War veteran Dennis at Freedom Redland Bay

As part of our Anzac Day commemorations, we’d also like to take a moment to recognise Dennis Wellbelove, one of our residents at Freedom Redland Bay.

Dennis’ family is one built on the back of two World Wars. His father, 2nd Lieutenant JT Wellbelove, served in both World War I and World War II, receiving the Military Cross for rescuing five Canadian troops while under fire during the Battle of the Somme in France.

Dennis himself joined the army as a reservist when he was just 17 years old. At the age of 20, he was called up to serve in the 61st Battalion during World War II.

When it became clear that enemy forces were advancing towards Australia, Dennis’ battalion was sent to Port Moresby in Papa New Guinea to hold defensive lines.

As enemy forces landed on the banks of Milne Bay, Dennis and his fellow soldiers bore the brunt of the attack and were forced back to the air field. Although sustaining heavy casualties, the Allied forces were able to push back the enemy with the help of air support.

Having being successful in New Guinea, Dennis was then sent to Bougainville Island, where ultimately remained until the end of the war.

Dennis speaks humbly of his military service, stating that some soldiers had experienced much worse than he had during their career.

Despite this, he is proud to have served and contributed to the only successful land campaign against the Japanese in World War II.

Lest we forget.

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