SEVENTY-ONE years ago an American serviceman was brought to Ballarat when his ship was docked in Melbourne.
Now, his daughter has returned to thank the family who extended their hand of friendship to him.
As a result of an article published in The Courier in May and the Ballarat Historical Society, Cathy Rzeszot was able to unite with Beryl Coombs, who remembers John Rzeszot’s one-week stay vividly.
“It was a memorable time. We were so lucky to have John staying with us,” Ms Coombs said.
“He used to sneak out of the camp at Victoria Park and come and have meals with us.”
Ms Coombs, now 92, said she did not keep in contact with him after he left because it was nearly impossible to track down the servicemen once they left.
Ms Coombs went on to work for the RAAF for four years.
Ms Rzeszot said her father was proud of his time in the military.
“I think there is a tradition in my family of joining the military. Three generations have now served,” Ms Rzeszot said.
“He had two sisters at home and staying with the Coombs gave him that sense of family so far away from home.”
Ballarat Historical Society member Elizabeth Trudgeon said it was a rare occasion.
“It’s the only time that I know of that this has happened.”