BILL Owers (now retired) can often be found at the Coffs Hotel enjoying a schooner before getting on with the day's errands.
BILL Owers (now retired) can often be found at the Coffs Hotel enjoying a schooner before getting on with the day's errands. The Coffs Coast Advocate

Memories of Tobruk battle linger

AS the years go by the number of Diggers marching on Anzac Day dwindles, but 93-year-old Bill Owers will be there on Saturday.

The World War II veteran enlisted at 24, and joined the 2nd/4th Battalion where he was sent to Palestine.

Mr Owers remembers the exact day he shipped out, January 10, 1940, because it was his uncle's birthday.

The 2nd/4th arrived in the Middle East on February 14, 1940, where Mr Owers trained in Palestine and Egypt in preparation for their first campaign against the Italians in eastern Libya. The battalion played only a minor role at Bardia in early January 1941, but they were more active in the battle for Tobruk.

“We were told the desert war was over and they packed us off to Greece,” Mr Owers said.

On returning from Europe to Australia, Mr Owers went 'on loan' (he refused to be transferred out of the 2nd/4th Battalion permanently) to a South Australian unit where he worked with radios, ensuring communications to Port Moresby.

Since the war Mr Owers has run an electrical store and post office in Newcastle and enjoys an active life.

Now retired he can often be found at the Coffs Hotel enjoying a schooner before getting on with the day's errands.

Mr Owers' memories of the war are still vivid, and he says that every serviceman remembers his army number - NX5109 is Craftsman Owers.

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