War memories fade but spirit same
A BROKEN leg just before the fighting started kept Bob Smith in Australia for much of World War II.
The Rockhampton man who has a strong family association with the military, Smith spent the early years of the war working on a sheep station at Julia Creek, between Mt Isa and Townsville, where he helped with the running of the station and the raising of two daughters after their father had died.
As the war was coming to an end Bob was deployed to Japan and Korea where his skills working as an electrician were utilised.
Bob, now 94, ended up with the rank of sergeant with the Royal Australian Engineers.
On Monday, the World War II veteran will join hundreds of people taking part in Anzac Day activities around Rockhampton.
No doubt he will reflect on the five years he spent in the military, though he says he only has vague memories these days of what happened.
The memories he does have, he recalls well, such as falling off a horse shortly before the war and then
working on the sheep station.
Bob said the key to life in the military was doing your job well.
“In the war you had a job and you had to do it,” Bob said.
“There was no falling down because you were the only person who could do that job, so you had to get it done no matter what.”
Bob’s father fought in the Boer War in South Africa and he is proud that his nephew and his nephew’s wife are carrying on the family’s military tradition.
“The only advice I tell them is to keep their head down.”