Putting service to town and country first

September 2 will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII. Together with the Mannum RSL, we honour some of the men and women who served over the next few weeks.

John Chandler was born in Mannum on January 21, 1919, and he is the Mannum RSL's oldest member at 101.5 years.

He went to Mannum primary school and a high school in Birdwood with another member, Keith Lowe. They both enlisted during the Second World War.

John enlisted on October 31, 942 at Torrens Parade Ground in Adelaide.

On Parade ground and the officer was inspecting the rank and when he reached John he was small in stature he said what is your name and John replied John Chandler and the officer said Sir and he replied Sir John Chandler.

John then travelled to Alice Springs with the 4th Field Bakery and proceeded overseas to the Huon Peninsula where the bakers were kept busy making bread rolls, meat pies, and who knows what else.

In a hot and humid region working in a bakehouse would have been incredibly sweaty work with the men of the 2/4th Field bakery, baking thousands of bread rolls each day to supply the Division.

John was discharged from duty on August 2, 1945.

After returning from war John Chandler joined the Mannum RSL on October 6, 1945 and became a valued member of the Mannum RSL where he became a life member.

He ran a very successful business in Mannum as a soft drink manufacturer and his donations of drinks and ice alone to functions including drink stalls at the Mannum Agricultural Show every year contributed to this being one of the town's biggest fundraisers.

John volunteered at the Mannum Cemetery, Garden of Remembrance working bees and other fundraising functions for the RSL, which are too numerous to mention.

Battle of Finschhafen

The battle of Finschhafen was part of the Huon Peninsula campaign in New Guinea during WWII and was fought between Australian and Japanese forces.

Fighting took place between September 22 and October 24, 1943, following the landing at Scallet Beach, , With a two pronged advance on Finschhafen, the Australian 20th Infantry Brigade advanced on the town from the north, while the 22nd Infantry Battalion drove from south, having advanced from the landing beaches east of Lae.

After the capture of Finschhafen, the Japanese forces withdrew south towards Sattenberg where they launched a counter offensive.

The attack was repelled by American and Australian forces with heavy casualties inflicted on the Japanese. The Australians went on to capture Sattenberg and advanced towards the Wareo Plateau. This was the start of the Kakoda Track.