Monday, June 24, 2024

Happy 100th birthday to veteran Les Blackley

This is Leslie (Les) Blackley and he was born in Waterloo, NSW, 100 years ago.

Before the Second World War, Les was completing a sheet metal apprenticeship and was exempt from being sent to war.

He volunteered though, as his two brothers had enlisted.

Les served in the Australian Army for nearly four years with the 2/2nd Australian Composite Anti-Aircraft Regiment.

He was based in Papua and New Guinea at Port Moresby and Lae.

Les experienced some harrowing times while serving in New Guinea. In Bwana, an American Bomber hit an Australian truck and some soldiers were killed. Les had to help bury the dead. He also got lost for two nights, but Papuan carriers found him and helped him back to his unit. He witnessed bombings in Port Moresby and said the air raids were terrible.

Les valued his mates and developed some long-term friendships. He still catches up with some of their families.

After the war, Les worked as a dry cleaner until his retirement.

Les credits his long life to eating a bowl of porridge every morning, keeping active and enjoying life.

Happy birthday Les and thank you for your service.

Courtesy of Darren Chester, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs.


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