Clem Curnow, my Grandfather, was born in 1898 and served in France at the latter end of the 'War to end all wars'.
Upon his return, he wooed and married Mary McDonald.
My father, Clement Alan, always known as 'Alan', was born in 1925,
the first son to a post-World War One marriage and was the eldest of their three sons.
Dad also served his country in war - World War Two; and like his father Clem, he had to have parental dispensation to serve.
He was below the legal age to enlist.
His adventures were many, and these adventures were woven into the stories of my youth.
Better than an iPad and more exciting than a TV, my Dad was, as he so eloquently put it, 'loquacious without being verbose...'.
He loved language and he loved an audience.
I loved his stories.
One of Dad's many, many stories was about this picture being taken on the morning after his 'Birthday Party'.
Somewhere near Port Moresby, in March 1945, it goes something like this:
"While bleeding to keep the world free, I was treated to a celebration by my mates on the anniversary of my birth.
In Port Moresby, well behind the lines, and being restricted to 'one beer, per man, per day, per-haps' we did what had to be done.
We bought all the beer from the non drinkers we could find and had a small, dignified celebration.
I can't remember if the way I felt was from the effects of the 'small, dignified celebration' or the fact I had Malaria at the time..."
Dad looks a bit sheepish in this picture, and he often assured me that it was the Malaria.
Late in 1946, Mary Elizabeth Curnow (nee McDonald) was home, her two youngest sons probably on their way home from school.
Returning soldiers were a common sight in Melbourne after the war, however, she didn't ken the soldier who had walked through the gate of the family home in East Brighton.
Such was the pallor of this man's skin from malaria and jaundice; she didn't recognise her first born son.
When it dawned upon her that this ghost was her son, home from war, she threw her pinafore over her head and ran crying into the house.
Welcome home, Alan Curnow - VX141113, 60th Division, 2nd Australian Imperial Force. Welcome Home.
Dad came home ravaged by Malaria and a tropical infection in his ears that eventually made him deaf.
He also came back with a few hundred stories.
My friends heard those stories often, and all of us hung on every word.
I don't recall us ever tiring of his stories even though there were no 'heroics of battle, with cordite heavy in the air'.
Dad's stories were of mate-ship, camaraderie, boredom; everyday life as a soldier among soldiers.
Even 10 years after his death, my friends, now grown up and scattered across the world, all still remember his stories.
To me Dad's stories were comfortable and reassuring.
They were 'Home'.
I met Dad's Commanding Officer Vic Woolcock, several times over the years, usually on ANZAC Day.
Captain Vic Woolcock was the epitome of a retired military officer.
He was upright, had a perfectly trimmed pencil thin moustache and was always impeccably dressed.
I always addressed him as, "Captain Woolcock", he always addressed me as, "Young man".
He spoke softly and with respect, "for those no longer with us..."
Captain Woolcock also had a sense of humour.
Captain Woolcock assured me that 'almost all' of my Dad's stories were 'almost completely true'.
However, his tone would soften again as he told me, "Your Father and 'His Boys' were the finest men I had ever, or would ever, know..."
While it is fashionable for politicians to pin a Poppy to their page or their lapel to show solidarity with "The Diggers"
I prefer my Dad's disdain for political appropriation of 'Remembrance'.
I choose to remember instead the kids who went, or were sent, to war on our behalf.
I prefer to remember them throughout the year, though, not just on November 11th or on April 25th.
... and today is another day to remember not just the sacrifice and waste of young lives, but of all lives lost in conflict
- Lest we forget.