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  • Kathleen Carlon

    Volunteer, Women’s Australian National Service “My mother was frightened I’d be sent to the country, so she encouraged me to volunteer for the Women’s Australian National Service.”   At the start of World War II, Kathleen Carlon was an only child living with her widowed mother in Wagga Wagga and working in a local pharmacy. She […]

  • Clifford (Cliff) Parker

    Bombardier, 53rd Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery “I was bloody frightened and we all were.”   The Second World War changed Australia forever. It was a time of transformation for the nation socially, politically and economically and it radically transformed the lives of its citizens. In 1940 Clifford Parker was a single young clerk […]

  • Rod Doust

    Air Gunner, Royal Air Force (RAF) “It was a mixture of patriotism and glamour that led me to enlist in the air force.”   In 1942, Rod Doust was living in Yass and working at the Rural Bank when he decided to enlist. He was 18-years-old. “I had a desire to be in aircraft,” said Rod. […]

  • Victor Nagle

    Gunner – Royal Air Force (RAF) “I was the most excited bloke in the world. I was going to finish the war off. I was hoping it didn’t end before I got there.” Victor Nagle enlisted in March 1941. He was 23-years-old and out of work, and the promise of five shillings a day plus […]

  • Rod Kingham

    Driver, Australian Army “My Dad had been in the Somme and he used to go to Anzac Day so we were an army family.”   In comparison with a lot of other World War II veterans, at 94 Rod Kingham is a youngster. He was one of many young Australians who’d spent their adolescence reading, […]

  • Phillipa Carlyle

    Flight Mechanic – Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force “You had an enormous sense of trust in each other.”   A fine and mild day with northerly winds freshening. That was the forecast for Melbourne on Wednesday, 15th August 1945. It was typical weather for that time of year as a group of mechanics worked away […]

  • Eugenie Allen

    Signalwoman – Australian Army “I was a hairdresser when we married, but I wanted to do something different.”   Eugenie Allen married her husband during World War II, between his service in the Middle East and his service in New Guinea. Eugenie’s fiancé spent two years and seven months in the Middle East. He bought […]

  • Frederick Lewis

    Commander – Royal Australian Navy “I had a love of the Navy and a strong sense of patriotism.”   Frederick Lewis enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy during World War II, beginning a career in the services that would span 35 years. “I felt it was my duty. I had a love of the Navy and […]

  • Cecil ‘Bob’ Leckie

    Sapper, Royal Australian Engineers “My mate and I were shearing out the other side of White Cliffs and I said to this bloke, there’s gotta be a better job than this and he said we’ll join the army.”   Cecil ‘Bob’ Leckie, was known as “Horse” for his entire World War II career. He’s a […]

  • Margaret Ferrier

    Flight mechanic – Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force “Of course I wanted to make a difference, but there was the excitement of being part of it…”   If they made a movie about Margaret Ferrier’s time in the services, she would have to be played by 40’s Hollywood screen queen Katherine Hepburn. There’s the intelligence, […]

  • Mavis Wheeler

    Cipher, Signals Corps, Australian Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAAF) “We women wanted to be seen as capable as men of doing many things.”   Mavis Wheeler is never far from a dictionary. She’s a person who loves words, loves reading, and loves crosswords. So naturally her preference when called on to help stop the spread […]

  • Thelma ‘Shirley’ Grinyer

    Nurse, Australian Army Medical Women’s Service “Most of our patients were servicemen, and they were the best patients you could find”   Shirley was an apprentice bookbinder at Waite and Bull and Norman Grinyer was a printer at Penfolds when their romance began. Shirley and Norman became engaged, but then World War II broke out […]

  • Dorothy ‘Topsy’ Curtis

    Private, Australian Women’s Army Service (AWAS) “You have to protect your country and your families. If it happened again, I would have to join up again.”   Dorothy “Topsy” Turvey enlisted in the army two weeks after her 18th birthday, in the middle of World War II. Dorothy was from Newcastle and her first visit […]

  • Doreen Mavis “Bobby” Squire

    Driver/Mechanic – Australian Women’s Army Service “I turned up and asked if they were looking for someone who could drive because my family had joined and I wanted to join as well.”   As Australia geared up for World War II many young Australians began enlisting and asking how they could be of service to […]

  • Richard (Dick) Udy

    Dick Udy couldn’t wait to enlist when war was declared in 1939. His sense of adventure was eventually fulfilled as a wireless operator onboard the “Black Cats” Catalina flying boats, mining and bombing Japanese strongholds and harbours under the cover of darkness, at very low altitude. Here he tells his story… In 1939 I was […]

  • Victory in the Pacific – 75 years since the end of World War II

    RSL LifeCare has been capturing the memories of our war veterans for many years as a way of honouring our residents’ individual service. This VP Day – the 75th since the end of World War II – we present four residents’ memories that illustrate the wide range of individual experiences of the Pacific War: a […]

  • Hidden Treasures – Lindsay Dufty

    My first day in the Army was 7th January 1942 when at the ripe age of eighteen I fronted up  to enlist. I was delighted to find that an old school acquaintance, Stan Burrows, was also enlisting. We went to George’s Heights, where after two days of elementary drill exercises, volunteers were called for to […]

  • Hidden Treasures – Ray Cunningham

    When Japan entered the war with the bombing of Pearl Harbour in December 1941, Australia was caught off guard. With its fighting forces on the other side of the world, a hasty scramble ensued to gather enough men to defend New Guinea and halt Japan’s offense in the Pacific. Ray Cunningham, then just 18, shares […]

  • Hidden Treasures – Wal Williams

    Part 1 I was born in October 1922 and grew up in the leafy Sydney suburb of Northbridge. My dad was a keen and strong swimmer and Northbridge Baths were a big part of our lives, so I became a good swimmer too. It took me a long time to be able to match him, […]

  • ANZAC Day – We Did Remember Them

    ANZAC Day is one of the most important days of the year in the RSL LifeCare calendar. Despite restrictions and social distancing requirements, due to COVID-19, RSL LifeCare residents, clients, staff and the local community across NSW and the ACT did not waver in their commitment to commemorate those who serve their country. As Australians […]

  • It’s a matter of manners

    Some things don’t change even when you’re a Centenarian. Former 7th Division Army officer Lieutenant Doug Bowman took part in the landing in Borneo with 25TH Brigade in 1945. In December, the RSL LifeCare resident will be 101. “He was always popular because of his politeness,” daughter Sharon Armour said. “Especially with women. He always […]

  • The Diggers’ Friend

    Veterans’ health is not a new concern. RSL LifeCare’s existence is based on support for those in need. Stephen Stack MBE, co-founder of the “War Vets” home, now RSL LifeCare Anzac Village at Narrabeen, was acutely aware of the physical and mental health issues of veterans.  Having served in WWI on the Western Front, Steve […]

  • Paying homage

    Mondo Rock bassist Paul Christie has played on stages around the world, performing to thousands as a member of Australian rock music’s elite. But what might seem like an exciting life to most is, to Paul, effectively, a job. Another of his heart’s pursuits lies closer to home, at “The War Vets” in Narrabeen, otherwise […]

  • Tom Ridgway – When the Past Refuses to Let Go

    War Neurosis, War Trauma, Shell Shock, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – the names may have changed from war to war yet the crushing, brain-addling effects are the same. In recognition of Worldwide PTSD Awareness Day on 27 June we share the story of Tim Ridgway, WWII Navigator on Wellington Bombers in the North African Campaign. […]

  • Lucky Stevens and the D-Day Landings

    Today is the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings at Normandy – a brave move which heralded the beginning of the end of WWII in Europe. To acknowledge the occasion, we remember the story of one of the brave young soldiers involved in the landings – Cliff Stevens. Cliff was a much-loved resident of “The […]

  • Mavis Wheeler off to the ANZAC Day March

    The meaning of ANZAC Day This ANZAC Day RSL LifeCare remembers the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have given so much for our way of life. Listening to the following podcasts to hear first-hand what ANZAC Day means to our living veterans – from World War Two to the modern-day War on Terror in Afghanistan. […]

  • Lee Sarich

    The meaning of ANZAC Day This ANZAC Day RSL LifeCare remembers the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have given so much for our way of life. Listening to the following podcasts to hear first-hand what ANZAC Day means to our living veterans – from World War Two to the modern-day War on Terror in Afghanistan. […]

  • Jack Van Emden and his late wife, Sheila, ANZAC Day 2018

    The meaning of ANZAC Day This ANZAC Day RSL LifeCare remembers the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have given so much for our way of life. Listening to the following podcasts to hear first-hand what ANZAC Day means to our living veterans – from World War Two to the modern-day War on Terror in Afghanistan. […]

  • Stuart Doyle

    The meaning of ANZAC Day This ANZAC Day RSL LifeCare remembers the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have given so much for our way of life. Listening to the following podcasts to hear first-hand what ANZAC Day means to our living veterans – from World War Two to the modern-day War on Terror in Afghanistan. […]

  • Ted Matthews, the last living ANZAC from the Gallipoli landing

    On ANZAC Day we remember “the originals”, the men who fought for King and Country in the First World War – men like Ted Matthews. Ted was a resident of “The War Vets” Village at Narrabeen (now RSL ANZAC Village). He was one of the last men to be evacuated from Gallipoli in 1915 and […]

  • Hidden Treasures – Roy Lascelles

    Born 20 April 1918, Roy Lascelles is one of our oldest residents, celebrating his 101st birthday this April. Roy’s life began during World War 1, when the Allies were fighting the Germans in the Spring Offensive in Flanders. On the Armistice of that war he was a bouncing six month old baby. In World War […]

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