Super Sid


Story Details

We know him as Super Sid, the fiercely proud Redlegs supporter in the crash helmet raising money for kids charities. But 65 years ago he was just one of thousands of Aussie soldiers suffering at the hands of the Japanese.

Almost 3000 Australian soldiers died building the infamous Burma Railway in horrific conditions, being forced to work 13 hour days.

"You'd work till, oh, seven at night: real dark," says Sid, "then go home, walk a mile and have ya tea and by the time you get to bed it was time to get up."And for those who could stay alive, very little tucker came their way.

But no matter how many years pass, for this 90-year-old South Aussie war hero, those memories are still very vivid�more so when Anzac Day approaches.

"Super Sid" says he's now a little too slow to join the Anzac Day march, but he's mustering up some energy for a special Anzac wish.

Sid was one of those assigned to bury the dead�his mates�many of whom were too tall for the size of the graves ordered dug by their Japanese captors.

"See, when he went in he'd be like that wouldn't he? And the Japs would push him with a stick or their bloody foot to put down the grave and straighten you out, and he'd go down like that. If you worried over it, you got real crook and made others crook, and you had to be tough," he said.

The dastardly deeds were officially regarded as war crimes. Sid says it was a living hell, made worse by the cruelty handed out.

"It was murder all the time, and you didn't know when you'd get it yourself. Yeah, I call it murder and a dirty way to do it too."

But Sid survived the hell hole they called the "death railway' and made it onto a ship headed home.

"Yeah, but we didn't know we'd made it till we really got off and got into our own house and our own bed. Then we said: 'we've made it'. [How did you feel then?] Oh, real good."

Sid has always been proud to be a soldier and was a familiar sight at the Anzac Day march.

These days Sid spends most of his time at the Summerhill aged care facility at Uraidla, in the Adelaide Hills. He's just turned the big 9-0, but doesn't feel it.

Much of his life during peace time has been spent collecting money door to door for kids in sport. Threepence here, sixpence there back in the pre-decimal days. He never used to ask for much more.

"'Oh, give him 2 bob and get rid of him�let him get on his way', someone would say. There'd be four or five people in the house and they'd all chip in two bob. And that's the way I got it," explained Sid.

And all those small donations have added up to half a million dollars. And tomorrow night his favourite footy club, Norwood, has invited Sid to toss the coin at the Anzac Day night match between the Redlegs and Souths.