Colin Ross O'NEILL

O'NEILL, Colin Ross

Service Number: NX37021
Enlisted: 20 June 1941
Last Rank: Corporal
Last Unit: 2nd/17th Infantry Battalion
Born: Walcha, New England, New South Wales, 6 September 1918
Home Town: Arncliffe, Rockdale, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Not yet discovered
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World War 2 Service

20 Jun 1941: Enlisted 2nd AIF WW 2, Private, SN NX37021 , 2nd/17th Infantry Battalion
10 Jan 1946: Discharged 2nd AIF WW 2, Corporal, SN NX37021 , 2nd/17th Infantry Battalion

Quiet achiever

My father, Colin Ross O'Neill, was a proud member of the 2/17th Battalion in WW2.

I do not know much about his wartime activities as he chose not to discuss it. I respected his decision and never asked him about his war service.I do know that he always looked forward to ANZAC Day to march and catch up with his friends over a few beers.

When Dad enlisted he was based in Arncliffe, Sydney. Later, he moved to Heathcote, Sydney, on the southern outskirts of the city. When I obtained my drivers licence I would drive him to Heathcote railway station and drop him off, and wait for a call much later in the day to pick him up at Heathcote railway station after he had finished catching up with his mates in the city. While my friends would attend the dawn service and drink copious amounts of alcohol, I would ensure I was sober in order to pick him up when he called. To this day, I rarely drink on ANZAC Day as it is a custom for me.

Dad died in 1995. While most people remember birthdays and date of death for remembering loved ones who passed away, it is ANZAC Day that triggers most of my memories of Dad, because it was so special to him.

I only discovered in 2014, when looking at the National Archives of Australia that another Colin Ross O'Neill enlisted in the army. The other Colin Ross O'Neill served in the 2/13th Battalion and was actually George Arthur Wright. George was a close friend of Frank Larkins, a relative of Dad, and it appears that Dad agreed to loan George his identity to enlist, as he was too young to enlist under his own name. Tragically, George was killed in action in Japan in 1946 and is buried in Japan.


Ross O'Neill

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