Feature

In the Army at 16, man fought in the jungles of New Guinea

Ernie Cobb. WW11 veteran. Photo: John Gass / Daily News
Ernie Cobb. WW11 veteran. Photo: John Gass / Daily News John Gass

WHENEVER Murwillumbah's Ernie Cobb thinks back to his time in New Guinea during World War 2, one image comes flooding back.

Mr Cobb said "it was the fireflies we encountered during patrols in the jungle."

"You saw these lights appear in the jungle and couldn't tell what it was.

"We usually stood real still and watched and waited.

"It could have been the enemy," Mr Cobb said.

In 1939, at the ripe old age of 16, Murwillumbah's Ernie Cobb and 11 of his friends joined the local militia and was soon sent to Watego's Beach in Byron Bay to start his training.

Following the training camp at Byron Bay, Mr Cobb and his mates spent several months at various locations on the eastern seaboard to prepare for the big fight that was about to take place all over the globe.

Once training was completed which included a stint at Ingleburn to prepare for fighting in the jungle, Mr Cobb became part of the 41st Army Battalion and was sent to Papua New Guinea to reinforce the troops already on the ground.

After spending about 14 months in the jungles of New Guinea, Mr Cobb returned to Australia for some welcome R&R, after which he prepared himself for another stint overseas.

Mr Cobb said "before we took off I was called into the colonel's office who told me I couldn't join my mates who were about to return to PNG".

"I was man-powered out and went cane cutting at Crabbes Creek for about five months."

Following his time at Crabbes Creek, Mr Cobb was sent to Sydney for another round of training to prepare to rejoin his unit.

"I wanted to join the boys," Mr Cobb said.

Unfortunately, Mr Cobb never had the opportunity to reunite with his old friends and in 1945 was presented with two options by his commanding officer.

"He said you have two choices, the commanding officer said.

"You can either join the occupational forces in Japan or you can accept your discharge.

"I choose to be discharged," Mr Cobb said.

After the war, Mr Cobb did different jobs until, about two years later, he leased five acres of land, prepared the ground by himself and planted bananas.

"Tilling five acres all alone certainly kept me busy," Mr Cobb said.

His endeavours were rudely interrupted by the 1957 floods, which destroyed Mr Cobb's livelihood and forced him to look elsewhere to make a living.

Mr Cobb decided to leave the land and became a supervising officer at Boyds Bay Bridge and settled in Bray Park, where he lives in retirement.

Topics:  army, remembrance day


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Cheer for Destiny

HERE’S CHEERS: Destiny-Lea Wilson-Scott, 11, is in the grand final for Miss Diamond Australia.

Set to take on Miss Diamond Australia 2017.

Grocery store thefts

Just prior to 6pm on 29-May-2016 a male entered an Eagleby grocery store where it is alleged he collected a number of items, secreting them under clothing before attending the registers and declaring and paying for just one item. Police believe the person pictured may be able to assist with their investigation.Reference: QP1600978567Photo Contributed

Supermarket hit during crime.

Promise for maternity refurb

PROMISE MADE: Federal MP for Rankin and ALP candidate for Forde Des Hardman with local mother, Rachel Torpy outside Logan Hospital.

Funding for maternity promised.

Latest deals and offers

Recognise this person?

They would like to talk to the person pictured.

Cheer for Destiny

HERE’S CHEERS: Destiny-Lea Wilson-Scott, 11, is in the grand final for Miss Diamond Australia.

Set to take on Miss Diamond Australia 2017.

Grocery store thefts

Just prior to 6pm on 29-May-2016 a male entered an Eagleby grocery store where it is alleged he collected a number of items, secreting them under clothing before attending the registers and declaring and paying for just one item. Police believe the person pictured may be able to assist with their investigation.Reference: QP1600978567Photo Contributed

Supermarket hit during crime.

Promise for maternity refurb

PROMISE MADE: Federal MP for Rankin and ALP candidate for Forde Des Hardman with local mother, Rachel Torpy outside Logan Hospital.

Funding for maternity promised.

Investing in Logan’s refugee services

SUPPORTING REFUGEES: Habiba Hussein and Emliyo Hassen at the Access Community Hub at Woodridge North State School earlier this year.

Supporting refugees key priority.

Debts spiral in Logan

toll01a
Toll prices will be going up from July 01 2010. Logan Motorway toll.
Photo: Sarah Harvey JN3010HU

TWO postcodes identified as owing the most in the state.

Ernie Els dunks for eagle

Smooth swing, great shot.

Ernie Els lives up to his reputation for one of the best swings in golf.

Jay Leno in spectacular rollover

Car flips after wheelie stunt.

Jay Leno gets more than he expected when he rides along in a 2500 HP Barracuda.

John Oliver on Brexit

John Oliver tries to explain the Brexit result.

John Oliver explains the fallout from Brexit on Last Week Tonight.

Three bedroom, 1100sqm block: Is this Qld's cheapest home?

BARGAIN BUY: Is this North Bundaberg property the cheapest home in Queensland?

Becoming a real estate mogul is all about risk and reward

PROPERTY BOOM: Coast prices set to skyrocket

Like other areas in south-east Queensland, the Sunshine Coast is at the start of the upturn on the property clock.

Values predicted to rise 25-33%