On August 15, 1945, the Second World War was finally over, and hostilities had finished.
On September 2, it was 75 years since the war was officially declared - a day of celebration, and sorrow for those who had lost their lives serving their country.
Stand Illig shared stories with his son when we returned from the war, and Robert's retelling and historic four- part series as published in the Ararat Advertiser concludes this week.
A tale of love, heartache, horror and ending with a reunion that has taken readers on a journey through the life of a soldier during World War II.
The series that commenced three weeks ago followed Stan Illig's life, his wife Thelma, their family and shared the start of their love-affair and how war divided them.
The conclusion brings back memories for Stawell's Robert Illig and his family - the unknown time of when the war ended and when they heard word on the fate of his father.
Mr Illig used a combination of stories from his father, newspapers and historical books he had read over time to compile the story and for the sake of this story, referred to the Japanese Imperial Army as the enemy.
The Red Cross quickly moved in and listed the names of all the prisoner of war survivors.
When the war ended my mother, and I were staying with her parents in Melbourne.
The Red Cross informed her that because it would take too long to notify all the relatives personally, a list of the prisoner of war survivors would appear in the Sun newspaper on September 12.
For three and a half years, my mother was left wondering about the fate of her husband.
My grandfather got up at 3 am and walked down to the local newsagent and waited for the newspaper delivery van to arrive.
He came back home and walked into the room where my mother and I were sleeping and with tears rolling down his cheeks.
Other families weren't so lucky.
My mother immediately telephoned my father's parents in Stawell with the good news.
That day, the little grocery store on Main Street, Stawell, was full of well-wishers.
After about six weeks my mother received another letter from the Red Cross informing her that my father had landed in Sydney and that he would be arriving at Spencer Street Station in Melbourne on October 8, at 11 am, at the number one platform.
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Relatives and friends were to go to the Melbourne Showgrounds and the Red Cross would transport the ex-prisoners of war there by separate cars.
My grandfather once again came to the fore and said Thelma you are going to be on that platform when Stan arrives in Melbourne.
The day arrived, and my mother, grandfather and I caught the Thornbury to Spencer Street Station tram. When we arrived, we quickly located the platform that the train was going to arrive at only to find a railway guard on duty, and the gate locked.
My grandfather explained the situation to the guard, who he said he was sorry, but his instructions were that POW relatives and friends must meet at the showgrounds.
My grandfather deftly slipped a ten shillings note into his hand, and he immediately responded.
"See that gate up there," he said.
"I will unlock it for you, but you are not to go onto the platform until the train arrives."
Only reporters and press photographers are allowed on the platform.
The train duly arrived, and my mothers and I rushed onto the platform.
My mother spotted my father getting off the train about one-and-a-half carriages up the platform.
Her words to herself when she first saw him were: "My god! what have they done to him".
We raced along the platform and offered a tearful embrace.
Because I was born after my father went to war, we had not laid eyes on one another.
So, at the age of four, my mother first introduced me to my father.
A newspaper photographer standing near us heard our conversation and took our photo.
This photo appeared on the front page of The Age the following day.
My father spent a fortnight in the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital. After being away from his beloved hometown of Stawell for five years, he finally took his family home where he lived for the rest of his life.
In 1970 the Department of Veteran Affairs declared he was incapacitated due to war service and was granted a Totally and Permanently Incapacitated pension.
He died in 1988 on my mother's birthday, aged 71.
Mr Illig has fond memories of his father, despite a slow start when he came back from war.
"It was a big shock when his father returned home," he said.
"I used to be the man of the house. I was kicked out of the twin room I shared with my mother.
"I remember as a little kid; I was scared of the huge scar he had on his leg. It wasn't until I was older I understood what it was about."
Mr Illig said his mother tried her hardest to bring the two together.
"If I wanted my shoelace done up, she would tell me to go and see my father," he said.
"It was her way of bringing us together.
"As time went along, I knew if my mother wouldn't give me something but if I went and saw my father he would say yes.
"After a while, I realised he was a pretty good bloke."
As time went on and Mr Illig grew older, his curiosity brought out more information that pieced together missing links or made sense of "in-house" jokes.
"My father's friends all called my final," he said.
"I would arrive, and they would say: "Here is Final Illig".
"I didn't know what they were talking about. I went and asked Mum, and she gave a grin and never said anything.
"It wasn't until I was a bit older that I figured out I was conceived on the final leave."
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