75 years on, unsung heroes of World War II have revealed new stories and struggles.
Rare insights and reflections will be revealed in a new Podcast series, My Life at War.
My Life at War is a podcast series about the experiences of Australians in WWII, told through the eyes of veterans receiving aged care from Uniting NSW. ACT.
Stories include the signal operator who first heard Japanese midget submarines off Sydney, the 15-year-old who falsified his age to get into the Air Force, Australia’s first Indigenous Air Force pilot and the female veterans who faced discrimination on Anzac Day immediately after the war.
Uniting NSW. ACT Executive Director, Tracey Burton said the podcast is a timely reminder of the important contribution older Australians have made, and continue to make.
“In a year when our elders are enduring a pandemic, it’s more important than ever to remember how incredibly valuable they are to our community,” she said.
“We need to listen to these stories and remind ourselves about the sacrifices they have made and how they helped build and enrich our country.”
The veterans recall how their initial training was often short and inadequate and then how they dealt with constant danger and death in combat operations.
They also reveal surprising details, such as the initial consternation caused by Prime Minister Robert Menzies’ famous 1939 speech where he declared that Australia was now involved in a war on the other side of the globe.
Also, our veterans speak of their enduring memories of when they first wore their military uniforms. “What also stuck out in the memories of men who served in the Air Force, for instance, was that they believed the blue uniform made them especially attractive to women,” said military historian David Wilson.
“The other thing to emphasise here is the role of women. As the war progressed, more and more women stepped up to take the places of men serving overseas. They served in all branches of the military, in civilian organisations, industry and agriculture, such as in the Women’s Land Army. Women kept the nation ticking over during these years,” he added.
The series follows the veterans from the time the war was declared, through conflicts abroad and on our shores and life after the guns fell silent.
The podcast can be found via Uniting.org/veterans or all major podcasting apps.