Around the 1940s an unassuming man moved into a hut on the edge of the ocean at Crowdy Head.1 At times he worked in the Fishermen’s Cooperative, becoming well known to the locals. With no electricity or modern conveniences, he lived a simple, hermit-like lifestyle. In contrast to his early adult years, he lived there peacefully until shortly before his death in 1978. His grave in Tinonee Cemetery bears no mention of his heroic early life.
Stanley Herbert Brazel (Brazil) was born in Tinonee in 1893,2 moving to Taree in his mid teens. In February 1916, aged 22, Stanley enlisted in the Australian Imperial Forces. He trained as a Signaller, sailing a few months later for England, and receiving further training at Salisbury. His unit moved over to the Western Front in December 1916. For 22 months he endured atrocious conditions in the trenches; casualties among his fellow soldiers were enormous. Stanley was gassed and wounded twice, requiring hospitalisation. He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for “conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty as Signaller”. Soon after he was promoted to Lance Corporal. Early in 1919, he returned to Australia medically unfit; the war had taken a heavy toll.3
Throughout the war years he regularly wrote to his childhood friend, William Gollan of Tinonee; the letters have been kept to this day.
Author: Sue Langdown
1Rebecca Linton, Crowdy Head, 1998.
2NSW BDM 34870/1893.
3NAA: B2455, BRAZIL S H.