EARLY LIFE of William James Hunt #6
Well we had returned to our little village in Crynant, South Wales where I was born. We now had settled in at Edith's mother's home. I wasn't working as I was now waiting for my calling up papers for the Fleet Air-Arm to arrive. We enjoyed the rest of August together, the weather was grand. And we could go around our little village to talk to all our friends and let them know why we had to come home to Wales. We did not have a car so we had to go to our town [Neath] by bus. Edith bought a few things that she thought she might need in preparation for the baby we were expecting in September. We went over to see my Mam and Dad a few times as they were still living in the house where I was born, so that passed a few hours on for us.
It was getting very close to Edith expecting our baby so we stayed around Edith's home with her mother. I remember well the morning we had to call our nurse in to be with Edith. It was Friday the 11th of September and I was going up to the hall to collect my "Dole" money (unemployment insurance money) I was back in double quick time, and just as I got home the baby was born. The midwife was helping and she was very firm that I could not go into the bedroom. She only let Edith's mother in with her. I was very disappointed with being kept out of the bedroom.
Edith had a very light labour, only two hours! However, the birth was more than she bargained for. Unfortunately, the doctor had to be sent for as the baby was born with his arm over his head, and Edith needed stitches. All this time, I had to stay out if the bedroom. I was finally allowed in to see Edith after the midwife left. The baby was nestled in her arms looking so sweet and nice and clean, wrapped in its blanket. Edith said she was fine and so was the baby. Everything was going fine and my Mam came over after tea (supper in Canada.) and stayed for a few hours.
It wasn't until the next day that Edith's Mom asked me if I would like to hold the baby. I was a little frightened about dropping the baby, however, she re-assured me how to hold the baby. I took the baby in my arms, and then Edith's Mom told me it was a boy. I hadn't even worried my head about that part. We named him Keith Malcolm Hunt. He weighed 6 3/4 pounds. At that time, a normal weight for one just born. He was a very pretty baby boy. I was so pleased I was at home when he was born. WE thanked the Lord God for giving us a wonderful baby boy!
Edith had the usual hard recovery after she had those stitches especially without the help of the "donut" pillow or "sit bath" (In our time we did not have those things). We just stayed around the house with our baby till I got my calling up papers to the Flight Air Arm service. I was upset to think that I now had to leave the joy of our life, at this time not knowing when I would see them both again. I said my prayers and asked our good Lord above to take good care of them both while I would be away. And thanked Jesus Christ for the wonderful present he gave to Edith and I.
I WOULD LIKE TO DEDICATE THIS POEM TO
ALL OUR MOTHERS, (GOD GAVE ME ONE OF THE VERY BEST)
Thank You God
For pretending not to notice that one of Your angels is missing, and for guiding her to me. You must have known how much I would need her, so you turned your head for a minute and allowed her to slip away to me. Sometimes I wonder what special name you had for her, I called her "Mother." To think of not having her with me is unbearable. You must have known how much I would need her.
I don't know what I would do without her all these years. She has loved me without reservation - whether I deserved to be loved or not. Willingly and happily, she has fed me, clothed me, taught me, encouraged me, inspired me, and with her special brand of love and gentleness, reprimanded me.
A bit of heave'n's own blue, her eyes reflect hope and love for you and the family. She has tried to in-still that love in us. She's not the least bit afraid of work. With her constant scrubbing, polishing, and fixing, she has made our house we've lived in, a beautiful home.
When I'm confused, she sets me straight. She knows what matters and what doesn't, what to hold on to and what to let go. You have given her an endless supply of love. She gives it away freely yet never seems to run low. Even before I am aware I have a need, she is making plans and working to supply it.
You give her great patience. She is the best listener I have met. With understanding and determination she always seems to turn a calamity into some kind of success. She urges me to carry my own load in life but is always close by, if I stumble under the burden.
She hurts when I hurt. She cries when I cry. And she will not be happy until she has seen a smile on my face once more. Though she has taught me to pray, she has never ceased to invoke your richest blessings upon me.
Thank the other angels for filling in for her while she was away. I know it hasn't been easy. Her shoes would be hard to fill. She has to be one of your greatest miracles God, and I want to thank you for lending my mother to me, all my life.
Now the time has come when they need me in the service to help my country in this war. I said all of my goodbyes. My friends who were still working in the mines knew why I had chosen to go into the service instead of back into the mines. Edith stayed in Crynant with her mother while I took off to the R.A.F. training camp in Markham, near Blackpool. We had to train at the R.A.F. station
because the F.A.A. (Fleet Air Arm) did not have the training camp of their own. I had finished all my interviews, then it was the R.A.F. camp to complete my final training. I had three months "square-bashing" to do (that's what it was called). It was basic training. When I finished the "square bashing" I moved to the R.A.F. training camp, the training started on the 1st of March 1943.
Remember that date, because it comes into my life a few times. I was on the Royal Air Force camp training on the special course of ground maintenance. I had been on the course for three months; during this time I fell ill with a very bad case of tonsillitis. I was in the hospital for three weeks. This was the worse sore throat I'd ever had. The doctor came to my bed one day and said, we were considering taking your tonsils out but we decided to leave well alone. When I finally got out of the hospital, the woman doctor gave me three weeks sickness leave. I couldn't believe I was going home to see my family and I thanked the Lord once again for giving me this wonderful opportunity.
When I received my pass I headed straight for home to Crynant, where Edith and my little son were. How pleased I was to see them again. I thank our good Lord God again for guiding me to see my child and my wife once more. I really had a wonderful time, thank you God. This was the best three weeks of my life and the weather could not have been better, we went up to visit Edith's sister Nancy as she had a farm and I could help her husband. The three weeks was now over and it was once again time to return to camp. I said my goodbyes and was on my way, that part was so sad leaving my family, but sure appreciated having those three weeks. I did enjoy having that extra break as I never thought I would see them so soon, I sure thanked the Lord above for those three weeks.
As you read through my life story you will see how our God in heaven guided me to better things. Even if I fell ill, I ended up in a better position, or maybe even just got to go home to see my family. There are a lot more times in my life that God has come to lead me where he wanted me to be. If you believe in Him, He will watch over you. God as a purpose for everyone, one day you will realize it.
"I can do all things through. Christ who strengthens me!"
After I returned to camp I had to join a new class, in ground maintenance. Again, this was a blessing for me, as I will tell you later on. I should have passed out of my training class in May of 1943. I was three months late passing out, however, as I was in the hospital. So it wasn't until the end of August that I finally made it.
My next move was to a place called Ford, in Sussex. I was transferred there to get some experience doing the real thing. I was there about four months. While there I had been told that they were expecting to go overseas. I thought I would go with them. I was only a little way out from London so Edith and Keith came to stay with my sister Win who lived in London. I had every weekend home. That again was a wonderful time for me, once again Jesus Christ give me a second chance for me to be with my family before we went overseas. That eventually came to an end and Edith and Keith stayed on for a few more weeks.
I was stationed in Ford, Sussex, for four months waiting for my call to go to Scotland as we had been told that we were waiting to go overseas. Then after a few weeks I was called in to see the Commanding officer. I wondered what he wanted with me; well I soon found out that I was to be sent abroad on my own. I was told I would be leaving them to go to another camp in Arbroath to wait for my orders to leave for overseas. I was in that camp for over two months doing nothing only just what we wanted to do. It was December the 19th when I left Arbroath for Liverpool. I had had my inoculations only the day before I left for Liverpool, on my own. Once again it was not long before God came into my life bringing others to help me when I needed help.
After receiving all the necessary injections - Oooh! Was my arms sore it was so swollen and red too, I thank God, He gave me a friend, I was taken to the station to get my train to Liverpool and I had to drag my kitbag along the platform when a Army person saw me, he came to help me when he noticed I could not use my arm (He guessed I had been given injections), after talking to me he said he would take care of me as he was also going to Liverpool on his own, once again God was there for me when He knew I needed help, when my arms were so sore; again he brought that very nice service man to help me.
I knew I was being sent on my own to Liverpool to be shipped out on a Troop Ship. I got to Liverpool for the 21st December. My new friend went with me, and as we left the train he was still carrying my kit bag for me. I thanked him before we parted and then I had to be trucked to a camp overnight. At this point we parted, as he was in the Army. I wished him all the best and hoped he would be home safely. I asked God to keep him safe when I said my prayers at night. He was a very nice boy; I did not ask him to help me, he saw me dragging my kit bag and came to give me help.
Then I was brought back the next day to the Liverpool docks in the morning, to get on board the Troop Ship. I thanked the Lord for sending this man "out of nowhere" - what a true Christian to accompany me, and help me in my time of need. My arms were still sore the next day but not as bad as the first day. The next morning I was told to get ready as I was being taken back to the docks, to join a group of eleven others F.A.A boys and one officers.
There were 250 army troops on board and only 12 of us from the Fleet Air Arm on board, with our officers. We were split into two groups of six, on board. We were not with the troops, we had our own quarters next to the Merchant Navy man [who was in charge of us six (F.A.A.)], we were on night duty, and one of our jobs was to break eggs and other things ready for breakfast the next morning for all the troops on board. We worked with a guy who was in the Merchant Navy. He was our "boss," and we also shared general quarters, which was very good because I didn't fancy sharing quarters with the whole company. The "boss" was from Liverpool, and his ship went back and forth to Liverpool all the time.
One afternoon I was on my bunk writing a page or two to Edith. I was the only one there, as the other five went out for a walk around the deck. My boss happened to come in, and said, "What are you doing Taffy?" I told him I was writing a few pages every day to my wife. He said, "Where are you going to post them?" I said, "Wherever I land in camp I suppose." He then said that he would post my letters for me when he got back to Liverpool, if I would do him a favour. "What can I do for you," I said, laughing slightly. He warned me that all our mail from a camp would be censored. I understood that. "I would like you to bring some food items, each night, around to my Cabin." He would tell me every night just what he wanted, and I would take it out for him. He was supposed to check us when we left, so I had no worries over that. I told my boss, "Sure, I will do that for you," Then he said, "I'll tell you where we are going. Now, mind you, don't tell anyone else!"
"Oh, I promise I won't," I said.
"Well then," he said, "we are going to Australia. When you write to your wife, you can tell her you are going to Australia, as these letters will be posted in Liverpool. They will not be censored!" Although this seemed a strange thing for me to agree on, it was a strange thing for me to do, as it would have been months and months before Edith would have known where I was, (if ever), if this opportunity had not come my way. Thanks to the Lord it did! Edith would never have known where I would be. Now, just think once again how our good Lord God was looking after me! It maybe unbelievable but I can assure you it is absolutely true.
After a while, I had six letters ready, and I told him how many letters I had written. So he said to me, "Keep on writing, and number each one, and then you will know that Edith has gotten all of them." I was a bit dubious about whether he would keep his promise. I even offered to pay for the stamps, but he would not hear of it. He was an angel sent to me from heaven. "Thank you God" I kept that to myself, I did not even tell those very nice people I met up with in Australia. I did not tell any of my friends as I had promised my boss that I would not, and I never did tell any one.
On the arrival of the Troop Ship into Sydney Harbour, my "boss" suggested that we all (six of us) go up on the deck to see the spectacular lights of Sydney harbour at 3:00 a.m. It was a sight to see. We arrived in Australia on the Saturday morning 27th January 1945. After the other fellows had their "fill of it," and had gone down below, my friend gave me his final instructions about my letters.
"In your last letter, the 12th one, explain to your wife that she cannot say that she received your 12 letters. Instead, tell her to say she has had her Birthday last week and she received 12 presents." That was how Edith told me when she received my letters a month later, and she sent straight back to tell me. Believe me, I was so very pleased to know he had kept his promise. Once again I wish I had his Liverpool address to thank him for what he did.
I was able to tell her in each letter where we were at the time, because of my newfound friend, my "boss." Her letters were also censored. He kept his promise all right because Edith did receive all of them. I said our Good Lord was looking out for me, and I really believe that. My only regret was I never thought at the time to ask my boss for his Liverpool address. When I got home at the end of the war I did try to find him with no success. This was the third time in my life during the war that I regret not asking these very good friends for their address, I guess one never thinks about it.
It took us almost six weeks to get to Australia. I will never forget the night we sailed in. We had to wait outside the dock until they were ready for us. My "boss" took us up on deck to view the sights. It was dark, but the dock was all lit up with coloured lights. It was really a lovely sight. I was so excited to think that I was in Australia. I just could not believe that I was there, I told my Boss, "It's just like a dream to me."
He said, you'll never regret this the rest of your life."
How right my boss has been. You will know by now what a wonderful life I have so far received with the guidance of Jesus Christ in my life, and read on as there is a lot more good times, to read about; good or bad I always came out on top. Believe me it is all absolutely the truth.
Show me; the way, not to fortune and fame,
Not how to win laurels, or praise for my name;
But show me the way to spread "The great story"
That "Thine is the Kingdom and power and Glory"
Helen Steiner Rice
Soon it was time to say goodbye to my "boss." I told him how pleased I was to have met up with him. The last thing he said was, "I'll post your letters as soon as I get to Liverpool," (and he did). I did again offer to pay the postage once more, but he still would not hear of it. Later, after I got home, Edith told me the Postman called her and said to her, "Mrs. Hunt, I've got a LIBRARY out here for you." You can imagine her surprise. I could not tell her until she received all the twelve letters I had written to her, it was never mentioned again while I was still in Australia.
You will see how our good Lord God was still guiding me; it was still in evidence throughout my stay in Australia. It was the 22nd of December 1944 when we left Liverpool, and it was 3 a.m. the 27th of January 1945 when we arrived in Sydney, Australia. It was Monday the 29th when we were taken to the camp, the "Golden Hind" in Sydney. There were twelve of us, and one officer, and the rest were other troops who were quickly dispatched to their duties.
We were the first British Servicemen to come to Sydney, and when we went ashore for the first ten days we were in Sydney (we did not have any duties so was able to go ashore every day) people were always stopping us and giving us bananas, they knew we hadn't had any bananas in Britain all through the war years. I have loads of photographs from those days. We had invitations to parties the two weekends we were in the camp. The people living there really entertained us.
It still wasn't clear what we were going to be doing. Even the officer didn't know yet. He was finally sent for, on the 7th of February 1944, and when he returned, he told us where we were going. The next day, the 8th of February, we got on the train, which took us to Brisbane. We stopped overnight at a place called Newcastle, then continued to Brisbane. We went to a place called Rocklea N.A.S. The work we were to do there was similar to what I had done in Knighton, Radneshire, England. We had to convert the building from a Ford motor factory to a land maintenance service station and repair shop. This was now to be a repair shop for the aircraft that were fighting the Japanese. In all, it took us about nine months to get the building ready for the rest of the troops to come over. We finished in November, from then on, we had nothing to do but enjoy ourselves, until the Troops arrived in February 1945.
I was friendly with two other F.A.A. boys as we were working together all the time we were in the camp. Every now and then there would be a notice placed on the notice board with a message asking any one wanting to have a days outing and a Barbecue party "Please place their name below." We are always ready for a days outing, the outing was on a Saturday. We all at the camp plus the officer had their name on the notice. We were taken for a nice boat ride up the river until we got way up where there was a nice camping place, where they had the barbecue. After we finished eating we had a nice singsong around the fire, there were two people playing music for us, I really enjoyed those two hours singsong. It was now time to head back down the river, it was 11 p.m. when we got back to camp.
The next best thing that happened to us three boys was meeting up with a lady, her name was Mrs Firrell she spoke to us in town one day asking us what part of England where each one of us lived, after we told her, she then asked us if we would like to come to a birthday party in a few weeks time, we three said we would love too. She then invited us to visit their home. It was over the other side of the Brisbane Harbour Bridge, a place called Sibleys Road Lindum.
"Have you got time to come home with me now?"
We said yes we have, She showed us how to get transport. Mrs Firrell did not have a car. We soon found out that they were a family originally lived in England. The road where all the family lived now in Australia, the road was named after their Father; they were a family of three brothers and three sisters, Mrs Firrell was the one of the sister, what a wonderful person God brought into my life one more time, how can any one say that we were lucky, to me there is more to come and I thank the Lord God-Jesus Christ for bringing all those very nice people to us.
When we arrived at her home, we met the rest of her family, her husband and two of their daughters, the oldest daughter was working that day so we met up with her later. After we had dinner, Mrs Firrell showed us around their big garden all afternoon, we saw a little home the girl's had when they were small, she said if you can have a weekend with us anytime you can sleep there, and as time went on we did that. Just remember this was another time our Lord God brought us to meet this lady in our first shore leave. We had another surprise waiting for us.
After we had dinner with her she then took us to visit her Mom and Dad. I said we had a big surprise coming. Her Dad was 91 and her Mom was 90 (Mr and Mrs Sibley) they just lived a little way down the street and both of them were in very good health. The Dad was a retired Colonel in the English Army, when he finished with the Army the whole family immigrated to Australia. I have a lovely photo of them both that I took of them under the banana tree in their garden, they all lived in the one street that was named after the Colonel, it is called Sibleys Road. We had a lovely time with them and when the time came to leave we were almost in tears because one would think we were their family. I can say now I really loved that place and if Edith and I ever decide to go to Australia, that is where I would have wanted to go to.
We practically lived with Mrs Firrell all the time we were waiting for the big crowed to come over, so each day we went over to visit Mr and Mrs Firrell and they loved having us. You would think we were her sons the way she looked after us, we could not have met any one as nice as Mrs Firrell. They had three daughter, the oldest was twenty and the middle one was seventeen and the youngest was fourteen. We went with the two youngest girls and their Mother swimming, and other places. It came now to the birthday party for one of the girls. Mr and Mrs Firrell had hired a big hall with music after we had finished eating, and again we had a lovely singsong the rest of the night, all the family was on the stage, they had us boys with them and we were holding hands. I had Mrs Firrell on one side of me and Birthday girl on my other side. When we finished singing Mrs Firrell asked me, have you been singing with a band, I said I had not.
"Do you know you have a very nice voice, I enjoyed listening to you singing all night." She was so excited about it and said "If you lived here I would have you in the school, don't you have some training schools in England?" I said I lived in a little village in Wales, there was very little going for us in my young days and with it being a very small village I guess we had no chance of ever being "discovered."
(KEITH comment: My Dad had a very smooth melodic singing voice; my Mother was also a very fine singer and people used to comment how good she was)
Now you know how our good Lord God was guiding me to better things, just you think, how I eventually got to Australia. We are by no means finished; once again the Lord was there for me. I thank the Lord every night for His guidance, and appreciate how we had all those nice people He brought us to meet up with in Australia. It was just like one big holiday; we enjoyed every minute we could with the Firrell's.
We had a very nice time over the Christmas period, I will never forget how all the Sibleys family's were so good to us, and specially Mrs Firrell. We did not have money to buy any of them a present, they said when we told them, "We don't expect you to give us anything we all understand and do not upset yourself about it, you just enjoy yourselves." What a wonderful time we had, and remember in December it is the middle of their summer.
We went out dancing with the girls and their friends, and when we were walking home and it was raining the girls just took their shoes off and walked in their bare feet, the sidewalks were very warm, and when the rain stopped the sidewalks soon dried up. Now we are into the New Year 1945. You will not believe the good time we had, thank you God for watching over me. We still had nothing to do on camp, we had to report every morning to our officer to get any orders. We were still waiting for the Maintenance crowd to come over, I thought I would stay with them and still visit Mrs Firrell and family. If I had not been married I would never have come home at the end of the war.
We were still on our own in the camp all through January and going out every night, then at weekend we were able to sleep Saturday and Sunday night with Mrs Firrell, as they had a big sleeping quarters in the back of their home. We were not on duty for those days but during the week we had to be there after breakfast in case our officer had something for us to do. We were still enjoying ourselves with Mrs Firrell and family. Now we are in the month of February and still had nothing to do. We were still with our new family and with it still being summer we were taken out every day, some days we would visit the rest of the Sibley family and a few times we spent a few days with their Mom and Dad.
At the end of February we got the bad news from our officer that in two days to expect the two hundred and fifty to arrive at any time, so we had to stay around camp during the week, but still had our weekends going to the Firrell family. You know the old saying "All good things must come to an end" They sure did when F.A.A. (Fleet Air Arm) Maintenance crowd came over. That was the worse part of my stay. But we were still not wanted, so during the week we would break out of camp after morning parade.
We knew where to get out because when we first got a taxi to take us back and we told him what we had done, he knew all about this spot and he took us back to show us, and said if we ring him he will come to that spot where no one could see us every time. We did that for the next two months and we told Mrs Firrell and she even paid the taxi driver for picking us up and taking us back. Now came the very bad news, I got orders to go back to Sydney to join the "Formidable," an aircraft carrier. The whole twelve of us went on our own, I thought I would be left there because I had already been trained for ground Maintenance but they separated us all.
The next night we broke out to go and see Mrs Firrell, it sure was a very sad night, we three boys told her how we enjoyed having her all that time, we ended up crying like babies and so were the family. We went to visit each one of them and especially the Mom and Dad. It was now time to get back to camp, when the taxi came for us. It was so sad at this point in our life but we still had to thank every one for the time we had with our life in Australia.
I have now received my orders to go to the Golden Hind camp in Sydney, from there I was to join the Aircraft Carrier H.M.S. "Formidable." Our job was to help to load up this ship with enough supplies to last at least three months. Then the time came for the ship to sail to the WAR ZONE! It was the day when we had to join the rest of the fleet to fight the Japanese. Our job was to look after the "Barracuda" fighter planes on our carrier. These were wonderfully made planes as they could "fold" their wings straight up to be able to go "below" into the Hangers. When these planes were sent out to "do their duty," we had to stay below decks during the fighting.
On one occasion I was on deck with the rest of my crew, when it was announce by the Captain that one of the ships in the area had an accident in their "Hanger." One of the Mechanics had ordered an Electrician to "Press a Button" in the Cockpit for him. The Electrician obeyed and sent "Tracer Bullets" throughout the Hanger. Of course it was then ablaze. About six aircraft were destroyed in the fire, and we were told that the Ship's crew had to be "on guard" to "Abandon Ship." Fortunately, the fire was under control in the allotted 10 minutes! Everything turned out all right for the Ship and her Crew. The Mechanic however, was put in the "brig" and eventually put "ashore" for punishment. This was on the News at the Movies and Edith saw it. It did worry her, as she had no idea if it was my ship that it had happened on. Luckily, of course, it wasn't my ship. She told me when I got home, she did not know what ship it happened on.
Another time, one of our planes (not "Scruffy" whom we 'serviced') came back damaged from a "hit" from the Jap planes. It was unable to let down its "landing bar" and therefore was unable to land on the ship. He was told to land on the water as close to the ship as possible and we would "pick him up." He landed in the water and ejected himself. The plane sunk and the pilot was swept away from our Aircraft Carrier. It was impossible for us to navigate to pick him up. Immediately, one of the little "Destroyers" that surrounded us turned straight around and chased after him. We could no longer see him as he had disappeared over the Horizon. It must have been at least 20 minutes later that we heard over the loudspeaker that the pilot had been picked up. The air resounded with our joyous shouts and cheers. It was moments like these we remember and still cheer at the bravery of our comrades. We were so glad that our plane came back okay. We had a very nice pilot. When our fighter plane "Scruffy" went out on a mission to protect the "bomber" planes that were fighting the Japanese, We were not allowed on deck when we were in contact with the Japs; we would be waiting anxiously, until we were told that they were on their way back to the ship. Then we would go up on deck; there were five of us working on one plane. We were glad to see "our plane" come back safely, each time. The pilot we had was a nice guy; they called him' "Scruffy" because he was so untidy. He had that name on his plane, and he used to come around when we were servicing his plane, to thank us for keeping it up to "par." We were so proud of that plane. We were glad we didn't lose it or its pilot. Every time he returned safely, we gave him a big "Cheer!"
After two months in the fighting Zone, we were "down below" while our Seamen were on deck, fighting. A Japanese Suicide plane (Kamiah Karsie) crash-landed right on our ship's deck! It was a Miracle of God that he landed right in the middle of the ship's four steel plates that made up our flight deck. We were fortunate that it was a British Ship with steel decks, as the American Ships were made with wooden decks. The steel plates prevented the suicide plane from going below into the "Hangers." All we heard that day was a huge BANG! But we weren't sure what had happened. It shook the whole ship, I can tell you. Our hearts were in our mouths believe me. We didn't know if our ship would sink or swim. Our lives were even more at risk being "down below." The terror was more "real" as our imaginations were our only knowledge of the situation. Our relief that we were not sinking, when we finally learned what had happened, was inexpressible. At least we were still "afloat."
When we got the "all-clear" sign, and were allowed back on deck, what we saw made us sick. There were bits of debris from the plane and the pilot all over the place. Our two gunners and one officer that were killed were taken to the sick bay. We helped to wash everything over the side of the ship. Later we had the burial service for the two gunners and the officer. This was the first burial service I had seen at sea.
This time, the damage done to the carrier was so bad that we had to return back to Sydney for repairs. It took a month to get back to Sydney. While we were there waiting for the repairs to be finished, we got shore leave every other night until the repairs were finished; during the day we just had to sit around for at least another month and until the day the repairs would be finished then we would be going back up to the fighting zone, we were all sitting around on top looking over the side as it was a very warm day, then we got the news over the speaker from the Captain that the Japanese had surrendered. When I said my payers I thanked our Lord for keeping me save throughout my service.
TO BE CONTINUED