The McPhee brothers, from the Lockhart area, served their country well during World War II
In 1941, Dugald and Mary McPhee, farmers from Bidgeemia, saw three of their sons enlist in the Australian Military Forces.
These brothers Dougald (Doug), Daniel (Dan), and Ronald (Bill), were well known identities in the Lockhart district, along with their elder brother Malcom (Jim).
They all worked on the family property known as “Las Rosas”, though Doug, Dan, and Jim worked shearing in the local area, and, on various labouring jobs.
Bill was the youngest and spent most of his young life on the farm working alongside his father and brothers.
By 1941 WWII was under way, Dougald and Daniel enlisted at Urana, on the 22nd of July, and Bill joined at Lockhart on 1st October in the same year.
Private Dougald McPhee, V325011, transferred during 1942 to the 22nd Field Regiment.
He served a total of six hundred and five days on shore, and was discharged from service in January 1944.
Private Daniel McPhee, served with the, 118 Australian General Transport, which was raised in Caulfield in March 1940 as 104 Reserve Motor Transport Company, this Unit was renamed in August 1942 and moved to 24 Mile near Darwin in February 1943.
Mainland Australia came under attack for the first time in February 1942 during the time Daniel was stationed in the Northern Territory.
Private Ronald Bernard McPhee V325473, transferred to the 57/60 Australian Infantry Battalion and served nine hundred and fifty one days in Australia, before disembarking at Port Moresby, New Guinea in April 1943.
He then transferred for a period to the New Guinea Warning Wireless Coy, as a ‘Spotter’, and located to Lae, a large cargo port in New Guinea.
A source of humanity and kindness were a group of Papua New Guinea people, who were fondly named by Australian Soldiers, as the ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels’, in taking food and other essentials for them whenever they could.
Aided by the ‘fuzzy wuzzy angels’ these ‘Spotters’ were able to hike across country, and then travel down river in canoes to escape the enemy.
Bill believed he would not have survived the ordeal without this help. Bill was discharged in July 1946.
The three brothers returned home though not without injury, Bill required several operations on his back for war related injury and suffered lung problems.
They served their country well.
We will remember them.