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Private Bill: In Love and War

With special guest:

  • Barrie Cassidy

It makes for a rare occasion when Barrie Cassidy goes to the other side of the microphone. Barrie is one of Australia’s most respected and experienced political journalists and we welcome him to Dads on the Air.

But we are not going to discuss politics in this program. We are going to find out more about Barrie’s father Bill who is the main subject in Barrie’s book Private Bill: In Love and War.

After saying nothing about his war experiences for many years Bill Cassidy finally agreed to tell his children in great detail what he was doing in 1941, how he got seriously injured and finished up as a POW without being captured. He was transported in cattle trucks, put into isolation and had two unsuccessful escapes from the German Stalags. This period was when Bill faced the first of several major tests that he had to get through as he made his way through a long life.

The second major test involved a secret his wife Myra had kept for fifty years from Bill and her children, a secret that was a sign of the times they were living through.

Barrie tells the story in a way that is affectionate while still a detailed journalist’s account of one man’s war. There is also the backdrop of a family love that survived the crucible of World War Two.

Barrie Cassidy

Barrie Cassidy started out in journalism as a cadet reporter with the Border Mail in Albury. In the years since, he has been a court reporter and police roundsman, a political correspondent, program host, newsreader, radio broadcaster and foreign correspondent. He has worked for the Shepparton News, the Melbourne Herald, the ABC, the Australian and Network Ten, and in overseas posts in Washington and Brussels. For the past 14 years he has been host of the ABC’s highly respected political discussion program Insiders, and until recently, host of the sports equivalent Offsiders. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he was senior press secretary to Prime Minister Bob Hawke and then ultimately his political adviser. Private Bill is his third book.

Song selection by our guest: Lili Marlene by Marlene Dietrich

Note: This program is a repeat of the one aired on 21 April 2016.

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