Manfred’s Story: The first Years during the 2nd World War (unabridged)

Manfred Schulmeister
Manfred Schulmeister

I, Manfred Schulmeister was born on the 11th of September 1937, in Bremen, Germany. In 1939 the 2nd World War started. In 1940, my mother Elly Henriette Schulmeister and my father Anton Karl Schulmeister had another son, Günther Karl. Soon thereafter my Father was called up to fight in North Africa while my mother, Elly was called to the North of Germany for Duty on the telephones in the war.

My brother and I were living with our Grand Parents, Anna Rueckbrodt and August Rueckbrodt in the Hemmstraße in Bremen, North West Germany. The war, as always, doing plenty of harm to the fighting men on each side, but also to the ordinary people and children on both sides, as we all know by now. For many years we all had to sleep in our overcoats, to be ready to get into a nearby bunkers when the sirens started to let us know, that we needed to go underground till the raids were over Many times we came out to see a few houses destroyed and burning. For us kids it was normal to be woken up in the middle of the night, to find shelter across the road.

I do remember the day very clearly, when a German Solder came to our door, (I was about 20 metres away) to give a note to my mother. I knew on their faces, that it was not good news. I knew somehow, that my Father had been killed in the war. I did find out only a few years ago, while in Australia and the aid of the computer and the Internet, that he was wounded in Africa and died on a hospital ship on the way to Italy. His grave site was in Bari, of the eastern side of Italy.

Hospital ship

We never had the chance to go to Kindergarten. It was not easy for people in those war years to do much beside waiting for the bombs to fall around us, while the young men and woman on both sides gave their lives for their Country.

In 1943 I was ready to start my schooling in Bremen, but just then the bombs partly destroyed them. There were two schools and a playground in between. Now I had to wait another Year, before I could start my schooling.

I remember in 1944 the sirens went off again in the dark of night, but this time the whole sky was lit up with lights in the sky as markers for the bombers to drop their loads over us. I have only just found out, that this was done with lights hanging on slow release Balloons. According by a documentary on the ABC. This was the time when my Grandfather told us not to go in the bunker across the road, but in a 5 storey one about a mile away from our home near the Hemmstraße. My grandmother, Günther and I finally got to this bunker and got a seat each in the third storey. We were in this place for 3 Days and 2 nights. Three days of being bombed. Phosphorus Bombs about 16 inches long and 2 inches wide were dropped on us and burned on the outside of the bunker. Also large bombs were dropped all over our lovely City and our bunker. Some people were killed in the top (5th) Storey, as the cement ceiling fell on them. These bunkers were build with 1 metre thick walls and reinforced with steel. How lucky were we to get through all that, thanks to my Grandfather’s foresight. But where was he???

At last, after three Days of bombing my home city of Bremen, it finally was over. Slowly all the people made their way out of this hell hole, only to see the damage outside. Everything was destroyed. I don’t really want to get into it to deeply, as it was not a pretty site, with bodies here and there. The three of us left the bunker to find our way back to our street. It was about a mile or so to walk. We walked past apartment buildings and homes which were destroyed and most still burning. Some were about to collapse. We had to go back to our home in the Hemmstraße. As we got closer, we heard people say, that the whole town has been wiped out, including our whole street. Yes, there was no home left, like so many others, flat to the ground. All we had left was what we were wearing, except a block of land with a small hut in 31 Meyersweg. In Bremen Walle near the Autobahn. At this time we were again thinking about our Grandfather. Just on the end of our street there was a vacant space next to the main road, where they have put the dead in rows for identification. There would have been 800 to 900 people (maybe more). Men, Woman and Children. My Grandmother, Günther and I started to walk through these rows of bodies, to find my Opa, but a Policeman told my Oma off, for taking as Kids through there. He made us stand at the side so my grandmother had to look for my grandpa on her own (what a joke). We were still amongst all those bodies. Anyway, she did not find him there.

As we left the scene, we came across a lady and asked her if she had seen our Grandpa. “Yes, I believe he spend his time near the Autobahn”. He knew somehow, that they would not bomb the Autobahn, as they need it for them self’s. We walked a few more Kilometre to our little Block and found him there at last. The block was only about a Kilometre from the Autobahn. What a relief. He was alive.

After a few Days we went back to the ruins of our house to clean the mortar of the house bricks and stacked them up. Other people who have lost their homes did the same. We then used a small 4 wheel cart to take those bricks to our block at Meyersweg 31 in Bremen. It was a good few kilometres to walk. My Grandpa build our home where we lived until Günther and I moved to Australia in 1954.

The War was still going on for a few more weeks. I remember the bombs were dropping all around us. The first thing we were taught, to get down low. This I did right next to a brush fence. Just above my head I heard a noise. A shrapnel came flying an inch above my head (through the brush) and buried itself 4 metres on the other side of the dirt track from where I was. I did dig this 9 inch long and about 2 inches wide piece of hot silver shrapnel out of the ground. I don’t know what I did with it. That was one of many close calls for me, but was lucky enough to survive it. Bombs were landing even on some farms and killed cattle. Some people went with their little trolleys to collect the meat from those smashed up animals.

What a strange feeling it was for me, when an aircraft came flying over us without dropping bombs. Even though, I was still in two minds. It is sad that after all these wars, us humans have still not earned anything. It is still going on all over the world and always will. These Days we don’t even know who the enemy is.

1945 and the War was finally over and life started again to be normal and peaceful. The house was built on the block and another for my Mother a few streets away. We made some new friends in our Region and got involved in the game of Fussball (Soccer). Manfred Gehrau and Klaus Dahnken. Manfred (whom I had the chance to catch up with in 1989, while I went for a 3 and a half Month trip through Europe) became very close friends. Klaus more with the Soccer, but Manfred and I did ride around the Bremen Walle Area on our pushbikes. We did not have very much, so, a bike, which my mother gave me after the war, was something special. I still remember one Christmas, when I received a rubber ball and all the kids in or neighbourhood had such fun, kicking it around. Yes, we were happy with very little in those Days.

I started playing soccer with Tus Walle, about half an hour walk to the Club from Meyersweg. I played there till 1954. My brother Günther played for Weser 08, the field was next to ours. I left School and worked in a grocery store close to us in Nachtigall Weg. Doing deliveries on a bike and spend some time in the shop. I have tried another job as a painter, but the smell of the paint made me feel sick. Shame. Another I should have tried was in the hair dressing business. By this time we had to leave Germany to a new land.

Accordion band

There was always music and singing in our home. My Mother played the Accordion in a Band and had a most beautiful singing voice. There was an Accordion and a Guitar in the house and while no one was around, I tried my luck on these fascinating instruments. After a while I found, that I could somehow play the melody with the bass. My first two songs were, La Paloma and In the Mood. My brother and I were always singing and my Oma too. My grandpa could play the Violin. It was great when everyone joined in with a song after all those unforgettable Years of the War. We were very poor, but were happy just finally living in a peaceful place.

My Grandmother was a kind hearted and hard-working lady. I still remember when She held me on her knee and sang softly “The Brahms Lullaby” “Guten Abend, Gute Nacht” She had to look after us and her husband. He had returned from the first World War a different man. A bitter and nervy man. Life was not easy for Oma, as the alcohol in him did not help the situation either. I still remember hearing the abuse shouted at her, while he came home from the pub. At the same time, he worked hard in the garden to produce fruit and vegies. He had a love for pushbikes. He could do and build anything. A very clever man, but spending day after day in the trenches in France, he came home a bitter and broken man. He has received a medal from the French and the iron cross from the Germans. My Mother has only seen the worst side of him and was close of hating him. Maybe she did. Shame.

In 1951, my mother married Richard Troeger. They had a Daughter, Helga. In 1952 they wanted to leave Germany to go to Canada. For some reason unknown to me, did not do so. The next idea was to see if they could go to Australia. This time they were successful and left Bremen to take a train to Bremerhaven. There was the “MS Nelly” waiting, to take a load of migrants to Australia. They did finish up in an Adelaide camp. Mr Ralph Bell came over from Kangaroo Island to look for workers on his Farm. Richard got the Job and settled on the Island. They had their second daughter Ingrid, born on Kangaroo Island.

Günther and I were called to go to Australia a Year and a half later (1954). It was a sad day when we left Meyersweg 31. I still can see my Oma who walked with us to the front gate and I could see the sadness in her eyes, as only she would have known, that she would never see us again. I still can see her now and understand, what it really meant to her. My Aunty Hertha and my Grandpa walked us to the Train station in Bremen to go with us to Bremerhaven. Once again I saw to my surprise, my grandfather suddenly stopped in his tracks about a block from the ship. There was a hard man who went through so much, in tears, but did not want us to see him like that. But I did see him like that for the first time. Only later in years I could understand what must have been going through their minds. My Aunty did take us to the ship (the MS Seven Seas) and fixed up some papers. That was the end of our life in Germany.

The trip from Bremerhaven to Kingscote on Kangaroo Island took 5 weeks and 4 days. The interesting part was, that it was the same ship my mother came over with. Her ship was called “MS Nelly”. They had to share a cabin with 40 people. A year and a half later it was re-named to “MS Seven Seas”, but with 6 person Cabins. Günther and I had to share it with 3 other boys and one older person, who was there to keep an eye on us boys. Poor man. Once we left Bremerhaven we made a stop in Rotterdam. We already had 40 people from Austria on board, but there were many Dutch people to take the trip to Australia. Now we had 40 Austrians and half and half Germans and Dutch. As it were only a few Years from the end of the World War 2, it was certainly not a good combination. Many times the Dutch marched on deck with the Hitler salute. Even I have felt, that this was having a go at us Germans and not just a bit of fun. I know one thing, that I and my family did not start the war. But there were many times in the next few Years, that the Nazi thing came up for us kid.

Anyway, most of us got on very well.

Our second stop was in Santa Cruze on the Canary Islands. These Islands are situated off the North—West corner of Africa. This was the first time in my life that I have been in such a heat. These Islands are west of the Sahara Desert. Believe me, it’s warm. Coming from a place like Germany, we did noticed the difference. We stayed there for a Day and had the chance to walk around this Island with our other friends from our cabin. It certainly was a different world for us.

A day later we sailed south to Cape Town. The ship before ours was the last one to go through the Mediterranean Sea and the Sues Canal and the Red Sea, as there was another start to a war in the middle east. Yes, there has to be a war somewhere in the world. Men can not do without this.

We had a lazy time on the voyage to Australia. Eating, sleeping in a deck chair during the day and the bunks during the night. Ones or twice we tried to sleep under the stars. The weather was warm and the sea was calm a few times. It was great. Soon there was some sort of a dress up party for all of us, as we got near the equator. Neptune was there to baptised all of us for crossing the Equator. There were a few times when I got really sea sick. The smell alone down in the ship on a rough day was enough to make one crook.

I remember the time when I had a shower. The showers were build towards the front of the ship, and a little higher than the cabins in the middle. As I showered for a while I heard someone knocking at the shower door. Oh yes, that would be one of the boys having a bit of fun. After a while the knocking turned into banging and yelling. I switched the shower off and checked out what all the noise was. I soon found out what the problem was. The shower drain was blocked and all the water went through the bottom of the bathroom door and flooded some of the low lying cabins. One tall Dutch man let me have it. How am I going to pay for it? I told them, including the captain of the ship, that it was not my fault that that drain was blocked. Yes, I was called into the captain’s Cabin to explain the situation. I told the Dutchman, after I saw his suitcase floating under his bunk, that I had a rich family in Australia and we would fix him up Ok. After that he was a different man. Very polite. He did not even ask for our address. I’ve found it very strange, after all the problem he had with me.

The tour to the new land went on south towards the bottom end of Africa to Cape Town without to many other problems. Just a nice new Adventure for us boys.

At about 4am in the morning, we entered the Cape of Good Hope. It was a clear and cool morning. What a beautiful site. All the lights from the boats and ships in the harbour, the lights from the houses in Cape Town and all the way up the Table Mountain. What a welcome to South Africa. I had a black and white camera, but it has been stolen as were my gloves. Someone needed it more than I did. Once we got into the harbour, it began to warm up. With the time us boys got off the ship to check out Cape Town, it was very hot. This was the first time I saw a ‘Double Decker’ Bus. We certainly made up for it, as we did 2 or 3 trips from the MS Seven Seas to Cape Town City and back. Yes, it was very hot for us, but we still walking a little through the streets where we sometimes had to get of the footpath, because there were many Black people just sitting and even sleeping on the walking areas. It was a very sad site for me and I will always remember that.

We left Cape Town to cross the Indian Ocean. Big swells and hot days for much of this trip. When it got rough, it really showed us the wild side of the Indian Ocean. Many times I got sick. Once it was really bad, that I just could not bring any more up. Not a good feeling at all. Most times of that trip it was enjoyable. Günther at only 14 Years of age started already having company with some of the young girls on board. I was 17 Years old, but really did not worry about them so much. I saved it for much later. Ha ha.

As we came closer to our destination towards Western Australia, we knew that we will soon see our Mother again. In the distant we finally saw a glimpse of our new land, Australia. As we got closer, it looked more like a desert with a few grey hills. There were some people, who were disappointed what they saw and started to cry. They wanted to go back to Europe before they really saw the real Australia. It must have been a hard decision to make, to leave their home to go to the unknown place half way around the world.

As we made our way to the Port of Fremantle, it did look a little different for those people who earlier had a problem with what they saw a few hours ago. There were many people to greet us and look for their loved ones and family members. We were also looking for our Mother, but could not find her anywhere. We did get off the Ship for a few hours. I did buy a Sombrero, which I found in my later adventures came very handy in the very hot Australian sun. Us boys took a taxi ride to somewhere. (Perth?) I am not sure now. I should have made some notes. What I am writing here now, is all by memory, so, please forgive me for missing a few things from my life.

Our next journey was from Fremantle to Melbourne. After travelling from the North Sea, through the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean and now through the Great Australian Bight, I found this the roughest trip of all. One night it was so bad, that some people fell out of their bunks. I got crook again. I am just not a good sailor. Many others had the same problem. Up on deck was not so bad, but down below the air alone would make people sick. We were really looking forward to the end of this long trip. We had only a few clothes with us and I had my suit from the time I’d become a confirmed Lutheran in Bremen. It was ready to take to the drycleaners.

Finally we arrived in Port Melbourne on the 28th November 1954. It was in the afternoon on a grey Day. We made our way to the train station with all we had. There was the Overlander waiting for us to take us to Adelaide. It was a long trip during the night on wooden seats. It was at that time better to be on the ship, but at least we would soon be with our Family, My mother’s husband Richard and my sister Helga and a new life in a new Country which we would call our home. At that time they had a little baby girl, named Ingrid.

In the morning, after a long night, we arrived in Adelaide. To meet us was a small man with thick glasses to take us to a place, where many migrants could stay for a while till they found a job or another house. Some even made this their home for many Years. He was Paster Zinnbauer. We stayed with him for a few days and checked out Adelaide. Another place where it was very hot. We are now really in South Australia, where I have heard so much about while still in school in Bremen. Thanks to my schooling in Germany, I knew more about Australia, then many others. I even had to show the Australian Consulate (in Bremen,) where Kangaroo Island was. I felt really good about that. Ha ha. It was easy for me, as Geography was my favourite subject in school. I was the one person in our whole class, to draw a map of North and South America, with each City, Town, River and so on. It was about 6 foot high and it finished up hanging in the Schoolmasters office for many Years. Also the Australian Map was a project of mine.

On the 3rd of December 1954 we caught the Ship (MS Karatta) for the final journey to Kingscote on Kangaroo Island in South Australia. It was really a freight Ship which serviced Kangaroo Island for many Years. The crew looked after us really well. Certainly not much room for passengers so we were invited down in the Gully. This trip took a few hours from Port Adelaide to arrive at the Kingscote Jetty. The weather was fine and sunny, so, it was a good trip for us. We did arrive sometime in the Afternoon. There finally was my mother, Richard Troeger, my two sisters Helga and Ingrid. There was also a young fellow called Trevor May and Tom and Claris Bates to greet us. Yes, after 5 weeks and 4 Days we made the trip from Bremerhaven to Kingscote on Kangaroo Island in South Australia.

We all had some sandwiches at Ralph and Pam Davis’ Deli, before driving 8 miles to a cottage at Cygnet River. It was a small place but it was our home for a few month. Great times we had in this new warm (hot) Country.

Richard Troeger had an old Chevrolet Backboard, which I was keen to drive one Day soon. Across the road from us, was a little cottage where we meet Harry Schaefer, the father of Claris Bates’ who lived in a large Homestead near Emu Bay about 12 Miles from us. This was where I got my first job, helping Richard sewing bags of Barley and Wheat. It paid 4 pounds per week. My first job in Australia. Great. Heat did not bother me at all. We certainly had many very hot days. A shock to the system for someone from North Germany, but I did not mind it at all. Loved it. Unfortunately Mum and Richard divorced after a few Years.

It was something new for me, to sit on the front Veranda and watching the colourful parakeets screaming their heads off We have never seen these birds in real live. This was also the start of country music for me. A small windup record player and stacks of records. I played these Country Songs over and over again, sitting under the front Veranda. Here I had the chance to learn some Guitar chords from Trevor May, who played and sang country and other songs from the 40’s and 50’s. My Mother played the Piano Accordion and had a beautiful Singing Voice. Trevor and Elly sang a lot together. What a shame we did not have the recording technology in those days, which we have now. It would have been really something to still be able to hear my Mothers voice after all these Years. After the split from Richard Troeger, Trevor adopted Helga and Ingrid. Trevor and Mum had a daughter Linda, a son Frank and another daughter Helen.

Hospital ship

Trevor had some land in Cygnet River, which he had to share with his Mother and his younger Brother, Neville, who at this stage was still in Adelaide. They were living in a very old house at Cygnet River. After a while, Trevor and I out some trees and marked out a ground plan to build a small shack on one acre building block on the farm. There they lived for a few Years with their children, Helga, Ingrid, Linda, Frankie and Helen.

I started a job at Lovering Brothers Garage in Kingscote. Yes, I had the chance to be a mechanic. I did meet Archie Lovering’s Son John and the first thing I did ask him, if there was Football on the Island. He told me “Yes” it will be in Kingscote on Saturday afternoon. That sounded good, as I wanted to continue my Soccer playing.

It was Saturday and I got myself a nice seat in the Grandstand on the Kingscote Oval Pavilion. A few other boys were there for the start of the big game of ‘Football’. There was only one thing wrong, there were no Soccer goals. I saw some sticks there on each end. Flag poles maybe. Soon after that, there was a lot of cheering and cars blowing their horns. I looked up and saw a few people running onto the field with this funny looking thing they bounced. Looked like and egg shape thing. I felt like, I was staring at it for ever. I was in shock, not to see a game of Soccer as we knew it, but as the game started, I found myself yelling in my broken English, “Com’on Wisangers”. I have found this game very funny, but interesting. A few weeks later I started playing with the Wisanger Football Club. A good way to make new friends while learning and playing this new sport. I soon got some sort of an Idea about this game, but was not really good above my head with marking. I made up for it at ground level using my Soccer skills and the ability to kick with both feet around corners and even over my head. The Coach, Mr Clem Boxer, named me ‘Twinkle Toes’. Kicked many goals for the Wisangar Football Club. In the late 50’s I became the top scorer for the club. I was part of 5 Grand Finals and won 3 of them. Even after all these Years, there are still a few Friends left to play other sports together or against each other. I did play with the club for many Years. Practice on Wednesdays and matches on Saturdays. Sometimes on practice nights we got together with the girls from the Wisangar Netball teams and had a Bar B Q. I had always a Guitar with me for a sing—a-long with the whole gang.

After the break-up, between my Mother and Richard, I had trouble to get into work as an mechanic with Lovering Brothers. Trevor did ask me if I would be interested to work for W. A. Boettcher at Cygnet River. It was a Fruit Orchard and farm work. It did sound good to me, as I did not really feel, I was cut out to be a Mechanic anyway. My Brother Günther took over my job to work there, after he came back from Adelaide, where he worked for a while as a butcher and as a semi-trailer driver. He left the Garage after a few Years and went back to Adelaide to do his own thing around South Australia, while I was contented to stay on Kangaroo Island.

Trevor took my Mother and us kids many times to Emu Bay's or Stokes Bay for a swim on Weekends and also alter work. He had a green Holden Ute. Us kids were on the back. We had some very hot summer days and really enjoyed a good swim in the seawater at the bay. One of the best beaches in the world was Emu Buy, going by a person from Germany, who has travelled the world. Many nights were enjoyed swimming and also caching fish in a drag net with the Bates Family, who had 8 or 9 children. Wonderful times in my life.

This one time we all went to Emu Bay for the Day and camped on the beach. Trevor and I decided to try some rock fishing at the other end (about 5km walk). My mother and the Children stayed behind. All we had with us was a small tin with bait and a hand line. It was a calm summer’s day. We reached a nice place on the rocks ready to cast our lines in to the water, when Trevor noticed a 1 meter wave coming. “Hang on” he said. Trevor was a few feet in front of me towards the water, when the wave hit us and washed us both into the sea. We could see each other swimming side by side to come to the top, but the drag was too strong for us, till it let us come up to grab the rocks, when the second wave got us and the same thing happen to us. Then the third wave came and picked me up to throw me with my back onto the sharp rocks. Trevor was not there as he went under again. I stood up and saw a hand sticking out of the water close to the rocks. I grabbed it and pulled Trevor out. We must have been both in shock, as we looked at each other and laughed. The tin, lines and our beanies were gone. My fingers were in a mess, as was my back. Not a pretty site. That was the end of the days fishing. I went home and cleaned myself up. I did not tell my mother about it, until 20 Years later. I could write a few more stories about the sea, but there is plenty to catch up on later.

In 1957 I purchased my first motor cycle. It was a beautiful 500cc BSA Twin. Maroon was the colour. My own bike at last. I did meet up with the Cordes Family. Neville also had a small bike. We did ride them around Kingscote and Emu Bay on the Beach. Mr and Mrs Cordes had 2 sons and 2 daughters. Neville, Patricia, Dene and Colleen. We were invited at the Cordes’ Home most Sundays for a sing-a-long. Patricia on the piano, Dene on the Piano Accordion, Neville played drums and I filled in with the Guitar and Voice. From this moment on came the Idea to form a Dance Band. We called our Band “The Happy Wanderers” Our first pay was IO Shillings each per night. We did play all over the Island. Later the band broke up, but I played the Guitar with many other bands as a freelance guitarist. After a few Years I formed my own band. “Manfred’s Band”, but also played solo shows in hotels, Guesthouses and private functions on Kangaroo Island and the Mainland.

Still playing football with Wisangar in the winter. Later I did meet ‘The Low Family’. Geoff and Fran Low. They played Tennis on the Island. They played for the Cygnet River Tennis Club and introduced me to the game. Geoff was great. While I was playing my first game of singles in Kingscote, he called out the shots I should play. It worked well and I won my first game of tennis on the Island. Geoff and Fran had a son, John and 3 Daughters, Mary, Kathie and Pauline. Most Sundays we spend our time together on the farm at Emu Ridge. Tennis was the main activities. Fran was a School Teacher in Kingscote for many Years, which means, we had many school teachers at the farm, but some even came from Adelaide, as the Linke Brothers. Ambrose, Hayden and Innes. All Glenelg Footballers and great Tennis Players too. Such good times we had.

It was a lovely time for me. We had always something to do on the farm and orchard. Weekends we played our sport. Tennis in the summer and football in the winter. Mr August Boettcher was like a father to me (or a Friend). He had no children of his own. I did live in a room in his house at Cygnet River for many Years.

It was in 1966, when we won the Kangaroo Island Tennis Shield with the Cygnet River Tennis Club against a strong American River team. This was my sixth Year of Captaincy and my last. It was time to let someone else have a go at that job. It certainly keeps one very busy

I married Gail Pinnegar in the same Year and had 2 Boys with her. Anton and Guy.

On the 22nd of December 1968 we had a tragedy in our family. There was a two car smash not far from our home. 5 Children died. 3 of them were ours. Helen (8) Frankie (10) and Ingrid (15). Ingrid’s friend (15) and a baby in the other car. My other sister, Linda and the driver’s sister, both 12 Years of age were flown to the Adelaide Children’s Hospital. A day we will never come to terms with. I was the first one on the scene and the last one to leave. Watched Frankie and Helen on the stretchers go past me while I was the one to give information to the police. Then we run out of ambulances. There was a Holden Ute on hand, where I had to help to load my Sister Ingrid’s Body into. This will always be with me. I still see my Mother and Trevor collapsing onto the ground, after my Mother ask Trevor, “Where are the little Ones”? Trevor told her “They are Dead in the back of the car”. This was the end of a happy life for us on KI for many Years. We learned that life must go on. It hit my Mother more than anyone. I broke down after three Days. I must have been in shock to be able do all those things. I came out in Boils everywhere. After that, the life for all of us has changed. Alcohol came into play with my mother and Trevor. A very sad site. Losing one child in the family is bad enough, but 3 for my Mother and Trevor lost 2. I wish this on anyone. This has changed the life for us all. I don’t really have to explain how this has changed a normal life style into sadness and also the need for alcohol in Trevor’s and mum’s life for the following Years. It took a few Years before Trevor and Mum started to live a normal life again, but the scars would always be with them and our family.

Life went on. I still played music and sport. Mum and Trevor played golf on KI and took long trips around Australia to do so. I did join in on Saturday Mornings in a round of golf I would never become a good golfer, just a basher, but had a few laughs.

In 1966 I marries Gail Pinnegar. We had two Boys together. Anton Raymond and Manfred Guy. This marriage lasted 8 Years, when Gail took the 2 boys, with the help of two of my so called ‘friends’. She ‘missed her family’ in Adelaide. After a while I won Custody of the Boys and gave them a home with me. Twice a week I hired a lady to clean the place and care for Anton and Guy. This kept me very busy. At the same time I was still playing music around Kangaroo Island and working my orchard, Cattle and sheep. There was always plenty to do. Not only picking the fruit, but also sorting, drying and using an Austin 1947 Van, to drive into Kingscote 3 Days per week. At the busy season I had to hire a few people to help out. Mainly picking and drying the fruit, workers to carry on the business. This did not work for very long. We decided to split the property into equal shares.

I lived on my own for a while to work the farm and Orchard. I played music all over the Island and some on the Mainland. Did meet a few Lady ‘Friends’ here and there. Won the Boys back through the courts and married Mary Anne Nagorcka. Had two Daughters, Patricia and Vanessa. Lived and worked on the farm for a while, sold the home at Cygnet River to move to Kingscote at the seafront. There was too much of an age different between Mary Anne and I. After a few years it came into play. It was also hard for her to look after my two boys and the girls. This marriage also ended after 8 Years. She did find another man while we were still together. I once again have lost a set of children, which I loved dearly. That’s Life. Now I had to sell some of the farm to pay her off. She purchased a small house at Penneshaw, but moved with the girls to the Mainland. Trish has now 2 Boys and 2 Girls, married to Shane Foley. Vanessa has 2 boys and also lives south of Adelaide. She never married.

It was sad to go through this again, but some good came out of it. I have two Daughters now who also gave me some grandchildren. Also two Boys. I also took a trip back to Germany and Europe, where I have found a family I did not know I had.

Yes, a wonderful trip to Europe which took 3 and a half Month. The first stop was Stockholm in Sweden, to catch up with a penfriend. She had 3 children. Twin boys and a 4 Year old girl. The friend and I took a trip through Europe with a Eurailpass. Paris, Rome, Florence, Venice, Copenhagen and also Monte Cassino, where I’ve found my Father’s Grave side. Not even the family in Germany knew where he was. I have found it a little strange. I did get in touch with the Italian Consulate in Adelaide, to get some info. It arrived 2 Days before I left Kangaroo Island for Europe. Good timing.

In 1994 I did enter in a Tennis Tournament in Kingscote, Kangaroo Island. This was where I ruptured my Achilles tandem. I did fly to Adelaide and had the operation in the RAH, where I did meet Jeanne Maywald who was about to finish her nursing stretch. Jeanne came over to live with me in a small home in Kingscote, after I sold the lovely house at the sea front in Chapman Terrace Kingscote. After a few years we flew for a holiday to Tasmania. We fell in love with the place. A few Month later Jeanne moved there and I followed a few weeks later to live in a small unit in Deloraine. After a while I found a lovely cottage in Meander. This is 17km South from Deloraine.

Now in 2010 I am heading for the good Old Age of 73. Where have all these Years gone? Last Year we lost our Brother Günther. He had many problems over the Years with Diabetes, a triple bypass and Cancer. We never had much to do with each other, but I still miss him and wished, we could have done lots more together. He always played sport in a different team, but also spend many Years on the Mainland.

Jeanne and I are still in a lovely spot in the Northern Area in Tasmania. We sold the home on Kangaroo Island but still have a block there. (Now (2011) the Block has been sold) it will be the end of the place (KI) which I have called my home for many Years. Sad in one way, but like I have said before, Life goes on. We will stay here as long as our bodies will keep us fit enough to do a few things around the house.

We have purchased another car, a boat and did a few short trips. One was to Norfolk Island, where Jeanne’s Brother Peter lived and worked for 6 Years as the Secretary to the Government. A great little place. Scamander for a few Days. It is a lovely seaside resort of the East Coast of Tasmania. In May 2010 we having another ‘break’ for 3 Days at Cradle Mountain, which should be nice. We are hoping for some snow, but we only saw rain. On the 15th of September we flew to Adelaide for 2 Weeks to baby sit Quinn, one of Sarah’s Baby Boy. We did have a good chance to finally catch up with some of our Grand Children in South Australia. But Jeanne got struck down with a Chest infection and even stopped her from having a conversation. She had to miss out catching up with some friends and even speaking on the phone with them. A real shame.

Jeanne and I have played Lawn Bowls here for a few Years, but gave it up in the last two Years. Our bodies are not as fit anymore and the hot sun in the summer is not nice any more. Should be better on the water in the coming Year. New in 2011 after 22 Month of waiting, she has finally had her operation on her knee but now has a problem with her heart. The doctors are trying to get the BP down, before they can know what to do next.

Last Year we lost my Brother Günther after a long illness with all sorts of problems including, Diabetes and Cancer. This Year Trevor May died. He also was not well for many Years. My Mother died at the age of 77 and so did Trevor (77). Trevor was many Years younger. I am 78 now and will be 79 in September. Still playing a little music for the elderly and the odd gig around the place. Little walking and having fun with our new rowing machine to keep fit.

Five storey bunker in Bremen

Five storey bunker in Bremen

At the time the picture was taken Manfred, his brother Günther and his grandmother would have been inside – after three days on the 3rd floor they came out to the devastation of all the city’s buildings.
File: Bremen, Royal Air Force Bomber Command, 1942-1945 CL3259, JPG