James “Jim” Paizis

Royal Australian Navy - Veterans’ Voices

Sub Lieutenant Jim Paizis shares his memories of life in the close confines of the navy, post-war visits to his ship’s namesake and the changing skyline of Melbourne.

Interview produced by the Shrine of Remembrance for WWII at Home. Interviewer: Megan Spencer.

A hand coloured headshot of a young man in a naval uniform. The man is looking towards the camera and smiling.

James “Jim” Paizis was born in West Melbourne to Greek parents in 1924. Thinking he’d “look rather smart with gold buttons and a strap”, Jim enlisted in the navy just days after his 18th birthday.

Jim served on corvettes, initially as a midshipman on HMAS Glenelg—undertaking convoy and escort duties up and down the east coast of Australia and into New Guinea—then, as a Gunnery Officer on HMAS Colac.

On 26 May 1945, supporting the army in the Solomon Islands, the Colac was shelled by a Japanese shore battery which killed two of Jim’s shipmates and tore a giant hole in the engine room. Taking on water, the Colac was lucky to make it out of the channel, and was eventually towed back to Sydney for repair. Jim was on the Colac in dry-dock in Sydney, on VP Day.

After the war, Jim married, started a family and moved to the then newly-established suburb of Balwyn, where he lives to this day.

A black and white photograph of a military ship cutting through the ocean. Groups of men can be seen standing on the deck of the ship. The RAN corvette HMAS Colac proceeding at full speed to attend an alarm while on convoy duty along the coast of New Guinea. Source: Australian War Memorial.


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Open Arms—Veterans and Families Counselling provides 24-hour free and confidential counselling, group programs and suicide prevention training for current and ex-serving ADF personnel, and their families. Call 1800 011 046 or visit www.OpenArms.gov.au.

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