Douglas Lindsay LLEWELYN

LLEWELYN, Douglas Lindsay

Service Number: SX7582
Enlisted: 2 July 1940
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 2nd/48th Infantry Battalion
Born: Booleroo Centre, South Australia, 14 May 1920
Home Town: Booleroo Centre, Mount Remarkable, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Farmer
Died: Natural causes, Armidale, New South Wales, Australia, 1 February 1999, aged 78 years
Cemetery: Armidale General Cemetery
Armidale Cemetery, Lawn Section, Row 49, Grave 2.
Memorials: Booleroo Centre WW2 Roll of Honour, Willowie WW2 Roll of Honour
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World War 2 Service

2 Jul 1940: Enlisted Private, SN SX7582, Adelaide, South Australia
2 Jul 1940: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Private, SN SX7582
3 Jul 1940: Involvement Private, SN SX7582
23 Feb 1945: Discharged Private, SN SX7582, 2nd/48th Infantry Battalion
23 Feb 1945: Discharged Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Private, SN SX7582

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Biography contributed by Di Barrie

Douglas Lindsay Llewelyn was born 14 May 1921 at Booleroo Centre, South Australia, third son of Henry and Martha Marion ‘Ciss’ (nee Barrie) Llewelyn. Henry and Martha farmed Section’s 11 and 14, Hundred of Willowie.

Doug was 19 years of age when he enlisted 2 July 1940 at Adelaide. He deliberately omitted filling in his birth date until after his parents signed the consent form, thus his army records incorrectly listed his birth year as 1920. He reported for duty at Wayville showgrounds 2 July 1940. Doug recalled the terrible conditions - the unlined galvanised iron building, ill fitting doors and asphalt floor, creating a bleak, cold and draughty environment. Most soldiers contracted upper respiratory tract infections – “dogs disease” as it was commonly called.

Doug was assigned to the 2/48 Battalion (Btn), formed at Wayville 9 August 1940 – and drafted to No. 6 Platoon, (transport), Headquarters Company. On October 15 orders came through that the 2/48 was to begin pre-embarkation leave immediately. After returning from leave the battalion was transferred to a training camp at Woodside in the Adelaide Hills where three weeks of intense training took place. Long route marches caused the city recruits much agony, wearing unaccustomed heavy boots their feet were covered with blisters. Doug recalled seeing men cry from the pain.

On 17 November1940 Doug boarded the P & O liner ‘Stratheden’, the men unaware of their destination. On December 15 they anchored at El Kantara, an important troop junction between Palestine and Egypt, and then proceeded by rail to their new home at Dimra, six miles north of Gaza, where training in desert warfare began.

Doug saw action with the 2/48 in early April 1941, their task being to hold Tocra Pass, a very mountainous area in northeast Libya. They were met by a revitalized German Army and were pushed back and orders to withdraw came through. Doug recalled the 2/48 were in the unenviable position of rear guard troops which incurred several nasty skirmishes. He said he was driving for Major George “Bully” Bull, acting like a sheep dog ensuring all troops and vehicles had joined the retreat. Doug had been appointed driver for Major Bull, Headquarters Company Commander who coincidentally was a friend of his parents, having lived on a neighbouring farm at Booleroo. The withdrawal of all troops into the Tobruk defence perimeter concluded on April 10 and thus the siege of Tobruk had begun.

This was to be Doug’s home for some six months before the Australians were relieved and the troops taken by truck and train to Julis for recovery and relaxation, and further training. In December 1941 Australia declared war on Japan. Doug recalled that they couldn’t see the advantage of any further desert training. They expected the next move would be back to Australia to fight the Japanese in the jungle.

Then Tobruk fell and the allies retreated, regrouping at the Egyptian railway halt of El Alamein. On the night of October 23 1942 the start of the second battle of El Alamein began. That date remained vividly in Doug’s mind, with the darkness shattered by flashes and noise from over 800 guns. Doug’s health was badly affected by this campaign. On one occasion he was close to a truckload of mines that exploded and was blown about six yards through the window of his truck, injuring his back. He also endured sand-fly fever and infectious hepatitis. He finally returned to Australia in February 1943.

Further service with the 2/48 in New Guinea followed. Doug’s health suffered again, with bouts of malaria and Dengue fever. He was finally discharged from the Army on the 23 February 1945 and returned to Willowie. He met Irene Dorne Hall at a dance at Morchard. They married 5 March 1947 at the Orroroo Methodist church. They had two children. 

Doug and Irene remained at Willowie for a period of time before leaving South Australia, purchasing a farm at Rockvale, near Armidale, New South Wales. Doug passed away 1 February 1999 aged 77 years, at Armidale, New South Wales, and is interred at Armidale Cemetery, Lawn Section, Row 49, Grave 2.

Source: "Diggers From the Dust" Di Barrie & Andrew Barrie