Narrator: "The battalion’s tropical sojourn came to an abrupt end when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour. The garrison at Rabaul was in no position to resist the now advancing Japanese forces. Curtin’s Government was in an impossible situation. Women and children were to be evacuated, but the 1400 men, hopelessly outnumbered, had to be left to their fate.
Lindsay: "I think they didn’t just abandon them. I think it was also very much a case they couldn’t do anything about it. They’d got these soldiers into this position. They really felt that the Americans were going to come in to the whole scene and build that airport or the airfield there and use it as a base. That didn’t happen. The Australians were stranded. There was no way of getting them off."
John: "Growing in the Sunday school at Brunswick it struck me as strange that while the Sunday school was quite large, the congregation itself was small. There were only 7 or 8 in the band at one stage. It was because that many of those associated with the war had simply not been able to return. The grief was so strong they’d drifted off to other churches, other Army Corps. Over the years some drifted back. They rebuilt the place through music by recruiting kids off the street. And I’m one."
Jason: "Hopefully [what we're doing now] falls within that same tradition of trying to say, this is music that connects where people are at. That tells something of our story. A story of redemption, I guess from a Salvation Army purpose, of salvation. Of what it means to be different in a world which sometimes isn’t perfect and doesn’t always look after people the way it should. It’s music that brings those stories together and tries to make them real and communicates that to people."
Friday, April 25, 2008
Last Sunday night, the Compass TV show told the story of Salvation Army bandmaster and composer, Arthur Gullidge and the band of the 2/22nd battalion which he led during the second world war. It's being replayed on ABC2 tonight at 6pm (AEST). Here's a couple of quotes from the show. (For a full transcript, click here)