• World War II veteran continues living independently at 100

    World War II veteran continues living independently at 100

    On 12 December, Mr Wilfred ‘Wilf’ Taylor will celebrate both his 100th birthday, and 50 years in his southern suburbs home, where he lives independently, with the assistance of Resthaven Onkaparinga Community Services.

    Born in Rose Park, Adelaide, in a family of five, Mr Taylor reflects on childhood through the 1920s and Depression years of the 1930s.

    ‘It was tough. We didn’t have much, but my Mum was thrifty, and we always had food on the table. My father was a painter by trade and worked night shifts as a barman. He worked hard to provide for our family.’

    Completing his schooling early in year 10, Mr Taylor found employment in Whyalla at the PMG Department—now Australia Post—as a telegraph messenger.

    In January 1942, at the age of 19, Mr Taylor joined the Australian Imperial Force (AIF), following his father’s legacy of serving at Gallipoli in the First World War.

    ‘While working in Whyalla, I enlisted and commenced training at the Wayville Showgrounds. From there, I went to Bendigo, and later, Bonegilla, where I trained in signals.’

    Man in defence uniform
    Mr Wilfred Taylor at 20 years of age

    ‘I obtained my Commission as Lieutenant on 19 April 1943, and then, while camped on Randwick Racecourse, I attended a wireless training course in Sydney. Following that, I was posted as Signal Officer, attached to 2/8 Armoured Regiment in New Guinea, in November 1943.’

    ‘While there, on Christmas Day 1943, I received a Comforts Fund parcel, donated by a Miss Lorna Craze. Being a polite lad, I wrote and thanked Lorna, starting a correspondence between us.’

    ‘In February 1944, the Regiment returned to Australia, and was eventually disbanded, at Puckapunyal. I was then posted to Armoured Corps Sig Training troop at Puckapunyal, as an instructor.

    ‘During this time, I managed several trips to Melbourne, and met Lorna, where we developed a romance.’

    ‘On our first meeting, she had baked fruit scones for Sunday lunch—she knew the way to my heart!’

    In November, Mr Taylor was posted to Sydney for an advanced wireless course for three months. At completion, he returned to Melbourne, and he and Lorna were married at Holy Trinity Church, Doncaster, on 15 March 1945.

    Shortly after marrying, Mr Taylor left for his final deployment in Labuan, sharing one of his favourite memories upon his return; ‘As I was leaving the dock, on the Lake Charles Victory, a telegram arrived to advise me that our first daughter had been born on 2 February 1946—unbeknownst to me! That ship couldn’t get me home soon enough.’

    Returning home, Mr Taylor recommenced work at PMG, and the newlyweds welcomed a son to their family of three.

    Twelve years later, due to various promotions, the family relocated to Eudunda, then Tailem Bend, and then finally, in Adelaide, where Mr Taylor resides today.

    Mr Taylor will celebrate his centenarian birthday on three separate occasions—first, at his local RSL, then with his family, and finally, with his friendly neighbours.

    Many happy returns, Mr Taylor!