Ed Jones's story
Ed Jones was a stockman before he joined the army in Townsville in May 1941. His first overseas posting was to the Middle East with the 2/9th Australian Infantry Battalion. He went on to serve at Milne Bay with the 2/9th,and was wounded in action on 3 September 1942, an event that he believed changed his outlook on life forever.
Milne Bay was the first place Ed experienced combat. He remembered a light mist hanging in the treetops, and slippery and muddy terrain. He recalled checking and re-checking his gear to calm his nerves as his unit walked past the bodies of dead Japanese soldiers and kept a lookout for snipers.
Ed remembered, also, sheltering on the bank of a waist-deep creek, just opposite Japanese positions, waiting for the order to attack.
When the attack came, Ed moved forward into Japanese fire, wondering when the bullets would find their targets. He emptied two magazines into the direction of the enemy, before being struck by a bullet in his arm, which he remembered felt like being hit with a metal bar.
After being wounded, Ed crawled to the creek and tried to control the bleeding. After calling for help, a soldier he didn't know applied a field dressing and returned to the jungle without a word. For Ed, this act exemplifies a profound sense of trust in his fellow service men that cannot be replicated in civilian friendships.
Ed said he and others who were wounded waited in the jungle to be evacuated. Concerned about a possible Japanese counter-attack, Ed held a hand grenade ready, planning to throw the grenade and then feign death if Japanese troops attacked. Fortunately, a counterattack did not eventuate, and the wounded soldiers were evacuated by medical orderlies.
Later in the war, Ed served with the 2/9th Battalion at Shaggy Ridge, in the Finisterre Ranges.
In 1944, he joined the recently established 1st New Guinea Infantry Battalion, where he trained and served with the local soldiers until he was discharged in December 1945.