Makan – No. 144
Our beloved Jim Peebles died on Tuesday, 6th December and was buried at Woronora Cemetery. His funeral was attended by members of the Unit and your sympathy has been conveyed to his widow. Jim died from a heart attack. How can we write about Jim? One might just as well write about the battalion itself because Jim was an essential part of the Unit.
His boundless energy, complete integrity, his skill at his job and his faith in his fellow men endeared him to every man who met him. Jim was a Quartermaster. Quartermastering and the related jobs such as catering, cooking and the like seamed to attract some of the battalions most colourful characters, including among their members, Arthur Smith, "A" Coy. Cook, John Gaden "A” Coy Quartermaster, Big Jim Mitchell H.Q. Quartermaster and a host of others. In this distinguished and happy band Jim Peebles moved to the delight of the troops and at times to the utmost despair and embarrassment of his superiors.
A born scrounger he considered all forms of theft permissible where it concerned finding food and equipment for his company. His Scottish ancestry helped him to often make do with limited supplies and the troops responded by backing him up on every occasion. To his Company Jim was a genius, to other Companies he was a man to be watched where rations and equipment were concerned. Who of us will ever forget our own "Eight to a Table?". Was there ever a gathering of us where his entry did not precipitate the shout of "Eight to a Table?" Jim has gone and with him a part of our Unit. He was a man who never did a mean thing in his life. God rest the soul of Jim Peebles.
JANUARY 14TH - GEMS DAY
This year 14th January falls on a Saturday, a particularly good night to make our annual pilgrimage to the Cenotaph in memory of Fallen Comrades.
The assembly point will be on the steps of the G.P.O., opposite the Cenotaph, Wreaths will be laid as from 7.00 p.m. All members and next of kin are invited, no, requested to attend, to pay public tribute to the memory of our Dam. We hope that the 2/15th Field Reg., the 8th Div. Signals and others all equally sharing our thoughts, will be present with us.
The time of 7.00 p.m. we found last year to be particularly suitable and resulted in the biggest roll up we have ever had. After the ceremony last year we had a most enjoyable gathering, next of kin included, at a city club and we hope to arrange similar facilities this year.
Remember the date - 14th January - Saturday - 7.00 p.m. Cenotaph - Martin Place.
TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY REUNION
The most successful reunion we have ever held was the twentieth anniversary reunion at Anthony Hordern’s on Saturday 12th November. Ex-members of the unit travelled from near and far including South Australia and Queensland. Two hundred and twenty troops attended to what was a complete opposite to our previous reunions. It was a "sit-down" dinner with excellent food nicely served and with bottled beer and soft drinks in abundance. The results of the dinner amply repaid the small sub-committees which worked for months to organise it.
What a great pleasure it was to be at the reunion and to meet again all those fine fellows with whom we had soldiered. There were new faces everywhere.
New members enrolled included Harry Ryan of Mt. Gravatt, Brisbane, at least that is the address I wrote down but his letters have been returned to us as address unknown. If any member knows of his correct address please send it to us. Other members included Bob Robinson, South Lismore, Jack Green, Lakemba and Billy Senior, Crows Nest.
We were honoured to have with us as guests Skippy Maher and John Hogan, Senior Vice-President and Secretary of the 2/15th field Regiment A.I.F. Association and also two friends from 8th Division Signals.
The Old Man in responding to the toast of the Regiment delivered a stirring address. It is amazing how he can command silence from a noisy group of over two hundred and twenty veterans, but it is apparently no effort. In his address the Old Man pleaded for a united thinking within our own Division on the various phases of our war activities. “It has taken a Japanese to show us the correct attitude to many things” said the Old Man and he recounted that in a recently published Japanese version of the Malayan campaign the author, a Japanese General, stated that the “8th Division fought the Japanese strenuously at Gemas" The Old Man said that sections of the 8th Division had either participated directly or indirectly with the Battalion there. This attitude is one which we like and one which does not diminish our own unit espirit do corps but at the same time recognises clearly that we as a part only of our Division share all honours equally with all other units.
The Reunion was one which will be remembered for years. If you were not there don't miss the next one.
The Old Man sends a greeting to all members and their families to all next of kin of deceased members for the forthcoming year.
Arch Thorburn and tho Committee have also asked me to convey to you their personal wishes to all for the coming year.
I personally would also like to send my best wishes to all for a happy year to come.
The Gunnedah folk are very 8th Division conscious and at their annual commemoration service this your Sister Bullwinkle was entertained as Guest of Honour. Sister Muldoon travelled from Melbourne for the ceremony whilst other distinguished guests included Mrs. Varley, wife of the late Colonel Varley, and Mr. and Mrs. Doug Leathardt. The functions covered the whole weekend and were organised on a grand scale with visitors coming from near and far. The principal part of the weekend was the placing of wreaths on the obelisk which is set in the centre of the town’s 8th Division Avenue, a fine avenue of Blue Gums. Mrs. Bowden, wife of our late friend, Tom Bowden, is our correspondent.
Jacko Jackson of Chatswood is continually being henpecked by his wife for the absence of his unit badge. Serves him right we say and we support Mrs. Jackson all the way. However, we have no more badges available at the moment but will advise all members when the next batch is made.