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Charlie is Spirit of Anzacs


19 April 2018

Charlie is Spirit of Anzacs

Charlie is Spirit of Anzacs

Remembering the fallen and honouring all those who served their country holds an enduring place in the heart of war veteran Charlie Short.

For the sprightly 98-year-old will be the only member of his unit to participate in next week’s Anzac Day parade.

“There’s not many of us left – I was the only one who was in the parade last year too,” he said.

“You meet some mighty good folks in the army and it’s important for me I honour their memory.”

Mr Short said he survived his time with the Australian Imperial Forces only because of the kindness and care of the legendary “Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels” of Papua New Guinea. When a Japanese sniper in a palm tree, just a few yards away, aimed directly at the 2/27 Battalion foot soldier he feared any hit would be fatal.

“He got me right in the middle,” the South Plympton resident said.

“Directly in the stomach and that was normally the end of you”.

The serviceman who also served in the Middle East, was left for dead as his Battalion retreated in the chaos of battle but was rescued by the “Angels”, the PNG war carriers recruited to bring supplies to the front and carry injured Australian troops to safety during the Kokoda Campaign.

“They risked their lives to save mine. They eventually got me back to base. I can’t say enough about them.”

The bullet struck a piece of military equipment, shattering into pieces perforating the bowel in a dozen places.

Emergency surgery saw the removal of most of his large intestine. Gradually transported back to South Australia, a full recovery was achieved at the Northfield Repatriation Hospital. As he has done for several years, Mr Short yesterday joined students of Scotch College in the school’s annual tradition of a remembrance ceremony at Centennial Park cemetery. The school has owned and displayed the colours of the battalion since it was disbanded in 1946 and has hosted the commemoration since 1984.

Mr Short, a former railways clerk, helped students place small Australian flags on the graves of 3500 returned servicemen and women in a tribute to fallen soldiers.

On Wednesday, he will commemorate the courage, endurance and humour of our special Aussies and New Zealanders who served and died.

-- original article by Craig Cook, The Advertiser, 19 April 2018. Photo: Brenton Edwards - Scotch College students Oliver Just, Sigourney Haigh, Esther Boles and Hudson Laycock, with 98-year-old war veteran Charlie Short, pay tribute to fallen soldiers at Centennial Park Cemetery.