By Ivor Jones
Whilst we remember all those who made the ultimate sacrifice, we must not forget the many other victims of conflict. Many of those who served and returned to our shores also suffered during their time of service, Shell Shock it may have been called after WW1.
Post Traumatic Stress was what it may have been after Vietnam. But what ever you may call it, it caused much suffering to not only those who served but also to their family members and for many it was for the rest of their lives
We must also not forget other victims who did not serve in the armed forces, the parents, siblings, wives and children of those who did not return and how their lives were affected forever. Businesses were commandeered and changed to make weapons etc. and large family homes were commandeered as hospital rehabilitation.
The non-combatants during conflict are not to be overlooked either. The nurses, doctors, ambulance drivers, merchant seamen, refugees and interned civilians who may have been in theatres of war were also killed, injured or imprisoned during the conflicts of war.
Like much of the world, our area felt the effects of war during various conflicts. At Baulkham Hills, the Masonic School was converted to a military hospital. The Showground at Castle Hill became a military camp. There were military bases, camps, and airfields at Windsor, Richmond, Schofields and elsewhere each becoming a beehive of activity.
Some of our local citizens, in the past, have spoken of what they remembered of the dark days of wartime. The late Connie Lowe once spoke of the ladies of Lower Portland who, in a response to a request broadcast by the then Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) for baby clothes for the bombed out baby victims of London, set to work with their knitting needles.
John Doering of Annangrove remembered when war started there was a lot of recruiting. As the war progressed, the general public weren’t allowed in the bush at certain times.
We couldn’t go down to play and fish. The army took it over and used it for army manoeuvres, mock battles etc. Every day you’d see the Air Force in the air with mock battles and dog fights for all the different aircraft training before they went to war.
Other residents of the area reported that they lost their postman who was called up as well as other local personnel. Some of the Italian and German families in the area were interned or had their rifles seized for the duration of the war.
There were also reports of hearing the explosions taking place when the midget submarines attacked Sydney Harbour instilling fear in the community thinking that the enemy was just offshore of Sydney and expecting an invasion at any time.
Radio broadcast during the war consisting of news of engagements by various battalions and divisions of the military gave concern to many as they knew of members of such battalion engaged somewhere in Europe or New Guinea and caused concern for the fate of their family member or friend fighting the enemy somewhere offshore.
Blackout curtains were placed over windows and car headlights were covered so as to prevent light revealing to enemy bombers the locations of buildings and transport at night. Trenches and bomb shelters were built in backyards and school grounds as hopefully safe havens during bombing raids for families and school students. Rationing was introduced to safeguard fuel and food supplies in case of prolonged shortages.
Many civilians joined in non-combatant roles by joining the workforce in armament factories, the land army, the Red Cross and other areas providing support for the troops and others caught up in the fighting of war. War has and continues to cause suffering to many.
So when we say “Lest We Forget” we also must not forget all those others who have or continue to suffer from wartime activities of which there are many hundreds and thousands. Homes and families were decimated – Parents, Grandparents, Uncles and Aunts. So let us remember them all when we stand and say “Lest we forget” They also suffered so that we may continue to live in a free democratic country without tyranny.
Suffered, Suffered Suffered,Suffered ,Suffered