WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers please be advised that this post contains names of deceased persons.

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To help commemorate the 75th anniversary of “VP Day”, the end of the Second World War, the Shrine of Remembrance Melbourne invited Megan Spencer (maker of award-winning podcast From A Whisper To A Bang!) to a present trio of video interviews for the project World War II At Home: Response, Reflection & Rejuvenation.

Funded by the Victorian Government, the project is a partnership between the Shrine, the National Trust, Open House Melbourne and the Centre for Architecture Victoria.

For the series Megan interviewed two living World War II veterans – LAC Harold Mackinlay “Mac” Ford, 95 (Airforce) and Sub Lieutenant James “Jim” Paizis, 95 (Navy) – and Aunty Glenda Humes (Gunditjmara/Jawoyn), who was born just after WWII in 1947.

Aunty Glenda Humes. Photo: Rory Noke/Podbooth

Aunty Glenda is eldest living daughter of the late Captain Reginald Saunders (Gunditjmara), Army, one of Australia’s most famous soldiers and the first-known Aboriginal soldier to be commissioned as an officer.

Born in Victoria, each speaker reflects upon their personal experiences before, during and after the war.

It is a window into living history and a chance to walk in the shoes of three people with different points of view on how the war affected the country – and the world – at that time.

“It was just such a privilege to be able to listen to people who have lived through – and have insight into – such a significant moment: the end of World War II ,” said Megan in an interview about the project on Radio Adelaide’s Service Voices.

“With everything we know about it, and everything that came with it: the atrocities, the hardships… Living through that, working through that – the world was a very different place then. So having that intimate ‘ear in’ to what that experience was like, from three very different perspectives, I just found it amazing”.

Jim Paizis & Megan during the interview. Photo: Rory Noke/Podbooth

“It was a gift for me to listen to, so I hope it’s a gift for other people to listen to as well”.

The videos will stay online for 12 months on the World War II At Home website. Extended audio versions of each will also be hosted on the Shrine’s website, as podcasts.

Watch the 3 videos at these links:

The extended podcast versions (audio) of Mac Ford’s interview and Aunty Glenda Humes’ interview are online now. The podcast of Jim Paizis’ extended interview will be published on September 20, 2020. (Access them all, at this link.)

With thanks to Mac Ford, Jim Paizis, Aunty Glenda Humes, their families, the Shrine of Remembrance and Podbooth. In remembrance of all those affected by war.

  • Visit World War II At Home for more information
  • Listen to Megan’s interview on Service Voices.
  • Visit the Shrine of Remembrance website
  • Feature image credit: ‘WWII At Home’ website.

A freshly enlisted Mac Ford, pictured on the ‘WWII At Home’ website.