Posted by: Bruce | August 16, 2012

A cool story Bro.

A couple of weeks ago I was rummaging through my Mums old photos and discovered these two gems amongst others.

Cool talk, such as bro’s and bra’s and that sort of stuff, isn’t so new it seems. Well perhaps the ‘ bra’s ‘ is but sounds a little odd to me. Who wants to be called a bra or perhaps a singlet anyway?

These two pictures, both in France, were sent to my future grandmother by my  future great-uncle. I think that’s how the naming goes. Going by the uniform and dates, he was serving in WW1 and was around the early twenties in age.

Are they spurs on his boots?

My great uncle’s name is Harry Croker and he sent these two cards to my grandmother, Ruby Croker (brother to sister). They lived in a little country town called Nabiac in New South Wales, Australia. (Although the portrait image is larger than the written image, these are direct copies of the reverse of the portraits).

I don’t know anything of my great uncle Harry, but he was doing his duty for his country and for that, I think he was pretty cool. Cool soldier, cool Bro.

Word for today;     Cool – To make or become cool.

More to come;   same blog time, same blog channel.


  1. Very cool story, Bro. I still use the word “kool” a lot only I spell it with a “k”. That must be left over from the ’70s. These pictures are also very cool. I have several of great grandfathers and uncles that look quite the same. Definite treasures.


    • Thanks. Sounds like you have your own kool stories and photos to think about. Would our past relatives think of science fiction if told their photos would be scanned and posted on the internet for the world to see?


      • I imagine the first thing they would say is, “what’s the internet?” But, yes it would be very sci-fi to them. Depending on the mind bend they could think it was witchcraft or sorcery as well. I’m sure there are some that think that now. Personally, I think it is magic 😉


      • I’m with you. I think its magic too.


  2. This is lovely, Bruce!
    How wonderful it must have felt for you to hold those photos.

    Modern technology is totally awesome, allowing us to communicate the way we do, but it’s also taken away a lot of magic from the world, I think.

    Once upon a time, photographs were rare and treasured things.These days they are mostly viewed on screens unless you’re flipping through an old album.

    Thanks for sharing these with us. It was a cool (and heartwarming) story!


    • Thanks for reading Bri, I’m really glad you liked it. Bruce


  3. I love sepia photographs. They’re a lot more restful on the eyes. I have occasionally seen them in their original frames being sold in Opportunity shops which is sad. Thanks for sharing yours with us.


    • Sepia does have its own quality. Perhaps the warmer colour versus the cooler black and white. The writing on these photos grabbed my attention in the first place. Seeing photos in Op shops does make you wonder how they came to be there. I’m glad you like them. Bruce


  4. Janet’s grandfather Ben Coombe was a light horseman who fought in Galopilli where he killed a turkish soldier and then was seriously wounded in the arm. Ben was evacuated to a hospital in Cairo and then sent back home in a hospital ship after some convalescence in Cairo. On returning to St. Arnaud in Victoria and fully recovered Ben was anxious to join the fight again in World War1 and so he re-enlisted as George Coombe so as to cut red tape. Ben was sent to the Western Front in Europe and once again he was wounded and evacuated to a hospital in Dorset England where he met Elizabeth Hughes who was a nurse. They married in 1917 and returned to Australia where they settled in the small township of Wye River on the Great Ocean Road. After the war Ben worked on the completion of the Great Ocean Roan and much of the work was done by hand. At the start of World War 2 Ben’s only son John Coombe who is Janet’s father enlisted in the army. John was first sent to Torbruk where he fought against the Germans but later he was sent to Singapore and after the fall of Singapore John became a prisoner of war and ended up at the notorious Changi prison for a while and then in a forced labour camp of the infamous Thai -Burma Railway. In the same camp as Janet’s dad was Weary Dunlop who John became friends with. During his 3 and a half years imprisonment John lost over 3 stone of body weight and contracted over many diseases and infections and was sick over 100 times in that period e.g. hJohn may have had malaria over a dozen times. But John was a survivor and very shrewd and was able to survive but getting additional food rations and cigarettes from villagers outside the camps. Sometimes to make smokes John could divide newspaper to make the paper for rollies. Eventually John made it back to Australia on a hospital ship after the end of the war where he was re-united with his sweetheart Joyce Hodgkinson who was Janet’s mum. They married in 1946 and settled in Kennet River on the Great Ocean Road. Although Joyce’s surname was Hodgkinson, Joyce was actually a daughter of Charles Croker who was your great uncle.


    • Wow, this is the stuff of which movies are made Eddie. You have sure done some research. Thanks for this glimpse into the past; it’s very interesting reading.


  5. Janet’s grandfather Ben Coombe was a lighthorse man who fought in World War 1 in Galopilli and then on the Western Front. He was wounded there and sent to England where he met Janet’s grand mother Elizabeth. Janet’s dad John was in Torbruk then sent to Singapore. After the fall of Singapore we became a prison of war, first in Changi then in a forced labour camp on the Thai-Burma railway. Weary Dunlop was the commander of that Camp. After the war John married Joyce who was a daughter of Charles Croker your great uncle.


    • That’s one tough human being.


  6. With Anzac Day looming once again it will be time again to honour all those that fought in World War 1 and World War 2 and other conflicts as well and particularly those who gave their lives.This year Janet and I will remember Harry and Whyllie Croker. We only found out about Harry and Whyllie in the last 2 months and also Robert but Robert was one of the lucky ones to survive. Lest We Forget.


    • You have the last word on this one Eddie.


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