A Daughter’s Tribute to Verdun John Stanley BOORER – 2/33rd Battalion AIF

 My father was born at Stroud, NSW and at the time he enlisted was the eldest of nine children. He left school at the age of thirteen from Coolongolook Primary, to help support the family. The family had a dairy farm and dad worked on the farm but also cutting logs in the timber industry. They were often not paid for their work and they bartered for food or favour within the community of Coolongolook.  

A few of the local boys enlisted on 28.8.40 the day after dad’s 24th birthday. He wrote to his girlfriend Mable every day while in Australia and her name appears on his pay sheet as a benefactor. 

IMAGE RIGHT: NX47329 Private Verdun John Stanley BOORER, 2/33rd Infantry Battalion AIF.

After training in Australia the group was split and his good mate “Jack” became a POW in Changi.  He is alive as I type.  Dad was in the 2/33 AIF which was part of the 7th Division called ‘Silent Seven” who fought in the Middle East.  His campaigns were Suez Canal and Syria.  I have his records from the Australian National Archives and War history.  W. Crooks have written a book on the 2/33rd that makes me wonder if Changi was better or worse place to be?  I hope I never answer this question.

Dad’s first gunshot wound was on the 10.11.42  (in his left hand; two weeks recovery; back fighting)  near Gona, Owen Stanley Ranges/Kokoda.  As is normal the hero’s of wars do not talk of the atrocities and he didn’t.  The second gunshot wound he received was into his left femur and the bullet lodged in the right thigh.  The date of this injury has never been confirmed however family members have said he had to drag his body through the jungle for days before finding medical support.  He would have had full knowledge that the Japanese took no prisoners and that the Aussie’s were told to leave their injured.  His fellow soldiers told him later that they had put up a cross with his name on it. They thought he was agonna!

In his post war records, I have read where he was ordered to kill two prisoners of war.  Along with the nightmare that war leaves you with, he had this guilt; shame; who knows what he had to live with.

He was named after an uncle that fought at the Battle of Verdun in WW1 and the uncle’s name was John so he got that name also.  A cousin of dad’s was in the “light horse in WW1”. I guess in that era it was a proud tradition or maybe “son’s of adventure”.

After the war he had many months in hospital with callipers to support the left leg which was 3″ shorter. There were many more operations and prosthesis to assist him walking.  He never was without pain.

He married my mother and lived with my grandmother.  This situation was not ideal for a newly married couple.  Finding work was hard and he could not work in the timber industry or on the land that he loved.  He worked in many jobs and finally had long employment at the Artificial Limb Company in Sydney.  My parents bought a house with a war service loan in Sydney’s west.

Dad found comfort when drinking with mates on Anzac day, at the races, after work and on the weekend.  The drink was his sanity. The family could not take away the pain like the grog did. Mum did not understand who could?  They divorced after 10 years of marriage and two daughters later.  Veteran affairs cut dads pension and said “he had no effect of his war service”.  This was sad for him for so many reasons.

Recently I made a request for his name appeared on the Nabiac Cenotaph as he had been left off by mistake.  As I see his name honoured at Nabiac with his childhood mates, I can’t help but wonder what all of our lives would be without the war.

Lest we forget my dad, Verdun John Stanley BOORER aka BON BOORER – Your daughter Janette Jones 

IMAGE RIGHT: The medal set awarded to Private Verdun John Stanley BOORER comprising of:- the 1939-1945 Star, Africa Star, Pacific Star, Defence Medal, 1939-1945 War Medal and the 1939-1945 Australia Service Medal.


  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter

About gary

Gary Traynor is the volunteer Administrator of the Militaria based website MEDALSGONEMISSING. The aim of this "NOT FOR PROFIT" website is to reunite families, with lost War Medals and other items of militaria. Anything from medals to items of uniform. What Gary refers to as their "lost heritage". He has been actively involved in the Militaria world and researching of Military History for well over 30 years. As a result, Gary also conducts valuations and offers advice on all items of militaria. He has acted as advisor to a number of television and Foxtel productions; including Sir Tony Robinson's "Tour of Duty" series which featured on the History Channel. Gary is a field historian and conducts tours to Gallipoli, The Western Front, Kokoda and many other major battle sites around the world. He was a member of the Australian Army Reserve (UNSWR & 4/3 RNSWR) and served for 23 years with the New South Wales Police Force. He is perhaps the only person who has been employed at the Australian War Memorial in all three capacities .... as a volunteer, part time and full time employee .... starting as a qualified tour guide, working in the public galleries as an Information Assistant and finally Assistant Curator in Military Heraldry & Technology. Medalsgonemissing is a website that will assist you in locating your family's lost war medals and other awards. If you have an ancestor who served in any of the British Commonwealth Armed Services at any time - and whose medals are lost/stolen or simply missing....then so long as the medals are out there - this site will help you to locate them. However the site also contains articles of interest in relation to Military History, War Memorials & Uniforms / kit. Please explore our website as there is sure to be something of interest to you.
This entry was posted in Honour Roll - Australian Stories. Bookmark the permalink.
  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter

21 Responses to A Daughter’s Tribute to Verdun John Stanley BOORER – 2/33rd Battalion AIF

  1. Janine Maddern says:

    A moving tribute from a daughter who never knew the hardships her father endured throughout the war and beyond..How wonderful to pursue his life to feel and be a part of it..Well done Janette your Dad wouldve been so very proud of you.

  2. Breenda Cannon says:

    Well done Janette,on your research. It is such an eye opener to actually learn the real story,and as you say to wonder how life would have been without the war? Today on Father’s Day, and every day, Lest We Forget.

  3. iain mumford says:

    Hi Janette,
    Thank you for posting your dads story, I lost my father today (14/8/11) aged 92 and reading this stuck a note. My dad was also in the 2/33rd 7th Division and probably spent much of his service in the same locations as your dad.

    Hope life is good to you and thankyou.

    Iain Mumford

  4. Matt Sloan says:

    Hi Janette,
    Thank you for you dad’s story.
    My grandfather was a Captain of the 2/33. Unfortunately he died of cancer 10 months after I was born, so I never had a chance to get to know him.

    I too have a copy of “The Footsoldiers” and I am thankful that Bill Crooks took the time to write it so the rest of us could have a small window into what these men endured on a day to day basis.

    I am very interested in trying to make contact with other family members of the 2/33 so that we can hopefully share photos, resources and pool together to learn more about our family members. Unfortunately these days there is no longer a 2/33 Battalion Association to liaise through. I recently even made contact with the nephew of one of the flight crew aboard USAAF B-24-D Liberator “Pride of the Cornhuskers” that crashed into the 2/33 truck line in 1943.

    If you would like to make contact with me please feel free to email me at xplosiv@internode.on.net


  5. Mary Steenson says:

    Hi Matt

    The 2/33rd Association still does exist. They can be contacted at
    2/33rd Association GPO Box 5488, Sydney 2001
    There is also a magazine called Mud & Blood
    There are hundreds of photos on the net. Type 2/33rd battalion in google search.
    Regards Mary

  6. Matt Sloan says:

    Hi Mary,
    Thank you for your post. After my initial post I was given the contact details of the association from the Army museum in Bandiana. It was great to talk with a couple of the heroes of the 2/33 and best of all for me was the fact that both of the gentlemen I spoke with knew and remembered my grandfather. It all started from finding my grandfathers association lapel badges and an old issue of Mud & Blood that sent me on my search.
    I am really glad you sent me the address again though because I had several written down from the conversations I had, and wasn’t 100% sure of the correct one.
    Thank you once again Mary.
    Regards Matt

  7. Geoff Watkins says:

    I have just come across the website and have more than a passing interest in the 2/33. My dad is an “original” of the battalion, which was formed in England, 1940. I believe him to be only one of two left of the originals, the other being Murray Sweetapple in NSW. I hope to travel to Gona later this year to mark the 70th anniversary of my dad being seriously wounded, fortunately not by one of their devasting woodpecker machine guns. I have recently written the complete story of my dad’s war service. If anyone wants to have a read, give me a yell.

  8. gary says:

    Hello there Geoff, thank you for sharing that with us. I am afraid that the entire 25th Brigade is hardly remembered for their efforts and sacrifices on the track. But it is only because people hear the commonly related stories and not enough is written about units, such as the 2/33rd. I would love to read what you have written. I work at the Australian War Memorial, so please look me up if ever you pay a visit. Yours gratefully. Gary Traynor (Administrator)

  9. Mary Steenson says:

    To Geoff Watkins I would love to read about your dad’s war service.

  10. Johnston Bradley Ross says:

    The Silent Seventh.
    My late father was Harry Ross Johnston SX547 (Capt) enlisted Broken Hill NSW ’39 and like many passed on too early.
    My sister and I hold pay books service, records etc/uniform photos, etc which my late mother held.
    He did discuss much about it all and as a veteran I now understand.
    I saw active service in South Vietnam -and have a son who is a serving member of the Australian Defence Force.

    Yours Aye
    Brad J

  11. gary says:

    Thank you Brad, you certainly belong to a family that can hold their heads high. Which unit was your father with? It is always something which amazes people, when they find out that men who enlisted from Broken Hill, generally ended up with a “SX” number. Kind regards Gary Traynor (Administrator)

  12. Anne lingard says:

    Hi Janette,Lest we forget. from Anne Lingard Daughter of a 2/33.

  13. gary says:

    Hello Anne. Thank you for your comment. Are you aware that there are moves for a contingent of 2/33rd Battalion descendants to attend Port Moresby next year for the 70th Anniversary of the fatal air crash which had a devastating death toll on the battalion in September of 1943. If you would like to hear more about this event, please contact me on email: customerservice@medalsgonemissing.com Yours in commemoration. Gary Traynor. Administrator.

  14. Anne lingard says:

    Just asking if the Mud & Blood, is still being printed or not? I use to remember when Dad, got his copy. I always loving read the copy.


  15. gary says:

    Yes Anne, it still is in publication. Please contact me on email customerservice@medalsgonemissing.com and I will get you in touch. Kind regards. Gary Traynor (Administrator)

  16. Anne lingard says:

    70 years of Kokoda, Lest we forget

  17. Janette says:

    Hi Geoff,
    I would love to read what you have written. How can I arrange a copy?

  18. gary says:

    Hello Janette. I had the privilege to walk the Kokoda Trail with Geoff in November this year (2012. It was great to hear his father’s stories of the 2/33rd Battalion whilst walking on the ground where it all happened. I will pass your message onto Geoff and I am sure that he will be happy to share this with you. Kind regards. Gary Traynor (Administrator)

  19. Tracey Harwood says:

    Hello Janette
    I am on the hall commity at Coolongolook and we are doing research on the war honour roll at the hall, Neryl Gordon has photos of your dad, if you are interested please contact me

    regards Tracey

  20. kym says:

    Hello Janette.
    My dad was also in the 2/33rd 7th division.His name is Cecil John Byrnes. My darling dad passed away on the 4th July 2011 being 90 years old. I am going to march for my dad this thursday as i dont think there are many, if any of those wonderful men left. It would be great if other family members could march on this day as well. God bless.

    Regards, Kym Byrnes.

  21. daphne anlezark says:

    A lovely page, my dad was in the 2/33 as well wonder if they knew each other? Walter anlezark

Leave a Reply