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Westmead veteran spends two decades on the world’s seas

John from Cabrini aged care.jpg

Cabrini aged care resident and veteran John is taking the time this Anzac Day to reflect on his two decades of service in the Navy.

John’s love for the water was something that inspired him to sign up after a conflict-ridden upbringing in Poland during WWII.

“During the war, I was only five years old and the Russians deported us to Kazakhstan – they moved about three million people out of Poland,” he said.

“I came here to Australia in 1950 – so 74 years ago - after being moved from Iran to Karachi in Pakistan, then to Uganda.

“We became a part of the United Nations of Refugees and after the war finished we didn’t go back to our country.

“I always wanted to be a sailor – I remember sitting on the ship to Fremantle for seven days and seeing the water was just beautiful and I thought ‘well, this will do me’.”

Finishing his career in his 40s as Chief Petty Officer, John served during the Vietnam War and the Malayan Emergency.

“I served on a lot of ships - HMAS Sydney, Melbourne, Voyager, Diamantina and others.

“After the first couple of years when I left, I really missed going to sea but then you realise when it comes to the kids, they get more used to their mother than their father.”

Once John retired from his naval career, he stayed on the water working in the Port of Sydney.

“Sydney used to be a working port with ships coming in and out and we were moving a lot of things around.”

John will be taking the time this Anzac Day to reflect on his time and the friendships he made during his long career.

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