A Letter from an Anzac

Last week we posted about the RSL’s idea to ‘Light up the Dawn’ – a unique Anzac day service out the front of our homes. In the following days we received some very welcomed responses from our readership. One we’d like to highlight was from Patricia O’Keefe, who wrote to us about a hero of the 2nd world war, her father – James O’Keefe


Jim was posted in the Middle East and Borneo during the war. Besides a two day trip to Canberra it was the only time he had left his hometown of Geelong. Far away in a strange land the family has preserved a letter he wrote to his step mother from the desert.

What was particularly striking was his description of a mass that took place in a temporary tent, with an altar resting on desolate waste. The masses weren’t weekly as the chaplain could only get around so often.

For those soldiers I’m sure it wasn’t ideal, only having the occasional mass, and serving in a war far from their loved ones at home. I also don’t doubt these services stayed with Jim for the rest of his life, as he lived as a father of eight, and a man who always went above and beyond for the Geelong community.

It was a pleasure to read about Jim story and to pay tribute to him in this small way. if any others in the community have memento’s from veterans in their family then please reach. We would love to share their story here too! You can contact us at office@majellan.org.au

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