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Ray, Cathy, and Patrick Jackson, Winton, Queensland.


‘It was about 4 pm, and I'd just had a mouthful of bully beef. I'd have loved a swig of water to wash it down, but that'd have to wait. I peered around the corner of my cave and saw a Turk looking down towards me. I didn't think he saw me because I moved so slowly, but I knew he'd be ready when I joined the attack tonight.

‘I could see our sergeant and a couple of the lads getting ready to make their assault up the ravine. There was an Aboriginal soldier in that little group, and I recognised him as a stockman I'd worked with in Winton. Bloody good horsemen, those blokes were. I gave him a grin and a nod, and the toothy smile he returned seemed to light up the whole ravine. I gave him a thumbs up and went back to concentrating on the task at hand. When they move, my Turk will be distracted, and I’ll have him, I thought. Then I’ll have a chance to join in with our boys.

‘There was constant withering fire from the top of the cliff. It mostly bounced off the iron shield, but Billy Sing was giving them what for. I saw one Turk fall for every shot of his. I rolled out of my position and aimed upwards with my .303.

‘I saw my Turk and nailed him. His mate, who I hadn't seen earlier, shot at me and I felt my right shoulder get hammered. I tried to reload, but I couldn't use my shoulder. I felt something going on inside me, a sort of heat with a lack of pressure and a weakening of my muscles.

‘It was getting towards night. The sky had darkened and I suddenly realised that I wouldn't be going home. The right side of my face was buried in the sand of that ravine.

‘I'm so sorry, Mum. Sorry, Dad. I did my best, so be proud of me for that, please,’ I thought. ‘I be tried so hard in this bad, bad place, but I won't be seeing you again on this side of Heaven, anyway. Bugger! I thought I had that Turk covered, too.’

‘It’s so dark now and getting colder. I wish I were back in the bar with my mates in Winton. I can just feel a little smile starting at the memory, as fine sand blows across my left check.’

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