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MACGUGAN, Alan James (1918-2017)

MACGUGAN, Alan James (1918-2017)

Alan Macgugan was born on 1 January 1918 at Branxholme, the son of James Alexander Macgugan and Alice May (nee Tassell) Macgugan.

He was enrolled at Geelong College on 14 February 1934 leaving in December 1934. He had previously attended Hamilton High School and his entry address at the time of enrolment was 'Archdale', Branxholme.

During World War II, he enlisted (No. VX 16408) on 23 May 1940 and served in 2 /8th Field Regiment, 9th Division in the Middle East (November 1940 - January 1943) with Max Blair, Ian Fraser and Frank Williams (all Old Geelong Collegians).

His memories were of being sent to the Syria-Turkey border to stop the Germans getting to the oilfields. The 8th British Army were virtually defeated before El Alamein, and retreating, having lost 400 tanks in three days fighting, when the Australian Division were sent to relieve them. He remembers the 9th Division through the retreating 8th British, at one stage taking eleven hours to travel ten miles.

'His daughter recently accompanied him to a reunion in Hobart, and she recalled stories of the retreating British forces burying their supply dumps so as not to lose them to the Germans; the Australians, on discovering them, dug them up and sold them back to the British. Another story she recalled was of the 'enterprising' Australians digging tunnels into the British stores, and 'relieving' them of their supplies of tinned peaches and condensed milk. The British realised they were being 'raided', but could not work out how it was happening.'

Alan Macgugan was discharged on 17 February 1945 before his unit took part in operations in Borneo, to help his father on the land, an essential service.

Alan James Macgugan died on 15 September 2017.

His brother, Colin Arthur Macgugan (1916-2013), and sons, James and Rod were also educated at Geelong College.

Sources: James Affleck, 'Geelong Collegians at the Second World War' p348 (citing The Pegasus; Australian War Memorial; National Archives; Macgugan Family Recollections). OGC 1933.
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