MEDIA RELEASE – 75th ANNIVERSARY OF VICTORY IN THE PACIFIC: HONOURING OUR TERRITORY VETERANS – FRIDAY, 14 AUGUST 2020

Tomorrow marks the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, also known as Victory in the Pacific Day (VP Day). The Territory was the front line of World War II, Darwin sustained Japanese bombing in 1942-43 as did other towns and cities across the North.  Many Territorians served in the war and of the 12,000 veterans still with us in Australia, we honour the three veterans living in the Territory today.

One of the first to step forward was Charlie Parrott, now of Howard Springs, who enlisted in 1939 in the 2nd/8th Infantry Battalion, in Victoria. He fought in Palestine, Libya, Greece and his ship was torpedoed in the Mediterranean. He was captured by the Germans on Crete, taken to Germany and then Poland, where he was forced to work in a coal mine. After these terrible hardships, he managed to get back to England after the war. Known to all as “Cheeky Charlie”, it is his positive nature that got him through those hard times and his years of work and service to the Territory.

We salute Syd Kinsman of Alice Springs, a Rat of Tobruk. Syd was sent to the Middle East in the 2nd/48th Infantry Battalion, and endured the eight month siege of Tobruk, holding out against Rommel’s Afrika Korps. He was then sent to Syria and was captured at El Alamein. He escaped from a work camp in Italy, walked across the Alps, and got back to the Allied side through Switzerland. Since arriving in Alice Springs in 1948 he has devoted his life to service to the Alice Springs community, as a volunteer fire fighter, creator of May Day Parade floats, life member of the Alice Springs Show Society, member of the RSL, and contributor to Legacy and The Salvation Army. The Christmas lights at his home are an annual Alice Springs institution.

Austin Asche AC QC joined the RAAF in 1944 at the age of 18 and worked as a radar operator on islands off the Kimberlys, keeping the northern approaches to Australia safe.  Austin demobilised at Bathurst Island which was handy as he was brought up in Darwin.  Austin graduated in law in Victoria and worked as a barrister in both Queensland and Victoria. He became a judge in Victoria in 1976. He returned to Darwin in 1986 as a Judge of the Supreme Court, and was appointed Chief Justice in 1987. He was Chairman of the University College of the NT 1986-88, and Chancellor of the Northern Territory University 1989-93. He was Administrator of the Northern Territory 1993-96.

Perhaps there are yet others that have never spoken of their service; so to all who served and defended our country, we honour and thank you.

75 years have passed since the end of the second terrible world war. We think of those who lost their loved ones, including the 50 widows of WWII veterans in the Territory. We remember the service and sacrifice of those who did not return home, including the men and women buried in Territory soil like the heroic nurse Margaret de Mestre, fatally wounded when the hospital ship Manunda was hit in Darwin Harbour. May they all rest in peace.

Thank you for saluting Charlie Parrott, Syd Kinsman and Austin Asche – truly great Territorians, serving our community, serving Australia, in time of war and in time of peace.

ENDS.