Sapper QX51426

Sapper QX51426

Sapper QX51426


When he said goodbye to his wife, he’d not yet said goodbye to his teenage years.

At 19 he chose to join the Australian Army, leaving Maryborough, Queensland, for Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea.

He was in the 9th Division and fought in the Battle of Milne Bay (WWII). They called it an amphibious landing as he went from sea to shore with a barrage of shells firing overhead.

That sound. As if trains were speeding inches from his skull.

The rest he could not speak of (even decades later). He held his tongue but not his fire.

He and his 9th Division, they won that battle. It was the first time their enemy had been defeated on land.

They called him Sapper QX51426. I called him Grandpa.

The fight is over. Your war is won.

Rest in peace.

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Tomorrow we commemorate another amphibious landing – the 100th anniversary of the ANZACs in Gallipoli. Will you be attending a Dawn Service? How will you remember them?

Linking up today with With Some Grace for Flog Your Blog Friday.

20 Comments

  • What a beautiful tribute. Their stories are just remarkable aren’t they? How could we ever imagine? I have a grandfather that served in WW2 and I just marvel at his tales. I have tried to learn as much as I can. He runs a dawn service every year at 92 years old. We will try and get along as we always do because we are so proud of him and what it’s all about x

    • Reply April 24, 2015

      Tonia

      Thanks Vicki and I agree, we really could never comprehend what they experienced. Your Grandfather sounds remarkable. What a privilege to attend his service. I bet he’s so proud to have his family by his side. Again, thanks for sharing your story here x

  • Reply April 24, 2015

    merilyn

    tissues here tonia! … I’ve been crying everyday!
    your tribute is so poignant! … beautifully worded!
    my father (who is going to be 90 this year) was a sailor and went to PNG Milne bay too!
    I’m emotional this week as I’ve been researching my grandfather’s story on the western front in france ww1
    and my father marched last sunday in Goolwa SA and I’ve put his profile on rsl virtual war memorial. I’m no office or tech chic so this is all a bit alien to me! … love m x

    • Reply April 24, 2015

      Tonia

      Oh Merilyn, the world is getter smaller. What an unbelievable coincidence that your father was in Milne Bay too. Imagine if they crossed paths and here are their relatives crossing paths online! It really is a small world. Your Grandfather’s story sounds amazing too. Do you have the link for the RSL memorial? I’d love to have a read. Good on you for uploading there too. Keep those tissues at the ready tomorrow. Will be thinking of you and yours xx

  • Reply April 24, 2015

    merilyn

    learner’s plates here tonia!
    thankyou for your interest, the sight is easy to navigate.
    Charles Kenneth Stevens … my father
    Douglas Leonard Chapple … maternal grandfather
    http://www.rslvirtualwarmemorial.org.au/explore/people/504014

    • Reply April 24, 2015

      Tonia

      Thank you Merilyn, I’m sure my rellies will be interested to check out this link too. Appreciate it. x

  • Reply April 24, 2015

    Caroline Culleton

    Tonia. I find it so sad as we remember the fallen that we are still sending our own to fight for peace abroad. Let’s remember them all

    • Reply April 24, 2015

      Tonia

      Yes Caroline, tomorrow we’ll be thinking of all who are touched by war (and their families) then and now. x

  • Gosh the family resemblance is strong. I knew he would be your grandfather just from the photo, before I read your piece. Lest we forget eh? x

    • Reply April 24, 2015

      Tonia

      A bit of trivia re: that family resemblance – there are only two girls on that side of the family…my cousin’s daughter and I. Long line of boys!

  • Your Grandpa was a looker!
    Beautiful tribute.
    My Father served in WW2 in the British Navy on a minesweeper. (He had me at 52!) I wish he was around now to really pick his brains about his memories as I can’t remember much of what he told me now.

    • Reply April 24, 2015

      Tonia

      Aw, thanks Jody. I just googled “minesweeper” (I’m so naive of such things). Wonderful that he returned home safely and went on to have a lovely daughter. As they say, life is such a tapestry, isn’t it? Will spare a special thought in honour of your father tomorrow. Thank you for telling me about him. x

  • Reply April 24, 2015

    Renee Wilson

    Beautiful post, Tonia. I’ve spent the morning with Dad looking at our ancestry on the ANZAC website. We won’t be doing a dawn service, but will be doing a march with the kids at 8am. Have a good day tomorrow x

    • Reply April 24, 2015

      Tonia

      Thanks Renee, what a wonderful way to spend the morning with your Dad. That 8am march sounds ideal for the little ones. Hope they enjoy being a part of such a significant occasion. x

  • Your writing is beautiful, Tonia, and so evocative.
    My great uncle was also only 19 when deployed to New Guinea, and he was killed on his first day there. Who can imagine the grief that was left behind? Too terrible. I transcribed all of my great grandmother’s WWI letters from France over the last few years, and so revealing were they of the ordinary men who wrote, that I cried when I attended the ANZAC march last year. I will hopefully spend tomorrow writing about those men and the women who waited at home.

    • Reply April 24, 2015

      Tonia

      Oh Dani, it’s so heart breaking to read of the loss of your Great Uncle. Those letters sound like such precious pieces of history. Have you published them or are they strictly for the family? Good on you for making the time to transcribe them. Thank you for your kind words re: this post and the important role you’re playing in keeping these memories alive. x

  • Reply April 24, 2015

    Sally

    You’ve given me ‘wet-face’ again Tonia!

    Mine was called Grandpa to me. He went to WW1 & WW2.

    We’re off to the 4.30 dawn service at Noosa Main Beach in the morning.

    • Reply April 24, 2015

      Tonia

      Oh Sally, you’re so sweet. I can’t even begin to fathom serving in one war, let alone doing it twice. Bless your Grandfather. Get those tissues ready for tomorrow, I suspect you may have “wet face” yet again. xx

  • Reply April 24, 2015

    Fluffy

    That’s a beautiful tribute. I’m off to a dawn service in Sydney. Lest We Forget.

    • Reply April 25, 2015

      Tonia

      Thank you. I hope your morning service went well. x

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