Michael Peter LEWIS, known as Mike, was interviewed by Margaret Dawson for the Busselton Oral History Group (Inc) on 4th of October 2014. It is one of a series of recorded interviews with ex-service personnel funded by Lotterywest to celebrate the Anzac Centenary.
Michael was born in Busselton in 1982 and grew up on a farm at Carbunup with his parents, Wally and Dawn Lewis and his three older brothers.
He attended Vasse Primary School, MacKillop Catholic College and Busselton Senior High School.
Michael had a high regard for Bob Anstey his high school army cadet instructor and this influenced Michael to enlist in the British Army with the view to becoming a paratrooper.
He enlisted in June 2000 after working for a few months as a rouseabout in a shearing team near Esperance. The term of enlistment was for four years but Michael served for almost five.
The training in the paratroopers was very rigid and tough and Michael talks about the various places where he trained. He was assigned to 9 Platoon, C Company 3 PARA. He then moved to D Company a Support Company and ended up in the Assault Pioneer Platoon.
In 2003, Michael was sent to the war in Iraq, first landing in Kuwait. After a few weeks of training they moved into Iraq and headed for the Rumaylah Oilfields which they were to capture.
He talks about the debris and unexploded ordinance still littering the countryside left over from the First Gulf War and how the local villagers had many weapons which they had salvaged from the debris.
He describes patrolling and the weapons, ammunition and supplies that each man carried. The conditions were rough and many of the men had dysentery but were unable to change their uniforms for the length of time that they were on patrol, a few weeks at a time.
When Michael’s company entered Basra they expected a lot of resistance but this did not happen as it had to the first companies that had that entered the town.
Michael’s term in Iraq was between three and four months. He says that he saw the best and worst of humanity there.
On his return to England he spent 12 months in the army before returning to Australia in 2005 and found it difficult to settle down.
Michael lives on his farm at Carbunup and is employed as a medic in the mining industry in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.