Gordon Plowman – Knowing things military
Born in Palmwoods in 1940, by the time Victory in the Pacific was proclaimed in 1945, I was old enough to remember some aspects of WW2. Since my father and one uncle served in the First AIF, another uncle in the merchant navy and my sister served as a signalwoman in the AWAS in WW2, I gained an early insight to things military.
One enduring memory is of my father and two WW1 veterans who worked at Flaxton sawmill, sitting on logs and sipping hot tea from enamel mugs and talking about the great battles on France and Belgium, the angels of Mons and the re-taking of Villers Bretonneux by the Aussies.
Not everyone had a radio in the 1940’s and it was not uncommon to see dad and friends with ears glued to the loudspeaker, listening for war news on our wireless set.
Sometimes at night, our family walked to the top of a hill near our house and watched the searchlights near Brisbane and at Bribie Island rake the skies looking for enemy aircraft.
The other enduring memories include ration coupons; you couldn’t buy certain food, clothes or petrol without them and, dad’s charcoal pit. Because petrol was rationed some vehicles fitted gas producers. These devices burnt charcoal to produce the gas that fuelled the engine and dad, in a crude but effective way, produced the charcoal.
The terrible impact of war and the sacrifices and bravery made by our servicemen and women became apparent to me very early on. My father had been gassed and wore the scar of a gunshot wound; an Uncle I never met suffered ‘shell shock,’ and took his own life, then Clive Blair came to stay with us. Clive was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his brave actions but had sustained severe injuries in the process.
Those who served in the military and in the many support organisations, gave up years of their lives for the benefit of all Australians. They deserve a special place in history and in our hearts. Let us always remember what they did for us.
Gordon co-wrote Book 9 Part 1 Montville Remembers and is currently researching Part 2 about the 80 World War 2 men and women who were connected to Montville and who went to war between 1939 and 1945. Gordon has also written Book 4 in the Montville Stories Series Sawdust and Steam – The story of the Flaxton sawmill, 1936 to 1963 and Book 6 in the Montville Stories Series – Silky Oaks and Camphor Laurels – Centenary of the Opening of the Flaxton Provisional (State ) School, 1922 – 2022.