News

Bill's dad never came home from the war

RIGHT: Bill and Edna Jarrett of Ballina. Bill served in the navy in the Second World War and his father served in both world wars.
RIGHT: Bill and Edna Jarrett of Ballina. Bill served in the navy in the Second World War and his father served in both world wars. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

ON HIS 15th birthday Bill Jarrett, now 80, walked his father to the old Ballina train station and watched him leave for war. It was the last time he would ever stand face to face with his dad.

Ballina canecutter Samuel Jarrett was already 40 when he enlisted in 1940, but pretended he was 38. It was his second war, and the second time he'd lied about his age to enlist.

"He put his age up two years for the First World War and down two years for the Second World War," Mr Jarrett said.

The Jarrett family were struggling to make ends meet at the time, as the Great Depression had lingered in rural Australia.

Mr Jarrett's father was a very hard-working canecutter, but in debt for rent - his pay being deducted by the landlord.

There's no such thing as a good war

 

"He used to work until he dropped," Mr Jarett said.

"You'd join the army and you'd have your pay secured," Mr Jarrett said. "You didn't think about what might happen to you."

He would see his father one more time, but only from afar, when he was standing on the back of a ship leaving Sydney Harbour for the Middle East.

A series of letters over the next 12 months promised a young Bill his dad was out of harm's way.

"But then they called for volunteers to reinforce Crete, and it wasn't long after that he was killed."

When he heard the news, Mr Jarrett said he remembered "howling my eyes out... I wanted all Germans dead".

He too would join the war at 18, enlisting in the Royal Australian Navy in 1943 and serving from Borneo to the Philippines on HMAS Gascoyne.

But he never stopped missing his dad.

"It was only after the war that it dawned on me there were a lot of German boys and girls crying their hearts out for their fathers as well."

"There's no such thing as a good war."

WARS' TERRIBLE TOLL

First World War 1914-18:

  • 415,000 men enlisted.
  • 60,000 killed
  • 156,000 wounded

Second World War 1939-45:

  • Almost a million Australians served, both men and women.
  • 30,000 killed
  • 25,000 wounded.

Topics:  anzac day, editors picks, first world war, second world war




Surf club hopes shark barrier will boost member numbers

The first section of the Lennox Head trial shark barrier was put into position on Tuesday.

30% of members quit because of the "shark problem"

Wild dogs savage children's pet lamb in backyard

Rihanna Sriwichai, 3, feeds Billy the lamb before he was mauled by dogs.

"Billy was tied up and had no way to get away"

Overcrowded North Coast schools packed to rafters

NORTH Coast schools bursting at seams with too many students

Latest deals and offers

Taylor Swift dismissed from jury duty

Taylor Swift was dismissed from jury duty in a sexual assault case

Zumbo's Willy Wonka hat trick trips up Queensland brickie

Adriano Zumbo and Rachel Khoo with Zumbo's floating dessert in a scene from Zumbo's Just Desserts.

NOOSA'S Michael Basset asked to recreate floating chocolate dish.

John Lennon's killer denied parole for 9th time

John Lennon

John Lennon's killer has been denied parole for the ninth time.

Mexican band takes aim at Trump

Disguised as unhinged narcotraficantes, the Mexican-American agitators of BRUJERIA captured the mood of the citys minorities with the bands infamous and widely banned 1993 debut, Matando Geros (Killing White People), quickly becoming the Spanish-language counterparts to early grindcore masters TERRORIZER and NAPALM DEATH.  Photo Contributed

'Satanic drug lord' band challenges Trump

Willy Wonka star, Gene Wilder dead at 83

A still of Gene Wilder in the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Social media has already lit up with tributes to the late actor.

Falls tickets go on sale

Cold War Kids wow audiences at Falls Festival in Byron Bay despite the soaring tempratures and humidity. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

General sale starts at 9am

Australia's most expensive balcony and it hasn't been built

Viridian Noosa.

How Noosa millionares' squabble could affect body corporates

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

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.