“That I will gladly do sir, I am just thankful that it has been found, after such a long time, it is truly a miracle. Mr Kendrik, may I have your contact details, as I wish to be in contact with you in a week or so,” the jeweller replied.
Dad gave the jeweller his mobile phone number, before shaking all our hands and leaving, Constable in here please,” the senior sergeant called, “I will leave you to deal with what you need to do, and we can be contacted on this number.
We are currently here in Hedland on holidays, while we decide what to do about the mess the escapee left behind at our homestead, so we will be in town most of the time,” Dad said. “By the way I heard what happened with Sergeant Brooks when you took him on a joy ride,” the superintendant said.
“I would rather avoid that man, he reminded me that we were at the same high school in Broome, seven years ago, and although I said to him I didn’t remember him, I did remember him all to well. He was the school bully, who loved tormenting and bullying younger students like myself, so the joyride of barrel rolls was my way of getting back at him for what he did back then, although, I never told him that is why I did it,” I said.
All three police officers burst out laughing, when they heard me say that, “My wife said Jexon was very naughty, but the look on his face as he staggered into the homestead was a hoot,” Dad added, and the officers continued to laugh, as we just stood there smiling, remembering that day.
“Thank you young man, I haven’t had a good laugh like that in a long time,” the superintendent said before we said goodbye, and we were escorted back to the front and out of the building. Back in our vehicle with Dad in the driver seat, he turned to me.
“Now what are we going to do with those other items we found, you do realise that the metal things are the dog tags of the service men who didn’t return,” Dad said to me, “No, I didn’t think about that, I was more interested in the other two items we found,” I replied. “I think we need to speak to someone in Canberra about them, as it may be still classified information,” Dad said.
Once back at the house, we headed for the study, closing the door behind us, and I retrieved the number of the person I spoke to earlier and handed it to Dad. “Department of Defence, DIO, Major AK Hill” Dad said reading out what I had written, “What does DIO mean?” Dad asked, “Defence Intelligence Organisation,” I whispered in reply.
“Since you made contact with them already, I will leave it up to you to talk to them,” Dad said handing back the paper to me, and I dialled the number on my phone. “Major AK Hill, DIO please,” I said when the call was answered and I waited as the call was patched through.
“Major Hill, this is Jexon Kendrik speaking, I have an important matter to discuss with you,” I said when the Major finally answered the call. “Hello there, this is quite a coincidence, I arrived in Perth this morning, and the call had to be patched through to Campbell Barracks. Where are you and I could possibly come to you,” the Major said.
“Port Hedland sir, the family is on holidays, call me on this number when you get here, and we can go from there,” I replied, “Right, see you tomorrow, bye,” the Major said before ending the call suddenly. “He is at Campbell Barracks, Perth, he is flying up here tomorrow,” I informed Dad, “Well I guess we will just have to wait till then,” Dad responded, and we exited the study, where we found my siblings all in the lounge watching a movie, and Mum was preparing lunch.
We were half way through lunch when my mobile rang, and when I looked at who the caller was I jumped up and dashed to the study before answering the call.
“Jexon, can you be at the Army Depot in Port Hedland by 2 pm?” the Major asked me, “Yes sir, what is the address?” I asked, and I was given the address which I memorised, and I was told that I would be expected, and to have some form of ID with me, before the call ended, just as Dad walked in.
“I have to be at the Army depot here in Port Hedland at 2 pm today, not sure why,” I whispered, “Ok, I will distract everyone, and you can take my vehicle,” Dad replied before we returned to the table. “How about the family go to the aquatic centre after lunch,” Dad suggested, “Not me Dad, I want to have a lay down after lunch,” I said, “Ok the family minus one,” Dad added, and everyone else agreed.
After lunch, we all helped to clean up, before everyone went to get changed ready for an afternoon at the aquatic centre, while I headed to the study, and I sat at the desk and looked up the latest news on the internet, to see if the news of the find has been reported yet, which it hadn’t.
Once the family had all gone, I grabbed my wallet and keys, and headed off to the address given to me earlier, which is the industrial area near the port. A man in an Army uniform was standing inside the gate as I pulled into the driveway, and he partly opened the gate and walked up to the vehicle.
“My name is Jexon F Kendrik, I believe you are expecting me,” I said to the man, “Identification please sir,” the Army soldier asked me, and I produced my drivers licence and pilots licence to the soldier, who looked at both forms of ID then at me, and back to the ID, before handing the ID’s back to me.
“Thankyou sir, drive straight through, and turn to the right at the back of this building and park there,” I was instructed, and I did as he asked. The soldier approached as I climbed out of the vehicle, and indicated for me to follow him, and I was lead into a small foyer area, where I notice a large parade hall to the left, and we turned right into an admin area, and moments later we entered a conference room.
“Would you like a cup of tea or coffee while you are waiting for the conference call?” I was asked and I said no thanks, before he left the room. I now noticed the telephone conference speaker in the centre of the table, and I sat down near the telephone located at the far end, and waited.
Less than five minutes later the phone rang and I pressed the speaker button, “Jexon Kendrik speaking,” I said to answer the call, “Hello Jexon, thankyou for coming to the depot, where we are on a secure line, now what is it that you wanted to speak to me about,” the Major asked.
“Well sir, you know how I mentioned the bunker, located behind the operations room at the base, well you may have heard about the prison escapee from Perth, who was roaming around the Pilbara,” I began, “Yes I did hear about that, go on,” the Major said.
“Well sir, yesterday, the police informed our neighbour that the escapee had been found half dead from exposure, and the question was asked why would a prison escapee travel all the way to the Pilbara and be watching activities on the former secret airbase.
Well sir, I woke up in the middle of the night with the answer. I was attending school seven years ago in Broome, at the time when there was a huge Pearl and Diamond robbery, which were never recovered.
It occurred to me that seven years ago, there was just flat ground and old building slabs, but now there is the rebuild of the original sheds and buildings, and they are not sure where to look for where these items were hidden back then.
Along with my father and also our neighbour Mr Hedley Parkinson, we went down into the bunker, and I located the two containers that contained the pearls and diamonds from that robbery. We presented them to the police in Port Hedland this morning, and the district superintendent called for the nearest jeweller to come and assess them, to see if they are the genuine article.
Not only were they genuine, but the jeweller we had come to look at them, is the owner of the stolen gems, which was quite a surprise. Anyway, we found a second container, which we have not mentioned to the police, so only the three of us know about it and now you too.
Wrapped in a thick oilskin material, we found a small box, and in it we found another bit of material with writing on it, and a heap of what I thought was scrap metal, but my Dad has identified as dog tags. The message on the material reads, “In memory of those who never returned from missions based at Corunna, 1943 – 1945. Lest We Forget. December 25th 1945,” I said.
“Wow, you have found a very interesting time capsule and you were spot on to call me first, as those men are listed as missing presumed dead, and nothing more, because their missions were classified. I am glad that you have found them, it is a part of our history, which should not be lost forever, one day we may be able to reveal what really happened. Where are the items now?” the Major asked.
“Locked in our safe at the house we are staying in, and only Dad and I have the six digit combination,” I replied, “Good, I will be flying up there in the morning, so say nothing and keep them locked up, see you tomorrow, be ready to come back to the depot you are in, when I call, oh and I would like a tour of your base too,” the Major said before ending the call.
I relaxed for the rest of the afternoon, which was nice for most of it, as it was so quiet, until the family returned, and after Dad returned from showering and changing, he indicated for me to follow him to the study, where he closed the door behind me.
“So, what happened at the Army depot?” Dad asked, “I had a conference call with the Major from DIO, I briefed him on how I came to realise that the stolen gems were most likely at the airbase and that the three of us found them in the bunker, and then I told him about the Dog Tags and the message, and he is flying up here tomorrow morning, and as soon as he calls, I have to head back to the Army depot,” I replied.
“Ok, so I need to distract the family again,” Dad said, “No, I will just say that I am going out for a while, and head off right away,” I replied, “Ok, anything else?” Dad asked, “Yes, he wants a tour of the airbase, so I guess we are making a trip out there too, I am not sure if it will be in my plane or what ever he came in,” I replied.
The next morning, while I was having an early breakfast, while it was still quiet in the house, my mobile rang, and I dashed to the study, to answer it. “Good morning Jexon, can you be ready to be at the Army depot at 0900 hours?’ the Major asked, and I glanced up at the kitchen clock, which read just after 6 am.
“Yes sir, that is not a problem,” I replied. “Good, oh and pack some clothes and personals, as you are joining me for the return flight back to Canberra, via a short stop at Alice Springs, you will be there for about a week, and remember to pack jumpers as it gets cold there,” the Major said to me.
“Err, yes, sir, see you at 0900, bye,” I replied and I hung up the phone just as Dad appeared. “Was that you know who?” Dad asked me, “It was, and he told me to pack some clothes for a week long stay in Canberra,” I replied, “What!” Dad said a little too loudly, “That’s what he said, no explanation, just get packed and be at the depot at 0900 hours,” I said.
“We better get you some warm clothing, I believe it gets quite cold in the Capital,” Dad said as he dashed of to get dressed.
We were at the store when it opened at 8 am, and we dashed around the store to find suitable clothing, and we even found some jumpers that looked like they are Army issue, so we bought two of them and some camouflage trousers, a few pairs of green T shirts, that also look like the real Army trousers, along with some black boots, a few pairs of Army green heavy duty socks, and also a duffle bag to put it all in.