Bill Egerton's story
Cyril 'Bill' Egerton enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) on 17 June 1943.
Bill was drafted to HMAS Australia, serving as a gunner. He was slightly wounded during a kamikaze attack when the ship was targeted on consecutive days during operations in the Lingayen Gulf in early January 1945. Bill vividly remembered the horror of the occasion.
Later, Bill was transferred to the British Royal Navy ship HMS Suffolk. He was one of about 80 Australians who formed part of the 800+ crew. He remembered the rivalries among the ship's crew, especially between the 'Scousers' from Liverpool and the 'Geordies' from Newcastle.
During the war, Bill had a bone infection (osteomyelitis of the left humour) and was sent to an American military hospital in Holland Park, Brisbane. There he met a number of Indonesians who were recovering from their ordeal as prisoners of the Japanese – they adopted Bill as their mascot.
One pleasant memory for Bill was being selected as a 'suitably wounded rating' for a goodwill visit from Lady Edwina Mountbatten, an English heiress married to British Navy Officer Lord Louis Mountbatten who worked for the St John Ambulance Brigade during the war.
Bill received his discharge from the RAN on 18 July 1946.