Prisoner of War Diary Brought to Life in 'When I Was Twelve' - Hope 103.2

Prisoner of War Diary Brought to Life in ‘When I Was Twelve’

Katrina wants her children to understand the sacrifices made by previous generations and to continue her family's ANZAC Day tradition.

By Laura BennettThursday 25 Apr 2024Hope AfternoonsBooksReading Time: 2 minutes

As we mark ANZAC Day, we all have different connections to the occasion.
Key points
  • Katrina’s audiobook When I Was Twelve shares excerpts from her grandfather’s war diaries and allows her 91-year-old father Nick to voice his experience as a boy who at 6 years old was told he must be “the man of the house”.
  • “I want my own children to understand the sacrifices made by previous generations [and] I know it’s really important to Dad that we continue that ANZAC Day tradition,” Katrina said.
  • Hear the full conversation in the listener above.

For some, it’s a shared moment of remembrance, for others a time to reflect on their own family’s service and loss, and maybe for someone else it’s a day that reiterates why they currently serve.

Former Hope Mornings presenter and children’s author Katrina Roe uses the day to preserve the legacy of her grandfather – a World War II Prisoner of War – and to honour her father whose childhood was marked by the absence of his dad when he went to serve.

Katrina’s new audiobook When I Was Twelve shares excerpts from her grandfather’s war diaries and allows her 91-year-old father Nick to voice his experience as a boy who at 6 years old was told he must be “the man of the house”.

Katrina Roe with her father Nick, holding a photo of her grandfather along with his war diaries

Katrina Roe with her father Nick, holding a photo of her grandfather along with his war diaries

“When I was young, my father never talked much about his wartime childhood,” Katrina said.

Katrina’s father Nick was told at 6 years old that he must be “the man of the house”.

“It was only as he got older that he reflected on the responsibility.”

The 28-minute book is aimed at readers young and old, especially those who have an aversion to reading but would benefit from understanding the realities of war.

Hope 103.2 is proudly supported by

“I hope that kids are fascinated not just by the gory details, but also by the emotional heart of the story,” Katrina said.

“It’s about a young boy missing his dad and wanting him to come home.

“I want my own children to understand the sacrifices made by previous generations [and] I know it’s really important to Dad that we continue that ANZAC Day tradition.”

When I Was Twelve is available on Spotify, Apple Music and Google Play or via Katrina’s website.

Listen to Katrina Roe’s interview with Hope Afternoons’ Laura Bennett in the player above.


Feature image: Photo provided by Katrina Roe