The War

Clyde Adams – Perth Western Australia 2001

Early in September 1939, towards the end of the school “August” holidays, I was spending a few days with the Luckman family, on their farm at Welbungin. Aunty Kathy Luckman was the daughter of our old Aunt Elizabeth. She was married to my Uncle Jack, and their offspring were my cousins Ernie, Grace, Toby and Bill.

I loved Uncle Jack. He played tricks, told stories, provided lollies (which he seemed to lay, just as a hen lays eggs) and generally brought fun into my young life.

One day everyone except Uncle Jack and myself went off to Bencubbin for several hours. I knew we would have fun…. But somehow we didn’t. He just ignored me all the time.

At last, in frustration, I demanded “What’s the matter Uncle Jack? Why don’t you talk to me?” He said, sadly and apologetically, “I’m sorry Clyde, I’ve been listening to the wireless. We are at war with Germany.”

I knew all about wars. I had seen pictures in the history books at school, of men in armour fighting ferociously, killing each other in dozens with swords. Terrified, I raced outside and looked all round to see where it was happening. No signs anywhere, so I ran back inside for more details.

It seems it was all taking place somewhere else, in a place called “Overseas”. Next morning, though, I heard Uncle Jack lighting the fire at about 5.30. I raced out and anxiously asked him “Who won the war Uncle Jack?”

I suspect he was one of very few Australians who laughed that day!