Anzac Day writing scholarship

Robe Primary School student, Raj Legoe was one of two winners of a writing scholarship with his story titled The War Dog.

Robe RSL Club in 2015 started an Anzac Day Centenary school scholarship for Year 7 students at both Robe Primary School and Kangaroo Inn Area School.

Airlie Freer from Kangaroo Inn also won a scholarship. Honourable mentions went to Mason Keane from Robe and Sophie Hurst from Kangaroo Inn.

The War Dog – By Raj Legoe

February 20th 1942

Today I’m heading off to war and will be based in the Malaysian jungle, fighting the Japanese. I’m bringing my German Shepard Rango. Rango is perfectly suitable for the military because he is muscular, strong, fit and very loyal. We live in Adelaide. I’m kind of excited to go to war and fight for my country, but mum is worried and keeps crying, I tell her that I will come back soon and try and write a letter to her each day. I arrive in the Kota Bharu Jungle, my best friend Bob is here too. He is quite short but loves to fight. I start to get a sick feeling in my stomach as I imagine the sharp deafening gunshots in the air and people screaming in terror from the shrapnel striking them. I can smell the vile and disgusting bodies being torn to shreds. What if I don’t make it out alive???

February 25th 1942

Rango and I are so exhausted and can’t function properly. Throughout the past days we have been criss-crossing the jungle mountains, rivers mangroves and swamps moving equipment and heavy artillery. We have been trying to find the Japanese bunkers, which is extremely difficult because they are well camouflaged. We still managed to uncover some of their hideouts and killed them. Unfortunately, Bob has caught malaria, he has a fever and is feeling tired and he is vomiting. We take turns carrying our poor mate.

February 26th 1942

This morning our unit was bombed!!! The last thing I remember before waking up in the medical ward was the piercing screams of soldiers and others. I felt pain and blacked out. It’s now 9.00pm, I open my sore eyes and ask the nurse what had happened? she said “Our unit was bombed and many died, Rango saved your life and many others, he is a hero!

February 28th 1942

It took me a couple of days to remember what had happened on that traumatic day. Rango had dragged us all out in to the medical ward with all his strength and courage as he was also at risk of dying. Rango sensed that the bomb was going to hit so he barked ferociously which alerted soldiers from other units who came rushing over to help. There were body parts flying everywhere, it was chaos! I was devastated to find out that my best mate Bob didn’t make it, he bled to death, the nurse said he screamed in agony as one of his legs had been blown off. Others in my unit were also killed.

March 3rd 1942

I’m still recovering from my severe head wounds. Rango my loyal companion has stayed at my side the whole time I’ve been in the medical ward. Rango has now been asked by the General to help out with the 7th Infantry Division. He will be delivering missions, sniffing down the enemy and attacking if needed. I am a bit apprehensive because Rango won’t be at my side and it is very risky but I think he will be good at this job.

March 10th 1942   

I am shattered! The soldiers from the 7th Infantry Division have returned without Rango. I am in complete shock and want answers. They said that Rango had been brilliant sniffing down the Japanese during the mission. On the last day, he didn’t return to camp and they fear he might have been taken or shot.

March 17th 1942   

The doctor says that I am unfit for duties. I am going home, it will be good to see mum again but sad to leave the war without Rango.

April 10th 1942    

I have arrived back in Adelaide. I am ecstatic to be back in home. It is nice to smell my mum’s fresh roses instead of the putrid stench of dead bodies. I open the door and my mum embraces me with sloppy kiss and tears rolling down her cheek.

April 18th 1942     

I can still picture in my mind, the shocking terror of the war. I’m having nightmares partially about Bob dying and my other mates still fighting.

April 21st 1942

There’s an unexpected knock on the door. I’m home alone, I peak through the window and I spot a wagging tail that I recognize. It’s Rango!!! A soldier has returned him to me, he was found disoriented near a Japanese base. He was rescued and traced back to me. The soldier gives me a letter that says Rango has been awarded a bravery medal for his courage and loyalty and for saving many lives.

Rango is a true hero and I’m glad we are both alive and safe from this terrible war. That will never be forgotten!