April 25th - ANZAC Day - We Will Remember Them... Uncle Tom (1917-1947)
Commemorating ANZAC Day April 25th...
and remembering my Uncle - Tom McGrath
The Poppy is worn on ANZAC Day in remembrance and honour of all the New Zealand Men and Women who have fought and died in the service of their country in the many wars and conflicts since the original ANZAC Day - April 25th 1915.
Uncle Tom was my Mothers older brother. He served in the Second World War 1939-1945. He trained as a Territorial in the New Zealand Army and was amongst the first to go to War. He was stationed in the Middle East, spending much of his time in Egypt.
Uncle Tom survived the war, but was tragically killed in a car accident in 1947 at the age of 30, one year after his return home. Sadly I never had the honour and pleasure of meeting and getting to know him. He and Mum were very close, and she has shared fond memories of him. These are some of the special momentos she has of his.....
This photo was taken before he went to war. While overseas he kept a diary and also sent and received mail from time to time.
On the left is a Christmas Card he send to my Nana.... inside is this poem:
Freezing winds and the pennants flying,
Or blazing sun and the mistral sighing.
Cairo nights and drink, and laughter,
Or desert dawns with the long day after.
Wherever we are, here's Xmas cheer.
To all of you whom we hold so dear.
With his words...
"Hope you are well Mum and please remember me to all. Your loving son Tom."
On the right is a postcard he received from his friend Joyce,
sent December 14th 1943 which reads....
Dear Mac, Just a card old dear to show I haven't forgotten about you. I often think of you and wish you all the best of luck. I do hope this card finds you safe. Have you got my letter Mac. I'm waiting for another letter from you, also for a snap of yourself. Well Mac we finish up work next Friday for the Xmas holiday. I am off for a fortnight it will be great, we are going to the seaside house. It is a change from the town. I hope you can understand this as I have got hold of a lovely pen. Hope you are well, Your Pal x Joyce X
I have also found the following exerts in his diary... which have reference to mail he received whilst away..... (including a letter from Mum!)
June 2nd 1943:
Up early had a rehersal, buggared, raid last night great sight, plenty of Ack Ack, seemed to be Tripoli Harbour.
June 3rd 1943:
Had a big parade for Churchill today, big show, we are camped by the drome. Quite a few air raids lately around about here, getting fresh veges. Got a cake from Mum.
December 24th 1943
Quiet, up fairly late, went down to the beach, lot of life belts and rubbish washed up. Got two very nice Xmas cards from Joy.
December 25th 1943
Up late about 8am. Got two parcels last night, one from dear Joy and one from Frank*. Very quite day, having pork for dinner had a bottle of beer last night.
December 26th 1943
Had a good tea last night pork, which was excellent, potatoes and carrots (dried ones), and for pudding pears and cream. We had a pretty good tea tonight too, peas potatoes, cold tongue and bully and peaches, the parcels helped a lot. Very quiet today out on patrol, rained heavy last night.
December 27th 1943
Up late packing, are moving, we are back 13 miles from Nufilia, we travelled on the tar road, we have moved back not up, rained today, built a home, got a letter from Frank* and Pat*.
(*Frank is his older brother and Pat is my Mum)