Albert Gordon (Brownie) TUFFERY

TUFFERY, Albert Gordon

Service Number: SX8051
Enlisted: 5 July 1940
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 2nd/27th Infantry Battalion
Born: Leeds, Yorkshire, England, 25 August 1917
Home Town: Port Elliot, Alexandrina, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Waiter
Died: Salisbury Park, South Australia, 18 April 1998, aged 80 years, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Enfield Memorial Park, South Australia, Australia
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World War 2 Service

5 Jul 1940: Involvement Private, SN SX8051, 27th Infantry Battalion
5 Jul 1940: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Private, SN SX8051, 2nd/27th Infantry Battalion
5 Jul 1940: Enlisted Adelaide, SA
5 Jul 1940: Enlisted Private, SN SX8051
28 Jun 1941: Embarked Embarked for Middle East on "Convoy US 11"
16 May 1946: Discharged Discharged at Hampstead Barracks, South Australia
16 May 1946: Discharged
16 May 1946: Discharged Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Private, SN SX8051, 2nd/27th Infantry Battalion

"Brownie" Tuffery's War

Albert Gordon “Brownie” Tuffery was one of the many soldiers who rotated in and out of our Osborn/Edmonds informal “Drop In Centre” family home at Prospect in Adelaide during WWII, mostly relatives and mates from the Eyre Peninsula, or their mates, brought home on leave in Adelaide. Many of these wrote letters home to my mother, including “Brownie” Tuffery.

Brownie Tuffery was born in Leeds in Yorkshire in 1917, and emigrated to South Aust with his family some time before 1927, and settled in Port Elliott.

While working as a waiter, and still living in Pt Elliott, Brownie enlisted at Adelaide in the AIF in July 1940, and was transferred to Wayville for basic training.

In May 1941 he was assigned to the 2/27th Batt prior to embarkation for the Middle East campaign, arriving in July 1941 at a time when the battalion was “ Lebanon as part of the Allied garrison after the armistice (with the Vichy French) of 12th July.” In late January 1942 the 2/27th sailed home to Adelaide, but “...the battalion’s stay is Australia was brief.” (Unit history online).

In May 1942 Brownie was graded to “Grp II Cook”, and 3 months later embarked in Brisbane for Pt Moresby, and by early Sept the Batt “...was in position at Mission Ridge on the Kokoda Track, preparing to meet the relentless advance of the Japanese... (then) a grim 2 week withdrawal through the jungle, with little food... sick and exhausted...”

At this time Brownie wrote – “Well Ella old pal I have seen my first time in action but I’m still lucky as I didn’t get hit, but by hell I sure had plenty of close ones. Well at the time of writing I’m at a conv depot in other words at a rest camp having a bit of a spell as a chap is pretty weak after a bout of Malaria. But I’m getting along fine...”, and how he “...lost most of my personal gear in action...”, and “...I don’t think we can say where we are but I’ll let you know as soon as I can but I’m not in the Middle East, but it couldn’t be much worse than this place as you haven’t got anywhere to go. One sees a big hill all around him and if he climbs that he still sees another, and so on.”

In late Nov 1942, after a spell of rest and retraining, the 2/27th returned to action in the heavy kuni grass at Gona, and “...suffered heavily in a series of rushed and ill-conceived attacks and ... by the ravages of tropical disease...”, and it was at this time that Brownie took a gunshot wound to the thigh, and in Jan 1943 was evacuated to Cairns, but suffered repeated bouts of malaria for some months.

In Aug 1943 Brownie was shipped back to Pt Moresby but soon spent more time in hospital with dysentery and malaria, writing home about how much he appreciates getting mail, and how – “...this hasn’t been a healthy place by far but now we have come back for a spell when I say back well I mean just out of the hills but it will be OK, yet a bit of run for a change damn the jungle makes one jungle happy, and things are tough wet through all the time with rain and crossing streams bung goes a chaps socks, start off with a nice long pair and finish up with a pair of bed socks or tennis ones well such is life. I’ve done it before so I can do it again...”

He managed to rejoin his unit in November but just 4 weeks later was back in hospital with bad burns to an ankle, and that pretty much saw the end of Brownie’s shooting war, being evacuated to Brisbane in March 1944 and reclassified unfit for overseas service, but then transferred for duty at the Sandy Creek (Italian) POW Camp just north of Adelaide for some time.

Brownie married his fiancee Mona Macgillivray in St Cuthberts at Prospect in Feb 1945, and he was finally de-mobbed at the Hampstead Barracks in May 1946 after 36 months service, more 22 of them overseas. He died in Adelaide in 1998.

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