Cecil Bertie BLEWETT
My father, Lance Sergeant, Cecil Bertie Blewett WX8159, was born in London on the 5 th of August 1901. He was the son of Eliza and John Blewett, who was a Police Sergeant in the London Police Force.
Dad had two brothers and a sister. He and his brothers used to polish the brass radiators and lights on the early motor cars for pocket money and he was always interested in motor bikes and motor cars. On leaving school, he served his apprentice-ship as a ships boilermaker, during and after World War One. They were tough times.
In the early 1920’s he changed his job and started working with Barclays Bank in London, as a teller. He had an Altercation with his older brother which led to his decision to migrate to Australia.
Dad arrived in Albany aboard the S.S. Themistocles on the 26 th of July 1925, 10 days before his 24 th birthday. Not a lot is known of his movements and jobs in the first year of his arrival. Unfortunately I never asked my mother for the full details. Mum told me he worked on farms in the Narambeen District, as a labourer. He enjoyed sport and was a keen tennis player and a good boxer. He joined the North Perth Masonic Lodge on the 3 rd of May 1927, and remained a member until his death, attending some Lodge Meetings in Singapore before it fell to the Japanese.
Some time in 1927, shortly after the Bank of New South Wales amalgamated with the West Australian Bank, Dad, due to his previous banking experience joined the Bank of New South Wales. He became one of the youngest managers at that time. He served in various country towns, Mt Magnet, Northam, Narambeen, Tammin, etc.
Mum was born in Kanowna in 1903 and spent her life nursing, and was a Triple Certificate Sister, when she was married in 1935. I was born in Northam in 1937 and my brother, Robert, was born in 1939.
Dad enlisted while he was a Bank Manager, at Tammin, on the 16 th of August 1920, at the age of 38 years. He did his training in Western Australia, before sailing on the Zealandia on the 30 th May 1941. My mother and I watched the smoke from the Zealandia, as she disappeared over the horizon, from the verandah of the CWA Hostel, in Avonmore Terrace Cottesloe.
My youngest brother, David, was born on the 19 th December 1941 and never saw his Father. Dad’s reply, on hearing the news that he had a third son, just before Singapore fell, was that he was starting a football team.
From 1942-1945, as far as I can remember, Mum only received three briefly worded POW cards. The last card said, “Alive and well and looking forward to early re-union”. Then some short time later, news came that he had been dead for six months. When Mum received news of his death, to cheer herself up, she brought a pretty china vase, which I still have. From 1941-1949 we lived at Greenbushes, as Dad had told Mum to get out of Perth, in case it was bombed.
The Greenbushes Shire, let us live in the old Greenbushes Hospital rent free, if Mum held a clinic once a week, for the Bridgetown Doctor, and that she rendered assistance to anyone in the district, who was sick, had an accident or required her help. Mum would take them to Bridgetown or Bunbury Hospital if they needed urgent medical attention.
In 1949-1950, we moved to Perth. I recall the Christmas Holiday Camps at Rottnest Island Army Barracks, which were organised by the Legacy Club and the Combined Forces. They were great times. My two brothers followed in their Father’s footsteps and became Bank Managers and I became an Automotive Engineer.
Dad died in Sandakan on the 23 rd March 1945. We may not have had a Dad, but my Mum made up for what we had missed. SHE WAS A WONDERFUL LADY ………….. ONE IN A MILLION.
FOOTNOTE: On the anniversary of my Father’s death, on the 23 rd March in 2002 my wife and I were involved in a horrific accident, when a semi-trailer ran over the back of our vehicle. We escaped virtually unscathed. Someone was watching over us.
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