The Personal Stories of our Veterans

 

Lest We Forget!  These simple words are spoken at ANZAC Day Commemorations every year. But how do we ensure that as a nation, we don’t forget the sacrifices of these ordinary men and women whose actions and experiences were extraordinary?

This Story Australia is a charity dedicated to capturing and preserving the significant moments of Australia’s history as told by those who experienced it first-hand. These are the personal stories of our veterans who served during the following conflicts:

  • World War II (1939-1945)
  • Korean War (1950-1953)
  • Malayan Emergency (1950-1960)
  • Borneo Confrontation (1963-1966)
  • Vietnam War (1965-1973)

But don’t be fooled into thinking these are simply a collection of war stories.  There is so much more to their tales. Behind the smiles and unique personalities are the stories that shaped their lives and the lives of their families. During these deeply personal interviews, our veterans cover topics such as:

  • love
  • loss
  • fear
  • pain
  • adventure
  • mateship
  • family
  • life

At the very core of these veteran interviews are central themes around the innate need for human connection and compassion.

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. If that is the case, these videos must be worth a million.  The twinkle in their eyes, the emotion in their voices, the moments of quiet reflection, the laughter… but most of all the humility in which the veterans share their compelling stories will leave you wanting to hear more.

We must never forget the sacrifices of those who fought so valiantly for our freedoms. These video documentaries will ensure the personal stories of our veterans and their legacies will continue to live on.

Lest we forget!

Testimonials

‘Recently, it has been our pleasure to have Jeff and his team visiting our Sub Branch. The project they are undertaking, to record and preserve the memories of World War 2 servicemen & women in documentary form, is an ambitious one but something that is of vital importance to the history of our nation. We know that when these service personnel eventually die out, their firsthand recollections of the Second World War will pass with them. Therefore, it is imperative that these oral histories be captured as soon as possible before they are lost forever. It was a pleasure to have Jeff here to record the memories of two of our members, which we hope will contribute in a very small way to the success of the project’.

Wendy Holt
Secretary/Membership Officer, Toowoomba United RSL Sub Branch Inc.

It is with heartfelt sincerity that I thank Jeff and his crew, from This Story, for the work they are doing to film our remaining WWII veterans.  For some, this is a final chance for these veterans to talk about their experiences as they never could (or would) with their families.  It is also an opportunity for future generations to see these veterans as ordinary Australians that did extraordinary things in the name of, and defence of, their country and the people there-in. I also commend Jeff for his deference to the veterans, his interview techniques and his passion to get these stories told by the veterans in their own words, not from a script.

Naomi Enchong
Welfare Officer
Nambour RSL Sub-branch

Jeff approached our family to offer to interview Terry Walker as a part of the WWII Documentary Series he was producing for “This Story.” Although the technical production was flawless, I was most impressed with the way that Jeff managed to merge historical facts with the human story.

I would like to thank Jeff for the sensitive way he dealt with Terry and the whole family.

Kim Walker

‘The professional quality video of my darling father is simply invaluable.  Jeff asked me if he could film Dad about his fascinating life. I put it to Dad. He was quite excited and began writing notes. Jeff arrived at the nursing home and explained simply how it was all going to happen. He asked Dad open questions about his life journey, his involvement in the war, life in the army and family life to which Dad chatted. His filming equipment wasn’t overly intimidating or intrusive. Occasionally and at pertinent places, Jeff asked Dad deeper questions about an incident or person. The end result is brilliant! As a family we are forever indebted to Jeff. Dad passed away in April of last year. Thanks to the foresight of Jeff, we now have a fabulous record of Dad in his later life. Thank you Jeff, we are thrilled with the result’.

Sue Hurley

‘It was such a pleasure to be involved with your project involving our veterans in Nambour.  As I had welfare involvement with Allan Brown and Bill Elliott, I know that they were both very excited and felt privileged to be asked to divulge their WW2 experiences.  Both veterans spoke of this experience for some time after, and I believe that they had a feeling that, yes, people do care about their life. The manner in the way you conducted the interviews put the veterans at ease, so they felt relaxed and trusted you for them to talk about experiences that they may have not spoken about for some if not ever.  I would like to congratulate you on a well deserving project and hope it continues for other veterans’.
Robyn Symmons
Welfare Support Officer
RSL Sunshine Coast and Regional District