ok…get this…i just saw my dad in new guinea in ww2!

a blog by Neil Hart

Serious! No tricks. no clever play on words. Just…HIM! although, it wasnt just then. it was a couple of weeks ago. My eldest grandson was playing a WW2 computer game based on the island of Peleliu (Palau) He asked me if I knew anything about WW2. I knew that the legendary Australian WW2 combat cameraman Damien Perer was killed filming the Marine landing in that battle so we looked for some You tube clips on Damien Parrer.

I saw this one and knew that my dad who was in the 2/3 Commandoes was in the Wau to Salamaua campaign. In fact, dad even mentioned having met Damien Parer. So we watch…familiar names are mentioned…Komiatum track… bobdubi ridge… places dad spoke of. The 2/3rd operated deep inside japanese occupied territory for months harrassing their supply lines on komiatum track. The video  voice-over only mentions 17 brigade but as i watch i see the berets that were worn by the commandos. I see  men carrying thompson sub machine guns , the commando weapon of choice. I see the gathering of officers and recognise  Maj. George Warfe the legendary CO of the 2/3rd.

This is no general video of the thousands of men in 17 brigade. It is video footage of their supporting commando company, the 200  (?) or so men of the 2/3rd. My heart quickens with the realisation…and then stops…as i see a full face shot of my dad, 21 years old lying in the grass talking to someone. Slouch hat , (he never took to the beret) turned up at the front like a cowboy (he never took to convention). Have a look…3:13 into the video. He’s the man (boy!) facing camera. my dad.

I not sure how many men flew into Wau at the start of the campaign. I think it might have been around 250 or 300? who made up the full strength 2/3 commando regiment. I do know that, some months later, when the campaign had ended at Salamaua, 38 remained.

My grandson wondered why i had paused the clip and was staring at the screen…

I’m crying wayyyy too much these days…