Today ANZAC Day I remember my Pop, James William Major, V43204.
Today my Pop would have celebrated his 96th Birthday, born in Northcote Victoria on the 25th of April 1920, ANZAC Day.
At the age of 20 years and 4 months on the 19th of August 1940, my Pop and his twin brother walked into the Heidelberg enlisting office, took the oath of enlistment, and joined the 57/60th Battalion. I wonder what thoughts were going through his head? I wonder what he expected? I wonder what his parents thought? He was only the same age as my own son is now.
His skill as a truck driver and illness saw him transferred to the 22nd Employment Company where he served most of his time on the Australian mainland. On the 16th of July 1943 he boarded the "USS Henry T Allen" in Brisbane and was dispatched to New Guinea, landing in Port Moresby on 20th of July 1943 and deployed to 18th Field Company RAE (Royal Australian Engineers). He spent 617 days of active service in New Guinea before being discharged on the 22nd of September 1945.
Thankfully Pop's name doesn't feature on any honour roll, nor was his service notably meritorious, he just did his bit, along with thousands of other Australians, for that I am grateful and proud.
War is not something that I condone, I don't understand the point of it, but the legend of the Australian soldier is one of resilience, persistence and determination. Their story of mateship and commitment to a cause in the face of adversity is truly amazing.
Pop passed away in April 1975 when I was only 7. There are so many questions I would have loved to ask him.
Happy Birthday Pop. Here's Cheers to that beer I wish we could have shared.