Life after Burradoo, NSW

By MountGrace

The abscess that may have saved his life

This is my father.  In 1933, when he was 16 he had an abscess behind his right eye, as well as severe sinusitis. He had to have an operation and they only way the surgeon could get to the abscess to drain it was to cut a whole in my father's forehead. This was followed by many skin grafts. He suffered a great deal of pain during his teenage years. I never knew my father without a quite pronounced dent in his forehead.

Anzac Day yesterday had me thinking again about my father's role in WWII.

In 1939, with war looming, the Commonwealth Government conducted a census of men. It was called the 'National Register'.  Dad registered (see photo at top right) and explained the very obvious dent in his forehead.

Interestingly, the form didn't allow for someone to claim Australian citizenship. The options were 'British, natural born', 'British, naturalized' or 'Foreign', but I digress.

The register was used for the purposes of conscription into the military forces. The following year Dad was called up to enrol and then in February 1941 he received his instructions for reporting in for duty. The army was planning to send more troops to New Guinea to fight the Japanese army. In April 1941 the new recruits had to go through a final medical examination before embarkation. Dad failed the test. The army doctor told him "You won't be able to put your head under water with that. You're no use to us, son!" Dad was discharged medically unfit.

His unit went to New Guinea and two of his closest mates were killed. I blipped about one of them, Micky, last year. I've often wondered if the abscess saved Dad's life.

Yesterday I mentioned that Anzac Day was sacred in our home because both Mum and Dad had lost close friends. They would sit in front of the TV and name all the returned soldiers they knew as they recognised them on the screen. I suspect it was always a difficult time for Dad because he didn't go with his mates.

The photo of Dad older was taken a few months before he died quite suddenly in 1993.

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