Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS -

CAMERON Baird did not play with toy guns or pre­tend to be a soldier as a child. But he and big brother Bren­dan loved hunt­ing and camp­ing with their old­sol­dier grandad, John Baird.

One day on a fish­ing trip he told them the story of the grenade. Doug Baird’s fa­ther John was in the Sec­ond Aus­tralian Im­pe­rial Force (2nd AIF) that bat­tled the Ja­panese in New Guinea in World War II.

He told the boys how he had tried to lob a hand grenade through the gun slit of a pill­box, only for the en­emy sol­diers to throw it back where it landed at John’s feet. He had just enough time to grab it, hurl it back at the Ja­panese and dive for cover when the grenade ex­ploded. “I’d only heard that story once,’’ Doug said this week. “It wasn’t as though he spoke about it a lot.’’

Cameron vis­ited the Aus­tralian War Me­mo­rial in Can­berra while on a Year 6 field trip. His teacher and footy coach, An­drew Har­ri­son, says in the book the school­boy was in­trigued by the Roll of Hon­our, won­der­ing “how brave many of them must have been, and what it must have been like in their fi­nal mo­ment’’.

Cameron with his grandad, John Baird.

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