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  • Claire Jordan

And Died Beloved By All

It’s a stormy Sunday evening here in England, but in Australia, it is already Monday 22nd January.

And so in his hometown in Queensland, it’s already the 80th anniversary of the wounding in action of Sergeant Ronnie O’Grady, 2/10th Battalion, Australian Infantry.

He was in Papua New Guinea, part of the Australian forces tasked with pushing the entrenched Japanese – about 3000 off them - off a towering, sheer-sided geological feature known as Shaggy Ridge, part of the Finisterre Range of mountains running close to the north-east coast of the island.

Along the four-mile, razor-backed ridge, the enemy had made numerous strong points, thick with machine guns.

A keen rugby forward back home in Warwick QLD, at 6ft tall Ronnie was perhaps an easy mark for enemy snipers or flying shrapnel.

Hit on 22ndJanuary, he died the following day a few weeks short of turning 25.

He’d married Vonda Anderson back home in July 1942; she would receive the most dreaded of telegrams on 1st February.

Sometime later, she placed a notice in the paper which ends:

“… He lived with love for everyone,

And died beloved by all.

Always loved and longed for by his ever-loving wife Vonda and little son Gary.”

Always loved and longed for and never forgotten.

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