'I had two very good chances of never being born, and I suppose I've always been conscious of the fact. Of course there were more than two, as that's the way life is, but two, even when I was quite a young child, were immediately obvious to me. My grandfather served four years with the AIF during the First World War, and saw action in both Belgium and France. His luck (and mine) held, however, for he was in the artillery, and so had some protection against the wholesale slaughter of trench warfare. My father's Second World War was entirely different. Sent to Darwin when the Japanese were bombing it regularly, he later took part in an amphibious assault on Borneo, and became forward scout in the jungle: at one point he walked over an enemy soldier who was hidden in the undergrowth. Although the Pacific War ended in August 1945, my father could have been killed or wounded during the interval afterwards, as enemy soldiers refused to capitulate and kept on fighting for at least another six weeks. he was finally demobbed in February, 1946.'