Bill Egerton - Shrapnel, hospital and Indonesians

Running time
3 min 55 sec
Date made
Copyright
Department of Veterans' Affairs

Transcript

I had the shrapnel and often I felt terrible. A few months had elapsed before the doctors felt…when I was in England, I always felt bad. They couldn't do much for you in our sick bay and being younger you put up with it…

And they sent me up to Townsville and the shrapnel I had in me and I didn't know where I got it from, whether it was the second kamikaze or the last one, the sixth one and I went to Townsville hospital and I said, "I'm sick all the time" and I used to pass out.

They sent me to Townsville hospital, and they said "Young man we can't do much for you here. You'll have to get on to your ..commanding officer and you have osteomyelitis of the left humour". That's bone disease if you don't know and he said, "You'll have to get it fixed up, it's invasive"…When they told me at the Townsville hospital about the osteomyelitis they said, "You've got to go out to the airport and get on a Douglas Dakota to fly out to Brisbane and we've notified Brisbane, arranged for you to go to hospital" and they flew me down to Archerfield and I got out and they took me to the American hospital.

They didn't take me to Greenslopes, they took me to an American hospital in Holland Park and it was a 900 bed hospital with a lot of Indonesians who had been captured by the Japs and we'd released them when we invaded the islands but a lot of them they wanted to let the people in Indonesia know they were alive and they…I forget what happened to a lot…they would have been Muslims from Indonesia and they made me their mascot and what had happened to the poor devils, originally it had been 28 from this camp of officers captured and the Jap driving them into where they were to hand their swords in and say they recognised the war was over so they did all that but then the Jap was driving them to the spot he thought "I'm not going to let these fellows back again" and he committed, what do you call it? Not hari kari, and he ran the bus over a cliff and the poor buggers had been imprisoned all that time in the war and nearly…out of 28 of them I think there were 14 or 15 killed and the others were injured and they were in the hospital with me.

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