ROY Day was an eighteen-year-old working in a Sydney machine shop when he was called up to join the RAAF during the Second World War.
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“I signed up on the 23rd January 1945,” said Roy.
He had attempted to join three months prior, but being in a ‘protected industry,’ his boss had intervened to keep Roy at work.
“I got called up when I first turned 18 but the boss put a note in to say I was in a protected industry and that I couldn’t go,” said Roy.
“Three months later the letter came again, and this time I said, ‘I am going,’ and me and my work mate walked out.
“The boss was not happy about it, but he didn’t stop us.
“My mate joined the army and I joined the air force. A year and a half later when we were both discharged, we both turned up at the shop on the same bloody day to ask for our jobs back.”
Roy served most of his time in Western Australia as a Medical Orderly.
“I was posted to 17RSU, a repair and salvage unit. I was looking after the sick and injured.”
During his time with the RAAF, Roy provided vital care to thousands of Australian servicemen and women.
Roy was travelling on a troop train crossing the Nullarbor Plain when he received the news the war had ended.
“After the war finished, for a while it was busier than during the war,” said Roy.
“For about two months, we were getting back Australian prisoners of war who had been captured.
“A lot of them needed help. We never asked them what it had been like, locked up for four or five years in a German prison camp, you just didn’t ask questions and they wouldn’t have talked about it if you had.”
Roy describes his experience with the RAAF during World War Two as a ‘humbling’ one.
“It’s certainly something you don’t forget,” said Roy.
“It’s hard to explain unless you have been there. You did things that you wouldn’t have thought you would be able to do at eighteen.”
Roy says that the experience during the war, whilst extremely difficult, had given him lifelong friendships.
“You meet guys and you just seem to click. You finish up being friends for the rest of your life.
“If you go to the ANZAC Day or Remembrance Day march, you might not know the person walking next to you, but you have something in common.”
In his retirement, Roy made Tea Gardens his home and is now marching towards his 94th birthday.
“I haven’t got any mates left from that time now, I am one of the last standing, I don’t know whether I am proud of that or not, but I am certainly glad to still be here.”
Victory in the Pacific Day (VP Day) was commemorated on Saturday 15 August, marking the 75th anniversary of the conclusion of World War Two.
By Doug CONNOR