A fortunate life
SCANNING the rows of Australian dead at the Port Moresby Cemetery, Colin Lee finds it difficult to understand why he made it and 3779 did not.
"It just doesn't seem fair that I have so many blessings in my life," the 82-year-old Grafton man said.
Recently the World War II veteran journeyed to Papua New Guinea, stopping at Milne Bay where he had fought with an anti-aircraft unit.
"The weapons we used were so precise that if one of the Aussie planes were in trouble they would fly in low and we would be able to target the enemy plane on its tail," Mr Lee said.
Originally from Childers, Queensland, he enlisted in Brisbane with a friend known as Jumbo Jones, whose occupation on army records was a 'professional ho-bo'.
Based initially at the Brisbane showgrounds, they would outsmart guards and escape to the city posing as facility workers.
"Fish shops were full of live crabs and Jumbo bought one (its claws were tied) and placed it under his seat when we went to the cinema," Mr Lee said.
"It disappeared and then a woman screamed and there was a big commotion and this crab was discovered, the story ended up on the front page of the Courier Mail."
After the war Mr Lee worked in Branxton mines before managing turbines at the Koolkhan Power station.
He and his wife Doris will celebrate 60 years of marriage with their four children, 16 grand children and 22 great grand children on Saturday.