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.

End of an era: Last opening ever at Lismore Gallery

FINAL OPENING: The current gallery building in Molesworth Street.

Last opening ever at Lismore Gallery in Molesworth St

REVEALED: A new Northern Rivers music festival in 2017

Lismore Music Festival co-directors Scott Cooper and Paul Connelly.

Mark March 10 and 11 in your calendar

Dreams and culture in them there hills...

Sophie Moeller, Lismore Echo Editor. Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star

Hall's stories bring local history alive through song and dance

Local Partners

Rapist's bail revoked, back behind bars

HE WAS granted bail despite raping a woman on the side of the road near Grafton, but now Alessandro Bongiorno will have to await his sentence from a prison cell

REVEALED: A new Northern Rivers music festival in 2017

Lismore Music Festival co-directors Scott Cooper and Paul Connelly.

Mark March 10 and 11 in your calendar

Local arts organisations receive funding for 2017 projects

Djurra will be NORPA's locally-developed show in its 2017 season.

Byron Bay and Lismore initiatives focus on aboriginal art

Five things to do in Lismore this week

The Nimbin event is  presented by non-profit Gold Coast-based Indonesian dance troupe Seharum Nusantara.

Dance, culture, film, art and more

Brad Pitt bids to keep custody battle private

Brad Pitt will go to court to keep his custody battle private

Sia has split from her husband

Sia has split from her husband Erik Anders Lang.

Amy Schumer thanks Barbie trolls for hateful comments

Amy Schumer is in the lead role for the new Barbie movie

Shannen Doherty's husband is suing for destroyed sex life

Shannen Doherty's husband is suing her former manager

Azealia Banks' battery case against Russell Crowe dropped

Russell Crowe will not be charged with battery

Mel Gibson named Best Director at AACTA Awards

Mel Gibson poses in the media room after winning the AACTA Award for Best Direction for Hacksaw Ridge.

HIS wartime drama Hacksaw Ridge sweeps 6th annual awards in Sydney.

INSIDE STORY: The highlights of your $150 million CBD

GRAND PLAN: The highlights of the Ipswich CBD redevelopment and where they will be located.

Work on city heart's radical transformation to begin next year

VOTE IN OUR POLL: Sand mine opponents face serious dilemma

Public meeting for the proposed sand mine at Maroochydore last week.

Coast MP calls on Minister to stop KRA proposal with stroke of a pen

Developer's grand new multi-million dollar estate

NEW ESTATE: This is the only plan revealed by the property developer's new Billabongs Estate in Agnes Water.

DEVELOPER given the go ahead for a massive estate with 149 homes.

Banks reclaim Gladstone homes as job losses bite

LONG FALL: Property experts Heron Todd say, based on key market indicators, Gladstone is still travelling to the bottom of the market, with property prices set to get cheaper.

Property valuers say Gladstone housing market hasn't hit the bottom

The million dollar property to test Mackay's market

This Victoria St building will go to auction Tuesday and investors will be watching closely to see how much it sells for.

'High profile architect designed CBD asset' goes to auction

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!