World War II veteran Ted’s a declared treasure at his RSL
LIKE all of us, 96-year-old Ted Tunley, of Dorrigo, will be spending Anzac Day away from the usual crowds and wreath laying but he will have plenty of memories to keep him company.
Ted, who still enjoys a quiet tipple at the Dorrigo RSL when it’s open, was born and raised in the UK and enlisted, as did many of his countrymen at that time, in the army during World War II.
His service was recognised by the French Government in 2018 when he was awarded the Legion of Honour Medal – something that he said he found “quite surprising”, particularly for someone who started in the army in his teens.
“I enlisted in the British Army when I was very young. I was one of the ‘boy soldiers’,” Ted recalled, a slight British accent still evident despite almost a lifetime here in Australia.
“I was involved in the D-Day Landings at Normandy, but I was wounded – I think it was September 1944 – so they shipped me back to England.”
He stayed in the British Army after the war and took a posting in post-war Germany where he spent four years.
After leaving the army he eventually emigrated to Australia in 1970.
He moved to Brisbane, which, according to Ted, was “more like a big country town back then”.
Spending most of his working life in sales in Brisbane, he and his wife opted for the quieter life away from the growing city and retired to Dorrigo where Ted still lives and believes is “just lovely”.
These days he lives in assisted care adjoining Dorrigo Hospital but most days Ted jumps on his trusty scooter and heads down to the Dorrigo Memorial RSL Club where club manager Andrew Gawne says under normal circumstances the veteran liked to “sit and watch the ABC news while sipping on a glass of dry sherry’’.
“Ted is a real treasure here at Dorrigo RSL, and the staff are under instructions to make sure he is looked after,” Mr Gawne said before the coronavirus lockdown.
“It was the sacrifices made by people like Ted that allow us all to enjoy the lifestyle we have today, and that should never be forgotten.”
BOY SOLDIER: Ted Tunley relives his army days.