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A gift from a friend

July 19, 2008

Just yesterday a good friend of mine gave me a gift. A gift that I will treasure, and if you could allow a little indulgence I will tell you a story about how they don’t make things like they used to.

The friend is Ed Simmonds and along with his wife Liz they would have to be one of the nicest couples I have ever had the pleasure of calling my friends. Anyway back to the story about the gift, It is a wrist watch and that’s it in the picture below.

Wrist watch that survived world war 2
Photo: Craig Williams

Lets hear Ed’s brief description of the watch.

The Wrist Watch

When I enlisted in the RAAF at the end of 1941, having been on the RAAF Reserve for about six months, my parents gave me this watch for my 21st birthday, even though that was two years away.

My father was a leading hand millwright on a weekly wage of slightly less than seven pounds whereas the watch cost about eight pounds.

I went to Darwin towards the end of 1942 but the leather wristbands did not last long in the humid climate. To replace the them a mate gave me part of a monel cowling from a Jap aircraft downed nearby. So I made a metal wristband in two parts which clipped together . This was used until it wore out the pins on the watch. Luckily we had a good welder at No.1RIMU and he welded two pins onto the watch case so that being back in civilization I could revert to using a leather band.

The watch survived the tropics, high intensity magnetic fields and high radio frequency electromagnetic fields while I served for four years as a radar mechanic. I got a new watch about 1950.

Ed Simmonds

PS. When the watch was wound it ticked over straight away, not having been wound for something like 25 years. Given that this watch is almost 70 years old and it survived the rigours of world war 2 service, they sure don’t make things like they used to!


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