Harold Bernard Scanlan enlisted at Alstonville, New South Wales, on 23 June 1942. He was 19 years old.
Bernard was trained at Bathurst army camp. He remembered the strictness of the World War I veterans who were in charge of training the new recruits.
Bernard and the rest of the 2/33rd Infantry Battalion were sent to Port Moresby, which he recalled being surprisingly cold after the warm climes of northern New South Wales. At Jackson’s Airfield near Port Moresby in September 1943, Bernard saw the calamitous loss inflicted on the 2/33rd when a B24 Liberator bomber crashed on take-off. The aircraft ploughed into a line of trucks carrying troops who were waiting for transport to Nadzab, north of Salamaua.
Another vivid memory that Bernard recalled was in his first action, when he was asked to retrieve the dead bodies of 2 Australians killed during the engagement. He also remembered the discomfort of night raids by Japanese aircraft.
Bernard was hospitalised at various times during his service, suffering from malaria and scrub typhus. He was discharged from service on 16 October 1945.