A family tradition

April 25, 2018

Geoff Crisp, 92, reflects on his time in the Australian Navy in New Guinea for nearly four years.

Geoff Crisp, 92, remembers his time spent in the Australian Navy in New Guinea as if it was yesterday.

A resident of Mercy Place, Shepparton, Mr Crisp was just 15 when he originally applied to serve for Australia in World War II.

Being too young, he was rejected. However, persistence and determination to serve his country prevailed, and he was accepted at the age of 17.

‘‘I was free and I wasn’t tied down, I was anxious to fight for the country and they were looking for men at the time,’’ Mr Crisp said.

‘‘Cousins of mine were going at that time and I joined early to go with them.’’

Mr Crisp joined as a gunner, completing a gunnery course before he could serve under one condition due to his age: that he went straightaway and didn’t wait.

He spent nearly four years aboard a corvette subchaser fighting ship called HMAS Junee.

‘‘I thought it was excellent to go in early and to do anything good. As far as officer training I’d have to have had a greater education than I did at the time,’’ Mr Crisp said.

Aboard Junee, he worked as an officers’ steward, being assigned to attend to the needs and requirements of five officers on the ship.

Junee sank two enemy submarine depth charges during Mr Crisp’s time.

‘‘I can’t say I personally killed anybody other than pressed the button that perhaps executed a few of them, but that was all,’’ he said.

‘‘I never went in to kill whether they were enemy or not, I was serving my country.’’

Mr Crisp was proud to follow in his family’s footsteps, with his parents, uncles, cousins and other relations all serving in World War I and II.

Growing up in Sale, Mr Crisp said he and his family attended the cemetery each year before Anzac Day memorial services to lay wreaths for those who served and died in the war.

‘‘Most of my family members made it back home, but there were some that didn’t,’’ he said.

‘‘I worked with a few people that went missing ... I made a point of going to see the families of the lads that didn’t return home. That’s all I could do.’’

Mr Crisp is looking forward to attending this year’s Anzac Day service with his family, to remember those who served and lost their lives for their country.

While it could be difficult reflecting on his time during the war, he said he carried an enormous sense of pride for the bravery and daring that prevailed through the Anzac spirit.

‘‘I was always proud to have served and I look forward to Anzac Day each year,’’ Mr Crisp said.

‘‘I have no honours or badges to wear, but I didn’t join to wear badges.

‘‘I enjoyed the action but as far as the life was concerned, I never like to speak of it much.’’



5.45am: Assemble at Victoria Hotel, cnr Wyndham and Fryers Sts.

5.50am: Form up, march departs.

6am: Dawn service at Memorial Park, Welsford St. Afterwards, a private breakfast will take place at Shepparton RSL Sub-branch for all service members and their families. The club will open to the public from 9am.

10.20am: Gather in Shepparton RSL car park. Coach for those unable to march departs RSL (assemble at Wyndham St entrance).

10.40am: Parade departs for Memorial Park via Knight, Wyndham, Fryers and Welsford Sts.

11am: Commemorative service starts.

11.45am: Conclusion of service.


8.30am: Congregate in front of water tower, McLennan St.

8.45am: March to Memorial Park, McLennan St.

9am: Service starts.


6am: Dawn service at memorial precinct in Benalla Gardens.

10.30am: March in Bridge St and Smith St to the corner of Benalla Gardens’ memorial precinct.

11am: Service in memorial precinct in Benalla Gardens.


10.45am: March starts from Baldock St rail crossing.

11am: Service at memorial, cnr Baldock and Mary Sts.


6am: Dawn service at the VC Memorial Park, Kirkland Ave.

10am: March from the top of Binney St to Euroa RSL, followed by service.


9.50am: March begins from Kyabram District Hospital at Fenaughty St.

10am: Service starts in Memorial Gardens, Allen St, at cenotaph.


10am: Service at Merrigum Hall, 98 Morrissey St.


5.30am: Assemble at the Murchison Gardens, Stevenson St, for 5.40am dawn service.

6.30am: After the service, Murchison SES and Lions Club will provide breakfast.


6am: Dawn service at Numurkah Memorial Park cenotaph, cnr Saxton St and Tocumwal Rd.

10.30am: March from Numurkah Post Office, Melville St, to cenotaph; service to follow.


5.30am: Assemble at RSL hall, cnr of Station and Crawford Sts. March to Seymour Memorial Hospital memorial gates for dawn service at 5.50am.

9.30am: March from Madeline St up Anzac Ave to the wreath-laying ceremony at cenotaph.

10.45am: March proceeds down Anzac Ave and Station St to the RSL hall.


5.30am: Dawn service at Private Robert Mactier VC Memorial Gardens, Hogan St, Tatura.

11am: Service in the memorial gardens.


10am: Service at community hall, Wren St.


9.30am: Service at Undera Primary School, 45-55 Echuca Rd.

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