We have lost several friends of the battalion in the last few weeks. Among them was Major General Jim Hughes who commanded 4 RAR/NZ on its second tour of Vietnam. He had previously fought in Korea, Malaya, and Borneo.
Professor Jeff Grey was one of the Official Historians of the Vietnam War and the son of Major General Ron Grey, his death at 57 was sudden and unexpected. He was Australia’s most internationally recognised military historian.
We also lost Mindy Sutherland, a tireless worker for the battalion and the association. She was the beloved wife of Jock Sutherland, DCM. As the years progress we remember those who served with us and those closely associated with 7 RAR.
Lest we forget.
Rush hour in Ho Chi Minh City today, not what we saw in the 60’s
CONTENTS PAGE/ SEP-DEC CALENDAR
1. President’s Message.
2. Contents this issue/Calendar.
4. Contact details 7RAR Group in Iraq/New Members.
5. From the Editor’s Desk
6. St George’s Holiday Suites Coolangatta.
8. “Willie” Battalion Mascot/Presentation Matty Hopkins Trophy.
10. Pigs in Paradise.
11. Repatriation of personnel from Malaysia/Singapore.
13. Internment Ceremony for George Norman Allen at Rookwood.
15. Vietnam Veterans Day Govt House NSW.
16. Wreath laying at Eternal Flame Melbourne/Naming of facilities at 7RAR Horseshoe Lines,Edinburgh.
18. Minutes of 2016 Association AGM.
27. ANZAC Day Dedication Garrison Church The Rocks.
28. Happy Birthday Chris Campbell-Thomson, (Father) OC A Coy 2nd.
30. Rugby Match ADF/Police, GEN Grey Trophy.
32. The Best from The West.
43. Pearls from Victoria/Flashback to 2003 Wagga Wagga Reunion forming up
47. Greetings from South Australia.
11 Nov 2016 Remembrance Day all States.
2 Dec 2016 Cut-Off for 3/2016 Seven News.
12 Dec 2016 Post/Transmit 3/2016 Seven News.
16 Dec 2015 Welcome home dinner for 7RAR overseas group.
Rest ye oh Warrior, You will battle no more, No longer to live the horrors of war, Your duty was done with honor and pride, Farewell oh brother and sister, until we march by your side.
It is with deep and sincere sympathy that I report the death of former friends and comrades in arms.
- 4720862 Anthony John Thompson, 2nd tour, passed away 3 October 2015.
- 37161 Frederick Murray (Fred) Smith, TPT 1st tour, passed away Saturday 5 September 2015.
- 1735519 John (Jack) Peter Laffey, D11 2nd tour, passed away Wednesday 16 March, 2016
- 218261 Peter Dean, 2nd tour, passed away Tuesday 12 April 2016.
- 38111 Wayne Jeffrey Grinter, 1st tour, passed away Thursday 26 May 2016.
- 3795049 Leonard John Berry, 2nd tour, passed away Friday 8 July 2016.
- Mrs Mindy Sutherland, widow of Jock and Liaison Officer for wives, widows and welfare on the Committee of Management for the Association passed away Friday night 22 July 2016.
- 3789315 Ronald Thomas Lyons, B6 1st tour, passed away Thursday 28 July 2016.
- 215548 Warren Herbert (Jack) Bradd, 1st tour, passed away Friday 19 August.
The postal address for TAJI is:
CONTACT DETAILS 7RAR IN IRAQ
TGT3 Op OKRA
Australian Defence Force
Sydney NSW 2890
Perhaps address to a specific person. Depending on what you or the association wish to send I can provide appropriate POC.
For official stuff to the CO:
8215087 LTCOL D W McCammon
TGT3 Op OKRA
Australian Defence Force Sydney NSW 2890
If there is desire for care packs etc let me know and I'll get you the right name/s. Up to 2 KG is free post with some restrictions on what can be sent. Australia Post have a box MB2 that is the preferred size for AFPO delivery.
NEW MEMBERS 7RAR ASSOCIATION
Raymond Sydney Barlow (Vic) Marilyn Laffey (Qld))
B6 1st TOUR Widow John Peter D11 2nd TOUR
Michael John Hosking (Vic) Alan George Fleming (Vic)
A3/BHQ 1st TOUR SIGS 2nd TOUR
Shane Lyons (Vic) William George Temple (WA)
Son, Ronald B6 1st TOUR SIGS 1st TOUR
From the EDITOR’S DESK
Members please take note of your financial status as at the issue of this edition of Seven News, you are financial as shown by the first set of number on the top left of your address label if receiving your news via post, if receiving your newsletter via the electronic method you will be able to check your status as indicated on your electronic copy.
As was discussed at the Special General Meeting during the Adelaide Reunion it was raised that we have a 3 or 4 day cruise via one of the many Cruise Lines venture. Proposals have been put to a number of Cruise Lines and we are assessing the likely venture, we will keep you posted either via the website and/or Seven News in the next six months.
As you will see on different pages in this issue a number of areas within Horseshoe Lines 7RAR have been named in honor of two of our well known Vietnam Veterans, this detail is included in the report on page 17 of this issue. Note contact details for the Battalion group deployed in Iraq are on page 4.
It is with a great deal of sadness that I advise the members of the Association the passing of Professor Jeffrey Grey, Son of our Commanding Officer 2nd Tour, GEN Ron Grey. He passed away on Tuesday 26 July and on behalf of the President and all members of the Association I extend our condolences to The General and Avril
Members, please note that the news is posted to all members who are not connected to the internet, if you have an email address then you will receive your copy of Seven News via your email address so please make sure yours is up to date.
St George’s Holiday House replaced by
St George’s Defence Holiday Suites
This newsletter is designed to inform all past guests of developments at the old St George’s Holiday House at Coolangatta, Gold Coast conducted by the Service Personnel Anglican Help Society Inc (SPAHS) since 1917. You are receiving this as you have previously stayed, registered to stay or made enquiries about accommodation at our facility. Our objective remains unchanged and that is to provide subsidised holiday accommodation for all past and present defence personnel and their families at Rainbow Bay Beach/ Snapper Rocks.
As you will most likely be aware our North facing outlook across the water to Surfers Paradise is an iconic location and offers a broad variety of options for holiday-makers. With direct access to Rainbow Bay, Snapper Rocks, Duranbah, Greenmount, Coolangatta beaches and the Tweed River – safe swimming on patrolled beaches, fishing, diving, surfing and long leisurely strolls are easily accessed. Affordable dining options at local surf clubs are within easy reach.
The beautiful hinterland of the Gold Coast including Mount Warning, Numinbah Valley, Natural Arch and other locations are also easily accessed, as are the theme parks for the young at heart. All this within a short drive (6Kms) to the Gold Coast International Airport – best of all we do not experience direct aircraft noise!
Coolangatta only a short walk away, is currently experiencing somewhat of a renaissance with a re-developed shopping precinct and an abundance of restaurants and clubs, including the recently renovated Twin Towns Services Club, as well as offering plenty of other entertainment options.
Our new facilities are housed within The Garland building which has been developed as a tribute to the founder of our organisation in 1915, Canon David Garland, a Defence Force Chaplain.
Garland amongst other activities is remembered as the original Secretary of the Queensland ANZAC Day Committee and is attributed with assisting to develop the ANZAC Day Remembrance Ceremony as it is known today. The newly constructed facilities are located on the lower three floors of the building and will provide clean, modern, self-contained apartments for defence service personnel and their families.
There is a mixture of accommodation types; from studio apartments, one bedroom apartments with inter-connecting rooms and two bedroom apartments. Also there are a number of enabled suites allowing for those with disabilities and the ageing to enjoy the comforts of a beachside holiday.
Currently construction is still underway – we have reached the tenth floor and a roof will not be far away however the fit-out will take some months yet. We are hopeful of being able to occupy our new facility around December but we are not yet in a position to confirm. In the meantime we seek your assistance and support to spread the word to the broader defence family – we are a charitable organisation and word of mouth advertising has always been our ‘best friend’.
We would greatly appreciate an introduction to any associations of a defence nature be it Legacy, RSL sub-branches, unit associations, TPI, Young Diggers, Mates 4 Mates, Soldier On etc with a view to developing longer term partnerships.
It is expected that we will be able to occupy our accommodation in early December – tariffs for a studio apartment (accommodation for two people) are expected to be approximately $560 per weekly stay and the two bedroom apartments (accommodate four +) approximately from $1225 per night We will advise you of further developments and in particular specific tariffs and availability once further information becomes available.
Pictured below are students from Urrbrae Agricultural High School in Adelaide (about 5km south of CBD) who conduct a pig breeding program which is split into Show Pigs and the other things Pigs are used for.
Last year as part of our community engagement program we commenced a partnered association with Urrbrae whereby they maintain our mascot Willie and we support them for their school events on ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day etc. As Show Pig requirements dictate, Willie is "refreshed" biannually - but keeps him at a good size for our purposes.
So selected Ag students in Year 9 and 10 become part of Team Willie and are responsible for his care and for training him to walk in a harness and be "shown". They came out to the Battalion for the Farewell Parade on 8 May. Great kids and a very mutually beneficial arrangement as some of the kids aspire to military service.
Kind regards, Lachlan McKenna, XO 7RAR
Above: Presentation of the Matty Hopkins Memorial trophy by Vicki Hopkins to CPL Karl Stait, Bien Hoa (7PL) Depot Coy, INF Centre on 3 June 2016.
Pigs in Paradise
I've spent more than four months of the last six on the road or living in other ports. I arrived back from the Gulf on Thursday 2 Sep where I was with a group visiting Lorrella Springs. In my car were two other 7RAR vets - Rob Edgell and Ray Lawrence who were both in my section in Recce Platoon on the second tour (scout and MG no1 in that order)
We were in Lorella Springs on the 18th of August so we had a short ceremony where I explained Long Tan to all the others with us (all civilians) and we then retired to the bar. Our boys were well commemorated.
If you’re into four wheel driving look up Lorella Springs
(Click on the link).
Situated on the South West corner of the Gulf of Carpentaria it offers challenges for everyone. 4WDing, Barra fishing, croc dodging on creeks and sea all with magic scenery and campfires at night on a million acres.
Creek crossing in the NT. Note appropriate rego number
At one point of the tour a small group were attacked by a buffalo with 2 metre wide horns. A bad life style choice by the buffalo as Ray dropped it with two shots from his .308. He says the second shot was just for confirmation!
With my being involved in other matters the Web site has not had much work done on it but I have managed to get out the last newsletter via email whilst I was in Albany West Australia. If you didn’t receive a copy then you need to tell me via email so I get your correct email address. The system only works if I have the correct address.
Expect to see more action as I’ve had enough of travel for a while and will stay static in Brisbane for the rest of the year.
REPATRIATION CEREMONY and MEMORIAL SERVICE
THURSDAY 2 JUNE 2016
RAAF BASE RICHMOND
After the decision by the Federal Government during negotiations by VVAA, DVA and the families of those members interned in Malaysia and Singapore, to repatriate those members back to Australia they arrived to a tumultuous welcome home at RAAF Base Richmond on the morning of 2 June. Below and on the next few pages are the scenes of their bodies being removed from their aircraft to be placed in one of the Hangars adjacent to the landing area. This was the location for the Memorial Service for the deceased and their families and VIP’s lead by His Excelency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove, AK, MC (Retd) and Lady Cosgrove.
After the Memorial Service all the coffins were placed in the 33 Hearses to be conveyed to Parramatta by a Police Motor Cycle Escort. On arrival in Parramatta they were allocated to their state groups to be conveyed to their final resting places.
Below is the first group being carried by the Bearer Parties to their respective places in the hanger for the Memorial Service.
ABOVE: The Bearers passing through the escorts into the hangar for the Memorial Service.
BELOW: The Escort and Band ready to farewell the Hearse Cortège on their journey to Parramatta.
ABOVE: The Cortège leaving RAAF Base for transit to Parramatta.
BELOW: Friday 3 June the re-internment ceremony held at ROOKWOOD cemetery Sydney.
ABOVE: Ken Ward with the CO Designate 7RAR LTCOL Paul Graham.
BELOW: The Headstone for Norman George Allen, 7RAR KIA 10 November 1967. Internment at Rookwood Cemetery NSW, Friday 3 June 2016.
“The attendance at the Annual Commemoration and Wreath Laying for the 7th Battalions, (7th Batt AIF, 2/7th and 7RAR) was this year augmented by several ranks of former Gunners of 106 Fd Bty RAA. Infantry and Artillery wreaths were laid side-by-side at the Eternal Flame to commemorate the relationship between the Battalion and the Battery during both Tours of Duty in South Vietnam. The inscription on the Artillery wreath reads as follows:
“ For the Fallen of 7RAR With respect and love
From your Direct Support Gunners Of 106 Field Battery, RAA”
Afterwards at the Mail Exchange Hotel, several members of the Battalion Association gathered with the Gunners for the launch of their book, “Gunners Vietnam 67/68”: The Battalion historian, MAJGEN Mike O’Brien, CSC, the Commander C Company, Graham Chapman, MID; Victorian Committee Member Bill Anderson with his wife Alva; and also from A Company author and Company Signaller, Barry Heard.
CAPTAIN Neville Clark, MC, OAM FO A Coy 1st Tour.
MINUTES OF THE 7RAR ASSOCIATION ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
HELD SATURDAY 25 JUNE 2016 AT THE ROYAL AUTOMOBILE CLUB SYDNEY AT 11.00AM
1. The President, Mike O’Brien declared the meeting open at 11.00am with 7 members present and 17 proxies held by the Executive Officer.
2. The following apologies were notified: Ron Grey, Eric Smith, Mindy Sutherland, Shane Gabriel, Brice Stokes, Jack Doulis, and Kevin Gillett.
3. The XO read a synopsis of the 2015 AGM Minutes.
4. The President proposed that any business arising from these minutes be raised during general business.
5. Annual Reports from:
(a) THE PRESIDENT:
The President asked that it be recorded that the 2015 Reunion activities held in Adelaide were a success of grand proportions and asked that it be noted that the organising committee be congratulated on a great job.
It should also be recorded the significance of the return of the bodies of the bodies from Malaysia. I also would like to thank the members of the Committee of Management for their efforts over the past twelve months. The importance of email addresses, this will obviously provide savings in printing and postage costs of the newsletter. .
(c) THE TREASURER:
The Treasurer advised the meeting that the following figures are the financial status of the Association as at 29 February.
7th BATTALION THE ROYAL AUSTRALIOAN REGIMENT ASSOCIATION INC.
PROFIT and LOSS STATEMENT
FOR THE YEAR ENDING 29 FEBRUARY 2016
Members Receipts 11,038 7,650
Interest Received 1,950 1,794
Howard Trust -- (197)
Fuducian Trust -- 668
Other Revenue 2,160 --
Gross Loss from Trading (17,421) 439
Awards - Infantry Centre 324 845
Computer Expenses 1,195 1,635
Depreciation 2,702 --
Donations 1,500 1,300
General Expenses 110 --
Honorarium 1,000 --
Postage 3,632 3,650
Printing & Postage 13,068 12,972
Subscriptions 100 --
Telephone 4,818 3,629
Travelling Expenses 802 --
Loss before Income Tax 31,524 13,677
7th BATTALION THE ROYAL AUSTRALIAN REGIMENT ASSOCIATION INC.
BALANCE SHEET AS AT 29 FEBRUARY 2016
Cash and Cash Equivalents 69,769 70,911
Inventories’ --- 17,168
Property, Plant and Equipment --- 2,702
Total Non-Current Assets --- 2,702
Total Assets 69,769 91,381
Other 10,907 7,784
Total Current Liabilities 10,907 7,784
Other 38,669 31,138
Total Non-Current Liabilities 38,669 31,138
Retained Profits 20,193 52,459
Total Equity 20,193 52,459
(d) THE EXECUTIVE OFFICER:
The current membership of the Association stands at 1030, (about 145 serving members from 7RAR all are financial to this year), there are still 161 other members un-financial only since 2014-15. Members can check their financial status by checking the first set of figures at the top left corner of their address label.
The issue of the April Newsletter was the first in our steps to reduce the cost of printing and postage by sending out the Seven News using the Electronic System, this allowed 770 odd copies to be electronically sent to members and only 257 via the post which meant the total cost for the April newsletter was $1,576.07, down from our average cost of between $4,000 and $6,000 depending on the size of the publication.
Please remember that the newsletter is only as good as the articles I receive from the members. Also as indicated in the newsletter we are looking for assistants to the three positions that are mostly exposed to the membership, i.e. Executive Officer/Editor, Treasurer and the Secretary/Webmaster.
That’s all I have for this and I look forward to serving you for as long as I am able.
6. MATTERS ARISING FROMN THE MINUTES:
The President commented that if the Association is to continue there is a need for a new generation of Committee particularly the Executive Officer.
The Treasurer commented on the need to simplify the methods we use to record and action members financial actions, i.e. renewal of memberships, accounting for merchandise and other financial actions within the Associations, there is a program recommended by our Accountant, it is called XERO at a cost of around $25 per month.
7. COMMITTEE OF MANAGEMENT ELECTION:
The President handed the chair over to the Executive Officer to conduct the Election.
The Executive Officer advised the President that all current members of the committee had indicated they were agreeable to stand again for re-election; the only exception was Mrs. Mindy Sutherland due to health condition.
It was moved by Mike O’Brien, Seconded by Tony Keech that the previous Committee of Management be re-elected unopposed. The following is a complete list of the 7RAR Association Committee of Management for the for the period 2016-2017.
Major General R. A. Grey, AO, DSO (Retd), (CO 7RAR 2nd tour);
Colonel E. H. Smith, DSO (Retd), (CO 7RAR 1st tour) and
Lieutenant Colonel D. McCammon, DSM, (Current CO 7RAR).
COMMITTEE OF MANAGEMENT FOR 2015-2016
PRESIDENT/HISTORIAN: MAJGEN MIKE O’BRIEN, CSC;
IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT: MR ROD LYONS
VICE PRESIDENTS: BRIG SHANE GABRIEL, DSC;
COL MICK GARRAWAY, AM;
SECRETARY/WEBMASTER: MR KEVIN GILLETT;
TREASURER: MR BERNIE COX;
EXECUTIVE OFFICER/EDITOR: MR TONY KEECH, OAM;
COMMITTEE MEMBER’S: MR ROBERT MURDOCH;
MR BRICE STOKES; and
MR JOHN LAWSON.
HONORARY AUDITOR: MR BERNARD WORSLEY; and
HONORARY LEGAL OFFICER: LTCOL LACHLAN MEAD.
8. The President resumed the chair and offered best wishes to Eric Smith and Ron Grey; he also foreshadowed increases to subs.
9. GENERAL BUSINESS:
(a) From the VIC Branch, it was submitted for discussion that the 7RAR Plaque at the AWM be replaced with one that reflects the operational involvement of the Battalion since Vietnam which includes, Timor Leste, Iraq and Afghanistan. It was decided that until these activities no longer involve the Battalion it is pointless replacing the current one.
The subject of the Association providing financial assistance to cover publication of Death Notices when members pass away was raised. The general opinion was this is the responsibility of the Family of the deceased member and for the Association to get involved in this would mean that it could set a precedent for the whole of the country. Nevertheless the Association should be notified whenever particular difficulties might arise.
(b) From the NSW Branch, the matter of Gonfalons for the Church Services at the Garrison Church, seeing as the three Gonfalons previously Paraded at the Church have been sent to the Battalion it was suggested that a Single Gonfalon be obtained to represent the three 7th Battalions.
The President advised the meeting that this would be contrary to all ceremonial rules governing these items. The advice from Ceremonial Headquarters would be sought to ratify this position. A compromise position, of a banner listing all the units rather than a fully-worked gonfalon, may provide a better and cheaper solution. This suggestion should be considered by the NSW Branch
The subject of a plaque for the Garrison was raised, as there is already a plaque representing The 7TH Battalion it was considered that this would be sufficient.
(d) The WA Branch advised the committee that they sent a 7RAR Sign to the Vietnam Museum, Phillip Island to start the 7RAR display at the Museum. A copy of the Sign is shown below.
They also suggested that $500 be set aside to have a Video of the Battalion’s activities in Vietnam be produced to compliment the sign
It was moved Mike O’Brien, Seconded Bob Murdoch that the Association provide the $500 to have the Video produced.
(1) The XO advised the meeting, the current CO has spoken to a number of individuals to obtain sponsorship for updating our History involving deployments to, Timor Leste, Iraq and Afghanistan. The Battalion is currently deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The contact details for both areas are included in the next issue of Seven News due out in late August, any members wishing to contact individuals or the unit before this date please contact the XO.
(2) The Association has been advised that they have named the High Performance and Rehabilitation Centre, (Gym) in honor of RSM 2nd Tour, The Reg Bandy, MBE Centre. The Battalion spoke with Reg before they proceeded with this action and received his approval for this and was very honored for this great accolade.
(3) The subject of the Website used as a means of communication between members throughout the country is a great benefit and the recognition of updates and input keeps members informed as to the happenings within the Association.
(4) ANZAC Day Sydney. As has been advised the Garrison Church activity is back on and there was a good turnout this year. Due to the work around Regimental Square there was no service there this year.
(5) Red Support our Troops Badges. The XO advised the meeting that all remaining Badges were handed out to the members and guests at the Reunion Dinner last year so there are none held at this stage.
(6) Gurkha Support, today saw the closure of this activity and the prize draw was made by the President, the following winners were noted:
1st Prize: Glen Moore, Joondalup WA;
2nd Prize: Tony Keech, The XO; and
3rd Prize: Rod Lyons, however Rod donated it back and the redraw winner was Alan (ROO) Dowley,
(7) The XO advised the meeting that we still have 14 2/7th Members still active on our database, even though some are in the care of family.
(8) The meeting discussed the subject of the benefit of providing moral support to members who may be in need. It was suggested that all members keep contact with anyone located in their areas and where necessary render support when necessary.
(9) The XO provided the meeting with two nominations for life membership as follows:
Moved: Bernie Cox, Seconded: Tony Keech, that Rod Lyons be accorded the title of LIFE Membership of the 7RAR Association.
Moved: Tony Keech, Seconded: Bernie Cox, that John Press be accorded the title of LIFE Membership of the 7RAR Association.
(10) The XO recited the Honor Roll.
(11) The President recited the ODE.
(12) There being no further business the President declared the meeting closed at 1225pm.
Mike O’Brien, CSC
CHARLIE COMPANY LINES THE HORSESHOE 1967/68 (BEEP BEEP)
ANZAC DAY DEDICATION DELIVERED
AT THE GARRISON CHURCH 25 APRIL 2015
7 Bn 1 A.I.F. WESTERN FRONT 1916
After leaving Gallipoli they underwent a period of training and reorganisation and expansion in Egypt. In March 1916 they sailed for France & the Western Front and entered the frontline trenches for the first time on the 3rd May. The Battalion’s first major action in France was at Pozieres in the Somme Valley where it fought between 23-27 July and 15-21 August. They lost 138 men killed in action.
The Battle of Pozieres
This was a two week struggle for the French village of Pozieres and the ridge on which it stands, during the middle stages of the 1916 Battle of the Somme. Although British divisions were involved, Pozieres is primarily remembered as an Australian Battle. The fighting ended with the Allied Forces in possession of the plateau North and East of the Village in position to menace the German bastion of Thiepval from the rear.
The East had been very large for both sides in the words of Charles Bean. The Pozieres ridge is more densely sown with Australian sacrifice than any other place on earth.
Late August the 7th Bn transferred to Belgium near Ypres.
In October they returned to the Somme where they spent winter manning the trenches at that time as ‘mud resembling some sea-bed, newly upheaved, more ditches in the slime and almost invisible’.
They had two more years to survive!
The Battle of The Somme went from 1 July - 18 November 1916, with 1,000,000 casualties it was one of the bloodiest battles we ever fought!
D Coy 7RAR
SVN 1st Tour
AND THEY CALL THIS MAN FATHER
We’re here today to celebrate the birthday of, and also to honour, a man, who has made such a huge difference to every person here and to so many who aren’t here. Chris Campbell-Thomson you have played a major role in shaping our lives in many ways.
Those who served under your command in Vietnam will think of you not only as their commander, but as the man who promised to bring “his boys” home from that war, God willing. You asked your “boys”, who not only respected you as an officer, but also as a leader who was approachable, to think of you as they would their father…. and so they called you Father.
Over the years of knowing you “Father”, I have come to not only be in awe of the respect with which “your boys” regard you, but feel blessed to know such a true gentleman with a really wicked sense of humour. I’ve loved listening to the incredible stories you have been willing to share with us, and in doing that, I’ve also learned what an amazing life you have lived.
Whenever we have referred to you as Father in circles outside 7RAR, people have thought we were talking about the army Chaplain or a priest. At such times I’ve always wished I could see the look on your face when people think of you as such and what your response would be. I’ve had many a chuckle about that I can assure you. So from all of us here, Happy Birthday Father.
Quote from Brigadier General…..
… and after he came out to Australia he joined the army and employed the Royal Australian Regiment and became the Pig, and I think it’s suffice to say that his presence here today and your presence as old warriors and with your wives is so characteristic of the Regiment that you once served in. It’s a very awesome thing Father did. Here you have a bloke who was a Commander and a Father who you respected and still do, and there are lessons there for our young people today, about mateship, love of country, about the honour and service and how you inject that into it I don’t know but it’s there and you should be congratulated for your efforts and I think that perhaps the most greatest observation I can make is that you (the attendees) have come from all over the place to be together again for this miserable bastard’s birthday….. I’d like to say it’s been a great honour to meet you all…
Brigadier General……, Bob Murdoch, Ian McNee, Peter & Christine? Saunders,
John & Trish Readdy, Ron & Carol Dalton, Chris & Angela Read, Ken & Jo Page, Peter (Bulldog) & Kay Farrell, Daz and Kaz ?, Bob from the RSL with the cake, Arthur & Beverley Holzhauser.
Rugby trophy named in honour of
Major General Ron Grey AO, DSO
The inaugural match between the ADF Rugby Union and Australian Police Rugby Union was contested at the Royal Military College – Duntroon on Friday 1st July 2016. The match pitched the best players from across the ADF (Navy, Army and Air Force) against the best players from all state and territory police forces.
The half time score saw the ADF team ahead by a slim 3-point margin, 15 – 13, but they ran away with the game in the second half, thumping the police, 55 – 16.
The match was attended by His Excellency General the Honourable
Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retired), Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, accompanied by Her Excellency Lady Cosgrove.
In the lead up to the match, it was decided to strike a perpetual trophy in honour of an historical figure spanning the ADF and national police communities. Major General Ronald Alwyn Grey AO, DSO was identified as a fitting choice. He served in the ustralian Army 1948 – 1983 (graduated Royal Military College in 1951), then as Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police 1983 – 1988. Major General Grey was delighted for the trophy to take his name. The Governor General was also delighted with the choice, commenting that Major General Grey had been a mentor of his during the 1970s.
Major General Grey was invited to the match but was unable to attend. The Governor General presented the trophy to the Best and Fairest player of the ADF team on behalf of Major General Grey, the Trophy shown opposite was presented to the Captain of the ADF Team by the Governor General. (Photo opposite).
THE BEST FROM THE WEST
G’Day from WA.
ANZAC DAY – PERTH
Well Perth had another era of our 2006 reunion WET WEATHER EVENT – IT NEVER RAINS IN Perth on ANZAC DAY was our battle cry but remember our reunion 2006 we had RAIN and so 10 years later in 2016 we had RAIN AND WE ALL GOT WET – VERY WET, but it did not stop our stalwart members and in particular our merry widows and friends namely Midge Middleton, Nola Lamont, Ann Cowen, and Julia Jacobs and son Albert. We missed John Bell but he was replaced by his son Ben carrying the Australian flag in honour of his Uncle the late Alex BELL. We had 53 of parade and once again Spunky ensured we marched in step. Also absent, regretfully with a dose of the flu, was Betty Baty and we hope she is fully recovered. Our banner carriers were Casey Epskamp and Bob Curry. We gathered at Rigby’s after the service where a happy family gathering took place.
AMAZING WHO YOU MEET
Don was entering his local shopping centre when he spotted a vehicle with a 4RAR sticker and a number plate STONEY. He introduced himself, only to find the car owner is a brother to our own STONEY Bourke. It’s a small world and just goes to show the power of unit stickers to attract attention.
MESSAGE TO BOB “THE WOG” CUSACK
After your 400th parachute jump remember – if at first you don’t succeed then skydiving is not for you.
CONGRATULATIONS TO “SIR” REG BANDY, MBE
7RAR recently established a Rehabilitation & Human Performance Centre within Horseshoe Lines in order to enhance and facilitate the rehabilitation of wounded, ill or injured soldiers, and enhance the ongoing physical performance of our soldiers.
The Centre has been named in honor of WO1 Reginald A. Bandy, MBE, and today we see current members of 7RAR conducting Physical Training in the facility. Reg Bandy is a former RSM of 7RAR, and a veteran of three wars. To this day he remains an outstanding example of soldiering to all members of the Battalion, and indeed the entire Australian Army. Well done Reg.
VIETNAM VETERANS DAY – MANDURAH (by Allan West)
I took the 7RAR banner to Mandurah 50kms south of Perth with Gary Williams and Mick O’Halloran doing the honours with the flag bearing. The weather was touchy but it held off for most of the service. I am not sure of the attendance figure but at a rough estimate about 500 or more. The organisers did an excellent job and as an extra each family of a fallen West Australian during the Vietnam War was given an Australian flag. I collected one for Kevin Coles killed in February 1968 and served in 3RAR and was the brother of Syd Cox, C Coy, first tour.
There were about 25 members and their families for the service and march and then we retired to the Mandurah RSL for lunch and refreshments, including Chris Wark, Les Kail, Teresa & Gary Williams, Mick & Joan O’Halloran, Ted & Sharron von Paleske, Graham & Helen Gutteridge,Allan, Betty & Melanie West, Rick & Cathy Brown and Val O’Brien. Sorry if I have missed anyone out or spelt their name wrong we didn’t write the list until it was too late. Many have promised to be at our Christmas lunch at Perth RSL.
Just a short conclusion; 50 years went quite quickly and the comradeship in reunions, Vietnam Veterans Day or ANZAC Day and we aren’t going to last forever so all I can say is get your butts off the lounge and get to these functions because these things keep you active and in touch.
Up the Old Red Rooster etc
VIETNAM VETERANS DAY – NORTH BEACH (by Don Cruden)
It rained the previous day but sunshine blessed us on this day – In attendance – carrying banner Ken Braidwood and Geoff Murray, also in attendance were Don Cruden, Steve Chamarette, Peter Vlachou, Ian McNee, Peter Wilson, Paul Lusk, Glen Moore, Griffo Griffiths, Ron Mitchell and Dave Ingles. It was a wonderful service and march, attended by Her Excellency the Governor of WA and other distinguished guests and included a fly-past by RAAF jets and a recording of the distinctive sound of a Huey (this made the vets take notice). A crowd of approximately 500 attended.
TERANG VIC. HONOUR FOR PAUL NAVARRE
On Saturday 20th August, the Town of Terang, in conjunction with the Terang RSL held a service to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan, to honour Vietnam Veterans from the area and to unveil a plaque in honour of Paul Navarre, who was kia 7RAR 2nd tour. Paul’s sister Julia Jacob and her two sons Albert and Michael flew to Victoria to attend the ceremony, which was well attended by local veterans. Included below is the speech Albert presented on behalf of his Uncle Paul and his mum Julia.
Address to Terang RSL 20th August 2016 In memory of Pte Paul John Navarre
Paul Crawley was born 18 November, 1948 in Terang, Victoria.
He was the 3rd child of 6 born to Denis William Crawley and Patricia Imelda (nee Karter). At the time of his birth, Paul’s grandparents, and the parents of Denis; Cornelius John Crawley and Ruth Mary (nee Dalton) were still living in Terang. Paul's great grandparents, my great great grandparents, James and Annie Crawley, are buried here also.
Paul's grandparents, Cornelius and Ruth had 4 children born in Terang, Veronica, Cornelius, Reginald and Vincent and finally, Denis the 5th child and Paul's father was born. Denis enjoyed his time here in Terang as a young man, before enlisting into the army in 1938. Once the war was over he and his wife Patricia moved back to Terang with their two children, Denise and Peter. Paul's parents had 4 more children while they lived here.
Due to Patricia's chronic illness and the better treatment options available in Beechworth, Denis chose to move the family to Beechworth in early 1954. Unfortunately Patricia never recovered and died in the hospital some years after. To the best of our knowledge, no member of Denis' family has since returned to Terang before today. Following Patricia's passing, now the single father of 6 children whilst he himself was still traumatised from his extensive service during the war years, Denis divested himself of the children for many years.
He placed the three girls in St John’s orphanage outside of Albury. Paul and John were sent to Sebastopol home for boys, outside of Ballarat. It was whilst at the boys' home, following the passing of his mother, that tragedy again struck Paul's life.
When Paul was 14, his 12 year old brother John Crawley, who had been the only family companion Paul had really known to this point, was killed in a tragic incident. What we would now refer to as a 'one punch assault'. It was this incident that prompted Paul's change of name later in life - made by Paul to honour and remember John just as I have been named in honour and memory of Paul. The death of John was also the catalyst for the children to return to their Father in Beechworth and live together as a family for the first time since they began in Terang. It was only really during these teenage years, when all of the children were able to get to know each other.
Julia and Paul became particularly close. Paul graduated from high school and was enrolled to study Chemistry at University in Sydney. Despite repeated tragedy and setback in his early years, Paul had bold aspirations for his future and he had already begun working hard to achieve his goals. It was while Paul was studying that he was called up to the army. Before leaving for Vietnam Paul came and spent some time in 1969 with Julia and His Father in Beechworth. Paul was sent to Vietnam in the following March and was KIA just 3 months later on June 6th 1970, at the age of 21.
As we have not yet been able to access Paul's service record, our chronicles of Paul's time in Vietnam are taken from Julia's recollection, the recollections of 7RAR colleagues and predominantly from Paul's letters home during his service in Vietnam. Paul was hungry for letters from home and he was a prolific writer in the hope of receiving responses. Getting a letter would be the high point of his day. In every letter he wrote, he begs the family to keep writing. The letters kept his hopes alive.
During training in Kapooka, NSW, Paul was selected to train for the Infantry Division in the Army. This was the last thing he wanted because Infantry had the highest casualty rate in the corps. Early March 1970, as family gathered to say their farewell, Paul tried to appear nonchalant, but was visibly stirred and emotional to be leaving home. The flight took them from Sydney to Saigon and then to Nui Dat in Vietnam. On the flight he wrote that it was good to be with army mates as the boisterous humour helped settle nerves. At the time Paul had a girlfriend in Sydney, she also said farewell and sadly, while he was in Vietnam, she sent him a “Dear John” letter; which was a heavy blow for him. Paul found it difficult to settle at first due to the noise from so many motorcycles and gunfire.
Paul wrote that the living conditions were the most primitive he had ever seen and evil looking dogs were everywhere. Paul suspected they were a source of protein. As it was the dry season, there was dust everywhere and in everything. Paul was looking forward to the wet season to push down the dust, but he also knew he would then have to contend with the mud.
Much of the extended training in the first few weeks involved going out and taking part in ambush training - initially this excited Paul as it was a relief from the tiresome role of continually filling sand bags, which was his first job. Once he was on gun piquet the reality of the situation truly sank in and for the first time he was scared. Paul writes that he couldn’t sleep after that first experience.
The food in the Support Company was bad and half the time he couldn’t eat and as such lost a lot of weight. He was, however, happy with the pay most of which went towards his savings account, having nothing much to spend it on while over there. Movies were available on the big screen for entertainment, but Paul usually avoided them as viewing life as he had known it brought on too strong an emotional response. Three nights out of five, he was on ambush duty. In May Paul was transferred to 7 RAR when 6 RAR returned back home in mid May.
Paul was due to return in February 1971 and writes that he couldn’t wait for his tour to finish. Every time a new intake of boys arrived from Australia, the now regulars would hand them the usual lines about the weekly dance at Hoa Long and the Dat Do dog racing along with the nightly attacks on the wire. Each time the boys were armed to the teeth. He carried 2 rockets, two mines and extra machine gun rounds on top of his own gear.
Usually it poured raining and they got wet through. Paul writes that there was a rumour that 7 RAR would be home for Christmas, this excited him. He was doing a countdown of every day that bought him closer to when he would see home again. The last letter written by Paul was dated 28 May, 1970 exactly 1 week before he was killed. He writes that moving out at night to set up ambushes had increased.
On the 6 June 1970, during routine ambush duty, the soldier in front of Paul trod on a mine and the blast mortally wounded Paul and two others as well and he died later that day. The family was devastated and struggled to come to terms with the reality of never seeing him return home.
Paul was a wonderful man, full of life with a deep consideration for others.
As his family, we thank the Terang RSL and the people of Terang for the honour you bestow on him by dedicating the Terang RSL war memorial in honour of Pte Paul John Navarre.
Hon Albert Paul Jacob MLA
Minister for Environment; Heritage
NAMETAGS (Note: For BOTH Men and Women)
Our NAMETAGS are available in two sizes, the original size and the version, which is half as big again. Each small tag costs $13, with the larger tag at $18, both prices include delivery to anywhere in Australia. To order, contact Geoff Murray as per details below and provide the correct name to be included on the TAG and the correct postal address. To ensure prompt delivery, pop a cheque (made payable to Geoff Murray) or money order in the post when you place your order, delivery is about three weeks.
Approx. 6.0cm x 4.0cm
Approx. 9.0cm x 6.0cm
Post it to:
30 Bouvardia Way
GREENWOOD WA 6024
Alternatively, you can do an Electronic Funds Transfer to:
Remember, the newsletter is only as good as the contents, so please contact Geoff Murray if you have anything to report, no matter how trivial. Geoff can be contacted on:
Home 08 94483109
Mobile 0432 253 043
Cheers - Geoff Murray
All WA members thank the Terang RSL, Victorian 7 RAR members and the veteran community for their recent dedication service for Private Navarre and their embracement of the Jacob family at this service. A sad occasion but now with a lasting memory.
Many Thanks Don.
PEARLS FROM VICTORIA
Anzac Day 2016
As you can see from the ‘screen shot’ that someone was able to supply we had our usual good turnout to represent 7RAR. This year Vietnam era Battalions led the March which was quite an honour although our preference was that all members of 7RAR should participate – not just Viet Vets. We’ll also take this opportunity to remind younger 7RAR members that we ‘older’ members would be delighted if they joined us in any of our activities. The earlier step off did throw out our usual timing and we arrived at our post-March RV significantly ahead of schedule. Fortunately we were able to handle the changed circumstances and had our pre-lunch refreshments before we went up to our reunion location.
We changed our location to Bell’s Hotel and the management (Jarrad Grace) looked after us magnificently. The meals were delivered well, despite the larger numbers that were better than previous year; and when they opened up the entire second floor we had more room to walk around and meet up with old friends. One advantage of holding our own Post-March is the calling of our Roll of Honour; this gives us the chance to remember those that are no longer able to be with us. Lionel Boxer (5/6 RVR Pipes and Drums) graced us with
his pipes again this year. When we realised that he had been entertaining us for over 10 years Allan McGuiness presented Lionel with a certificate noting our appreciation of his involvement with us.
Pictured above right are Barry Hester & Derek Hale
Pte Bert Foster 2/7th AIF (15th June)
I was able to attend the presentation of the Australian Service Medal to Victor (Bert) Rupert Foster. Ordinarily a WW2 veteran would not be entitled to the ASM but Bert stayed on for several months after VP Day as one of the troops tasked with rounding up Japanese soldiers to advise them of the end of the war.
Bert had been coming into Melbourne for Anzac Day but due to advancing age has been attending the Craigieburn Ceremony. He’s 95 and is determined to lay the wreath in 2017. Kevin O’Callaghan is the main driving force behind the Craigieburn Anzac Ceremony and when he realised that Bert was entitled to his ASM made arrangements for a formal presentation to him. This took place at the local SES HQ and had local, State and Federal representatives in attendance. Because he now has an extra medal foer his ‘rack’ we have arranged for a local contact to remount all his medals – we had a quick ‘whip around’ to make sure he’s not out of pocket.
Bert had been coming into Melbourne for Anzac Day but due to advancing age has been attending the Craigieburn Ceremony. He’s 95 and is determined to lay the wreath in 2017.
Kevin O’Callaghan is the main driving force behind the Craigieburn Anzac Ceremony and when herealised that Bert was entitled to his ASM made arrangements for a formal presentation to him. This took place at the local SES HQ and had local, State and Federal representatives in attendance. Because he now has an extra medal for his ‘rack’ we have arranged for a local contact to remount all his medals – we had a quick ‘whip around’ to make sure he’s not out of pocket.
All the 7s Shrine Pilgrimage (7th August)
We held our annual service at the Shrine this year to remember 7AIF, 2/7th AIF and 7RAR. This year we were also joined by several members of 106 Bty who were in Melbourne for a reunion and participated in a joint laying of wreaths at the Eternal Flame. We had a good attendance and I noticed that there were also several interested passers-by who stopped to witness our ceremony. The Shrine staff gives us a good deal of assistance with the provision of PA and seating – as well as the services of a Light Horseman Trooper to provide the arms drill. 106 Bty were in town to celebrate the launch of their book ‘Gunners Vietnam 67-68.
It’s some 100 pages of photographs and includes a brief summary of ‘Sui Chau Pha’ and ‘Battle of the Bunkers’ written by Neville (Nobby) Clarke MC OAM. I found it quite interesting as it gave me some insight on what it was like back at the Battery – still glad I was RAINF not RAA
Next year is the 50th anniversary of Suoi Chau Pha and tentative plans are being drawn up to mark this significant date in 7RAR’s history. Would you contact either Ian Dunn (firstname.lastname@example.org
) or Bill Anderson to register your interest.
Vietnam Veterans’ Day (50th anniversary Long Tan)
The Vietnam Veterans Association (Vic) pulled out all stops to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Long Tan Battle with the active support of the Victorian Government. The large contingent of Vietnam Veterans was marched along St Kilda Rd Road with Banners and Bands in what was virtually a mini-Anzac Day March. There was also a huge crowd of dignitaries and, very pleasing, over 3000 school children in attendance. The Victorian Government had made travel grants available to suburban and regional schools to attend – near me for example were a couple of schools from the Colac/Warrnambool area.
The massed banners on the Shrine steps made a very colourful display with the various Viet Vet sub branches signs as well as unit banners. The RAR were placed towards the back of the March but as least 6RAR marched behind the flags representing the kin of those KIA who formed the head of the March.
MajGen Jim Hughes AO DSO MC
The funeral for MajGen Hughes was held at St Peter’s Eastern Hill on 23rd August. MajGen was Patron of the Royal Australian Regiment(Vic) and made a point of attending the RARA meetings until his health began to fail.
He graduated from Duntroon in 1950 and served in Korea with 3RAR from 1951. After retiring from the Army after 33 years he continued to be involved with ex-servicemen which included the VRB and Legacy. He will be missed by his family and friends.
Soldier On is an organisation that you may not have heard of. They’ve been in existence for 4 years and their mission is to support those younger ADFpersonnel by focusing on their physical and mental health, their family, their community and their future. A full run down on their services can be found at www.soldieron.org.au
and if you know of any younger veterans who might find this as an additional resource please pass on this information
The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved; the pig is committed.
Flashback: Wagga Wagga 2003 Reunion forming up before the march through the City, I think we were all much younger then.
Greetings from South Australia
Well it has been pretty quiet down here since the Reunion – and thanks goodness for that. Most of the crew have been away for a while relaxing and catching up on expended energy from the past couple of years.
Chris is away in South America, Kerry has absconded with caravan to the ‘Deep North’, Tony is away and back so often we need to tie him down with bungee cords, and Bev and I have been to beautiful Canada and Alaska – what places – go now if you haven’t been. It is spectacular.
Most of the battalion is away – 200 in Afghanistan, 300 in Iraq, and another company in Malaya. All should be back either just before Xmas, or soon after.
We (the Association) actually ended up with a few dollars over after the reunion (believe it or not) so we spent $5500.00 and presented the battalion with two granite plinths and two brass plaques for the Rose garden Memorial at the battalion lines at Edinburgh. We considered this a good way to get rid of the surplus cash, and in line with most people’s thinking that we need to put back what we accumulate.
There will be a full dedication ceremony with the Governor General when the battalion is all back and up to strength – pictures will follow later.
On the home front, we did schedule a memorial service with all the trimmings for Soui Chau Pha, (including the Catherine Lambert singers, etc) but due to lack of numbers had to cancel at the last minute and hold a much-reduced service at the plaques on the Memorial walkway instead.
Seven of us turned up and we laid a wreath to the fallen (photos below). We sincerely hope we can muster more next time.