Mr Wilson (4:41pm) — I take this opportunity to remember and pay tribute to John James Joseph Wade, known understandably as JJ, who died on 7 October, just shy of his 101st birthday. JJ Wade was one of the last surviving members of the legendary Rats of Tobruk, and he also fought at El Alamein in Egypt as part of Australia’s 2/28th Battalion of the 9th Division. He was wounded, spent time in a military hospital and was then retrained in jungle warfare in order to fight the Japanese in New Guinea.
After the war, JJ returned to the family farm at Yarloop, before shifting out of dairy and into wheat and sheep. He eventually retired in to Wattleup in the Fremantle electorate.
In recent years, JJ Wade has been something of a talisman at local Anzac Day and Remembrance Day services.
I first met and spoke with him at Cockburn RSL’s Remembrance Day service back in 2016, and last year I paid him a visit at home to mark his 100th birthday. Even then, he was an easygoing, youthful and talkative bloke with a brilliant grin.
Fundamentally an optimist, he was quoted in the newspaper as saying:
Always look for the bright side if you can find one, it’s no good looking on the crook side, it gets you nowhere.
He made no bones about saying that war was essentially futile in all its violence, damage and waste. But, of course, he greatly valued the opportunity to remember and honour his mates and all those who served.
JJ Wade was a lovely bloke. We remember and honour his life and service. As the member for Fremantle, I express my condolences to his family and his friends.