LEST WE FORGET: Paul Corcoran and Ross Greenwood honoured their family members who fought and died in both world wars.
LEST WE FORGET: Paul Corcoran and Ross Greenwood honoured their family members who fought and died in both world wars. Hamish Broome

Brother died six weeks before war's end

EACH Anzac Day Ross Greenwood wears the medals of his father and brother who both fought in Europe, 30 years apart.

His father Fred was injured twice on the gruelling Western Front, once by the dreaded mustard gas, and the other by a bullet in the thigh.

"He spent most of the war in hospital,” Mr Greenwood said.

"(But) he had bad health the whole of his life, mainly because of what the gas did to his lungs.”

More tragically, his elder brother Bruce lost his life in murderous circumstances in 1945.

A few weeks before the war ended, the Lancaster bomber crewman was shot down over northern Germany and parachuted to ground with four others just 30 kilometres short of safe territory.

"A German (farmer) pitchforked him in the leg while he was hanging out of a tree, and rounded up the rest of the crew, and took them for a march,” Mr Greenwood said.

"They were machine gunned to death... shot at angles in the head to make sure they were dead.

"But one guy, Berwick, who was the co-pilot, he got away.”

The survivor was lucky enough to make contact with the Dutch resistance and six weeks before the end of the war he got back to England.

The moment the war finished, he was flown back to Germany for the Nuremberg trials, where he testified against the man who killed his crew. The farmer was hanged in Britain.

Mr Greenwood was also a National Serviceman, serving in the NSW Scottish Regiment.

Paul Corcoran marched in Lismore to honour the service of his great uncle William Harley, from Lismore, who died at Messines Ridge on the Western Front in June 2017.

He has lost count of the number of marches he's done but has been in every one for the last seven years without fail.

"It's a good feeling, honouring what he went through only being a young bloke, 24, going all the way over there and not coming back,” Mr Corcoran said.

He also served as a National Serviceman from 1971 to 1973.

Mr Corcoran said him and his brother, who served in Vietnam, were the only family members carrying the tradition on now.



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