Eugen Pichurra - German WWII Veteran

Life on the Line tracks down Australian war veterans and records their stories. Every week we also have a bonus episode, where we speak to historians, authors and others in the veterans community. Today's bonus episode is with a German World War II veteran, Eugen Pichurra. Eugen spoke to Alex about Germany in the 1930s, why he joined the army, his incredible wartime stories, atrocities he witnessed, and his reflections on the war. Eugen also served in the West German military for a time, during the Cold War, before migrating to Australia. Thanks go to Oliver Heuthe and Martin Luther Homes for helping to arrange this episode.

#39 Rhys Dowden

Life on the Line tracks down Australian war veterans and records their stories. Today's conversation is with Iraq and Afghanistan veteran, Rhys Dowden. A former member of the 2nd Commando regiment, Rhys saw multiple deployments to the Middle East as an elite soldier. Alex Lloyd spoke to Rhys about training to be a Commando, contact stories and the power of purpose.

Chaplain on the Seas with Rev Dr Gareth Clayton

Life on the Line tracks down Australian war veterans and records their stories. Every week we also have a bonus episode, where we speak to historians, authors and others in the veterans community. Today's bonus episode is with Rev Dr Gareth Clayton OAM. A man of the cloth, Gareth sought to serve his faith by providing guidance to the sailors of Australia's navy. Gareth reminisces on his time in the navy, his role as chaplain, and beyond.

#38 Janine Fabre

Life on the Line tracks down Australian war veterans and records their stories. Today's conversation is with Janine Fabre, formerly of the Australian Army. Janine shared stories of her life behind the camera lens and the lessons she's learned from documenting our troops at home and abroad. Our thanks go to Defence Media for organising the interview.

WarriorU with Bram Connolly

Life on the Line tracks down Australian war veterans and records their stories. Every week we also have a bonus episode, where we speak to historians, authors and others in the veterans community. Alex Lloyd spoke with Bram Connolly, a former Special Forces officer. Bram is now an author, founder of WarriorU, podcaster at the WarriorU Podcast, and a mentor. Alex spoke with Bram about his pursuits in life after service, and all things human optimisation. 

#37 Scott Calvert

Life on the Line tracks down Australian war veterans and records their stories. Today's conversation is with Scott Calvert, an Australian Army veteran who deployed twice to Afghanistan. Scott spoke to Sharon Mascall-Dare about the artillery corps, his Middle East deployments, action in Afghanistan, and the cost the life in uniform can have on the life back home.

Bomber Command with Len Traynor

Life on the Line tracks down Australian war veterans and records their stories. Every week we also have a bonus episode, where we speak to historians, authors and others in the veterans community. Today's bonus episode is with historian Len Traynor. Len is an expert in RAF Bomber Command of World War II. His uncle was a rear gunner on a Lancaster bomber and killed on his 30th operation.

#36 Mark Donaldson VC

Life on the Line tracks down Australian war veterans and records their stories. Today's conversation is with Mark Donaldson VC. During a 2008 deployment to Afghanistan, the former SAS trooper performed a series of heroic actions that earned him the Victoria Cross for Australia - the first Australian to receive a VC in the modern era. Mark spoke to Alex Lloyd about his life growing up, training to be SAS, various deployment stories, the battle that saw him receive Australia's highest military award, life beyond and the meaning of a Victoria Cross.

Frankston Naval Memorial Club with Harry Kime

Life on the Line tracks down Australian war veterans and records their stories. Every week we also have a bonus episode, where we speak to historians, authors and others in the veterans community. Today's bonus episode is with a group of Royal Australian Navy veterans at the Frankston Naval Memorial Club. The club invited Alex Lloyd to one of their Friday night gatherings to speak with its Korean and Vietnam war era veterans about their time at sea. The episode features a few short vox pops, and a longer chat with the club's president, Harry Kime.

 The mine sitting out the front of the Frankston Naval Memorial Club.

The mine sitting out the front of the Frankston Naval Memorial Club.

#35 Mick Sasse

Life on the Line tracks down Australian war veterans and records their stories. Today's conversation is with Lieutenant Colonel Mick Sasse, currently serving in the Australian Army. Mick told Alex about his career and his family's military history, both Allied and German. Mick has deployed to East Timor and Afghanistan.

#34 Antony Greatrex

Life on the Line tracks down Australian war veterans and records their stories. Today's conversation is with World War II veteran Antony Greatrex. The RAAF veteran is the younger brother of the late Barney Greatrex, who our long-time podcast listeners will remember from Season 1. Barney had an epic war – a bomb aimer in Bomber Command, shot down, the only survivor of his Lancaster, eight months fighting with the French Resistance against the Germans, ending in a Legion of Honour in 2016 and a book in 2017. The memory of Antony’s war has always lived a bit in Barney’s shadow. Antony, along with half a million other Australians who put on a uniform, never went overseas to fight. He had a logistical support role – a high-frequency direction finder, or Huff-Duff operator. But after knowing the family some years, Antony invited Alex Lloyd to his home to finally go on the record about his World War II service. 

Reserve Forces Day 2018 with The Lancer Band

Life on the Line tracks down Australian war veterans and records their stories. For today’s bonus episode of Life on the Line, Alex Lloyd attended the Reserve Forces Day Parade - the 20th and final such parade in Sydney. This podcast is a mix of highlights from the parade, including performances by the Lancer Band.

Listen here to the full bonus musical episode with lead singer Elizabeth Smith and the Lancer Band. You can also click to listen to the 2018 ANZAC Day highlights, the 2017 Reserve Forces Day Parade highlights, and Angus Hordern's conversation with Frank Woodhams.

#33 Tracy Smart

Life on the Line tracks down Australian war veterans and records their stories. Today's conversation is with Air Vice-Marshal Tracy Smart AM, currently serving with the Royal Australian Air Force. Tracy has seen a variety of deployments, including the UN mission to Rwanda. Our thanks go to Defence Media for organising the interview.

#32 Peter Jones

Life on the Line tracks down Australian war veterans and records their stories. Today's conversation is with a career navy man, Vice Admiral Peter Jones AO, DSC (Ret'd). Peter served for many years, including commanding the Maritime Interception Operations in the Arabian Gulf. He is now the President of the Australian Naval Institute and has launched the Australian Naval History Podcast.

The Commando's Father with Doug Baird

Life on the Line tracks down Australian war veterans and records their stories. Every week we also have a bonus episode, where we speak to historians, authors and others in the veterans community. Alex Lloyd spoke with Doug Baird, father of the late Cameron Baird VC, MG. Cameron served in the 2nd Commando Regiment and was killed in action during his final tour of Afghanistan in 2013. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for Australia. Doug spoke to Alex about his late son's life, death and legacy.

#31 Dr Dan Pronk Vol II

Life on the Line tracks down Australian war veterans and records their stories. Today's conversation is the second instalment of Sharon Mascall-Dare’s conversation with Dr Dan Pronk, a Special Forces doctor with the SAS and 2nd Commando Regiment. Dan partook in over 100 combat missions with Special Forces. His conversation with Sharon picks up after four tours of Afghanistan, where the reality of combat was taking hold.

Click here to listen to Volume I, before you hear this episode.

#31 Dr Dan Pronk Vol I

Life on the Line tracks down Australian war veterans and records their stories. Today's conversation is with Dr Dan Pronk, a former Special Forces soldier. Dan served with the regular army in East Timor before undertaking four tours of Afghanistan with Special Operations Units - the 2nd Commando Regiment and the Special Air Service Regiment. Dan spoke with Sharon Mascall-Dare about his journey to Special Forces, the trauma of combat and life as an elite soldier. This is the first instalment of a two-part episode.

Click here to listen to Volume II, after you've heard this episode.