Dr Bob Goodwin – World War II Veteran Still Going Strong
Most of the 14,000 surviving World War II Veterans are now aged in their 90s and receiving some form of care, however it might surprise you to learn just how active one of our unsung heroes of World War II is.
Highfields veteran Dr Bob Goodwin (95) walks a mile and a half every day to his local shops, tends his own rose garden, cooks for himself, and does most of his shopping with a little help from Ozcare. It is his general opinion that physical activity tends to perpetuate life.
“It is important to stay active as we get older, death tends to occur when there is less activity,” said Dr Goodwin.
Dr Goodwin is well renowned for serving as a lieutenant in World War II with the 2/10th Field Regiment, an Australian Army artillery regiment formed in mid-1940 to fight the Japanese advance in the Malayan campaign. The regiment was sadly taken prisoner at the fall of Singapore.
As a prisioner of war, Dr Goodwin endured horrific conditions, including the amputation of his ulcerated toe without anaestheic, while working on Hellfire Pass, a notorious part of the Burma-Thailand railway. Yet Dr Goodwin has no regrets.
“I have lived a varied life, but I wouldn’t change a thing,” said Dr Goodwin.
An inspiring man, after the war Dr Goodwin achieved his matriculation, married his late wife Marie, studied medicine and went into general practice while bringing up his four children. He became a Member and a Fellow of the Royal Australiasian College of Physicians and was at the helm of the National Heart Foundation for almost 30 years. Dr Goodwin received the Order of Australia Medal in 1993 for his service to community health.
Dr Goodwin has been at every Anzac Day service except for last year.
“Anzac Day is the day I think about all the people who never came home,” said Dr Goodwin.
“We lost 300 men from our regiment during the war. My advice is think carefully about how you choose your politicians - they speak on your behalf.”
Richard Bromley – World War II Veteran With a Secret to Share
Richard Bromley (94) Ozcare DVA client, is one of our unsung heroes from World War II. His bravery has mostly gone unrecognised as Richard served on a secret mission during the war which he kept under oath for more than 30 years.
Richard was 20 years old when he enlisted with the Australian Defence Force, and said it was an easy decision to make.
“Something had to be done,” said Richard. “The Japanese were coming and it was important we do everything possible to defend our country.”
An A-grade cricketer, footballer and good runner, Richard was quickly selected to take part in a secret mission, part of which involved the Krait, the fishing boat that went to war.
The Krait, named after the small but deadly snake, was used in September 1943 to transport members of the Z Special Unit to Singapore to successfully raid the city’s harbour. Commandos travelled to the harbour in the Krait, disguised as an Asian fishing boat, then used collapsible canoes to attach limpet mines to Japanese ships, successfully sinking seven ships.
Richard’s role involved posting the personnel, primarily from the Australian Army and the Royal Australian Navy, to the Krait and other secret work he is not able to elaborate on.
Richard is an amazing man with an exceptional story, sadly however, it was a long journey for Richard to be recognised for his work during the war.
“Because the mission was kept a secret, the records were not well-kept, and it took me two years to receive recognition for being a veteran,” said Richard.
“I don’t want any glory - I just wanted to do the job I was posted to do and I think I did it pretty well.”
Richard has no unit to march with on Anzac Day so instead, over the years, he has travelled to Sydney on Remembrance Day to take part in Navy reunions - the one day of the year they bring the Krait out of the Australian War Memorial.
Richard said the greatest joy in his life was meeting his wife and having his daughter.
“I have always had a lot of fun in life, my cheeky attitude has helped but Brother O’Brien from St Mary’s Christian Brothers College in Ipswich always used to say to me ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ and I have lived by this saying.”