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Makan – No. 59
Official Organ of the 2/30th Bn. A.I.F. Assn
Patron: Brig. F.G. Galleghan, D.S.O.,
Harry Riches writes from Brisbane that Constable Slim, never-make-an-arrest Cranitch, has recently won second prize in the Casket. Apparently all permanent residents of Queensland win the Casket at some time or other and it was Slim’s turn to take out the second prize.
Col Tuckfield has a new car and recently went to Melbourne with his wife. It was a good try out for the car, which stood up well under the punishment of the bad roads.
Harry Riches popped out to see Dave Tate some time ago and reports that Dave is doing well in the field of strawberry growing. Dave has built up quite a little business in strawberries. Snowy Stevens, one of Dave’s old cobbers, often visits him from Sydney.
Clarrie Miller, now of Queensland, is a pest exterminator and is getting his own back on the relations of some of those bugs which enjoyed our company so much in Malaya.
In August Makan we suggested that one of the members might like to donate a copy of Galleghan’s Greyhounds to the wife of the late Dick Noble of our unit. You will be pleased to know that this has been done, although I regret that I cannot name the well respected member of the unit who made the gesture. There is a little story attached to the donation which could perhaps give you a clue to the donor. Do you remember the Pear’s Encyclopaedia which was jealously guarded and read with such interest by certain members of the unit? It was an envied possession and provided countless hours of interest to the holder and his friends. Well, that Pear’s originally belonged to Dick Noble and he entrusted it to the care of a member of the unit, to one who would perhaps be above the great temptation of using the odd page to wrap the native tobacco in when ordinary paper became just a dream. The Pear's was jealously guarded until after the war finished in Europe and then the holder converted it into food with the comforting thought that the war must be in its last stages and that on the termination of hostilities a new Pear’s could be purchased. Dick Noble was killed or lost in a plane when returning to Australia after the war had ended and the new Pear’s was never purchased. However, the debt has now been repaid and Dick's wife writes that their only child, a son of 12 years of age, is now the proud owner of Galleghan's Greyhounds.
The Association sends along to Jimmy Cooper, Dick Tompson AND their wives our sincere congratulations and best wishes on the births of their new babies, a son to each family. Both mothers are well although both fathers are feeling the strain. It is a serious business this for a father with the endowment forms to be filled in, the taxation reductions to be applied for, and so on. We are of the opinion that most mothers do not realise just what we fathers go through. It 'would appear that the era of twin babies which were born into the Unit has finished; we gave not recorded new twins here for many moons. Won't somebody produce twins and give us a little unusual baby news.
3/- a day claim Our poor little 3/- a day claim, which has apparent no interest to any persons other than ourselves, is still going forward, but at a slow pace and under great difficulties. There are a couple of yawning chasms to be crossed before you can spend the money and they may turn out to be too wide to be surmounted. The first big problem is that although the claim has been re-organised in principle, the specified sum, which we claim to be not less than 3/- per day, has not been stated so it is within the bounds of possibility for the claim to be eventually paid out at a rate of say 1/6 or 1/- a day. The second and moat dangerous obstacle to the payment is that it is proposed that the money should be distributed by the international committee of the Red Cross as it sees fit. The mere mention of Red Cross being in any way even remotely connected with such a payment should be enough to set the blood pounding around the ears of any ex-P.O.W. The thought of such an agent distributing the money would make you probably mentally kiss the money good-bye. It is perhaps not being unduly harsh to opine that the Government, is not sincere in its attitude to the claim as it would be a simple matter to pay the money out immediately to those entitled to it and then to collect the cash later from Japan. We do not want to take up too much of your time with discussion of the claim, but it has now reached a very vital stage, a stage where it could be almost within our grasp. We print below the full text of the President's report, of the Council of the Eighth Division and Service Associates, as it concerns this subject only. We believe that if you read this matter, you will gain an excellent idea of the state of then games to date. Here it is:
“3/- a day claim: - when the last annual report was submitted on 28/7/50 the collated evidence had that day been handed in to the Committee of Enquiry and a tremendous burst of work by this Council’s representatives was finished. The story of the claim's progress for the ensuing year is comprised in the minutes. In brief, the Committee met again in August to receive any further submissions and the chief incident of interest was the appearance of a representative from Federal R.S.L. headquarters in Melbourne, which negatived the effort put up by N.S.W. branch; of the League to cooperate with the other 18 organisations. This was the cause of much indignation and Council was concerned chiefly to avoid public discord while the claim was sub judice. In due course the Committee submitted its findings to the Prime Minister,- a majority report by Mr. Justice Owen and Lt. Gen Sir Stanley Savige and a minority report by myself. The report was almost universally misconstrued as being 2 against payment of subsistence and 1 in favour; and it would appear to have been on this reading, that the Cabinet decided against payment, but proposed a fund (for those ex-P.O.W. in special need) of £250,000. The real difference between majority and minority reports was on the recommendation that compensation should be sought from offending captor powers, as responsible for ill treatment Ps.O.W. so gross as to be illegal by international law. The minority report recommended this; the majority went so far as to say this was the only suitable procedure BUT regarded recommendation of it as outside their Committee's terms of reference.
From this point the committee of 5, representing the original 19 organisations (less the R.S.L. representative) took over, and has pursued the claim and is still doing so. First, within the weekend following the Prime Minister's statement, it wrote to all members of the House of Representatives putting forward the above interpretation to the Committee's report, and urging an amendment adopting the minority report. At this stage, Mr. Bruce Graham, M.P., Secretary of the Government ex-service members’ committee, came into the picture and has ever since proved himself a most valuable liaison officer with the Prime Minister and Canberra. We owe him much gratitude. After some time the committee of Government ex-Service members recommended to Cabinet that 2 of the 4 points in the minority report be adopted - (i) that compensation be sought by Australia at the peace negotiations and (ii) that any monies received be paid to ex-P.O.W.’s or dependents individually. The joint committee, when requested, expressed its support for this move, with the proviso that the amount claimed be not less than 3/- per day, and on 29 Nov. 1950, the prime Minister made a statement adopting this as Government policy but without specifying amount. The joint committee has pressed continuously since then but could only get verbal assurances that specific mention of an amount had been left out by oversight, but was to be considered as taken for granted.
Next the joint committee wrote to President Truman stating their cases in order that discussion might not be strangled at birth by a preliminary American statement of 'no reparations’. This was courteously acknowledged from the U.S. State Department by Mr, Dulles’s assistant - and, despite some opinion to the contrary, was in my judgment a most helpful step. (It ought perhaps to be put on record that, the correspondence was not sent to the President without due notice, having been given to the Prime Minister, and only after full discussion with Mr. Graham). Over the succeeding 3 months the peace negotiations have developed apace until a draft treaty was published on 13 July, 195l. This marked the greatest step forward to date, because it included acceptance of the principle that compensation should be paid for the ill treatment of Ps.O.W. (Japan) and made some provision for such payment.
The amount apparently available and the machinery for its payment are considerably less satisfactory. Two sources are provided:
(a) Are Japanese funds held under the Trading with the Enemy Act - which Australia is permitted to retain- and which are referred to in the Prime Minister's statement of 29 Nov. 1950. These amount to about £A1.7 millions; and how much, if any, the Government will make available to us is uncertain. There may be other claimants such as civilian internees. (The reason for this clause, was to cover the, U.S. action in already having pre-empted such funds under its Trading with the Enemy Act to cover payment to American Ps.O.W. of a dollar a day).
(b) Japanese funds in neutral or her allied countries are to be paid into a pool for the compensation of Ps.O.W. (Section 16). This is vaguely estimated at £A1,000,000.
On the basis of 22,176 Australians entering Japanese captivity, for the full period of 3½ years, 1 million would amount to 9d. a day. 1 million plus 1.7 million would work out at something less than 2/- a day. The joint committee proposes to fight for not less then the original claim of 3/- per day, holding that, once the principle of compensation is admitted, there is no moral nor legal justification for differentiation between nationalities.
As regards machinery it, is proposed in the draft that the monies referred to in section 16 should be collected by the international committee of Red Cross and distributed as it sees fit from a fund. Mention of Red Cross is unfortunate in light of the Australian ex-P.O.W.J's view of the payment into its general revenue by Red Cross of those funds collected for him but unable to be used during hostilities. Further, it is felt that paternalistic funds do not fulfil their object. Individual distribution is required, is specified in the Prime Minister’s statement of 29 Nov. 1950, and the joint committee proposes to fight for this too.
The joint committee feels that one more battle remains for it – on these two points of amount and machinery, and that time is short – and it is therefore endeavoring through Mr. Graham to be introduced as a deputation to the Prime Minister. It is singularly unfortunate, but true, that in each successive development in now prosecution of this claim has coincided with a major crisis in Federal politics – the latest and current one not the least. It is a small matter, compared with many Prime Minister has to consider, but, as the letter to President Truman said, the principle is important and should be our justification. I think you will agree that the efforts of the past year have not been in vain. Since being a member of the committee of inquiry I’ve felt it proper to refrain from any public comment that might be regarded as discussing the committee’s report, but I have been constantly in touch with the joint committees activities and wish to record appreciation of the continued cooperation of its members, and the organisations they represent, in acting in unison which has led dignity and strength to their work."
The prospect of an early reunion is becoming a little remote but we have to give you some information in the next Makan about it.
New address of Bluey Neil is c/- Mrs. Simpson, Thirroul. Bluey is so slow with the old pen if it were not for his wife we would still have Bluey listed as living at Changi.
It is a sad and miserable business to laugh at the troubles of others and it makes it worse if the laughter tends to become uproarious and get out of hand. So we record with a decent solemnity that our great friend and student of human nature, Mr. Rex Hall, better known as “Sammy Hall”, ( the man with some to peculiar physical qualities) has recently spent some time at Yaralla Hospital where he was treated for a liver complaint. That’s a bad business as we all know but what absolutely sends me is that the cure of the complaint includes complete abstinence from that lovely brown ale which, up to this time, has been one of Sam’s chief hobbies. Sam’s knowledge of the grog was such that his opinion on the qualities of the various ales was constantly sought after. It has been said that a crowded bar has cleared as if by magic immediately Sam stated that the beer was watery. In shot, Sam was a respected connoisseur and enjoyed every bit of the role. And now, for Sam, the ale is a thing of the past, but instead of decently keeping his affliction to himself, he has the colossal nerve to state that not only does he dislike the stuff but that "he finds the smell of intoxicating liquor on others as very offensive!" Ah! Well, it all depends upon the angle from which one looks at things, I suppose, as the patient said to the dentist as his teeth were being wrenched from his head. Keep your chin up, Sam (and your elbows by your side),
We regret the lateness of this issue, the delay being due to the efforts of our social bugs to try and finalise arrangements for the annual reunion.
Please forward all cheques, postal notes or money orders to Reg. Ellis, 13 Albany Street, St. Leonard’s.
Annual Re-union Friday night, 23rd November, ARNCLIFFE DRILL HALL – details next month.