Each momentous year I have the privilege of remaining on the planet I take the opportunity to thank my father for his contribution to my well-being all those years ago.
To Captain Donald Frederick Beard of the Royal Army Service Corps from his son Private Christopher Donald Frederick Beard of the Royal Australian Engineers much admiration and abiding love and thanks.
My dad served in the Middle East from 1940 to 1945. He was indeed a Lawrence of Arabia character. He was made a Captain almost immediately due to being fluent in French,Arabic dialects and with knowledge of German and Italian.
His RASC unit was put in charge of thousands of captured German and Italian Prisoners. He had to intern them feed them and care for their medical conditions.
To procure food and water he had to travel into the desert to make contact with the nomadic Bedouin tribes. He ate with them and gained their trust.
He also was caught in the trap of the Rommel siege of Tobruk and fought side by side with Commonwealth troops from India, South Africa and Australia.
My dad was a gentleman .. a poet and a writer …and the war left him pretty shattered and with his character weakened. He was a gentle gentleman who found himself in the middle of the brutality of war….
His other great legacy for his son was his unfettered belief in me and the path I had chosen to take.
Both my parents were wildly encouraging to both my sister and I in our artistic endeavors …which in those days for two British migrant kids in the strange land of Australia ..seemed pretty out of reach.
So dad on this Memorial Day week in the adopted land that I’ve grown to love and cherish and that has given me more than all the opportunities I ever wanted ..thank you again…and where ever you are floating around in the Universe come visit me some time …I’d like to give you a subliminal hug≥.and ask you what its like on the other side.
Private Beard (Water Transportation Division RAE 1956-58)
In a time of no war but preparedness..I salute you !
I love you.