Sue Browne's father, Pte George Edward Beck (centre), is helped across a river after being wounded in New Guinea in 1944.
Sue Browne's father, Pte George Edward Beck (centre), is helped across a river after being wounded in New Guinea in 1944.

Daughter's pride in war service of soldier dad

WHEN Sue Browne was 16 years old she thought the Anzac spirit would eventually die.

But not any more.

"Anzac Day has become like Easter," Mrs Browne said.

"When you see the kids marching on Anzac Day I now think it will be remembered always."

Mrs Browne's father, George Edward Beck, served in WWII as a private in the Australian Army.

He joined the 6th Australian Machinegun Battalion and served in New Guinea.

After getting malaria during jungle fighting he was sent home in 1944 to recuperate.

In November, 1944, Private Beck, then 26, was transferred to the 57/60 Australian Infantry Battalion and sent to Bougainville, where this picture was taken. In May he was wounded and in the photo we see him being helped across a river by two other soldiers, one of whom (the young man on the right) was killed only days later.

Mrs Browne said it was rare to see a photograph of soldiers in action. "The photo makes it real," she said.

"I know of young people who attend services even though they have no relatives who served in the wars.

"Many young people attend the services because it means something to them and it's important to remember the soldiers who made such a sacrifice."

In an Anzac Day speech Mrs Browne delivered when she was 16 years old, she described her father as an unremarkable soldier.

"He never received any medals for bravery, but was an ordinary man who enlisted in the army to defend his country when the threat of a Japanese invasion of Australia seemed imminent," she said.

"My father was a private man who rarely spoke of his experiences, but talked glowingly of the fuzzy wuzzy angels who helped the Australian troops.

"He told me the young man on his left in the photograph had turned 19 years of age only days before and was killed shortly after the photo was taken.

"A terrible price was paid for our freedom."

The Northern Star will tomorrow feature extensive! photos and stories of the Anzac Day remembrance ceremonies throughout the region.


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