Makan - No. 19
Official Organ of 2/30 Bn. A.I.F. Assn.
Jimmy Parsons of the R.A.P. has gone down in health again and has just spent two months in Yaralla. After leaving the hospital he had a bout of malaria and at the moment is ready to turn the game in at the drop of a hat. He will be alright again by the time you read this, we hope.
Les Rogers who left the unit to join the Signals, in December, 1941 and who finished up in "A" Force is now in New Guinea. He is working as a clerk for Bulolo Gold Dredging Co, under conditions which most people dream about. Being a single chap he shares a bungalow with one other lad.
Each bungalow has hot and cold water installed and the Company provides a "boy" to look after each employee. The settlement, comprised of all those lovely bungalows, has a white population of 350 men and 50 women. There is night tennis, and a nine hole golf course, a bowling green, an R.S.L. Club and a picture theatre. All clubs are paid for by the Company and Major Gunther, the former Changi skin specialist dishes out free medical service.
American beer is laid on at 1/2 a can and all ranks smoke only the beat brands of cigarettes at reasonable prices.
The pay is first class, free air travel is provided for a man and his wife and all pay is tax free. Lump all those amenities with a good climate and you can understand why he is satisfied with his job.
You probably read in the papers that the Old Man dobbed it on for Anzac Day in first class style. At a small dinner he entertained fourteen Allied Generals. There was a slight hitch when the time came for the guests to be seated and it was found that by the merest coincidence five of the brass hats were of equal seniority. Naturally not one of them would be seated below the other, and the atmosphere became quite strained until B.J. with his usual diplomacy suggested that no loss of prestige would be incurred if the five Generals sat down in alphabetical order.
After a short conference at which an independent General presided, a sub committee of two declared that "Considering the unusual circumstances the proposition would be acceptable to all parties." The dinner, from thenceforth, was an outstanding success, the grog is a great leveller of classes provided of course that the glasses are always filled to the statutory level. If you care for further details write to the Old Man himself.
The space difficulty prevented us from giving you an account of our Anzac Day March in the last "Makan" so here it is now.
The Anzac March was a revelation of unit spirit and comradeship. Colonel Ramsay led the unit and the one hundred and eight members who marched, enjoyed every minute of it.
Colonel Ramsay was booked to speak at the big Food for Britain appeal in Canberra at 8 o'clock on Anzac night. This was a big honour but he told those who arranged the show that unless he could fly by special plans after the march, he would be unable to attend. He managed to obtain a special plans at 6 p.m.
Ron Chipps carried the banner and Garry Evans the Australian Flag and they both did an excellent job.
The Old Man sent a special message to the boys from Berlin. Harry Holden came down from Kosciusko. Shorty Hart on his honeymoon from Melbourne was there, Bill Rooke from Wollongong, Fred Harnett, our blind lad from Murwillumbah and many others turned up. Even Dadda Duprez still in hospital clothes came out on leave from Yaralla and met us in the Domain.
When Colonel Ramsay goes to such lengths to attend the March and when a blinded lad will come from up near Queensland and others will travel from various parts of the state to march in drenching rain, it is hard to understand how any of the old lads of the unit can, of their own fault, miss the yearly March of Remembrance.
Rex Rowe placed an official Unit wreath on the Cenotaph at Murwillumbah and we will try to extend this practice next year to other centres. Our membership is gradually expanding and the Association extends a welcome to Bluey Paget, Stuart Plowes and Shorty Hart who have recently joined us.
The last Committee meeting decided that if possible several functions should be hold this year and we will try the possibilities of including a Smoko to be held at Newcastle early in the summer. A party could possibly travel from Sydney early on Saturday morning and unfettered by the attentions of adoring wives and sweethearts, might be able to enjoy a jolly week-end.
Brig. Galleghan has forwarded a copy of General Percival's despatches on Singapore and if you wish to obtain a really comprehensive and enjoyable work you should try and obtain a copy.
The official name of the work is called “Second Supplement to The London Gazette of Friday, the 20th February, 1948". It gives full information of every angle of the campaign, the country, its people and their customs, and the full strength of both Allied and Enemy forces. Above all the report is well written and clearly explains the reasons for many of the moves which we had found inexplicable.
Here is an extract :
The Gemas Ambush - North of Segamat the Commander Westforce had disposed the 27 Aust. Bde. Group and the 8 Ind. Bde. Grp. astride the main road and railway with one battalion (2/30 Aust. Bn.) forward in an ambush position west of Gemas.
The ambush laid by the 2/30 Bn. (Lt. Col. Galleghan) was very carefully prepared. The forward company covered 700 yards of road east of the River Gemencheh and was three miles in front of the main battalion position. The troops were concealed in thick jungle bordering the road. At 1600 hours, on the 14th Jan. the leading enemy troops appeared. By 1620 hrs. about 250 cyclists had passed through towards the main position, 500 cyclists were in the ambush and 500 were soon approaching. At this moment the bridge was blown and fire opened, some 400/500 of the enemy were killed before the company withdrew.
By 1000 hrs. the following morning the enemy were in contact with the main Bn. position. Attack and counterattack went on throughout the day in the course of which more of the enemy troops were killed and 8 or 9 tanks destroyed. Our own losses were under 70. During the night the Bn. fell back onto the main position........
There is much more in this strain and you could possibly purchase the journal through Gordon and Gotch.
Our membership is now as high as 306 and we are making every effort to increase this. If you know of the address of any ex member of the unit who is not a member of the Association write me and let me know or just scribble the address on a sheet of paper and we will do the rest.
If you have not paid your 5/- sub, for this year please send it in right away to either Reg. Ellis or to me. If you are in the city you may pay it to the President, Jimmy Cooper, First Floor, 105 Pitt Street, Sydney.
If you know of the addresses of Stan Lugton, Johnnie Walker or Ron Ollis let us know, they have shifted and have not left forwarding addresses.
Every month in future, we intend to publish the addresses of six members of the Association. We will start from the front and work right through to the end and we hope that the sight of an address of an old mate might prompt you to pick up a pen and dash off a line or two or perhaps send a card at Christmas.
The Social Committee comprising Garry Evans, Sid Grounds, Alan Smith and Harry Collins have tackled their job with zest and have arranged for a dance to be held at the Dungowan on Saturday night, June 19th.
As that is only a fortnight off we would like every member of the unit who lives within a reasonable distance of the City to come along and bring as many of their friends as they can.. It will be a first class night with a good supper, good, music and plenty of good fellows. You need not worry if you have not by the night made up a party, just come along with yourself and your friends.
The dress will be just as you please, at the last Dungowan show half the ladies were in evening dress and half in street wear, while all the boys were in informal clothes. For myself I do not own an evening suit and have no intention of buying or hiring one.
The tickets will cost you 11/- a single. We are making nothing out of it but are not worried as long as you have a good time.
All city members are being specially circularised about this show but any country members who are interested just drop me a note and I'll give you more details.
Now don't put it off, rally around, gather up your friends, Dad and Mum too and have a jolly good night. Bring your own grog of course.
If any ex-member of the Battalion is interested in the newly formed Militia Forces, and resides within the area surrounding the Hurstville district, would he please contact Reg. Ellis - Tel. No. XB1077.
I no longer work at my old position in the city so mail all correspondence to Box 56 Broadway, please.
P.S. I am sure that all members of the Association join with me in expressing deepest sympathy to Stan Arneil in the recent sad loss of his step-tether.
President: J.H. Cooper, 105 Pitt St., SYDNEY.