Carinity aged care residents Harold Kleinschmidt and Albert “Mick” Crust, who both served in the Australian Army in World War II, will remember fallen mates killed in action on ANZAC Day on April 25.
Harold, who now lives at Carinity Brookfield and turns 100 years old in June, fought in Papua New Guinea while Mick served his country in conflicts in Borneo.
Aged 18 years when he signed up to the army, Harold was called up for active duty five years later, reporting to Enoggera Army Barracks. Initially he was involved in sending ammunition from Brisbane to Darwin by horse and buggy, later replaced by trucks to transport the cargo.
With a smile Harold recalls the day soldiers later arrived in Red Lynch by train, where they were given a mug and water for a shave and to clean their teeth. The next morning, the men were woken up at 4am and taken to Cairns to board a ship heading for Papua New Guinea.
The journey at sea took four days as the ship had to avoid Japanese submarines which had sunk Australian vessels, with Harold’s cousin a fatality when the hospital ship AHS Centaur was sunk off the coast of Queensland on May 14, 1943.
Harold remembers his first night in Buna, in Papua New Guinea. The soldiers got soaking wet. Buna became a conflict front line and Harold was there for about five weeks. After suffering many casualties, the Australian troops were shifted deeper into the jungle.
One night, Harold woke up to find a Japanese soldier standing in his tent, who apparently was looking for food. Thankfully he survived to tell the tale. At the end of the war, Harold was sent back to Australia by ship.
Carinity Summit Cottages resident Albert “Mick” Crust, pictured, was a farmer before he enlisted for military service with his mates at Mount Morgan in 1945, at the age of 19.
They travelled by train to Staging Camp Greta near Maitland for 12 months training with the Australian Army. After finishing training in armed combat, his platoon travelled by ship to Borneo and Mick was sent straight into battle in the open fields using Brennan guns.
Mick remembers his platoon being given time off in a local town after three months of fighting. He recalls some of the boys played hard and were wild, enjoying themselves at a lot of parties.
He hurt his right shoulder when a gun he was using recoiled and he was taken to a hospital in Borneo, his recuperation taking six months before he could return to battle Japanese forces.
While he was overseas in action for two-and-a-half years, Mick corresponded with his mother and sisters and the solders loved receiving comfort parcels from home. These parcels, from Red Cross and Salvation Army, contained items like socks, underwear, lollies, smokes and fruit cake.
After returning to Australia after the war, Mick worked in the mines. It took him about two years to adjust to civilian life.
He often remembers the mates he fought with.