Perth World War II veteran John ‘JJ’ Wade dies

John Wade.
John Wade.

PERTH World War II veteran John ‘JJ’ Wade, one of the last remaining Rats of Tobruk, died peacefully over the weekend aged 100.

Tributes have flowed for Mr Wade, who returned to the family dairy farm in Yarloop after his discharge with the rank of Corporal in October 1944.

Prior to that, he saw action in Libya as a driver mechanic during the Siege of Tobruk by the Afrika Corps, and also in Egypt at El Alamein before his posting to Papua New Guinea in 1943 where he took part in the battle for Lae against the invading Japanese forces.

On returning home, Mr Wade was outspoken on the futility of war but also fiercely honoured the memory of mates that never made it home by marching on Remembrance Day and Anzac Day.

He was an active member of the Extremely Disabled War Veterans Association.

Earlier this year, Premier Mark McGowan interviewed Mr Wade as part of the Reflections on the Centenary web series.

“I was privileged to catch up with JJ earlier this year and talk with him about his wartime experiences,” Mr McGowan said.

“I was struck by his sense of humour and the many colourful anecdotes he had to share about his experience of war – an experience that failed to diminish his natural optimism.

“He signed up in Leonora in 1940 at the age of 22 and told me he did so to play his part in ensuring Australia was not invaded. He accomplished that mission.

“We should all be grateful that JJ and men and women like him answered the call to ensure our freedoms.”