Veteran Colin Miller reflects ahead of Remembrance Day 2018

RELAXED: World War Two veteran Colin Miller, of Picton, in his garden. Picture: Joshua Bartlett
RELAXED: World War Two veteran Colin Miller, of Picton, in his garden. Picture: Joshua Bartlett

Remembrance Day brings mixed emotions for Picton war veteran Colin Miller.

The long-time Picton resident served for more than two years during World War II as a leading aircraftsman, specialising in carpentry.

The former digger’s main role was to provide maintenance support and fix issues at bases across Australia and in Papua New Guinea.

The 93-year-old will reflect on his service when he attends Wollondilly’s Remembrance Day commemoration on Sunday.

He will participate in this year’s service by planting a lone pine seedling at Picton Memorial Park in honour of the Battle of Lone Pine during World War I.

Mr Miller said he “was one of the lucky ones” because he never had to fight during the war.

“I was lucky to never be under attack,” he said.

I was lucky to never be under attack. Some people saw a lot of action while others didn't.

Picton war veteran Colin Miller

“Some people saw a lot of action while others didn't. You would go where you were sent.”

Mr Miller wasn’t even 18 years old and working as an apprentice carpenter at his father’s business when he was called up to the war.

He was posted to work at the No 1 RIMU installation and radio tower in Sydney to upgrade maintenance equipment.

Mr Miller stayed there for 10 days before being redeployed to Papua New Guinea.

“The Japanese blasted a nearby town just weeks before I arrived there,” he said.

“I worked at a radar tower and my role was to help convert their transmitter’s range from 150 miles to 250 miles.

“I helped with the flooring, roofing and outside lighting at the tower.”

Mr Miller was redeployed back to Australia, spending months in Townsville before returning to Sydney.

He was then moved to Queensland town Charters Towers where he stayed for the reminder of WWII.

Mr Miller’s main role in Charters Towers was to build pallets to prop up aircraft engines for the Air Force.

He said there was “great relief” when the Charters Towers crew found out the war ended in 1945.

“The place went crazy,” Mr Miller said.

“There was a limit amount of alcohol you could drink. But they took the tops off bottles you were not meant to touch that day.”

After the war, Mr Miller returned to live in Wollondilly.

He met his future wife Joan at a dance in Tahmoor in 1947 and the couple wed four years later.

The Millers have now been married 67 years and have two children and four grandchildren.

Mr Miller continued his carpentry work post WWII and took over the family business after his father died.

He continued to work as a carpenter for about 50 years before retiring in 1997.

Mr Miller has also remained actively involved in the Wollondilly community.

He is a member of the Picton Masonic Lodge, and Picton Rotary and Probus clubs, and was a long-time volunteer for Wollondilly RFS crews and Meals on Wheels.

Mr Miller is also a member of Sydney Legacy and the RSL movement.

"I like to keep active and give back to my community.”

The Picton Anzac Day Committee will host a service at Picton Memorial Park this Sunday from 10.30am.

The service will include the unveiling of a new cenotaph.