With Anzac Day that just passed on Saturday, I thought it would be fitting to draw my grandpa. Firstly, I had the help of my dad to get proper references for the badges and also to make sure I'm on the right track of capturing grandpa.
Earlier this month, my sister and I were in Canberra for a short trip. While we were there, we went searching for information on our grandpa. Dad sent me some documents beforehand to assist in our findings. One good thing about Canberra is how close everything is to one another. We visited the National Archives, National Library and the War Memorial to try our luck.
His journey started in Adelaide where he had two older sisters that came with him. They were featured in several articles for helping other women and attending functions on behalf of their school.
Grandpa was featured in the papers for his swimming back when he was studying.
He enlisted the day after new year in 1942 at the age of 18. The surprise factor was Grandpa enlisted and had his medical done in the same suburb that I've been living in these past few years! Back then, there was a 'whites only' policy in Victoria so he had to enlist here in South Australia.
His record was digitalised which made it easy for us and Dad to access where he was. It included his Mobilization Attestation form, Service & Casualty forms etc. The records also documents his unit F.E.L.O. (Far Eastern Liaison Office) journey from Dutch New Guinea, Molucca Islands and Borneo.
Grandpa came back to Singapore after the war and went back to the army. He was a Colonel and the first chinese officer in the newly created Singapore Infantry Regimen in 1957. My dad managed to dig up old photos of him and shared the stories that he knew of.
Till now, I still try to research on him and his sisters during my free time and it has been very interesting so far. It's really hard to read the handwriting on some of the records and even asked my student for help. She was able to help and tell me about the history back then. With all of this, it urged her to revisit and find out more about her family.
I saw him when I was young but he was ill in bed. I wished I got to know him in person but at least we have stories and records of him. History plays a part in families and it made today the way it is. The sacrifices made during the war and the rebuilding after it. It also made one full circle for me to be back where Grandpa's journey started. I'm proud to be his granddaughter.