Guy Griffiths, veteran, served in the Royal Australian Navy

Running time
1 min 30 sec
Date made
Place made
Australia

The 3-nine-39 radio and video series tells the untold stories of veterans, widows and family members from the Second World War.

Transcript

And then as a result, Australia is also at war. 3-nine-39, the day the war became real for Australians.

Ray Martin:

I’m Ray Martin. September the 3rd 1939, see’s Australia enter the Second World War. Around a million people enlist out of a population of just 7 million.

Guy Griffiths, now 96, is one of them. Guy is already in the Navy when the war starts and pretty soon he is in the thick of it. But when his ship Repulse is sunk by Japanese torpedoes off the Malayan coast in 1941, Guy’s war suddenly becomes very real.

Guy Griffiths:

Well she was hit with I think five torpedoes, which had opened up the old lady and she was taking a lot of water and she had listed to 30 degrees to port.

And I was still able to climb up the deck below the upper deck and get out of that scuttle, porthole, whichever you like to call it, and slide down the ship’s side. That was life.

We lost 500 chaps of a marvellous ship's company out of the 1,300. You can never forget. Okay, Griffiths, you were lucky. Think of the fellows who weren't and their families. Tragic.

Ray Martin:

Guy Griffiths is one in a million as we remember the Second World War 80 years on.

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