laws, 5 grandsons & 2 granddaughters, so feel very blessed. I have been to see Pat & Robin Tuck who have very kindly given me your contact details. I did ring but received your answering service, however I should explain, I am a little concerned with speaking on the phone as I get very emotional, thus I am worried that I will not be able to talk coherently. I am afraid I was quite emotional with Pat & Robin who were extremely lovely people, who have done a marvellous job. I have been overwhelmed with the effort they have given & the results they have achieved. I can not explain my gratitude to all the people involved in erecting a memorial & plaque in memory of my father & his crew. I had been trying to find out information for a long time, however not knowing where to look or who to ask made it very difficult. I did get my dad's service records from our war memorial in Canberra Australia, but that did not give any details about the crash or where it happened.

I remember my mother who passed away in 1996 telling me about some photos that I have of Martin Matthews & Tiger Jenkins. I believe that maybe my father may have spent some time with Martin & his family. It was Mrs Matthews who contacted mum & sent some photos of the grave site & herself. I remember that when we came over to England in 1952, & visited my dad's grave, we also went to the Isle of Wight & on reflection now I think it was to visit possibly the Matthews family but am not sure. I only wish my mum was alive to have seen the memorial plaque and to know how much effort has been given to achieve this. After trying different sites on the internet (which I might add, I am not very good at, still battling these new generations‟ toys, but I keep trying).

I kept hitting brick walls, till my son in law mentioned my plight to a friend of his who is a journalist. It was not very long after that he advised us of the Mildenhall site & told us of the efforts of Pat & Robin. From that moment on the information was over whelming & I am still trying to take it all in. Pat & Robin were so kind & gave my husband & I with my daughter, son in law, & 3 grandsons a visit to the crash site, then to the church to see the plaque finishing with a visit to their house & giving me a folder of all the documentation of the service at the site & the memorial service in the church, words just don't seem enough to express my feelings, there are no words. I thought all I would find would have been at best some newspaper clippings at the time of the crash, but this has just taken me by surprise. My dad's brothers have now passed but his two sisters (94 & 83) are still with us, I know they will be pleased with the knowledge that my dad's death will not be forgotten. I know that you have had a great deal of input in recalling this tragic accident & I am grateful for your efforts to bring this all to fruition. I am looking forward to being in contact with you so please bare with me if I find it hard to talk; this is why I feel I can express myself a little better with an email to start with. It was so lovely to be able to talk to you, you made it a lot easier than I could have imagined. Sending this as I intended. Look forward to keeping in contact.
Love Jacky”
 

 

 

 

 

Edited by ComfortablyNumb
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Great photos CN.  My neighbour growing up on the next farm flew the Lancasters in WW2 (as well some time in the Hawker Hunters fighters earlier in the war, he volunteered very early and went straight into flight training), he used to tell me stories of his time there during the war and interestingly he was in the back up group for the Dambusters.  They had 2 lots of air crews trained for that mission and there were quite a few Australian crews in the second squad.  The mission was if the first crew failed on the first night, the second crew was to go in the very next night and take the dams out, no doubt under heavier fire once the AA crews knew they had attempted it.  As history shows though the first crew got the job done.   Might be worth doing some research if your Grandfathers crew might have been in that position as well.  My neighbour was Frank Hancock, he never mentioned what rank he was but had a very good education so suspect from that and his mannerisms he would have been some sort of officer

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Another excerpt from the Old Mans diary on 7th April 1944, upon catching up with his brother Tony again, who was in Z Special Unit (very secretive commando unit, whose history is only just coming out - http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-30/z-special-unit-history/5706968)

"Tony was home, looking much the same tho thinner & taller then when I saw him last. He parachuted with 10 men over the Jap base of either NEI or Dutch NG at 3am & spent 10 days living in the swamps, mentioned creeping past Japs at 5 yards distance and 3/4 of a million pounds worth of damage.  They got out other than planned - or rather 4 of them did - the fate of the others is vague.....other jobs barely hinted at are apparently of an amazing & unimaginable nature - very secretive of course"

Tony is on the left in this photo of the 3 brothers, my Old Man on the right.

xyhMhiR.jpg

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My old man was on medium artillery on Bougainville, fairly close combat.  He never talked about the war and refused to march on Anzac Day, although he would go down to Kogarah RSL for the regiment reunion in the afternoon.  I think he knew there was no glory in what he had done. 

His last weekend when he was in a morphine induced coma, he was hallucinating about killing Japanese.  So much unresolved trauma.  It left me deeply sad.  

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I made ANZAC Biscuits on the weekend and have brought them to work. I'm the world's worst cook, let's hope everyone makes it home!

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1 hour ago, tortoise said:

My old man was on medium artillery on Bougainville, fairly close combat.  He never talked about the war and refused to march on Anzac Day, although he would go down to Kogarah RSL for the regiment reunion in the afternoon.  I think he knew there was no glory in what he had done. 

His last weekend when he was in a morphine induced coma, he was hallucinating about killing Japanese.  So much unresolved trauma.  It left me deeply sad.  

Yeah, my Old Man came out of it pretty well but never talked about it much.  He was able to study for his HSC equivalent while on the Shropshire (he was very academic, but his parents took him out of school in Yr9 and he worked as a clerk in the public service which he hated). He was then able to get into Medicine @ NSW Uni & became a GP.

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Mine did accelerated architecture after the war. My mum wanted to do medicine but her parents were reluctant for her to be in Sydney in case it was bombed. So she worked in Newcastle and did law the hard way. The characteristics that made her a good lawyer would have been a great asset has she become a doctor. 

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I also don't really have any connections to WW1, 2, Korea or Vietnam.  I don't necessarily think of it as a celebration, or glory or anything.  I think of it as a day of thanks, to everyone.  Whether it be someone in the trenches, or someone back home processing the pays.  They've all made a decision that I don't know if I could have.  And it has an effect on many of them, regardless.  My uncle was RAAF and spent his life working on f111's.  Had been unwell for many years and took his life a few years ago.  His son, (my cousin) was a medic in the army and eventually SAS, doing tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.  His wife posted on FB that she feels blessed that he's never ever suffered PTSD like many of his friends, some who've also taken their lives.  I know his talked to my dad, but keeps it mostly to himself.  Strong as all hell my cuz.

So I just say thanks....

 

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My father was in the airforce (not a pilot) and also in New Guinea and again didn’t talk about the war much or march on ANZAC day. Other than it being my mothers birthday, the only thing he really spoke about was the respect for the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels. He had war nerves and was short tempered and my parents were typical of the generation who grew up in the depression, where you learn to live without stuff and don’t waste money on the unnecessary. 

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I am no glorifying war or its horrors, either. I am just grateful that these men and women served to try and rid the world of tyranny and oppression. I would be speaking German / Japanese if not for them.

Thank you to them all.

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Found some more WW2 info of the old mans in a bunch of documents my mother gave me lurking in a pouch of his old doctors bag.

JthnNct.jpg

4BEqKGb.jpg

49qWoir.jpg

uYXFb0Z.jpg

 

 

 

 

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Crowd numbers were up noticeably at my local dawn service.  

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38 minutes ago, Merv said:

Crowd numbers were up noticeably at my local dawn service.  

Global Warming?

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