11/11/11 my dad and the 2/3 commandos
i had intended to answer a question put to me the other day but as i sit down to write, I notice that the time is exactly 11am. Its 11/11/11
i think i want to write something else today….
I remember watching my dad and his mate digger (yup, thats what they called him…digger…digger mckevoy). they were sitting under the back patio of my childhood home. Diggers car was stuffed. dad had just spent a couple of weeks stripping down the motor of our family car, under the careful instruction of another mate of his. Digger and dad had discussed the possibility of doing the same with diggers car. But mum who had just endured months of tripping over greasy engine parts every time she went outside, exercised her rarely used right of veto . There would me no more engine work at our house, not for a while anyway. “You’d think at this time of life a bloke woulda had two bob to rub together ta fix his friggin car”, said digger. Dad’s only response was to suck another mouthful form his bottle of home brew.
I remember dad talking about digger, and the war. but only funny stuff. they never got serious when they talked war…not sure why that was…
‘God he was a crazy bastard sometimes . One time we were stuck behind an embankment with plenty of jap fire coming in. a couple of poor bastards got hit and digger does his block. He jumps over the embankment and runs straight at the jap machine gun post firing his tommy gun from the hip. Then its silent for a minute and i hear, “What the hell is Mrs Mckevoys little boy doing all the way out HERE!”
When i saw my dad on ww2 assault on salamaua video (Nov 3 blog) my interest in finding out more about the 2/3 commandos was renewed. I just managed to get hold of a book on the unit. ($400-00!! collectors items apparently) It was published in 1996, 4 years after dad died. Digger and dad never got to read it. when the book arrived i flicked through it and found this.
Distinguished Conduct Medal
Corporal K A McEvoy
During the attack by his company on Ambush Knoll on 15 July, 1943, Cpl McEvoy showed dash and courage of the highest merit materially assisting the success of their operation. His section led the main advance on the position. The enemy were driven from their forward weapon pits but, from their main position, brought fire to bear on our line of appraoch. Sections moved to each flank and cpl mcEvoy and 5 men remained in the centre. Cpl McEvoy gave orders for an assault and, moving directly into the enemy’s line of fire, leaped across a barracade of bamboo across the ridge. However, at this moment four of his party were wounded by enemy grenades and only the one remaining man joined him across the barracade.
Undeterred Cpl McEvoy pushed forward and engaged the enemy at very short range forcing them to withdraw from a portion of their forward trench. This enabled other troops to move forward under cover and bring heavy fire to bear on their enemy position. In the face of considerable enemy machine gun and rifle fire and grenades, Cpl McEvoy continued his action all that afternoon and maintained harrasing fire during the night. The following morning it was found the the sustained attack in which Cpl McEvoy had played such a gallant part had forced the enemy to withdraw leaving the position in their hands.
As I read the history of the 2/3 i learned that as Digger jumped over the bamboo baricade, The Japanese machine gun fire tore his shirt off and left him with scratches on his ribs.
You know…i cant remember….but i really hope that digger got his car fixed.