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Anzac Day...this Is My Story


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#1 BumpunRun

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 09:52 AM

My Grandfather fought in Papua New Guinea as a signalman mainly out of Port Moresby. He safely returned, but never told us any stories. As a school kid I would march in the parades with his medals, but could never appreciate the magnitude of why.

 

My story starts in 2006.

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This is from the Dawn Service at Bomana. 

 

In November 2005 I was with my mate at a pub and four schooners in he tells me he is booked to go and do the Kokoda Track for Anzac Day next year. There and then I made the call and booked and paid for my trip while still hungover the morning after.

I trained as hard as I could for those 6 months, I didn't drink any alcohol, trained at the gym and went for hikes with my fully laden back pack. I thought I was ready.

 

We arrived in Port Moresby on the 16th of April and flew into Kokoda airstrip the day before we took off on the walk. 

The first day was hard, walking hours at a time with a belting stitch, barely being able to hold a conversation with the person next to you. My first thoughts were the humidity and how damn wet it was. 

In the lead up to leaving Dad had said to me a few times, he would pay for a porter because carrying my bag would be too hard. I wasn't having a bar of that at all.

Day two, all I could hear was Dad's voice saying it would be too tough, this voice got me through what was my far and away toughest day. I set my tent up and crashed, no dinner, no post-day run down. I was genuinely stuffed, mentally and physically. I lay in the tent with a fever, uncontrollable shakes, the thirsts and a banging head-ache.

In saying that I had a great sleep and woke up really newly refreshed.

 

Day three was a long walk but saw us go through the Isurava Memorial.

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The trek, if you can at all say got better, it seemed to really feel something more emotional and special. Each and every hour was painful, but it didn't feel painful anymore. It is impossible to explain how high up each mountain was and how far down each gully was. The downs were as tough on the legs than the ups.

 

The downs meant we were walking to a gully, often another river crossing

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On our walk we went North to South, the way the Japanese came so we could finish at Ower's Corner, at this time Channel 7's Sunrise team were walking the other direction. It was day four we heard word we would pass them. Of the three of them, Kevin Rudd was in the front of their pack. He was more tahn happy to say G'Day to each and every one who he passed. 

I think very keen for a spell I got photos with both Joe Hockey and David Koch.

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Day 5, Day six was walking and lots of it.

 

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Before the start of my walk I taped up my feet in all the possible hot spots, some invaluable advice I'd received. Mt feet were ridiculously sore after the 6th day, but with two more walking days to go I thought I would change the tape and put a new lot on .. found this

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if you look carefully, you can see another crater forming under the original blister.

 

The day morning was special, we woke up in pain, aching, tired but excited.

As a group we stopped about 30 minutes shy of the end for a last break and feed before we made our way to the 'finish line' 

The gates at Ower's Corner still have the most profound effect on me and for those who have met me might have seen my sticker on my arm, it is of the most special few bits of timber I have ever seen and felt

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That night we had beers and rums and lots of them.

we went to bed about 3am with needing to get up at 4 to head on a truck to the Bomara War Cemetery, I honestly cannot remember much of what was said at the service, but tingles and feelings that are impossible to define.

 

This is my Anzac Day story

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#2 Harambe

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 10:06 AM

Great stuff.

#3 Weetbix

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 10:06 AM

Thanks for sharing

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#4 GhettoGolfer

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 10:09 AM

What a bloody good story.
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#5 Tolmij

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 10:09 AM

Respect Bump.
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#6 Tochakka

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 10:40 AM

My ANZAC story has a similar beginning but my dad fought in New Guinea and he never told us much at all about what happened but we learned little bits over the years, one of his mates who used to come home on ANZAC Day was French and had the highest French medal equal to the V.C.
In 1981I joined the Navy and in 1985 transferred to the Air Force and over the years marched in lots of ANZAC Day marches and every time I heard the Last Post the chills would go up my spine and the hair would stand up on the back of my neck and I would remember why I marched and after my Dad died those memories of him came back.
Fast forward to Feburary 2000 and I was deployed to East Timor and spent 6 months there. ANZAC Day 2000 dawn service was celebrated on the beach at DILI airport and among the crowds were a couple of East Timorese who helped the Aussies in WW2 and did this at their own risk of life against the Japanese.
There was a couple hundred Army and Air Force personnel at the dawn service and to hear the Last Post on the beach at sunrise with everyone in camo,s and carrying weapons certainly brings a chill up the back of your neck.
I have not done the Kokoda Trail and probably never will and I may not experience what my Dad went through and what others have had the chance to experience but to me what my Dad went through can't be experienced.
When I returned from East Timor my life changed just over 12 months later and in 2004 I discharged from the Air Force and could count on one hand how many times I have marched on ANZAC Day since then.
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#7 Yarn

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 10:59 AM

Great work Bump.



#8 BumpunRun

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 11:03 AM

My Nana was also in WW2, but I think stayed in NQ, whenever she would come to our school Anzac Day parades she was cry during the last post, as a kid I never understood why. 

Thinking about listening to it the morning at Bomara, I still get chills 


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#9 Tochakka

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 11:11 AM

As a kid in primary school we went to all the ANZAC days but one memory that lasts and was not until many years I realised the significance of the vision I watched. There was coverage from Vietnam on TV on ANZAC Day and as a 10 year old did not put the two together or how significant it was until many years later.
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#10 Ji Bao He

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 11:26 AM

ANZAC Day, holds more meaning to me than Australia Day. My pop was in Pt Moresby, I used to look up at him and asked how many people did you shoot, 'just a couple' he would answer. His back was covered in all these tiny holes. Never really knew what from. Rest in peace pop
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#11 Tolmij

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 11:52 AM

For me personally rememberance day has more significance than ANZAC day as none of my relatives were involved, I can relate to this special day as we have similar passion about the English day of rememberance.

My father was always ashamed he was never allowed to join up, he was in an occupation deemed essential to the war effort so it was illegal for him to join. On several occaisions he was threaten with gaol for attempting to circumvent the order.

We were lucky we never lost a family member during the wars, several of our family were in action, one of my uncles being a front line despatch rider, the life expectancy being weeks but he survived several years.

Many of those left at home were involved with the emergency services as a second occupation, my father was a fireman all throughout the bombing of the UK as well as a full time day job. he related tales of digging through buildings looking for survivors and fighting fires as the bombs were falling all round them.

Those on the front had a horrific time but many left to run the countries at war were also under extreme pressure and are often forgotten, a walk down any street targeted by the bombers bore testament to the horrors those at home went through.

Remembering today the horrors of war for the soldiers and those under fire at home it beggars belief that some idiots are still at it, as a race we are not very intelligent or why would we be always hell bent on destroying each other. Days like today should be a wake up call.
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#12 OldBogey

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 12:22 PM

Remembering today the horrors of war for the soldiers and those under fire at home it beggars belief that some idiots are still at it, as a race we are not very intelligent or why would we be always hell bent on destroying each other. Days like today should be a wake up call.

 

With intelligence comes stupidity.  Alas, there seems to be more stupidity than intelligence.

 

Mankind will not learn from the mistakes of the past.  There will always be power mongers who want more, and even more again.  And they will use others to do their battles for them, whether that is in their own ghetto or in international warfare.



#13 OldBogey

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 12:23 PM

Thanks for sharing your story, Bump.



#14 *Mouldy

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 12:40 PM

Salute to you Bump


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#15 mugcanic

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 01:59 PM

My dad was a wireless operator (signals) in the RAAF. He was sent to Darwin just before it was bombed and was quickly transferred out of there down to Batchelor where he was based for 13 months. For that year and a bit he kept a diary (highly illegal). All I can say is it was an absolute eye opener to read this diary about 10 years ago for the 1st time. There were bombing raids over the area the whole time he was there. Scary ****.....I would love to reproduce the journal here but it would take way too much space.


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