Makan – No. 142
It is with sorrow that we record the death of "Izzy" Berman, recently. Izzy may not have been known to many of you. He was a great chap, but kept to himself a lot. Izzy was a strong unit man and bucked the whole army to become a member of the 2/30th. Drafted to another unit he was first sighted on the end of a line of troops, on parade at Kanburi.
Porky Evans was second last on the line and standing next to him was this complete stranger. The following conversation then took place:
Porky: "Who are you?"
and that's how Izzy came to join the unit, the only man to bypass the army channels. He was a good trooper, one of those who made up our war-time family. His widow is Mrs. Berman, 9 Adelaide St., West Ryde. A letter from you, at the cost of ten minutes in time, would probably be appreciated by her more than you can imagine.
Ted Lutz is working for the P.M.G. Department Transport in Sydney and is keeping in good health these days. He's got his troubles of course, who hasn't? I recall an incident during our training days in Malaya when Teddy Lutz spent about two hours carefully kneading dubbin into his army boots until they were as soft and pliable as a baby's hand. He was proud of the result and showed them to "Black Prince" Kearney who was billeted in the next tent. "It's a good job, Teddy." said the Prince, "Thanks very much!”, "Don't` thank me," said Ted, "I won't have time to do yours!" "You've already done them" said the Prince, "those boots are mine!" and that's how the Prince came to have the most comfortable boots in Malaya. Teddy never had time to get around to doing his own.
Col O'Donnell gets around and wherever he goes he remembers his wartime associates. On one of his trips this year he called in at the cemetery at Kanburi where 7,000 troops are buried, including quite a number of 2/30th. The photograph he sent us shows the beauty of the cemetery and the great care which is bestowed on it by the local staff. Each grave has a bronze tablet, set out on a concrete slab, showing the persons name and unit in raised letters.
Col was in Hong Kong on Anzac Day and during the ceremonies he placed a Purple and Gold Wreath. The service at the cenotaph was well attended, a group of R.A.A.F, and Australian soldiers providing the guards
Jack Stone, Wingham Road, Taree has written of his new address and to bring his subs up to date. Seven months ago we received a letter from Vic Gordon's wife Jean, telling of a trip they had to Malaya. It is a long letter but is too good for me to edit; here it is, I am sure you will enjoy it.
"Makan" received yesterday, and I note that you would like to hear something of our trip. If you wait for Vic to write you will wait forever, so thought I had better get going on this screed before time caught up with me too.
The trip lasted eight weeks from Brisbane to Brisbane and was most eventful throughout. Travelling on a cargo ship carrying 12 passengers was very friendly, casual and all that could be desired. We left Brisbane on Dec. 19th with the biggest freight of cargo carried since before the war, the deck carried one racehorse, bombs and explosives for Penang and Ambulances, trucks, tractors etc, for the R.A.A.F. Our first port of call was Townsville then later, passing Cape York on Christmas Day, we were beefed with a cyclone which was really something. However, it all added to our experience, then on to Indonesia. First port Surabaya in Indonesia where we anchored in midstream. All the military bods arrived out to check passports etc. They had Tommy guns, guns, steel helmets and the works, a most officious crowd. Later we anchored at the wharves and unloaded flour, were allowed to go ashore but before getting through the dock gates our handbags were searched and the men given a thorough going over. Couldn't spend anything ashore but had a look at the city and surrounds etc. Surabaya is a colossal city, also the harbours, and you would be surprised at the shipping there. The harbours in Java are as big as Sydney. A mile from the docks we were stopped again by a police road block and on came the works. Tommy-guns, uniforms, etc, and they can hardly speak English and look at your passport upside down. The city is terrific, but I thought it very dirty. There are glorious buildings and homes in acres of gardens. It must have been very beautiful to look at in the Dutch days. The people are very poor and the well to do ones were those in the Army, Navy and Air Force, etc. The habits of these people were really filthy and one did not see any whites. Next port Jakarta, - we were really given the works again. It was a lovely place. I hated the thought of being searched and every moment I expected Vic to "blow his top" and land himself in gaol for the term of his natural life. We, saw a lot of Djakarta - including President Surkano’s palace. The president was in residence and what a place it was. Next we went to Semarang which is very pretty and things were not quite so bad. After that to Cheribon where twenty or more soldiers came aboard and really gave us and our passports a good going over, we were not allowed to land there. I'm glad I saw Indonesia it's been a beautiful country but I'm afraid the uniforms, Tommy guns etc., didn't make me feel too happy, in fact what I saw, I really think they are just too close to us for comfort.
Then on to Singapore. What a fabulous and exciting place. We arrived on a Sunday afternoon and the Jones Family came out in a Motorised Sampan to meet us as the ship wasn't docking until the next day. Went home to their place for a wonderful curry and what a lovely place they have. “Bill" and Thel have not changed and it was grand picking up all the old threads. Young Ian and Chris Jones are grand kids and I just missed young Bill Jones by two days, he's gone back from leave (he's my Godson) "Bill" and Thel enjoy the life and go to lots of parties and meet there. Vic tells me you would not know Singapore now, it has changed so much and there are so many new places. We really did Singapore over and one of the most amazing places of all is Change Alley. The Jones took us for drives and we had an afternoon at Changi Village and saw the infamous Changi Gaol this time from the outside. Went to Kranji Cemetery and looked up those of the 2/30th Bn.. Climbed "Bukit Timah Hill" where the cement stairs you blokes carved into the hillside are still there as good as ever. It is now called "Victory Hill" but quite a wilderness. Kranji War Cemetery is really beautiful. Went to all the "Worlds", saw Cathay Theatre, and all the gaols which housed the 2/30th Bn. Went slumming to Raffles Hotel, which I thought was rather a washout. It was so dull. Went over the Causeway into Johore, and had a good look there. In fact there was very little we didn't do, also from a woman's angle we did some wonderful shopping. After leaving Singapore went to Malacca.
Before continuing met Garry Rickwood in Singapore and the great natter was on again. Garry with one MacDougall (whose brother was a Sgt. in the 2/30 Bn.) took us for drinks to the Tanglin Club (British) and what a place. We then proceeded to the Peking Restaurant for a Chinese meal. It started at one and finished about four p.m. I have never eaten such gorgeous food. I've lost count of the courses and I'm sure you blokes of the 2/30th if you've eaten there would never eat again in Campbell Street. Gary looks very well and is looking forward to seeing Col O'Donnell. Col and his wife leave in April for Hong Kong, Japan and will call at Singapore so Gary will have more news. On to Malacca. We had five hours there it was fascinating and full of the very early history of all its various changes. Climbed to the old Fort and the old church where St. Francis Xavier was buried. From there to Penang where for a couple of days we toured the whole Island, back to front, climbed thousands of stairs to Monasteries, etc. In fact I've lost count of all the mosques, etc., us we have been through. From there to Pt. Swettenham which is simply nothing and just a port for K.L. We did a trip to Kluang and had a day at Kuala Lumpur which is 30 miles away. As the ship was staying at Port Swettenham for a week we decided to leave the ship and pick it up in Singapore. Next thing is packing and off again to Kuala Lumpur catch a train at 8.40 a.m. arriving Singapore 4.15 that afternoon. It was a grand trip coming through Malaya and passing Gemas and all the places the 2/30 Bn: fought it's way through, in fact we really did the grand tour for the Battalion. Altogether we had a fortnight in Singapore and we were seeing and going places day and night.
On Jan. 26th (Australia Day) the Jones took us to a Barbecue Evening arranged by the Australian Trade Commission. There were about 200 Australians there. Food excellent and beer from tins was the order for the night. It was strange to hear Australian "as it is spoke" and one really felt at home. Singapore is such an incredible place and I'd love to live there for 12 months and become really part of it. It's terribly expensive, to live there and school your children. Food, grog, cigarettes etc., very dear but watches, cameras, transistors, binoculars, cars, second hand cars, washing machines, etc., are ridiculously cheap to our standards. What a place, sometimes I wonder if we really did go or it was just a dream. I can describe it as the most wonderfully, exciting and glamorous holiday I've ever had and Vic just loved every moment of it. We had friends of many years travelling with us, and it made the trip all the better.
There is so much I haven't told you, it would take pages. After Singapore to British Borneo and arrived back in Brisbane on Feb. 15th. Two years ago Vic and I went back and had a look at New Guinea so now we think it's time we settled down and stayed put for a while.
I've been taking tickets in the Golden Casket since my return home hoping I could at least just win my fare there and back to Singapore and have another month with my friend Thel Jones. Singapore's really got me in, Cargo ships are the best to travel on, they go to more foreign ports and give you plenty of time; much better than the very large passenger ships.
One thing we are both happy about, we have covered as much as possible the trek of the 2/30th Bn. and the only thing I loathed in Singapore was Changi Gaol which really gave me the horrors.
Vic and I are really settled in Brisbane and have our "roots dug in here" in fact it's a good place to live, and I think you may live longer here without having your blood pressure raised with too much rush. Vic is very well and still a bundle of energy, he often sees Col O'Donnell and often sees 2/30 bods around the place.
Hope you can understand my scrawl and all I can say, if the opportunity comes "Go East Young man", it's really got something, but Australia is still a good place to come home to. Look out for the Indonesians, there are plenty of M.I.G.'s flying around."
8TH DIVISION REUNION – TAMWORTH
On Saturday, 1st October the Annual 8th Division Reunion Dinner will be held at Tamworth R.S.L. Club commencing at 6.00 p.m. This reunion is always tremendously successful-and is a talking point for the lads for months before and after it takes place. 8th Div. lads travel great distances to be present and this year Wal Eather, President of the local R.S.L. sends -a special invitation to any 2/30th in Sydney who would like to attend. Accommodation can be provided for four or five at Wal's place and we assure that plenty of other accommodation is available. It would be a real experience to attend such a gathering where one would meet many of our members. If you can make it, write to Wal Eather, Public School, Westdale, or telephone Westdale 219.
Terry O'Rourke is now President of the Narrandera Tennis Club, President of the local sub-branch of the Public Service Association and Committeeman of the local R.S.L. He's a busy man these days but still finds time to play with the newest arrival in the house, a baby sister for the two boys. Terry saw Bernie McMahon in Griffith where Bernie is managering the local branch of the National Bank. Terry is not our correspondent of course, it is his wife, who like all the other wives keeps the news coming. Muriel O'Rourke also writes that the relieving clerk at Narrandera Forestry Office recently was young Terry Hoskinson, son of "Big Jim" corporal in "C" Company. Terry is now 22 and a fine athlete. He would like to hear from any of his father's old mates. All the news his mother received of his father's death was that ha died of beri-beri in Burma. Any further details would be very welcome. His address is C/- Forestry Office, Wagga Wagga.
It is with regret that we record the death of Snowy Steven's father recently. Snowy's father was well thought of as one would expect and was given a big R.S.L. funeral.
(? deleted) Mount Crosby via Ipswich Queensland has taken off for England and for the present his address will be unknown. (? deleted) will drop us a line from England where he intends to remain for some years.
We have had a good report from Ray Simmons who left these parts last year to build and manage a motel-cum caravan park at Urunga on the Pacific Highway. Ray writes:
"Things are going along nicely here, we have our quiet periods, quite a few in fact, but generally speaking we are doing as well as we anticipated. I am really writing to let you know that, together with five other ex "Rice Eaters", I journeyed to Kempsey for a reunion of ex 8th Div.
Those accompanying me were Fred Mortyn and Dave Goodwin ex Concert Party, J. Behan ex 2/30, "Snow" Ford ex, I believe 2/20 and Ron Shaw ex Engineers, the car was provided, complete with driver, by the Bellingen R.S.L. and what a night we had, To describe the events as they happened - after a few quickies we all assembled outside the Macleay R.S.L. Rooms and marched to the music of a Pipe Band to the Kempsey War Memorial where several wreaths were laid, then back to the Club where we sat down-to a beautiful dinner which included prawns about 10" long, there were the usual speeches, all very brief and to the point and oceans of filthy grog. When we rather reluctantly left the Dining Room we were invited into the Main Club Room, where a Social was in progress, where those who were capable, consumed more grog. I was frightened to sneeze as it was oozing out of my ears and I thought if I sneeze, I'll be mistaken for the Archibald Fountain, so I refrained, more out of sympathy for my neighbours than for any other reason.
Well, Stan, among those present, were the five previously mentioned, also Ben Pearce of Sawtell, H.A. Griffis of Taree, Norm Lee of Taree, Scotty Wallace of Kempsey, who was one of the organisers, and a damn fine job they did and Claude Worth and Bruce Campbell (hence the pipe band I presume) . Last but not least, John Humphries, Lieut of 2/18 Bn. who was chairman and may I add that the dignity with which John carried out his duties was something one does not see very often at these functions. - He kept control from go to whoa in a quiet, unostentatious manner. Although there were over 60 ex 8th Div., there I didn't stay sober long enough to get any more names, sorry and all that, but you know how it is. Oh, the Local Mayor, State and Federal members for the district. President of the Chamber of Commerce, representatives of the local papers and broadcasting station were also present. And a good night was had by all. Incidentally
I arrived home to Urunga at 3.15 a.m. so it must have been a good night.
Darky Douglas called in some weeks ago and had a chat, he promised to call in again next time he was in the area. I have more Changiites call in on me here than I thought existed and I've been caught in all sorts of funny positions, doing all sorts of jobs, but it's a good excuse to knock off for a chin wag and a noggin."
John Taylor was in Sydney recently on his way home to Perth after a world tour.
“Red Fox" Macauley has gone to New Zealand permanently for his Company. Red was looking forward to a new experience but found it a big wrench all the same to pull up his digs and start afresh.
Congratulations to Les Hall for his success in winning a prize in the recent Sunday Telegraph War Competition. Les tells a good story and should write more stories of the Unit.
It is some time since we reminded you of late subscriptions and we ask you now to bring your subs up to date if they are in arrears. The costs of running our Association increase rather than decrease, and it is essential that we receive your subs as they are due. Five shillings per year would be perhaps the cheapest annual subscription in Australia for any comparable association, so help us to keep things moving by sending in your subs now.
ANNUAL REUNION AND DINNER.
By this time you will have all received your invitation to our next Reunion. As you can realise from B.J.'s letter the Committee hope to make it the biggest reunion we have ever held. We ask you, not only to come along yourself but to go out of your way to persuade other ex-members to come along also. We hope to see friends that we haven't seen for years at the dinner which will be a first class affair. Send your money in now in order that we may make an accurate estimate of those who will be present.
WE PROMISE YOU A NIGHT TO REMEMBER AT THE ANNUAL RE-UNION DINNER SATURDAY NIGHT 12TH NOVEMBER.
CHARCOAL AND DUTIES