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Life of a Royal Marine who met the Beatles!

“I’m lucky to be alive.” That’s the first thing Bill from our Mandurah Village says as we sit down for a chat. Given I know a little bit about his background in the military, I’m not surprised that he came close to death – but he quickly clarifies that this was one year before he had joined the Royal Marines.

“It was 1944 and I was at the theatre when a bomb dropped through the ceiling and landed four rows behind where I was sitting. For some reason, it didn’t explode.”

The following year Bill joined the Royal Marines and worked his way through the ranks as he travelled the world. Along the way he picked up his fair share of stories, so many that it is hard to capture them all in one article.

From Britain Bill travelled to Germany, where, as he later found out, they were there so their ships could be sunk to stop missiles in action. Two of Bill’s top memories are his time at Buckingham Palace in the royal guard and his entire stint in the United States where he was the only Royal Marine.

“It was a fantastic experience. I was a Sargent Major and would travel around the country – they even supplied a plane for me! I got to visit the Pentagon, and it was there that I found out about the true purpose of our post in Germany.”

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Just as I was in awe of Bill’s endless tales, he dropped a bombshell:

“I met the Beatles as well. Did I mention that yet?”

He had not! Bill was living on Hayling Island which is off the south coast of England, when John Lennon purchased a supermarket on the island. They would then visit quite often, and Bill proudly shows me a few photos he had taken himself of one of the world’s most famous bands.

What a story! It was exciting to meet Bill and get a small peek into his life before he immigrated to Australia in 1961. We’ve shared quite a few interesting stories from our residents, check our previous entries for more!