Richard Saunders - War's outbreak and early service
I was at home, and we heard it on the radio. And that was a Sunday, from memory, and on Monday, I went to work. And about 4:00 Monday afternoon, I received a telegram to immediately dress and report to the unit headquarters at Arncliffe. At that particular time, I was acting intelligence officer for the 45th Battalion. I served in that posting for about three or four months before I decided to join the Air Force as a part of the Empire Air Training Scheme.
Eventually, I was taken in for training in the Air Force, in aircrew, and I started flight training. And one day when I arrived back at the airfield, I landed the plane a bit high, and they tested me and discovered that I was not suitable for training further. And so, I took my discharge from the Air Force, and two or three days later, enlisted back into the 45th Battalion. And I served with that battalion for a number of months until the 31st Brigade headquarters asked for me to be transferred to the brigade headquarters, as a sergeant acting a brigade intelligence officer.
And after several months, the Second Division sought my posting as intelligence officer of the division. And then, about September 1942, I was posted to the New Guinea Force headquarters, in Moresby. At New Guinea Force headquarters, I was in charge of the message centre, and I handled all message in and out of New Guinea Force headquarters in that period of time. And after I'd been there a few months doing that, I was approached to see if I would transfer to air liaison, and suddenly, I was air liaison for the 90th American Bomb Group in Port Moresby.