Never Knew Him, But I Honour My Grandfather's MemoryI never knew him. He was dead before I was born, and I know him only from my mother's accounts.
My mother's father - my grandfather - was a farming man. And he was a hero, fighting in some of the worst fighting of the Pacific War.
It was World War II, and the Japanese Empire was at Australia's door. My grandfather, originally from Pyramid Hill in Victoria, was among the Australian soldiers, fighting the good fight, as one of the Allied forces in Kokoda. He fought the enemy, undoubtedly he killed many, and as a Sergeant he led his men through that harsh jungle turned even more hellish through war.
However, there was one instance where he found another soldier - one of his own fellow Allies - trying to steal gold from one of the dead Japanese soldier's teeth by kicking or pulling them out; trophy-taking. He stopped the Allied soldier from doing so (I imagine a beatdown was likely involved), ordering that the enemy soldier's body not to be desecrated in such a manner.
After the war he never went to any RSL meetings or such, just going back to civilian life to try and forget. He died some fourteen years before I was born in 1987, and is buried in a cemetery in rural Australia.