In affiliation with the 2/26 Battalion Family & Friends Association Inc.
I was born in Cairns on the 6th June 1919, one of a family of eight.
In 1924, we moved from Cairns to a small farming community, Mirriwinni
between Babinda and Innisfail, where my father had bought a cane farm.
However, following the death of my father in 1927, and my oldest brother
in 1928, my mother had no option but to sell the farm and take the
family to Brisbane.
We lived at Coorparoo for several years and then moved to a small crop farm at Sunnybank.
I completed my primary school education in 1933 and then at age 14 began work as a mechanic in a bicycle shop at Woolloongabba. I continued in this work until 1940, when I enlisted with the 2nd A.I.F. in June of that year.
After six months of training in Caloundra, I became a member of the Signals Platoon of the 2/26th Battalion in Brisbane, followed by Bathurst and then Singapore in August 1941, to become a P.O.W. following the surrender of Singapore on 15th February 1942.
As a P.O.W. I became a member of “F” Force. After several months in Shimo Songkurai, I developed a tropical ulcer and was moved to Tambaya when it was established as a hospital camp. It was my good fortune that my leg healed quickly and for the next 3 months I worked as a medical orderly in Tambaya. This period was the most memorable of my entire P.O.W. experience. The opportunity to work as an orderly, to give some help to desperately ill men and to see at first hand the marvellous achievement of Bruce Hunt and the other doctors was an experience to be remembered and treasured for a lifetime.
At the end of 1943 with the pitiful remnants of “F” Force, I returned to Singapore and remained there at Selerang and later Changi gaol, working on the aerodrome and other work parties until the war ended.
After my return to Australia on the “Largs Bay” and discharge from the army in November 1945, I worked with my brother on the Sunnybank farm until 1952, then I went to Innisfail to live. There I worked on my brother-in-law’s cane farm at Mena Creek, Innisfail until 1955.
I applied for a position with the Innisfail Post Office and was successful, commencing work early 1956. That was the beginning of a twenty five year career with the Commonwealth Public Service, first with the Post Office and later in Telecom.
During my stay in Innisfail, I met my future wife and later married in 1952.
My public service career took us from Innisfail to postings in Townsville, Brisbane, Cairns, and finally Mackay, where we have continued to live since my retirement in 1979.
One of the most rewarding aspects of my retirement has been the formation of a social group of ex-P.O.W., wives, widows and families in the Mackay district. We have spent many happy and enjoyable reunions together and have made very lasting friendships.
A hard worker for the community, Dick worked for Meals on Wheels for 10 years and is a lifetime member of that organisation. He was also proud of his contributions to the RSL, Ex-Prisoner of War Association and Legacy. He was honoured in the 2009 Queens Birthday awards with a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).