Bill Smith

‘The rain was incessant, every night.’

23 June 2020

Today we remember Bill Smith, who faced the Japanese on the treacherous Kokoda Track.

Bill Smith — The rain was incessant, every night.

Bill Smith audio file (MP4 23.93 MB)

Bill Smith audio script

75th Anniversary of the End of the Second World War

Audio actuality

“Fellow Citizens, the War is over” — (The Hon J B Chifley, Prime Minister of Australia)

August the 15th marks the 75th Anniversary of the End of the Second World War. Around one million Australians enlisted to serve from a population of just seven million. Australia Remembers Bill Smith, who fought against the Japanese on the famed but treacherous Kokoda Track.

Facing the enemy in the New Guinea highlands in the most appalling conditions was something that Bill never forgot for one stinking moment.

Bill Smith

The ridges come up into a sharp point and you're climbing almost vertical to get up to the top. The rain was incessant every night and the mud was intolerable. With so many men going over it, the mud was churned up and you were up to your ankles, and over your knees, at different times.

And it wasn't until we got down to Sanananda, I took my boots off for the first time and off come a layer of skin. And the only one thing I was grateful for, was that both my corns had disappeared. I took the corns off when I pulled the socks off. And over that period, we did not change our clothes once, and them blokes alongside you, "Did you lift your arm or do you always smell like that?" We stunk, all right.

Saturday, August 15 marks the 75th Anniversary of the End of the Second World War. Let’s pay our respects to that amazing generation of Australians.