On Service Winter 2011 - RSL Tasmania

On Service Winter 2011 - RSL Tasmania

On Service Winter 2011 - RSL Tasmania


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No. 43 Winter 2011

Official publication for Returned & Services League of Australia

Tasmanian State Branch (inc.)

Inside this


From the Editorial Desk 2

From the Presidents Desk 2

Chief Executive Officer’s Comment 3

Deputy President’s Report 4

Vice President’s Reports 4

RSL Clubs and Licensed Sub Branches Report 7

Bernard Hodgman - After the War 8

Acknowledgement of Donations to RSL (Queensland) Flood Appeal 10

Younger Veterans’ Memorial 10

State Congress 2011 11

Boer War Commemorations 13

RSL Tasmania Discount Rewards Scheme 14

Just Ask a Blonde 15

Howitzers 15

Conspicuous Gallantry Cross Awarded 16

Inaugural Tasmanian RSL Golf Challenge 17

Frank MacDonald MM Memorial Prize Tour 2011 18

Serving Tasmanians 20

Around the Sub Branches 22


Book Review 27

Anglesea Saved for Now 28

60th Anniversary of the WRAAC 30

HMAS Melbourne Disrupts Pirates 31

Farewell to Tasmanian World War II Hero 32

Spitfire Pilot Identified 32

The On Service magazine is produced

by the Returned & Services League of

Australia (Tasmania Branch) Inc and

issued three times per year.

Submissions of articles of around

300 words, with accompanying

photographs (in digital format),

or items for the Notices section

are encouraged. Submissions

should be emailed to


or mailed to:

On Service, RSL (Tasmania

Branch), ANZAC House,

68 Davey Street

HOBART Tasmania 7000

No. 43 Winter 2011

Official publication for Returned & Services League of Australia Tasmanian State Branch (inc.)

Submissions should be free of personal views, political bias and must be

of interest to the wider membership of the RSL.

Short requests seeking information or contact with ex-Service

members are welcome for the Notices section.

All enquiries relating to On Service may be forwarded to RSL (Tasmania

Branch) Editorial Team of Phil Pyke on 0408 300 148 or to the Chief Executive

Officer, Noeleen Lincoln on (03) 6224 0881.”

We reserve the right to edit, include or refuse any submission. Articles based

on personal views will not be included unless in the form of Letters to the

Editor with name and address of the author.

Disclaimer: RSL (Tasmania) State Branch advises readers who are

contemplating agreements with advertisers in this magazine to seek

independent financial or legal advice.

RSL Tasmanian Branch reserves the right to refuse or withdraw an

advertisement before publication if this advertisement is deemed to be in

conflict with the RSL or of an obscene nature.

Editorial Team

Phil Pyke – Editor

Mobile: 0408 300 148

Noeleen Lincoln OAM – Chief Executive Officer

RSL (Tasmania Branch) - (03) 6224 0881

Publisher and Advertising

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as at 30th April 2011. If you have not renewed your membership

for 2011 please do so via your Sub Branch as soon as possible. Your

membership and support is very much appreciated and needed.

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COVER: Standing with the statue are Oliver Reed and his daughter, Imogen.

Oliver is a Reservist with the Adelaide University Regiment where he is a Sergeant.

He served in Timor Leste in 2008 as part of the Timor Leste Battle Group.

Photograph by Galena Romalis

RSL On Service 1


I was watching a recent edition of Sixty Minutes

called “Fighting Back” – the very inspirational

story of some of our badly wounded younger

veterans who are determined to get back on

their feet and achieve in their lives through


The story, which can be accessed at the Sixty

Minutes website, is well worth watching.

But having seen this, I am reminded of one

important point – veterans can overcome

many things irrespective of injuries or

illness. Take a few moments to watch the

Sixty Minutes story – it is an inspiring piece

on veterans overcoming extreme challenges

by undertaking extreme challenges.

I often see veterans in this State who are

suffering illness or injury but like Sergeant

Michael Lyddiard they also get on with their

lives, usually by helping others in need – and

that is as equally as inspiring.

The attack on the Scottsdale Simpson and

His Donkey memorial saw several youths

charged after a police investigation. Veterans

across the State were shocked and angered

at the deliberate damage of the memorial.

Parts of the wooden carved Simpson and His

Donkey statue had been severed, including the

donkey’s ears and the head of the wounded


Other damage included a tree-mounted cross

being removed from its mountings and the

tree cut down. The three 18 year olds and one

17 year old are to face court and one can only

hope that part of their penalty is to face the

veteran community at Scottsdale and make

amends for their appalling behaviour.

In this edition of On Service, the Lenah Valley

RSL Sub Branch has written about their

inaugural golf challenge. Well done to all those

involved in organising this competition which

followed State Congress and the invitation is

already extended to Sub Branches for next

year. Tony Cooper tells me it was a great day

and so more teams for 2012 may make this

writer (and golfing idiot) travel to the course

to cover the event first-hand.

Lastly, International Peacekeepers Day on the

29th May saw the unveiling of the Anglesea

Barracks Peacekeeping Memorial. This unique

memorial, which was sponsored (amongst


Phil Pyke

others) by the RSL (Tasmania) State Branch

and Hobart RSL Sub Branch, has given the

ADF, police and UN veteran community their

own place to commemorate. A full article

is included in this edition. If you get the

opportunity to head up to Anglesea Barracks,

the memorial is positioned in the Memorial

Garden and is well worth a visit.

Until next time

Phil Pyke

Footnote: At the time of this issue going to

print, the Simpson and His Donkey memorial

statue at Scottsdale has been fully restored by

the original sculptor, Mr Eddy Freeman from

Campbell Town. Our thanks go to Eddy,

the Dorset Council and the State Government

who very quickly provided a $3000 grant to

assist in the restoration/repair.

I would again like to express my sincere

thanks to you, the members of the League in

Tasmania, for giving me a third year as your

State President. It is a great honour that you

bestow on me and I am extremely grateful for

your on-going support. That said, this will be

my last year as I do not intend contesting next

year’s election. I firmly believe that three years

in this position is long enough and it will be

time for someone younger, with new ideas,

to take the reins and continue the renewal of

this great institution, The Returned & Services

League of Australia (Tasmania Branch) Inc.

At the State Congress in May you elected a

new State Executive to represent you for the

year ahead. On your behalf I wish to thank

those members who were not elected or chose

not to recontest those elections. In particular

I would like to thank Chris Oakes for his

work as the Deputy State President and for

his work on commemorative matters and for

his willingness to represent me whenever the

need arose during the past year. Thanks also

to Steve Cocker and Michael van de Kamp for

their contribution. Congratulations to the

new committee of Chris Munday (Deputy

State President), Kevin Knight and Graham

Deacon (Vice President and Executive Member

North West Division), Kent Luttrell and Geoff

Leitch (Vice President and Executive Member

Northern Division), Peter Woolford JP (Vice

President Eastern Division), Karren Walker

(Vice President Southern Division) and Wayne

Cargill (Honorary State Treasurer). And, of

course, Noeleen Lincoln OAM, our CEO,

completes the State Executive team.

Although I had reservations about holding the

96th State Congress at Glenorchy following

the space problems encountered in 2005, I

have to admit that the Glenorchy Sub Branch

put on an excellent Congress in May and for

this President Jenny and her team are to be

congratulated. Well done to you all.

The Table of Motions considered at the

Congress will be covered later in this issue

of On Service but of note was the decision to

request all levels of Government and private

enterprise to recommitment to the observance

of one minutes

silence on


Day; the

placement of a

memorial plaque Bill Kaine MBE

at Gueudecourt

in France at the site where Harry Murray VC

CMG DSO & Bar DCM Croix de Guerre Order

of St Michael and St George was awarded his

VC; the State Government to legislate for all

Service and Affiliate members of the RSL to

have automatic entry into all RSL and Service

Clubs without the need to sign in; and for the

Long Tan Bursary eligibility to be extended to

sons and daughters of post 1975 serving and

ex-service members who have had operational


Again I wish to congratulate the CEO and

our lawyer, Mr Bruce Curl, for their excellent

work in implementing our new constitutional

arrangements during the past year culminating

with the impending acceptance by the

Australian Taxation Office of our status as a


RSL On Service


Tax Concession Charity. I also congratulate

and thank those Sub Branches that assisted in

this endeavour by providing timely information

and documentation. I am sure the CEO will

cover this subject in her report, or as a separate

article in this journal, but suffice to say that

now we must ensure that the annual reporting

requirements needed to meet the compliance

requirements, including commitments to the

welfare of our membership, are met.

A number of matters have received a fair degree

of media and internet coverage over the past

few months. These include:

Military Prosecutions to charge three soldiers

following an incident in Afghanistan in 2009.

At the time of writing this, the charges against

the two other rank members had been found

to be bad at law the decision made to drop

any further prosecution. The charge against

the Officer was still pending; a matter that we

find is totally unacceptable as this matter has

now been outstanding for almost two and a

half years.

Military Superannuation which is currently

indexed based on the CPI. Such indexation

is not used for age or service pensions and has

been determined by the Federal Parliament,

on a number of occasions, to not represent

the true cost of living increases. In fact it is

normally around one percent a year below the

recognised true cost of living index (MATWE

or PBLCI) as used for other pension increases

and this is commutative resulting in an ever

increasing loss to ex-service recipients of

Military Super.

lack of respect for memorials erected to

commemorate the sacrifices made by veterans

who have paid with their life for the freedoms

we enjoy as a nation. Sadly, the majority of

these appear to be the younger members in our

society. In the most recent case four teenagers

saw fit to desecrate a memorial at Scottsdale

by decapitating a soldier and cutting off the

ears of Simpson’s Donkey. I have approached

each Sub Branch in the State to seek support

for a proposal to be submitted to Government

seeking penalties for such acts to include the

naming and shaming of those found guilty

of desecrating such memorials, regardless of

their age, and a requirement for a substantial

community service penalty to be imposed as

well as their meeting the costs of repair work.

also another contentious issue. I believe there

is a general consensus within the serving and

ex-service community that we should not

expect our women to become involved in the

dirty work that is front line combat. But then,

where is the front line in the operations that the

ADF is currently engaged in. We currently have

women engaged at the various levels of combat

operations, such as piloting combat aircraft,

transport and so on, but not yet at the operation

level in Infantry, Engineer or Special Forces. If

and when such commitment is made should be

left entirely up to the military planners who are

in the best position to evaluate the capabilities

of our current serving Defence Force men and


May I wish you the best of health and prosperity

for the year ahead.

Lest we Forget

Bill Kaine

State President


I feel as though I only just finished the last issue

of On Service, and here it is that time again.

Then I sat and thought about everything that

has happened since our last issue and realized

the sad truth – time is going by way too fast

these days!

In his report in this issue, the State President

made mention of the impending Taxation

Concession Charity status for all our Sub

Branches. I have provided regular updates

on this through On Service over the past 18

months. I am very pleased to say that on the

8th July our final documentation was lodged

with the ATO and I am confident that by the

time this issue reaches your letterboxes the

exercise will be completed and we will have

our Charity status. It will be the culmination

of a lot of hard work and I must publicly

acknowledge the massive amount of work

undertaken by our lawyer, Mr Bruce Curl to

bring this exercise to fruition. At the recent

round of State Branch Workshops in early July

we again revisited the requirements that the

Sub Branches will need to be aware of and

implement and I have no reason to suspect

that any of our Sub Branches will not meet

the criteria for compliancy.

There is a separate article in this issue on the

recent Annual State Congress hosted by the

Glenorchy RSL Sub Branch in May. I have

made mention of special thanks in that article,

but I also wish to thank all the delegates for

contributing to what was a very successful


A very important topic discussed at the State

Congress was the reorganization of the State

Executive. It was agreed by those present

that the current system of four divisions

with two representatives from each was no

longer working, and hadn’t worked in quite

a few years. This has been obvious from the

ongoing vacancies experienced every year

in some positions. It was further agreed

that the concept would be taken to the State

Branch Workshops in July and discussed

further, resulting in the formulation of a new

model which everyone agreed with. From

that agreement, the new model would be fine

tuned, and the appropriate amendments to

the State Constitution drafted in time for

the end of the year Workshops in November

or December this year. By doing this,

everyone should be in agreement well before

State Congress when the motion will be put

and by that time the changes should have a

smooth run through Congress and be carried.

I will be in a position to report further on an

agreed model in

the next edition

of On Service.

Our membership

is continuing to

grow as a result

Noeleen Lincoln OAM

of the mergers

between Sub

Branches and Ex-Servicemen’s Clubs. I

congratulate those merged Sub Branches for

bringing on the former Service members and

also bringing former Social members across

as Affiliates of their Sub Branches. I would

strongly encourage others to do the same if

they have not yet done so. An important

thing to remember is that the larger our

membership, the larger percentage RSL

(Tasmania Branch) receives from any National

Marketing initiatives and sponsorships, which

in turn means there is more in the ‘kitty’ to be

used to assist our Sub Branches and general

membership, ie: you!

Until next time, take care and stay healthy.


Noeleen Lincoln

RSL On Service 3



First of all I would like to thank those Sub

Branches who elected me to the position of

Executive Member, Eastern Division. Those

of you who attended State Congress will

recall that the Vice Presidency for Eastern

Division was still vacant after Congress.

At the first State Executive meeting post

Congress, the State Executive, in accordance

with the provisions of the State Constitution,

appointed me as Vice President to fill the

vacancy, which I accepted.

I will do my utmost to get around and see you

all and if you have any problems I am only a

phone call away.

I attended Swansea Sub Branch Annual

Dinner on Friday, the 3rd June and it was

a great effort by the Sub Branch to have an

annual dinner after many years of not holding

them. It was a pleasure to be there and a great

night was shared by all. Congratulations to all

those involved.

My personal view is that all Sub Branches

should at least try to have an Annual Lunch or

Dinner. With Affiliates and Social Members



you have many more

to attend and the

camaraderie is very

important. You also get

to know your other Sub

Branch members.

As I am only just Peter Woolford JP

learning the ropes I

hope to be able to give you a longer report

next issue and I hope to see you all soon.

Regards to all

Peter Woolford

G’day all,

Firstly, a big thanks to the members who voted

me into this new position. It is very humbling

indeed. In my pen picture to the Sub Branch

committees for the last election, I raised the

proposal of getting a “Junior Membership”

happening in Tasmania. I note that similar

has already happened in Victoria involving

tertiary students and I feel very strongly that

this is a road we need to go down as soon as

possible. There are many reasons for getting

this up and running and I can see absolutely no

“down sides”. One issue that was raised to me

was one of “We can’t have underage members

in our licensed venues”. This is true. Obviously,

the current licensing laws regarding underage

persons being accompanied by a responsible

adult would still apply.

The annual cost of membership, I would hope

to keep down to $4 or $5. This would cover

the cost of the badge (a new one would have

to be designed) and an annual BBQ for the

“Junior Members”.

I would like to see the State Branch only

recover the cost of the badge and the rest left

with the Sub Branches to finance the Annual

BBQ for their own junior members. The BBQ

could be held an ANZAC Day, or any other

day which the individual Sub Branches deem

suitable. These “Junior Members” would

bolster already increasing numbers to our

Remembrance services, and could be available

to give a hand placing the chairs, delivering

ANZAC Breakfast to aging Veterans and

making sure they had a cuppa etc. The list

of ‘positives’ is endless but I will mention just

a few more.

As we are all aware, most ex-Service personnel

don’t consider joining any “Ex-Service

organization until well after they have left

the Army, Navy or Air Force. Here we have

our first problem. Our WW2 personnel are

diminishing in numbers and in many cases,

frail health prevents them from attending

Remembrance Services. Our Vietnam

Veterans are getting no younger and already

we are seeing an increase in the mortality

rate and or serious illness. Between Vietnam

and the Gulf War, we have “Peacekeepers and

Peacemakers”, a lot of whom have not yet

reached the time of life when they think about

joining an “Ex Service Organization”. These

folk are not huge in numbers, and now we have

current Service personnel in Afghanistan,

Iraq, the Solomon Islands and East Timor who

also are unlikely to think about joining an ex

Service Organization for a while.

So, who will keep the home fires burning in

say, ten to fifteen years? It will be way too late

to start down this road in even five years time.

We need to do this now. Another ‘positive’

is that this will give young people who do

have an affinity with what our veterans went

through and actually do care, a way of showing

everybody that they care. In an age where we

are told it may be politically incorrect to wave

the Australian flag on Australia Day, we have

the opportunity to let our youth show their

national pride, every day, everywhere they go.

This will also have a very positive “feel good”

affect on our current senior members. I know

I would be very happy to see young people

wearing an RSL ‘Junior Member’ badge. Now,

it is my intention to start as I mean to continue.

That is to say, every idea or comment I come up

with, will need to have the backing of at least

65% of our members, before said comment or

idea, goes forward. I would like the discussion

on “Junior Members” to begin now, between

the members (you) and if anyone has some

strong ideas please make contact with me

at your earliest convenience. The idea has

already been discussed at the recent State

Branch Workshops held in early July. I will

be calling for responses from individual Sub

Chris Munday

Branches by this August. If the support is there I

will have the necessary work done to put this to

the National Membership/Marketing Forum

for ongoing discussion and hopefully their

recommendation to the National Executive.

If everything progresses the way I would hope,

we may be able to present the concept at the

next State Congress and have it in place by

August 2012.

At the recent Workshops I also brought up

an idea about having a ’50 Year’ lapel pin

which could be given concurrently with Long

Service Awards (50 Year Certificates). It is

not intended for other anniversaries such as

60 or 70 years, but I consider the 50 year mark

to be a milestone. It is something else which

would give recognition to those members

who have given the League their loyalty for

50 years. Please also give this concept some

thought. I am also aware that there are still

many members out there who are entitled to

their Long Service Award and have not been

given it. Sub Branch Secretaries please have a

close look at this and ensure that those entitled

to this National award receive it as soon as


My contact details are below, and I am

more than happy to talk with members on

an individual basis, or come to Sub Branch

meetings to further discuss this issue.

Regards to all

Chris Munday

Ph: (03)6373-6132

Mobile: 0467-538444

Email: munday.chris9@gmail.com


RSL On Service



It was great to see so many at the recent

State Branch Workshops held at Claremont.

These workshops are a very important way

of information sharing and brain storming

sessions on how we can operate our Sub

Branches more efficiently.

On a recent trip to NSW to see family my

husband and I decided as we were only an

hour away we would visit the Australian War

Memorial in Canberra. We stayed two days

so that we could walk the Avenue. Although

it was cold and windy we did not let the

weather dampen the spirit of the visit. I highly

recommend that anyone visiting the Australian

War Memorial to take a guided tour. One

warning however; during the week Mon-Fri

there are many school children visiting as part

of the reintroduction of Australian History in

to Schools so if you would like a quieter (less

crowded) visit the weekends are best.

I would also like to plead to each and every

member out there if you feel there is problems

within your Sub Branch then speak up, talk

to your committee and if you feel you can not

approach them for any reason then please

contact myself before contacting the State

Branch. A problem is easily fixed while it is

small but if it is allowed to go on and grow

in to a bigger problem, while it can still be

fixed, it can become very complicated. Most

importantly of all there is no such thing as a

stupid or silly question. Every question is very

important and will be dealt with accordingly,

so if you feel something is wrong please, please

ask questions.

In saying this I

am not aware

of any problems

in the Southern Karren Walker

Division which

is great so lets

keep the doors of communication open

and remember don’t be shy speak up. Your

questions can only benefit your Sub Branch,

the League and the most importantly, all the


Yours in Service

Karren Walker

Ph: 0409471112




I guess every one has been rather busy over the

past few months with ANZAC Day, Annual

Dinners, AGM’s and other club activities. I

know that I have. First off I must apologies to

those Sub Branches I have not visited during

this quarter as I have had a rather busy time

with family matters along with RSL matters.

However, I have had the pleasure of attending

Annual Dinners at Railton, Burnie and

Ulverstone and I have also been fortunate

enough to get to a couple of social evenings at

Wynyard and Devonport.

The Ulverstone Sub Branch presented

Certificates of Appreciation to some of its

members. One I believe worthy of a mention

was made to Andrew and Lynn Morrison.

This couple dress up in WW1 uniforms and

attend the ANZAC Day March and have done

so for many years. I congratulate them on

their efforts at the March and service to their

Sub Branch.

From the reports I have received all Sub

Branches along the North West coast enjoyed

a successful ANZAC Day with attendances up

considering it coincided with Easter Tuesday. I

know that Penguin had a very good attendance

at both the Dawn and the 11am Services. The

Penguin Sub Branch also conducted and small

service at the Coroneagh Park Home for the

Aged. Penguin High School held their ANZAC

Day service at the school on the Thursday prior

to Easter with some three hundred students

in attendance. Members of the Penguin Sub

Branch were treated to morning tea at the

conclusion of their service.

The ANZAC Day Football match between

Ulverstone and Penguin was played at Penguin

this year with the best players on the day being

presented with RSL trophies. Ulverstone

presents the ‘Bruce Pearson Memorial Trophy’

and Penguin presents the ‘Ted Howe Perpetual

Trophy’. These players also receive a medallion

and the winning team also receives a trophy

on the day.

Burnie RSL Sub Branch continued its

involvement with ANZAC Day School Sports

with Riana, Natone and Ridgley schools

participating. Big thanks to Barry Giani and

his helpers.

Devonport RSL Sub Branch recently held

a Special General Meeting for the purpose

of endorsement and acceptance of the

new Standard Sub Branch Constitution.

The members present endorsed the new

Constitution and the Sub Branch can now move

forward. I urge the Devonport RSL Sub Branch

members to get behind their committee. I

visit the Devonport RSL Club regularly and

have found that

there is plenty

of support on Kevin Knight

Friday nights

but other activities such as the

AGM and Annual Dinner receive very little

support. If you believe you have a problem

which needs addressing please speak to your

Secretary or President. If you are unable to

contact them or believe that it requires further

attention please feel free to contact me and

I will make every effort to have the matter


Congress has been and gone. I congratulate

Glenorchy RSL Sub Branch for a job well done.

As most will know by the time this edition of

the On Service is delivered to you, Ulverstone

is to hold Congress 2012. I ask the North

West Sub Branches to get behind Ulverstone

in their effort and give it your full support.

Start preparing now. The Burnie RSL Sub

Branch hosted a very successful State Branch

Workshop in early July.

I can be contacted by mobile phone: 0407 927

187 or Email penguinrsl@gmail.com

Regards to all

Kevin Knight

RSL On Service 5

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RSL On Service



Chris Munday – Liaison Officer, RSL (Tasmania) Clubs and Licensed Sub Branches

As most members will be aware, Tony

Scott has done an awful lot of work getting

this concept together and I have had the

opportunity to meet with most Clubs and

Sub Branches interested in raising and

joining an Association.

There are a few Clubs and Sub Branches

that have not yet come onboard and I will

hopefully have had a chance to visit them

to make sure they are aware of the benefits

by the time this issue of “On Service” goes

to print.

Tony has asked me to take on his position

as State Co-ordinator on the “Clubs” side

and I have already been appointed “Liaison

Officer” on the State Executive. “Liaison

Officer” means I report on how things are

progressing with the Association and also to

act as a conduit between the Association and

the State Executive should any issues arise

which may affect the League in Tasmania.

By now all clubs and Licensed Sub Branches

will have received requests for nominations

to the “Board” of the Association”.

At the Clubs forums I chaired recently, I

let everybody know that I am happy to visit

their Club or Licensed Sub Branch should

something need clearing up. Please don’t

let all the hard work Tony has done on this

go down the gurgler. The advantages are

huge and put simply, executive members of

Clubs and Licensed Sub Branches owe it to

their members to, at the very least, give the

members a chance to know what this is all


For questions on any and all of above, please

contact me as follows:


Or at home on 6373-6132 or on mobile


I check my email daily, and my home phone

has an answering machine. The mobile I use

sparingly, but can be contacted if need be.

Please understand that if I am in conference

the mobile is turned off.

Keep well and drive safely.

Chris Munday

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Permanent sites:

Devonport - 8a Wenvoe St, 7310

Launceston - 80 George St, 7250

Moonah - 81 Main Road, 7009

Visiting Sites:

Blackmans Bay | Burnie | Claremont | Deloraine

Huonville | Longford | New Norfolk | Smithon | Ulverstone

RSL On Service 7


This is the final instalment of what has

been a wonderful opportunity to gain an

insight into the life and experiences of Mr

Bernard Hodgman OAM, President of the

King Island RSL Sub Branch. On Service

thanks Bernard for sharing his story.

We continue after the end of the War…

After the War ended, Bernard returned

back to farming in NSW at Gulargambone

on the Castlereagh River.

Bernard recalls “I got together some good

second-hand farming plant sowing 200

acres of wheat alternating with 200 acres

of oats which worked reasonably well. In

Xmas 1952 my wife, Barbara bought me

a raffle ticket for a twin spinner Ford car

which I won. This was one of the big lifts I

got in our time at Gulargambone. We had

some fairly big knocks but lived fairly well.

In 1953 the hot summer weather started

to get to me and I dehydrated badly in the

summer months. My doctor told me my

metabolism had changed and I should

move down south to a cooler climate or

the tropics where the moist air would help

if I was to survive”

So Bernard decided to go south.

His friend Bill Mento had married Eve,

a Tasmania girl and would go back there

every Christmas. In 1953 Bill said there

was project going on King Island and

to put in for it. The project was called

Soldiers’ Settlement where ex Servicemen

were given a property to develop.

After filling in the application forms

Bernard was told at an interview in Sydney

he would have to wait two years for a

farm. Bernard knew he would be dead by

then. So he continued to battle until 1954

when Bernard decided to visit King Island

to check it out. He travelled around the

island with a pig farmer who was there to

buy pigs, saw the potential of the island

and decided to go to Hobart to speed up

the process.

“After selling up we finally moved to King

Island by DC3 staying at the local hotel until

the Bristol plane arrived with our vehicle

and furniture. After settling into a cottage

I was put to work by the Agricultural Bank

on a bulldozer clearing bush and pushing

up logs. I was eventually made the leading

hand with 15 dozers working under me

clearing roads ready for gravelling or base

metal as it was called then. In the winter

of 1955 I contracted pneumonia which

finished my days on the clearing gang.

When I recovered I was told I was settled

on Block 13F where I managed to clear

about 20 acres with a worn out TD3 dozer

before I had to return it. I worked hard

fencing for money to improve my block

and in Feb 1956 we moved into our house

built using up money from the sale of our

farm in NSW. We were given some sheep.

There was mud all around the house with

no grass at all so times were very tough.

In Nov 1955 Barbara went to Sydney with

our 2 children, Conrad and Stephen to

visit family while I worked on the house.

By then we had 800 Romney sheep. The

property was very rough being seeded on

top of ploughing so I had to roll and rework

the pasture. By 1963 I was scratching for

a living doing odd jobs for other farmers.

Wool had little value and lambs sent to

the Melbourne markets would hardly

cover costs. In 1964 the Bank redeveloped

our property. I got rid of the Romneys

and bought Pollworth sheep and short

horn cattle and things improved with the

better pasture. I was lucky enough to buy

12 Merino rams to put over the Pollworths

to produce better wool so things began

to look up. I finally ended up with pure

merinos and things went extremely well.

In 1967 the bank was selling dairy farms

that farmers had walked away from so I

bought the Stocks property and ran beef

cattle before putting on a share dairyman

to work the big dairy as we had never

milked cows. This turned out to be a

disaster. The return from 110 cows was

poor until the vet diagnosed the cows

having clinical mastitis. The dairyman was

sacked and we took our son, Stephen out of

Marist College to learn to milk the cows.

What fun that was with cups coming off,

manure getting into the milk etc. One day

Barbara sang out “there’s no milk coming

through”. I had connected the vacuum

tank incorrectly and consequently was

showered with milk. I’ll never forget

that. It only happened the once. After two

weeks we got the hang of it and that year

we went from 12,000 lbs of butter fat to

18,000 lbs and the following year 23,000

lbs. But neither son wanted to dairy farm,

and Barbara and I were killing ourselves

running both cattle and dairy farms. In

1972 we decided to sell the dairy farm

and the money cleared the debt to the

Agricultural Bank apart from the house

and I also was able to give my boys some


The sheep and cattle were still returning

good money but in 1974 prices for sheep

and beef dropped to rock bottom. In

1975, to save money I decided to shear our

own sheep and took nearly two months

to shear 2000 sheep saving $3000.00 but

then ended up pay taxes of $3000.00 that

financial year so I would have been better

off borrowing the money and paying for

shearers and wool classers and get it back

in my tax return. It was all part of life

experiences just like milking.

The settlement here was a wonderful

scheme but very badly administered which

cost a hell of a lot of money. 33% of the cost

of the development was on development

itself. 67% went into administration costs

eg. purchasing of machinery, vehicles,

trucks and all these were Internationals

…. very good vehicles….and dozers that

were International or Caterpillar and they

were good. But what happened? The other

companies started going crook about the

Agricultural Bank buying only the two

makes of machinery. So the Bank flogged

off all the International trucks, utes and

tippers and you know what second hand

stuff would be like to try and flog on King

Island? Well, people were buying trucks

and things for a couple of hundred pounds

that were worth three thousand. Then the

Bank bought Dodge trucks and Fiat wheel

tractors and useless stuff. The Fiats weren’t

bad tractors and the Dodge trucks weren’t

nearly as good as the Internationals. After

about three years they sold all them, and

then blow me down if they don’t buy Toyota

and you name it - Japanese trucks! The

only thing they kept was the International

track machinery and the Caterpillar

dozers and traxcavators, but in selling

the rest of machinery they lost thousands.

After all clearing and redevelopment was

done they called this big sale and people

came over and bought spot on Caterpillar

dozers for about a thousand dollars. To

buy a Caterpillar dozer even then was up

around a hundred thousand dollars. And

a good serviced second-hand one would

have been forty thousand dollars. But you

see there were too many (machinery) and

people came over and they wouldn’t bid

against one another and all that nonsense

went on and they were getting all these

damn things for this cheap money. It was

ridiculous. Think about the wastage that

went on? There was not only wastage in

machinery but the wastage in everything.

Parts - you can imagine with all those

dozers and wheel tractors the trucks


RSL On Service


and utilities, you name it…the amount of

spare parts they had to have. Well, they

used to get lost, they used to get stolen

and oh dear, it was a dreadful situation.

67% of the costs of developing the farms

on King Island went into Administration.

Absolutely deplorable. If they had done it

with contactors they would have got it all

done at about half the price. It’s amazing

when you think about it. George Barrett

and I we arrived at the same time and we

tried to talk them (the Bank) into using

Fred Haymore. Oh no, they wouldn’t

listen to it. Oh no, we can do it cheaper.

Bloody hell “We can do it cheaper all right”!

Anyway that’s the situation. I got involved

in that a lot and got into some quite heated

arguments with them. Well someone had

to do it. And I was sort of delegated for that

sort of a job. And I got pretty damn good

at it too I tell you. Anyway that is all water

under the bridge and I can think back on

it now, think about the funny things that


By 1977 cattle prices and return for wool

were very good but by 1979 prices started

to drop but we still could make a good

living. In 1987 a bad knee injury started

to play up and that year I suffered a very

bad dose of the flu. We decided to sell up

on condition we could stay in the house

for 5 years and rent 20 acres of land to run

a small merino stud. Life was good on

the farm and Barbara would enjoy hand

rearing orphaned lambs. Unfortunately

the new owner, being a carpenter and a

“know all”, fell flat on his face and I gave up

trying to give him advice. I decided to buy

a property and house in Huxley Street on

Curry and after giving six months notice

on my lease, sold the sheep and in May 1992

we moved into the house I live in today.

Coming into Curry was a great move really.

We’ve got a bonza little spot here and it

is really beautiful. I love gardening but

my old knees have been playing up a lot

lately and I get very agitated when I can’t

do my gardening. It is one of those things

I suppose you say it’s in your blood. Well it’s

quite right. The town of Curry is a sleepy

little place, a good little place.

Barbara initially didn’t like King Island and

in 1963 went to work in Melbourne for 6

months before deciding it was a better life

on King Island after all and has loved it ever

since. We both had a wonderful time on

King Island and I agree it was the making

of me. Farming generally did a lot for

both of us and always living on a property

generally gave us an advantage over other

people. Going through tough times, being

a POW, that experience made me realise

that you had to fight for life. It wasn’t any

good sitting down whingeing and moaning

about it. You had to get out and get into

it. You had to push yourself and have self

discipline. You had to discipline yourself

to such an extent that you went “right I’m

going to do that – and you do it” and if it

turned out wrong well it was just too bad

but usually if you got stuck into it and did

it, things would turn out all right. This is

the message I have from the experiences I

learnt during the War and the Depression

before the War. You learnt those things

and you learnt to do things that were hard

and you concentrated on it and did it.

That was the way we were and we became

successful dairy people and eventually

successful sheep people”.

Organizations I belong to:

“Altogether on King Island I was active in

at least 14 organizations

After the War I didn’t have time to play

sports apart from ANZAC Day having a few

races with the kiddies at Gulargambone,

NSW. I got involved with the RSL there

first as a Secretary. I wasn’t a good Secretary

as you need to be a speed writer or know

shorthand so I was Secretary for only a

year, but remained Treasurer for a long

time. I took part in a lot of RSL activities

including Digger’s Day Races which met

twice a year. I was always interested in

horses as they were important for the bush.

My horse ‘Cobber’ was bred by my father

when I was a POW and given to me when

I returned from the War.

I was always inclined to be on the Executive

in any organizations as someone would

put me forward for the position. On King

Island I joined the Settlers’ Association

and was immediately appointed Vice

President. The organization tried to get

better conditions from the Agricultural

Bank particularly in the early stages as the

development conditions were deplorable –

seeding on top of heavy ploughing, rough,

regrowth everywhere. You had to have

an organization to keep the Bank on their

toes and make them do things the right

way. Being a farmer I got involved on the

sub committee going around with the

Settlement Authority pointing out where

settlers were going wrong, advising them to

do it this way. Of course no one took much

notice which is why the place was in such a

hell of a mess. In 1974 the association was

made defunct.

In 1955 Alf Randall wanted to revive Show

Society as it had lapsed due to the War. I

got heavily involved and have been on the

Committee ever since as President, Vice

President and now it’s Patron.

I was a member of the NSW Bush Fire

Brigade as a fireman since I was 15 ½years

old so with Allan Wright I started the

first fire brigade on King Island called the

Linwood Fire Brigade of which I became

the First Officer. Everybody laughed at us

but they were very pleased when there was

a fire and we turned up to put it out for

them. After the 1967 fires in Tasmania

people became fire conscious and they

took the pattern of the Linwood Fire

Brigade. We trained people properly and

had a lot of training sessions and these

were very efficient. I was Chairman for

about 30 years and today there are about

12 fire brigades on King Island.

I had been on King Island for about 10 years

when the Committee for Elderly People

built two units and I became involved

with them after that. It became affiliated

with the Council for the Aging which was

a disaster as the Council wanted all the

money raised on King Island to go to them

and give us back money if it was necessary.

So we formed the King Island Council on

the Aging and I was on the Committee for

that. I became President and I pushed for

another 16 units to be built. I am also

very proud to be a member of the Masonic

Lodge. I would say the Masonic Lodge has

done more for the people of Australia than

any other organization. They do a lot of

good for the people by building hospitals,

units, homes etc. Money has come from the

masons themselves, not the community.

We are not a secret society like people

think - we are a society with secrets. I was

made Justice of the Peace in 1960 and sat

on the bench for several years.

Then there was the RSL. I have been a

member since 1945. The Gulargambone

Sub Branch had sent a letter to transfer me

to the King Island RSL Sub Branch saying I

was of good behaviour and character. Once

the current Secretary got hold of the letter

he tried to force me to become Secretary

straight away but I wouldn’t be in it. After

being on the island for six weeks I went on

the Committee and have been on it ever

since as various positions of Vice President,

Treasurer, again Vice President, and then

President in 1960. I had to retire after three

years as I was too involved with the farm

but still stayed on as Committee member.

Later on I was voted back in and have now

been President since 1975. We raised

$3000 to build an arch leading to the King

Island Memorial Park, $2000 to Council on

the Aging to build new units, gave money

to schools and anything going that needed

attention. The RSL has done a lot of good

on King Island and I’m very proud to be a

member of it and its President. I still have

a fair amount on my plate but not nearly as

much as I used to have because I’m in my

twilight years now”.

Thank you,


Sadly, Bernard’s wife, Barbara passed

away in May 2010. Bernard still resides

in Currie, King Island where he remains

the President of the King Island RSL Sub


RSL On Service 9



In January this year, we called for donations towards the RSL

(Queensland) Flood Appeal, following a series of disasters across

the State of Queensland. The RSL (Tasmania) State Branch wishes

to formally acknowledge donations from the following Sub Branches

and individuals:

RSL (Tasmania) Sub Branches:

Lenah Valley George Town Lindisfarne

Beaconsfield Tasman Claremont

Esperance Devonport Dunalley

Penguin Ulverstone Cygnet

Clarence Bridport StHelens-St Marys

Kingborough Launceston Burnie

Kingston Beach Greater Hobart Primrose Sands

Other RSL or related organizations:

RSL (Tasmania) State Branch

St Helens-St Marys RSL Welfare Fund

Burnie RSL Women’s Auxiliary

RSL (Tasmania) State Women’s Auxiliary

RSL (Tasmania) Clubs & Licensed Sub Branch Conference

Kingston Beach RSL Club

Individuals and other organizations:

W. Kaine Phyllis Fuller

Leigh Lovegrove

Neil McGrath

Ross Ford

David Irving

Aircon Industries (Russell Haas) Pacific Fans

Bruce Crawford

Jules Krzyzanowski

Leon Lonergan

Kingborough Bins

Ron Tiffin

Peter & Mary Stride

TNT Excavations

John Visser

G Hills & Partners Architects Graeme & Carol Mackey

South Hobart Butchery (Terry Carless)

A total donation of $20,000 has been passed to RSL (Queensland).

Their State President has passed on his gratitude for the donation.

Our donation was used to support and provide relief to members

and widows in some of the worst flood stricken areas.


His Excellency, the Honourable Peter Underwood AC, Governor of

Tasmania, talks about the memorial design with sculptor Bernie Tarr.

Photograph by Galena Romalis

A unique memorial commemorating the service of Defence, Police

and UN personnel who have served on UN and post Vietnam

operations was dedicated at Anglesea Barracks on International

Peacekeepers Day on May 29th, 2011.

Attended by His Excellency, Honourable Peter Underwood AC,

Governor of Tasmania, State and Federal politicians, members of the

RSL and other ex-service organizations, senior ADF and Tasmania

Police officers, Defence and Police peacekeepers, the dedication

ceremony took place in the historical Memorial Garden at the rear

of the Barracks.

The statue of a peacekeeper carrying a child over rough ground was

designed and sculpted by Geeveston based artist, Bernie Tarr – who

is also a Vietnam veteran.

Attending the dedication were several younger veterans from the

12th/40th Battalion, the Royal Tasmania Regiment and 16th Field

Battery who recently returned from peacekeeping operations in the

Solomon Islands.

While the memorial commemorates those who have lost their lives

on peacekeeping and peacemaking (warlike) operations, it also

recognizes the contribution and commitment of those Defence,

Police and civilians who are currently serving overseas on such


The dedication was the culmination of the work of a group led by Mr

Tony Richings with representatives from the Australian Peacekeepers

and Peacemakers Veterans’ Association, RSL (Tasmania), Defence

and DVA selecting the design from three submissions.

The memorial will be used for commemorations on International

Peacekeeper’s Day in May, Australian Peacekeepers Day in September

and on other significant dates.

Support for the construction of the memorial has come from a

number of sources, including the State Government, Department

of Defence, RSL (Tasmania Branch), Hobart RSL Sub Branch,

Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Anglesea Barracks Officers’ and

Sergeant’s Messes, the 12th/40th Battalion Regimental Trust Fund,

Defence Health, and the Naval Military and Air Force Club.


RSL On Service


His Excellency, the Hon Peter Underwood AC,

Governor of Tasmania officially opens Congress

On the 13th/14th May 2011 the Glenorchy

RSL Sub Branch hosted the Annual State

Congress 2011. The venue for the Congress

was the Glenorchy Civic Centre, Glenorchy

with the ‘Meet & Greet’ being held the

evening before at the Sub Branch rooms.

The Congress Dinner was held at Tattersalls

Park, Glenorchy on the Friday evening.

The Congress was attended by 78 delegates,

representing 39 Sub Branches. The Congress

was officially opened by His Excellency, the

Honourable Peter Underwood AC, Governor

of Tasmania.

Other RSL Official Guests included the

National President, Rear Admiral Ken

Doolan AO RAN (Retd); Deputy National

President, Mr Don Rowe OAM; CEO

of RSL (Queensland Branch), Mr Chris

McHugh CSC. Other Official Guests

included the Minister for Veterans Affairs,

the Hon Warren Snowdon MP, the Shadow

Minister for Veterans Affairs, Senator the

Hon Michael Ronaldson; State Minister for

Veterans’ Affairs, the Hon Bryan Green MP,

State Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs,

the Hon Adam Brooks MP; Secretary of the

Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Mr Ian

Campbell; Deputy Commissioner for DVA –

Tasmania, Ms Jan Hyde; and representatives

from the Department of Defence.

During the Official Opening, His Excellency,

the Honourable Peter Underwood AC,

Governor of Tasmania and the National

President, Rear Admiral Ken Doolan AO

RAN (Retd) presented Life Memberships to

the following members:

Mr Barry Giani Burnie RSL Sub Branch

Mr Gerry Keep Glenorchy RSL Sub


Mr Geoff Smith Primrose Sands RSL Sub


Mr Henry Jager St Helens-St Marys RSL

Sub Branch

Life Memberships were also awarded to

Mr Peter Fyfe of the Huon RSL Sub Branch

which was presented to Peter on ANZAC

Day, and to Mr Bruce Myers of the Penguin

RSL Sub Branch which was presented after

Congress at a Sub Branch event.

On Day Two of Congress new Charters were

presented to the following Sub Branches:


Brighton Green Ponds




George Town

Greater Hobart

South Arm



Lenah Valley


St Helens - St Mary’s












King Island

Kingston Beach

Spring Bay



Primrose Sands




The Congress Dinner was a gala event

attended by almost 200 delegates, observers

and guests. All enjoyed wonderful food and

wines and music was provided by the local

band, Three Plus One who entertained the

guests well into the night.

The Table of Motions considered by Congress

is shown separately at the conclusion of this

article. Delegates voted unanimously for

the State Congress 2012 to be hosted by the

Ulverstone RSL Sub Branch next May.

We take this opportunity to congratulate the

members of the Glenorchy RSL Sub Branch

for their magnificent hosting of all facets of

the State Congress. Particular thanks go to

the Sub Branch President, Mrs Jenny Briggs

OAM; Sub Branch Secretary, Mr Grahame

Blackwell OAM; Mrs Jacinta Leahy; and all

the volunteers who helped with the setting

up and refurbishment of the venues. Thank

you also to the ladies of the Glenorchy RSL

Bowls Club for their magnificent catering

efforts during the Congress.


Voluntary Work when in Receipt of

Disability/Incapacity Payments

That this Congress requests the Federal

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs reaffirms the

undertakings of his predecessors, that Ex-

Service Organization volunteer Pensions

and Welfare Officers who may be in receipt

of disability/incapacity payments under the

VEA or MRCA, including TPI, will not put

such payments in jeopardy even though they

may do more than eight hours voluntary

work per week.

Moved: State Branch

Seconded: Clarence


(Motion withdrawn by State Branch and to

be further considered by State Executive)

Amendment to Qualification Criteria –

Orange Card

This Congress requests the Department of

Veterans’ Affairs to approach the Federal

Government in regard to changing the

qualifying criteria to the Repatriation

Pharmaceutical Benefits Card (RPBC) –

Orange Card to the following:

RPBC (Orange Card) is issued to

Commonwealth and allied veterans and

mariners who:

II and Peacekeeping Operations post 1945

RSL On Service 11


or more.(Refer DVA Fact Sheet HSV69)

Moved: Greater Hobart

Seconded: Lenah Valley


Amendment to Date clasp – Republic of

Vietnam Campaign Medal

This Congress requests that the Federal

Government and the Department of Defence

be requested to amend the date clasp

authorised to be worn on the Republic of

Vietnam Campaign Medal to more accurately

reflect the actual dates of the participation by

Australian Defence personnel in that conflict

– ie: 1962 – 1973.

Moved: State Branch

Seconded: Claremont


Remembrance Day Observance

This Congress requests that State and

Federal Governments, and private enterprise

be requested to recommit to the observance

of two minutes silence at 11am on the

11th of November in memory of those exservicemen

and women who have paid the

supreme sacrifice in defending the freedoms

that we, as a Nation, enjoy.

Moved: State Branch

Seconded: Launceston


Placement of Memorial Plaque –

Gueudecourt, France

This Congress requests the Department of

Veterans’ Affairs investigate the possibility

of having an interpretive plaque placed at the

site of the action at Gueudecourt, France in

which Lieutenant Colonel Henry William

‘Harry’ Murray VC, CMG, DSO and Bar,

DCM, Croix de Guerre and Companion of

the Order of St Michael and St George was

awarded the Victoria Cross in February 1917

Moved: State Branch

Seconded: Greater Hobart


Recognition of Civilian Nurses Serving

with SEATO in Vietnam

This Congress recommends the Department

of Defence and the Department of Veterans’

Affairs be requested to consider granting

civilian nurses who served as part of the South

East Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO) in

support of the Australian commitment to

Vietnam, the same benefits as those accorded

other civilians who provided support to the

Australian Defence Force.

Moved: Kingborough

Seconded: Huon


Availability of’ Out of Service’ Military

Weapons to RSL Museums Free of Charge

This Congress requests the Federal

Government and the Department of Defence

make ‘out of service’ military weapons, which

are rendered safe, available to RSL Museums

free of charge.

Moved: Scottsdale

Seconded: Lilydale


National “Emergency Service” Training

for 18 Year Olds

This Congress requests the Federal

Government consider the introduction of

National “Emergency Service” Training,

in the fields of Ambulance Services, Fire

Services or State Emergency Services for 18

Year Olds

Moved: King Island

Seconded: Huon


Automatic Entry for Members of the RSL

to all RSL and Service Clubs

This Congress requests the State Government

to legislate to grant all serving and ex Service

men and women who are members of the

RSL, including Affiliates automatic entry to

all RSL and Service Clubs without the need

to sign in

Moved: Greater Hobart

Seconded: Cygnet


Hosting – State Congress 2012

That this Congress approves the Ulverstone

RSL Sub Branch to be the host Sub Branch

for the 2012 Annual State Congress

Moved: Ulverstone

Seconded: Penguin


Amendment to State Constitution Rule


That State Constitution Rule 26.1 (c) is

amended as follows: replace the wording

“Except as provided for under Rule 26.1” to

read “Except as provided for under Rule 26.2”

Moved: State Branch

Seconded: Lindisfarne


Long Tan Bursary

That the Federal Government extend the

eligibility of the Long Tan Bursary to sons

and daughters of post 1975 serving and exservice

members of the ADF who have had

operational service.

Moved: State Branch

Seconded: Launceston


Diminishing ADF Support on ANZAC


That the League approaches the Federal

Government and expresses the community


regarding the diminishing and lack of

military support in smaller communities

that have little

or no military units to call upon

Moved: Greater Hobart

Seconded: Lilydale


(Note: The intent of the Motion is to ask the

Federal Government to provide additional

funds to the military to allow them to

participate in such ceremonial type activities

on ANZAC Day)

Withdrawal from the 1994 Treaty of


That this Congress requests the RSL to lobby

the Federal Government to immediately

initiate its withdrawal as a signatory to the

1994 Treaty of Rome

Moved: Bridport

Seconded: George Town



RSL On Service



Mr Barry Giani

Mr Geoff Smith

Mr Gerry Keep

Mr Bruce Myers

(Presented by Penguin Sub Branch President, Mr Graham

Deacon (left), and Vice President, North West Division, Mr

Kevin Knight)

Mr Harry Jager


Boer War Memorial, Queen’s Domain, Hobart

The Hobart annual Boer War

Commemorative Day (BWCD) which was

held the first Sunday in June was, according

to organiser Reg Watson, the biggest yet. It

was the eighth occasion it has been held.

“Despite the windy conditions there was no

rain and a great turn-out by volunteers and

the public,” said Mr Watson.

The BWCD is held to honour those

Tasmanian soldiers and nurses who served

in South Africa during the Anglo-Boer War.

(1899-1902). The MC for the event was Mr

Tony Scott OAM.

The Clarence City Band played Edwardian

favourites before and after the half hour

ceremony and during the event, they

played God Save the Queen and Advance

Australia Fair. This year it was the first time

Cadets mounted as the Catafalque Party.

The Militaria Collectors Tasmania and the

Tasmanian Light Horse also participated.

There was also a lone piper.

“Next year it will be a big event, as we will be

unveiling a plaque which will be placed at the

foot of the impressive Boer War Memorial

on the Domain to Nurse Elizabeth Orr and

the other Tasmanian nurses who went to

South Africa at their own expense,” said Mr


The following week, the second in June, Mr

Watson conducted a similar ceremony in

Launceston at the Boer War Memorial, City

Park. On that occasion, the Launceston RSL

City Band did the honours. There was also

a Catafalque Party and two lone pipers. At

both events there was an opportunity to lay

wreaths. It was the fifth such ceremony

held in the northern city. Mr Watson gave

the addresses and scriptural readings were

given at both venues.

Mr Watson said that the BWCD is unique in

that there is no committee and no budget,

“but it just comes together when the time

arrives. Tasmania was the first State to

hold such a ceremony and now other States

are doing likewise,” he said. Mr Watson

also extended thanks to the Hobart City

Council, the Launceston City Council and

the RSL (Tasmania) State Branch.

RSL On Service 13

RSL Members Discount/Rewards Participants

The Stamp Place

Bridgestone Tyre Centres

Foxhole Medals

Man to Man Clothing Stores

Ace Alarms & Security

Parr’s Heat Pump Centre

Lansdell Glass

Nature Zone Garden Centre –


Robyn’s Hair Studio – Latrobe

Essentially Mobile – Hobart

Leap Health Physiotherapy &


Territory Discoveries

Bagdad Quilting Supplies

Kempton Old Books (30% discount)

Please remember, this list can only

grow if you, the readers recommend

more businesses to us!!!

Sadly, we have been informed that with

effect from 1st April 2011 the Clive

Peeters Store at Moonah will cease to

exist and in its place will be a Harvey

Norman store. Readers will be aware

from previous ‘On Service’ articles that

Harvey Norman took over the Clive

Peeters chain during 2010. We have

been further advised that negotiations

are taking place to establish a similar

benefit to our members. We will keep

members informed.


Minister for Defence Materiel, Jason Clare

recently announced that 39 M2A2 Howitzer

Guns will be made available to RSL clubs and

historical organisations around the country.

“The M2A2 Howitzer Gun has provided

outstanding service to Australia, and making

the guns available will help to preserve this

important part of our military history,” Mr

Clare said.

“The Howitzers have been a vital component

of Australia’s arsenal. They were critical in

providing close artillery fire support to the

Australian Army in Vietnam.”

“During the six years they were in Vietnam,

the Howitzers fired thousands of 105mm

rounds,” Mr Clare said.

“In July 1967, the Howitzers provided

invaluable artillery support to the biggest

allied offensive in the Phuoc Tuy Province.

“With the help of the Howitzers the

Australian, US and New Zealand troops

helped clear an area that had previously been

dominated by enemy forces for more than

seven years.”

The Howitzers were introduced into service

in 1967 to replace the famous 25 pounder

field gun and can be towed by truck, lifted

by helicopter or moved manually for short

distances. The gun has not deployed on

operations since Vietnam but has remained

in service.

Approved recipients will be expected to

pay approximately $4,000 (the cost of

demilitarisation). It is expected that site

preparation would be met by the recipients.

At the time of writing the tender was expected

to be released in July. Organisations wishing

to receive notification when the tender is

released can register their interest with the:

Defence Disposals Agency, by email

disposals@defence.gov.au, or phone on 02

9393 2914.

Phuoc Tuy Province, South Vietnam. 25-

03-1968. Members of 108th Field Battery,

4th Field Regiment, carrying out a fire

support mission for troops



When Lucy’s mum abandoned her, she was forced to live on the streets. She lost her childhood, her dignity and herself. But when she

found the Salvos, she found a safe place, counselling and hope. We didn’t see a drug addict, we saw the real Lucy. And she needed

our help. Now we need yours.

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RSL On Service

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What is the speed of darkness?

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Do married people live longer than

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Do you cry under water?

How is it that we put man on the moon

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Why do people pay to go up tall buildings

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RSL On Service 15


A Nepalese soldier in the British army has

been given a top bravery award by Queen

Elizabeth II for his heroics in Afghanistan,

where he single-handedly saw off more than

30 Taliban fighters.

Corporal Dipprasad Pun, 31, said he thought

he was going to die and so had nothing to

lose in taking on the attackers who overran

his checkpoint.

He was on Wednesday awarded the

Conspicuous Gallantry Cross (CGC), which

is given in recognition of acts of conspicuous

gallantry during active operations against

the enemy.

Pun fired more than 400 rounds, launched

17 grenades and detonated a mine to repel

the Taliban assault on his checkpoint near

Babaji in Helmand Province, southern

Afghanistan, last September. Surrounded,

the enemy opened fired from all sides and for

15 minutes Pun remained under continuous

attack, including from rocket-propelled

grenades and AK47 guns. At one point,

unable to shoot, he used his machine gun

tripod to knock down a militant who was

climbing the walls of the compound. Two

insurgents were still attacking by the time

he ran out of ammunition, but he set off a

Claymore mine to repel them.

Pun was given his medal in a ceremony at

Buckingham Palace in London.

The CGC is second only to the Victoria

Cross -- the highest honour for

bravery in the face of the enemy.

“There wasn’t any choice but to fight. The

Taliban were all around the checkpoint. I

was alone,” he said. “‘I had so many of them

around me that I thought I was definitely

going to die so I thought I’d kill as many

of them as I could before they killed me.

After that I thought nobody can kill us now

-- when we met the enemy I wasn’t scared”.

Britain’s Major General Nicholas Carter,

who was commander of allied forces

in southern Afghanistan during Pun’s

deployment, praised his efforts.

“‘The CGC does not get handed out lightly.

It was a most remarkable achievement,” he




When Lucy’s mum abandoned her, she was forced to live on the streets. She lost her childhood, her dignity and herself. But when she

found the Salvos, she found a safe place, counselling and hope. We didn’t see a drug addict, we saw the real Lucy. And she needed

our help. Now we need yours.

Over 45,000 young Australians will be homeless tonight. Please don’t wait for the Doorknock. We need your donation now.

13 SALVOS (13 72 58)


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RSL On Service




Around nine months ago three mad keen

golfers, who are also members of the

Lenah Valley RSL Sub Branch, came up

with the idea of starting a golf challenge

amongst RSL Sub Branches and Clubs.

Over the following months, the members,

Mr Mark Jones, Mr Mick Lewis and Mr

Grant (Fish) Bligh persisted with this


They approached the Lenah Valley RSL

Sub Branch committee and then State

Branch with the idea. They sought

sponsorships, prizes and donations and

sent out letters and emails to all Sub

Branches promoting the event. The State

Branch donated the perpetual trophy.

Many other sponsors also came on board,

donating prizes, money and refreshments.

All this work culminated on Sunday,

15th May at the Claremont Golf Club

where the inaugural Tasmanian RSL Golf

Challenge 2011 was held. The challenge

was a 4 -person Ambrose with a ‘shot gun’

start. Although it was rather chilly and

windy, the rain held off and the day was

an outstanding success. Some 15 teams

entered, representing several RSL Sub

Branches and Clubs with the team from

Claremont RSL Sub Branch the ultimate


They would also like to thank the following

volunteers who on the day, helped out with

catering and refreshments on the course

and the selling of raffle tickets afterwards:

Mr Phil Chinnock Mr Brett Stoddart

Ms Christie Reid Mr Tony Cooper

Mrs Miff Bligh Mrs Michelle Jones

Mrs Bronwyn Mastracola

Ms Barbara (Babs) Robinson who was the

course photographer

With the success of this year’s event,

next year can only be bigger and better.

Please look out for the notices which will

come out well in advance and put a team

together from your Sub Branch. See if

your Sub Branch can win the Tasmanian

RSL Golf Challenge 2012.

I will finish with this quote from the

Kingston Beach RSL Sub Branch team.

“The golf challenge is an excellent way for

members of the RSL from different Sub

Branches to get together and socialise. Well

done Lenah Valley for organising this event.

May there be many more”

Mark, Mick and Grant would like to thank the following sponsors

for their generous support:

The Lenah Valley RSL Sub Branch Team

RSL (Tasmania) State Branch

Finance Brokers of Tasmania (Hobart)

Derwent Park Newsagency

Pizza Club

Lenah Valley Newsagency

Zero Davey Boutique Apartments

Steve’s Cellars

CSR Australia

Host Plus Superannuation

Bob Jane T Mart Derwent Park

Tool Trends

BGA Insurance Brokers

Caltex Lenah Valley


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Accor Hotels

Beau Jangles


Anthony Rowlands


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John Atkinson

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Mr Vern McTye, Life Member of Lenah Valley RSL Club and Life Member of

the League, a veteran golfer himself, presented the trophy to the winning team

members – being Eddie Ellerton, Gary Linton, Peter McConnon and Glen


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RSL On Service 17



By Phil Pyke


It was one of those surreal moments when

there appeared to be a connection with the

past. On the battlefield of Fromelles, near

the old German front line stands a statue,

sculpted by Peter Corlett of Melbourne, and

erected here in 1998.

It depicts Sergeant Simon Fraser with a

wounded man of the 60th Battalion on his

shoulders, carrying him to safety and the

work is appropriately entitled ‘Cobbers’.

As we stood there surveying the statue and

remembering the nearly 5,500 Australians

who died there in one night, fingers of

sunlight suddenly broke through the haze

over the battlefield, giving the moment an

almost spiritual feel.

Wynyard High teacher, Michael

Cruickshank took a photograph capturing

this scene which appears as part of this


Visiting VC Corner, Fromelles and Pheasant

Wood brought the reality of the Western

Front to the six students and teachers on

the Frank MacDonald MM Memorial Prize

tour of 2011.

The loss of so many Australian soldiers in

one night is an exceptionally high casualty

rate especially when 8,700 were lost during

8 months on Gallipoli.

ANZAC Day was commemorated at the

Australian Memorial at Villers Bretonneux

where the names of 11,000 soldiers who

fell in France and have no known grave are

etched into the sandstone walls.

For me, it was a personal pilgrimage – not

looking for a relative as the four members

of my family who served in WWI all

came home – but paying respects to those

who were members of the 12th and 40th

Battalions and whose sacrifices now form

the Battle and Theatre Honours of the

12th/40th Battalion, the Royal Tasmania


This was the first year that the group had

commemorated ANZAC Day in France

and it was a very special Dawn Service

being on the site of the major battle which

began on the 24th of April, 1918. Against the

background of the commemorations Ella

Coates and Scott Bowden were able to pay

respects to the soldiers that they researched.

For us all, we learnt something significant

and that was nearly 100 years later the losses

of WWI still resonates strongly through

Australian families. While some of the

students followed in the footsteps of their

ancestors, others researched ancestors

of friends.Some of the participants were

contacted prior to leaving Tasmania by

friends or distant relatives, and were being

asked to visit the grave of a soldier who never

came home.

For Michael Myer of Launceston Church

Grammar, his research of Sergeant Eric

Hall brought an unusual ending when at the

graveside, I informed him that I knew Eric

and his brother, Norman, lived at 20 Mary

Street, North Hobart and that I had met

their baby sister, Maddie some years ago.

So we were both able to pay our respects at

Eric’s grave at Sanctuary Wood.

Australian Memorial at Villers Bretonneux

The Tour group at Etaples Military Cemetery


RSL On Service



It was also at Sanctuary Wood Cemetery

where Emily Pickett from Devonport High

played the Last Post on her cornet. Emily

is a familiar sight for those attending the

funerals of veterans in the Devonport area

and it was spine-tingling to have her play

this tribute in the cemeteries of the Western

Front and later at Gallipoli.

lie in neat graves under white headstones in

the peaceful countryside of either Belgium

or France; on the Dardanelles one quickly

concludes that many of those killed in the

campaign are still lying out there amid the

ridges, gullies and plateaus of the peninsula.

While Gallipoli is very much a part of

for a 101 year old lady who had come

to see her uncle’s name on the British

Memorial at Theipval to having the final

commemorative ceremony on Gallipoli

where we remembered our Turkish guide’s

uncle and grandfather who served there.

There was also the fun part, shopping in

The Buglers of the Ypres Fire Brigade, Menin Gate

Declan Fahey with the two Rats of Tobruk (John left Joe right)

For Jessica Flint, the stop at Bullecourt had

a very personal and emotional connection

with her grandfather serving there. Our

small ceremony on that battlefield suddenly

grew as three busloads of Australians

arrived. In contrast amongst the small

cemeteries on back roads, we were the only

visitors and the sounds had nearby cattle

raising their eyes to the notes from Emily’s


It is evident that especially around

ANZAC Day tours of the Western Front by

Australians are becoming increasingly more

popular. The nightly Last Post ceremony at

Menin Gate at Ypres in Belgium can see

anything up to a thousand people present.

It was here that Declan Fahey met up with

two “live” Rats of Tobruk – the connection

being the replicas of his grandfather’s

medals, including the unofficial Tobruk

siege medal that Declan was proudly

wearing. Spending time with those two

diggers was certainly a highlight of the trip

for him.

Gallipoli was different – very different.

Whereas those who fell on the Western Front

the Australian psyche, those on the

Frank MacDonald MM Memorial Prize

Tour realized the campaign must have

been horrendous. At Quinn’s Post, the

Australians clung on at the edge of a cliff

with the Turks around 15 metres away –

the battles lines and the cemeteries today

divided by the road up to Chunnuk Bair.

But as the students and teachers found, the

Turks not only have forgiven the Australians

but have also become very accepting

through being mobbed on Chunnuk Bair.

At the memorial to the 57th Regiment

(Kemal Ataturk’s regiment), a Turkish man

came over and thanked us for coming to

pay our respects to the Turkish soldiers who

died there.

The Frank MacDonald MM Memorial Prize

Tour 2011 was a life-changing experience

for students Jessica Flint, Michael Myer,

Ella Coates, Declan Fahey, Scott Bowden

and Emily Pickett. It also had a substantial

influence on the teachers, Lynne Burt and

Michael Cruickshank and support staff Judy

Travers and Fiona Birkett.

Experiences ranged from saying the Ode

Paris, eating dinner in a restaurant owned by

the Russian mob in Istanbul, having warm

bread and cheese for lunch on the English

Channel, eating snails on the Champs

Elysee, the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul and

travelling the highways and byways of some

magnificent countries and meeting some

wonderful people.

We were very pleased to have Minister

Michelle O’Byrne, her husband Priam and

daughters Elenore and Sophia join us for

large parts of the trip – as they were already

travelling on their own self-funded tour.

In closing, we appreciate those who made

this possible – the State Government, RSL

Tasmania, Department of Education, the

parents of the students and of course our

very patient but informative tour guides

(Nigel and Medjit) and bus drivers (Zac

and Velli), and most importantly, Frank

MacDonald himself.

Participating on the Prize isn’t about giving

students a free trip – it is about developing

young people as leaders for tomorrow. And

that’s something I think Frank would have

been happy about.

RSL On Service 19

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If good things come to those who wait,

great things must come to those who wait

20 years. Just ask Alisa Wickham.

After 20 years in uniform, the Hobart Army

Captain is on her first overseas deployment

on a military operation and is now in

East Timor as the health planner for the

Australian-led International Stabilisation

Force. “It’s also been my first time in a

Blackhawk helicopter,” Alisa said.

“My job is coordinating the health support

to our troops, making sure they are receiving

the required health care at the right time

and place. This includes aero-medical

evacuations across East Timor.”

Alisa originally enlisted as a soldier, trained

as a dental assistant, and has had postings

to Sydney, Brisbane, Watsonia, Albury-

Wodonga and Tasmania. She worked her

way up to the rank of Warrant Officer Class

Two, a rank where many soldiers elect to

move over to ‘Civvy Street’, but Alisa was

enjoying the Army too much so last year she

took the opportunity to be commissioned

as a Captain. She was then posted as the

second-in-command of 10 Health Company

at the Second Force Support Battalion.

Alisa was enjoying working and raising a

family on the Apple Isle when the call came

to go overseas.

“My first impression of East Timor was that

it was hot and muggy with lots dogs, pigs,

roosters and goats,” she said. “The streets

are full of yellow cabs, mikolets - mini-vans

used as buses - and motor bikes merging

all over the roads. The people are friendly,

resilient and are just plain happy with the

simple things in life - children are satisfied

playing with a ball of plastic bags instead of

a soccer ball.”

Working with the locals has been a highlight

for Alisa, and a standout moment for her

happened on a medical capacity-building

activity with the East Timorese Army to

help the people of Nitibe, located in East

Timor’s Oecusse enclave in West Timor.

“I witnessed the locals fry fritters and hand

them to the military staff in appreciation for

their medical support,” she said. “As food

is such a valuable resource in the regional

villages, it was a very kind gesture. This

was a brilliant moment as it proved that

East Timor is moving forward, and it also

meant the mission was a success!”

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RSL On Service



How does it feel being the only unarmed

sailor in pirate waters? Just ask Ulverstone

man Max Walker in six months time.

Max, 48, is now the Navy Chaplain aboard

HMAS Stuart which is currently on pirate

patrol off the Horn of Africa. This won’t

be the first Navy adventure for Max, who

joined the Navy in 1981 as a sailor, became

an aircraft technician, and completed an

aerospace engineering degree at RMIT.

After managing the maintenance of the

Navy’s mine-hunter fleet, Max then worked

as an engineering consultant in Asia before

realising he was looking for more from

life. After time at theological college he

was ordained as a Presbyterian Minister,

and then rejoined the Navy as a Chaplain.

Not bad for someone who dropped out of

Sunday school.

“I’ve been aboard Stuart for four months

now,” said Max. “It means I won’t be a

stranger to the crew when we set sail. As

Chaplain I hold a church service every

Sunday — about 15 crew members attend

regularly. But that’s only part of the job. As

a Chaplain I have no official rank,” said Max.

“That means I can talk to anyone without

any barriers between us. I can scrub dishes

with junior cooks or chat over coffee with

the officers. It means I do get a feel for how

things are going”.

“It means I can use my other training when

necessary — things like suicide awareness,

or relationship counselling if things go

wrong back home. It’s safe to talk to me

because I’m outside the chain of command.

We are also a warship, a fighting ship —

which means bad things can happen. If they

do I’m part of the mental health support

for my shipmates. In post-traumatic stress

the first 24 hours are critical, and then it’s

important to see how people are travelling

after that”.

“Meanwhile I’ll be keeping in touch with

my wife Fiona and our two kids, Bethany in

Year 7, and Jin who’s still in kindergarten.

The ship’s communications are fantastic

— and we’ll be using emails to work out

what presents I should bring back. Pandora’s

bracelet is pretty big at the moment! We’re

also planning a holiday in Fiji — something

a bit different from our usual bushwalks

around Crater Mountain or the Walls of



Devonport’s Megan Baker, 29, didn’t get

to celebrate New Year at home with her

parents Pam and Barry. Instead the Navy

Lieutenant and her 190 shipmates aboard

HMAS Stuart are undertaking a six-month

maritime security and counter-piracy patrol

in the Gulf of Aden.

“I signed up for the Navy when I was still

a medical student in Hobart,” said Megan.

“My brother Luke and another doctor were

already in the Navy, and their stories about

speedboats, helicopters and international

travel got me interested! Getting a

scholarship also meant the Navy paid for

the final four years of my medical studies —

and since then the training hasn’t stopped.

I’ve learned underwater medicine so I can

work with Navy divers, aviation medicine

— altitude sickness, ‘g’ forces and so on —

so I can work with pilots, and submarine

medicine so I can heal submariners. Not to

mention helicopters so I can take part in

aero-medical evacuations. I’ve also been on

exercise in Hawaii and on a humanitarian

deployment to Sumatra after last year’s

earthquake ‘.

“But for me the significant shift came in

2009 when I went to officer school at HMAS

Creswell near Jervis Bay — I had definitely

moved from doctor-land to Navy-land.

“I only got posted to Stuart in November

— just in time for the big adventure. It’s a

little daunting but I’m glad to be going and

excited about the experience. On patrol my

job will be primary health care for the crew,

keeping them free from tropical diseases —

and stomach upsets when they go ashore.

For the last few weeks that has meant

vaccinating everyone against everything!

“And if we run into trouble it will be my job

to patch people up, keep them alive until we

can get them to hospital. I’ve already got a

presents shopping list from my brother and,

yes, I’ve also got an idea what I’m bringing

back for my parents — but I’m keeping that

a secret. They will find out in six months!”


1300 93 55 36

RSL On Service 21


Leopard Tank Finds A Home In Beaconsfield

In September 2007 the Beaconsfield Sub-

Branch placed an expression of interest in

obtaining a decommissioned Leopard Battle

Line Tank. We put our submission in and

after three years went by we thought “well

that’s that, we missed out.”

Then out of the blue, Major Iain Ross

contacted us with three questions:

(1) Does Beaconsfield RSL still wanted a

leopard Tank? YES

(2) Could we put a concrete slab down for a

Leopard? YES

(3) As RSL Park in Beaconsfield is a council

park, did we have their support?

Question number (3) was the only worry.

Beaconsfield Sub Branch President, Colin

Smee acquired the backing of all of the West

Tamar Councillors and when the Deputy

Mayor moved the motion supporting the

acquisition of the tank it was passed by all.

The Sub Branch had all boxes ticked, the

Army were notified of this and within a few

weeks we were informed that a Leopard was

Burnie RSL Sub Branch

Declan Fahey from the Marist College at

Burnie was one of winners of the Frank

MacDonald MM Memorial Prize 2010.

In April 2011 Declan toured France and

Belgium with the other five student winners.

The Burnie RSL Sub Branch supported

their local lad, Declan with a donation of

$600 towards his personal travel costs.

The Sub Branch donated $500 and the Sub

Branch Women’s Auxiliary donated $100.

Presenting the cheque to Declan are Sub

Branch President, Mr Barry Giani and Sub

Branch Secretary, Mrs Nola Cooper.

coming to Beaconsfield.

The delivery date was sometime in May 2011,

then we were told that the new delivery date

was 11th – 15th April. On approximately

21st March we were contacted to see if

we could take delivery on the 4th April,

otherwise it would not come till May. The

answer was YES!

The whole of Beaconsfield were surprised a

Leopard Tank was coming. About fifty to

eighty residents turned up and watched for

four hour as the tank was positioned in RSL

Park. Cars were stopping all day to watch.

Tourist buses stopped or slowed down to


Beaconsfield’s Leopard is the only one to

come to Tasmania.

The 42-tonne armoured monsters are

nearly 10 metres long and come with a

105mm main gun capable of firing armourpiercing


The Australian Army’s Leopards have never

been used in action.


Weight: 42.2 tonnes (42,200 kilograms).

Length: 9.54 metres (Gun forward).

Width: 3.37 metres.

Height: 2.70 metres.

Crew: 4 (Commander, driver, gunner, radio


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RSL On Service


Scottsdale ANZAC DAY

About 200 people attended the Dawn

service at Scottsdale and afterwards had

breakfast at the RSL. The guest speaker for

the 11.00am service was local lad, Michael

Willis who is a former student of Scottsdale

High School. In his address, Michael

reflected on his recent trip to Gallipoli and

the battlefields of the Western Front as a

Frank MacDonald MM Memorial prize

winner. It was an inspiring and thought

provoking address and he concluded with

a poem that had written titled “Our Boys”

“Our Boys”

“Many years have passed since those

fateful days when numbers of Aussie

boys jumped sandbags like house gates.

They took their guns, their bombs and

knives to fight a common Hun and after

all the smoke had cleared there remained

not a one.

They all lay there in ‘No Man’s Land’

some fighting for their life, others well

and truly gone, they’ll see none of the


For those alive some hope was found in

the raising of a flag, as those behind fell

into line to find a wounded man.

You may think they were lucky to come

out on the other side but those who lived

through horror would go on horrified.

What they saw stayed with them in their

hearts and in their mind just like their

Remembrance Mural – Spreyton Primary School

Recently I had cause to attend a function at

Spreyton Primary School, near Devonport.

I was delighted when I discovered a mural

the children had painted near ANZAC Day

commemoration time. I spoke with their

Art teacher, Jan Gray, and she informed

me that in 2010, the grade 5/6 students in

her class spent time researching the history

of ANZAC Day, exploring information,

designing personal creative and artistic

pictures for the outdoor ‘Lest We Forget’

Stage Mural.

The class students then took on mentoring

roles in guiding the Gifted and Talented

Artistic Students from Kindergarten to

Grade 6 to participate in painting the

Mural. The mural painting took place each

Thursday during Term 2 and was also set up

as a Saturday afternoon session where both

parents and the gifted and talented students

could be involved in finalizing the mural.

This is their result....

It made me proud to think our young

students put so much thought and effort

in making such a wonderful and lasting

memorial in their school grounds to our

War Veterans.

Libby Perkins

President Ulverstone RSL Sub Branch

battle scars, some lost legs and eyes.

So many years have passed since those

fateful days and now we live in harmony

‘cause of a debt we can’t repay.

It wasn’t a couple nor a dozen nor a few

it, was a whole generation that fought for

me and you.

And now on every ANZAC Day we give

thanks to those of you who died to keep

our freedom - our Aussie boy platoon.”

Photograph by courtesy of ‘The Examiner’

Gardening Repair work

Odds & Ends


1300 93 55 36

T he Sta m p P la ce

RSL On Service 23


Bruny Resident Receives “Cluny Portnell” Scholarship

The Kingborough Sub Branch of the RSL

has this year awarded Bruny Island resident,

Jalicea Martyn with the ‘Miss Cluny Portnell

Memorial Scholarship’. This Scholarship

is awarded every year to a suitably

qualified Tasmanian student enrolling

in the Bachelor of Nursing course at the

University of Tasmania, whose address is

in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel area or

further a-field if a Channel candidate is not


It was on June 15, 2007, that the Academic

Senate of the University of Tasmania agreed

to the foundation of an endowed scholarship,

with the value of each set at $5000, to be paid

over the full term of the students study.

The initial concept of the scholarship goes

back to just after World War II, when the

Kingborough RSL Sub Branch purchased a

large timber community hall in Dover for

around ₤70. A team of ex-soldiers relocated

the hall around the channel to Conningham

on the Channel Highway in Tasmania. For

Primrose Sands

On Sunday, 10th July we held our Annual

Luncheon which was again very successful.

Guests included Mr Chris Munday and

his wife Janet, representing State Branch;

Rebecca White, local MHA; the Mayor

of Sorell, Carmel Torenius; representing

Hobart Legacy and incoming President, Mr

Steven Miller and his partner, Sally Marshal.

Also attending was the local Salvation

Army Captain, Karen McIver. Making

years, the hall served the local community

as a meeting place, dance hall and a place

to meet your first love in the bush tradition.

As the years rolled on, the old ex Service

men and women were fading away, until in

2004, the Sub Branch decided to sell their

assets, and their small membership met at

the Snug Fire Brigade shed. A long serving

member, Trevor Rawnsley expressed a keen

interest in creating a memorial to all those

ordinary service men and women, who had

simply done what is asked of them in times

of peril. John Ward, a member of the Sub

Branch, said they were determined, given

Trevor’s leadership, not to let our history

become a whittled away inheritance, or

another plaque on a memorial that fewer

and fewer generations read.

“We decided that something vital, something

that would live on beyond our span, would be

more appropriate,” said John. “We therefore

created a scholarship, which will celebrate

the life of one of our own.”

The late Cluny Isobel Portnell, for many

years, was a tireless community member

in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel area. She

did her general nursing training at the Royal

Hobart Hospital and served in her early

30’s as a nurse with the Australian Army’s

Voluntary Aide Attachment. Cluny served

in the Middle East with the Australian

Ninth Division, as part of the force that

first stopped the Nazi war machine and then

turned it back to ultimate defeat in some

of the harshest conditions imaginable. A

long-term resident of Conningham, Cluny

was an active participant in the affairs of the

community through the Anglican Church,

the Red Cross and a Dental Nurse in the

Channel and Bruny Island districts until

she retired.

The Kingborough Sub Branch of the

RSL feels that an enduring memorial to

Cluny Portnell’s life service would be for a

the trip down to join us were Presidents

and representatives from the following

Sub Branches: Brighton Green Ponds,

Claremont, Clarence, Cygnet, Dunalley,

Glenorchy, Kingston Beach, Lindisfarne,

Northern Midlands, Sorell, and last but

not least South Arm. It was an excellent

turnout with more than 60 of our Sub

Branch members. A most fantastic turn

out for such a small Sub Branch so far out

The late Cluny Portnell

scholarship to support a young Tasmanian

each year. In finding a suitable candidate for

the scholarship, they also took into account

the personal qualities of recipients and

their commitment to nursing as a career,

including how they have contributed to their


Previous recipients have included Emma

Quillerat (2007), Annika Featherstone

(2008), Allana Graudins (2009) and Maria

Niepce (2010). “If the young people we

have met in our scholarship interviews are

representative of their peers, we believe we

have nothing to fear and everything to hope

for as they grow into their careers, and form

the band of sisters and perhaps brothers who

will become the ‘living memorial’ to our

dear friend Cluny Portnell,” said John Ward.

Well done to this year’s recipient, Jalicea.

of the way and again my thanks to all those

people who worked and joined us to make

it one of the best.

Also attending on the day were the four

former Presidents of the Sub Branch. We

took a photo opportunity as we considered

it a symbolic moment that all Presidents of

the Sub Branch since its conception were at

the luncheon.


RSL On Service


Primrose Sands Cont.

To all who haven’t visited for some time,

some changes have taken place. We have


sealed that pile of ‘gluey metal’ that was

called a car park and have now doubled the

parking capacity. The introduction of TAS

Keno has been nothing short of a success

story. It has allowed us to buy 100 chairs

to replace the many odd and borrowed ones

that used to fill the premises, and to redeem

the initial set up costs in less than 12 months.

At this time we are in the process of

extending the outdated kitchen so more

people can work in comfort and prepare and

present meals in a more efficient way, and

we will also extend the main office. It also

planned to erect a toilet and shower block

alongside the eastern side of the building.

This will all be subject to the generosity of

several Government and local services.

Please feel to visit us at any time. We are open

seven days a week from 1.00pm Mondays to

Fridays, from 11.00am Saturdays and from

1200 noon on Sundays. Counter meals are

available on Friday nights 6.00pm to 8.00pm.

On Sundays is an all day roast from noon till

8.00pm for $10 dollars a head.

If your Sub Branch wishes to visit let us know

we will organize a barbecue, a roast, or fish

and chips on the day.

L-R: Original President, John van de Hoek, Geoff

Smith, Stephen Dobson, Gordon Edhouse and current

President, Peter Woolford




Peter Hodge is donating a peace-keepers

honour board to Kingston RSL. He is

seeking to identify the names of those from

the Kingborough area who have served

on both non- warlike (peace-keeping) or

warlike (peace-making) operations either

on UN or post Vietnam operations.

If anyone can provide names, please contact

Peter direct on 0458 776 368



Members or former members of the RA Sigs

Corps can join the Signals Association based

in Hobart. Tas Association members meet

on a monthly basis at the RAAF Memorial

Centre, 61 Davey Street for drinks, snacks

and a chat. Former members of the Corps

are most welcome to drop-in (use rear

entrance) between 1630 -1800 on the 1st

Friday monthly (except Jan). Enquiries to


Dick Goodwin Phone: 6229-6124

Email: grichard@aapt.net.au




Swansea Sub Branch is seeking any surplus

memorabilia to display in their premises.

If any Sub Branch has surplus memorabilia

sitting in a cupboard could they please

contact Henry Ivey, President of the Swansea

RSL Sub Branch on mobile: 0458-640801




Members are reminded to please advise

their change of address details to their Sub

Branch Secretary as soon as possible. New

RSL Membership cards are shortly to be in

the post and your correct details on the

Membership database are vital.



A pair of black, half frame RM Williams

reading glasses were found at the Tattersalls

Park function room after the State Congress

Dinner. The owner may contact the State

Branch to arrange their return.



“Ginge” – he was a Vietnamese interpreter

attached to the 6th Battalion during its

second tour 1969/70 in Vietnam. Could he

please contact his old mates, Kevin Knowles

on 0421-616254 or Bruce Scott on




Good day! I am wondering if the RSL can

help in finding the whereabouts of an old

friend of mine in Australia. His name is

George Thomas Watts, born in Adelaide at

end of March 1948. He served as a Sergeant

in the Australian Military and was stationed

in Canberra, Broken Hill, Vietnam and the

last contact I had with him, he was living

in Queensland. Since he has served in the

Army, I expect that he would be a member

of the RSL. I would appreciate very much

if you could help me.

Yours faithfully

Lance Stott

Tønsberg Norway

RSL On Service 25


Phillip Stephens


The RSL Blue Lake Highland Pipe band from the city of Mount Gambier SA has been invited to play at

the Ypres Tattoo, Flanders, Belgium in September 2012. Whilst there the band is to play at the nightly

MENIN GATE “Last Post Ceremony” which is a Wreath laying ceremony with up to 8 Ypres Buglers with

wreath layers from Remember Military units, Associations the and fallen public from all from over the world. afar Crowds of several

thousand are not uncommon. The Ceremony began in 1928 and has been held at 8pm every night

since. To be invited to be the Pipes and Drums for this ceremony is prestigious and a very great honour.

The MENIN GATE has upon it the names of 54800 WW1 Commonwealth soldiers who were killed in the

Ypres salient, Flanders and have no known grave. 6300 of these are Australian. Australia sent 50

Infantry Battalions and supporting units to Flanders. In total over 20,000 Australians were killed. We

will also be playing at other Memorials including the New Zealand memorial at Messine.

We are aware that few Australians will ever have the

honour of remembering our fallen WW1 Western Front

soldiers at the Menin Gate and thus are offering you the

opportunity to have a wreath laid in your name by a

member of our band.

To assist with the band’s expenses, for $50 we are offering to place wreaths on behalf of the

Australian public remembering nominated WW1 soldiers who fought on the Western Front. The

wreaths are to be laid by the Australian ambassador to Belgium and Band members.

Wreaths are to be made of Australian Flora (or imitation) insetting a Roll of Honour including the

Soldier’s and contributors name. A photo will be sent to each contributor upon our return.

Nomination forms and payment details can be obtained from the Band’s Web Site

Rslbluelakehighlandpipeband.yolasite.com Cut off date is 31 December 2011.

For the small fee of $50 your details as well as your

fallen Soldier’s can be recorded on a wreath as

Australian’s honouring a fallen Digger .

The band is sponsored by the Mount Gambier Community RSL and has in its playing ranks 5 Ex Service

and other RSL members. Of the 30 players half will be under 20 with 8 of these under 18. It will be a

once in a lifetime experience musically, culturally and historically for these young Australians.

Photos included are the MENIN GATE Ypres, Flanders, Belgium and the RSL Blue Lake Highland

Pipe Band, Anzac Day 2010.

A photo of the wreath being laid will be sent to you upon

the band’s return home to Australia.

Please use whatever info you wish but please include the Wreath laying info for our


For any queries or assistance contact BARRY WARD on 0458 255666 or 08 87 255661 or E Mail

at jaybee03@bigpond.com

Many Thanks

Barry WARD

To contribute please fill out the ”Rembering the Fallen”



Full female

ph: (03) 6245 0544 www.psfunerals.com

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RSL On Service


‘From Western Front to Changi Gaol’

The author, the Honourable William Cox

AC, RFD, ED, QC is a sixth generation

Tasmanian. He studied law at the University

of Tasmania, and after 16 years in private

practice and a year as a Magistrate, he was

appointed Crown Advocate for Tasmania in

1977 and a Judge of the Supreme Court in

1982. In 1995 he was appointed Chief Justice

and was Tasmania’s 26th Governor between

2004 and April 2008. He spent over 20 years

in the Army Reserve as a Gunner Officer

reaching the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

This book, ‘From Western Front to

Changi Gaol’, comprises 168 pages and 39

illustrations. It is printed as an A5 (148 x 210

mm) paperback with a glossy coloured front

and back cover.

In Part 1, the author tells the story of his

father, Ellis Cox, an Artillery officer in the

First World War, reproducing the letters his

father regularly sent home to his parents,

from enlistment, from training in Egypt and

from the Front Line in France and Belgium,

culminating in his promotion to Major and

the award of the Military Cross at the Battle

of Amiens on 8th August 1918.

In Part 2, the author also tells the story of

his godfather, Bon Rogers, a Hobart GP, who

enlisted in the 2nd AIF at the age of 50 and was

captured at the fall of Singapore, spending 3.5

years as a POW on the infamous Thai-Burma

Railway and in Changi Gaol. Both men gave

sterling service in each War and served their

community with distinction in peace. Their

stories make fascinating reading.

Lieutenant Colonel D. M. Wyatt, OAM,

RFD, (Retd)

Book available through RSL (Tasmania) State

Branch - Cost $30.00 (incl postage)

Ph: (03)6224-0881

To Hell and Back

Fred Brett’s Life Story – as told to Bill


FRED BRETT is a survivor.

In a life overshadowed by the cruel and harsh

realities and hardships of war, his strength

of character, courage and tenacity enabled

him to survive to ‘tell the tale’ when so many


At a mere 16 years of age, Fred Brett, from

a small farming community on the North-

West Coast of Tasmania became a POW

of the Japanese in World War II. He was

captured on Timor and spent three and

a half years incarcerated in some of the

most infamous places under the heel of the

Japanese: Changi prison in Singapore, The

Burma-Siam Railway and the coal mines of


After these experiences returning home

presented new challenges, particularly when

it came to competing for jobs in post war

rural Tasmania. Once again Fred needed

to call on his well honed resourcefulness in

order to survive.

Fred Brett, in showing us the strength of the

human spirit amid extreme adversity, is an

inspiration. This is his story.

Libby Perkins

Book available through Ulverstone RSL Sub

Br President, Ulverstone RSL Sub

Branch Inc. Cost: $14.50 (incl postage).

Ph: (03)6425-9039


Cancer Council Tasmania

recommends you:

Seek shade between 10am – 3pm

Slip on a shirt with collar and sleeves

Slop on broad spectrum SPF30+


Slap on a broad brimmed hat

Slide on sunglasses with an AS1067


Cancer Council

Helpline 13 11 20

RSL On Service 27


Carol Brown MP, Senator David Feeney and Julie Collins MP chat outside the Headquarters building at

Anglesea Barracks

The recent visit to Anglesea Barracks

and Fort Direction by the Parliamentary

Secretary for Defence, Senator David Feeney,

brought about a reassurance on the future

of these two uniquely historical properties.

The visit in early June followed comments in

Federal Parliament by Prime Minister, Julia

Gillard that there wasn’t any consideration

being given to the closure of Anglesea – this

response being the result of a question from

Andrew Wilkie MP (Federal Member for


However, despite the reassurance and

the visit by Senator Feeney, the Federal

Government is reviewing Defence’s land

assets and, according to the Prime Minister,

no decision has been made on individual

bases – still leaving an element of doubt.

Concerns were raised about Anglesea

Barracks after its workforce was cut by 15

per cent in three years and Fort Direction

after a work-order was issued for demolition

works over the Christmas-New Year period


Ms Gillard says the Government is

committed to maintaining Defence’s

presence in Tasmania.

“I’m advised Defence has given no

consideration to closing the base or to

disposing of the base and I do not expect

that to occur in the future,” she said. “I

would expect the Government of the day to

not agree to any recommendation to take

that course.”

Amongst those who have strongly

campaigned for the retaining of Anglesea

and Fort Direction is Andrew Wilkie MP,

Senator Eric Abetz (Liberal Senator for

Tasmania) and Julie Collins MP (Federal

Member for Franklin).

As a former serving officer and current

member of the Anglesea Barracks Officer’s

Mess, Andrew Wilkie has a strong interest

in the Barracks and the retention of Defence

jobs in the State, taking community concerns

direct to the Prime Minister.

Tasmania continues to punch above its

weight and is a rich recruitment ground for

the Australian Defence Force, consistently

producing more recruits per capita than any

other State or Territory,” Mr Wilkie said to

On Service’.

“Yet despite the State’s long and rich

contribution, Defence seems intent on

stealthily downgrading its presence in

Tasmania and making the State a sub branch

of Victoria. The Commonwealth must stop

and in fact reverse the diminishing Defence

presence in Tasmania.”

Mr Wilkie said the Government must also

guarantee the future of Anglesea Barracks

as the centre of Defence in the State and the

local headquarters of the Navy, Army and

Air Force.

“Defence spending stimulates economies

and Tasmania is as deserving of the Defence

dollar as anywhere else in Australia. It’s

estimated the shedding of Defence jobs

in Tasmania is already costing the State’s

economy almost $2-million in salaries a year

alone. That investment must be returned

to the State.”

Liberal Senator Eric Abetz has also long

been an advocate for the Barracks and is

blunt in his assessment.

“Canberra bureaucrats have been trying for

decades to downgrade Anglesea Barracks

with a view to its ultimate demise,” Senator

Abetz said. “Whilst the Coalition and I have

fought to maintain Anglesea Barracks, it’s

obvious the bureaucracy is stealthily killing

the Barracks.”

Senator Abetz said that in the last three

years, all the three Services have had their

numbers reduced significantly. “Navy’s

representation has virtually halved from 21

to 12 as has Army from 32 to 19 and the

Air Force has suffered a 10% reduction in

personnel. In just three years uniformed

personnel have had their numbers slashed

from 343 to 292, a 15% reduction while

the Public Service contingent has been cut

by 20%. In 2008 Defence closed the Land

Warfare Centre and in 2009 Tasmanian

Defence support was amalgamated.”

Other Federal politicians, including Senator

David Bushby, Senator Stephen Parry,

Senator Guy Barnett, Senator Helen Polley

and Senator Carol Brown have also indicated

strong support for the retention of Anglesea


Fort Direction will remain of interest to the

South Arm community, including the RSL,

who have been given a commitment by the

Government to engage them in the future

of the establishment.

With strong tri-partisan support for

Tasmania’s Defence establishments, the

campaign to rebuild Defence jobs back

into the State will no doubt be next on the

agenda – a perspective promoted by Andrew


“I can also see exciting opportunities for

growth. Tasmania boasts impressive but

underutilised military facilities at Buckland,

Stony Head and Fort Direction as well as

natural attributes that make it an ideal

training ground for mainland units,” he said.


RSL On Service

When returned serviceman Ralph O’Neill*

recently came across an advertisement for

a bidet toilet seat, he honestly felt, from the

things he was reading, that this could quite

possibly be the answer to his prayers.

From the time he had spent in Japan and

Korea on rest and recuperation from active

service in Vietnam, and on subsequent visits

with his wife Caroline*, he knew that there

were some great toilet seats available that

provided so many more features than those

generally found in Australia.

He felt that with some of

the medical conditions

he’d long experienced,

including hemorrhoids

and some personal

issues for Caroline,

the fact the bidet

could wash and dry

them both without

the need for toilet

paper, would prove

very benecial

and provide some much needed relief and peace

of mind.

Making some initial inquiries, Ralph and

Caroline were amazed to see the features that

were now available. Apart from comfort and

health factors, the warm seat, warm water wash,

and a warm air dryer could all be operated and

adjusted via a simple-to-use remote control unit.

It was also explained to Ralph that as the bidet

seat simply replaced his existing toilet seat and

it was so simple to install, he had the choice of

easily installing it himself or arranging for a

trained technician from The BIDET SHOP ®

to drop around for a very reasonable rate.

After some discussion together, Ralph and

Caroline purchased a bidet toilet seat and

Ralph decided to install it himself. The bidet

arrived a few days later and Ralph got to work

immediately. A couple of beers later, Ralph had

it up and running and took it his new bidet a

test drive straight away.

Ralph feels the bidet is the best investment

he and his wife have made for their personal

health and hygiene. Now after years of

toileting problems, neither of them nds going

to the loo an issue. Their only regret was that

they hadn’t seen the bidet toilet seat sooner!

For more information or to purchase, call

The BIDET SHOP ® on 03 9005 7473 (local)

or 1800 243 387 (national)

Master Lifts supplies Stair Lifts,

Vertical Lifts, Wheelchair Lifts,

Pool and Spa Lifts

RSL On Service 29


450 ex-service women from all over

Australia, including representatives from

New Zealand and UK Women’s Army,

descended on Sydney in February this

year to attend the 60th Anniversary of the

formation of the Women’s Royal Australian

Army Corps. Celebrations kicked off with

a ‘Meet and Greet’ at Kirribilli RSL Club

where some women hadn’t seen each other

for 40 years, so the decibels of ‘squeals of

delight’ increased as the evening progressed!

The walls of the venue were covered with

amazing photos of women who participated

in the WRAAC from 1951 to 1985. Photos

of recruit days, PT uniform, Signals courses

and such were there to cause mirth among


On Saturday morning, marching to the

stirring sound of the WRAAC Corps

March, “Soldiers of the Queen”, we entered

the original WRAAC School site, at Georges

Heights, Mosman and all 450 participated

in this very moving event. The ex-service

women, who hadn’t marched for many years,

were ‘licked into shape’ by Parade Marshall

Carolyn McMahon who had us doing ‘Right

dress, Stand–at-ease and Attention’ with

amazing precision and accuracy after 5

minutes practice!

We were halted at the gates by the Military

Police. The gates were a ‘mock- up’ of the

Kathleen Best Memorial Gates, (the original

gates now fronting the Commandant’s

Residence at the Royal Military College

Duntroon, Canberra).

After the Parade was reviewed, the Governor

of NSW, Her Excellency, Professor Marie

Bashir AC CVO unveiled the Memorial

Plaque and addressed the gathering. Some

of the other Official guests were the Chief

of Army, Lieutenant General Ken Gillespie

AO DSC CSM; Major General Liz Cosson,

AM CSC GM (Retd), Jennifer Collins,

Deputy Commissioner, Department of

Veterans’ Affairs – NSW; Brigadier Simone

Wilkie, AM, Director Training HQ Forces

Command; Colonel Jane Spalding, CO

Army School of Logistic Operations; The

Hon Bronwyn Bishop MP, Federal Member

for Mackellar; Representatives from several

RSL’s and AWAS (Australian Women’s

Army Service). After the official functions,

lunch was ‘served in the field’ and there

was plenty of time to talk and reminisce.

Some even had the opportunity to look at

the fortification tunnels which were always

out of bounds when on training courses at

WRAAC School.

The Formal dinner held at the Kirribilli Club

in the evening, was well attended by 350.

Major General Liz Cosson, AM CSC GM

(Retd) was the Guest Speaker and gave an

excellent address since she too started her

exceptional Army career as a WRAAC.

........Friends for 42 Years.

Front row: Ginny Dunn (nee Luckcroft),

Orange, NSW; Libby Perkins (nee Fleming),

Gunns Plains, Tas; Suzie Thorpe, (nee

McKeegan) Caboolture, Qld; Helen Leaney

(nee Giddings), Adelaide, SA

Back: Marianne Webster (nee Doran),

Peterborough, Vic.

A church service held at the Holy Trinity

Garrison Church at Millers Point on Sunday

morning was followed by a lunch-time

ferry cruise around Sydney Harbour. This

topped-off 3 days of amazing celebrations

and reunions with old friends and making

new ones. Everyone promised to meet again

for the 65th Anniversary in 2016 where we

could do it all again, only THIS time they

will have to make more room for zimmer


The President and Members of the WRAAC

Association (NSW) Inc. need special

mention for all the work that went in to make

it such a successful Reunion.

Libby Perkins President Ulverstone RSL

Sub Branch

Strictly Ballroom

03 6248 5383 Studio Rear of 22 Newtown Road Hobart


RSL On Service



Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS

Melbourne disrupted a pirate attack on a

tanker in the Arabian Sea in early January


HMAS Melbourne steamed to the aid of

the UK-flagged chemical tanker MV CPO

China, which had been boarded by pirates

in the Arabian Sea at approximately 1.45pm

Bahrain time on Monday, 3 January.

When initially alerted to the incident HMAS

Melbourne was approximately 267kms

north of the MV CPO China but was able

to cover that distance in just over six hours.

While steaming to the aid of the MV CPO

China, HMAS Melbourne’s helicopter

launched and on arrival in the vicinity of MV

CPO China was able to deter the pirates from

attempting to take control of the ship. As a

result the pirates aborted the attack and left

the vessel when HMAS Melbourne arrived

on the scene.

The crew of MV CPO China had successfully

secured themselves in the ship’s citadel (an

anti-pirate stronghold) from where they

could maintain satellite communications

and control the ship. The engine controls

and steering equipment for the tanker are

located in the citadel.

“This is a terrific example of how Australia’s

maritime contribution to the Middle East

Area of Operations provides another layer of

security for the region and to the conduct of

trade and suppression of criminal activities,”

said the Commander of Joint Task Force 633,

MAJGEN John Cantwell.

One of our objectives for operations in

the Middle East is to assist the efforts of

the international community in reducing

acts of piracy. Our men and women aboard

HMAS Melbourne deserve recognition for

their role in providing maritime security and

countering piracy in the Arabian Sea. This

is one of those occasions where their efforts

have become highly visible,” he said.

Image by courtesy of Department of Defence


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RSL On Service 31


A highly decorated Royal Australian Air

Force officer who flew more than 100

missions in World War II was farewelled

with full honours recently in Adelaide.

Former Air Commodore Keith Parsons was

born in Scottsdale, Tasmania, in 1914 and

joined the RAAF in 1935 as an air cadet. He

learnt to fly a Tiger Moth at Point Cook, later

teaching others to fly both the Tiger Moth

and Liberator aircraft. He first served in

combat as Commanding Officer, later Wing

Commander, of No. 7 Squadron, receiving

the Distinguished Flying Cross for his

courage, hard work and devotion to duty.

In 1944 Air Commodore Parsons was posted

to Bomber Command in the UK, flying over

100 combat missions, including some as the

Commanding Officer of the famous 460

Squadron. He recalled one mission over

Germany, which was very nearly his last.

As he flew at 19,000 feet with no lights, a

Lancaster bomber suddenly appeared out of

the dark, heading straight for his plane.

“I shoved the stick hard forward and this

bloke wiped right across the top of us

smashing the canopy on the top and then

collected my two port engines,” he said.

The aircraft became unmanageable and

went into a tight spin. Unable to bale out the

normal way, he told his crew to bale out and

then managed to climb through the aircraft’s

shattered canopy. His parachute opened but

had been badly ripped and collapsed as he hit

the ground. He was lucky to survive the fall

from about 30 metres.

After the war, he returned to Australia

before taking up various positions including

a posting as Air Attaché in Washington

and Commanding Officer of the RAAF

Butterworth base in Malaysia.

He was promoted to Air Commodore in 1961

and retired in 1969.

At the funeral in Adelaide on the 5th of July,

Air Commodore Noel Derwort said that Air

Commodore Parsons was a man who had

led by example.

With acknowledgement to the Adelaide




Flight Lieutenant Henry ‘Lacy’ Smith

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and

Defence Science and Personnel, Warren

Snowdon, recently announced that the

remains of a pilot that went down 66 years ago

off Normandy in France have been officially

identified as Flight Lieutenant Henry ‘Lacy’

Smith, of Number 453 Squadron, Royal

Australian Air Force.

RAAF began the identification process

after 6 November 2010, when the wreckage

of a Spitfire aircraft, and human remains

were recovered in the Orne Estuary, near

Ouistreham in Normandy by local museum


“With the help of the local museum curators,

Mr and Mrs Cobin, there was sufficient

evidence provided to RAAF to positively

identify the remains are those of Flight

Lieutenant Henry ‘Lacy’ Smith.

“Flight Lieutenant Smith was lost to enemy

anti-aircraft fire during the Second World

War on 11 June 1944 whilst flying a patrol

in support of the Allied invasion of Europe.

“Evidence included the aircraft wreckage

engine serial number, eyewitness reports of

the other two pilots flying in the formation

at the time of the downing of the aircraft, the

physical location of the recovered wreckage,

a wartime casualty report linking the aircraft

tail number, engine serial number and

pilot details, and the engine serial number

recovered with the aircraft wreckage.”

“I am very pleased to know that the remains

of this brave pilot have now been accounted

for and can now finally be laid to rest. Finding

Flight Lieutenant Smith after over 66 years

is an outstanding result for all concerned

particularly the family,” Mr Snowdon said.

The RAAF has contacted surviving relatives

living in Australia, and arrangements are

underway for the reinterment of Flight

Lieutenant Smith’s remains, with full

military honours.

This ceremony will occur in April 2011in

a Commonwealth War Graves cemetery in

France, in accordance with normal practice

for recovered remains.

Spitfires 453 Sqn RAAF


RSL On Service

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