CHRISTMAS Newsletter - RAAMC Association

CHRISTMAS Newsletter - RAAMC Association

The official quarterly magazine








PRESIDENT: LTCOL Derek Cannon RFD ~ 31 Southee Road, RICHMOND NSW 2753 ~ (M) 0415 128 908

HON. SECT: Alan Curry ~ 6 Reliance Boulevarde, TANILBA BAY NSW 2319 ~ (H) (02) 4982 4646

Mobile: 0427 824 646. Email:

HON TREASURER: Brian Tams ~ 4/24-26 Barrenjoey Road, ETTALONG BEACH NSW 2257 ~ (H) (02) 4341 9889

HON CHAPLAIN: Brian Hogan ~ 1 Cook Road, LONGWARRY VIC 3816 ~ (H) (03) 5629 9548 (M) 0405 443 771

COMMITTEE: Warren BARNES Mobile: 0409 909 439

Fred BELL (ASM) Mobile: 0410 939 583

Barry COLLINS OAM Phone: (02) 9398 6448

Mick ROWLEY Phone: (02) 9570 5381


Vale/Eulogies ..................................................................................................................................................................................................... 3

Life Members..................................................................................................................................................................................................... 7

Message from the President.................................................................................................................................................................... 9

Message from the Secretary .................................................................................................................................................................... 11

VP Day Ceremony........................................................................................................................................................................................... 13

Battle for Australia Ceremony................................................................................................................................................................. 15

Reserve Forces Day Launch 2013......................................................................................................................................................... 18

Annual Mixed Reunion Luncheon....................................................................................................................................................... 19

Happy Birthday / Sick Parade ................................................................................................................................................................... 20

Chaplain’s Corner / Congratulations .................................................................................................................................................. 21

5 CSSB Health Company News.............................................................................................................................................................. 22

New Members .................................................................................................................................................................................................. 23

Dates for your Diary 2013 / Thank You............................................................................................................................................. 25

Messages from Members .......................................................................................................................................................................... 27

Items of Interest............................................................................................................................................................................................... 31

Kind Acknowledgements / 2012 Fund Raiser .............................................................................................................................. 35

RAAMC Association Update..................................................................................................................................................................... 36

RAAMC Application for Membership................................................................................................................................................. 37

5th Fld Amb Application for Membership Form........................................................................................................................ 39

Activity Sheet..................................................................................................................................................................................................... 40





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John de WITT passed away peacefully, at his Nursing

Home in Jannali, prior to breakfast, at 7.30am on the 12th

August. A month earlier, on the 8th July, he quietly celebrated

his 89th birthday with his family by his bedside.

John’s funeral was held in the West Chapel of Woronora

Cemetery on Monday, 20th August with over 100 family and

friends in attendance to say their ‘farewells’. It was a very

fitting tribute to a husband, father, grandfather, soldier and


John’s eldest son, Peter, spoke on behalf of his brother,

Ray, and sisters, Jenny and Pauline and their respective

families, and we got a small glimpse of what John meant to

his family. We listened to Peter as he unfolded his, and the

family’s, memories of their dad and their mum, both in army

and civilian life.

Sadly, Betty passed away in 2007 and when his mate of

over 60 years died, John’s health started to deteriorate. He

was in and out of hospitals many times but did not have the

strength left in him to get himself back together. In the end

he was tired and succumbed.

His good friend of over 50 years, Doug Rennie, spoke very

highly of John’s achievements to the game of soccer. He said

John was a ‘founding member’ of the Caringbah Redbacks in

the Sutherland Competition and both their sons played

together with the club.

John and Doug become Junior and Senior Soccer

Referees and Doug said that Soccer Australia, being aware of

John’s administrative attributes, contacted him for assistance

regarding their finances and Doug said that John had pointed

out some anomalies that resulted in Soccer Australia

recouping many $000’s.

Doug said John was so highly thought of by Soccer

Australia that, at a “Hall of Fame” Ceremony held at the

Marconi Club in Leichhardt a few years back, when John was

feeling better, he was invited to attend and, unbeknown to

him at that time, be ‘inducted’.

John attended with his daughter, Jenny, and grandson,


The President of Football NSW, Mr. Jim Forrest, in his

‘Address’, announced to more than 100 referees (and guests)

in attendance, of the honour bestowed to John.

Doug remarked that it was the only time he had seen

John speechless! John received a standing ovation.

Doug concluded by saying that if we heard God’s voice he

would surely be saying…”Well done thy good and faithful

servant, enter into the Kingdom of Heaven”.

Our Patron, Ray Hyslop OAM, was also a good friend and

army colleague of John and I have included his Eulogy in this


de WITT............................................................................12/08/12

Frank OLIVER..............................................................................29/9/12

LtCol John Morley PHILLIPS OAM RFD ED ...............................4/10/12

Neil BARRIE...............................................................................29/11/12

Bill CLUTTERBUCK......................................................................8/12/12

The Cronulla RSL Sub-Branch conducted a RSL Ceremony

for John, and all ex-service personnel were invited to place a

‘poppy’ on John’s casket.

I was disappointed that their Welfare Officer did not let

the family and friends know of John’s service to his country—

John’s son, Peter, touched briefly on some of their dad’s


John’s army service commenced when he joined the CMF

at 17 years of age – from 30th October 1940 to the 21st

September 1941. He then went to full time duty on the 22nd

September 1941 to 1st June 1943 and then enlisted in the

A.I.F. from the 2nd June 1943 to 3rd December 1945, when he


He found civilian employment after the war, for a few

years, before joining the Interim Army on the 21st July 1948

to the 23rd April 1952.

He joined the Australian Regular Army on the 24th April

1952 to the 29th January 1953 and discharged again and was

then admitted to the Reserve of Officers for two weeks, from

the 30th January 1953 to 12th February 1953, when he rejoined

the CMF on the 13th February 1953 until 21st March

1965 before signing on to full time duty again on the 22nd

March 1965 to 22nd August 1965. He then, again, joined the

Australian Regular Army on the 23rd August 1965 and

remained there until his final discharge on the 2nd July 1976.

John was commissioned a Lieutenant on the 6th

September 1951 and retired in 1976, after 33 years of Army

Service, with the rank of Major.

John had Operational Service at:- Adelaide River (27/2/45-

27/3/45), Singapore (10/4/70-19/9/70, and 7/10/70-


John had Service with the following units:- 14th Aust Field

Hospital, 21st Aust Field Hospital, 55th Camp Hospital

(Darwin), British Borneo Civil Affairs Unit, Hay Prisoner of War

Camp, Eastern Command ARA Cadre RAAMC, 13th NS

Training Bn, 19th NS Training Bn, 1st Field Ambulance, 5th

Field Ambulance, 10th Field Ambulance, 1st General

Hospital, HQ 2nd Division, HQ Eastern Command, HQ ANZUK

Support Group, HQ 2nd Military District, Miscellaneous

Detachments Australian Army Force Far East Land Forces.

He received the following Awards:- War Medal 1939-45,

Australian Service Medal 1939-45, Australian Service Medal

1945-75 with Clasp SE Asia, Defence Force Service Medal,

National Medal with First Clasp, Australian Defence Medal,

Efficiency Decoration, Return from Active Service Badge.

John was a willing committee member and a constant

provider of much interesting material for his 5th Field

Ambulance Association magazine, which included his life


His presence and friendship will be sorely missed.

Our Association was represented by the following

members: - our President, Derek Cannon; our Patron, Ray

Hyslop OAM; Fred Bell; Alan Curry; Gordon Dodd; Edwin Lowery;

Barry & Heather Perigo; George Sip; Brian & Gail Tams; Warwick

Wilkinson AO (if I missed your name I sincerely apologise).

There was this beautiful verse that the family chose to

place inside the funeral service program:

I stood there near the headstone of one I loved and cried.

Beneath his name was their engraved---


Date of Birth--- Date he died.

The thought came quickly to mind, these years leave much unseen.

Far more meaningful to me, is the ‘dash’ which lies between.

The years within that little ‘dash’, live on in memory.

And represent the precious life, of one who’s dear to me.

In time I too shall pass away, and in the ground I'll lie.

While those I love and leave behind, stand at my grave and cry?

Our life here upon the earth, can end in a flash.

Are we wisely using the time, between our ‘dash’?

Do we look for the opportunities to do a kindly deed

and show love and understanding to those who are in need?

For If our hearts are full of love throughout that time we’re here,

we'll be loved by all who knew us, and our memory they'll hold dear.

We had many of our members, who were friends of

John, tender their apologies and ask that their condolences

be conveyed to John’s family. LEST WE FORGET.


Frank OLIVER joined us as a welcomed Associate

Member. He had seen our website and became interested

and asked could he join us, because his dad was a member

of 5th Field Ambulance in WW 1.

I had visited Frank in early August, before making my way

back home to Newcastle. I had, in fact, just come from

visiting John de Witt.

Frank was an “In-Patient” at the Macquarie Hospital,

Marsfield, and was recuperating after heart surgery.

Frank, subsequently, discharged back home where his

loving wife, Mary, and his family, were close by and this lifted

his spirits and well-being tremendously.

Just recently, I was travelling back to Newcastle and was

checking my mobile phone and saw I had some ‘missed

calls’—one was from Frank’s son, Mark—it was a brief, sad

message to say…Dad passed away yesterday”? The message

was a couple of days old!

When I arrived back home in the early evening I

immediately rang Mary.

She told me that Frank was doing fine when he came

home, but the other evening she called to him to come and

have a ‘cuppa’. When she called again there was no reply,

and when she went into the lounge room she found that

Frank had collapsed and died, without a sound, through a

massive heart attack, this was on the 29th September. Frank

was 82 years of age.

Frank and Mary had been married for 56 years and they

had five children, 3 boys and 2 girls; Mark, Damian, Virginia,

Gabrielle and Matthew, and Mary has found much comfort in

their love and support.

Sadly, we had no one at Frank’s funeral to represent us, or

to make ourselves known to Mary and her family. Frank’s

funeral had taken place after I retrieved my ‘missed calls’.

To Mary and her family, our Association passes on its

sincere sympathy. LEST WE FORGET



John was a well-respected member and Life Member of

our Association—in fact he became our first Life Member.

Among his many other fine qualities are:- he was a

passionate member of the Battle for Australia Day

proceedings and together with Qantas’s Logistics Manager,

Michael Ali, they ‘looked after and escorted’ the Papuan

Fuzzy Wuzzy repre sentatives on this very important day,

each year in September. John has

been sadly missed here.

John gave our members much

enjoyment in reading the many

articles he submitted to me for our

quarterly Newsletters in the years

gone by.

John Overton OAM, gave us quite

an insight into some of John’s life

when he presented his Eulogy—

which is printed further on, and for

which I was grateful to receive.

John and his good wife Allison

were regular attendees at our Annual

Reunions until his health deteriorated

a few years back. All his regular

activities were eventually put ‘on hold’

as he tried his best to get well again.

John was determined not to let

this ‘set-back’ beat him and although

he never gave in, the leukaemia was

too strong and he finally lost his earthly battle, through

pneumonia, in the early evening of the 4th October, in

Gosford Hospital. He was 80 years of age.

All his family had been by his side except his eldest son,

David, who was ‘in transit’ from Newcastle University. He

received the shock news about his dad when he went to the

hospital to visit him whilst on his way home from the


A Memorial Service was held on the 11th October, in the

Evangelical Church in Terrigal and I was informed that our

member, Stu’ Jones, was able to be there and John Overton

said the MAJGEN Ray Sharpe and BRIG John Crozier were

among about 400 family and friends who attended. I also

received a large number of apologies, by email.

John’s army service started when he was a Cadet Officer

whilst at North Sydney Boys High School and on leaving

school he joined the CMF on 8th March 1950, with Army

Number 258096.

As a pharmacist he was promoted to Lieutenant and he

served in a number of units until his discharge on the 30th

April 1987, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel—37 years of

CMF service.

He served in the following units; 30th Battalion, 5th Field

Ambulance, 1 Field Ambulance and Dental Equipment

Depot, 3 Field Ambulance and Dental Equipment Depot, HQ

2 Division and District Support Unit Sydney.

John had overseas service in New Guinea from 30

November 1970 to 11 December 1970 and he received the

following Awards;

Reserve Forces Decoration with First and Second Clasp,

National Medal, Australian Defence Medal and the Efficiency


John was also awarded the OAM on the 26th January





Our Association has lost another true friend and we pray

that John’s family, when they read this, will be comforted to

know that many of our members who knew John will be

thinking of them also, at this time. LEST WE FORGET.

(Continued on page 6)



(Presented by COL John OVERTON OAM)

One feels sadness at the loss of an

old friend, a valued comrade in arms,

but it is balanced by the privilege of

recalling John’s great contributions

and fine characteris tics.

The wide spectrum of people here

today attest to the many lives John

touched across our community. From

the Army there is a General, a

Brigadier, Colonels down to Corporals

and Privates.

Today we hear of the many facets

of John’s life, loving husband, proud

father, grandfather, great grandfather,

a pillar of our community, respected

and trusted in his professional role. He

was a fine soldier serving the Medical

Corps as a pharmacist providing the

highest standard of care to our

servicemen and women – he was their

com mit ted advocate.

I first met John in the RAAMC. We

shared a common background –

NSBHS where we both were members

of its outstanding cadet unit – our first

introduction to the Army life. Our first

baptism of fire. He became a Cadet

Lieutenant, then later we proceeded

to the CMF, now the Army Reserve.

John never did things by halves!

He was the doyen of Gosford Pharma -

cists, a font of wisdom and advice, a

committed Rotarian – in later life

receiving their coveted “Service

Before Self” award and “The Paul

Harris Medal”. It reflected the

enthusiasm that he displayed in all


In the community he was involved

in “campus life” project and church

life. Little wonder the same enthu -

siasm was displayed in the ADF. Many

were fortunate to be guided by him

or, to be inspired by his example and

benefit from his wisdom.

Allison who he met at a church

fellow ship when she was 14 was a

tower of strength and his son David

and his daughters have inherited his

unique qualities and supported him in

all his endeavours.

David of whom he was so proud

followed in his foot steps attaining the

same rank of Lt-Colonel and assuming

his role as Counsellor to those in need

of help and clinical advice both in the

Pharmacy and the Army.

I was fortunate to work with John

for 40 years.

Returning to the ADF in 1978 and

overwhelmed by the changes in the

Army I felt somewhat lost. There was a

hand on my shoulder, and a voice

saying “it’s different but come and talk

anytime and I’ll help you find your way

in the system”. Was this not the mark

of the man?

This encapsulated John’s philo -

sophy – at any Army function he

kept a fatherly eye on the perplexed

new member of the unit welcoming

him and including him in the Army


He served in infantry battalions –

the 30th Scottish, 5 Field Ambulance

and was OC of the Medical and Dental

Supply Company.

He was a passionate advocate of

the Digger as they selflessly served

their country. If ill or injured he

believed they deserved the best.

In our many discussions he would

strongly and effectively argue for the

availability of best equipment and

medications. He was always in his

place to teach and instruct in the best

traditions of care.

John believed that we learned

lessons from the past. He was a leader

in military history, the RAAMC History

Committee, the Battle for Australia

Committee and commitment to the

Kokoda Walkway at Concord. Those

past principles and lessons he in -

corpo rated in our teachings.

He was indeed our “curator of

traditions” and advocate of our corps’

values seeing them set in stone to the

benefit of the next generation.

He was delighted to see his son

David, one of my valued friends in the

Corps, succeed him in rank and

pursue his values in advancing the

care of the Australian Digger both at

home and abroad.

No man does this alone. I record

today the wonderful partner in his

achievement, Allison. She supported

his every dream and was there,

always beside him to see those

dreams fulfilled.

Her saintly care and love and that

of the family during his last extended

illness is an example to us all.

What is greatness? If it is honours

and accolades then John was great.

He received the highest Rotary awards

as well as nationally the Medal of the

Order of Australia, the Efficiency

Decoration and the Reserve Forces


But if greatness is integrity, the

respect of all, regardless of rank and

commitment and care to others and I

believe it is, then John Phillips was

truly great!

His Christian philosophy shone

through and was apparent in all he


We mourn today the loss of a

family member, a great friend, a mate,

a comrade in arms, for many, a


Not just brass plate or marble

headstone, his memorial will be a

legacy or care and concern for others

making our world a better place. He

was the curator of our traditions and

values, he practised what he believed.

In the words of Longfellow: “The

light he’s left behind shines on the path

of men.”

It will light the path of the genera -

tion to follow – an example to all.

He has made the world a better

place and us better people.

We were blessed to have him

touch our lives – farewell old friend –




(Presented by COL Ray Hyslop OAM)

As Patron of the 5 Fld Amb Association, of which John was

a very proud member having served in the unit, I come to

farewell him on behalf of his Army friends.

It is over 50 years since John came into my life when I

joined the CMF as a young medical graduate. He was a soldier

from head to toe. Immaculate uniform, erect stance and

behaved as a true officer and gentleman.

There was another feature, his “dickey” eye which he

shared with two other friends of mine, the Late Vice

Chancellor of Sydney University, Gavin Brown, and the

effervescent presenter of the ABC 702 Breakfast Show, Adam


Adam is very proud of his affliction and regards all those

like him as a band of brothers.

About 1963 I had just been promoted to Major and found

myself administering command of 1 General Hosp as we

awaited the appointment of a colonel as CO. John was the

Reserve Admin officer whilst working for the bus company of

which he was very proud because of the efficiency with which

they moved peak hour crowds particularly in the compressed

evening peak period.

He was unable to attend the annual camp but ordered all

the stores and equipment and as part of the advance party

ensured that preparation was perfect for when I marched in

with the main party.

John had told me that he had once attended a course on

Army forms and hence knew every form, how many copies of

each there were, where each one went and when they had to

be lodged. Whether you wanted toilet paper, tanks or

toothpaste, John knew how to get it.

He used this knowledge to provide the unit with the most

varied training and exercises. It is very sad that too many of

his colleagues did not use their knowledge in a similar

manner when posted to the CMF.

When I left 1 Gen Hosp I did not see much of John for

many years but when we met there was always animated talk

about the Medical Corps and our great love football. I had

played in my younger days and as you have heard he was not

only a top level referee but a judge of his peers. He told me

that when he had rejoined the Regular Army and was posted

to Singapore he had to be interviewed before he was allowed

to referee. No ordinary interview as he had to front none

other than Lee ? ? the President, who spent some time talking

on a wide range of matters.

It was always a pleasure to meet John. A gentleman with

an infectious enthusiasm for life until his very last days when

there was little over which to enthuse.

He had an encyclopedic memory and could tell you all

about Medical Corps personnel, where they came from,

where they served, how they performed and what happened

after they were demobilised. It was a privilege to be counted

as one of his friends as he enriched all our lives. John, we shall

miss you, the world will be a poorer place for your passing

and on behalf of your old mates, farewell.

VALE (Continued from page 4)

Neil BARRIE passed away peacefully on the 29th

November in his Nursing Home in Murrumbeena (Vic).

(Photo at right was the happy occasion of the 5th Field Ambulance

Bugle presentation in Melbourne-Oct 2008. L/R-Alan Curry, Tom

Pritchard, Neil, Gordon Dummelow, Jenny Dummelow (Gordon’s

daughter), Maurie Benson, Glenda Garde (Neil’s daughter) and Ruth


Neil’s health deteriorated gradually after he moved from

his home to the Nursing Home, about 12 months ago.

His daughter, Glenda, was with him and held his hand as

he peacefully went at 8.20pm.

I only met Neil on that one occasion at the bugle

presentation, but since then we have spoken on the phone

many times. He seemed to me to be a very placid, respectful

man. From some of the letters and articles I have received

from him and his family, I gather he must have been a

wonderful father and grandfather. You may recall that

wonderful article written by his grandson, Tom Garde, about

his ‘pop’, in our Newsletter of December 2004.

Neil was forever grateful for our Association’s

involvement for him being selected to accompany 20 other

veterans (and war widows), from various units which served

in New Guinea during WW 2, together with M/s Dana Vale,

the then Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, to a Commemorative

Mission to PNG in Oct/Nov 2002 to attend the Dedication of

the Memorials at Milne Bay and Popondetta.

Neil, sadly, lost his wife Joyce, to cancer, in late 2002. They

had been married for 60 years and had three children. Our

Association wishes to express its sincere sympathies to

Robert, Irene and Glenda and their respective families.

He will be sadly missed by his good mate, Tom Pritchard

and the few remaining “Rats” who are left—especially from

the 2/5th Australian Field Ambulance. We are honoured that

he became one of our members and a Life Member at that.

Neil celebrated his 97th birthday, last July, with his family

around him.

His army service was;

Enlisted in the A.I.F. on the 31st May 1940. His army

number was VX20578. He served with the 2/5th Australian

Field Ambulance.

Neil had Operational Service in the Middle East from 20th

October 1940 to 28th March 1942 (He was one of the “Rats of

Tobruk”), New Guinea from 8th October 1942 to 12th March

1943 and from 17th August 1943 to 20th May 1944.

He discharged as a Private on the 9th October 1945.

Neil was awarded the following; 1939-45 Star, Africa Star,

Pacific Star, Defence Medal, War Medal 1939-45, Australian

Service Medal 1939-45 and Returned From Active Service

Medal. LEST WE FORGET (Continued on page 22)



COL Suresh



WO I Warren


* Mr. Neil BARRIE

Mr. Alan


Mr. Fred


* Mr. Don BOOTH


Dr. Harding




# Mrs Edna CANNON

Mr. Kevin




Mr. John



Mr. K.B. (Barry) COLLINS OAM

* Mr. Ross CRAFTER

Mr. Roy


Mr. Alan


MAJ Peter


* Mr. Shaun DANAHER

* MAJ John de WITT ED (RL)

Mr. George


Dr. Ken




Mr. Gavin




MAJ Madeline


Mr. Phillip



Mr. Nelson


Mr. Garry


Mr. Ron


Mrs. Frances

FOOKES (nee Henderson)



Mr. Richard


MAJ John


Mr. Joe





Mr. George



MAJ Eileen




MAJ James


# Mrs. Norma HUTTON





CAP Natalie

ILIOPOULOS (nee Polydoropoulos)

Mr. Terry


# Mr. Don JARMAN

* Sir Keith JONES KB FRCS (Edin.)FRACS

# Mrs. Sue JONES

LTCOL Stuart


Mr. Anthony


MAJ Robert (Bob) KENYON

Mr. Colin



COL Frank



Mr. John


# Mr. Bryan LINDSAY

* # Mrs. Estelle LINDSAY

MAJ Kathleen


Mr. Robert


* Mr. Roy LOVE

5 Field Ambulance RAAMC Association

(Please contact me if I have omitted your name)


Mr. Edwin


Mr. Alen


Mr. Robert (Bob) LYNCH

Mr. Huss


Mr. Nick


Dr. Helena



COL Bill


COL G.R.W. (“Roy”) McDONALD (Rtd)

# Mrs. Trish McGRATH



# Mrs. Yvonne McLEAN

Mr. Ken


MAJ John


Mr. Barry


WO 1 E. (Bill)

O’KEEFE (Rtd))

Mr. Charles


COL John


MAJ Peter


WO 2 Steve




Mr. Barry


# Mrs. Heather PERIGO




Mrs. Karen

PHILLIPS (nee Stead)

WO 1 Ken


Mr. John


Dr. F.G. (Geoff.) PRIOR

+ Mr. Thomas (Tom) PRITCHARD

COL Robert (Bob) REID ED (Rtd)

CAP Alan


CAP James


MAJ John


Mr. Michael


Mr. Bill


LT Susan


Sr. Elizabeth

SHEARD (nee Reid)

Mr. Paul


Mr. Robert


CAP Stephen


Mr. Robert


Mr. Chris


Mr. Peter


Mr. Noel


Mr. Brian


Sr. F.E.W. (“Sue”) THOMPSON (nee Shaw)

Mr. Peter


Dr. Peter


Dr. Michael


* CAP A. (“Morrie”) VANE

Mrs. Ruth

VAUDIN (nee Corbett)

Mrs. Kate

VERCOE (nee Rose)

Mr. Matthew


* Mr. Arthur (“Bubby”) WALTON

Mr John


Mr. Ronald


MAJ Bruce





COL Warwick


MAJ Alex


Mr. David


Mr. John


Dr. Phillip


Mr. Jim


+ 2/5th Australian Field Ambulance # Associate * Deceased


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Message from the President

Welcome to the Summer Edition of 5 Field

Ambulance RAAMC Association Quarterly Magazine.

We had a good representation at the Battle for

Australia Day this year on 5th September at the

Cenotaph Martin Place. Alan and members were

required to secure the Banner in the stiff breeze. The

service was, as always, very moving and superbly

marshaled by our member and Master of Ceremonies,

LTCOL (ACC) David Cooper OAM (Retd.). A very moving

address was given by FLTLT Fred Cassidy OAM. At the

conclusion a few members retired to the Services Club in

Barrack Street.

See Alan Curry’s report later in the Magazine.

RAAMC ASSOCIATION Inc News from the last meeting

on 5 October 2012.


AGM new committee: Moved Barry Collins “That the

position of President, Secretary and Treasurer be filled by

the same three incumbents i.e. President - Theo

Dechaufepie, Secretary - John O’Brien, Treasurer - Frank

Lander, on the understanding that they are willing to

accept their position until the next AGM in 2013”.

Seconded John Overton. Carried.

John Overton moved “a vote of thanks be given to

our President, Theo Dechaufepie, for all his work for the

RAAMC Association both for the NSW Branch and

Nationally”. This was seconded by all present.

Information was received from Theo Dechaufepie the

stand-in National/National Vice President and NSW

RAAMC Assoc (INC) President regarding the new RAAMC

website which is now up and


The next meeting the NSW RAAMC Association Inc is

Friday, 7 December in Building 11, Victoria Barracks at


First World War Commemorations

involving Queens Park

Early planning for 5 Fd Amb Assoc activity to

celebrate the raising of 5 Fd Amb in March 2015 and also

1 Fd Amb which was raised earlier in August 1914. Both

had their initial training at Queens Park Sydney.

Although I have a copy of special Event Proposal

conditions and disclosures for use of a section of Queens

Park which comes under Centennial Parklands Trust. My

enquiries through Waverly Council and in particular the

Ranger (did not return my call) were put on hold.

Thankfully Stu Jones, Patron of 1 Fd Amb, has managed

to make contact with Mr Craig Easdown, Manager

Marketing and Communications, Centennial Park and

Moore Park Trust who is assessing the possibilities with

his Trust.

This is just an early advice on where we are with more

to follow in future magazines and supports Alan Curry’s

two earlier calls for Expressions of Interest re purchasing

wines and Tee Shirt to

honour the Centenary of

our beginnings.

The National Launch of

Reserve Forces Day

2013 took place at the

Derek Cannon

Observatory Hill Park

Sydney on Saturday, 24 Nov 2012. Our Association was

represented by Alan Curry with our Standard, Patron Ray

Hyslop OAM and Michael Carlson. The Theme for 2013 will

focus on the 23000 Reservists and 500 permanent members

who served in the war and the attributes they brought back

from the war into the Militia units and the foundations they

forged and skills they took to WW1. They set a high

standard for the future Australian Army and formed the

genesis of the highly regarded traditions of the Australian

Military Forces. Almost 1000 members paid the supreme

sacrifice. The celebrations will also acknowledge the

wonderful service of our current Reservists. “At the moment

of Australian Federation, volunteer militia units from each

of the Australian colonies were serving in South Africa in the

Anglo Boer war. It can be truly said that the Australian Army

was born in battle”.

See Alan Curry’s report on the launch, later.

Certificates of Commemoration for attendance at the

2012 Reserve Forces Day were well received by Edna, self

and granddaughters Felicity and Brittany Evans.

The Annual Reunion Luncheon on 24 Nov 2012 was

attended by 20 members and associates. The event was

very successful highlighted by a moving address by our

Patron Ray who covered many of his experiences with

the Medical Corps and included a final tribute to our late

Association stalwart, John de Witt. However, the

attendance was the lowest I can remember being

around 10% of our total members and associates. Do we

need to look at an alternative? Please send your

suggestions to Alan Curry.

Also of note was the return of Kevin Baker’s “Paul

Cullen Citizen and Soldier” from Heather and Barry

Perigo along with an Australia Post 60 cent stamp

collection depicting the Rising Sun Badge 1902-1991.

Thanks both. See Alan’s report and photographs on the

reunion later.

Finally, to all our special members and with constant

thought for our sick, Edna and I wish you all the very best

for the coming festive season and that 2013 turns out to

be all you wish for.

Good reading and best regards and I hope to see you

on Anzac Day either joining us in the March or at the

post March luncheon.

Derek Cannon


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Message from the Secretary

Greetings Members,

This Christmas message is sent to you and all your

family with best wishes from your committee. We

hope that the coming year is one of health and

happiness to you.

To our sick members, some of you may be un -

fortunate to be in hospital over this period, we are

thinking of you.

Our thoughts at this time are especially with our

members’ families of John de Witt, John Phillips, Frank

Oliver and just recently, Neil Barrie and Bill

Clutterbuck – their “VALE” is in this issue, and also to

those ADF families and friends, for their loved ones

who will not be returning home for Christmas from


(I refer to those five dreadful casualties in late August.

Three of these soldiers were shot by a ‘rogue’ soldier, a

member of the Afghan Army, with whom they were

training. He was a part of the Afghan National Army

being trained to maintain peace and stability in their

country, when our troops withdraw, about 2014.

The other two tragedies were the result of their

helicopter crashing in a mountainous region in


I attended my local RSL Sub Branch (Tilligerry—it

was recently voted to ‘re-name’ it from Lemon Tree

Passage and Districts) for the Remembrance Day

Ceremony on the 11th of the 11th. It was well


I read in the NSW RSL “Reveille” (Nov/Dec 2012

Issue), in Chris Perrin’s article, he is urging any

member of a Sub Branch, that does not conduct this

Ceremony, to ‘Move a motion’ to do so in the future.

I do understand that the Boer War was the first war

where our (Australian) armed forces were used in, but

the First World War, and the sheer horror and toll of

lives lost in this conflict are firmly burnt into

everyone’s minds --and will forever be. It is an

IMPORTANT DAY and we shall never forget.

Ruth and I took the opportunity, in October, to

spend nearly 3 weeks with some of our family who live

in Mission Beach in Far North Queensland. It was great

to ‘catch up’ with them and also to a neighbour of our

granddaughter. They are Arthur and Marge Sander -

son. Arthur was in the transport during WW 2 and at

90 years young he is doing it a bit tough at the

moment—if you happen to read this Arthur, Ruth and

I pass on our good wishes to you and Marge.

I had the pleasure of representing our Association

as our Standard Bearer at the Reserve Forces Day

2013 “Launch”. (See my report further on.) After it

concluded I drove to our Reunion venue at

Paddington RSL Club (See our Annual Reunion

Summary, also in this Issue.)

Our Association sent a

“Letter of Congratula -

tions” to CPL Daniel

Keighran VC for the act of

courage he displayed, in

August 2010, whilst being

a member of a ‘partnered’

fighting force which came

under sustained enemy fire at

Darapet in the Uruzgan Province of Afghanistan.

With no thought for his own safety, he ‘broke

cover’ to draw enemy fire on himself so that wounded

soldiers could be treated and later assisted in the

clearance of a landing zone to enable safe evacuation

of the wounded. (It brings to mind the biblical saying…

”Greater love hath no man…”)

In closing for 2012, Ruth and I wish you all a very

Happy and healthy Christmas.


(3rd request)

Alan Curry

The CENTENARY of our beginnings — 5th Field

Ambulance AAMC – will be MARCH 2015.

To celebrate and remember our comrades-in-arms

through the years gone by, our Association’s Committee

would like your input on the following:

1. I would purchase a bottle of Port for $35..........YES/NO

2. I would purchase a bottle of Red Wine

for $20 (Shiraz) ..............................................................YES/NO

3. I would purchase a bottle of White Wine

for $20 (Chardonnay or Riesling) ...............................YES/NO

4. I would purchase a short-sleeve, collared “T” shirt

(With pocket) for $35 ...................................................YES/NO

5. I would purchase ONE of each of the above

for $100 (Includes postage) ........................................YES/NO

All money raised from these “Expressions” will go

toward a 3-course sit-down luncheon, with all drinks, for

a nominal price of $15 per head. The venue to be


Please advise me if you would travel from interstate

for this occasion?

As of this issue, other members/friends have

indicated they will purchase either some items, or

everything, when the date gets closer. May we count on

your commitment?

Our GOAL is at least 100 members/friends to indicate

they will commit.

Our Committee sincerely thank you for your





On the 15th August, at 2pm,

our President, Derek Cannon,

myself, Gordon Dodd and his

good wife, Olive, were among

many hundreds who witnessed

a well-organised Ceremony.

It was put together by M/s

Alice Kang (DVA Representa -

tive—Concord Hospital) and the

Kokoda Track Memorial Walk -

way Committee.

It was a pleasant winter’s

afternoon and everyone was

seated under cover. The guest

speaker was the Mayor of

Canada Bay, Mr. Angelo Tsirekas,

and our State Governor, Marie

Bashir AC also read an account

of those dreadful war years in

WW 2 especially when the

Japanese entered the war.

The MC, Mr. John Gatfield,

brought back memories when

he asked the gathering how

many would have remembered

going to the movies in the

1940’s and being in awe of the

‘Cinesound’ newsreels that

showed glimpses of the war.

It was then shown on a large

screen for all present to see,

some of those old ‘newsreel’


The Governor led the

Wreath-Laying Ceremony and

after the Ode and Last Post and

the conclusion of the Remem -

brance Ceremony, there was a

very poignant moment when 8

WW 2 veterans were escorted

to the front and stood behind

8 cages of white doves. The MC

counted to THREE and all the

doves were released at once. It

was a fitting finale. All were

then invited to have Afternoon


(Placed on every seat was a

“Victory in the Pacific Program”

which included a very in -

teresting 6-page summary of the

Coral Sea Battle.)

I also spoke to Michael Ali

who was ‘looking after’ one of

the PNG “Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels”

representatives, Mr Richard


Michael, usually in cooperation

with our late member,

John Phillips, (who sadly passed

away recently), takes good care

of our PNG representatives on

these very ‘special’ occasions.



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From the brutal tragedy of ANZAC a tradition

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Australia’s medical services left the shores of Gallipoli

sobered by their experiences ... But this was only the first of

many conflicts for which they would have to prepare, suffer

and survive in the service of Australia and humanity.



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(Held first Wednesday in September, 11am,)

A very pleasant Spring morning greeted all who attended,

and there would have been about 400 people present.

Our good member, David Cooper OAM, was the MC and he

made all who were there feel very special. He introduced the

main guest of honour, our State Governor, Marie Bashi AC


The main speaker was Mr. Keith Pryor. Keith was in the

Merchant Navy during WW 2 and presented a very different

side of events leading up to, and including, the air attacks of the

Japanese forces upon Australian soil in 1942/43. With Keith’s

kind permission I have included his ‘Address’ that he gave that


Our good member, John Phillips OAM, was very sick and

could not attend, but his good wife, Alison and their daughter,

Debbie Brooks, as well as Alison’s good friend, Mrs. Pat Spencer,

attended in John’s place.

John would normally be escorting the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels,

together with a good friend of our Association, Michael Ali. It is

always an honour to have the Fuzzy Wuzzy’s present on this day

as they are very much a part of this “Battle for Australia”


We thank the following members who attended;

Our President, Derek Cannon, Our Patron, Ray Hyslop OAM,

David Cooper OAM (was the MC), Alan Curry, Eileen Henderson

(represented the RAANC and accompanied Capt. Margaret Ewart

to lay a wreath. Margaret is 98 years young and was present in

Darwin, as a Nursing Sister, when the Japanese air raid started on

the 19th February 1942), Kevin Hurrell, Brian Tams, Warwick

Wilkinson AO and Gordon Wright (Gordon was escorted by his

daughter Annette, granddaughter, Catherine and greatgranddaughter,

Charlotte). (My apologies if any other member

was present).





Your Excellency, Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO, Governor

of New South Wales, Distinguished Guests, Service Repre -

sentatives, Ladies and Gentlemen, Girls and Boys.

It’s an honour and a privilege to share with you today the

commemoration of those who played their part in The Battle

for Australia, and speak about the Merchant Mariners who

supported our armed services during that grim period from

early 1942 when war reached our shores and we faced the real

prospect of invasion by Japanese forces.

The fall of Singapore hit Australia like a thunderclap. It

heralded a struggle that stretched our nation’s resources to the

limit. Prime Minister John Curtin called it the Battle for Australia

and declared “It is now work or fight as we have never worked

or fought before.”

That desperate need for resources caused the Australian

government to call upon the Merchant Navy to transport

troops, equipment, ammunition and supplies to support our

armed services. The Merchant Navy also had to maintain trade

links including those to support industries vital to the war

effort, like the steel industry.

Merchant Mariners were civilians, accustomed to dealing

with the ever present hazards of seafaring, but they were not

trained for war. Some were very young – there were deck boys

as young as 14, and some were quite old – and for most there

was no retiring age.

During WW 11 some Australian Merchant Mariners were

drafted to fill vacancies in overseas ships whilst in Australian

waters and they went on to serve in areas of conflict remote

from Australia. A large but unknown number of them lost their


I finished school in December 1941, within days of the

Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour. I had no plans to become a

Merchant Mariner, but took a job with the Adelaide Steamship

Company Ltd., intending to follow my two older brothers into

the Australian Military Forces when I turned 18.

Part of my job was to board the Company’s ships when they

came to Sydney. How vividly I remember the grim sight of the

“Allara” when towed in for repair, with her stern section blown

away after being torpedoed by a Japanese submarine just off

Newcastle, claiming the lives of five seamen. I met with many of

the Company’s seagoing staff and learned of some of their

terrifying experiences.

Still I developed a fascination for ships that endured

throughout my long career in the Australian Maritime Industry.

After further education and training with The Adelaide

Company, I saw it as a great opportunity to join the company

owned AHS Manunda as the Assistant Purser, at the age of 17,

and that ship then became my home over several years.

At the outbreak of WW 11, Australia had a large fleet of

cargo and passenger ships that were versatile and adaptable to

military needs. Some were commissioned into the defence

forces, and others were used as hospital ships and troopships

crewed by Merchant Mariners.

Many of the cargo ships were old hand-fired coal burners;

they were slow and left a trail of smoke from the funnel that

made them highly visible and easy prey to submarine attack.

War touched our coastline from late 1940, when German

mines were laid off the south eastern and southern coasts of

Australia. Two allied merchant ships were destroyed and one

was badly damaged. On the 5th December 1940 the NSW

North Coaster “Nimben” struck one of those mines off Norah


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Head and sunk with the loss of seven lives and in March 1941 a

large fishing trawler fell victim and sunk with the loss of another

seven lives.

The outbreak of the Pacific War and the bombing of Darwin

on 19th February 1942 heralded difficult and dangerous times

for Merchant Mariners. In the first Japanese air raid on Darwin,

apart from the destruction and damage to allied ships, the

Australian merchant ships “Neptuna” and “Zealandia” were

sunk with the loss of 47 lives, and the cargo vessel “Barossa”

was badly damaged. Manunda’s boats were rescuing burnt and

injured seamen from sinking ships when she suffered a near

miss and then a direct hit causing severe damage.

Despite the chaos, Manunda continued to treat the

wounded, and crew and staff continued to man the life-boats

rescuing injured from the harbour.

Fifty-eight from the Manunda’s crew and medical staff were

wounded and twelve were killed that day, including a nursing

sister, Sister Margaret de Mestre. She was just twenty-six and

the first AIF nurse to be killed in action on Australian soil.

This was a deliberate attack on a Hospital Ship. The Geneva

and Hague Conventions – meant to afford immunity from

attack on hospital ships - were disregarded on that day, as they

were again in May 1943 when AHS Centaur was deliberately

torpedoed and sunk off Southern Queensland, with the tragic

loss of 268 lives. This attack was carried out before dawn to

achieve maximum effect on sleeping victims, and the ship sank

within a few minutes.

After the Centaur sinking, concern for the safety of the

remaining Hospital Ships was so great that Manunda was laid

up in Sydney and had all of the hospital ship colours,

illumination and markings removed. She was painted grey and

heavily armed and crewed with 15 naval gunners. But having

only left port for gunnery trials, the decision was reviewed and

she was then reinstated as a compliant hospital ship before

returning to its normal wartime role.

After the attack on Darwin, military needs grew more

urgent and the need for shipping capacity increased as

Japanese submarines began to attack merchant ships off the

Eastern coast of Australia, targeting vital cargoes like iron ore

for steel production. Shipping capacity diminished with the

escalating loss of ships and their skilled crews.

Whilst merchant ships were damaged and destroyed in

other areas of the Pacific, nineteen merchant ships including

several iron ore carriers were sunk along the NSW coast, and

many were damaged, sometimes within sight of land.

Mostly, the public were unaware of what was happening as

news of these attacks was generally suppressed at the time.

A total of 30 Australian and allied merchant ships were sunk

in Australian waters, and the death and injury toll of Merchant

Mariners from these sinking’s was horrendous.

When I joined the Manunda, she was transporting sick and

wounded Australian servicemen and some Americans from

New Guinea to Sydney and Brisbane.

The white-hulled ship, banded in green with red crosses,

was always fully illuminated at night and became a familiar

sight all over the Pacific War areas.

Battle weary patients were always relieved to be taken

aboard into the clean and orderly wards and into the caring

hands of the dedicated Australian Army doctors and Nursing

Sisters for the voyage home.

Arrival at No. 6 Wharf Darling Harbour was always

memorable with the military ambulances queued along that

strip of road then known as the Hungry Mile, waiting to shuttle

up to 400 patients to the Concord Military Hospital.

Manunda was subsequently kept busy during the

Australian-led offensive into Borneo transporting the sick and

wounded from Tarakan Balikpapan and Labuan.

When Japan capitulated, we were 12 hours into a voyage

from Morotai bound for Tarakan when recalled to Morotai to

prepare to pick up prisoners of war in North Borneo and

Australians in Singapore.

Calling first to Labuan to pick up British and Indian prisoners

of war from the Batu Lintang prison camp for transport to

Singapore, Manunda was the first Australian ship to enter

Singapore at that time.

The approaches to Singapore had been heavily mined by

the British and then again by the Japanese during their

occupation. Following a skillfully piloted British Naval Escort

enabled our passage and we berthed at Empire Dock on 10th

September 1945, two days before the official surrender of the


On arrival, Manunda’s Medical and Nursing staff were

rushed to Changi only to be shocked and appalled at the

condition of the Australians. For some, they had arrived just in

time, but for many others they were too late.

When the Australians from Changi were embarked, I

watched from the deck, with a group of others, which included

an Army Chaplain on Manunda at the time, Chaplain Oscar

Cooper – the father of our MC here today, Lt.Col. David Cooper


I can never forget the abhorrence - those barely living

human skeletons being stretchered aboard.

Before our eyes - the evidence of years of slavery, brutality,

and starvation - this image of shocking inhumanity that

affected the mindset of Australians for decades.

After a slow and careful voyage with such frail patients our

welcomes at Fremantle, Melbourne and Sydney were


We cared for so many brave and special patients. One of

them was Sister Vivian Bulwinkel, who survived the sinking of

the Vyner Brook and the Banka Island massacre, who despite

being shot right through her body, continued to care for a

wounded soldier for a further 12 days until they were both

captured. The soldier died, but Sister Bulwinkel spent three and

a half years in captivity before being taken aboard the


With other ship’s staff I was proud and privileged to attend

the official surrender of the Japanese to Lord Louis Mount -

batten at Singapore on 12th September 1945.

On a subsequent voyage we sailed to Kure Japan with a

Medical Unit and for a prolonged stay as a standby hospital for

the BCOF. In nearby Hiroshima we were able to wander among

the ruins to see the results of the action that had finally brought

about the conclusion of the Pacific War. The almost total

devastation of that city was a sight that I can never erase.

Today we pay tribute to the men and women of the Army,

Navy, Air Force and the Australian Nursing Services, who made

their contributions to The Battle for Australia.

Let us remember those who are known to us. I think today

of my two, late, older brothers, who both served courageously

in the Australian Army.

Let us remember the many more Australians who live on in

stories and images that speak of courage, service and sacrifice,

like those prisoners of war who suffered inhumanity and

starvation at the hands of their captors.

Let us remember with gratitude the Merchant Mariners who

did all that they were asked and so much more – to ‘work and

fight as never before’ – and who played such a vital role in the

Battle for Australia.

Let us especially remember those who paid the ultimate




Reserve Forces Day “Launch” 2013

I drove down to Sydney accompanied by our new

member, Mick Carlson. We arrived about 7.30am. I was

grateful that Mick was able to take some photos for me.

(There are more photos available on the RFD website.)

The “Launch” was held at the very picturesque

Observatory Hill Park. What a beautiful spot. It has

commanding views across Walsh Bay and Darling Harbour

and the very dominant feature was the Boer War Memorial.

I had to arrive early because the Standard Bearers from

all the participating Associations, Tri-Service Standard

Bearers and Boer War Standard Bearers had to do some

‘trial’ drills before the main Ceremony at 10am. The actual

proceedings went very good and with some cloud cover it

was not too hot for everyone.

It was a very colourful spectacle to be a part of, with the

theme being our Australian Forces involvement in the Boer

War from 1899 to 1902.


Part of the Ceremony was the Presentation of 3 ‘Special’

medallions—one to each recipient whose forebear was

involved in this war. There were three General Salutes and

an ‘Inspection’ of the ‘Troops’.

The Bands did a magnificent job—on the ground and in

the Rotunda. The assembled crowd appreciated them. The

Parade concluded about 11am where all invited guests

mingled under a large marquee for sandwiches and


Our Association congratulates the RFD Committee for

another successful spectacle.

(I would commend any visitor to Sydney, or anyone, who

has not visited this ‘Park’, to do so.)

Our Patron, COL Ray Hyslop OAM, was present at

the Parade and he accompanied Mick and myself when

we drove to our Annual Reunion at the Paddington RSL


“My NEW YEAR’S Resolution”

(With kind Thanks to my email friends. –Author Unknown)

‘Twas the month after Christmas and all through the house, nothing would fit me, not even a blouse.

The stuffing I’d nibbled, the turkey I’d taste, the yummies I’d eaten—gone straight to my waist!

The wine and the mince pies, the bread and the cheese…I should have said..”No thank you, please”.

So I dressed myself in my old shirt and I couldn’t believe my bottom and belly—the girth!

I said to myself, as only I can…”You can’t spend the year disguised as a man”!

So, away with the last of the sour cream dip. Get rid of the fruitcake, every cracker and chip,

Every last bit of food that I like must be banished, ‘till all the additional ounces have vanished.

I won’t have a cookie, not even a lick—instead I’ll chew on a long celery stick.

I won’t have Irish coffees, or chocolates, or pie. I’ll munch on a carrot and quietly cry;

“I’m hungry, I’m lonesome, and life is a bore—but isn’t that what January’s for”?

Unable to giggle, no longer a riot. HAPPY NEW YEAR to all—and to all a good diet!




A very pleasant and enjoyable afternoon was enjoyed

by 20 members at the Paddington RSL Club on Saturday,

24th November.

Unfortunately we had quite a few apologies and could

not get our usual ‘Private’ room but the catering manager,

Warwick, arranged our ‘Reserved’ seating in the bistro area.

We asked our Honorary Chaplain, Bran Hogan, to offer

Grace, after which we all chose and paid for our own meal.

Everyone happily mixed in and there was plenty of


We were delighted to have the RAAMC Association Inc

(NSW Branch) President, Theo Dechaufepie, be present

with us.

After the meal we adjourned to a ‘Private’ lounge room

upstairs where our President, Derek Cannon, thanked

everyone for their attendance especially to Ray and Theo


and sadly reminded us of our good members who had

passed away during the year. He also read out the names of

new members who have joined our Association.

He wished everyone a HAPPY CHRISTMAS and hoped to

meet us next ANZAC Day.

Derek called on our Patron, COL Ray Hyslop OAM, to say

a few words. Ray said he was pleased to be with us and

spoke some very kind words about the late John de Witt.

Our Association thanks the following members and

friends for their attendance;

Our President, Derek Cannon, Our Patron, Ray Hyslop

OAM, Mrs. Edna Cannon, Mick Carlson, Barry Collins OAM,

Alan Curry, Theo Dechaufepie, Brittany Evans, Ron and

Adrienne Foley, Brian and Sandra Hogan, Stuart and Sue

Jones, Barry and Heather Perigo, Rob Stewart, Noel Tame,

Brian and Gail Tams.

GROUP PHOTO shows L-R (Seated)-Gail Tams, Edna Cannon, Sandra Hogan and Heather Perigo.

Standing-Brian Hogan, Noel Tame, Rob Stewart, Mick Carlson, Barry Collins OAM, Brian Tams, Sue Jones, Stu’ Jones, Barry Perigo, Brittany

Evans, Ray Hyslop OAM and Derek Cannon. MISSING- Alan Curry (took photo), Theo Dechaufepie, Ron and Adrienne Foley


Friendly Service • Great Atmosphere

Phone: (07) 4069 1141

60 Douglas Street, Thursday Island QLD 4875

Proud to support 5th Field Ambulance RAAMC Association







Fred BELL, George DONNELLY, Dr. Andrew ELLIS OAM,


Noel MOULDER, Dr. Phillip McGRATH, Barry O’KEEFE, Chris O’REILLY,


Peter SULLIVAN and Noel TAME.




Dr. Stephen STEIGRAD, Chris STRODE, David WILKINSON and



Brett FERRARI, Terry FRY, George HARRIS, Brian HOGAN,


Brian TAMS, Dr. Peter TRALAGGAN and Kate VERCOE.

Our Association wishes each of you “All the very best” on your “special” day.

(Have you given me your month of birth?)











Gordon DODD





Richard FORD

Dorothy FOSTER





Wilfred (Bill) JONES

(Calvary Nursing Care,

Hebburn Lodge,

Cessnock. Phone; (02)



Bob LEECH (Lansdown

Nursing Home, Lovani

St., Cabramatta NSW)

Robert LOVE






“Bill” O’KEEFE

Charles O’MEALLY


Barry and Heather


Maurice PORTER

(Shalom Lodge,

“Fairview”, 157

Balaclava Rd.,

Marsfield. NSW)






Brian TAMS

Sr. Florence (“Sue”)


George Aged Care

Centre, Verdun St,

Bexley. Room 22,

Ph:(02) 8566.1400)





(Lourdes Nursing

Home, Room 27,

Stanhope Rd., Killara ,

(02) 8467.4550)



As a kid I enjoyed going to the pictures on Saturday

afternoons, to be mesmerised by the serials, especially

Superman or Batman and Robin. Later on, in comic

books, these blokes were called Super Heroes or The

Cape Crusaders. It was the term ‘Cape Crusaders’ which

got me thinking about the significance of the Cape.

What does the Cape represent in the movies, or

even in real life?

It might make a striking appeal to some but it’s only

a piece of cloth at best. For Superman, his cape was

indestructible for he came to earth wrapped up in it!

For Batman and Robin, it might help them to glide, but

by and large it is just a piece of rag—unless there is

something more symbolic in that piece of cloth we call

a cape. And by the way, Mandrake the Magician also

wore a cape!

There is in our society a group of people known as

Chaplains. In some sections of our society they might

be called Padres, Clergy, Ministers or Priests,

depending on their religious affiliations or the sector of

the community in which they work. Some work within

industry whilst others are attached to schools,

hospitals, corrective institutions and the oldest service

organisation in which they operate would be the army.

But very few of us would realise that the word

‘Chaplain’ has its origins back in the 4th century AD—

meaning “The Keeper of the Cape’.

Some years ago, in keeping up my pastoral

credentials, I did a unit on Chaplaincy, and this is what

I discovered in what I call ‘The Legend of the Cape’.


To Dr. Philip McGRATH

Philip and his fiancée, Charlotte, were married

in late October and this HAPPY

CONGRATULATIONS comes from all his

friends in our Association — we wish you both

much happiness as you both travel along your

‘new road’ together.


To COL John Overton OAM

John was invited to Melbourne, in November,

to have the honour of receiving the prestigious

“Founders Medal of the Society of Paediatric

Anaesthetists of Australia and New Zealand.

Our Association passes on its heartiest

CONGRATULATIONS to a well-deserved

and dedicated doctor.



The story is credited to a man known as St.

Martin of Tours who lived between 316 and 397 AD.

He was born in western Hungary and moved to

Italy. He appears to have strong religious learning,

for he wanted to be taught in the ways of Jesus at

the age of ten. He had a desire to become a hermit

by the age of twelve—but life didn’t turn out that


His father was in the permanent Roman army

with the rank of Tribune (a very powerful position akin to

Deputy PM, Field Marshall or GG). About this time a decree,

by Caesar, declared that all sons of veterans had to

enrol in the military. Martin resisted but was forced

into the army at the age of fifteen where he

remained until he was twenty years old.

During this time…”he endeared himself to his

fellow soldiers with sacrificial living and generosity

to all he encountered” …noted his biographer


Severus then relates the following incident;

“While in Amiens, France, Martin noticed a poor man

at the city gates destitute of clothing. Martin drew his

sword and divided his military cloak in half and gave

one half to the shivering beggar in the freezing cold.

Some of the bystanders sniggered and others felt


It is said that as Martin slept the next night, he

had a vision in which Jesus appeared to him

wearing the piece of the cloak he had given to the

poor man the previous day, and Jesus was gladly

saying to His angels…”This is what Martin gave me.

He doesn’t know all that much, but he followed my

instruction”—“In as much as you have done these

things to one of the least of these, you have done it to


This cape came into the possession of the

Frankish kings and they kept the relic with them as

they did battle. The tent in which the cape was kept

is called the Capella, and the priests who said daily

Mass in the tent were known as the Capellani. From

these words we get ‘Chapel’ and ‘Chaplain’.

The cape is not magical nor is it a lucky charm

but it symbolises that there is one who will,

wherever and whenever possible, offer care and

compassion to those who are unable to provide or

protect themselves from anything which is

oppressing them.

That is the essential duty of the Chaplain, and

you don’t have to be a super hero with a cape.

Where possible, they try to provide spiritual and

moral guidance as well as other practical support.

And, by the way—they don’t bite!


Honorary Chaplain







5 CSSB Health Company News

(with kind thanks to OC MAJ David Czerkies)

Thank you for the opportunity to present 5 Health

Company’s report for last quarter of the year. Ladies and

Gentleman of the Corps and Association, 2012 is almost

drawing to a close and throughout this year it certainly has

been a busy and it still not over. As we prepare for the

summer season of either bushfires, major incident/emergen -

cies or floods.

The year commenced with the main focus on TLTG 5

preparations and deployment of the contingent from 5 BDE.

Now we start to prepare for arrival of the contingent home

from Timor in early December 2012 and January 2013 for

Separation from CFTS. We will be involved in the RTA

medicals ensuring all is done and that the troops are fit and

well and appropriate paperwork has been completed.

As mentioned in the previous issue, we were waiting to

hear from higher command on the deployment of our

medical staff to TLTG 5. To our disappointment we received

news that our members were not successful in gaining a

position. We certainly felt the disappointment, however that

was the decision made by higher command. Hopefully we

have better luck on future deployments.

In the latter part of the 2012 we saw the introduction of

Garrison Health Services. Our augmentation has been well

with medics and doctors providing the coverage on monthly

basis. Certainly there have been a few teething issues, but

these been sorted as we progressed. It certainly going to

take a while for the Reservist to get use to the new system.

This year has also been a learning curve for me, in my first

year of command. During this year there have been many

things that I needed to achieve, there have been high points

and low points and these have given me the experience from

which to learn from. However, to enable my role to be

VALE (Continued from page 6)

Bill CLUTTERBUCK passed away, in hospital, with family

by his side, on the 8th December, he was 76 years of age.

Photo on the right taken at the VP 50th

Anniversary March (1995) in Sydney-shows

Bill with his ‘restored’ WW 2 jeep with Alan

Curry and WW 2 veteran and member, Bill


Bill was one of our committee

and he was a good friend of mine. We served in the unit for 5


When our Association was formed in 1982, Bill was asked

to be on our committee and has been part of us since that


In private life, Bill was a truck driver. He owned his own

truck for many years and even after reaching retirement age

he was still driving, part time, for one of the big trucking

companies in Newcastle, right up until he ‘took crook’ in April

this year.

He had a good name and a good driving record as a truck

driver (no doubt he learned this on our many D & S Courses we

run at 5 Field Ambulance!)

His son, Michael, found this old battered WW 2 jeep in

Longreach (Qld)—he brought it back to Sydney for his dad

and, over a number of years, they restored it back to its


achieved I could not have done this without the assistance of

the following; OIC Canberra Det: CAPT Sally Connell, Training

WO: WO2 Jim Scott, Training SGT: SGT Jay Chapman and

CSM: SGT Kylie Harris who have given me the support.

Without these guys my job would not have been as pleasant.

To my fellow officers, NCO’s and most importantly the

soldiers of the Company without your efforts during 2012 we

would not have been able to achieve what have done this

year and therefore my role of command.

As we approach the final part of the year, we prepare our

stuff in readiness for our commitment for DACC or DFAC

tasking. Ensuring our stores are loaded, vehicles and recall

registers have been checked in the event we are not needed,

so that we can enjoy the festive season and holidays with our

families. However, we are unable to predict what may

happen, considering the word from those in the know feel

that this year’s summer could be a horror, I hope not.

In closing, this year has been a busy year I have not been

able to see through my vision for Health Company. However,

in 2013 I am looking forward with the prospects of being

able to see my vision for Health Company. To further

develop its capability through raise, train and sustain of our

members, so that we can achieve our mission objectives in


I also wish to take this opportunity to extend my best

wishes for the Festive Season to all members of the

Association and the Corps, to my Officers, WO’s & SNCOs,

NCOs and soldiers of 5 Health Company and may 2013 be a

fruitful year for us all. I hope everyone has a great time and

we look forward to being with you in 2013.

Once again thank you Alan, Health Company looks

forward to your friendship and association in the new year.

It looked fantastic and always bore the 5th Field

Ambulance and 2 Div designation plates.

Bill and his jeep were always a feature at either our, or

kindred, RSL Club Ceremonies. Bill always wore his 1960’s

army uniform, complete with boots and gaiters.

He was very proud and always looked the part.

Those of us who knew Bill in their army days will always

remember him as one of our “DR’s” (Dispatch Riders) riding up

and down our convoys on his Harley Davidson.

As I wrote above, Bill was diagnosed with liver cancer in

April. It got progressively worse with many trips to the doctors

and the hospital. On his final day his wife Pauline and

daughter, Vicki and his granddaughter, Cassie, were at his side

and left only when his son Michael and his wife, Sam, relieved

them. They were with him when he passed away at 8.30pm.

Our Association passes its sincere sympathies to Pauline

and her family.

Bill’s Army Service started when he joined the CMF on the

16 September 1954 with “Q” Battery 1st Heavy Anti Aircraft

Regiment until 2nd May 1956.

He completed his National Service with 13 NSTB from 12

August 1958 to 27 October 1958 and then remained in the

CMF with 5 Field Ambulance from 28 October 1958 until

discharged, with the rank of corporal, on the 29 July 1965.

Bill was awarded the Australian Defence Medal and the

ANS 1951-72 Medal.





sincerely welcomed to

our association. Alf was

a chance meeting which

was partly arranged by

our member, and an old

friend of Alf – Alan


Alan had sent me an email with some information

regarding Alf, and after the “Battle for Australia Day”

Ceremony in Martin Place in September, I made a point of

going out and visiting Alf and introducing myself. (He had

only recently been discharged from the Castlecrag Private


Painters were working on his front porch when I arrived,

so I went around the rear of the house, knocked on the door,

and was met by his lovely wife, Phyl.

I introduced myself to her and she gladly beckoned me in

to meet Alf – what an amazing gentleman he is.

Hopefully, I will be able to get a bit more of his story in

the near future, suffice to say that Alf, who is 99 years young,

was thrilled to make my acquaintance.

I had brought with me two photos that Alan Beckerleg

had sent to me by email and they brought vivid memories

back to Alf.

One was the photo of the Ambulance road train in the

Northern Territory in the 1940s, the other photo was of a

group of men that Alf would have served with.

Unfortunately the photos that I presented to Alf were a

bit faded and he could not recognise any of the faces but the

Ambulance train lit up his face like a beacon.

He immediately joined our association and also the

RAAMC Association Inc. (NSW Branch).

It was a real pleasure to shake his hand and have a cup of

tea with the both of them and let him talk generally about

some wonderful memories he will never forget.

Welcome to the association Alf and we hope to get a bit

more of your story in the coming weeks. Thank you for being

part of us – it is our gain.


Michael CARLSON is warmly welcomed into our


Michael is a very proud 1st Field Ambulance man but

when he reads our magazines and knows so many of our

members, who were also a part of 1 Fd Amb, he asked could

he join us?

You are more than welcome, Michael, because it was you

who has contributed articles and photos in our past

magazines that brought back many happy memories to our


He sent me the following ‘unique’

photo made by SGT Alan Pitt. Alan was the

RAASC Tpt Sgt in 1 Field Ambulance when

Michael was there—it depicts the RAASC

‘Wheel’ around the RAAMC Corps Badge.

Michael wrote that he joined the CMF

due to a ‘chance encounter’.

He was 18 years of age and was working for Drug Houses

of Australia (wholesale chemist suppliers) in Maitland, when a

local pharmacist came in to purchase some products and

asked him if he was interested in joining a new unit that he

was starting up in Maitland?

It was 1 Field Ambulance and his name was LT Ron James.

Michael said a lot of the members were from the old 8th Field


So, on the 28th November 1964, Mick joined the CMF as

a private and he was soon keen to learn as much as he could

because his promotions were as follows; LCPL on 6/9/65, CPL

on 9/5/66, SGT on 11/4/68, SSGT on 1/3/70, WO 2 on 18/8/78

and his final rank of Warrant Officer Class 1 on 1/4/83.

Michael discharged on the 3/12/84.

He did his Subject 1 for his WO 2 examination at Wacol in

Queensland (he remembers Brian Tams—our current

Treasurer, being on this course also).

Michael had to go to Healesville, in Victoria, to sit for

Subject 2. This was the same course that the Regular Army

WO’s had to do to get their promotion. Michael said it was a

very hard course—“but I passed”!

He had to go to 2 Training Group, Ingleburn, before

he could be considered for promotion to Warrant Officer

Class 1.

Michael became the one and only Ares RSM with 1 Field


He said he enjoyed being part of 1 Field Ambulance,

particularly so when seeing his fellow soldiers being

promoted to the ranks which they have reached.

Thank you, Michael, for your Email. We look forward to

your company, again, in the near future and to place in one

of our future magazines, some more of your memories of

your time in the CMF. WELCOME.


Ronald WEBB came and introduced himself to us, as we

were gathered under our Banner, at the “Battle for Australia

Day” Ceremony in Martin Place, Sydney, on the 5th



He is part of their ‘working committee’ on this day.

Ron said he felt connected to 5 Field Ambulance

because his grandfather was a member from 1915 to 1919.

That was enough for me to send him some of our past

magazines together with an Application Form in the hope

that he might like to join us.

I recently received his application to join us and we

sincerely welcome him. I asked Ron to email me some

more information, which he kindly obliged. The following

story is a little window into Ron’s life;

“I registered for National Service in mid-1967, on attaining

my 20th birthday. After attending a medical assessment

interview held in the old Grace Building in York Street, Sydney,

I returned to my government job – locomotive fireman for the

NSW Government Railways.

Eight months or so passed by, and in mid-April 1968, I

receive notification in the post that I had been selected for

National Service conscription.

Four days later, a second letter followed informing me that

I was to be inducted into the army on Wednesday, May 1st at

the Addison Road depot in Marrickville.

The letter read… ”Attend in civilian clothing with a

neat and trim haircut! Please hand this letter to your


Later that day, I met with other inductees and we boarded

a road coach bound for 1 RTB Kapooka, near Wagga, for 10

weeks of recruit training. We were certainly kept on our toes

with little time to think about anything but military.

From Kapooka I was posted to the RAE School of Military

Engineering at Casula in Sydney, where I underwent basic

training as a field engineer (sapper).

It was a most interesting and enjoyable time for me. I

made some good mates.

On completion of basic training I was notified that I was

required to appear before a panel for an interview regarding

further training on a course at the School of Military


The interviewing panel consisted of Captain of engineers

and two Warrant Officers and commenced with some

questioning regarding my previous work experience.

The Captain began with…” how long have you been a

fireman, sapper? I replied…” six months since I was

appointed, Sir. …” how many fires have you been to”? a

Warrant Officer enquired.

I said…” I'm a railway fireman, Sir”. “Yes, we know that -

the Railway Fire Service”.

“No sir”, I said…”I'm a steam locomotive fireman, Sir”.

There was a pause followed by much hilarity and laughter.

The Captain chuckled and said… ”Someone has made a ‘blue’

here – this fellow doesn't put out fires, he makes them”!

The Captain then said… ”Well sapper do you want to do

this seven-week basic fireman course”?

”Yes sir”. I replied. ”Okay, says the Captain, you’re


I completed the seven-week course. During the final exam

on the last day, the former Captain entered the classroom and

spoke to the instructor—the Captain then addressed me…

”sapper Web, at the completion of this course you are going to

the Jungle Training Centre at Canungra for two weeks

training then back to the holding wing at SME, then you're off

to Vietnam! I replied…” Yes sir. Thank you, Sir”.

I serve nine months in South Vietnam with HQ Company,

1 ALSG, Vung Tau, attached to the unit’s transport section as

a fire-fighter/transport driver.

On the death of my father on 1/9/1969, I was sent home on

compassionate leave and then re-posted to Moorebank –

Army Fire Station ‘till my discharge on 30/4/1970.

I didn't see any of my service mates after over 18 years and

never ‘settled down’ until in my 50s.

My wife and I married in 2001.

I re-enlisted in the Army Reserve in July 1978, joining the

ranks of the 4th Battalion RNSWR (later the 4th/3rd Bn).

I was a private, in the regimental band, and played the

side drum in the drum Corps. I had an enjoyable 17 years

service in one of the best reserve units of the time.

The band was invited to participate in the 50th

Commemoratives Anniversary of the bombing of Pearl

Harbor in Hawaii in 1991, and also at the 93rd convention of

the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the USA held in Indianapolis,

Indiana in 1992.

As well as my time in the military, I had a 40 year railway

career in locomotive service, 27 years with the New South

Wales Railways, and 13 years as a steam driver for the

heritage railway company 3801 Ltd.

In retirement, I continue my interest in all things railway --

and of course the military.

My grandfather, No: 358 Frederick Albert Webb, served in

the 5th Field Ambulance from 1915 to 1919 and then enjoyed

a 20-year railway career until he retired in 1948. “It's in the


Thank you, Ron, for a little of your history. We look

forward to being in your company again.


James ELLIOTT is sincerely welcomed to our

Association. James joins us via a very interesting


My son Gregory is a roof tiler by trade and James, who

lives in Raymond Terrace (a suburb of Newcastle), accepted

a quote from Greg. From their discussions Greg found out

that James, who was born in 1918, had a story to tell about

his involvement, prior to and into WW 2, as a gunner, in the

British Army and his life after the army!

I subsequently made contact with James over a number

of weeks, broken only by a period when he was admitted

to the Mater Hospital suffering from a long time blood

disorder, during which time he kindly gave me his life story.

Suffice to say that James was keen to join us, and also

the RAAMC Association Inc. (NSW Branch) and I am keen to

share his story with you (with James’s kind permission)

when we can place it in one of our future magazines.

James’s wife, Peggy, died in 2004, through the eventual

onset of dementia.

They had two children, a son, Kevin and a daughter,

Linzi (who sadly died in 2007 through cancer). James is

blessed with grandchildren and great grandchildren.

He is an Anglican by faith and still enjoys going to his

church when he is able. He is also a member of the

Freemason’s Society.

James has a small circle of good friends who visit him

regularly — as does Kevin and all his grandchildren. James

reckons he has had a fantastic life.



Dates for your Diary for 2013

RAAMC Association Inc. (NSW Branch) Meets at Victoria Barracks, every 2 months, on the FIRST

FRIDAY: FEB, APR, JUN, AUG, OCT, DEC at 10.30am. An “OPEN INVITATION” is extended to you. Please advise

me if you are coming.


25th APRIL




SEPTEMBER (1 st Wednesday)


National Servicemen’s Day – we have no official involvement but if

any member attends a Ceremony and represents us, please advise

me of your involvement.


AHS CENTAUR SERVICE – Concord Hospital

113 AGH Memorial Chapel (Date TBA)

RESERVE FORCES DAY – First Sunday in Sydney and

Saturday prior-in Newcastle

VP DAY – Further details as advised


(Martin Place, Sydney. 11am)

Reserve Forces Day “LAUNCH” FOR 2014 (TBA)

ANNUAL “Mixed” Reunion Luncheon (Paddington RSL Club)


“Cut-Off dates” for articles in quarterly magazines of 2013 ~

Autumn Issue 1st APRIL, Winter 1st JUNE, Spring 1st AUGUST, Summer 1st DECEMBER

NOVEMBER (last Saturday)

Thank You

(From your Committee)

Thank you Members, for your yearly dues, donations and LIFE MEMBERSHIPS,

they are so very much appreciated.

….for completing your (FREE) Application Form to join the RAAMC Association Inc.

….for giving your “unwanted Magazine” to your local doctors/hospital waiting rooms/

Nursing Homes/Retirement Villages/local chemists/RSLs/etc “Reading Rooms” for their enjoyment.

….To all the businesses who have paid our publishers to have their advertisement placed in our magazine.

….To our members who pay by EFT, and for identifying yourself. (There are some members who are a

little behind with their Subs—any little effort is much appreciated.)

… For your contributions, letters and emails. They are enjoyed by us all and are an encouragement.

Members on the Internet—don’t forget our own site,, and also “surf” the

RAAMC website:-

If you do visit our website, please feel free to write a comment in our “Guest Book”.

5 Field Ambulance RAAMC Association is also a proud member of the RAAMC

Association Inc.

NB: Some of you reading this magazine may decide you may now wish to discontinue to be on our

Mailing List. We hope this is not so, but if it is please let me know and your wishes will be respected.



Phone: 0419 999 586





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George SIP passes on his good wishes to his friends in the


We met at the funeral of John de Witt and George gave me

a copy of a CD he has produced, on which he sings 11 songs

such as “The Desert Song”, “Some Enchanted Evening”, “Danny

Boy” and “Serenade by Schubert” to name a few.

If you enjoy listening to a rich, lyric tenor voice that George

possesses you might like to purchase one of his CD’s for $20

(includes postage). I enjoyed listen ing to him. (Please contact

me if you would like to purchase his CD.)

(Thank you, George, first for attending John’s funeral and then

giving me a copy of your CD. We wish you luck and hope you sell all

you cut.)


Warren BARNES was grateful for the information

regarding John de Witt’s funeral details. He was hopeful that

one of his Sub Branch (Cronulla) committee members might be

able to represent him, as he was involved in the adminis tration

planning for the “Official Opening” of the Australian Army

Infantry Museum (Singleton), by the CDF General Hurley.

This was to occur on the 24th August followed by a “Dinner”

that evening.

Warren is now the Assistant Manager of the Museum.

(Thank you Warren, for your email. We hope that the “Opening”

and the “Dinner” was very successful, and congratulations on your

new role. Your message of condolence was passed to John’s Family)


John DAVIES passes on his good wishes to his friends in the


He had intentions of visiting his good mate, and our

member, Huss Mahomet, recently when he and Moira travelled

up to the Gold Coast. It did not happen, but he said he will write

to Huss.

He was looking forward to two weeks of glorious

Queensland sunshine and wrote that the slogan…”beautiful

one day and perfect etc…” is all “bulls—t”! Out of 14 days they

had 10 days of RAIN!! He didn’t get to see Huss, didn’t get any

sand between his toes and never got to the water at all!

The redeeming feature was that he met up with three old

school mates from Rozelle that he hadn’t seen for 50 years.

(Thank you, John for your email—the best laid plans of mice and

men eh?)


Alan BECKERLEG thanked us for the details on John de

Witt’s poor health and his subsequent passing. When he

replied, he told me of another old soldier mate of his—Alf


Alan was in the army with Alf and they worked together in

the RAP at 2BOD in the early 70’s. Everyone knew Alf as “Fitz”

and he has maintained contact with Alf for over 40 years.

He said that Alf enlisted in the AAMC in 1941 and rose to the

rank of sergeant; he spent most of the war years working on the

ambulance train from the coast to the Atherton Tablelands.

After the war he was with BCOF at the hospital at Eta Jima.

Alf was the Med Sgt for 2RAR when it was ‘raised’ in

Puckapunyal and then saw service with that battalion in Korea

and Malaya.

His other postings were 2BOD RAP and 2MDPD and then

back to 2BOD.

Alan wrote that Alf also worked at the Leichhardt BOD

Depot (Sydney) as the Canteen Manager for the parachute

riggers until his retirement from the army at age 65.

Alf was an in-patient at the Castlecrag Private Hospital

receiving treatment which includes hemicolectomy —

although he is back home now.

The reason Alan wrote back to me was to also say that in the

70’s he had much contact (mainly by telephone) with John de

Witt. John, at the time, was doing full time duty at DMS 2MD.

Alan said he is that much richer for having known the likes

of “Fitz” and John de Witt.

He hoped ‘someone’ was able to visit “Fitz” at some time. He

said “Fitz” is profoundly deaf.

On another matter, Alan sent me this poem he penned

about his 25th Bn (“Black over Blue”);

A Tribute to the 25th Battalion

Black over Blue, the diamond for two

They’ve fought and they’ve bled in wars 1 & 2.

Raised in ’15, from bush and from towns

They fought and they died. The men from the ‘Downs’.

They were blooded on ANZAC and died well in France

But always were there when 2 Div advanced,

Their casualties highest, Battle Honours more

When finally home, they came from the war.

Two decades of peace then back on the job,

From Milne Bay ’42 to the Slater’s Knoll job.

‘Chocko’s’ they were, in that bloody war

But they fought and they bled like their fathers before.

They came from the bush, they came from the towns.

They fought for your freedom. They fought and they died.

So honour their memory their courage, their pride.

The men of 25—the men from the ‘Downs’.

(Alan Beckerleg-August 2012)

(Thank you, Alan, for your Email and poem. It is a beautiful

tribute. We also sincerely thank you for your generous donation

for LIFE MEMBERSHIP, it is very much appreciated.)


James HOOLAN Jr. is our good member from the US and

we often exchange emails. I had sent him one about Osaka in

Japan which he said evoked happy memories.

First, when he and his wife, Gia, visited there in 2004, and

then when he was on a Marine assignment in Iwakuni in 1962.

Jim recalled that in 1962 he had the chance of extending his

army service for 12 months and becoming fluent in seiki ishu; or

making a trip around the world! Jim chose the trip.

He said that had he extended for the year he most probably

would have gone into the import/export business—and then

he would have never met his future wife, Gia.

As an aside, he wrote that Gia’s cousin married a German

doctor, who is a researcher for Merck. They have two children

and he is on his second tour of Japan after 3 years in Tokyo.

They live in the Museum Tower Building (which was the tall, black

building that I sent in my email to Jim). Their children speak

Spanish, English, German and Japanese.

Jim remarked that Japan has the highest literacy rate in the

world (98%), he said when a student graduates from High

School, they have memorised 5,000 Kongi characters, the

written language of Japanese.

He also, recently, posted me the book “No Easy Day” written

by Mark Owen, who, as a junior in High School (in Alaska)

picked a book to study called “Men in Green Faces”.

It was about Navy SEALS and it had such an effect on him

that he decided that that was what he wanted to be when he

left school.


“No Easy Day” is the ‘first-hand account’ of the mission that

killed Osama Bin Laden. (If any member would like to read this

‘gripping’ auto bio graphy please contact me.)

Jim liked the book because it brought back memories of a 2

week ‘Marine Amphibious Recon. Course he attended in 1964,

at a Navy SEAL base at Coronado, west of San Diego.

Jim also wrote that he just finished reading “Duffy’s War” by

Stephen L. Harris. He said if we can get it at one of our libraries

it is also a very good read. It is about an Irish priest (Duffy), who

volunteered to fight with the Irish Fighting 69th Regiment in

the American Civil War, on the Union side.

(Thank you Jim, for the book and all your messages & other

material you send to me. I hope that when you read this you and Gia

are in good spirits after the Cyclone “Sandy” scare, and hopefully,

planning your next trip!)


Brian HOGAN is our Honorary Chaplain and does a great

job by keeping in touch with some of our sick members. He and

his wife, Sandra, have been doing a great deal of driving lately

but they are now back home safe and sound.

He recently attended a “Rats of Tobruk” meeting (in

Victoria), to which he was invited. He intended accompanying

our members Neil Barrie and Tom Pritchard (both “Rats”) and

Glenda Garde (Neil’s daughter), but Neil was not feeling too

well on the day and sadly missed the ‘surprise’ attendance of

our Governor-General M/s Quentin Bryce AO.

Brian said, at one point after the G-G had arrived, the

Chairman rose and said…”Stand up All the “Rats” at which, and

surprising every person present, the G-G quietly and gently

went to each one and shook their hand, kissed him on the

cheek and thanked them all for what they did for us as a nation.

What a wonderful, spontaneous gesture for this dignitary to

do—and how proud those “Rats” would have felt?

Brian has spent a lot of time in putting together a DVD

which contains 8 segments. It is mainly the story of the late

Lloyd Tann’s book—“2/5th Australian Field Ambulance A.I.F.

Unit History” but the DVD also contains much more including a

small history of 5 Field Ambulance. (I understand he ‘sold’ all of

them at the “Rats’” Reunion!)

If any member/friend would like to purchase one of these

DVD’s for $20 (includes postage) please contact me. All monies

received will be acknowledged and some of the income will be

used to repay Brian for any outlay he has incurred in the

production of the DVD, some will be kept for our Association

and some for the 2/5th Field Ambulance Association.

(Thank you Brian, for the wonderful support you give, especially

the effort to make this excellent DVD and for your genuine concern

towards our sick members.)


Trish McGRATH sent a nice card to say she enjoys all our

newsletters and is hoping to join us in November at our


She gave me the happy news of her son, Philip, and his

wedding to his fiancée, Charlotte, in late October.

(Thank you, Trish, for your card and your generous donation for

Life Membership, it is very much appreciated.)


Richard FORD enjoys reading all the news and passes on

his good wishes to our members.

(Thank you Richard, for informing me of your change of address

and for the purchases you made. We hope when you read this that

you and Florenda have ‘settled in’ at your new home.)


Gordon DODD passes on his good wishes to his friends in

the Association.

He sent me

an email to tell

me about the

‘Sutherland to

Surf-Fun Run’

that he and

their daughter,

Pam, took part

in, on Sunday 22

July. Gordon

said 7,000

people turned

up to take part

in it.

Gordon’s No

3 daughter,

Ruth, ran in the

rally but he and

Pam took a

short cut—they

took a train

from Kirrawee

to Woolaware



the last 2 or 3 klms to the finish line at Wanda Beach! (Photo

above: Gordon and Pam on the walk!!)

Gordon said… ”despite the rain, it was fun and a lovely


He had also responded to an email I sent regarding the

health of John de Witt. Gordon had called in to see John (just a

few days before he passed away) to offer some words of

encouragement but he was too ill to respond.

Gordon was elated when he said his ‘good-bye’ to John and

John whispered to Gordon “God Bless”.

(Thank you, Gordon, especially for your visits to John, you are a

marvel. At the young age of 92 you have mastered the computer and still

entering “Fun Runs”—I note you are working on your ‘Life Story’—I want

to read this when you have finished it-- please.)


Michael MORONEY passes on his good wishes to his

friends in the Association.

He kindly notified me of the funeral of a past member of 5

Field Ambulance—SGT Philip Chan. (Philip was not a member of

our Association but I would like to acknowledge him here.)

“Philip was in the CMF in the UNSWR and in 5 Field Ambulance.

He enlisted on the 13th May 1969 and was discharged on the

24th December 1971 with the rank of sergeant.

Philip was also a member of the Burwood RSL Sub Branch--

they conducted the RSL Ceremony, at which Michael attended.

He was also a very respected, and long-serving, member of the

St John’s Ambulance Service as shown by their “Guard of Honour”

of about 50 members”.

Michael kindly posted me Philip’s ‘Funeral Order of Service’,

some of which I have edited.

“Philip was born in Hong Kong on the 22nd April 1940 and

after finishing his schooling he subsequently won a scholarship to

obtain a Diploma in Occupational Therapy in Australia. (It would

have been this time, at the University of NSW, when he joined the CMF).

Philip returned to Hong Kong to further his career.

In 1972 he met his soon-to-be wife, Katherine, at a First-Aid

Course he was conducting and they eventually married in 1974.

They had two daughters, Melody and Cindy and were also the

proud grandparents of Kaden and Tanya.

The family migrated to Sydney, Australia, in 1991 and Philip

worked at Sydney University as a lecturer in Occupational



Michael remarked that he had often ‘talked’ to Philip when

they were at their Sub Branch meetings, but had no idea of his

achievements and standing. He said he was a very modest and

quiet man.

The ‘Wake’ was held at the Burwood RSL Club and Michael

said among the many attendees were two of our members-- a

past president of St John’s Ambulance—MAJGEN Warren

Glenny AO and the present OC of 5 CSSB—MAJ David Czerkies.


(Thank you kindly, Michael, for your letter and attachments and

Philip’s ‘Order of Service’.)


“Bill” O’KEEFE contacted me to say he enjoys reading

about his old unit and remembering all the friends he made. He

asked that his good wished be passed on to all his mates in the


(Thank you Bill. What a pleasant surprise to hear from you. I hope

that when you read this you and Marie are going ok. I know there are

a few issues and I am thankful that you are back closer to all your

family. We are thinking of you.)


David CAVANAUGH wrote say he enjoys reading about

his friends in the Association. When he wrote me, he was due to

have an operation at the “San” Hospital in Wahroonga and that

when he was ‘up to it’ he was going to write about the recent

cruise that he and his wife, Nancy, went on—the QM 2- around


(David contacted me at the end of September to say he had

the heart operation and is now back home and recovering—

slowly. He sounded very positive and able to do some small


(Good on you David. We hope that when you read this you received

a good report from your doctor and we pray that you are getting back to

your old good self again. Thank you for your letter and phone calls.)


Gavin DRISCOLL is my friend. He lives nearby and often

comes in to have a ‘cuppa’ with Ruth and me.

He recently had his 25 year old grandson come up and visit

him for about 4 days and Gavin thoroughly enjoyed his


The BIG surprise was that his grandson wrote him this most

beautiful, heart-warming letter and Gavin gave me the pleasure

of allowing me to read it.

It was basically letting his ‘Pop’ and his (late) ‘Nan’ know

how much they meant to him when he was growing up,

especially their fishing outings, and how they always saw the

best in him and how his ‘Pop’ always encouraged him to pursue

his dreams.

I had met Toby on a few occasions and it was always a

pleasure to shake his hand.

(Thank you, Gavin, for sharing your grandson, Toby, with us by way

of his letter to you. You are blessed with wonderful children and

grandchildren. You are also kindly thanked for your generous donation

for Life Membership.)


John GALLAGHER passes on his good wishes to his

friends in the Association.

I ‘bumped’ into John in the Gallipoli Legion’s RSL Club after

the recent “Battle for Australia Commemoration” in September.

He was having lunch with two friends and when he spotted

me on my way out, he promptly jumped up and thrust $100

into my hand, as a donation for his Life Membership to our

Association--and without blinking an eye or missing a beat he

cordially introduced me and our President, Derek Cannon, to

his two lunch friends.

(Good on you, John, what a wonderful surprise and your donation is

very much appreciated.)


Glenda GARDE sends her warm regards to her friends in

the Association.

She recently attended the Annual Reunion of the 2/5th

Field Ambulance Association and she kindly sent me the

‘report’ of their luncheon in Melbourne (see page 30).

Glenda is the daughter of our member, Neil Barrie, and she

always attends with him and her husband, Dennis. Unfor -

tunately, this year, Dad was not quite strong enough to attend

physically—but he was there ‘in spirit.

(Thank you, Glenda, for your very informative letter of your Reunion.

Please accept our Association’s sincere symphaties on the sad loss of your

dad, Neil.)


Rob STEWART sends his good wishes to his friends in the

Association and is looking forward to being with us at our

Annual Reunion in the Paddington RSL.

Rob also requested that his name be added to our

“Expressions of Interest” for our Centenary Celebration in 2015.

(Thank you, Rob. We look forward to your presence in November. We

thank you in advance for your participation in our Centenary ‘Fund-



Gordon CURTIS sends his good wishes to all the members

in our Association.

Gordon is the Honorary Secretary of his Morphett Vale RSL

Sub Branch in SA and he wrote to me in mid-September.

He was planning a trip to Tamworth for a family Reunion,

which co-incidentally, was to be his and his wife, Diana, 45th

Wedding Anniversary. He had also planned to ‘make contact’

with Ruth and myself at some stage of their journey. All his

travel plans have now been put ‘on hold’ due to health issues

with his arthritis and stenosis.

This has curtailed his plans, because any flying or driving is

out of the question.

Gordon is hoping the cortisone injections will be successful;

otherwise an operation may be the next step.

(Thank you Gordon. What a ‘bummer’! Your health is more

important—so get yourself right and ‘re-schedule’—we are thinking of



Barry &Heather PERIGO send their good wishes to their

friends in the Association.

They kindly sent me a ‘Thank You’ card (for items that we

sent) and enclosed a NEW 60 cent “Rising Sun” Stamp Issue, as

well as the funeral service details of Terry Maling (see ‘Items of

Interest’) and a very interesting Sydney Morning Herald article

(Wed. 31st Oct 2012) on MAJGEN Alan Stretton AO CBE. (the man

whom the government sent to Darwin, after Cyclone Tracy devastated

the township on Christmas Day 1974, to organise the evacuation of

36,000 residents and the subsequent initial ‘clean-up’ operations). Alan

Stretton passed away in late October.

(Thank you Barry and Heather for your card and ‘inserts’-they are

much appreciated and with your kind permission I will offer the ‘Stamp’

Issue as a prize at our Annual Reunion.)


Ron FOLEY sends his good wishes to his friends in the

Association. He recently sent me a very interesting story of an

Australian hospital in England from 1915-1919. It was the No 1

Australian Auxiliary Hospital.

It is a good story and I have passed it to our printers to place

it in one of our future magazines.

(Thank you, Ron. Your story will be much enjoyed by our members.)


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Greetings from the 2/5th Field Ambulance Association!

It is now 72 years since the unit left Australia’s shores

and every year since, a reunion has been held on the

Friday before Caulfield Cup Day, the anniversary of

theunit’s departure on the Mauretania.

According to Bill Butters, one of the 3 veterans in

attendance this year, the reunions have been held

continuously since 1945 (the first one occurring just a few

months after the end of the war), making this one, the

67th reunion!

Although the number of veterans is dwindling, there

were still 44 people in attendance, which included the

veterans, widows, descendants and also friends of the

unit. In fact, this was one of the largest gatherings for a

few years. Thanks to the launch of the Rats of Tobruk

website last year, a number of descendants have since

made contact with us and were able to attend the

luncheon for the first time.

Among these was Major Daniel Strack, grandson of

Bert Veitch, and only recently returned from Timor-Leste.

Daniel and his mother, Sandra, were made most welcome

and Daniel was able to tell us something of his work in


Brian Hogan, our Honorary Chaplain (and yours!) has

digitised the unit history, written by Lloyd Tann many

years ago and now out of print. This proved very popular

and copies of the CD were quickly snapped up!

As in previous years, there were plenty of stories and

reminiscences, and of course new acquaintances were

made and old ones renewed.

Those veterans and widows who were not able to

attend were nevertheless in our thoughts, and in the

words of the 2/5th Field Ambulance poet, Tommy Raine,

we all hope that, “I’ll see ya next year mate!”

Veteran Tom Pritchard and Major Daniel Strack

Tom and Daniel’s grandfather, Bert Veitch, shared a tent in Tobruk.


Items of Interest

(1) EXERCISE “SNOW LEOPARD” (A ‘Blast from the Past’!)

In 1989, the Army Alpine Association supported an Army

Adventure Training Exercise called “Exercise Snow Leopard”

in the Kang chen junga Region of Nepal.

Lt Col Derek Cannon, Commanding Officer 5th Field

Ambulance was leader of team 1.

Lt Jeanne McManus, a member of 5 Field Ambulance, was a

member of Team 1 and penned the following poem;

A Little Bit up, A Little bit Down

We trek the trails of Eastern Nepal

A little bit up, a little bit down

Across muddy slides and dusty ground

A little bit up, a little bit down

Landslides we meet at every turn

With nimble feet we tread

Boulders form the path of choice

Scree slopes we no longer dread

Swinging bridges unsecured

Logs placed over falls

Stepping stones through racing water

Strategically placed resting walls

Through mossy, fairyland like forest

A little bit up, a little bit down

Tunneling through thick wet bush

A little bit up, a little bit down

Porters pass and porters prop

Balancing their massive loads

Children stare with blank amazement

Listening to us speak in codes

Crutchless pants and runny noses

On children’s faces everywhere

While adults cough and hock and spit

They live their lives without a care

Bare rocky mountains with low shrubs

A little bit up, a little bit down

Pine forests block the morning rays

A little bit up, a little bit down

Dogs shrink and cower in the town

Yak dung on every stone

Chickens peck and roosters crow

Pigs, goats and buff all roam

Cries of greeting all the day

High pitched, distant and friendly

Hands together and slightly bowed

Namaste, Namaste, Namaste

Traverse the slope, climb over the fell

A little bit up, a little bit down

Watch your step, a hand hold found

A little bit up, a little bit down

Dozing reading in the sun

Sherpas bring us tea

Two hour lunches on the track

Where’s the house with Rakshe?

Little green tent on distant perch

Hole waiting to be filled

Leeches creeping, finding bleeding

Was that chicken really killed?

Another sock, another stream

A little bit up, a little bit down

Sherpas leading, arrows pointing

A little bit up, a little bit down

Loose bowels and sloppy turds

Plague most at some time

Iodine, Phthazol and fasting

We hope to keep us fine

Macaroni, Yak and veggies

Moo moos, rice dhalbhat

Custard, fruit and boiled eggs

Combine to make us fart

Up the mountain and over the pass

A little bit up, a little bit down

“A great going”, spurs us on our way

A little bit up, a little bit down


(2) MEDIA RELEASES (With kind permission of the Dept. of

Defence—edited for space and in no particular date order.)


In early September, both Richmond Air Force Base and

Amberley Air Force Base received the bodies of the five

Australians who were killed in Afghanistan in late


Two of the soldiers, LCPL Mervyn McDonald and PTE

Nathan Gallagher were killed when their helicopter

crashed in the early hours of August 30, whilst

attempting to land in a mission area. They were serving

with the SOTG.

Commander of the Defence Force, Lieutenant-General

Hurley, AC DSC and Special Operations Commander,

MAJGEN “Gus” Gilmour DSC AM, were at Amberley to

receive them, along with their families and comrades.

The Chief of Army, Lieutenant-General David Morrison

AO and the Commander of 7th Brigade, BRIG Greg Bilton

CSC ADC were at Richmond to receive the three New

South Wales soldiers; LCPL Stjepan “Rick” Milosevic, SPR

James Morton and PTE Robert Poate.

Sadly, their families and comrades were also present.

These soldiers were shot and killed by a ‘rogue’ Afghan

National Army soldier, inside their compound, at patrol

base Wahab, in the Baluchi Valley region of Uruzgan

Providence on the evening of August 29.



(ii) “EXERCISE KAKADU”- 2012

15 ships with approximately 2,000 Defence Force

personnel from seven Pacific nations sailed out of

Darwin Harbour on September 2nd for joint exercises

involving training activities, weapons practices, and

warfare and maritime security exercises.

The exercises involve naval elements from Australia,

Brunei, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and

Thailand and conclude on September 14.

Our RAN will be represented by HMA Ships Darwin,

Perth, Warramunga, Gascoigne, Huon and Sirius.

Our RAAF will also participate with Maritime Patrol

aircraft and Strike Fighter aircraft.




This wonderful “Fund-Raiser” was started over 90 years

ago, by a group of World War I veterans from

Melbourne, for the sole purpose of helping the families

who lost their loved ones in that war.

It is a not-for-profit organisation that provides financial

and social support to the families of men and women

who have been injured or killed during service. Legacy

and DVA share the same goals.

If you would like to be a volunteer-- or to donate--please

contact 1800 534 229.




A commemorative ceremony, attended by Chief of Air

Force, Air Marshal Geoff Brown, was conducted at the De

La Salle High School in Port Moresby on 28th August.

Also present were members of the community, along

with representatives of the RAAF’s 38 Squadron.

40 years ago, on this date, 29 people, mainly high school

students from De La Salle, and instructors, were aboard

a Caribou aircraft. They were returning from a cadet

camp held in Lae. The plane never returned.

It appeared that bad weather had forced the crew to

retrace their route back through the Kodjeru Gap, and

the aircraft’s starboard wing ‘clipped’ the treetops on a

ridge line and crashed.

After three days searching, rescuers found five survivorsall

cadets-but one died later in hospital.

The Caribou's crew; Flight Lieutenant Graham Thomas,

Pilot Officer Greg Ebsary, and CPL Gary Power were all

killed, as was Capt Robert Loftus, who was a Ground

Liaison Officer with the Australian Army.





In 1969, the LONG TAN CROSS was installed at the site of

the Battle of Long Tan.

This was the place where 108 Australian and New

Zealand soldiers, primarily from Delta Company, 6 RAR,

fought a pitched battle against more than 2,000 North

Vietnamese and Vietcong soldiers three years earlier, in

1966. This battle saw 18 Australian soldiers killed and 24


They entered military history as an example of

overcoming insurmountable odds. Like the campaigns

at Gallipoli, Tobruk, Kokoda and Kapyong.

The Dept. of Foreign Affairs secured The “CROSS”, on

loan, from the Don Nai Museum, until April 2013.

The Minister for Veteran Affairs, Mr. Warren Snowdon

and the Governor-General, Her Excellency, Quentin

Bryce, AC CVO, and attending Vietnam Vets’, unveiled

the LONG TAN CROSS at a ceremony held at the

Australian War Memorial on August 17.

Vietnam Veterans’ Day was celebrated the next day-18th

of August 2012, and it gave all Australians the chance to

pay their respects to the 521 Australians who were killed

in this war.

Almost 60,000 young men were sent to Vietnam, many

of them conscripted. Those who returned after the war

bore the physical and mental scars of conflict, many of

which still persist today.



This air exercise, which is held every two years,

concluded on August 17 after an intensive three weeks

involving Australia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, New

Zealand and the United States. It was conducted over

the skies of the Northern Territory.

An “Open Day” display, with over 10,000 people

watching, at the Mindil Beach F 18 Handling Display, was

greatly appreciative.

2,200 personnel and 100 aircraft were involved in the

exercise and it was a first-time participation for the

Indonesian Sukhoi SU 27 and SU 30 Flanker Aircraft and

Singapore's F-15 Strike Eagles and G 550 Airborne Early

Warning and Control Aircraft.

This exercise also gave the opportunity to 20 employers

to experience a small taste of military life.

M/s. Amanda Fracaro, from Aspen Medical, (their H. R.

Manager) was one who attended.



48 men and women of Timor-Leste Aviation Group-17

(TLAG-17) have returned home after a successful sixmonth


The group was predominantly from the 5th Aviation

Regiment (Townsville-Qld) together with the 6th

Aviation Regiment (Holsworthy-NSW), 1st Aviation

Regiment (Darwin NT), Army Aviation Training Centre,

1st Combat Engineer Regiment and 9th Force Support

Battalion (Amberley-Qld).

MAJ John Walker praised the efforts of his group and the

contributions they made in East Timor, he said his group

worked well and were a focused and professional team

and that their time in East Timor had been extremely

rewarding and all shared in a real sense of achievement.

The ISF is serving in East Timor at the invitation of the

Government of Timor-Leste to support the local security

forces to maintain and secure a stable environment.




The Commanding Officer of this SOTG has praised his

soldiers after a successful seven-month tour of duty in

Afghanistan-marred by the death of one of their

respected senior NCOs-SGT Blaine Diddums-who was

shot and killed whilst on a mission to capture an

insurgent commander.

The CO said his group worked closely with the Afghan

National Security Force to help prepare them to take

over the role of providing security for the people of

Uruzgan, when the eventual transition occurs.

The Chief of Joint Operations, LTGEN Ash power, said

the Australian Special Forces soldiers and their ANSF

partners had worked closely, as a team, to achieve

significant results.

These included the removal of a large number of

insurgent commanders from the battlefield, further

improved security in the Uruzgan Province, the removal

of US $11,372,417 (Afghan street value) from the

insurgency, it also included the destruction of 3,221 kg

of hashish, 2,212.5 kg of opium and 120 kg of Heroin

from 58 drug caches. It also saw the destruction of 830

weapons and 165.4 kg of explosives.



Senator David Feeney attended a Memorial Service in

the Solomon Islands to commemorate the 70th

anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of Guadal -

canal which started on 7/8/1942.

He laid a wreath on behalf of the Government of

Australia and its people. He gave thanks to the

government of Solomon Islands to hosting the

Australian delegation and to the United States to

hosting this Commemoration.



Two days after this Ceremony, on August 9, he attended

another Commemoration for the HMAS Canberra.

“HMAS Canberra was a heavy cruiser and it was severely

damaged on 9/8/1942, off Guadalcanal in a battle known

as the “Battle of Savo Island”.

A failure by Allied intelligence resulted in the screening

force being ‘surprised attacked’ by seven Japanese cruisers

and a destroyer. The surprise attack occurred in the early

hours of 9/8/1942 and HMAS Canberra formed part of the

screening force for American Transports during landing

operations of US Marines on Guadalcanal-- which had

begun on 7/8/1942.

HMAS Canberra was hit 24 times in less than 2 min.

84 of her crew were killed, including her captain, Capt.

Frank Getting.

The surprise attack wreaked havoc on the screening force

before withdrawing.

Despite this setback, landing operations continued on


The battle casualties of the Savo Island Battle were;

SUNK: USS Quincy, USS Vincennes. Also, the USS Astoria

and the HMAS Canberra were so badly damaged they both


DAMAGED: the USS Ralph Talbot and the USS Patterson.

PERSONNEL: Royal Australian Navy suffered 193 casualties

(including 84 killed or died of wounds), United States Navy

suffered 1,593 casualties (including 939 killed or died of


The Battle For Guadalcanal (with kind thanks to GOOGLE)

was predominantly fought by US Marines. It began on

7/8/1942 and concluded on the 9th February 1943.

The six months of fighting began when the Allies

launched an attack, code-named “Operation Watch -


It was the first major offensive, by Allied forces, against

the Empire of Japan.

US forces were landed on Guadalcanal, Tulagi and

Florida in the Solomon Islands group.

The aim was to deny the Japanese (who had occupied

these islands since May 1942), the opportunity to

threaten the supply and communication routes

between the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

The Allies intention was to use these bases to support a

campaign to eventually capture or neutralise the major

Japanese base at Rabaul on New Britain.

Three major land battles, seven large naval battles (five

night time surface actions and two Carrier battles) and

continual, almost daily, aerial battles culminated in the

decisive naval battle of Guadalcanal, in early November

1942, in which the last Japanese attempt to bombard

the main airfield on Guadalcanal (now called Henderson

Field) from sea and land--with enough troops to retake

it--was defeated.

On 7th February 1943, in the face of an offensive by the

US Army's XIV Corps, the Japanese abandoned further

efforts and evacuated their remaining forces on Guadal -


This was a most strategic victory to the Allies.




85 ADF Personnel, from “Rotation 27”, returned home on

August 3 after a four-month deployment.

There was a Transfer of Authority Ceremony held on

August 2, where the Commanding Officer of “Rotation

27”, LTCOL Campbell Smith, handed over to the

Commanding Officer of “Rotation 28”, LTCOL Brenton

Gasteen of South Australia.

Lt Col Smith said his soldiers, all reservists, worked

alongside soldiers from New Zealand, PNG and Tonga.

He also said that as the security situation in the Solomon

Islands has become increasingly stable, it enabled his

group to undertake specific military training.

This included week-long periods in the field at remote

locations, where small groups worked independently

from the task force, with conventional jungle training

that gained new skills to benefit their future service.

The Reservists were predominantly drawn from 9th

Brigade units in South Australia and Tasmania, and were

part of “Operation Anode”.

The primary role of our ADF troops is to provide military

support to the multinational Participating Police Force

(PPF), to ensure security within the Solomon Islands.




HMAS Melbourne departed from the Middle East Area of

Operations after a successful six-month deployment as

part of “Operation Slipper”.

The Commander of HMAS Melbourne, CMDR Richard

Bolton, praised his crew and said they have done

Australia proud.

The Melbourne conducted maritime security patrols,

counter-piracy and anti-smuggling operations for the

Red and Arabian seas to the Gulfs of Aden, Oman and

Aqaba and the Straits of Hormuz and Bab-El-Mandeb.

The Melbourne also provided maritime security and

executed counter-terrorism activities around the Horn

of Africa in support of the regional 26 member nation

Combined Maritime Forces (CMF).

The Melbourne also had the honour of embarking three

sailors from the New Zealand Navy for the deployment.

HMAS Melbourne is the 28th Australian naval vessel to

patrol the region since 2001.

CMDR Bolton said it is certain to be both a proud and

emotional homecoming as the ship's company of 230

personnel line the upper decks, when they sail into

Sydney Harbour in late August, ready to enjoy some

well-earned leave and respite. The HMAS ANZAC will

take over from HMAS Melbourne.


(3) MAJGEN John CANTWELL AO DSC (R’td): (with kind thanks to

his wife, Mrs. Jane Cantwell and “GOOGLE”)

This courageous soldier gave a very ‘in-depth’ interview on

TV Channel 7’s “Sunday Night” -6.30pm, 23/9/2012.

We saw and heard how this man, who served 38 years in the

Australian army. He enlisted as a Private soldier and rose to

one of the army’s most senior ranks of Major General.

In 2007 he was appointed Deputy Chief of Army, he is, and

has been, suffering mental health issues emanating from his

involvement in three wars.

2010/11, in Afghanistan, he was the Australian Commander

of Joint Task Force 633 and whilst listening to his interview it

was apparent how deeply affected he became at the loss of

soldiers’ lives whilst under his command.

He retired in February 2012. With his wife, Jane, they moved

to the Sunshine Coast in Queensland in September 2011,

where he is getting his mind and body ‘back on track’.


(4) James BUDDEE sent me an email “out of the blue”—(James

used to be on our Mail List but one of our Newsletters in 1995 came back


James’s foster father was our late secretary, Kevin Findley,

and James joined our Association through Kevin. I have since

attempted to ‘reply’ Email to James to obtain his new address

and contact details but, to date, he has not replied.


James reminded me that he carried our Banner in an ANZAC

Day March when one of our Banner Bearers did not show.

(Well James, if you by chance read this newsletter, we want

you back. Please send me your address details—and thank

you for your email in mid-September.)



• National Boer War Association Newsletter (No: 14)

• Battle for Australia Newsletter (Aug 2102)/Program and


• VP Day Program and history August 2012

• Bofors-18 LAA Regt Assn. (July & September 2012)

• Tobruk House News (Vol 77-August & 78 October 2012)

• Smart Soldier Magazine (Anniversary Edition-No: 29, May


• REVEILLE (Sep/Oct 2012)

• 7th Australian Division Association Magazine (Vol 1, No 1--

Inaugural Magazine)

• No Easy Day (Book-courtesy, James Hoolan Jr.)

If you would like to read any (or all) of the above, please

contact me and we would be happy to post it to you—FREE

OF CHARGE--to any member.



thanks to Reveille article-Sep/Oct 2012)

In April this year about 400 US Marines arrived at Robertson

Barracks, Darwin to prepare for the eventual arrival of a

further 2,500 Marines. It will see the biggest ‘build-up’ of

Allied troops, in Australia, since WW 2.

The Marines will be on a 6 month rotation.

Robertson Barracks is already ‘home’ to 4,500 ADF personnel

so it will become a huge complex when the Marines are at

full strength.

Our Association sends a warm welcome to our US mates and

hope they make lasting friendships, here in Australia, when

they meet their ‘Aussie’ patriots-wherever.

I commend the Reveille article to you (pages 28 to 31). It was

quite an ‘eye-opener’.



I did not know Terry as well as

many of his National

Servicemen did. To me he

was always there on Reserve

Forces Day with his National

Servicemen’s Association,

just ‘lending a hand’ to the

RFD Committee and ensuring

‘his’ troops looked smart

whilst ‘On Parade’—as he

always was.

It was a real shock to me

when I received the news, via

an Email from my 3 Company

RAASC Association and my 12 Company (Br) Transport

Association, that he died suddenly of a heart attack on the

11th October.

As I mentioned in “Messages from Members”, Barry and

Heather Perigo also kindly posted me Terry’s Order of


LTCOL John Moore OAM RFD ED, (the National Executive

Officer & NSW Deputy Chairman of the RFD Council) offered

the Welcome and Introduction at the Service.

Our Association would like to pass on its sincere sympathies

to Terry’s family and friends. LEST WE FORGET.


(8) WEBMASTER—We need a volunteer!

The late John Straskye was the BACKBONE of the fledgling

RAAMC Association Inc. website and when he passed away

last February he left a void that was going to be hard to fill—

in many ways.

John had set up our 5th Field Ambulance RAAMC Association

as one of the ‘links’ on the main website (

and I and other members were able to pass info across to him

and he would promptly place it on our link.

With the assistance of the RAAMC Inc. committee, we look

like we will soon be ‘up and running’ again.

I will take over this duty in the short term (hopefully) but if

any member feels he would like to take on the responsibility

for this very important task—PLEASE CONTACT ME

(0427.82.4646)—with sincere thanks.



thanks also to Chris O’Reilly and “Google”)

Did you know that the CWGC maintains War Graves and

Memorials in 23,000 locations across 153 countries.

Lae War Cemetery (in PNG) alone is the sacred resting place

for 2,377 of our Australian Servicemen who gave their lives in

WW 2.

There are 1,700,000 men and women ‘resting’ in the various

cemeteries in those 153 countries. They gave their lives in

World Wars 1 & 2.

Four years after WW 1, King George V was in Flanders

Cemetery and said…”I have many times asked myself whether

there can be a more potent advocate of peace upon earth than

the massed multitude of silent witnesses to the desolation of




This committee meets every 3 months under the

chairmanship of COL Bill Molloy. They discuss any item, that

is brought to their attention, mainly relevant to the history of

the Australian Army Medical Corps.

A couple of items, from their August (2012) Meeting—

General Business, caught my attention;

• An article about our (Late) member, MAJ John Straskye

OAM in the “Soldier’s Newspaper” concerning a new type

of ‘cast’ for people suffering from a fractured scaphoid


• The cancellation of the ADF Health Magazine!

• The item on Dr. Dick Bailey’s grandfather, who worked in

Doolali hospital in India. (This caught my eye because I have just

recorded a ‘Life Story’ of a new member--Jim Elliott—who was in

Doolali, in the British Army at the time.)



This committee (NSW Branch) meet every 2 months at

Victoria Barracks, under the chairmanship of Theo

Dechaufepie. (The next meeting will be the first Friday in

FEBRUARY 2013, at Victoria Barracks, Building 11, 10.30am).

Any soldier who is, or has been, a member of a medical unit,

in any capacity, is eligible to join this Association—FREE--

and is most welcome to attend any meeting. (An Application

Form to join is an attachment in all our quarterly

magazines—if you haven’t done so—please take a few

minutes and send one in. It can also be obtained ‘on line’ at

Although it is free to join, the NSW Branch is making an

appeal for a donation to be given to build up their bank

account. This is to pay for administration costs and other

expenses that need to be met whilst being a part of a

National Organisation.

If you can see your way clear to make a Donation, please DO

NOT SEND CASH. Send a cheque/money order made out to;

RAAMC ASSOCIATION Inc. (NSW Branch)” and post to;

RAAMC Association Inc. (NSW Branch), P.O. BOX 5080, MINTO

NSW 2566. With much thanks from their committee.





Our Committee sincerely thank the members and friends for

participating in our ‘Fund-Raiser’, with SPECIAL thanks to

those members who did not want to go in the raffle but still

donated money to us.

Our Association had six items to raffle, viz; The CASH prize

(half of the $179 raised), 2 Ladies shoulder bags and a wallet

(purchased by us), our Patron, Ray Hyslop OAM, donated a

“boxed’ Rising Sun Memorabilia and Heather Perigo

donated a “Rising Sun Stamp Issue’.

All the Raffle Tickets were placed in a bag and drawn – and

as each ‘winner’ was drawn their ticket was placed back in

the bag again for another lucky chance.

The winners, in order of ‘drawing’ were;

Noel Tame -- he claimed the Raffle Prize which was half of what

we sold, i.e. $90 (and he donated $10 back to us).

Barry Collins OAM – he claimed the “The Rising Sun


Brian Lindsay – he ‘won’ the wallet (it has been posted to him

with our thanks).

Rob Stewart – he claimed a Hand Bag.

Heather Perigo – she claimed a Hand Bag.

Gail Tams – she claimed the “Stamp Issue”


Items of Interest… (Cont’d from previous page)


Vic rang me up a few months ago to say hullo and asked if I

remembered him; to be honest I could not put a face to the

pleasant voice. I promptly posted Vic some of our past

newsletters and he rang to say he really enjoyed reading

about his old unit. He kindly sent me the below photos;

One shows his grandfather, MAJ F.R.DUBERLY, on the Long

Bay Rifle Range in the 1940’s, He served in WW 1 and enlisted

again in WW2 as in Instructor.

Another photo shows Vic’s dad, A.V.INESON. He was a Petty

Officer on the HMAS Canberra, he was also a Drum Major in

the RAN Band and the Highland Society Pipe Band in the


His dad also re-formed the SUR Pipe Band when he reenlisted

in the 1950’s in the SUR Army CMF. Vis said he led

many ‘massed bands’ down Martin Place in Sydney over the

years. Vic’s dad passed away in Jan.1979.

The 3rd photo shows Vic’s uncle (Air Commodore—then Sqn

Leader) Len Williamson DFC, escorting the Queen inspecting

the Honour Guard in Darwin, during her visit in 1954


(Of monies received since last magazine, SPRING Issue 2012.

Please contact me if your name has been omitted.)

• Alan BECKERLEG (EFT $100) for Life Membership.

• David CAVANAUGH (Cheque $50) for Donation.

• Michael CARLSON (EFT $53 + Cash $5) for New

Member Subs $15, Beret $30, Beret Badge $8 and

Annual Luncheon $5.

• Barry COLLINS OAM (Cash $20) for Annual Lunch

and raffle tickets.

• Alan CURRY (Cash $19) for Annual Lunch and

Raffle tickets.

• Gordon CURTIS (Cheque $30) for 2 years Subs.

• Dean CUTHBERT (M/Order $30) for two RAAMC

Lapel Pins.

• Derek CANNON (EFT $105 + Cash $11) for Annual

“Mixed” Reunion.

• Theo DECHAUFEPIE (Cash $10) for Annual Lunch

and Raffle Tickets.

• Gavin DRISCOLL (Cash $100) for Life Membership.

• James ELLIOTT (Cash $15) for New Member Subs.

• Alf. FITZSIMMONS (Cash $15) for New member


• Ron FOLEY (EFT $70 + Cash $30) for Annual

Reunion and donation.

• Richard FORD (Money Order $115) for Life

Membership $100 and RAAMC Lapel Pin $15.

• John GALLAGHER (Cash $100) for Life


• Jane GEOGHEGAN (EFT $40) for RAAMC Tie.

• Brian HOGAN (Cash $45) for Subs $15, Name

Badge $20 and Annual Lunch and raffle tickets


• Ray HYSLOP OAM (Cash $20) for Annual Lunch

and raffle tickets.

• Stu’ JONES (Cash $20) for Annual Lunch and raffle


• Trish McGRATH (Cheque $100) for Life


• Barry & Heather PERIGO (Cash $50) for Key Ring

$20 and Annual Lunch and raffle tickets $30.

• Keith PRYOR (Cheque $20) for Donation.

• Robert SHILLINGSWORTH (M/Order $40) for

Beret, Badge and 2 raffle tickets ($2)

• Rob STEWART (Cheque $35 + Cash $15) for

Annual Reunion and raffle tickets.

• Noel TAME (Cash $125) for Life Membership $100,

Annual Lunch and raffle tickets $15 and Donation


• Brian TAMS (Cash $22) for Annual Lunch and

Raffle Tickets.

• Ronald WEBB (M/Order $100) for New Member

and Life Membership.



RAAMC Association Inc. (NSW Branch) “UPDATE”

I attended the December Meeting in Victoria Barracks, (for

any of our members who has filled in the Application Form to

join this Association, and if they are on email, they would have

already received these “Minutes” from the President, Theo


Some interesting items that were discussed;

• The Poziers Association are conducting a Fund Raiser

Raffle ($5 per ticket) in readiness for their 2015

celebrations. FIRST PRIZE is a Suzuki Grande Vitara vehicle

worth $28,990. SECOND PRIZE is TEN nights on an

Anniversary Tour in July 2013 worth $12,000 and includes

airfare. (Contact me if you wish to buy a ticket.)

• Theo reported, among other items, that the RAAMC is up

on the web and now fully functional, thanks to Mr Terry

Fage. (Including 5 Field Ambulance

• Greg Cant (Welfare Officer) reported, among other items,

3 Psychiatric centres are available to veterans (and our

members) with particular interest in PTSD, brain injuries

and concussions especially from IED’s and artillery fire.

Also, St Marys DVAA Outpost will conduct a RSL funeral, at

the request of the family, on the death of any of our

members, if it can be conducted in the Sydney

Metropolitan Area—AT NO COST to the family.

• In 5 Field Ambulance REPORT I informed the meeting of

an email I received from WO 1 David Gurr of 1 HSB as to

whether our Unit had ever been granted “Freedom of the

City”. NO, but our Unit did have a 50th Anniversary Parade

in 1965 and marched from Carrington Road down Darley

Street and onto Queens Park. We were led by our CO Lt

Col Bob Reid. I visited the State Library and saw that the

“Wentworth Courier” showed a front page of a gathering

of some WW 1 Gallipoli and WW 2 ex veterans of 5 Field

Ambulance standing and paying their respects. The

troops looked like we were standing to attention with our

heads bowed. The picture was not a good one. I have

placed an ‘ad’ in both the Daily Telegraph (“In Search”)

and the Sydney Morning Herald (“RSVP”) to see if I get any

replies as to anyone who may have taken any photos—

Bob Reid kindly gave me a small photo of us marching

down Darley Street, but again one can just make out the

band that was leading us.

• Our member, Ron Foley, has offered his services as

Secretary for the NSW Branch and Theo has gratefully

accepted his offer.

• Theo is keen to find out from RAAMC members (and this

includes our Association) what their thoughts are in

regards ANZAC Day; Are we happy to use Paddington RSL

Club? Do we want a “Sit-Down meal”? Do we want “Finger

Foods”?—If any of our members have a thought on this

please contact me.

• David Czerkies (current O.C. 5 CSSB Health Services) gave

an ‘overview’ about some future interesting

developments within Health Services including the Army

(Health) Reserves.

In closing, may I URGE you to fill in the RAAMC Application

Form in this magazine—even if you are an ASSOCIATE MEMBER,

you are more than welcome to join—AND IT’S FREE. (But don’t

let this stop you from giving them a small donation to help

defray their costs). I was present with our members Derek

Cannon, John Overton, David Czerkies and Stu’ Jones (also

represented 1st Fd Amb Assn). There were quite a few Aplogies.




Phone: 08 9651 1152

Mobile ~ Milton

0428 500 600

Mobile ~ Sheryl

0428 511 152

PO Box 364, Moora WA 6510

Proud to support 5th Field Ambulance

RAAMC Association



Family Name

First Name

Rank/Title Regt Number RAN/Army/RAAF Full/Part Time


Suburb/City State Post Code


Email Address

______Ordinary Member _______ Special Member (Other than RAAMC) ________Associate Member (Allied)

I understand membership of the RAAMC Association is free, however, I wish to make a donation of $___________

to assist in the administrative costs. Please make cheques payable to the RAAMC Association. Donations to the

RAAMC Association are VOLUNTARY.

In applying to join the RAAMC Association I hereby confirm that I will abide by the Constitution of the RAAMC

Association and continue to hold the values I have served under whilst a member of the Australian Defence Force

and the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps.

Signature: ____________________________________________________

Date: ________________________

I propose the abovenamed applicant be considered for membership of the RAAMC Association.

Name of Proposer:


Please provide a photocopy of your ‘Record of Service’ or evidence of service with this form and send to your State

RAAMC Association or RAAMC Association Inc, P.O. Box 5080 MINTO NSW 2566.


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Patron: COL Ray Hyslop OAM RFD

President: LTCOL Derek Cannon RFD


A proud member of the RAAMC Association Inc.


Preferred Title:

Prof./ Dr./ Mr./ Mrs./ M/s. Etc.



Date of Birth:

(Wife/Partner Christian Name)


Military/Civilian Awards (if any)______________________________________________________

Service/PMkeyS Number (if applicable)________________RANK (If applicable)_________________



SUBURB/TOWN/CITY etc __________________________________

STATE________________________POST CODE:___________

Contact Details: Telephone (H) ___________________ (W) __________________

FAX: __________________ EMAIL: _____________________________________


I hereby apply to join the 5 th Field Ambulance RAAMC Association as (Please mark

“X” in the appropriate box below)

A FULL MEMBER (served/serving in the A.D.F. or Allied Forces)

AN ASSOCIATE MEMBER (never served in the A.D.F. --Australian Defence Forces)

Annual Subscription ($15) is due on the 1 st January each year. LIFE

MEMBERSHIP is $100. (Reminders will be included in each “ACTIVITY SHEET”

Cheques/Money Orders should be made out to “5 FIELD AMBULANCE ASSOCIATION” and

forwarded to — Alan Curry (Hon Sect) 6 Reliance Bvde., TANILBA BAY N.S.W 2319 OR Brian

Tams (Hon Treasurer), 4/24-26 Barrenjoey Rd, ETTALONG BEACH NSW 2257 OR EFT, details

are:- BSB: 637000, Account No: 717253825, Account Name: 5 Field Ambulance Association, Bank:

Greater Building Society) --please identify yourself in the reference E.G. Bill Smith.

(SIGNATURE) ___________________________

(DATE) ________________


(for CHRISTMAS Magazine-SUMMER Issue--2012)


(Please indicate your choice/s with an X or Tick. Any item ordered includes postage)

Please find enclosed my Subs for 2012 ($15) (cover from January to December)

or LIFE MEMBERSHIP ($100) or Donation (See my details below).

Please put my name on the list for our CENTENARY YEAR purchases.

Please send me____ RAAMC Centenary “Coin and Token” set/s @ $30 each.

Please send me a RAAMC coat/jacket Lapel Pin for $15.

Please send me_____RAAMC Centenary (Stamped) Envelopes (1903-2003) @ $3

each. (14 left—with 50c Stamp embossed, they are still useable for every day postage—add 10c


Please send me ____RAAMC Red Cross Arm-Band @ $10 each. (8 left)

Please send me a 5 Field Ambulance RAAMC KEY RING ($20). (With my membership

number on it, if possible.)

Please ORDER me a NAME BADGE ($20)

Please ORDER me a (XL/Large/Medium/Small) BERET ($30),*BERET BADGE

($8),*LAPEL BADGE ($7), *CORPS TIE ($40) ---please indicate size of Beret &

whether Badges/Ties are to be RAAMC or RAASC/RACT or RAEME.

Please ORDER me a copy of the Reserve Forces Day Committee book “The 39

ER’S”. ($40)

Please ORDER me a copy of “Military of the Hunter—1855-2005 @ $45.

Please send me a copy of “Little by Little”--- A Centenary History of the RAAMC by Dr.

Michael Tyquin. @ $70. (2 left)

(Please make any Cheques/Money Orders etc payable to:- “5 th Field Ambulance Association” and

post to either:- Alan Curry (Hon Sec) 6 Reliance Bvd., TANILBA BAY NSW 2319 OR

Treasurer,Brian Tams,4/24-26 Barrenjoey Rd., ETTALONG BEACH, NSW 2257—All

acknowledgements will be in our next issue.

Our EFT details are: BSB: 637000, Account Number: 717253825, Account Name: 5 th Field

Ambulance Association, BANK: Greater Building Society. (Please Identify your name)

COMMENTS/ORDERS ETC: FROM:_________________________________

CONTACT No:_____________________MONEY ENCLOSED $_____________









Source: Australian Defence Force



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