Friday, October 3, 2014

Ray .....


This is Ray.

He recently turned 90 and is one of those who saw action in World War 2.

I met him recently by chance and asked if he would let me do a portrait. I have a notion of photographing all the remaining veterans of that horror who live in the Northern Rivers area.

He agreed and I spent some time yesterday with Ray and his wife Betty.  He told me his story. A story which included growing up just north of Adelaide, losing a father shortly after the first world war, and then eventually concealing his true age and signing up with the Royal Australian Navy.

He served on H.M.A.S. Barcoo mainly on convoy escort duty around New Guinea.  

Following the war, he married Betty and spent 38 years as a professional fireman in and around the greater Sydney area.

He and Betty have been married for 68 years.  The last thing Betty said when I was leaving was " I adore him".  It seemed to me that he obviously adored her too.

It occurred to me that here was two elderly people, the sort you may see down any street, in any cafe, going about their daily business. How many of us, however, would consider that they have a story to tell. 

A life lived. A history written, if not on paper, then surely on the hearts of their loved ones.

Perhaps we ought not to just pass them by.  Perhaps we ought, rather, to say hello and maybe just listen for a while.  That generation is fast dwindling.  I think that maybe it still has much to offer.


Stay safe