Interview with Bill Hallett

Title

Interview with Bill Hallett

Description

Bill Hallett was born in Over Wallop in 1922. He joined the RAF in 1942 despite having an exemption due to the work he was doing at Tidworth Barracks. He flew operations in Stirlings and B-17s as a flight engineer with 214 Squadron. Rather than bombing, their role was to jam enemy transmissions. His aircraft was shot down over Holland and he became a prisoner of war After he and his wife Edna moved to Australia where he became a delivery driver before joining the Banana Groves Federation where he worked until his retirement aged sixty-one.

Creator

Publisher

IBCC Digital Archive

Date

2016-11-22

Rights

This content is available under a CC BY-NC 4.0 International license (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0). It has been published ‘as is’ and may contain inaccuracies or culturally inappropriate references that do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the University of Lincoln or the International Bomber Command Centre. For more information, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ and https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/legal.

Format

00:52:01 audio recording

Language

Type

Identifier

AHallettB161122

Transcription

JM: Right, this interview is being conducted for the International Bomber Command Centre. The interviewer is Jean McCartney and the interviewee is Bill Hallett. Also with us today is Bill’s wife, Edna. The interview is taking place at Mr Hallett and Mrs Hallett’s home at Pottsville in New South Wales on the 22nd of November 2016. OK Bill, let’s start at the beginning, 1922. You were born in Over Wallop. Is that how you say it?
BH: Yes, that’s true but it’s probably registered as being Andover.
JM: Right.
BH: But it’s.
JM: Right, all your early years spent around that area or?
BH: My younger years was in this little place of Over Wallop but then we moved to Andover which was ten miles away.
JM: Right. So your schooling was there?
BH: Um. My schooling was really in Over Wallop and Nether Wallop and yeah, so um.
JM: Right.
BH: Moved to Andover mainly so my sister and I could get a job.
JM: Right. And when you left school, what, where did you, what sort of jobs did you go into? ‘Cause I’m assuming you were working before you went into the services? Or when did you enlist?
BH: I was working with, for a gentleman that was in charge of the maintenance of Tidworth Barracks. And I was working with him. And going on as I increased with age with that, and War started and all these sorts of things. And he got me an exemption from call-up because of the work that I was doing with him. And then because some of my friends were joined up and was going the only way I could sort of move and get out of that exemption was to volunteer for aircrew in the RAF. That was the only way. So I done that. I didn’t explain anything to him until it was too late for him to do anything about it. So that’s where it was. That’s when my service started.
JM: Right. And what year would that have been?
BH: Ah, I guess it’s 1942.
JM: Right ’42, yeah. And where did you do your initial training?
BH: My? Not sure about that either, I can’t remember. That was just a thing where everybody had to go to. It was sort of a thing that introduced you to the forces.
JM: Um.
BH: Then I moved from there to Cosford in the Midlands to do a mechanics’ course and then I stayed there and done a fitters’ course on engines. From then on I moved over to, I think it was, I don’t know my memory’s not that good about those little things, but I think it was Stradishall where we just formed up and we chose, we had the right to choose a crew because it was a centre point where everybody, bomb aimers, navigators, pilots and all these things came in there. So that was the start of the thing when we were training started at Stradishall.
JM: At Stradishall? Yeah, OK. And what training did you do there?
BH: It was mainly on flying. When a crew was selected and got their guy. It was mainly training on Stirlings.
JM: Um.
BH: The Stirling aircraft.
JM: Were you in one of the, which sort of role were you in?
BH: I was an engineer, flight engineer.
JM: Engineer the flight engineer? Yeah, right OK.
BH: Um.
JM: And so what, were you with any of your mates that you’d sort of been able to join up at the same, that had been around?
BH: No. They were all.
JM: Scattered around.
BH: All sort of strangers to start with.
JM: Yeah.
BH: But there we just flew and done circuits and bumps as they called it.
JM: Um.
BH: Just flying around landing and taking off.
JM: Yeah.
BH: Then we’d go on sort of trips around the country. Then we done some night flying with it and then later on we started on operations. Do you want me to carry right through now?
JM: Well, you do.
BH: Well, it was just then that was.
JM: How you.
BH: That was with 4 Squadron.
JM: Yes.
BH: Then later on that squadron was changed from Stirlings to Fortresses, the American Fortresses.
JM: American Fortresses, yeah.
BH: I think we were the only squadron doing that, flying a foreign aircraft. So then we had to do training with that.
JM: Yes.
BH: New things. And then after that well we didn’t do any bombing at all, we were just carrying a specialised crew. And we’d go off and get up to, in those days the great height of thirty three thousand feet, and fly over the top of everyone else. And then we had this German speaking wireless operator on board and we used to sort of handle a bit of windows and that sort of thing to confuse the radar of the Germans that sort of thing. I never got involved with that because when we moved to the Fortress I, I became second pilot which sort of made me a little bit happier because when I joined up that was the reason I’d joined up was to become a pilot.
JM: To become a pilot, right.
BH: But when the engineer thing came along they just came up and said ‘We’ve got too many pilots at the moment, we want other crew members.’ So I had a choice of joining everything other but I chose an engineer because I , I knew so much about motors and that sort of thing.
JM: And that was, air force engines were more interesting than army or navy engines?
BH: Yeah, it was those, ‘cause when I joined up it was the old piston type engines. That applied with the Fortress they were the same kind of engine, not the same make. Oh yeah I got into that so I slotted into that very easy and we done a number of trips over there and we were quite happy because we didn’t see any fighters, we didn’t have any flak because we were too high.
JM: Um. So these were actual missions flying over Germany was it?
BH: Um.
JM: So.
BH: So we would normally get to the target before the others. And the wireless operator, I might add at that moment everything was so secretive. Nobody knew what was really going on, although we were talking to the special wireless operator there, that was in there, but I guess he was told not to divulge anything what he was doing.
JM: Um.
BH: It’s only since a gentleman has started to write a biography about myself that he’s delved into it and found out all these things, what it was doing. But the Fortress was never designed for night flying so the super chargers were operating in the exhaust part of it which showed up very clearly at night time with the four dots in the air. And then when the brilliant person that said we’d fly over Holland to a motor place in Antwerp at six thousand feet we thought that was, before we took off, we thought well that was going to be it because we were just sort of sitting there like [unclear] ducks ‘cause everyone would have seen us at six thousand feet from the ground. So that was the way it happened, and we just got shot down.
JM: Shot down um.
BH: And, yeah but.
JM: And what, when, what date was that?
BH: It was in May ’44.
JM: May ’44 right.
BH: And yeah. It then, as I said it just was a happier time for me then, ‘cause my pilot he said ‘Well what’s the use of having a second pilot if he doesn’t know how to fly and land the thing’ if he got sick or injured. So from then on he took it into his control to ensure that I, that I could handle the aircraft. Because the RAF in their wisdom never gave a second pilot any manual.
JM: Training.
BH: So, that made me a lot happier. I used to fly the thing around with him and under his control for a while until he considered me efficient to do it and so I as quite happy then. But from that date of course, that’s when the trouble started. We just got down and then became a prisoner of war. I could go on a lot with the real detail but I don’t know whether you want to do that ‘cause.
JM: Well you can go.
[External noise -helicopter]
JM: We just paused a second there because we had a helicopter in the background, it seems to have gone again so we’ll continue on. We were at the point where you’d been getting some more, you’d been getting the flying as second pilot and then but then unfortunately in the May of ’44 that you were shot down over Holland?
BH: Um, and one of the those things because the navigator said we were thirty miles off the coast so we assumed there was going to be land when we came on but when we did come down we came down in the flooded part of Holland and when we, one other crew got together and come round, got up and went to a house and they were quite friendly and said ‘Yes’ they’d help us because the system of getting back to England was getting starting to get very strong then on the Continent so we thought it was but then afterwards we spent the night with them and they were drying our clothes, we found out afterwards that they had already contacted the Germans that we were there. And we were quite angry because if they couldn’t have helped they could have let us go probably onto someone else. But afterwards when things got back to normal we were down there we found out that these people that lived there they were on a death notice if they helped anything so after that we just forgot but at that time both of us decided we were going to go back after the War and have a go at these people but we never did because of the threat that they lived under. So then it was just a matter of moving from one place to another in prisoner of war camps. We eventually got taken up to a camp in Breslau, which was up in the Polish border and we settled there for a while. And then the Russians were coming down, advancing down on the thing, so later on they decided to get us on a forced march away from the Russians. And that’s when we experienced the real cold weather. It was reputed to be minus fifty degrees when we were out one time.
JM: And I presume you didn’t have much in the way of clothing to protect you from the elements?
BH: No, we didn’t have the sort of set things you’d expect to have, big coats and that sort of thing but it was an amazing thing we had a balaclava on because of the breathing on there it just got like a piece of wood, breathing out all the time and you could sort of knock it, so hard, and after that we were marching for about three weeks I guess until eventually we ended up going to a place just south of Berlin. We got on, ‘cause we got on a train which delivered us down there. And it was that place where we were eventually released by the Russians then Americans came to pick us all up and the Russians said ‘No, you’re not going to pick ‘em up.’ So they under fire or something made the Americans leave and we were left stranded there for some time. And eventually the Russians got some trucks and took us to a place. I have all this down in the diary but I can’t remember just off. Then they, they met up with American trucks at this place and eventually that was it. We got released and got back to England.
JM: What time, roughly what sort of time was that?
BH: Almost twelve months to the day.
JM: Almost twelve months?
BH: To the day yeah we got back.
JM: So May ’45 before you got back?
BH: Yeah. Yeah, as I said there’s a lot more details that I had because I kept a diary going in there and I think I just said to you this guy is making, tells me it’s gone to a publisher now, my biography. And all this is, all this is listed down so it’s yeah. But as far as remembering it and talking to you it’s a bit difficult.
JM: That’s alright, no you’re doing fine. So when you got back in May ’44 what, you wouldn’t have been discharged straight away, I presume? I would presume that they, you did some other things before you were discharged?
BH: Yes I.
JM: May ’45 i should say, my apologies.
BH: Think we were given six week’s leave if I can remember. So we went home and then I’d already met Edna prior to that, she lived in Wolverhampton. My parents lived down south in Andover so I used to travel between the two during my leave. And then eventually we went back to some place, I can’t remember that, I did get a discharge. And that was a discharge on the grounds of being a POW. That was it. It’s funny how things go. I suppose I’d been reasonably fortunate in some things on there but while, while I had to bail out, bailed out from the front hatch but the wireless operator forgot to wind in the trailing area which was an area which had lead weights on it. And as I went out I tangled up with and sort of wrenched myself and ever since then I’ve suffered with a back complaint. Now, being young and I wanted to get back to now my wife to see her, I just, they asked if you had any disabilities or anything unfortunately I said ‘No’, I just wanted to get out and that was it. That was one of the bad things looking back on that I didn’t do. So from then I’ve suffered with it but I’m still lucky in a way that I’m still able to carry on a little bit. I did get onto the Government over in England saying about my issues about it. No ,they didn’t have any ,they said they had no reciprocal things with Australia for things and if I had injury or something I could apply for a pension. I didn’t really want a pension I just wanted some little bit of security for my health that went on but there was just nothing going from them about it. Then when things were happening here as I mentioned where Australia rewarded people for being prisoner of war and being on the forced march and doing that I again contacted the British Legion over there to ask if there was any system or scheme going to help things but no there was nothing so at that time I just gave up with a feeling that I didn’t, with a feeling that I didn’t have much sympathy with British Government.
JM: Yes well I’m afraid I’m of no, have no information to offer at this point that could assist you in that regards. So, the chap that you were with when you went into that first house after you, when bailed out, did you stay with him all the way through?
BH: Yes.
JM: Were you through until you actually sort of released by the Russians?
BH: Yeah. All of the crew excepting the pilot and the wireless operator, mid-upper gunner, which I said to you, now you look on it and sort of feeling the reason why he wouldn’t jump, jump out of the aircraft, because he was scared. He was, I mean we never had any real training on what to do with that sort of thing. It was just a matter of survival when you looked at the aircraft with a wing burning. I applied all the fire extinguishers but they made no effect. It was just getting worse. It appeared to be white hot and it was quite obvious that it was going to drop off at any time. Excepting for those two, the crew did get together and we sort of ended up in the same camp but funny enough it ‘cause systems you were always segregated, you could never keep together. And I sort of never really contacted any of them after I got demobbed. Even though coming to Australia I didn’t know because my wife and we had a daughter then, made a special trip to the relatives of the pilot because I was really friendly with him, I considered him a real mate.
JM: So the pilot was Australian?
BH: Yeah.
JM: Yeah.
BH: So I thought, and we had taken pictures of him in my sort of spare time and I thought it would have been nice to give them to his mother or something in Sydney. Anyhow as I said we had a wife and daughter. So we stopped in Sydney and found somewhere to sort of stay and travelled out to this area where he was. So we went out with this parcel, feeling very proud of myself for doing this. But I was met by the door I guess by some relation of his and she said ‘Oh yeah that’s nice, thank you very much. Oh well have a good day.’ And that was it, so I had no contact with his mother or anything at that time. So from then on I never bothered to make any contact, no. Then we travelled up to Murwillumbah where my wife Edna had relations up there. And we went to Murwillumbah and that was it. But it was not until I found out later that the ordinary wireless operator in the crew, Tommy Larr, lived in Repton which was just a short distance away from Coffes Harbour. And in the job that I had I used to travel to Coffes Harbour pretty regularly. It was sort of one of those things. You thought Well, gee I was down there next door to him and didn’t even know, know him.’ Yeah so, unfortunately I found out through another source that he died. One of the, one of the nephews of Peter Hockley, Alan Hockley I should say, who was the pilot who lived in Sydney. His nephew is, he’s sort of writing a story, including the things of, the person his uncle or whatever it was. And he wrote a complete story up and he was keeping in touch with me and I gave him all the information that I had. I, he got my diary, and he took a fair bit of the things on there. I think he’s still got that going. Strange I can’t remember his name. Wouldn’t know it, I’ve got it on the computer. But yeah, really the experiences of others have been covered prior, it was over. So yeah, we’ve lived in Murwillumbah until I retired from work and then we moved down and bought this place were we have now in the, and been living here ever since.
JM: Right, so just backtracking a bit. So, you said you came out in 1951?
BH: Yeah.
JM: So ,you obviously had decided that you wanted to come, what was the motivation to come to Australia do you think?
BH: It was mainly my wife. All her mother and father had moved out here.
JM: Oh, OK right.
BH: And she had three, four, brothers out here. And they were all living in the Marumba area.
JM: Right.
BH: That was the main thing. Plus, plus after I found out certain things I thought life over in Australia would be a lot better than in England with the weather and such things as that, which has proved to be quite true. So, I’ve never, even though I left behind my mother and father and sister, I’ve never really regretted moving over to Australia. It’s been a great place. I did go back once to see my mother, after my father died. But I couldn’t afford to go back to his funeral because in those days air travel was very expensive.
JM: Horrendously expensive. That’s right.
BH: So, I missed out on there but I did go back to see my mother and sister. Yeah, so it’s been a good sort of life here but. I have two daughters which are healthy and they’ve done pretty well for themselves.
JM: What work did you go into when you got here? Well, to Murwillumbah I should say.
BH: Yeah. Well I started off, because when I left the RAF in England I was working as a maintenance fitter in Walsall, that’s near Wolverhampton. So, we came out with the idea of finding work. But because at the place that I had, a friend of one of my boss’s over in England he had a friend in an aircraft factory in Sydney. So he contacted them. And because I had the mechanical knowledge they offered me a job when I got here after an interview. So when we stopped in Sydney, with the thing, I went out to Bankstown where it was, it was De Havilland.
JM: De Havilland yeah.
BH: Went out there for interview and it was quite good. And they said well ‘Once you’ve settled down.’ ‘Cause I said I wanted to go, the wife wanted to go up to see her family in Murwillumbah. And they said ‘Well when you come back come back and see us and we’ll find you a job here.’ Well after coming up to Murwillumbah, just living that short time in Sydney, coming to Murwillumbah where people were taking me fishing and doing all the things as normal, I said ‘I don’t want to go back to Sydney.’ So, then I couldn’t find a job as a maintenance fitter up here. There were only the sugar mills really that were eligible. That meant that I’d have to go Brisbane and that didn’t appeal to us. So, I started off driving a laundry truck around. And that was the best thing that ever happened to me ‘cause I got to know so many people. And soon after that, when I’d done there I got offered a job in the Banana Groves Federation and I just went there in the store for a while and then they offered the Transport Manager’s position. So, I stayed on there. And in those days it was very big. A very big thing, sending bananas to Coffes Harbour to Sydney, Newcastle, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. And it was quite an involved sort of situation. So I stayed there until I retired.
JM: And that was? Would that have been in the ‘80’s sometime or other? Or ‘90’s?
BH: At those times I could retire at sixty.
JM: Right.
BH: But at that time I was enjoying my job and it was sort of thing. So I left it to sixty one and a half and then I decided I might just as well retire. But I would have to go back and think. So that was when I was sixty. So, yeah it was in the.
JM: Mid ‘80’s sometime?
BH: Yeah. In early ‘80’s I guess, it was um.
JM: Yeah.
BH: Take that time off my age and somebody would find out what it was. So yeah.
JM: And did you then stay in Murwillumbah for a little while before you came over here to Pottsville? Or did you?
BH: Yes. We had a house in Murwillumbah and then we bought this place down here ‘cause I was pretty keen on fishing. We used to come down here and go fishing. And we spent a lot of time repairing it and modernising it a bit. My daughters hated it because in that time it was an isolated place here. But now they have different ideas of course. But in those days it was really fun because I had a vehicle that travelled on the beach, fishing and it was a really good time of my life. Before. And then when I retired we bought a caravan and we spent, kept going caravanning, on and off for a couple of years. Travelled round Australia and Darwin a couple of times and all this, Edna and I loved that, so yeah we really had a good life.
JM: It’s magnificent that the North Coast cannot be beaten basically is the bottom line.
EH: Is this your life story?
JM: Chalk and cheese.
EH: Well what’s it being written for?
BH: It’s alright only for mainly about me on Bomber Command that’s all.
JM: Bomber Command yeah.
EH: Well you finished that a long time ago.
BH: That’s right.
JM: So, in terms of keeping. You said you didn’t keep up with anyone else but you obviously came across George Anderson at some point I guess, obviously you both being in Murwillumbah there?
BH: Yeah, I can’t remember just where George and I met but we’ve sort of been in, we having been living in one and other’s pockets, but we’ve sort of kept in touch with one another. I can’t really remember where we sort of met, but yeah. So it’s, he’s lived in Murwillumbah and we’ve sort of lived down here.
JM: Yeah. That’s right. Well George, he would have been there for some of the time you were in Murwillumbah.
BH: Oh yeah, yeah.
JM: Yeah.
BH: As I said I can’t remember where I sort of met him, it was, I’ve never sort of advertised around that I was in the forces, or aircrew or what, so most of the people round wouldn’t even know.
JM: No.
BH: Only George probably would know.
JM: Would know, right. As a fellow traveller sort of thing having.
BH: Yeah.
JM: No, it’s certainly a difficult time that you had there in your service so yeah it’s.
BH: Yeah, it was as I say I just thought that, thought that the Government over there could have sort of helped people. But I guess there’s so many in the.
EH: Wasn’t it work that you could go and study for over in England?
BH: Yeah, that.
EH: Yeah study in tech, pick up a career?
BH: Yeah, I’m sure they offered that because they did sort of pay for my passage out here. I didn’t sort of emigrate, I was sort of, they covered the cost of that, which I thought that was the best thing. [laughs]
JM: And that presumably was by ship?
BH: Yeah, it was. It was a good trip and then I think it took us five weeks to get here. Because not like other immigrants who were given some money, we had a proper passport so we could get off the boat wherever it docked, so we sort quite a few places around the. All with different names now like Port Said and some of these other ones, what do they call that?
JM: Columbo?
BH: Columbo. That’s right that was one. Don’t know what they call that, what do they call that now?
JM: I forget.
BH: But that was an enjoyable time when we come out here. It was sort of magnificent really. We met up with a Catholic priest. And we weren’t Catholic but we just met up with him going on there. And he used to go with us when we went off the boat and he used to show us around because he’d done it before and then we, yeah. Pretty lucky with the things around.
JM: Were there other ex service personnel on, I know that quite a lot of the boat was probably immigrants, were there other ex service?
BH: Didn’t know of any.
JM: No. There was nothing to sort of, yeah? Didn’t make any particular contact with anyone during the time you were travelling out that you became aware of them being ex service?
BH: No, I didn’t really. There was, you know we met up with lots of people of course, but none of them had anything relative about the services at all.
BH: Yeah so. It’s been pretty good and we’re sort of lucky that we’ve reached the age we have now.
JM: Yes you’ve certainly done very well. Good North Coast air that’s what it is. [emphatic]
BH: Yeah it must be Jean. Yeah we’re so lucky. Even though I’m my age I’m still driving and having got any limited licences or anything so I can still do that which we get around about still. You know this is a funny sort of area. We got involved with the Pottsville Neighbour Centre because one of our daughters works there. She’s sort of, you could almost say she’s second-in-command I suppose. That’s been brilliant ‘cause we meet so many people, that’s been brilliant because we sort of go down there and Edna’s been in the op shop and I’ve been out with the furniture and seeing where things are, it’s been most enjoyable. Yeah so.
JM: Um.
BH: Yes, [unclear].
JM: Very satisfying life by the sounds of it?
BH: [laughs] Yeah. We have one daughter that lives up the Sunshine Coast. She has four boys and now of course they’re all married and have children so we have about six great-great grandchildren now. And they come down here to visit us quite often ‘cause we have this, and close to the beach.
JM: That’s right, yeah. And what’s the name of the chap that’s writing up your biography?
BH: Jesus, [exhalation of breath].
JM: That’s on the computer isn’t it? So we can get it off the computer?
BH: Yeah.
JM: That’s OK so.
BH: It’s um. Yeah, as I said he give me a DVD of the thing so far. It’s been adjusted since then. The reason it slowed down, just used to live across here. He was a jeweller and he used to write books as a hobby. And then he came on, talking to me a bit and then he asked me if he could do it. And that’s the way it started. Debb is his second name. Daniel, Daniel Debb. Yeah, well he used to do work up the Gold Coast, jeweller, and then his mother got sick and they lived in [unclear] so he decided to pack up here and go back and live with his mother and that. Since then he said he’s had to take three months off from looking at the book because of conditions down there with his mother. And he’s had to travel to Sydney to get work as a jeweller. He rang me up two weeks ago and said that he hopes to start again on it. He’s very excited about it but I’m not. It’s, I think there’s been so many biographies given out on something but he’s, he feels quite adamant that it’ll be a success. ‘Cause it’s sort of listed from when I grew up as a little kid in this Over Wallop, through to Andover, to all this. So it’s all covered on that, that sort of thing, yeah. So we’ve just got to wait until that comes out, but the way he’s going I’ll be lucky if I survive it. [laughs]
JM: Well, see how it goes. You look pretty hale and healthy at the moment so that’s good. Alright, well we might wrap it up at this point. You’re happy with that, there’s nothing else?
BH: Yeah OK.
JM: Nothing coming to mind that you wanted to particularly mention at all?
BH: I don’t think so. I think it’s briefly cut it down, I mean there’s lots of things happened when we were prisoners of war but there not relative now, so, as I said it’s in the diary but I’ve never discussed it very much.
EH: You’ve never even told the girls.
BH: No, not much about it.
EH: And then you’re opening up to a stranger.
BH: No.
EH: Yes. Got it all down on there.
BH: Edna’s got some funny ideas but she, yeah. They’ve always said that they wanted some recognition of my life story so that’s why when this Daniel Debb when he sort of said this, they’d get a copy of it when it comes back so that’s why it started from when I was younger. Gone through, as I said, to when I met Edna and going back from home living in Wolverhampton.
JM: Yeah. What service medals were you, have you got? Do you know off the top of your head?
BH: It was the, I got the ordinary medals that came in. Then I got a later one, don’t know what it was.
EH: Service overseas?
BH: Yeah, but because of the feeling that I had about the Government over there with what was a, quite frankly I wouldn’t even know where my medals are. My daughter could have them, I don’t know, but yeah.
JM: Do you remember if you have a ’39 – ’45 star?
BH: Yeah I did get that.
JM: Right, OK. And what about, are you aware of the Bomber Command clasp?
BH: Yeah, I’ve got that.
JM: You’ve got that?
BH: My daughter got it for me.
JM: Oh OK, right.
BH: Yeah, yeah. Perhaps I was expecting too much? But when the medals came out the actual aircrew medal was exactly the same as a ’39 – ’49 star with the exception of the colour of the ribbon. And I thought ‘Gee that’s strange’ because there’s not much recognition between the two. It was, yeah, so I still, I still occasionally go the RSL Club, I used to go to the one in [unclear]and then when I came back here I’d go to the one at Pottsville but it doesn’t, it doesn’t hold the same feeling as what the people do that go on that are over from Australia ‘cause most of them are on [unclear] or something like this. The Government tends to help them but I’m sitting here like a woolly duck still here talking about these things.
JM: Um. Alright, well I thank you very much for your time Bill, it’s been greatly appreciated and thank you indeed.
BH: Well, good luck with your thing.
JM: Thank you.
BH: From what I hear of it all you’re going to get out of it is the satisfaction that you helped out to.
JM: Well, it’s important that everyone’s story is recorded. That’s the important thing because the recognition hasn’t been there. This is now small steps towards getting that recognition in place. So that it can’t be changing what’s gone in the past but it can change for the future. So.
BH: Yeah. Well as I said I was known over there as Walter William Charles Hallett, soon as I stepped foot in Australia I just became William Hallett. The other names are forgotten, thank God.
JM: Yeah. Very good. Well once again thank you very much. Thank you.
BH: Would you like?

Collection

Citation

Jean Macartney, “Interview with Bill Hallett,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed March 21, 2019, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/3417.

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