John James Joseph ‘JJ’ Wade passed away peacefully on the weekend, just weeks before his 101st birthday, leaving the ranks of the remaining Rats of Tobruk ever fewer.
Mr Wade left Australia in 1941 where he was injured in Tobruk, Libya, before being sent to Egypt. He then served in New Guinea before being discharged in October 1944.
I first met Mr Wade at Comet Bay College a local high school he visited to talk about his experiences of war.
He did not glorify war. He did not shy away from talking to the students about the futility of war and about the losses that can never be recovered.
He did however have a sharp sense of humour and when I told him my grandfather was head of the military police at Alexandria, he laughed at the memory and said he’d probably got in trouble from him.
But remembering my pop, Major George Morris OBE, I can honestly say that he loved the Aussies and would more likely than not have turned a blind eye to any shenanigans.
Mr Wade’s memories are not lost and continue to live on in the stories he has shared with so many local students. My thoughts are with Mr Wade’s family at this time.