September 2 will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII. Together with the Mannum RSL, we honour some of the men and women who served over the next few weeks.
Keith Lowe SX21282
74th AA Battery Battalion
Keith Lowe was born on May 29, 1923, (pictured right as a soldier and a veteran), and he is the oldest member of the Mannum RSL, joining the branch while on leave in October 1944.
On returning to war in New Guinea and surrounding islands, Keith recounts an interesting story relating to the surrender of Japanese force on Morotai.
Keith reported that a friend, a pilot of a DC3 aeroplane by the name of Fred, approached him and said he was in need of four guys with guns to accompany him on his plane to pick up some Japanese and bring them back to Morotai. The guns being required in case there was trouble!
When Fred and his cargo returned along with the gun party it was discovered that it was the commanding Officer of the Japanese forces in the Pacific and his second in command.
When they alighted from the aircraft they had to pass a squad of specially selected Australian troops especially selected all being over 6-foot 2-inches in height, towering over the Japanese as they approached the commanding officer of the Australians to sign the surrender document. Keith reports that Fred was quite a character and that they both returned to Mannum at the end of the War. He also has the photos of the event.
Keith was involved with the Scouts as a young boy and continued after WWII with the Scouts and Girl Guides. He was a vice president, and organised the speed boat club to have competitions in Mannum.
He also secured the site for the only RSL building owned by the Mannum RSL.
Keith was a Justice of the Peace in Mannum and also acted as the local magistrate.
Battle of Morotai
The battle of Morotai, part of the Pacific War, began on September 15, 1944, and continued until the end of WWII.
The fighting started when US and Australian Forces landed on the south west corner of Morotai, a small island in the Netherlands East Indies which the Allies needed as a base to support the liberation of the Philippines later that year.
The invading forces greatly outnumbered the islands' Japanese defenders and secured their objective in two weeks.
Japanese reinforcements landed on the island between September and November, but lacked the supplies to effectively attack the allied defensive perimeter.
Intermittent fighting continued until the end of the war, with the Japanese suffering heavy loss of life from disease and starvation.
Morotai's development into allied airbases began shortly after the landing and played an important role in the liberation of the Philippines.