VERY HARD TIMES: Albert Guy Trudgeon reflects on his experiences during the Second World War. As an 18-year-old Australian Army soldier stationed in Papua New Guinea he got trench feet after fighting in swampy land for a month.
VERY HARD TIMES: Albert Guy Trudgeon reflects on his experiences during the Second World War. As an 18-year-old Australian Army soldier stationed in Papua New Guinea he got trench feet after fighting in swampy land for a month. Marc Stapelberg

Victory of the Pacific: Remembering when ‘Yanks went crazy’

ALBERT Guy Trudgeon can remember when the "Yanks went crazy" celebrating the declaration of Victory in the Pacific by firing their guns and throwing grenades in the air.

The Alstonville-born veteran was a 23-year-old soldier stationed on the small Indonesian island of Mototai when Prime Minister Ben Chifley announced on August 15, 1945, the Japanese Government had accepted the Allies' terms of agreement.

"There was a lot of singing and joy and relief that it was all over," he said.

Mr Trudgeon said despite the expectation of many that they would return home promptly, ships were scarce and many had to wait months.

It was March the following year before he arrived home - more than a seven-month wait.

Mr Trudgeon was 18 years old when he was called up to serve in the Australian Army where he trained with the 41st Battalion before being sent to join the 2/12 Battalion as a driver and machine gunner.

Mr Trudgeon was stationed at Milne Bay in Papua New Guinea where the 2/12 Battalion mounted a successful counter-attack against Japanese invasion forces.

But the Battalion's most costly battle was at Buna and Sanananda. Australian War Memorial figures list 63 soldiers killed and 122 wounded in Buna and 61 lives at Sanananda.

"It was all swamp. You had to fight in that swamp," Mr Trudgeon said.

"We were in it for a month. I had trench feet and my boots were worn out."

Mr Trudgeon said he spent six months at a hospital in Port Moresby for malaria and hookworm before being re-allocated to headquarters in Morotai in Indonesia for clerical work after being declared unfit to serve on the front line.

Following the war, Mr Trudgeon worked as a primary school teacher across New South Wales before retiring in Goonellabah.



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