Phil Agnew - Enlistment

Running time
2 min 53 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


I was in the kitchen at our home in Ascot, listening to the radio and I heard Bob Menzies' speech, saying that Germany had already invaded and war was ... Great Britain had declared war on Germany and Australia was now at war. I was sitting in the kitchen in our home at Ascot, when I heard that. Before I went to Ascot ... when I was very young, till the age of five, we lived at West End.

When I was five, my father was retrenched during the Great Depression. Our family split up. He went up to find work on the gold mining claim near Cooktown and my mother went into a residential housekeeping job and with my sister and brother, we went to live with my mother's parents at Kalinga. That's all detailed in the book. Until the end of 1936 and that's when we went to Ascot. That's when my father came back from Cooktown and we rented a house in Benison Street, Ascot. That was at the end of 1936.

I enlisted, well actually before the war but when I was in school, I was on the shooting team and I got an interest in rifle shooting and I joined the cadets, so I could go to the rifle range and that was before the war started. At the beginning of the war, I was in the Army cadets and then as well as an apprentice electrician. When the manpower came in, they made my work a reserved occupation and they dragged me out of the militia to keep on working as a civilian electrician apprentice. It was only about 1940, early '42, I think, that a group of us got permission to overcome the manpower restrictions and join the air force.

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