Richard enlisted into the Royal Australian Navy on 7 Apr 1941, as an Ordinary Seaman under the name of Walter Leonard Crossing, with the service Number, F3515. The F denotes he enlisted at Fremantle, WA.
He was serving aboard HMAS Voyager when it ran aground on Timor on 23 Sept 1942. His brother, Warwick, was serving with the unit and he proceeded to meet up him, when the navy picked up the crew of HMAS Voyager, he stayed behind with Warwick, effectively deserting from the RAN.
He served with the unit on Timor and he embarked with them, for Australia aboard the Royal Dutch destroyer “Tjerk Hiddes” on either 11 Dec 1942 or 16 Dec 1942, as the embarkation rolls do not differentiate.
He served so well with the unit on Timor, that on arrival in Australia, he was taken back on strength with the Royal Australian Navy and proceeded to Brisbane where he was cleared of desertion and allowed to enlist in the Army, change his name to Richard Crossing, with Service Number QX44084 and posted back to the unit. The QX denotes he enlisted in Queensland. The Navy had no more claim of his service. He reverted to Walter Leonard Crossing on 22 Jun 1943.
After infantry training he embarked for New Guinea on 8 Sept 1943 and joined the unit on New Guinea on 19 Feb 1944, serving as a Trooper in No 8 Section, “C” Troop. He returned to Australia with them aboard “TAROONA” on 3 Sept 1944.
After further leave and reorganization, he embarked for New Britain aboard “TAROONA” on 9 Apr 1945 with the unit as a Trooper in No 8 Sect, “C” Troop. He transferred to 29/46th Infantry Battalion on 4 Jan 1946 and returned to Australia aboard "VITO" on 16 Jan 1946, to be discharged on 19 Mar 1946.
He was entitled to the 1939-45 Star, Pacific Star, War Medal and Australian Service Medal 1939-45, pictured below. He is now also entitled to the Australian Service Medal 1945-75 with a clasp "S.W.Pacific".
Edited by Peter Epps