My paternal grandfather was Gordon Reginald Patterson and he went to the Western Front in 1917. He turned 18 six days before he enlisted. Private Patterson then joined the Australian Infantry in the trenches in northern France and Belgium for all the horrors that entailed. He came back to Australia in 1919. He died when my father was only 6 years old. His photo is below, and I can see my father in his face.
My maternal grandfather was George Harwood Smith and he went to the second World War in 1941, as a 39 year old. He served with the Australian Army Motor Transport in Indonesia. When the Allied forces in Java surrendered to the Japanese in 1942, Private Smith went into the infamous Japanese POW camp at Changi in Singapore, where he remained a prisoner until the end of the war. Alas, I don't have any photos of Grandfather Smith in uniform.
I can't begin to even imagine the horrors my grandfathers endured. But I can be forever grateful for what we now enjoy, thanks to the sacrifice of them and millions of other Allied service personnel.
Rest in peace, my grandfathers, and lest we forget.
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