There’s one thing in particular that veteran Pat Clements remembers most about World War II: the sense of mateship within his battalion.
Mr Clements, of Exeter, said he made lifelong friends during his service in New Guinea, Borneo and the Celebes (also known as Sulawesi).
“They’d do anything for you,” he said. “I still stay in touch with a chap that lives in Hobart.”
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“I was very fortunate in the battalion that I was in. The ones I mixed with, they were all great chaps.”
It was Mr Clements’ 96th birthday last Saturday and the occasion was made even more momentous when he was presented with a commemorative medallion at the Exeter Community Hub to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the war.
What’s more, he and his wife, Alma, 89, received a joint mayor’s award from the West Tamar Council to acknowledge their contributions to the Exeter and greater West Tamar communities.
Both Mr and Mrs Clements said they were delighted to be able to share the day with their family, who came out in droves to witness the pair being honoured.
Mrs Clements recounted how she and her husband came to be together after he returned from war.
“I was teaching around here at the Exeter school … and there was a tennis court just across from the school,” Mrs Clements said. “And he used to come around on Sundays and play tennis. And I’d make it my business to be around the school doing some homework.”
Mrs Clements’ husband would later tell her that his mother, who also worked in the general store, had been impressed by her before the young couple had even met.
“Pat told me … that his mother said to him when he got older, ‘There’s a nice young girl that comes into the shop. I think she’d make you a good wife’,” Mrs Clements said.
“So he did as his mother told him.”
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