Pakenham’s Matthew Moore was awarded a Quilt of Valour ahead of Anzac Day for his war efforts during World War II.
The war veteran counts himself one of the lucky ones to have dodged the bullet of a post in England from which many of his peers did not return.
Born in 1925, Mr Moore had grown up on a 2000-acre farming property near Perth.
He vividly recalled that the first large crop had come in 1930, untimely as the Great Depression set in.
“The price of wheat dropped dramatically, and my father never recovered from that,” he said.
“In ’42, just after Pearl Harbour, we reckoned there was no way Australia wouldn’t be invaded.”
And so, it was ultimately his father who decided Mr Moore would serve in the war, having submitted the paperwork on his teenage son’s behalf.
“My father in all of his financial hardship actually sent my enlistment application – that was the level of fear he and everyone had about the Japanese attacking Australia.
“I thought it was great at the time. I would be paid to see the world.”
Mr Moore was 16 when he joined the Air Training Corps.
He completed a wireless operator and air gunner course that sent him to Ballarat for 10 months and he received his military flying wings and sergeant stripes.
He was posted to England in August 1943, but by chance, he missed the ship. Little did he know that as many as 35 per cent of men in the air crew would not return home from their posting.
Much of Mr Moore’s war service was spent flying back and forth along shipping lanes off the coast from Mallacoota looking for submarines.
Amid the excitement of war, Mr Moore maintains the best thing he ever did in his life was to start a family.
“I met my future wife at a dance in Prahran when I was first posted to Laverton,” he said.
“The best thing I ever did in my life was to marry her. We waited until the war was over so that there was no uncertainty about our future together. I was 20 years old and we married on Australia Day.”
When accepting his quilt from Quilts of Valour Australia at the Pakenham RSL, Mr Moore said he was receiving it not only for his own war efforts but also in honour of his relatives who did not return home from service.
Quilts of Valour represent warmth, comfort, peace and healing for recipients.
The backing is the strength that supports the other layers, representing the recipient’s strength, the support of communities and the nation. Each stitch that holds the layers together represents love, gratitude and sometimes the tears of the maker.
Sue Adamson has been involved with the sewing group for the past three years, and said much of the quilting material was donated.
The group crafts quilts for returned servicemen, nursing homes and premature babies among others.
“We are usually given the material and then do up the patches up at home,” she said.
“The borders are all hand-stitched and we usually sit together as a group for that part and have a cup of tea.”
Mr Moore has lived in Pakenham for the past four years, and pursues photography as a hobby.
Originally published at Pakenham Officer News.