Sunday, 6 April 2014

Sepia Saturday – Grandfather’s Dangerous WWII Training

c1940 anti-aircraft training at Bonegilla
This post continues on with a study of my grandfather, Sergeant Keith Leo GRENFELL (1911-1944).

I’m linking the Sepia Saturday photo prompt (related to dangerous activities) to his training at two WWII camps – Bonegilla (near Albury) and Darley (near Bacchus Marsh).

I’ve already written about some of his military service, and the 150 mile Bonegilla march (with the fabulous old film clip - sepia and crackly).

Here are some photos I found on Trove from the two training camps that I consider to be ‘dangerous training’. 

It was certainly dangerous training for my grandfather as he was wounded during one training and never really recovered. 
But that is a story for another day.

Here are some fabulous photos from the Argus Newspaper Collection of Photographs, State Library of Victoria.

c1940 training with a medium machine gun at Bonegilla

We don’t have many photos of my grandfather, so imagine my excitement when I was flicking through the photos and came across one among the Physical Training group.

What do you think – is the fifth from the back my grandfather?

I’ve included a photo from our own collection taken just a few years earlier for comparison.

c1940 training with a medium machine gun at Bonegilla
c1939 Learning the correct way to throw hand grenades at Darley
c1939 Climbing over and through barbed wire fences at Darley
c1940 Learning how to disarm a soldier at Bonegilla
2nd AIF  NCOs training, at Darley. Is it Keith, 5th from the back?
Keith with his son (my Dad) 


  1. Yes, it certainly looks like him, doesn't it. How exciting.

  2. Oh, well done Jackie. And I think you might be right with the ID. What a fit-looking bunch.

  3. To me, the most dangerous part of the training is learning how to throw a hand grenade. I'm willing to bet that at some point, they were throwing live grenades! And yes, I agree with Brett & Boobook - the ears & the hairline seem to fit.

  4. Another vote for Keith -- exciting find.
    These pictures are quite interesting because I really don't know what training involves (except what I see in movies). But those guys developed some fine muscles!

  5. How interesting! Your photos are beautiful, and tell quite a story as well.

  6. I always wanted to throw a grenade like a cricket ball - it would have gone further,

  7. There's certainly a likeness - what a lot of muscle on display!

  8. A fine set of training photographs. Good post!

  9. Hard to be sure, especially when the men are grimacing with the effort of flexing their muscles, but I'm not much good at photo ID. Very interesting.

  10. This was a good story and neat spin on the theme. It's surprising what you can discover in old archives.