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Korea: loading ammunition into the guns of a Mustang.
L to R: LAC Ron Eccles and LAC Joe Stonham. "Courtesy Vic State Lib "

RAAF Flight Sergeant Edgar, Ashton, "Joe" Stonham
Died on the 10th January 1964
He was 37 years old
He suffered from high blood pressue, and had a brain haemorridge in the early hours of the morning of the 10th, and he died instantly.


You are my HERO
Hello dad,

I have been wanting to post a letter to you for such a long time, but could not find the right place for it. I found this website, by mistake, maybe you guided me to it.
Mum is not doing so well, she is here with me, battling lung cancer. She had been so well and healthy up until November 2006, that is when she was diagnosed.

Mum met you on the train, when she travelled to and from Toronto and Newcastle to work. You scribbled your name and address on to a piece of paper, and gave it to mum.
She was soon going to the Blue Mountains to work.
On her return, she met up with you again, and you asked, Why didn't you contact me?. Mum said, she lost the piece of paper.
She arranged to visit you at the Rathmines Air Base. She rode with my uncle on his motorbike, and boarded a boat to go accross the lake. Mum said you were on duty on the wharf, and there she met you, with a Bayonet in your hand.

You and mum married at Mt Vincent on the Christmas Eve 1949. It was a double wedding with mums sister.
What a great Christmas it must have been. I was born on the 30th of September 1950.

You then went back to Korea, where you were part of a team that fought for freedom of this land. I am so proud of you.

My brother Barry followed me, on the 23rd April 1953.
We travelled around the country enjoying the Air Force life style.
We were living at Moorabin, Victoria, where mum and you built a new home.
Christmas 1963 you were unwell. Our holiday to N.S.W. to visit mums family was to be our last holiday with you.
It is one that i will never forget. Everyone in mums family loved and adored you. We went to Cessnock Hospital to visit mums Grandmother, my Great Grandmother. She did not know any of us, but she recognised you, and knew who you were.
Mum wanted to postpone our holiday, because of your health, but you insisted we go.

You were working at Victoria Barracks Headquarters, in Support Command.
On return from N.S.W. you were admitted RAAF Hospital. We rang you up on the 9th January, the day you were admitted to hospital. This was to be the very last time we spoke to you.
The Air Force Pardre and Servicemen visited our home early hours of the 10th January 1964, Mum was at work. My aunt was visiting, we all knew something was wrong. They then proceeded to mums place of work, to notify her first.
That was one of the saddest days of my life.

I later married and had four beautful children.
Paul Louis Summers - Raymond James Summers - Amanda-Lee Summers (Alexander) and Ingrid Jaye Summers (England) They are my world.
I have 3 beautiful grandsons,
Joel Brian Alexander (8)
Sam Paul Alexander (7)
Khye Louis England (2).
Ingrid and Sean are expecting a new baby October 2007, and I think they will have a girl???.

Sadly my son Paul was killed tragically on the 22nd of September 1999. It is somethig I will never recover from, and never get over, but am learning to live with.
I know he and you are riding free forever on that grand highway in the sky. I hear the roar of Pauls Harley and the sounds of your Mustangs during the storms and thunder.
We all love you both and miss you both so much. We will meet you again, sometime in the future.
I feel I have learnt more from lifes experiences than I could ever learn from nursing, or in a class room.
Till we meet again,
Forgot to tell you Dad, My four kids all joined the Forces. The 2 boys joined the Army, and my 2 girls both joined the Navy. I know you would and are proud of them.
I know, I am.
LOVE ROB xoxoxo


"A Poem to My Father "
It is a poem written by one of my dads mates, when he departed from Korea, to return to Australia. 1951
These are the words as they are written. It is not meant to affend anyone, but it is sacred to dads family. It is part of our family history, and also part of our country's history during the Korean War.

Joe Stonham is a bonzer bloke.
Or so he really thinks;
But actually behind his back.
The boys all think he stinks.

But really we can't be to hard.
As Joe will soon be away.
And he say's on reaching Australia.
He's there to bloody stay.

He's got a bonzer misses.
And a little kid as well.
But knowing Joe, as the years go by.
The ranks might swell and swell.

But Joe dear boy, next Monday.
When on that kite you climb,
The boys all wish you luck and health.
You damn lucky swine.

And even when you're airborne.
Far out over the sea.
Just give a little thought to us.
GAWD !! JOE !!
How lucky can you be.

But Joe - when you reach Sydney,
And off that kite you climb,
Don't hit the reporters with a burst.
About the Korean Swine.

You will be BIG TIME by far.
If you tell them to get buggered,
But I tell you one word that wouldn't hurt.
Just tell them,

And next ANZAC DAY when you march.
As a member of the R.S.L.
Don't be foolish by plastering your back.

But when your leave is finished,
And another station you go.
You can still be BIG TIME, with stories to tell,
And even photos to show !!!.

So now Joe pal I'll finish up,
As enoughs enough I know,
But - no bullshit - when you're gone,
We all will miss you so.


These are the words as they are written. It is not meant to affend anyone, but it is sacred to dads family. It is part of our family history, and also part of our country's history during the Korean War.
Kind Regards
Rob Shelley


Hi Dad, It's been such a long time since we were able to have a chat, except at your memorial plaque at Mount Vincent where you and Mum were married. Mum is now in the wall next to you, as you know. She lost her battle with lung cancer on the 9th June, 2007.

I remember when I was a kid growing up, I would sit on your knee of a night and would put a big curl in the front of your curly black hair. I also remember helping you with the grease and oil changes in our car, and wearing your air force overalls, which you would have to roll the arms and legs up, to allow me to move. Maybe that is why I followed in your footsteps and became a Fitter and Turner.

After you died we moved back to Newcastle, N.S.W. to be closer to Mums family. I married and had a daughter Kristy Anne Stonham, who later married Michael Rae. They have 4 children, Taylah Paige, Jayden Charles, Bailey Jack and Mason Joe (named after you) because everyone called you Joe.
I have since divorced, and I have been with my patrner Janelle for 9 years now. She has 2 daughters Courtney and Danielle,who are lovely girls.
If only we could turn back the clock, and all be together again, if only for one day, wouldn't it be great. I know you and Mum are looking down on us all, and will protect us for the rest of our lives.
Love you both, and I know, one day we will all be reunited.

Till then, bye for now. 
Your son forever.


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