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A Call from an Admirer...
Kairouan, Tunisia. May 1943. Officers of No. 3 Squadron RAAF. - Bob Ulrich second from right.
I received a phone call the other day, from a male voice that was unknown to me. The voice went on to ask if I was one Robert Ulrich, ex-RAAF type, and if so, was I also the chap who had been a member of 3 Squadron all those years ago.
My first reaction was of course to deny everything; it came to mind that this must be the bloody adjutant, calling to mind an unpaid "mess bill" of all those years ago. Some of those bastards just never give up.
But no, the voice identified itself as a Mr. Hill ... the mystery deepened. But the light was at hand.
The voice stated that he was the father of a pupil at Bunbury Senior High School; and, slowly, the penny began to drop. Mr. Hill went on to say, that he had just finished reading the Squadron history "Secrets Revealed" that 3 Squadron Association had been kind enough to forward to the school some time ago.
He went on to say that when the book was first received at the school, it was taken home by members of the senior staff and read by the upper echelon of the scholastic charter at the seat of learning. The enthusiasm of this level for the book became obvious, and it became the book to be read by all concerned. At a later time, when all the staff had read the volume, it then became the object of great interest to all the family members of the students. Mr. Hill went on to say there was now a waiting list, as long as your arm, of those who wanted to read the volume.
According to Mr. Hill, it was now the most popular book in the school library. He had just finished reading it, and told his son that he wanted to speak to somebody from 3 Squadron to express his feelings and sentiments in regard to what he had read. I gather the son gave him my name and phone number.
There was no doubt at all about the sincerity and genuine emotion expressed by Mr. Hill. He went on to say that he had no idea of the conditions which applied to those of us who lived in the desert and worked therein.
He was appalled at the style of life we had to endure ... the way the Squadron performed the work that had to be done and the limited life-style in general. He was quite emotional when he stated that he had no idea at all of what had been done by us (i.e. we of No.3) in order that his son, in later life, would have the wonderful opportunity to attend such a fine school as Bunbury Senior High, to fit him for a successful life in the demanding world of high level commerce in the years ahead for the son.
There is no doubt at all that Mr. Hill was totally genuine and very sincere in the expressed sentiments. He really was in a state of considerable emotion and he wanted to say "thank you" in person to someone who had been a Squadron member in those far off days...
To be honest, I found it to be a moving experience.
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