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



Lismore to be over run by fluorescent joggers

Everyone is welcome to participate in the fluro, fun and free weekly Lismore Parkrun at 7am on Saturday April 1.

Community to celebrate Parkrun birthday

O-Week celebrations aim for an A from students

Orientation Week at Southern Cross University offers a range of fun and free activities to welcome new students to the 2017 academic year.

Free fitness classes, showbags and live music welcomes SCU students

Council cuts support for fossil fuel investors

Richmond Valley Council want to cut financial ties with banks that support fossil fuel industry

Richmond Valley Council to take action on dirty banks

Local Partners

Furious Price wants to quit I'm a Celeb after clash with Keira

AN IRATE Steve Price has threatened to quit I'm A Celebrity after a series of drama-filled clashes with Keira Maguire.

Novel with lots of heart

The romance in A Quiet Kind of Thunder was only one of the joys of the book.

Book proves to be a gem with layers

Bliss N Eso announce tribute show for stuntman

Bliss N Eso will play a tribute show at Coolangatta in honour of Johann Ofner. The stuntman died during the filming of the group's Friend Like You film clip earlier this year.

BLISS N Eso to play tribute show to raise funds for killed stuntman

Neil Finn to headline Bluesfest

Neil Finn, of Crowded House fame, will play in Byron Bay with his wife Sharon and their band The Pyjama Club on June 11.

DON'T dream, it's not over, Neil Finn to hit the stage

MOVIE REVIEW: Trainspotting sequel as good as original

Ewen Bremner in a scene from the movie T2: Trainspotting.

Director Danny Boyle proves sequels can be done well.

How Karl Stefanovic's wife, kids found out about girlfriend

Karl Stefanovic and Jasmine Yarbrough after their day on Sydney Harbour. Picture: Jonathan Ng

Pictures splashed across tabloid were shock to family

Julie trumpets her career in music

MAKE SOME NOISE: Julie Payne played trumpet in the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for 27 years and is retiring. She grew up in Casino.

"She has the potential to become a first-class instrumentalist.”

Submarine, buses and 3000 tyres removed in $100K clean up

The list of things removed from this property is beyond astonishing

Popular island resort sells to loaded international investor

OUR PICK: Chris Foey's colourful shot of one of Gladstone's great tourism hot spots, Heron Island.

International investor snaps up piece of Gladstone paradise.

Potential home buyers punished for doing the 'right thing'

Should I go to university or buy a house?

Proposed $21 million airpark in holding pattern

A front view of the proposed new aviation museum at Evans Head.

Late businessman's dream on hold ... for now

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!