Family wartime memories shared

From left, standing: Karen Marshall, Jenni Werner and Liz McGilligan with (sitting, from left) Kerry Clements and Maxine Aitken.
From left, standing: Karen Marshall, Jenni Werner and Liz McGilligan with (sitting, from left) Kerry Clements and Maxine Aitken.

It will also be a time of remembrance for many at the not-for-profit organisation, with some of the employees sharing their stories with the Weekender.

My father Neil McMeekin enlisted for World War II at Port Melbourne and served in the navy as a telegraphic officer on ships Cerberus, Lonsdale and Melville.

It was while he was a communications officer in Darwin that he suffered a broken neck and vertebrae in the bombing of Darwin.

He was sent home for rehabilitation, and though he endured physical and emotional scars, he always managed them with grace and humour.

Dad’s sisters, Nancy and Helen McMeekin, served in Papua New Guinea as registered nurses from 1942 to 1945.

My great uncle Athol McMeekin served as a bombardier in France and England from 1916 to 1920.

He had many narrow escapes and was wounded in action in 1918; recovered and bravely returned to the war.

My father Patrick John Toovey served in the 2/28th Battalion in World War II.

He was a one of the Rats of Tobruk and subsequently was taken prisoner in the Egyptian city of El Alamain.

He spent nearly four years in various German POW camps but managed to escape towards the end of the war.

His two brothers (my uncles) both were in the war as well.

I was born in 1950 and I remember the petrol tankers at Leighton being painted black. My brother was born during the war and sister at the end of World War II.

Mum told me they had the blinds down at dusk and grandma had a bomb shelter at her home in Mt Lawley.

Dad applied to go into the air force but was rejected because he had bandy legs. However, he was a milkman at the time and was responsible for providing milk to the forces.

My ex-husband’s mother worked in an ammunitions factory in England. One day she came home to find that she had no home ” it had been bombed.

A female war veteran who was stationed on Rottnest Island told me that Japanese submarines were sighted off the coast of WA, near Rottnest, while another female veteran was an operations manager and had to give orders to shoot down aircraft.

Also, a young man crashed his plane into the ocean and was upside down and unconscious but somehow survived.