To­bruk Rat, farmer was nat­u­ral op­ti­mist

Harvey-Waroona Reporter - - NEWS - Sam Gibbs

A Yar­loop farmer who was one of the last re­main­ing Rats of To­bruk from World War II died this month aged 100.

John “JJ” Wade signed up in 1940 at the age of 22 as a driver-me­chanic and saw ac­tion in To­bruk, Libya, and then in the Sec­ond Bat­tle of El Alamein in Egypt.

John later took part in the bat­tle for Lae in Pa­pua New Guinea be­fore be­ing dis­charged with the rank of Cor­po­ral in 1944

That was when John moved to the South West to work on the fam­ily dairy farm near Yar­loop.

John’s son Jim Wade said his father signed up with the 2/28th bat­tal­ion which was mostly made up of en­lis­tees from the South West re­gion.

“Af­ter the war Dad moved down there and built a house which is still stand­ing,” Jim said.

Jim said his father was a peo­ple per­son who got along with just about ev­ery­body.

“He never had a bad thing to say about any­body,” Jim said.

“He was al­ways pos­i­tive and looked on the bright side when­ever he could.”

Jim said he was proud to see his father in the lime­light, which was quite of­ten.

Ear­lier this year, Premier Mark McGowan in­ter­viewed John for the Re­flec­tions on the Cen­te­nary web series to com­mem­o­rate the 100th an­niver­sary of the end of World War I.

Mr McGowan said he was priv­i­leged to catch up with John to talk about his wartime ex­pe­ri­ences.

“I was struck by his sense of hu­mour and the many colour­ful anec­dotes he had to share about his ex­pe­ri­ence of war, an ex­pe­ri­ence that failed to di­min­ish his nat­u­ral op­ti­mism,” Mr McGowan said.

Vet­er­ans Is­sues Min­is­ter Peter Tin­ley said the ser­vice and sac­ri­fice of John and his gen­er­a­tion were an in­spi­ra­tion to ev­ery­one.

“John 'JJ' Wade and the ser­vice­men and women of his era had a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on our so­ci­ety sim­ply by sur­viv­ing a global con­flict and push­ing on with their lives when peace fi­nally ar­rived,” Mr Tin­ley said.

“In this year, as we com­mem­o­rate and cel­e­brate the Cen­te­nary of the Ar­mistice that ended the Great War on Novem­ber 11, 1918, it is worth re­flect­ing on how we can best fol­low their ex­am­ple."

Pic­ture: Pa­tri­cia Wade

The Wade fam­ily farm house be­ing built in Yar­loop in 1951.

Pic­ture: Pa­tri­cia Wade

Yar­loop farmer John Wade build­ing the dairy shed in 1952 with his brother Kevin, his son Jim and Les Be­van.

John “JJ” Wade in 2016.

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