El Arish North Queensland

Places, Faces and Events of an Historical Soldier Settlement town

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Arthur Sanderson, QX 50884

Arthur was our last WW2 Veteran.

Arthur also acted as Parade Marshall for many years for El Arish’s Anzac Day Dawn Service

This is Arthur's Story:

"I was born in Innisfail in 1922, the eldest son of Betty and Rodney Sanderson.  My parents were British and my father left England and came to Australia as a sixteen year old teenager. 

He lived in Innisfail as World War 1 broke out, so went back to Brisbane to join the Australian Army.  In those days there was no transport only by boat or walk.  Arriving in Brisbane to join up, he was told that he was too young.  He went to another building, put up his age and changed his name to Saunderson and joined up.

He joined the 5th Light Horse in the Middle East and at the end of the war went back to England and got discharged.  There he met our mother and brought her back to Innisfail by ship, something my mother hated.

Then I was born 22nd March, 1922 and my brother Roy 24th November, 1924.  My father worked around Innisfail for a while and then to Cowley to work a cane farm.  By this time I was about seven years old and started school, walking four miles there and back again.

Then at fourteen years old I went to work on a cane farm, all horses and cows, £1per week plus keep.  I worked anything up to ten hours a day, after about four years, I had had enough.

I turned eighteen and was called up by the Army for a medical.  I proved fit and by the time I got called up I had turned nineteen so I joined up.  I trained in New South Wales and eventually finished up in a unit in New Guinea. 

After a short period I returned to Australia to do more training for Borneo.  I sailed from Brisbane to Morotai, where there were thousands of troops assembled – Army, Navy and Air Force.  While I was there the Navy and Air Force blew Borneo to pieces, softened it up for the invasion and then the troops moved in to mop up.  By this time there wasn’t much left.  During that time the Yanks had dropped the atom bomb on Japan, so they quit to our delight, and we all packed up and made our way back to Australia."

 Photograph  courtesy of  The Innisfail Advocate.