Tweed mates get together, finally
By NADINE FISHER
AFTER almost 60 years, World War II comrades Jack McCallum and Jack Crozier met up recently and reminisced their days serving in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
Both men were from the Tweed area and volunteered to the RAAF - Jack McCallum from Tyalgum and Jack Crozier from Pumpenbil - but despite living so close to each other, the pair did not meet until in Bournemouth, England during the war in 1943.
Mr Crozier, 83, served as a wireless operator air-gunner from 1941 to 1946 and Mr McCallum, 89, served as a pilot from 1941 to 1946 and both "saw a lot of action" during that time.
Mr McCallum's family ran the Tyalgum store while Mr Crozier's family had a farm at Pumpenbil.
"I remember you could always spot an Aussie overseas and when in Bournemouth I heard there was an Australian there and so we met and found out that we were both from the Tweed area," Mr Crozier said.
"When we came back to Australia I think we met up and had a cup of tea together and we had not met up again until this year," Mr Crozier said.
Mr Crozier said it was through sheer coincidence that they did meet again and it was all thanks to the barber.
"I went in for a haircut and the barber said Jack McCallum had just been in and after trying to get in touch a few times we eventually spoke," Mr Crozier said.
"We wouldn't have known each other - like strangers," he said.
"We still haven't had much time to reminisce."
Mr McCallum, who ran the family Tyalgum Store until his retirement and now lives at Mountain View Retirement Village, said he was happy to catch up with Jack (Crozier).
"We both agree that this is the best part of the world right here in Tweed," Mr McCallum said.
"The year round, you can't beat it here - the climate the location, everything you could want is here," Mr Crozier said.
Mr Crozier, who has three daughters and seven grandchildren, said he now divided his time between Australia and Canada each year.
"I remarried to a Canadian lady and now we try and spend six months over there and six months here," he said.
"I've got family still at Nunderi so we spend time there as well as a property I have at Buderim."
Mr Crozier said he had five bad crashes in the war - "we crashed into a mountain in India, crashed into the cemetery at Gibraltar and one time we were ditched in the sea for about 12 hours where we were picked up by the Germans who had to hand us over to the Portugese and the British smuggled us out on a coal barge".
Mr McCallum, who had two children, six grandchildren and six great grandchildren, said he saw a lot of action and had some close shaves but never an accident.
"I think these wars should never happen and Australia should definitely not be involved in Iraq," he said.
"Bush is another idiot, like Hitler."
Mr Crozier agreed saying wars were an "absolute waste of time, money and lives".
"Every war has been 'the one to end all wars'," he said.
"A lack of understanding between nations, races and religion is the cause of most wars," he said.
"But there is more appreciation and understanding these days with the ease of travel to other countries and the education of other cultures.
"Religion is a harder barrier to break down, but in due course - religion already does not create the same fear as in years passed."