My Democratic Duty
by Lewis Oliver
I was too young to join my brother, Arthur, in WW2 so I joined J Force as soon as I could in 1946. There was a real concern that although Japan had been defeated they would not lie down for long.
As well as the usual tasks that we performed, I was a guard during the first democratic elections in which women could vote. General MacArthur had decreed that women (as well as men) had the right to vote and to walk down the streets abreast of their men. My job was to protect the women by seeing that they could get to the booth without any intimidation from the local men. I carried a rifle with fixed bayonet, really as a threat rather than with any real intention of opening fire.
It was just as well we were there - who knows what it would have been like otherwise. Plenty of men snarled but we met no real opposition at our booth.
Protecting the public and bringing them into the 20th Century was part of our reason for being there. We helped lead them from feudalism into democracy, and I am proud to have played a part.
Lewis Oliver, 1999