KERANG resident George Douglass will be recognised very publicly on ANZAC Day for his service in Australia's armed forces.
The 81-year-old Navy man, a veteran of the 'Malayan Emergency', will be part of the motorcade of service people introduced and driven around the MCG before the opening of the Anzac Day match between Essendon and Collingwood.
As it happens, he is an Essendon fan from way back and likes the team's chances.
"They're getting better each game actually. We're all pretty certain we'll play finals," he says.
George, a boy from Ballarat, joined up in 1955 on his 17th birthday.
The following year he was sent to Malaya, where a Communist guerilla insurgency was in its eighth year in the British-controlled territory.
"As a young sailor – I'd just barely turned 18 – it was more or less an adventure," he says.
"I was part of the crew of HMAS Quadrant, which alongside HMAS Quickmatch was sent up to Malaya to relieve the ships that had already served up there. We were patrolling the Malayan coast preventing possible Chinese supplies reaching the Communists. Our ships were available for firing on suspected Communist camps."
"I was on guns – twin 4-inch, 63 pound shell. We wore a padded mitt, so you would hold the shell in one arm, walk up to the breech, push the front in and then punch it in and get your hand out real quick. It was quite strenuous for a bloke my size, I can tell you."
After leaving, he spent another six years with the Army Reserve and later worked as a tiler and painter, and also managed one of the first tenpin bowling alleys in Ballarat.
See the full report in the Gannawarra Times, Tuesday, April 23, 2019.