Bruce Guppy, witness to history

BERRY identity Bruce Guppy passed away on Wednesday, January 8 at Nowra, aged 90.

He grew up in the Huskisson area in a family of 11 children and worked on a number of local farms. 

In his youth Mr Guppy was an active member of the Scouting movement and achieved the level of King Scout. 

He did a Scout training course at Pennant Hills Scout Camp in 1937 and attended the 1938 Australasian Scout Jamboree at Bradfield Park on the Lane Cove River.   

War started and Mr Guppy’s military career began in 1941 when he joined the 7th Light Horse Regiment (militia) and trained at Goulburn. 

He said that as a country boy he knew how to ride and along with his five brothers joined the army. 

In 1942 he joined the 2/1 Australian Mountain Battery (AIF) trained as a signaller and given the rank of gunner. 

Horses were replaced with a mechanised unit and in 1942 the unit saw active service in the New Guinea campaigns. 

In 1944 he signed on as a paratrooper with the 1 Australian Parachute Training Centre and trained at Richmond, NSW.  

Over the years he regularly attended Anzac Day marches in Sydney and in recent years at Berry. 

After the war he trained as a carpenter and worked in the Wollongong area.

He married sweetheart Grace Faulks in Berry in 1950, moved to Wollongong, built a house and brought up his family of three children.

In the early 1980s while working at the Port Kembla steelworks he took early retirement as AI&S restructured its workforce. 

With Grace, he sold up in Wollongong, moved back to the Berry area and built another house. 

An active member of his local community, Mr Guppy was a member of the Berry RSL, Show Society and Historical Society, of which he was vice-president for a time.

A keen poultry fancier he was the poultry steward at the Berry Show for many years. 

With Grace they were both active members of the Berry Uniting Church. 

In 1996 Mr Guppy published a collection of poems called Bruce’s Ballads By the Bard from Berry. 

He made headlines in March last year, surrounded by members of his extended family from all over Australia, when he handed to the Australian War Memorial his mother Alice’s ‘Mothers’ Medallion’s. 

He was one of six of the seven boys who served overseas in defence of their country during World War II.

AWM director Brendan Nelson, who received the donation, said it was “poignant reminder of the contribution Australian families had paid” during the war.

He is survived by Marilyn and Ian, Helen and David and John and his grandchildren Michael, Katherine, Ben and Alex.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend a service for Mr Guppy which will be held at the Berry Uniting Church in Albert Street on Friday, January 17 at 2pm.

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