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Post your WW2 Australian Insignia.

Article about: RAAF Pilot Officer Epaulettes. *Make a Mental Note in your Brain about what I said in last post *

  1. #411

    Default Re: Post your WW2 Australian Insignia.

    Dave, that is great mate, it is a very humbling experience speaking with someone like this. I'm sure I'm one of many that look forward to hearing about your conversation when you've settled down a bit. I well understand how you can feel overawed by these men, they are truly living legends.

  2. #412
    4md
    4md is offline
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    Default Re: Post your WW2 Australian Insignia.

    Quote by Thanatos View Post
    I have had one of the most blessed experiences of my life over the last few hours. I have been privileged to have sat and spoken with Athol Sylvester Geale the only surviving Tasmanian born member of the 39th Battalion alone for the last two hours. Athol was in B Company (Before his death this was Cpt Sam Templetons Company) and his experience's on the track he was prepared to share with me. I'm just blown away fellas, dumbfounded.

    I think I need to let this settle in my mind, I'm a tad overwhelmed at present if you know what I mean and don't know what to say or where to start.
    But I had to let you blokes know as my partner simply doesn't understand the meaning of it all.She just doesn't get it.
    Sorry guy's I have to let this all sink in.
    I think the story of the 39th battalion is amazing, you are very lucky to talk to a member in person

    regards Paul

  3. #413

    Default Re: Post your WW2 Australian Insignia.

    Morning fella's,
    Sorry I struggled last night but I was somewhat overwhelmed that's for sure. Thanks for your reply last night Larry and your kind words, appreciated mate.
    Athol Sylvester Geale was born in 1920 in Launceston Tasmania and as a young bloke crossed the strait looking for work prior to the start of WW2.
    Athol was called up in 1941 and was sent to Bacchus Marsh for initial training with the newly formed 39th Infantry battalion. They were then moved north by train just after Xmas 1941. Athol states "we had no bloody Idea where we were going" but their destiny was already unfolding. They were in Sydney two days later and boarded the Aquitania at Woolloomooloo still not knowing where they were going.
    Athol soon worked out they were heading north as he said "It was getting hotter and hotter below decks" with Port Moresby their final destination.
    After disembarking there they were set to work on the defences of Moresby.
    In June 1942 they were sent up the Kokoda track as part of Marouba Force and their place in history.
    Athol said he was a fit and healthy young man and a non smoker at the time but stated the track was a "gut buster". He had never experienced anything like it before or after. They arrived at Kokoda mid July.
    As a member of B Company he was among the first in the Battalion to meet the Japanese and openly states "we were scared and did not know what to expect up there". After the initial engagements the Company fell back onto Kokoda airstrip. Athol mentioned how highly respected Sam Templeton was to the unit and how devastating his loss was to all. He also mentioned how Lt Col Owen was killed by a Japanese sniper after being "knocked" in the head. The Company then fell back to Deniki. Athol said that this was a confusing period as they had lost their two most experienced Officers and had no idea what was going to happen next and what to expect.
    They were next sent further back down the track to Isurava and started to prepare defensive positions there.
    This started "the quite time" as he put it, Two weeks of not knowing what the enemy was going to do next. As we now know they were a valuable couple of weeks as it gave the Battalion time to regroup after the failed attempt to re take Kokoda airstrip and prepare defences at Isurava. It also enabled the 53rd Battalion and 30 Brigade headquarters to get up there and for elements of 21 Brigade to start moving up the track . This according to Athol was a confidence building time for Marouba Force.
    Then Lt Col Ralph Honner arrived. This mans arrival according to Athol was the key to the Australian defence of Isurava and further built up the confidence of the Battalion. Athol I feel holds Honner in such high regard and said if he didn't turn up "bugger know's what would have happened to us". You could see the respect in his eye's and hear it in the tone of his voice as the spoke of Honner.
    We then drifted off the Kokoda campaign and he spoke of his post war life and experiences. It was now getting late and we left the conversation there.
    Athol is bright and alert and still enjoys a wine and a yarn. He will be back at the RSL in two weeks time and invited me to join him again. I can't wait.
    This man to me is a national treasure and I feel so privileged to have sat with him and yarned and honoured to be asked back in two weeks. Meeting Athol rates up there with the birth of my only child in my mind, an experience I will never forget.
    I have been truly blessed in this regard.
    God bless him.

  4. #414
    AIF
    AIF is offline
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    Default Re: Post your WW2 Australian Insignia.

    Fantastic mate!! And you one lucky bugger too might I add.
    You should ask him If he would let you interview with you about his experiences and record or write it down, maybe write a short story on it! I have been in your shoes before, having met one of the guys who charged Beersheeba and hearing his stories but unfortunately I was only 11 or 12 at the time so I didn't think or have the opportunity to record or write anything down and sadly he died not long after... Although at the time I knew I was talking to a living legend It was only years later I realised how much of a once in a lifetime privilege it really was, as you know none of those guys are alive any more... It's a bit like going backstage and meeting your favourite rock star hey!

  5. #415

    Default Re: Post your WW2 Australian Insignia.

    G'day Luke,
    I'm considering taking a Dictaphone next time and taping the conversation if Athol is comfortable with it. It really was an amazing experience mate, Athol is a bright down to earth bloke and full of life. I asked him if he has had an good and happy life in general and his response was "yes I have". This was most assuring to me.
    I really can't wait until next time. I will be asking about the later stages of the 39th on the track and Buna. We did mention Buna for a second though. I said it was terrible what happened there and Athol's reply was "Yes it was terrible". I also mentioned how the 39th made the break through and won the day, he smiled.

    That's how I attempted to explain what happened to Theresa, I used Tom Cruise as an example. She still didn't make the connection. Poor girl.

  6. #416

    Default Re: Post your WW2 Australian Insignia.

    Thanks Dave and Paul for your reply's fella's.

  7. #417

    Default Re: Post your WW2 Australian Insignia.

    G'day fella's
    Had a flat out week at work but I'm now out the other side of it all.

    Here's my Australian Signals Corps set,

    Click image for larger version. 

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    One of the collars is a bit tarnished but.

  8. #418

    Default Re: Post your WW2 Australian Insignia.

    Some more Militia Regimental insignia items,

    24th "Kooyong" Regiment collar,

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I love their "Hold Fast" motto.

    And a 33rd "New England" Regiment collar,

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Both of these have the flat style pin lugs.

    Hope you like them.

  9. #419

    Default Re: Post your WW2 Australian Insignia.

    Quote by Thanatos View Post
    Morning fella's,
    Sorry I struggled last night but I was somewhat overwhelmed that's for sure. Thanks for your reply last night Larry and your kind words, appreciated mate.
    Athol Sylvester Geale was born in 1920 in Launceston Tasmania and as a young bloke crossed the strait looking for work prior to the start of WW2.
    Athol was called up in 1941 and was sent to Bacchus Marsh for initial training with the newly formed 39
    th Infantry battalion. They were then moved north by train just after Xmas 1941. Athol states "we had no bloody Idea where we were going" but their destiny was already unfolding. They were in Sydney two days later and boarded the Aquitania at Woolloomooloo still not knowing where they were going.


    Athol soon worked out they were heading north as he said "It was getting hotter and hotter below decks" with Port Moresby their final destination.


    After disembarking there they were set to work on the defences of Moresby.
    In June 1942 they were sent up the Kokoda track as part of Marouba Force and their place in history.


    Athol said he was a fit and healthy young man and a non smoker at the time but stated the track was a "gut buster". He had never experienced anything like it before or after. They arrived at Kokoda mid July.


    As a member of B Company he was among the first in the Battalion to meet the Japanese and openly states "we were scared and did not know what to expect up there". After the initial engagements the
    Company fell back onto Kokoda airstrip. Athol mentioned how highly respected Sam Templeton was to
    the unit and how devastating his loss was to all. He also mentioned how Lt Col Owen was killed by a Japanese sniper after being "knocked" in the head. The Company then fell back to Deniki. Athol said that this was a confusing period as they had lost their two most experienced Officers and had no idea what
    was going to happen next and what to expect.

    They were next sent further back down the track to Isurava and started to prepare defensive positions there.



    This started "the quite time" as he put it, Two weeks of not knowing what the enemy was going to do
    next. As we now know they were a valuable couple of weeks as it gave the Battalion time to regroup after
    the failed attempt to re take Kokoda airstrip and prepare defences at Isurava. It also enabled the 53rd Battalion and 30 Brigade headquarters to get up there and for elements of 21 Brigade to start moving up the track . This according to Athol was a confidence building time for Marouba Force.


    Then Lt Col Ralph Honner arrived. This mans arrival according to Athol was the key to the Australian defence of Isurava and further built up the confidence of the Battalion. Athol I feel holds Honner in such
    high regard and said if he didn't turn up "bugger know's what would have happened to us". You could see the respect in his eye's and hear it in the tone of his voice as the spoke of Honner.

    We then drifted off the Kokoda campaign and he spoke of his post war life and experiences. It was now getting late and we left the conversation there.






    Athol is bright and alert and still enjoys a wine and a yarn. He will be back at the RSL in two weeks time and invited me to join him again. I can't wait.


    This man to me is a national treasure and I feel so privileged to have sat with him and yarned and honoured to be asked back in two weeks. Meeting Athol rates up there with the birth of my only child in my mind, an experience I will never forget.

    I have been truly blessed in this regard.
    God bless him.
    This is great Dave,it's terrific spending time with blokes like this and listening first hand to the men that made history. I've been fortunate myself to spend time with fellas like this in the past, it is a humbling experience mate.

  10. #420

    Default Re: Post your WW2 Australian Insignia.

    G'day Dave,
    Certainly was humbling mate. I will be catching up with Athol again on Friday night and can't wait.
    I do feel very very blessed regarding this.
    He's quite a character and still full of life.
    I feel in hindsight the most important question I asked was "Have you had a good life Athol" and his reply was "yes".

    I hope you don't back the Eagles Dave as I'm a Roo's supporter. Buggers

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