Saturday, 26 April 2008

Anzac day reprised

I've posted this elsewhere, but thought I'd put it here for posterity.

Just been on the blower to the old man. Although he spent 5 years of the war in the Navy, and a reasonable amount of that afloat in theatres on the other side of the planet, he doesn’t march. He’s always gone to his naval reunions (which generally involves flying to somewhere like Adelaide), but he’s never gotten into the Anzac Day thing. Dad was the baby of his ship, and he’s about the last one of his crew left.

I think this story might shed some light on the reason for that.

His brother spent 3 years in PNG with the Army, generally collecting every tropical disease known to man. He was too crook to stay in the Army after the war, even though he had a hankering to do so. When he was demobbed, his first job was secretary to an RSL big wig. He liked the job, liked the people and looked set to make something of it.

Then came Anzac Day. It was raining, so he stayed in bed. The next day, he was carpeted. His boss wanted to know why he didn’t march.

“Because it was raining”.

Boss: “I don’t give a bugger if it was raining - if you want to do this job, you’ll march on Anzac Day, rain or not”.

Uncle: “I spent 3 years marching in the rain in New Guinea so that I wouldn’t have to march in the rain when I got home. You can stick this job up your arse.”

He collected his hat and walked out to pursue a succesful career in other fields.

The old diggers. God bless ‘em. Wouldn’t take crap from anyone. My uncle knocked on the pearly gates just a few years back, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he told St Peter where to stick his key.

On another note, another uncle had his merchant ship shot out from under him by a sub. Some of the crew (including my uncle) stayed on board, manned the gun and blasted the sub as the ship sank under them. The captain, who had taken to the lifeboats, got a nice gong for the effort. My uncle got a pat on the head. Such is life!

Dad also told me that my uncle's unit had a nice little business in PNG where they produced samurai swords for the American market - as in the US Army. Uncle was in a RAEME unit, and they had all the kit required to turn scavenged jeep springs (leaf springs) into swords.

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