News

Photograph revives wartime memories

Douglas Elliott was part of the 5th Light Horse troop and is pictured above giving a big grin.
Douglas Elliott was part of the 5th Light Horse troop and is pictured above giving a big grin. Contributed

AS Yeppoon's Maud Elliott's eyes crossed the old black and white photos of her late husband Douglas, you could see the memories come flooding back in her mind as the smile on her face grew.

The 92-year-old Yeppoon woman told us the story of her and her husband, after a photo of him was published in The Morning Bulletin as a Blast from the Past of an unknown soldier.

After seeing Douglas's photo on March 31 as a young soldier, she phoned The Bully and told us about his time in the war and his connection to Emu Park RSL, where the photo was kept on the wall, but his name was unknown.

He was sent from Australia to the Middle East as a truck driver that moved troops from the Middle East to Crete, Greece in the Second World War. . It was there that he was captured by the Germans.

Douglas, who joined the army in 1940, was captured as a prisoner of war in 1941 and was held at a camp until the war ended, and released in 1945.

During his captive years, he and many other men had to walk for three days and were then herded onto a cattle truck to the camp.

"They had no toilets, just a bucket in the corner, and they were kept in these trucks until they were marched into various camps. It was horrible conditions," Maud recalled.

Originally from Mt Perry, Douglas was almost killed in a mining accident during that time, getting buried up to his neck in dirt and was very lucky to survive.

"He said a lot of them tried to escape, but if they were caught they were killed, and Douglas thought what's the use?" she said.

"If they were caught by the Russians, well it could have been much worse for them.

"They could write us little cards, and that was only way I knew he was alive, until we were informed by the government, but they censored the card so they could only really say they were okay and that's it."

But he waited out his time patiently and once the war had ended, he and his troops were rescued.

"They had hand-made radios hidden so they knew the war was over and were rescued by American soldiers.

"They were picked up and flown across to England," Maud said.

Douglas stayed in a convalescent camp in the South of England awaiting his boat ride home to Maud and his life before the war, where he had worked in many fields.

"We were engaged before he left and got married soon after he came home in November of 1945," she said.

Maud recalled the memories of the couple going on to have two children and make a life for themselves in Monto, and some years later, they drew a soldier's block in the Duaringa/ Baralaba area.

They lived in a tent there for two years making ends meet however they could before they built their own home.

"He had a fairly strong character, he was very diplomatic and he could sort everything out," she said.

The couple retired in Yeppoon and Douglas joined the Emu Park RSL which is where his photo still hangs today.

"He would go to every Dawn Service on Anzac Day to pay his respects, but he wouldn't march or anything like that," Maud said.

Douglas died in 2003 and is still cherished by his family.

Topics:  anzac day, emu park rsl




WARNING: Watch out for this convincing scam

Scam email

Email scam targets Telstra customers

STORM WARNING: BOM predicts severe thunderstorm

Rainfall

BOM predicts possible severe storm

Latest deals and offers

Folk singer looking forward to her Gympie Muster debut

Alternative country folk singer Fanny Lumsden will perform at the Gympie Muster.

FANNY Lumsden to serenade new fans with her country hall-style show.

Patti Smith confirmed for Bluesfest 2017

CONFIRMED: US singer Patti Smith performing in Switzerland last year.

Find out who else in the first line up announcement

Angie and Yvie ready to toast The Bachelor on Gogglebox

Angie and Yvie in a scene from the TV series Gogglebox.

ALL the regulars return in TV show about people watching TV.

Morgan Freeman asks: are we alone? Why do humans exist?

Morgan Freeman in Through the Wormhole. Photo: Discovery Science

Question all you thought you knew, on Foxtel.

Five new things to see and do at this year's Muster

There's already plenty of fun to be had at the XXXX bar.

Here are five new things to see and do at this year's Gympie Muster

You are going to Falls for this music line-up

CONFIRMED: Local artist Bernard Fanning is part of the line up for Falls Festival Byron Bay.

The line-up and ticket purchase details have been announced.

$100m plan for Curtis Island 'world class' luxury resort

$100 million resort: Top views at Turtle Street at Curtis Island.

"At the moment we think it meets all the town planning approvals.”

Coast building approvals at seven-year high: report

The the 2015/16 Development Indicators Annual Highlights Report documents local development activity that took place during the last financial year.

New report shows increasing development on the Sunshine Coast

Top honours for Mackay and Whitsunday builders

The Kerrisdale Gardens property from Paynter Dixon Queensland which won them Project of the Year.

Mackay and Whitsunday builders awarded top honours last night.

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.

Developer announces plans for prime 1.2km beach frontage

An artist's impression of the development.

Developer announces plans for 1.2km beach frontage

Take a sneak peek at this $19m Whitsunday mansion

Mandalay House features a private helipad.

Mandalay is currently on the market with an asking price of $19m