WORLD War II veteran Ian Raymond (89) says he does not like talking about his wartime experiences, preferring to spend Anzac Day remembering the comradeship with mates made during his years of service.
“You can’t explain to people – we can’t explain to ourselves – the loyalty you have to another serviceman. It doesn’t have to be an Australian serviceman even. I know a Russian serviceman in South Australia and he was a mate for years and he was in World War II,” he said.
Born on July 17, 1927, Mr Raymond served in the Royal Australian Navy in World War II and the Korean conflict. He said it took him many years to adjust to civilian life but he was proud to have served his country.
“I wouldn’t have missed it for quids. I’m 20 again every Anzac Day,” he said.
He first enlisted under-age in the navy in 1943, aged 16-and-a-half years using a mate’s name, only to be discovered, discharged and sent home.
In 1944 he enlisted again under his own name, underwent training as a sick berth attendant on HMAS Cerberus and served on ships in the southwest Pacific during World War II.
“I was in the navy for 11-and-a- half years. The ship (I was on) came under fire from the Japanese but did not get hit,” he said.
There was no doctor on board and Mr Raymond attended to all types of injuries.
“I’d like a dollar for every suture I did,” he said.
Mr Raymond stayed in the navy after the end of the war to assist with the clean-up efforts around Borneo, returning to Australia in 1948 when he was discharged (engagement expired) that same year from HMAS Torrens in South Australia.
He remained a member of the navy’s emergency reserve until the outbreak of the Korean War and was posted on a river-class frigate in Korea, returning to Australia on the completion of a six-month deployment.
“The Korean War was a completely different war. Not for the army blokes – they really copped it – but for the navy it was quite different. We were out at sea and we just blasted them,” he said.
After leaving the navy at 27, Mr Raymond trained as a motor body builder working at General Motors in South Australia.
He has lived in Willetton for 30 years and is a long-time member and warden of the Riverton RSL Club.