WORLD WAR 2: Unforgettable memories of a schoolgirl

JOAN AS A YOUNG WOMAN WHO WITNESSED THE WAR AS A SCHOOLGIRL. Below: OVERSEAS PAPERS ALSO FEATURED THE WORDS ‘WAR DECLARED’ ON GERMANY.

JOAN, IN HER EIGHTIES, AS A SCHOOLGIRL, USED TO EXCHANGE LETTERS AND PHOTOS WITH AN AMERICAN SAILOR. “BUT WE NEVER MET”, SAID JOAN.

THE FRONT PAGE OF THE NEWSPAPER WERE HUGE LETTERS – “WAR DECLARED”.
ADAPTED BY FRANK MORRIS

BORN IN 1930, JOAN McLEOD REMEMBERS INCIDENTAL MOMENTS OF WAR AS SHE WITNESSED IT AS A 9 TO 15 YEAR OLD SCHOOLGIRL. SHE LIVES IN ROCKDALE, NSW. SHE WRITES …

WHEN MEN OF 18 YEARS ENLISTED IN THE ARMY, THEY WERE TO GO OVERSEAS TO FIGHT THE GERMANS WHO HAD INVADED POLAND. THE FIGHTING HAD SPREAD TO OTHER COUNTRIES. WE BACKED ‘MOTHER ENGLAND’.

SOME WOMEN JOINED THE NURSING FRATERNITY. THERE WERE ALSO THE LAND ARMY GROUPS WHO WORKED IN FACTORIES, AMMUNITION, ETC, TO REPLACE THE MEN WHO HAD ENLISTED IN THE FORCES.

EVERYONE WAS ASKED TO BUY ‘WAR BONDS’ TO ASSIST THE ‘WAR EFFORT’ WHERE POSSIBLE. I KNITTED WOOLLEN KHAKI SOCKS. AT HOME, OUR MUM MADE ‘PULL THRU’S’ FOR ARMY RIFLES.

OUR CITIES HAD BEEN EFFECTED BY ‘BROWN OUTS’. WHICH MEANT AT NIGHT ALL WINDOWS, ETC, HAD TO BE COMPLETELY COVERED.

I REMEMBER THE AIR RAID WARDENS WHO CAME AT NIGHT CHECKING WINDOWS – AND LOOKING SKYWARD FOR ENEMY PLANES. CONTINUED BELOW.


Let’s Laugh …

SYDNEY CARTOONIST JOHN NEAL WAS AS BOISTEROUS AS SOME OF THE CHARACTERS THAT COME OFF HIS DRAWING BOARD. AND CABBIE, ONE HIS PROTÉGÉS IS NO EXCEPTION. CABBIE SOARED TO FAME AS SOON AS HE APPEARED. JOHN DREW THE POPULAR BLUEY AND CURLY STRIP FOR A SUNDAY NEWSPAPER IN THE LATE 1970s, SO HE KNEW WHAT “HAVING A LAUGH” REALLY MEANT. – FRANK MORRIS.


WORLD WAR 2: Wilfred Burchett – the best and bravest correspondent I’ve ever known, says Richard Hughes

ATOMIC PLAGUE: “THOSE WHO EXCAPED BEGIN TO DIE”. Below: BURCHETT: “I WRITE THIS AS A WARNING TO THE WORLD”.

BURCHETT’S TERRIFYING JOURNEY TO HIROSHIMA.

ADAPTED BY FRANK MORRIS

IN THE MIDDLE OF AUGUST 1945, THE MOST TERRIBLE WAR IN HISTORY WAS OVER.

TWO GREAT FLARES OF LIGHT THAT SUBDUED ALL OTHER NATURAL LIGHT AS THE WORLD’S FIRST ATOMIC BOMBS WERE DROPPED PRESAGED THE END.

THE JAPANESE CITIES OF HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI WERE VIRTUALLY WIPED OUT OF EXISTENCE.

WHEN HUGHES READ THE FIRST EYE-WITNESS ACCOUNT OF THE DESTRUCTION OF HIROSHIMA, WHICH THE DAILY TELEGRAPH PUBLISHED ON SEPTEMBER 6, 1945, HE PUSHED HARDER FOR PERMISSION TO GO TO JAPAN.

HE ARGUED THAT HE KNEW THE COUNTRY, SOME OF THE LANGUAGE AND MANY OF THE WAR-TIME LEADERS.

HIS APPETITE WAS WHETTED BY THE MAGNIFICENT REPORT TURNED IN BY WILFRED (PETER) BURCHETT, AN AUSTRALIAN THEN WORKING FOR LONDON’S DAILY EXPRESS.

BURCHETT BLUFFED HIS WAY FROM TOKYO TO HIROSHIMA, ARMED ONLY WITH A 45 CALIBRE PISTOL, A JAPANESE PHRASE BOOK, AN UMBRELLA, AND A WEEK’S SUPPLY OF RATIONS.

HE TRAVELLED BY TROOP TRAIN WITH JAPANESE OFFICERS AND TROOPS, UNSMILING IN CASE THE OFFICERS THOUGHT HIM TO BE GLOATING OVER JAPAN’S SURRENDER.

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ABOUT WILFRED BURCHETT …THE WORLD WAS IN SHOCK! BURCHETT WAS NOT REPRESENTING ANY AUSTRALIAN NEWSPAPER AT THE TIME HE FILED HIS WORDLWIDE SCOOP ON THE ATOM-BOMBED HIROSHAMA. HE WAS A STAFF REPORTER FOR THE DAILY EXPRESS (LONDON), AND HE COVERED THE PACIFIC WAR FOR THAT NEWSPAPER FROM THE START.  CONTINUED BELOW.
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BURCHETT’S TERRIFYING JOURNEY ENDED WHEN HE CLIMBED OUT OF A WINDOW OF THE TRAIN AT HIROSHIMA’S EMPTY SHELL OF A STATION. HE WAS ARRESTED AND HELD FOR ONE NIGHT; BUT AGAIN HE TALKED HIS WAY OUT OF THE DILEMMA.

HE WALKED FOR SEVERAL KILOMETRES INTO THE CITY AND AS FAR AS HE COULD SEE FOR KILOMETRES AROUND THERE WAS NOTHING LEFT ABOVE THE GROUND BUT RUBBLE.

FOR SOME SIXTY-FIVE SQUARE KILOMETRES THERE WAS HARDLY A BUILDING STANDING.

BURCHETT SAID IT WAS THE MOST TERRIBLE AND FRIGHTENING DESOLATION HE HAD SEEN IN FOUR YEARS OF WAR REPORTING.

FIRES WERE STILL SMOULDERING AND THERE WAS A PECULIAR ODOUR; SOMETHING LIKE SULPHUR.

BURCHETT WAS LATER DESCRIBED BY HUGHES AS ‘ONE OF THE BEST AND BRAVEST CORRESPONDENTS I’VE EVER KNOWN”.

<< Excerpts from The Man Who Read The East Wind, a biography of Richard Hughes, Extraordinary Correspondent, by Norman Macswan; 1982; Kangaroo Press, Sydney.

A BUILDING, PARTLY DEMOLISHED, WAS THE ONLY EDIFICE LEFT STANDING IN SIXTY-FIVE SQUARE KILOMETRES.

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ABOUT WILFRED BURCHETT …
BURCHETT’S SCOOP ON HIROSHIMA (“THE ATOMIC PLAGUE – I WRITE THIS AS A WARNING TO THE WORLD”) APPEARED IN THE EXPRESS UNDER THE BYLINE “PETER BURCHETT”, A MIX UP ON THE PART OF THE EDITOR, ARTHUR CHRISTIANSEN, WHO PERSONALLY SUB-EDITED BURCHETT’S STORY. – FM. << FROM AUSTRALIAN BOOK COLLECTOR, FEDRUARY, 2000.
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WORLD WAR 11: Final. Unforgettable memories of a schoolgirl

THIS AFTERNOON AUSTRALIAN NEWSPAPERS, LIKE ALL PAPERS THROUGHOUT THE GLOBE, SAID “WAR OVER: OFFICIAL”. Below: THE THREE WHO DIDN’T GET AWAY – THIS ONE BEING HAULED TO DRY LAND.

ADAPTED BY FRANK MORRIS

EVERYONE, INCLUDING THE KIDS, WAS ISSUED WITH A RATION BOOK AND COUPONS FOR DIFFERENT ITEMS SUCH AS MEAT, BUTTER, SUGAR, TEA AND CLOTHNG ETC. I THINK IT WAS THE BASIS OF A MONTHLY ALLOWANCE.

EVERYTHING WAS PRETTY SCARCE. WE HAD AN ARMY TO FEED. SOME PEOPLE DUG AIR RAID SHELTERS IN THEIR OWN BACKYARDS. TO HELP THE MORALE OF OUR SERVICEMEN, WE WERE ASKED WRITE LETTERS.

ALL I CAN RECALL OF THE JAPANESE SUBMARINE ATTACK IN SYDNEY HARBOUR

 WAS THE NOISE, THE SIRENS AND THE SEARCHLIGHTS.

(SPEEDY DEFENCE FROM THE ARMY FOILED THE ATTACK BY 3 MIDGET SUBMARINES. TWO WERE SUNK IN SYDNEY HARBOUR. THE THIRD MIDGET SUB ENDS UP EVENUALLY TWO MILES OR SO FROM THE HARBOUR. – FM.)

I EXCHANGED LETTERS AND PHOTOS WITH AN AMERICAN SAILOR WHO WAS TRANSFERRED FROM MICHIGAN. WE NEVER EVER MET. AMONG THE PHOTOS WAS A COPY OF THE SIGNING OF THE TRUCE WITH JAPAN ON BOARD THE AMERICAN WAR SHIP.

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HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI …
KOKO KONDO, 75, HAS PLEDGED TO FIND THE PERSON WHO DROPPED THE BOMB AND LEFT NEARLY 200,000 DEAD. SHE APPEARED ON THIS IS YOUR LIFE IN 1955. ALSO APPEARING WAS CAPTAIN ROBERT LEWIS, CO-PILOT OF THE ENOLA GAY. KONDO CHANGED HER MIND. HER ENCOUNTER WITH LEWIS MADE HER REALISE THIS. “YOU SHOULDN’T HATE THIS PERSON … I SHOULD HATE THE WAR ITSELF”. – FM.
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AFTER THE USA JOINED THE WAR IN 1942, SYDNEY BECAME INUNDATED WITH AMERICAN SERVICEMEN. THE AUSSIE TROOPS USED TO SAY THE YANKS WERE ‘OVERSEXED, OVERPAID AND OVER HERE!’

THE WORLD CELEBRATED WHEN THE WAR ENDED.

IN AUGUST, 1946, I MET JOE McLEOD WHEN I JUST TURNED 16. HE HAD BEEN RELEASED FROM THE ARMY AFTER SERVING 5 LONG YEARS. HE WAS 24 YEARS OLD AND STILL GETTING ATTACKS OF MALARIA, WHICH HE CONTRACTED IN NEW GUINEA.

HE HAD SCRUB TYPHUS IN NG WHICH NEARLY TOOK HIM OFF. HIS PARENTS RECEIVED NOTIFICATION FROM THE ARMY IN NG THAT THINGS WERE BAD.

LUCKILY, HE PULLED THROUGH. JOE AND I MARRIED IN 1950.

<< This is an adapted letter from Australia at War 1939-1945: Letters and personal anecdotes; Bobby Barter; MSS.


JANE …

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ABOUT ERIC LAMBETH, AUTHOR …
THE BIG-BOOK WAS TWENTY THOUSAND THIEVES PUBLISHED IN 1951. IT WAS A STORY BASED ON HIS SOJOURN DURING WORLD WAR 11. WHEN HE MANAGED TO PRODUCE OTHER BEST-SELLING NOVELS – THE VETERANS, WATERMAN, HIROSHIMA REEF, ETC – HE DID SO WITH UNBRIDLED PASSION, HONESTY AND COMPASSION. HE WAS 48 WHEN HE DIED. – FM.

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GRAND YEARS WILL BE PUBLISHED ON SEPTEMBER 4.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 20 August 20

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