I have now completed my hard training and have now packed my bags. I am now ready to be shipped up to Darwin where I will be assisting in the refueling of all the major ships that come into port. I am already terribly missing my beautiful wife. We have never spent this long apart from each other. I am also deeply missing my mother who I am assured will be looked after in her ill state. I am especially missing little Jack who should be starting to walk and say his first words any time now. It is so cold of a night lying alone in my bed with the only sounds the hum of the cicadas around.
I wonder how Jeremy is going up in Singapore. He was sent there while I was still in training but I hear that the war is beginning to get very bad up in that area.
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Last night the ship was riding up and down like a seesaw. I tried to get as much sleep as possible but it seemed impossible with the ship swaying from side to side. I noticed that my roommate Richard was not able to get to sleep either so we took some time to get to know each other. He is a really great man and we were told this morning that we were to be bunked together once we arrived in Darwin.
I have heard a rumour today that Singapore has been taken over by the Japanese. I’m not completely sure if that is true but I am fearing for my older brother who was doing service defending Singapore. I tried to find out as much information on the matter as I could but nobody seems to be completely sure. It really shows how close the war is coming to Australian soil and how great the threat is from the Japanese towards us.
I have now arrived in Darwin and have had my first day of work out in the Harbour. Darwin is the main stopping point for all of the ships and planes before they head up north into battle. Today we were refueling the hospital ship, Manunda when we saw all of the injured men being carted off, some with cuts and gashes and some with limbs just starting then just ending in a blood soaked bandage. All day there has been planes flying over head and landing just over at the airbase to refuel and have a break. It is hard work here and as soon as one ship leaves the port another one arrives ready for more work. One of the largest ships I’ve ever seen pulled in today. It was the U.S. transport ship Meigs, it would have held at least 2000 men on it as well as millions of pieces of cargo.
Richard and me are growing closer everyday. We both have a lot in common and he has proven to be a great friend, which is really what you need in a place like this.
Today we were just fuelling the Neptuna when we heard a huge roar and when we looked out to see the horizon was dotted with enemy planes. The planes filled the harbour with a roar at 9:58 a.m. Most men went into a panic and started running everywhere as the planes began to dart around the harbour. The first bomb was dropped and it slammed into the Peary, then bombs continued to fall lighting the ships up in glowing flaming balls. Once the shelling stopped everyone went into recovery mode. I was searching for Richard but he was nowhere to be seen when the all too familiar roar returned. This time the bombers focused on the air base and took down many of our planes, which were trapped in the hangers. Afterwards the search for Richard continued but he was nowhere so I helped every man that I could see who was injured and there was hundreds of them.
Today I found out that my fears about Richard were true. He was found lying dead on the dock so today in any spare time I had I wrote the sad letter to his family telling them how much of a great man he was. I was a busy man today, doing everything that I could to try and help the hospital nurses. I have given as much blood as I think is physically possible. I have been carting the injured men to beds and any other space we could find and also taking all the dead solders to the horrible pile, which is sadly growing rapidly. Also I have been carrying around all the supplies and anything else I can to help the poor run down nurses and doctor who are working around the clock to try and save the men’s lives.
As I lay in my bunk tonight I wonder when the bombing will stop and the war will end and I think about my family.
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