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Lest we forget

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Lest we forget

The sun shone brilliantly for our Residents this Anzac Day. Residents enjoyed a morning service, reflecting on very different times of yesteryear, of lives loved and lost. One Resident, Jim Woolley has his own Anzac story, as told by his daughter Lyn…

Jim was living in Camperdown, Victoria when World War II broke out. As soon as he turned 18 in December 1941, Jim enlisted in the Australian Military Forces. His mother was not at all impressed! In 1942, he was transferred to the 64th AntiAircraft Searchlight Coy and was sent to Charters Towers in Northern Queensland for 3 months before being posted to Cairns. His unit served there till September 1943 and Jim helped defend the Catalina Flying Boat Base using the big search lights, watching for Japanese enemy aircraft. He was promoted to Sergeant aged 19, (being one of the youngest sergeants) but was hospitalised with tropical leg ulcers for 5 months.

His life long wish to become a pilot was realised in May 1944 when he transferred to the Royal Australian Air Force. He was posted to Laverton Air Base in Victoria where he spent many happy hours flying Wirraways, Beaufighters, Ansons and Loadstar Ventura Bombers. Jim particularly enjoyed doing acrobatics, even over his parents’ property.

He had two crash landings, one where the wheels didn’t descend and they needed to execute a belly landing on the dirt runway beside the airstrip, safely. During the war, Mum wrote to Dad as a pen pal. He was 20 at the time and she was just 17. They were married 3 years later in 1947. In his retirement, Jim continued his interest in the history of the two world wars and the stories of soldiers involved. He wrote several war history books, one quoting from soldiers’ diaries and letters from Gallipoli and the Western Front.

He made trips to Changi as well as the Burma railway site, and also toured the Western front where his uncle was killed in 1917 in Polygon Wood. Jim was named after him. Jim has always marched on Anzac Day but in these Corona times he was very fortunate and most grateful to still be able to lay the wreath for the HillView Care Anzac Day commemoration, 78 years after he first “joined up”.

Jim has been a resident here at HillView Care for 7 years and loves every moment of his life.