Last 2/2nd Commando Combat veterans recorded
THE last surviving member of 2/2nd Independent Company (Commandos) John Hanson has had his story of World War II hardship and survival recorded for future generations.
During the last three days 98 year-old Mr Hanson was interviewed and recorded by American Rishi Sharma, who himself has been on a mission to record the personal experiences of Allied World War II combat veterans.
Mr Hanson said these recordings would go some way to ensuring the next generations appreciated what was done for them.
“We won against the odds and an important lesson learnt was that nothing was impossible,” Mr Hanson said.
He volunteered to join the army in May 1941 and was one of the original members of 2/2nd Independent Company (Commandos) and undertook training at a guerrilla warfare camp near Wilsons Promontory, Victoria.
He was in Timor from December 1941 to February 1943 and spent his time ambushing and carrying out raids on Japanese positions.
“It was a special job what we were doing and they were good men I served with and tough units to be in,” he said.
Mr Sharma is on his second trip to Australia to record for posterity the harrowing first-hand experience of Australian combat veterans and pay respect to a group of people who grew up during the Great Depression, fought in the war and are often called “the greatest generation”.
Mr Hanson moved to Hervey Bay 50 years ago.
“I want to preserve professionally the legacy of these men who fought for us so we can have the life we all do now,” Mr Sharma said.
“I am grateful for the freedom we have and how they sacrificed their yesterday for our today.”
What started as a high school hobby has become a full-time life mission for Mr Sharma.
“I haven’t been home for the last four years and I have been to Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and Canada and conducted 1100 combat veteran interviews,” he said.
For more information regarding World War II combat veterans, phone Rishi Sharma on 0418 193 006.