It’s Anzac Day today. And so I dedicate this post to my pop. He was a engineer at Flanders Field in WW1. He only ever told me two stories of his experience in the war. The first was that an officer told him to build an officers dunny.
As he walked away from it, the enemy fired a shell and destroyed it. Reporting it to the officer, he was told to put it up again. 3 times he built it, and 3 times it was blown up. After the 3rd time, the officer decided not to bother, as it was obvious it wasn’t a safe place for the officers to go about their business.
The second story was that he and his brother ran the two up on the ship back home, and they made a nice little kitty by the time they arrived back in Sydney.
Actually there is a third story he used to tell me. And that was that if a bullet missed you by 1/2 an inch, it might as well have missed you by a mile. He and his brothers were young country men, who joined the march to Sydney from Gundagai where they lived. They were blessed, for they came home. Many others were not so lucky, for the bullets never missed.
When WW2 came around, he refused to go back to war. By then he was a grazier and a plumber and because of his farming background, he didn’t have to. He was a clever sod; he converted his truck to run on shale oil, and had built a shale burner on the back of his truck, and was forever being pulled over and being investigated by the police to ensure he wasn’t using black market petrol.
Pop was a hard man and a person I can’t really say I knew well. Looking back, it was obvious he had not recovered from the experience of war. But, I despite his experiences, I don’t think he ever regretted his decision to go. He passed away around the age of 93.
May we remember the stories of the past, so that we don’t have to make the same mistakes in the future. Lest we forget.