Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Life Full in War and Peace

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Life Full in War and Peace

Article excerpt

WILLIAM Robert "Bob" Wade was born on March 9, 1914, at Watts Siding, Greenmount, to William and Violet.

He was the eldest of five children, including Alf, Helen, Col and Stuart.

On May 31, 1940, Bob enlisted in the Second Australian Imperial Force (AIF).

QX5801 Private William Robert "Bob" Wade was initially allocated to the 2/15 Australian Infantry Battalion, but soon after basic training he was transferred to headquarters of the 18th Australian Infantry Brigade.

On February 2, 1941, the 18th sailed from Sydney to the Middle East and landed in Palestine in March of 1941.

Shortly after arriving, the brigade was deployed to Libya and later the men found themselves involved in the legendary siege of Tobruk.

The German general, Erwin Rommel -- The Desert Fox" -- thought he had the Australians and their allies "caught like rats in a barrel".

Aussies being Aussies, they adapted to the conditions.

They dug in for the long haul and started referring to themselves as the Rats of Tobruk.

The 18th deployed back to Australia in February 1942, arriving in Adelaide during March of that year.

In August 1942, the 18th was again deployed overseas, this time to the Pacific Area of Operations.

On August 26, Bob was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal and then shortly after, on October 15, 1942, he was promoted to Corporal and transferred to the 2/9th Australian Infantry Battalion.

During this deployment, the brigade was deployed to New Guinea, and saw service at the battle of Milne Bay.

The fighting and horrendous conditions had a devastating impact on the 2/9th and out off 666 officers and men who arrived, plus an additional 300 reinforcements, on 89 remained standing when the battalion withdrew to Port Moresby in the first week of 1943.

It was during this time that Bob was struck down with malaria and spent many weeks in a field hospital before being transferred to an Australian general hospital.

After his recovery, he returned to Australia in March, 1943.

At this time he married Ethel May Fletcher -- on May 21.

The battalion was deployed back to Papua in early August, 1943, and initially trained around Port Moresby.

On December 21, 1943, Bob was promoted to Lance Sergeant.

During that month, they were also deployed to the Highlands of New Guinea, where in January and February of 1944, the 2/9th participated in the operations to capture Shaggy Ridge.

Arriving back in Australia in May, 1944, the 2/9th spent almost a year training and performing Garrison duties in Australia, before undertaking its final operation of the war.

On May 16, 1945, Bob was promoted to sergeant and then on May 23, the battalion sailed from Cairns to the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), before deploying to the Island of Borneo, arriving in July, 1945. …

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