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Gordon Traill

Gordon, from the age of four, wanted to be a soldier. He joined the Australian Army, aged 19, in 1975.

I was a chef by trade… I wanted to provide the best possible food I could for the soldiers.  And going through an infantry battalion was quite an experience and it was good to get grounding about the military and also with my trade

He excelled. He worked as personal chef to the Chief of the Defence Force. A teaching degree and captaining the Army cooking team followed. In 1998 he left Defence, but after the 11 September, 2001 attacks decided to re-join. In 2004 he deployed to Iraq.

I was 48 at this stage…it was like going to war with my sons. And they were dead against the war in Iraq, my two sons, but they knew as a professional soldier that's what we did… 

In addition to his catering role in Iraq, Gordon was also a leader of SECDET. The Security Detachment charged with protecting the Australian Ambassador. Gordon sustained injuries when a car bomb exploded outside their building. 

Gordon was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after his return from Iraq. With the support of his family, therapy, and a re-ignition of his passion for life through photography, he has redefined his illness.

…now I talk about post traumatic growth, because I've been through that valley and the lowest of the lowest and when you're that low, you can – you just want to not be around at all. And then coming out of it and becoming involved with photography and with [the books I have worked on] it's really gave me some purpose for life. 

Gordon and Shona, 2018
Geelong, Victoria
photographer unknown

REPRODUCED COURTESY OF GORDON TRAILL

Reviewed 10 March 2021

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