World War II veteran Len Pomeroy remembers riding trams filled with recruitment posters in 1941, and now Terang RSL will recreate that memory after securing one of Melbourne’s iconic green trams.
When the Victorian Government announced in May that it was giving away 134 W-Class trams, Terang RSL president Steve Bloxham decided it would make a great addition to its museum.
Mr Bloxham plans to fill the tram with recruitment posters and other war memorabilia when it arrives some time in the next six months.
“I thought it would be a great idea to have a World War II recruiting tram,” he said.
For Mr Pomeroy, it will be a journey back through time to 1941 when he would ride through the streets of Melbourne on trams when on leave from the training camps – a rarity for troops.
“When we were on leave, we just went from place to place on trams, that was the most popular way of getting around Melbourne during the war years,” he said.
Those trams were filled with war-time recruitment posters that would read: “Buy war bonds”, “Going places, how about you join RAAF air crew”, “I Want You” and “Join Up”.
Mr Pomeroy, who was born in Terang, enlisted in 1941 and served as a field sapper in Papua New Guinea for almost two years.
“A field sapper works with the infantry in the field. If you come across booby traps, mines, anything else like that, or in landings, anything you have to move, barricade, to get the infantry through,” he said.
Mr Bloxham said the tram would be delivered and footings put down in the RSL car park free of charge.
“I’ll be asking the community groups and tradies to volunteer their time and materials to put a roof over it because it’s going to be for the community, not just the RSL,” he said.
Mr Bloxham said the tram would make the RSL an iconic place to visit on the region’s tourist trail.
“It’s shaping to be something unique in the district. Where else is there going to be a tram in the Western District?” he said.
“We’re excited that it’s coming here and it just builds on our memorabilia collection here. It all ties in with the hall and the World War I dugouts I’ve got here.”
Mr Bloxham has also just returned from a tour to France and Belgium where a group of Terang RSL sub-branch members visited the graves of about 30 people from the Terang region who died in World War 1.
Bagpiper Liam King played at each of the grave sites that were visited during the pilgrimage of remembrance.