Makan No. 169
One of the best aspects of a democracy is that one can please oneself in most things which one may wish to do. One of the worst aspects is that it deprives a person like me from personally ferreting out and injuring with brickbats all those ex-members of our unit who could have but did not attend the wreath-laying on 14th January.
In a democracy I am allowed to muse "why do we not pay public homage to our dead friends?". It is not isolated to our own unit. A couple of weeks ago one of the more prominent ABC announcers, himself a returned man with an excellent record, asked a group whether it was worth the effort to maintain the Anzac Day march. This man regretted the question but was prepared to face facts.
I think we are entitled to ask "is it worth the effort of placing a wreath on the Cenotaph on 14th January each year?",
This year there were about 15 of us and the group included George Ramsay who made the occasion not by reason of his being fit enough to be there but because his heart told him it would be a good thing to do.
Will you think about it now and plan for next year, that is, if you are still alive. If you are dead by this time next year then a handful of lads will remember you.
This year's ceremony was, as usual, quite moving. The bugle notes seem to linger in Martin Place at sunset; there is no traffic and little noise. It is good to be there.
Four of our mates died recently. To all the next-of-kin we extend the deepest sympathy of the members and of our patron, 'Black Jack'.
Harry Brown, ex A Coy
I remember so clearly the return of Blanchard's Section across the clearing at Gemas on 14th January. One man was missing and the section was all tingled up with its first action.
Harry Brown was missing, believed killed. He turned up the next morning.
He was a happy-go-lucky soldier if ever there was one. He was a bush boy, resourceful as any, and happy. He laughed his way through the action and through the later years. Everybody liked Harry. He liked everybody.
You may recall that he wrote such a friendly letter to us a few months ago.
Harry leaves a wife, two sons and two daughters. Mrs. Brown will keep on with the farm which has been badly hit by the drought.
You all remember him, of course. Red of face, tough as goat's knees, unscrupulous in many ways if it suited him. An excellent soldier, indeed none better. His resourcefulness in action and his ability to scrounge a feed under any circumstance was reminiscent of the picture one has of the real Anzac.
Watty remained in Singapore for a short time after the war and later returned to live on the land. He was a dealer in livestock and made enough to keep a wife and 7 children.
Watty enjoyed every minute of our last reunion We enjoyed meeting him again.
Watt ... one of the 'characters' of the unit. One of those who stood out sharply from the average Digger.
Bluey was one of the war's tragedies. His body deteriorated under strain and he never fully recovered. He was a T.P.I at the time of his death.
I spent some time in Thailand with Bluey. He was a good mate. We used to talk of a dinner at The Australia when we returned. You remember the nonsense we talked about. I'm a little sorry now that I never had that dinner with Bluey.
Bluey was a good Unit man; we heard from him regularly over the years and I used to see him occasionally. He was another part of our unit and now he has gone.
Frank Ball - ex 2/15th Field Regiment
We found out recently that Frank Ball died during the latter part of last year. Some of you may not have met him but he was very close to the 2/30th having fought with us in the campaign.
Frank was a very human chap. I recall talking to him during the campaign on the day that Sgt. Hinks of the 2/15th was killed.(Ed: NX70475 - Lieut. Harry HINGST) Do you remember the day we were bombed & the Japs blasted a 2/15th truck right into a tree? It was the day that Sammy Bell, ex B Coy, was killed.
Frank was as cool as ice that day and he kept his judgment during the later years.
His special love for the 2/30th brought him to several of our reunions and once or twice he was Guest of Honour.
Although our last respects may have been delayed, the sympathy of the unit goes strongly to Mrs. Ball.
Mrs. Fred Abbotts
Members will be sorry to hear of the death of our late friend's wife, Mrs. Abbotts. It was she who was our correspondent in Taree for many years.
BITS ABOUT THE BOYS
Harry Griffis, Taree, keeps us in touch with that part of the world. Harry attended the funeral of Mrs. Fred Abbotts.
Charlie Golledge, ex Don Coy, sends greetings.
Nev Riley is living at East Hills. Next time you push your subs under the door, Nev, add some news for the 'Makan'.
Harold French, ex A Coy, was in Sydney for a couple of days last month. Frenchy lives at Walcha.
Cec Palmer of Scone, sends his subs and greetings to all. He confirms that the Scone district has had a frightful battering from the drought.
Pte. G.G. Guan NX30145
K.I.A.10/2/42 near huts at pipeline Mandai Road., B. Coy area. Unburied.
In 1941 his home address was C/- Mrs. L. Guan, Inverell.
Stuart Peach, visiting Inverell High School, noticed that the Book of Remembrance was turned to the page for Pte. Guan, 2/30th Bn. A.I.F. The space for his photograph is vacant. Stuart, The Old Man and the Committee feel that one of our chaps might have a photo which includes Pte. Guan. If so, we would like to remedy the omission at Inverell High School.
The R.S.L. has recently published the R.S.L Handbook, Anzac Jubilee Issue 1965, which comprises a variety of subjects of interest to all ex-servicemen - articles from the Gallipoli campaign to the present day, embracing the three armed services, plus informative features covering in detail such topics as Repatriation Benefits in Australia, War Service Homes, Services Canteens Trust Fund, Medals and Decorations, Legal Service Bureau, War Veterans Homes throughout Australia and a host of other interesting items including an up-to-date and comprehensive Active Service Almanac.
The book has been given Australia wide distribution and is available at R.S.L Headquarters and R.S.L Sub-Branches at 5/6d + 1/- postage
We recommend that you purchase a copy.
KEEP YOUR ADDRESS UP TO DATE
It's easy to forget but we do want you to notify us of your change of address as we like to send you a 'Makan'. Can you help us with these:
Last Known Address
P J. BAILEY - Wallerawang
Don't forget that we still have some ties left.
Two dollars to Bessie Ellis and you will (at last) be regimentally dressed.
NEXT-OF-KIN EVEN I N G
Sapphire Room, The Australia Hotel, Sydney, 27th August, 1966
Although 27th August is still some time away, it is necessary in the meantime to make many arrangements to ensure that the night is a success.
Most important at this stage is to have an indication of the number attending, to arrange for catering, etc. For this reason it is now most important that you fill in the enclosed coloured form and forward it to:
R.W. Jack, BEACON HILL, N.S.W.
It is not necessary to send the $5 (£2,10.0) subscription per head at this stage, although those desiring may do so.
Besides meeting the Next-of-Kin again and enjoying old associations, the Dinner is an excellent opportunity for the wives and families of our members to meet one another in most pleasant surroundings.
Roll up and make the night the success it deserves.
(A point of order......due to the change over to Decimal Currency & consequent confusion we inadvertently advised that this dinner would cost 2½ bux. Sorry, should have read ..5 bux - $5.00)
And with our closing thought we say 'ooroo' for the time being......
"You can take a horse to water, but a pencil must be lead."
See you, Dig (or we'll remember on 14th Jan. next)