Jack Colvin Olsson's story

Jack Olsson enlisted for service on 17 July 1942 at Kogarah, New South Wales. Jack and his brother had joined the militia before the war - inspired, he said, by his father's World War I service.

Jack was posted to the 2/8th Field Regiment and participated in the OBOE 6 landings at Borneo. He recalled the invisibility of the enemy and proudly remembered the competency of the artillery teams with which he was involved.

With the conclusion of the war, Jack found himself confronting rioting Australian soldiers at Morotai, part of the Malaku Islands in the Netherlands East Indies. He was able to calm down the men, who had been upset by news that they would not be home by Christmas owing to a shortage of transports. Fortuitously, Jack was assigned an early flight home.

On return to Australia, Jack was depressed by the lack of recognition received as he made his way home. It seemed the war was of little interest to the public he observed on the train to his mother's home. He was still suffering from malaria when he returned to Australia.

Jack served for another 6 years in the Army Reserve in Sydney and then Canberra, where he settled in 1951 with his wife Phyl. He ended his army career as a Captain and worked as an accountant in his civilian life.

After retiring in 1984, Jack worked with Rotary and was instrumental in raising funds for Ukraine to help treat hundreds of children suffering diseases and genetic disorders caused by radiation from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. For his work with Rotary, he was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia.

Jack passed away in October 2017.

Last updated: 17 November 2022

Cite this page

DVA (Department of Veterans' Affairs) (2022), Jack Colvin Olsson's story, DVA Anzac Portal, accessed 28 May 2023, https://anzacportal.dva.gov.au/stories/oral-histories/jack-colvin-olssons-story
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