News

Ex-POW tells good tale

CENTENARIAN: Revered war veteran Bob Wood with family and friends at his 100th birthday celebration.
CENTENARIAN: Revered war veteran Bob Wood with family and friends at his 100th birthday celebration. Rob Wright

ONE of our living legends, decorated Second World War Anzac Bob Wood, has celebrated his 100th birthday.

In military circles, Bob is renowned for escaping a prisoner-of-war camp in Italy but, for friends and family, it's the example that he has set in life as a father and mate for which he is best known.

A national treasure in his homeland of New Zealand, Bob has in recent years become a well-known Sawtell resident and intrigued many with his war stories.

After he enlisted in the 19th Wellington Battalion's First Echelon in 1939, Major Bob Wood was captured by axis forces in the Middle East in 1942 and imprisoned in Italy.

With the fall of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, he and his fellow POWs faced the grim prospect of being sent to a Nazi German camp, but there would be no keeping this man behind the wire as German officers took control of the camp.

"I climbed up a drainpipe and removed some tiles from a roof and was able to get inside the cavity and, when the first move of prisoners took place when they were mustering prisoners to go off to Germany, another guy and I got inside ... and the draft went off to Germany without us," Bob said.

"There were guards there, but they didn't see us and they were shooting away at someone else from the tower, but we got clear just near the town of Modena and finally we tried to get some sleep in a maize paddock."

Taken in by Italian families along the way, Bob and another escaped soldier walked almost 600 kilometres to meet the advancing allied troops in Southern Italy.

After his return home to New Zealand, Bob set out on a second tour of duty and saw out the war in Venice, with "10 days absence without leave" in the "best hotel in Europe overlooking the Grand Canal".

Topics:  100th birthday, pow, sawtell



Cops swoop on car in Coffs

HANDS ON: Police scour a Holden Rodeo in Coffs Harbour.

Vehicle search in Coffs CBD leads to multiple arrests

Visitor centre back-flip

EXTENSION: Coffs Harbour City Council voted to extend the retention of paid staff at the visitor centre by six months.

Visitor centre back-flip

All signs point to a better tourism plan

MISSED OPPORTUNITY? : Increasing tourism signage around the Coffs Coast is a major talking point among key community figures.

All signs point to a better tourism plan

Latest deals and offers

Talking whiskey with Jack Daniel’s master distiller

It all comes down to the distillery

SIXTY MILES AHEAD sign with Eclipse Records, prepare new album 'Insanity'

Sixty Miles Ahead sign with Eclipse. Photo Contributed

Sixty Miles Ahead to release new album on Eclipse

Thy Art Is Murder are killing it

See Thy Art is Murder on their killer tour happening right now. Photo Contributed

We talk with Thy Art is Murder about touring, babies, and new music

Date announced for Prince tribute concert

A Prince tribute concert will take place later this year

Matt Damon is taking a break from acting

Matt Damon is taking a break to spend time with his family

Police foiled terrifying 1m plot to kidnap Katie Price

Police foiled a £1 million plot to kidnap Katie Price and her family

Queensland's $1 town goes under the hammer today

The township of Yelarbon is up for sale.

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

A home rich in history looking for a new owner

HISTORY: The circa 1920s home is being sold for the first time in 90 years.

Circa 1920s home being sold for the first time in 90 years