Fort XIII

Fort XIII
Fort XIII (Wild, David. Prisoners of hope. 1992. London)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Let us hurry to love people they depart so quickly

One of the most famouse priests Jan Twardowski told that:  Let us hurry to love people they depart so quickly” Jan Twardowski. We met Jack by Skype and that was fantastic to spoke with man who remember true facts about war time in Torun. Thank you for whole knwoledge...

Below we would like to show you the eulogy

Jack Morgan Walker was born to Sarah & Sydney Walker on the 4th Oct 1922 at Cheetham Hill Manchester England. They immigrated to Australia in 1926, Dad was 4. They rented a house in Bronte where his younger brother Ralph was born in 1928. Dad attended Clovelly Infants School, Woollahra Opportunity School & Randwick Boys High. After gaining his Intermediate Certificate his first job was with Anthony Hordens in the city selling sox, ties and handkerchiefs. He then worked 2½ years as a window dresser at David Jones Store in the city. When he was 16 the family moved to Oatley. He was always mad on motor bikes so when he was old enough he bought a 1926 AJS – yes he was a bikie!!

2nd World War had broken out and Dad was keen for a change and a sense of adventure so wanted to join the army., however he was only 17 and underage . It took 3 attempts and falsifying his age before he was accepted and posted to 2nd 5th AGH and sent to Greta for training. He was sure the A stood for Artillery. He was not the only soldier surprised to find it stood for Australian General Hospital.

Dad embarked on the Queen Mary Oct 1940, arriving in Palestine. He then went to Greece where they were busy with wounded, and evacuating any who could walk.. On the 26th of April 1941 Jack became a prisoner of the Germans in Kokinia in Greece. They were marched to the prison camp in Salonika then transported standing up in Cattle Trucks for 13 days, then marched to Thorn in Poland. He was released with the other POW’S near on 3 years later as an exchange prisoner in December 1943.

Dad had met Dorothy Mallard our Mum when both 16 at All Saints Church at Oatley They would walk together to the station for work each morning. During all of Dad’s time in the army, before and after his capture , Mum wrote regularly until his release. Their friendship turned to love and they married 3 June 1944. They had various abodes, a tent, a bedroom in Freddie Butterfield’s house, the Mallard’s garage and then bought 2 blocks of land a long way from Oatley Station in Marine Drive Oatley at Jewfish Point. Here they built a house and lived there until last year - nearly 70 years.

Dad obtained taxi plates, purchased a car and worked extremely hard for long hours to support Mum, Terry and I. Dad did his own car maintenance, he was a very capable self taught mechanic and often said that his dream job would have been a mechanical engineer. In what spare time he had, we had wonderful camping holidays, gold fossicking and fishing. He built a fibro weekender at Huskisson down the south coast where we would all go at every available opportunity.

After Terry and I had married and moved out, Mum and Dad spent 2 years travelling around Australia. They had wonderful times living off the land, working in most unusual places, made many lifelong friends and fraternised with often quite strange people. They always had a loaded rifle at the ready in case they felt threatened in the outback

After returning from their big trip, Dad worked for a short while for Terry, then as a storeman truck driver for Glitheroes Plumbers Supplies. He also had a job with St George Builders and then Armaguard. Dad had a heart attack at 56, and open heart surgery at 59.

He hated the cold – possibly a hangover from his 3 years in Poland so, every winter, along with his best mate Mum with their landcruiser, caravan and boat went north to Groper Creek, near Homehill in Northern Queensland - fishing, crabbing, oystering and devouring mangos and bringing home for us, lots of fish skillfully filleted and frozen. They were both excellent fisherpeople and made this migration for over 15 years always taking their beloved rescued galahs Pinky and Petel who had become their other children. It was an extremely sad day when in their late 70s they decided it was too hard to lift the boat and tow the caravan up north. They did continue to fish in Sydney however.

On one of those trips up north, while helping old friends clean up their yard, he threw petrol on a fire to get it going and sustained burns from ankles to neck spending 2 weeks in a Northern Queensland Hospital. At 64 he had successful surgery for bowel cancer, then at 70, he had more open heart surgery. Although taking a truckload of pills it never stopped his making and drinking plenty of his home made brew.

When Dad was 76 he sent me the first of 4 letters. This first one had written across the top NOT TO BE OPENED UNTIL THE DAY I DIE. DAD. Well I opened it immediately– AS YOU DO!!

He expressed his wish for no funeral and to cheaply dispose of what he called his carcass. I locked the letter away hoping he would forget. NOT SO - I received the others when he was 81, 82 & 85.

However his wishes had softened considerably. If we had to have a ceremony then it must be happy and jovial. He expressed his appreciation of a wonderful life and love and admiration of all his family. He included his desired obituary which Terry will read.

Dad was a hard task master. He was very strict – I did not get away scott free but he probably made life harder for Terry, however they spent quality times together which he will mention . Dad was extremely proud of Terry and his achievements and thought the world of his wife Jan as well as his beautiful and talented grandchildren Troy, Peter and Gregg, their partners Amy, Sophie and Caroline and his great grandchildren Sophia, Zoe, Marco & Luca He was also very fond of his son in law Barry to whom he passed on helpful handyman advice! Dad and I were very close and had many meaningful discussions, often agreeing to disagree. He considered he had a charmed life and was extremely lucky. I think he just erased any of the bad things that happened and he had his share. Dad was always happy with a great sense of humour – very good at DAD JOKES and always considered his glass half full, especially if it was with Beer. He enjoyed tennis, squash and surfing as well as his much loved fishing. In more recent years he spent hours doing Crosswords.

In later life he opened up more and more about his Prisoner of War days. Because in his fort he was the youngest, smallest and probably the gamest climbing through small openings to steal food. They also constructed a still and produced potato wine – it is a wonder they did not poison themselves. He always laughed as he told these stories.

Dad worked extremely hard but in his youth he played hard too. He loved boxing and had short man syndrome. He would punch first and ask questions later. Pity any boy who may have done the wrong thing by me!!

He never stopped wanting to learn about things. . At 84 he confronted technology and became proficient on the computer emailing, scanning and sending photographs. & creating slide shows on Power Point. He did this right up to a couple of weeks ago.

Dad loved helping other people, especially on his lathe. He loved his lathe and was pretty clever with it.

He was a loyal and devoted friend and even on losing mates always ensured that the wives had help. He was particularly loyal to those mates with whom he was a prisoner of war. Dad was always saying what fantastic neighbours they had & they were. They looked out for Him and Mum and always contacted us in times of need. THANK YOU

In later years he would go away on short men only RSL trips – he just loved these trips and made sure he was healthy enough to go.

When Mum’s alzheimers compounded, Dad took over the washing, shopping and cooking – he became an expert at making pancakes, following Mum’s recipe of course. His dicky knees made life difficult, the outdoor inclinator took him up most of the back stairs. For some time he refused to use the walking frame in public, however finally succumbed.

When Mum had her bad fall, Dad was at the hospital every day fussing over her and making sure the nurses took good care of her and, when she was admitted to the Nursing Home he decided it was his duty to move in with her and take care of her every need. He insisted on being in the same room. Dad still drove his car up until this time. All of this has taken its toll and while his stubbornness has kept him alive, his loyalty and devotion has eventually killed him. He was still trying to be the carer.

A few weeks ago He had a fall and later in the week he asked me to find his anginine tablets as he felt he was again developing Angina. I hoped it was just sore ribs from the fall. I found the tablets but did not tell him – the date on the jar was 1998. He was very good at self medicating – in more ways than one!!

Dad was not afraid of dying, however he was trying damned hard to outlive Mum.

Things don’t always go to plan!!

We discussed dying several times and he promised if he possibly could that he would return to haunt me – as a dog because he liked dogs.

Dad was not a believer in God, however you do not have to be religious to be a good person and this he was with very high morals, compassion, generosity and almost a naïve trust in other people. He was not perfect but in my eyes he was one great human being.

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