Episode 1

Bert Cox 
Warrant Officer

96 years young and with an incredible story to tell. Hear his interview with Steve Price completed in 2020.

Speaker 1: I'm Steve price. I'm proud to be an Australian ambassador for wounded heroes, the first responders to our homeless and at risk veterans providing emergency solutions right across Australia. They're starting to sell furniture and they're starting to sell the engagement rings. They're Hawking their metals. They're Hocking their PlayStations for their kids to keep a roof over their head. Every day, year round wounded heroes provides these emergency solutions with no government funding. We just noticed there was a need for that immediacy of crisis funds, immediacy of being able to operate within one hour, 10 minutes, 15 minutes to do get food on the table with Tricity to get some rent payers. They're not being evicted. And they saved my life now and they work tirelessly seven days a week without any help. No they're running on the smell of an oily rag and then they get there on unsung heroes. Well, Johnny is on this edition of a veteran of the day is a young man, but Cox, when I say young born in 1924, he's 86 years young. Uh, he was a warrant - 96 that shows how bad my maths are. Burt. How are you?

Speaker 2: Oh, poor old ninety six year old. Getting there slowly. I'm walking. Knee operation 2002 left me with a straight leg.

Speaker 1: Well, you sound pretty good to me. Um, can you take me back to your yours time? Serving your country Australia? You enlisted. Was it in 1942?

Speaker 2: Yeah. Before I finished High school

Speaker 1: So you were, what? 18 years old. Explain to me what your parents felt like when they knew you were going to put your hand up.

Speaker 2: Oh, my mother had a kid, my dad bought me a reasonably decent camera.

Speaker 1: Where were you growing up? Where were you when you were 18?

Speaker 2: Um, I dunno, if you know, Northern rivers, new South Wales, beautiful place underlie your family had mixed area in that honor and woke up. Um, my dad was a, um, were given land on the ground? Yes, that's right. Yep. I was on that. I gave when I joined the air force,

Speaker 1: So the, the war was well underway. It had been, it'd been going for, you know, three odd years. And you'd obviously been keeping an eye on things as you finished high school.

Speaker 2: What was, what was the mood of the country then bird? I

Speaker 1: Mean, did, did most young blokes, young fellers your age really desperately want to go and serve their country?

Speaker 2: I would pick the, uh, if you were around in 1940 to 1942, [inaudible] Western side of Australia, uh, there was a fleet of ships on his way to Australia and rented, unfortunately rather than to, uh, American aircraft carriers and, uh, lost that comprehensively and well, maybe I could be record with afterwards. So yeah, except the right idea to stop hit from [inaudible] and, uh, let me through an American liberal rises for Australians. And we were in the Philippines when the war ended.

Speaker 1: Where did you do your training?

Speaker 2: I tried to tell him where I lived. I tried to sound like I was about to file for my initial training. And I remember one night, my bloody God rang all night. Probably the child was with us. Then, um, I went to [inaudible] radio with two, um, uh, Mary Brown in I, it was, and then I went down to new South Wales to get a gun. And then I spent about three months or six months as the radio operator for parks. I'm left station Waterloo though. I used to go on flats. It did. We never, we went from parking here. Then back on the way back, he got lost over to move him.

Speaker 1: That wouldn't have been much fun.

Speaker 2: No. He found a paddock, make it up and put the bloody thing down on my grandmother, Catalina and I wasn't the one corner. And we were in the garden, a horse where he was, but I really stopped rolling and set up and took off in the bloody capital one. It was a rice Patreon, both leading in the middle. We got above them. And anyway, then I spent time at the park in Victoria and ended up 12 months. I report very unsatisfied. I had never guys you're trying to lists. And we had three hours in the morning until the afternoon. And we never got to this learning their craft. I did that for 14 months and in the beginning, the character come and start us so we could get the only show I did exactly what I'd seen being done when there were maybe 15 or so to go. It was only about three.

Speaker 2: You can imagine if you're number 15, you were there. Anyway, the technique to transfer them to how a pilot brought engineers to Coca American liberates, where we're going to reuse all turned up there. We got together in crews, applied with Ford and not done a day trip, but I didn't get selected for that because when I arrived there, this crew was shot down. But, um, I think seven writes a blog, ditching the Catalina, pick them all up before it could get off the water. It was shut down. The water picked up what was still on. I'm doing my best. And originally I went through the museum, Kendra and the silver victories on, on the wall.

Speaker 1: I think it'd be fair to say, but that not many younger Australians realize how close the Japanese actually got to Darwin. Right?

Speaker 2: Well, they drew a lot North of Brisbane. You know, I called it the Brisbane lawn and they were going to defend it. But you know, when we'll begin to know in 39 Oh after battles for other other countries, but I don't think till about 1944 or 45, any of the battles that I fought him, let's try it on Friday. They're all probably flags. If you walk in here, buddy, and you're getting, there's not a bloody Australian flag at all the British flags, we were just the token forest giant and the [inaudible] water pipe and fabric machine top Potter was, Oh yeah.

Speaker 1: What was Darwin locking in, in 42 43?

Speaker 2: What was left of it? A lot of total damage. There was another bloody stupid. If you read the history of Darwin and the attack on Darwin on the Skype, it's like money barely on people trying to run something. They go on and Todd's been accused of spinning it. Always, we pull it, I'm just I'm covering Josh and stuff.

Speaker 1: They all braid, there was too many of them in charge. That was a problem, I think. So you would have had lots of mates, uh, who served around you and, and, uh, who, who served offshore and, and, uh, in new Guinea, I mean those boys,

Speaker 2: The new Guinea for training with America, every bomber group. And, um, we did a bit of flying around there and, uh, one or two, uh, attacks, I think on rebel on one or two occasions, but then some was, went to Townsville after included. Some of them went to try to cross. We went to Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide that was spring styling, three weeks. We traveled from bloody towns, real Pooh goblin. And we could have flown the course. That's sort of stupid. Things used to happen, you know? Well I'm, well, I graduate regret my experience and my buddy Wallace, when MacArthur decided he wanted to move up after in Borneo and you could lift around and sob, but not always sends buddy ballers in under 200 feet to run them out. We lost two liberal writers in the crews shut down, you know, that's stupid.

Speaker 2: And that that's, you know, that's one of the things already got most, but no, I, um, I had a very, uh, very competent captain. Uh, he was in a widget anyway, one of those brood, his name is Nielsen. And when we roll joined together, you know, we were quick at ever. Brian is exactly person. Uh, the captain, my second pilot, he is 40 and the rest of us. What about the idea of your role? And I just wondered how he felt when he felt, when he got lined up with four adults, seven buddy, I didn't try the other school

Speaker 1: Pretty unusual when you look back at it now, but I mean, you wouldn't think too many, 18 year olds these days would be, would be happy and prepared to do that. I mean, it was a different time, wasn't it?

Speaker 2: Well, the thing is that I was on, I grew up on a dairy farm where you had to be, uh, adaptable to things you needed to do. And I ended up in that ever, Brian, Jack, Jack of all trades. I tried walking on Ghana and I did the, I did the photography. I was trying to photography, visual that too. That's the, you know, the area and the bombing. It was two big cameras. I used to skip ahead when we took off to those airplanes, when we were putting lights up. So they talk, well, I dropped him off and he was on tour. And then we went through bombing run. Well, I dropped the ball by doors and closed room and things like that.

Speaker 2: But there were a couple of [inaudible] on one occasion where you did the run over the target and the [inaudible] button, it didn't go off. So it was kept. I said, we'll do it again. It didn't go up a second time. So he circled area and he said, Oh, you should probably close the bone by doors, close the phone by doors, old stretcher, the bottom of the aircraft. Uh, you know, if you think of that for a second, it was a buddy those bombed by the roll up inside the aircraft, like when you were standing, when you were doing it, you were standing on a plank and the bottom of the airplane with a lot of spice was showing you and everywhere else. No, not apprehensive about being that.

Speaker 1: When, uh, when the war was over in new a decommission, did you keep up flying?

Speaker 2: No, I am. It doesn't die straight away. The 10 months of teachers trying to in college, it became a private school principal in Queensland. So 36 years.

Speaker 1: And now you're, uh, in your mid nineties, you sound fantastic, but I mean, it's been an honor and a pleasure to speak with you today. Thanks for catching up with us.

Speaker 2: Okay. Thanks for the privilege of doing so.

Speaker 1: I'm Steve price. I'm proud to be an Australian ambassador for wounded heroes, the first responders to our homeless and at risk veterans providing emergency solutions right across Australia every day, year round wounded heroes provides these emergency solutions with no government funding as a not-for-profit volunteer run organization. They use 100% of all public donations for this emergency accommodation to veterans and their families for food, electricity, and fuel for many veterans and their families. This is lifesaving assistance. The only hope you can help wounded heroes with this great cause by donating $8 on the eighth day of every month, an eight for a mate together, let's stop veteran homelessness and help raise funds for wounded heroes. Visit wounded heroes.org.edu for details on eight for a mate.

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