A presentation by Gary Traynor

Two Australian men enlisted in the Second AIF.

BRIAN ROBERT WOODS, a young man with his life ahead of him … raised his age well above his 15 years and marched off to war. He fought the Japanese and entered captivity as a 16-year-old boy and was enslaved on the Thai-Burma Railway as a 17-year-old man. With all the advantages of youth, he was better placed to survive this tortuous ordeal.

WALTER BOOTH served in the Great War with the Australian Light Horse. As a 50-year-old he entered the fray for a second time, lowering his age to serve in the AIF once again. He was captured by the Japanese and sent to a remote jungle camp … earning a place for himself in the diaries of Sir Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop.

One lived… one died.

Such was life on the Thai-Burma Railway.

About the Presenter

Gary has been actively involved in the preservation of militaria and research of military history for well over thirty years.

He is very privileged to have worked for several travel agent and trekking companies, conducting tours to battlefields of the Great War, the Kokoda Trail and the Thai Burma Railway. The highlight of his travels encompassed the two major anniversaries commemorating 75 years (in 1990 he witnessed the final pilgrimage of First World War veterans to Gallipoli and in 2017 he was at Kokoda Station with the last gathering of veterans in Papua New Guinea).

Gary has 23 years’ experience with the New South Wales Police Force which provided investigative skills transferable to the battleground. He is also a former infantryman within the Australian Army Reserve, having served with both 4/3 RNSWR and UNSWR.

He has worked at the Australian War Memorial, starting off as a Volunteer Guide and working his way through the galleries, finally winning a contract as Assistant Curator in Military Heraldry and Technology. As such, he has handled many rare and valuable items preserved in our National Collection.

Gary has consulted for Foxtel’s The History Channel (Sir Tony Robinson’s Tour of Duty) where he performed in an “Antiques Roadshow” style role. He was also military advisor for the mini-series adaption of Bryce Courtney’s “Jessica” and theatrical productions on behalf of Legacy Australia. His literary work has been published in a number of historical journals including the Australian War Memorial’s WARTIME magazine, The Shrine’s REMEMBRANCE and INSIDE HISTORY magazine. Gary has also assisted in the Army History Unit’s publication “To Kokoda” and Wiley Publications’ “Kokoda for Dummies” by Dr Peter Williams. He is currently working on the “Kokoda Encyclopedia” with his wing man, Adrian Clack.

However he is perhaps best known as the founder of the ‘non-profit’ organisation MEDALS GONE MISSING which has been returning lost and stolen war medals back to the rightful family since 2008.