Kimberley, this is your Great Grandfather, John Victor Guthrie. He is my fatherís father as you know, since we discussed him before you wore his medals in the Anzac Day Parade 2007 when you marched with your school band, St Patrickís College Sutherland.
His rank was GNR with the 2/4th Lt A/A Regiment in the Australian Artillery, which in easy language means that he was a Gunner with the Anti-Aircraft Division of the Army. Due to his age and the fact that he had so many children (he only had 6 of the 11 at that time), he was called up to service late in WW11. He had served 733 days in Australia before being sent to Active Service in Papua New Guinea in 1944 where he served for 296 days. He was discharged very quickly at the end of the war because his occupation as a plasterer was considered an essential service.
The first pic of him in his uniform was taken circa 1944 when he was first called to service. The second pic of him proudly wearing his RSL Blazer is how I remember him when I was a teenager in the early 1970ís. Iím not sure which year this pic was taken. Sadly, he passed away on 14th December 1977 only 3 months before your brother Brett was born, his first great grandchild. He was only in his late 50ís and died of a massive heart attack. He is on the Honour Roll at the Granville RSL Club. The third pic, as you know, is you proudly wearing his medals and a sprig of rosemary in his honour. You were so happy and proud. This pic was taken before a nice old digger informed us that you should not be wearing the medals on your left breast unless you earned them yourself, but you had moved them to the right side before marching.
The medals from left to right are:
War Medal 1939-1945
Australian Service Medal
Pacific Star Ėfor Service in the Pacific Region
The photo with the Japanese writing on it is a diary that I only recently found out existed and was shocked to learn that the only person apart from my grandmother who knew of its existence was my eldest Auntie June because Grandad didnít like to talk about his service at all. Juneís daughter Louise (Bourke) is having Grandads service pic, the medals and his record mounted and framed. You were very lucky to be able to wear them before she did this. Her mother told her about the diary and gave it to her. It seems it is the diary of a deceased Japanese soldier that Grandad carried with him during his active service. She loaned it to me to have a look at since it appears we are only two people in our huge family who are interested in the family history. As you can see, it is very frail and I was afraid to scan it in case it fell apart, so I gently pried the pages apart with tweezers and photographed it. It gives me shivers to think where that diary has been and what it has seen. Louise heard that the families of Japanese soldiers treasure anything that is returned to them, so she took the diary to the National War Museum in Canberra who had it interpreted. Unfortunately, the soldier never once mentioned his name in the diary and the town he mentioned no longer exists. So, Louise has decided to donate the diary to the Museum in Grandadís name instead.