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.

Sex attacker slapped with strict supervision upon release

Violent sex offender's life after jail no walk in the park

Nationals will not stop Essential Energy job cuts

Essential Energy workers are facing forced redundancies within weeks, according to unions.

Nationals leader rules out blocking Essential Energy's 600 job cuts

Military-style shark first aid kits on stand-by for surfers

Specialised shark kits will be on stand-by when the Byron Bay Boardriders paddle out tomorrow.

"As club president I have a responsibility to protect members”

Local Partners

Jennifer Lawrence gives keys to new partner

Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence

Oscar winner settling down with new partner

Rogue One star proud to lead new Star Wars film

Felicity Jones leads the new Star Wars film

Star Wars lead proud to be in front in sci-fi

What's on the small screen this week

Ernie Dingo stars in the TV series Going Places with Ernie Dingo.

ERNIE Dingo stars in a new travel series and Seven airs the AACTAs.

Mandy Moore feels like she's 60

Mandy Moore sees herself as a 60-year-old rather than a 32-year-old

Goooodbye Hamish and Andy (from our radios)

Hamish and Andy

The pair have been on air since 2006

David Attenborough on facing his mortality

Sir David Attenborough in a scene from the TV special The Death of the Oceans.

Life without Sir David Attenborough is hard to imagine

Chinese locked out of Australian property market

The rules are different if you're a foreigner

The buyer was from China - the trouble started right there

Morrison signs off on new affordable rental model

Australia's Treasurer Scott Morrison speaks during a press conference after a meeting of the Council of Federal Financial Relations at Parliament House in Canberra, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016.

Scott Morrison signed off on development of a new financing model

Coast high-flyer's fight back from bankruptcy, $72m debt

Scott Juniper went from millionaire developer to declaring bankruptcy in2012, now he is back on top of his game again with new developments including this one in Coolum.

'Apocalyptic lending storm' causes financial collapse.

How your home can earn you big $$$$ this Christmas

This luxury Twin Waters home rents out over Christmas for more than $6000 a week.

Home owners earning thousands renting out their homes this Christmas

2000 jobs at multi-million dollar Ipswich project

INSIDE: Artist's impressions of the interior of the new Eastern Heights aged care precinct.

Sub-contractors needed to build $15m aged care facility

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!