At 104 years of age, Alf Carpenter is one of Australia’s oldest surviving Anzacs. He’s lived through two world wars, the Great Depression, 9/11 and now the coronavirus pandemic, but none are as personal to him as the Battle of Crete – which this year marks its 80th anniversary.
Alf’s journey to being an Anzac soldier in the Cretan battle begins at age 18 when he first decided to enlist in Australia’s 56th Battalion Militia Forces in 1934. Although Alf’s parents weren’t happy about him joining the army, he wasn’t letting anyone stop him.
“I enlisted in the army because an uncle of mine enlisted in the army in WWI and I admired him,” Alf, who was born in Wagga Wagga, tells The Greek Herald exclusively.
While the 104-year-old had no idea of the extraordinary challenges that lay ahead of him because of this decision, he never wavered in his resolve to serve for Australia. In fact, he continued to progress up the army ranks and eventually became the Regimental Sergeant Major of the 2/4th Australian Infantry Battalion in 1939.