Thursday, December 13, 2018

Throwback Thursday - The Notebooks

from Dad's WWII album
Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Manilla, Philippines 1944 or 1945
the notation on the back in dad's hand:
MacArthur at his home ground
To clear up some confusion, the Notebook passages posted on Throwback Thursday were written by my father and found by me after he passed away. They were his attempt to tell the family history. He was in his late 80s or early 90s when he wrote them. Today's chapter:

We took our bags and walked down on foreign soil. And it is not unusual to be in a territory that has problems like ours. In this case, the labor union for the unloading of ships went on strike. Their government got tough and inducted them in the army and sent back to unload ships and load vehicles to take cargoes where directed.

The general public looked upon these men with disgust and considered them as traitors.

Australia at the time had a population of 7 million people. Most o fits army was in Europe and they more than welcomed us.

The Depression was world-wide and our entry into this country with thousands of G.I.s who had pockets full of money at the time our salary was $50 a month and the exchange rate was in our favor. There was an attitude that we were "something" and all sex. Of course, it is also the land of the kangaroo.

We settled down and were told not to unpack entirely. We stayed there a short period.

What I saw was a quaint country. Its about 5 states all large and it each had its own railroad.  [ed: There are actually 6 states:  New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia.] The engines and public transportation in each state were of different gauges. One state would have a standard gauge and another a narrow gauge or a wide gauge which meant that at each border people had to leave their [ed:rail] cars and get on another and the same for the transportation of good, etc. It was a labor favorite economy.

We also saw on the farms little or no motor vehicles. Most of the products were moved by horses or bullocks.

Our relationship with their men was not very good for allies. This arose from the fact that our men were better paid and could offer their women a better time.

However, as our army went into the war zone, the feeling was a lot better. The Australian men are fighters and what they were assigned to do they did it. We could rely on them to do their duty and then some. Also friendships became wonderful. They would come to us with their goodies and share or we would share with them. They acknowledged the fact that their country had a lot of things to do. They were about 10 years behind us. And they made no excuses.

They were not happy with their mother country. When we lost the Philippine Islands they knew that they would be next and would have to fight on their homeland. And to make things worse their one and only naval ship, a cruiser, small than a battleship, was sunk.

They asked the British to send them one of their Divisions back to bolster their fighting ability. And were refused. They were mad. Our government gave them one and they thought that was the most wonderful thing. They loved our country.

In their army the saluting of the officer was optional. It was not required. In our army this is obligatory. There appeared in the news media a situation where one of our officers told an Australian officer, "What's the matter with your men have the forgotten to salute?" The answer, "If you wave to them they'll wave back."

The Chief general of the South Pacific was Douglas MacArthur. Just as he promised the Philippines that he would return. The fall of that nation and the landing of the Japanese on New Guinea was uncomfortable for the Australians. MacArthur promised them that no Japanese would set foot on Australian land. He kept it as he would later keep his promise to the others that he would return.

The Japanese did land in New Guinea. 

15 comments:

  1. Some great memories today. I love 'If you wave to them, they'll wave back'! Valerie

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  2. I recently learned how parts of Australia were actually bombed by the Japanese. Luckily your Dad wasn't there. In a wa this must have been exciting and scary for these men. It was their big youthful adventure, wasn't it? Happy Thursday. Hugs-Erika

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    1. I'm pretty sure if it wasn't for the war, Dad wouldn't have traveled much beyond Massachusetts borders.

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  3. That's sad, the British didn't help them! I am so happy Australia and you had such a great relationship! I love the part about the waving! LOL! Big Hugs CJ!

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    1. I think Britain was more concerned with what was going on at the front door across the Channel than at the back door.

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  4. I love these glimpses into history.

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  5. CJ

    running outta "sneek around blogger time" ; wanted to say hope you and your family have a merry Christmas and an awesome healthy happy new year; we will be offline for a while ~♥♥

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    1. Thanks! You have a wonderful holiday, too. Give all the tabbies headbutts and chin chucks for me.

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  6. I like hearing about your dad's experiences. You're right, a different perspective.

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    1. Especially since he was so young and not well traveled.

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  7. Wonderful memories. I was surprised to read about the different rail systems. What a great glance at history through your father's eyes.

    PS, thanks for explaining the joke to me from yesterday. I would NEVER have got it!

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    1. With each state having its own rail system, travel must have been a real bear.

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