News

Returned hero faces discrimination

Private Darby Khan.
Private Darby Khan.

AS ANZAC day approaches, many will pause to reflect on the tragedy and human experience that marks war.

Mervyn Deen remembers his uncle Private Darby Khan, a young soldier who spent more than 1500 days in army service.

The majority of this time was spent as a prisoner of war, working on the notorious Burma railway under Japanese rule.

When he returned to his hometown of Grafton, Mr Khan secured a job in the bush splitting timber for railway sleepers but still faced discrimination.

Despite his years of service, Mr Deen said that as a coloured man his uncle was not welcome in public bars and resorted to drinking methy-lated spirits in lieu of beer.

"Although Darby was predominantly of Indian/Pakistani decent, in his ancestry he was also English, Irish and Aboriginal. In those days, anyone with dark skin was ... not allowed to purchase a beer over the bar or any take away liquor," Mr Deen said.

"He was good enough to serve his country ... and he came home thinking he had earned the right to celebrate with his mates," Mervyn's wife, Cheryl, said.

"He must have been devastated."

Mr Khan died in Grafton Hospital two days after he consumed methylated spirits and lit a cigarette, causing severe burns to his lungs. He was 39.

"Perhaps if Darby Khan were allowed to have a regular beer, along with his mates from the Army, this tragedy may not have occurred."

Private Khan joined the Australian Army on August 29, 1941, and was discharged on January 26, 1946.

Topics:  anzac day, australian army, prisoner of war




Spiritual Matters: Prayer's power a surprise for some

Ecumenical Prayers for Peace at St Patrick's Cathedral for victims of  MH 17 crash. Candles were lit on behalf of community leaders, each cnadle representing a different nationality.   Photo:  Bev Lacey / The Chronicle

To a modern society, it must seem like an admission of failure

Ghosts reignite finals charge against Panthers

Grafton Ghosts' captain Ben McLennan claws for meters against the Sawtell Panthers during the Grafton Ghosts and Coffs Harbour Comets Group 2 minor semi-final at Frank McGuren Field.

Ghosts dominant in 2016 home ground farewell game.

125th birthday draws crowd to Tucabia

Ex-Tucabia Public School students Betty Freeman, Marie and Jack Preston and Joyce Tarrant at the schools 125th birthday celebration on Saturday.

The old and young celebrate Tucabia's 125th birthday.

Latest deals and offers

What's on the small screen this week

Bella Frizza in a scene from the TV series Married At First Sight.

THE Block's $65,000 bathroom is revealed and strangers marry.

MOVIE REVIEW: Life on the Road

Ricky Gervais, Ben Bailey Smith and Foregone Conclusion (Steve Clarke, Andy Burrows, Stuart Baxter Wilkinson, Michael Clarke) in a scene from David Brent: Life on the Road.

Ricky Gervais has brought David Brent back to life on the big screen

Jessica Alba wants tequila shots served at her funeral

Businesswoman and actor Jessica Alba

There won't be mourning at this funeral

Tom Hiddleston's Instagram account hacked

Actor Tom Hiddleston

Thor star the latest celebrity targetted by hackers

Charlize Theron's son dresses up as Frozen character

Actor Charlize Theron

Star's son spotted dressed a beloved Frozen character

BOOKS: Food for thought in Caroline Beecham's latest novel

Maggie's Kitchen by Caroline Beecham is published by Allen & Unwin, RRP $29.99.

New novel reminds readers that bravery exists in many forms

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.

Take a sneak peek at this $19m Whitsunday mansion

Mandalay House features a private helipad.

Mandalay is currently on the market with an asking price of $19m