My Grandpa and his three brothers all served in World War II in various capacities with the Australian Defence Force. My Grandpa was a navigator in a bomber for some time. My Great Uncle Bob was captured early in the war by Japanese soldiers, transported to Burma and forced to work on the Thai-Burma railway. (For another excellent story of that time, watch Colin Firth in ‘Railway Man’)
Not long after Bob was captured, his family received an official letter telling them he had been captured. For the next 3 1/2 years, they heard nothing and did not know if he was alive or dead.
My Great Aunty Barb and Great Grandma were at the Rialto in Box Hill in 1945, where they both saw this newsreel video. (No sound)
My Uncle Bob appears behind Lord Mountbatten at 2mins 20secs!
What an amazing shock that must have been for Aunty and Grandma. I wonder whether they stayed to watch any more when they saw him laughing and looking so happy? I don’t think I could have.
I’m so thankful that after hearing this story recently from Aunty Barb, my first-cousin-once-removed, Ray, went searching for the clip and found it from British Pathè. He now has a copy on DVD.
I’m also thankful to never have been in any similar situation. God willing we won’t be again.