Gradually, as the war developed, Southy members and friends joined the AIF, the RAAF, Navy and WAAF. Former President Richard Miller was attached the US military. Norma, Joan Le Clerc and Flo joined the WAAF, or were considering other more formal contributions to the war efforts. Many experienced direct conflict, others were fortunate not to experience the shock and disruption of fighting.
They served at home and in war zones around the world. John ‘Tanglefoot’ Clarke spent two years in and near Darwin, where being near Japanese bombs ‘put him off his beer’. Jack ‘Comrade’ Beatty was with the RAAF and spent some time attached to a ‘night fighter’ squadron. Towards the end of the war Eric Talbot flew Mosquito aircraft over Europe. Alan Fidler survived a minor plane crash into the sea in 1945.
And from time to time, they played. Jack Patterson represented the AIF in a football match held in Palestine. Norm ‘The Count’ Christensen, in northern Syria in 1941 won the 75 yard sprint (42 seconds) in the AIF foot race. Apparently the record still stands – another tribute to Southy’s excellence. Closer to home, ‘Mushy’ Elkington was at the liberation of Tarakan (Borneo) in May 1945. Reports indicate that the enemy surrendered, demoralised by his constant stream of terrible puns.
Some were injured. Although these men did not speak much about their hurt, they were surely effected, emotionally as well as physically. ‘Tanglefoot’ Clarke and Norm Christensen were repatriated with injuries. Others suffered from diseases, such as Arthur Le Clerc who caught malaria while fighting on the front line in New Guinea.
For these men and others serving away from home, South Narrabeen beach and its small community represented a place of peace and friendship. ‘Tanglefoot’ wrote from Darwin in 1942 noting that ‘I feel sure we will all be together again at old South Narrabeen very soon and be cracking a wave of
happiness with you and all the old clubmates.’
Over 50 members and friends served during the war; most made it home. Sadly, Tom Le Clerc and
Jack Patterson died.
Allen, H; Barriskill, R; Beatty, J; Beer, R. Bertram, F; Biggs, W; Brizzolara, P; Brodie, J; Carrier, A; Christensen, N; Clark, J; Colins, F; Collins, M; Davies, G; Davies, L; Delofski, P; Elkington, T; Fegan A; Goggans, R; Gold, M; Hater L; Homer, H; Johnson, M; Keene, A; Le Clerc, A; Le Clerc, B; Le Clerc, T; Laundy, L; Lee, J; Loveridge, F; Lumley, H; McCarthy, M; McGrath, J; McLean, A; Miller, R; Pailthorpe, T; Patterson, J; Powell, T; Smith, C; Strainey, A; Swaine, J; Talbot, E; Talbot, R; Travis, F; Walkden, R; Whitehead, M.
We remember you all.