Corporal Vincent Egan

NX23717

 

Vince was born in Sydney on the 25 August 1916.

 

On the 31 May 1940, aged 24 he enlisted in the AIF, and was assigned to the 2/5 Australian General Hospital.

 

On the 20 October 1940, aboard the Queen Mary, Vince sailed out of Sydney Harbour, bound for overseas duties.

 

On the 9 March 1941 the 2/5 AGH, established a hospital at Rehovot. This was not quite up to full strength, as many of the staff was sent on detachment to other parts of the Middle East.

 

On the 9 April 1941, the 2/5 AGH left Palestine, for Greece, and three days after landing, the hospital was set up in a pine forest at Ekali, and was fully operational

 

When the Greek Army capitulated, and it was evident that Greece could not be held, all the Female and many of the Male staff were evacuated back to Palestine.

 

This meant leaving behind 167 Men – including 6 doctors, to run the hospital and care for the wounded.

 

On the 27 April 1941, all these people became Prisoners Of War. Vince was one of these.

 

Vince was a POW for nearly five years, and confined in various camps scattered throughout Poland and Germany. He was finally liberated and received his discharge from the Army on the 20 November 1945.

 

With the help of men from the 2/7 th Australian Field Ambulance -- 1st New Zealand General Hospital and the 26 th British Hospital, -- sick and wounded from the remaining battles of Greece and Crete were treated, in all about 2841 patients.

 

In December 1941, the Germans closed the Hospital, and the remaining patients and staff were sent to various POW camps in Poland and Germany.

 

In October 1943, 128 men of the 2/5 AGH were repatriated back to England and Australia.

 

In all, 36 personnel of the 2/5 AGH, still remained in Europe. Again, Vince was one of these

 

Vince remained in Germany until the cessation of hostilities of the European War - and was then transported to England.  He finally returned to Australia, and was discharged from the Army on the 20  November 1945.

 

Between 1940 and 1945, a total of 1400 men and women served with the 2/5 Australian General Hospital, this included ---

 

60 Doctors – 308 AANS (Nurses) – 18 Physiotherapists and 181 AAMWS

 

The 2/5 Australian General Hospital ceased to function in October 1945 – 5 years after its formation.

 

The 2/5 AGH saw service in Armidale – Darwin – Palestine – Greece – New Guinea

Morotai Island -- and Major John Gibson was in attendance at the infamous ‘Cowra Breakout’ on the

5 th August 1944.

 

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The 2/5 Australian General Hospital Association was formed in 1946.

 

Their first Bulletin, dated Friday, 18 th October 1946, lists the following committee members:

President: J.C.Belisario

Secretary: Bill Wallace

Assistant Secretary:  Jack Pomeroy

Editorial: Don Mould

Welfare: Dr. J.A.Murray

Ladies Association: Norma Jolly (Norma Patterson)

 

The turnover of committees seemed to be the norm for quite some time.

 

Then in 1968 Vince Egan was elected as Secretary of the Association, Vince relished in this position, so much so, that he is still occupying this position  in the year 2006, -- this also being the year of his 90 th birthday.

 

Vince was employed by the Australian Gas Light Company, and worked for them for over 40 years.

 

He retired in 1977, and from then on has devoted his time to the welfare of the 2/5 AGH Association and its members.        

 

Vince was very active within the confines of the Association, as both he and Georgina played a major part in the formulation and printing of the Book, “PROUDLY WE SERVED”

 

It was Georgina and Sue Brodziak, who initially “typed up” the original manuscript.

 

The Association could not afford an electric typewriter, so the typing was done on a manual machine

 

For this, Georgina was awarded a “Life Membership” of the Association, as a reward for her dedication and support to the Association and her love and support for Vince.

 

For his services to the Association and returned servicemen and women, Vince was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM)

 

He is very much respected and loved by all his fellow servicemen and women, and their spouses and families.

 

It has been a pleasure and a privilege to know them both.  

 

Acknowledgement:

This information and photos was supplied by Vince Egan in 2005, with permission to copy and reproduce same on the 2/5 AGH Memorabilia Disk and the Unit Website.

© 2/5 Australian General Hospital