Shot up in the Buka Passage, Alf never thought he’d see 100
29 April 2017
WHEN Japanese aircraft attacked his landing barge in Bougainville’s Buka Passage in 1944, Alf Carpenter dived into the sea to avoid enemy fire.
At that moment growing old did not seem to him to be a realistic proposition
Alf survived to become a leading figure in the ex-services movement in Sydney and the Hunter Valley and has just celebrated his 100th birthday.
He remembers kicking away from the bullet-ridden barge, his mind on what he’d do next if he happened to survive.
Finding himself in the water with a fellow soldier, he struck up a conversation.
“Another chap was with me and we started chatting,” Alf told the Newcastle Herald. “He said, ‘if we get out of this place alive, we’ll go into business together’.”
A year after that unlikely conversation, he sent Alf a telegram saying he should move north from Wagga Wagga and help set up a general store in Warners Bay.
“We ran the business there for quite a long time,” Alf said. “And that’s how I came to be in Newcastle.”
For the last 33 years Alf has been President of the 2/4th Australian Infantry Battalion Association.
On Anzac Day at Sydney's Gallipoli Club his comrades and their families celebrated Alf's 100th birthday that had occurred three days earlier.
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