Obituary to Veteran Cliff Everton
Veteran Clifford Douglas Everton
UDF Force Number 11779;
It is with deep, deep regret that SAMVOA acknowledges the passing of our dear friend and fellow Veteran, Cliffie Everton. Cliffie passed away quietly on Wednesday, 27th May, 2015 and SAMVOA members were present in large numbers at St Anne’s Catholic Church, Seaford, Victoria to pay our respects and then at the Bunurong Memorial Park to say farewell to our much respected WW2 Veteran who has been a Patriarch in our organisation for over 10 years.
SAMVOA extends our heartfelt condolences to Sandra, Pricilla, Lola and their respective families as well as to Cliffie and Josie’s late son, Hilton’s family.
Those of us who were present on the 25th April 2005, when we met Cliffie for the first time, will always remember this as a special day when two South African WW2 veterans honored us by joining us for the march to the Shrine of Remembrance. ANZAC Day is a special day in the Australian and New Zealand calendar and a day when new Australians and New Zealanders, as we are, turn out in both counties to pay our respects to the fallen, as well as to remember our own.
Cliffie and Tom Robinson MC. joined us and travelled in a vintage taxi, which did not thrill either of them very much. In following years we did our best to requisition former military vehicles that were more in keeping with the occasion.
Cliffie was always well supported by his late wife, Josie, who was his dedicated wife for nearly 65 years of their marriage. Both have been an amazing part of our SAMVOA life and SAMVOA honoured Josie before her death at the 2012 Formal Mess Dinner, by making her our only local Honorary Veteran. Josie was extremely proud of this acknowledgement, which recognised her dedication to the ideals of SAMVOA and, more importantly, her dedication to Cliffie and in ensuring that she and Cliffie were present at every possible parade and meeting.
Cliffie was an Icon within our organisation, a man of few words who carefully weighed up what he was to say. He was a truly decent person who had weathered over nine decades that transformed him from a happy childhood of care-free adventure in South Africa to a wizened patriarch. One would have to go far to find a more honorable man and he was one of the few custodians of dignity, discipline and duty; the qualities that make a real man.
He was also a courageous man with a courage forged and strengthened through armed conflict in the constant presence of real danger and under the constant threat of death. He had been there in the thick of battle and he knew what it was like to walk next to a man one day and before the day was over, to cut the dog tag from around that man’s neck, so that it can be sent home to grieving loved ones.
Although under aged, in 1939 Cliff joined a short queue at Natal Command in Durban and he enquired about joining the army. He received his parent’s permission and he reported at Durban Central Railway Station by 1800H the following day. Within three weeks, South Africa joined Britain in declaring war against Germany.
Signaling was Cliffie’s specialty and he operated in all modes of signaling, except for dispatch riding. When Cliff’s platoon left South Africa they were 50 men strong and, by the time they returned to South Africa a few years later, there were only 9 left of the original 50. During this period he was attached to the Royal Natal Carbineers within the 1st South African Brigade.
In1943, back in South Africa, the 1st Brigade was dismantled and the 6thArmoured Division was formed and Cliffie was assigned to the Natal Mounted Rifles.
The 6th Armoured Division was shipped off to Italy and landed at the toe of Italy. Many battles were fought until the Germans started surrendering in their droves. They were shipped back to Durban through Egypt to a “ticker tape parade” along West Street, which was attended by thousands of South African civilians, welcoming their young men home. They marched up to Albert Park where the mayor of Durban addressed them with a speech of appreciation for their successes and expressed his delight that they had come home safely.
On returning to South Africa, Cliffie met Josie and they were married at the Catholic Church in Mt Edgecombe by Father Daub. Mount Edgecombe became their home for many years, but after being attacked nine times, they decided to follow their eldest son, Hilton who had immigrated to Australia in 1976 and had always encouraged his folks to do the same.
Cliffie and Josie enjoyed an amazing close family life and this came through time and again as family and friends supported Cliffie along the route of the ANZAC march and in the family get-togethers where we were privileged to be present.
Cliffie and Jose are both much loved and respected members of SAMVOA – South African Military Veterans of Australasia.
“Success comes down to sacrifice –the willingness to pay the price” - Anonymous.
“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.” - From a headstone in Ireland
Lest we Forget.
Veteran Tony Macquet MMM.