War Chronicles from our Veterans – Edition 2

Lest We Forget!

These simple words are spoken at ANZAC Day Commemorations every year. But how do we ensure that as a nation, we don’t forget the sacrifices of these ordinary men and women whose actions and experiences were extraordinary?

This Story Australia is a charity dedicated to capturing and preserving the significant moments of Australia’s history as told by those who experienced it first-hand via high-quality video documentaries.

In collaboration with This Story, The Hills Echo is delighted to bring you a new monthly segment that will showcase just a few of the veterans whose full stories can be found at the Queensland State Library (short bio’s are available on the This Story website at www.thisstory.com.au).

If you are a veteran and would like to share your story, This Story would love to hear from you, email jeff@thisstory.com.au or call 0439 661 44

Ronald Haysom – 19/01/1925 – 24/06/2020  – Born Northgate, Melbourne

Ron joined the Australian Army Signal Corps after the bombing of Darwin in 1942. He later was sent to New Guinea, Borneo and Singapore. Ron shares some of the more vivid and tragic memories of what he saw in Borneo during the war, and met over 2000 Australian POWs in Changi prison before helping to care for them as they sailed home to Australia. Ron also shares the horrors that haunted him, then identified as ‘war neurosis’ (now known as PTSD), and his subsequent shock treatment in 1964. Ron credits the tremendous support of the DVA in the past 50 years as a comfort to him and his lifestyle. In his interview, Ron mentions how growing older alone can be pretty lonely, having outlived his beloved wife and many of his mates. We got to spend a great deal of time with Ron at his home in Sunnybank in the past two years but sadly he passed rather suddenly in June this year. He has left an indelible imprint on us here at This Story. View the video here

 

Cynthia Clifford – Born 16th October 1923 in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia

Cynthia was born in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, but has been enjoying her twilight years at Fairview Retirement Living at Pinjarra Hills in the western suburbs of Brisbane. This feisty, courageous woman didn’t want to join the services as an administration officer even though she was highly experienced in this field. Instead, Cynthia decided to join the Artillery. As a gunner, Cynthia was responsible for putting the predictor and height finder data into the 3.7 inch Anti-aircraft guns at Leighton Battery on Buckland Hill, Mosman Park. Cynthia has a tremendous sense of humour, always has a smile on her face, and is a delight to all staff and residences at Fairview. View the video here

 

Alan Brown – 21/03/1922 – 27/05/2019 I Stanthorpe, Queenland

Alan was born in Stanthorpe, Queensland. He joined the Airforce in 1941 with a mission to become a night fighter. Upon enlisting, Alan met his eventual co-pilot and best mate, Vic ‘Possum’ Whitfield. “Poss” as he was known, was a master of astro navigation and the two were the first Australians to land in Greece after the German occupation. Alan and ‘Poss’ flew 100 missions from bases in Africa to behind enemy lines in Greece and Italy, often delivering top secret officials to key destinations. Sadly, Alan’s mate ‘Poss’ succumbed to an illness just a few weeks after being discharged together from the service and passed away. Alan received a special commendation and gift from the Greek Prime Minister, Andreas Papandreou, in a private ceremony at World Expo ‘88 in Brisbane. Alan continued his love of flying after the war, founding gliding clubs across the Sunshine Coast area of Queensland. Alan spent the last years of his life in a home overlooking the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast perched high on a Nambour hill, and passed away in May of 2019. View the video here

 

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