This week’s meeting was all about remembering, as Remembrance Day is this week, and we wanted to mark the occasion by sharing stories, and I have to say we heard some wonderful stories of loved ones past and some still with us.
We traveled across the world from PNG to Borneo and then to Egypt France and Normandy, and not forgetting Hungary Italy & Darwin.
We heard the story of the HMAS Sydney that
*Telsa’s uncle was on HMAS Sydney when it was sunk, and she spoke about the memorial in Geraldton, of a beautiful canopy of birds, one for each of the 645 men who lost their lives when it was sank off the coast of WA.
*Brian shared the story of his 18 year old grandfather that was part of the Light Horseman when he was in North Africa 1914-18, and he suggested we don’t believe all we hear about Laurence of Arabia (British Intelligence Officer Thomas Edward Laurence) and if you would like to read the true story or so they say, click here and he also brought along a very different form of Protective Clothing, thank you Brian.
*Judy B spoke fondly of her father that served in Darwin, keeping the planes flying, and she is very fortunate to have explanation and the medal’s he received after the war, also Judy had children’s memento medals that were given to Australian children after WW2. Her father was station for a while at a camp in Ceres and that is where he met Judy’s Mum, that was a nurse at the time living on a farm. Her dad rode his bicycle many miles to take her dancing.
*Andrea’s Dad was in Darwin during the bombing on 19 February 1942 which was the largest single attack ever mounted by a foreign power, on Australia, apparently he had a very close call with a bomb.
*Ian Aranyosi had a very different story of bravery and tenacity, of a mother and her 13-year-old son, (Ian’s dad) that travelled on foot through 4 countries to escape Hungary and find a ship to carry them to safety. Finding the port and a ship and queuing with many others, only to be told she needed a husband with her as this was a “Family boat” Leaving the queue and going to the back, found a gentleman that also needed a person to make up a “family”, They joined the queue once again and travelled together, arrived in Australia and then on to Norlane, billeted in those Nissan Huts, that some might remember, that is now the area at the back of Bunnings, and the rest is history as they say. Wonderful story Ian, thank you.
*Daryll spoke about Diane’s dad that was in North Africa and was part of the Rats of Trabuk that were under siege by Italian and German forces from 11 April 1941 and was relieved on 10 December. The port continued to be held by the Allies until its surrender on 21 June 1942. On his return to the UK he was presented a medal from King George VI.
*Aileen told us the story of husband Ricks, Great grandfather, and grandfather. His GGF was a Methodist minister in Clunes and joined the army in 1914 at age 50, along with his two sons. He was sent to Egypt first and then Galipoli. He was in Galopili from Feb to September 1915, he returned to Australia suffering from “nervous exhaustion “
His son Alfred - Ricks grandfather served in New Guinea, then Egypt in the 6th light horse in 1915 and 1916, He was sent to France- The Somme in April 1916 with the 15th Batt. 4th Aust. Division.  He was wounded in action in Pozieres on 9/8/1916, with bomb and gunshot injuries to arms and legs. When he was wounded in Pozieres in no man’s land, he took a German soldier prisoner and made him carry him back to the Australian lines. He was then transferred to London where his right leg was amputated on 26/8/1916. He was promoted to Captain and after convalescing he took up a job at the war office in London. He was awarded an Army scholarship at Bailliol college in Oxford to study law in 1918. Great story Aileen, thank you

*Shirley shared a wonderful story of love lost and found again. It’s a story of a man she calls uncle and at the age of 94 was invited to speak at a Probus meeting regarding his experienced in WW2. So he wrote it down by hand and when asked recently about his time as a POW, he gave Shirly a copy of his Probus presentation. Laurie Braybrook joined up at 18 and was sent to fight the Japanese in the Solomon Islands. But before he left, he was courting a beautiful young girl called Isla, and that meant a sad goodbye. When they got news, the war was over and because Laurie was a single man, he was then involved with looking after a POW camp of 10,000 Japanese soldiers waiting to be repatriated home. One soldier became very ill with malaria and Laurie shared his medication with him. The man was so grateful he gave Laurie his medals. When he returned to Australia Isla was nowhere to be found. Moving on, he met and married a young widow called Fairlea and had a lovely life. He lost his Fairlea 15 years ago and he decided to join the tractor and steam engine group at the Geelong Showgrounds. There he heard that there was a woman in the CWA called Isla and yes it was his Isla. And today Laurie at 96 and Isla 93 are companions and are enjoying their later years in life together.