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.

Splendour found The Cure

Robert Smith at the Splendour in the Grass Amphitheatre stage during The Cure's show.

Day two of Splendour in the Grass

NORPA brings My Radio Heart back

Performers in the NORPA co-production My Radio Heart, from left, Randolf Reimann, Phoebe Rose, Mathew Daymond, Claudie Frock, Zac Mifsud (sitting), and Lydian Dunbar. Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star

The piece premiered in 2014 in Lismore

Pizza chain goes into voluntary administration

Eagle Boys pizza store

Mackay Eagle Boys will continue to feed the Mackay community

Latest deals and offers

Splendour found The Cure

Day two of Splendour in the Grass was a day of firsts with some locals performing on stage

Gallery donations roll with thanks

Donors gather at The Regional Art Gallery hear from the architect, Dominic Finlay Jones, about the redevelopment of the gallery.

Regional Gallery thanks donors helping with redevelopment

NORPA brings My Radio Heart back

Performers in the NORPA co-production My Radio Heart, from left, Randolf Reimann, Phoebe Rose, Mathew Daymond, Claudie Frock, Zac Mifsud (sitting), and Lydian Dunbar. Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star

The piece premiered in 2014 in Lismore

Pizza chain goes into voluntary administration

Eagle Boys pizza store

Mackay Eagle Boys will continue to feed the Mackay community

Barn owl down, but office staff give a hoot

Northern Star journalist Sarah Knight wraps little Barney the barn owl in her jacket before handing him to WIRES.

Barney the barn owl saved by local journalists

A dramatic portrait of poet Sylvia Plath

ON STAGE: Bette Guy and Elyse Knowles in the latest production by Lismore Theatre Company.

By Lismore Theatre Company

Pokémon Go makes Ingress into Clarence Valley

Pokemon Go player Dan Optland is pictured in the game w ith a "Pidgey" Pokemon he lured to a Pokestop at the Clarence Valley Conservatorium.

Pokemon Go Pokestops evolved from hard work of unsuspecting friends.

Guy Sebastian a hit at Splendour in the Grass

Guy Sebastian performs at Splendour in the Grass with Paces.

REALITY TV judge a hit with festival crowd.

Superheroes of the big screen enjoy sounds of Splendour

CHRIS Hemsworth and his Avengers mates drop by Byron festival.

Dynamic pics from Splendour Day 1

The Strokes perform at Splendour in the Grass 2016. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

Check out the latest pictures from Splendour in the Grass.

Bindi Irwin: 18 magic photos to mark her 18th birthday

Bindi Irwin with a python.

Photos: Bindi Irwin from babyhood to 18

Aussie director makes his mark on new Roots mini-series

Malachi Kirby as Kunta Kinte in a scene from the TV series Roots.

BRUCE Beresford behind final episode of remake of iconic series.

The Avalanches pull plug on live broadcast of Splendour set

The Avalanches are an Australian electronic music group.

RADIO listeners won't be able to tune in to the band's show tonight.

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

Massive residential 9-storey high-rise hit by delays

An artist’s impression of the eight-storey-high apartment complex that Bernoth Holdings wants to build in South Toowoomba, next to the City Golf Club.

Developer struggles to get approved high-rise development started