Erin Vink’s great-uncle John Henry Sharpe was a remarkable man. He enlisted for service in the Second World War at Emerald, Queensland, in 1942 at the age of 35, but he had a secret.
“That’s not actually the name his family knew him by,” Erin said.
“His name was William Hanson or Davis – he used both – and he grew up on the Aboriginal mission in Brewarrina with his sisters, but he went to the pub one night and got into a fight and thought, ‘Oh no, I’ve got to leg it, I’ve got to get out, they’re going to catch me,’ so he moved to Rockhampton and changed his name and started a new family there.
“He enlisted during the Second World War and went to Tobruk as a reinforcement after the siege. He was also in North Africa at El Alamein and went to New Guinea and Borneo for a little bit as well, but he was lucky; he came back in one piece.”