Robert Paske EVANS, known as Bob, was interviewed by Margaret Dawson for the Busselton Oral History Group (Inc) in December 2013. It is one of a series of recorded interviews with ex-service personnel funded by Lotterywest to celebrate the Anzac Centenary.
Bob was born in Kelleberrin, Western Australia, on the 13th of April 1923, one of six children, to William and Annie Evans, nee Paske. Bob’s parents were farmers near Kelleberrin then later moved to a property near Doodlakine.
In 1941 he enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy and spent a few months training in Fremantle. He was stationed at Port War Signal Station on Rottnest Island.
From there he went to the naval training depot at Flinders Bay then transferred to Rushcutter’s Bay where he trained in radar operations.
On completion of his training Bob was assigned to HMAS Australia and along with other warships, HMAS Canberra and HMAS Hobart, was assigned to the United States 7th Fleet and sailed to the tropics near the Solomon Islands. Part of the fleet was engaged in the Battle of Savo Island but Bob’s ship, the Australia, was outside the battle zone.
He was assigned to the HMAS Launceston to undertake mine sweeping off the Western Australian coast.
Bob joined a Q class destroyer, the HMAS Quadrant based in Darwin and they sailed north to ferry home Australian troops from the Middle East.
He married Agnes Burrows who was born in Queensland and had two children, Paul and Annie.
Bob became active in local community affairs on retirement. He has awards from the RSL for 50 years’ service, an Australia Service Order for Service to the Community, and a Local Government award.
Bob tells of the meaning of Anzac Day to him and how important it is to keep up this tradition.