War Chronicles from our Veterans – Edition 3

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

John Russell – Born 18th June 1920

John Russell

John joined the AIF in 1939 and was a part of the ‘Special Expeditionary Force,’ which helped to keep the Suez Canal open (similar to the 1st AIF’s did in WWI). John then joined the ‘Darwin Over Land Mobile Force’ until he was diagnosed with Typhoid and discharged in 1941. 

From there, John joined the Merchant navy and was on the Aquanita, the first ship to sail into Pearl Harbour after the infamous attack. As an engineer, John ventured on to the Antarctic and helped establish bases on Heard Island (1948), Mawson (1952) and McMurdo (1958). 

John published a memoir of his expeditions in 2019 called ‘Antarctic Engineer.’




Stella ‘Faye’ Clarke – Born 29th July 1918

Stella ‘Faye’ Clarke

Faye was born near Ulverstone on Tasmania’s northern Coast in 1918. Faye enlisted as a Nurse and, before she was deployed to a military hospital in Palestine, her father gave her some sound advice, telling her that if she wanted to be respected as a young lady she should never smoke or drink alcohol.

 Faye talks about collecting gum leaves at Gaza Ridge to remind her of home. She now resides at Seasons Retirement Living in Caloundra. 

At the time of our interview in May last year, Faye insisted on completing a 2km walk each day and credits that to her great long-lasting health. View her partial video here



Frank McCosker – 30/30/1922 to 08/09/2020

Frank McCosker

Frank was his parents ninth child and he grew up on a dairy farm in the Glass House Mountains. 

Like many others, Frank lied about his age to join the army. He was deployed to New Guinea and recalls in exquisite detail the Battle of Milne Bay. Frank was discharged in the middle of 1949 and joined the Queensland Police force where he spent the next 33 years until his retirement in 1980. 

Sadly Frank passed away in September 2020.

View some of his video here




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