Bob Waterer (deceased)
GuriNgai Man
Retired Gunner
2/4th Field Regiment
Royal Australian Artillery
Australian Army
World War 2 Borneo Veteran

1939-1945 Star
Pacific Star
1939-1945 Defence Medal
1939-1945 Service Medal
1945-1975 South West Pacific Medal
1942-1945 Dutch Medal

Service History:
· 3 months Basic Training at Greta Camp, NSW
· 3 months Signal School at Bonegilla Camp, Victoria
· Another 3 months at Greta Camp, NSW
· 6 weeks jungle warfare training at Canungra, Qld
· Posted to the 2/4th Field Regiment for intensive training.
· Posted 2/10th Infantry Battalion on  Operation Oboe Two

I voluntarily enlisted in the A.I.F. when I was 18 years and 10 months old when I finished my apprenticeship as a Baker. I had put my age up to 16 when I was 14 to be able to get an apprenticeship and could not enlist in the Army till my apprenticeship of 4 years had finished. My father was an Army man who served in the Boer War of 1899-1901 in South Africa and also served in the First World War in France for 3 years, where he was gassed. My older brother was in the Army fighting the Japanese in New Guinea when I enlisted and as my father and brother were both in the Artillery; it was through their influence that I also served in the Artillery. On Sunday, 1 July 1945, the 7th Division took part in Operation Oboe Two, at Balikpapan on the east coast of Borneo, where the second largest oil refinery supplying fuel to the Japanese forces was located.  I served in  2/10th Infantry Battalion on Operation Oboe Two, we were in the first wave of landing barges onto the beach. After almost twelve days of fighting, Balikpapan was in Australian hands –  it was the most extensive amphibious landing undertaken by the Australian Army in World War II. A month later, World War II ended on 14 August 1945 with the unconditional surrender of Japan to the Allied Forces. I was evacuated to Australia in November 1945 and was discharged from the AIF on 27 September 1946.

I was 81 years old when I discovered documents in my late sister’s house that confirmed my Aboriginal heritage. We traced our heritage back to Sarah (Biddy) Wallace – a member of the Broken Bay clan led by Bungaree. My great-grandmother Catherine Bens (1838-1920) was known to many locals as The Queen of Scotland Island.

Also, I played in the first-ever 3rd grade team for Manly in 1947!

– Bob Waterer