Ernest Brough - Enlistment and a lucky escape

Running time
2 min 25 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


Well, I joined up in the army. I was only nineteen at the time but I was twenty by the time they got me. He said, "Why don't you walk around the block?" So I come back and they signed me up and I was in the army. Well, I'm quite amazed, 95 or 96 now but I was only nineteen actually when I just about signed up. But I left it with them and they called me when the time was up, you see.

I went to Flinders Street station and he says, "How old are you?" "Nineteen". "Ah, no good. You've got to be twenty with your parents permission." He said, "You better go for a walk around the block, hadn't you?" So I did. I came back and he said, "How old are you now?" "Twenty". He said, "Well alright. We won't write you down but we'll put you down for a date to come in."

So they called me in about two or three weeks later and away we went…Alec Harrison was the Sergeant-Major and I was a corporal then and we got out and a went for walk all around the desert and had a good look at it and we were about a half a mile out I suppose from where the fort was and I said, "We've got a black spot in the sky" I said. They said, "Where is it?" "There it is there." You know, it was up behind us.

The plane had picked us up in there, see, and I said, "The best thing is to lay down in a line together. Cover your hands and your face and everything like that." And the plane flew straight over us because he was doing about 200 miles per hour, of course where we were in a little gully it was about a good quarter of a mile out from the edge of the fortress but we got away with it. The plane came straight over the top of us, flat out, he couldn't pick it up with the speed, you see, so we got away with that one.

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