Real Life

ANZAC Special: Aussie Military Dads on the frontline

Meet the brave Aussie military fathers who sacrificed precious time with their family for active service.

By Woman's Day team
For William, 27, the first few days with his newborn baby were very special, but he couldn't help feeling guilty knowing that just a week or so later he'd be in Afghanistan for six months.
"I was worried about leaving Helen all on her own," he says. "I felt guilty and I was looking forward to coming home."
William says that now he's back, nothing compares to being at home with his son.
"I love how excited he is to see me every day when I come home from work," William says.
'I had to say goodbye to my firstborn so soon' - Corporal William Spray
Corporal David Ashmore, 35, had just touched down in Darwin on 10 days leave halfway through a seven-month deployment in Afghanistan, when he received a message his wife Rebecca had gone into labour.
"I was utterly jet-lagged but it was really beautiful," says David.
"I made it to the hospital just in time" - Corporal David Ashmore
Returning from service on a naval ship coming into Sydney in March last year, Petty Officer Maritime Logistics Chef James Elliot searched for his family as he would meet his son Aiden for the first time.
"As the ship came in, I was scouring the crowd and trying to get a glimpse," James, 34, recalls. "I just remember wanting to hold my son."
"I met my son on the docks" - Petty Officer Maritime Logistics Chef James Elliot
Armament technician Michael Douglas was based in Dubai, often travelling to Afghanistan, when his eldest son Jackson was born.
It was late at night and two months into his deployment when Michael, 33, received a call from his wife Cassie, 30, to say her waters had broken.
A little while later, his mother-in-law Sonja phoned to say the baby was well and truly on its way.
"I bolted to an internet cafe so we could Skype during the birth," Michael recalls.
"I just managed to catch it – it was so special."
"I watched his birth on Skype" - Armament technician Michael Douglas

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