On Saturday 15 August we marked the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, a conflict that involved enormous suffering and sacrifice. William Cork, or Bill, endured that experience, and we acknowledge and value his service.
I take this opportunity to recognise the service of William Cork, a World War II veteran in my electorate of Fremantle and a member of the Cockburn RSL subbranch. On Saturday 15 August we marked the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, a conflict that involved enormous suffering and sacrifice. William Cork, or Bill, endured that experience, and we acknowledge and value his service. It’s appropriate and welcome that Defence has created a commemorative medallion to mark the 75th anniversary, and I will feel humbled to present one to Bill on my return to Western Australia.
Bill enlisted in the British Army and served from 1939 to 1946. He began with the volunteer home defence guard and then undertook training as an anti-aircraft gunner with the Royal Air Force. He served with the Royal Artillery in the Middle East and Palestine. He is now 97 years old. He remembers watching the Luftwaffe fly across the Channel to strike targets in southern England. He remembers training with a broomstick before he was issued a rifle. He remembers being under fire and seeing the sand jump at his feet. He remembers, fortunately, the air raid in which he suffered a head wound from shrapnel. On return to the UK, Bill met his late wife, Jeanette, who served in the women’s army transport service, and we also recognise her service. After the war they settled in Australia. As we hold fast in remembering the terrible harm and the costs of war, we also hold fast in our respect and gratitude for the service of our World War II veterans like Bill Cork.