Makan – No. 184
Official Organ of the 2/30th Bn. A.I.F. Association
ANZAC DAY AT BATHURST
Len Dawson, HQ Coy, and Keith Jones, C Coy, represented us at Bathurst and, in perfect weather, attended all six commemoration services during the day, commencing with the Dawn Service and finishing with Retreat at the Carillon War Memorial at 6 p. m.
Both Len and Keith gave us comprehensive reports of their visit to Bathurst and remarked upon the red carpet treatment they received from the R.S.L. Club from the time they presented themselves to the President, Clive Osborne M.L.A., and Secretary, Col Watson.
The service alongside the Cairns of both the 2/30Bn. and 9th Aust. Div. was, as usual, very well organised by the Bathurst R.S.L. and conducted by Clive Osborne and Padre Ellis.
About 200 people were in attendance and wreaths were laid on both memorials by Keith Jones and a representative of the 9th Aust. Div. Western District members.
Due to illness Herb Prattley was unable to attend. However, the way in which the Cairn, which was visited by Len and Keith before they proceeded into Bathurst, was prepared for the Anzac Day ceremonies evidenced our old friend's continued thoughtfulness.
In the absence of the Shire President, Councillor Locke, the oration at the Cairn was delivered by Miss Katherine Davidson, the charming Captain and a Sixth Form student of Bathurst Girls High School. Both Len and Keith regarded the address as one of the finest and most impressive of its kind they had ever heard and at their request we are pleased to quote it in full following this report. Following the oration Len suitably responded on behalf of the Battalion Association.
Len writing about the two morning services at the Carillon said: "There were well over 500 at the Dawn Service of which over 100 were children and teenagers, which in this day and age was very gratifying to see. The Anzac march was about the largest country march I have seen or taken part in, with three bands in attendance. I was very glad I was able to be there."
Keith in his report said: "The whole day was carried out with the greatest of respect and sincerity, the speakers being most impressive on all occasions. Particularly noticeable was the teenage generation's attendance at most functions. Keith also mentioned that both the President and Secretary of Bathurst R.S.L. conveyed their best wishes to the Association and are looking forward to meeting our representatives next Anzac Day.
They added that any member will be most welcome if they make themselves known at any time. Secretary Col. Watson further asked that it be passed on to the Association that everything will be O.K. for the Bn. reunion in November next.
Now here is the text of the address delivered at the Cairn Service by Miss Katherine Davidson, 25th April, 1969.
Mr. Osborne, distinguished guests and visitors, ladies and gentlemen.
There is a tendency today for Anzac Day speeches to become a little hackneyed and when the same sentiments are expressed every year, over and over again, they tend to lose their effect on people and to become little more than empty words. Now this is a bad thing and one which we must combat. Because even though many of the original Anzacs are dead and the soldiers of the Second World War now have had twenty years for the memories of the war to dim, the spirit and the ideals of Anzac are still very pertinent and very important to Australians alive today.
Sometimes it is hard to imagine the ideals of these men and it helps to think of the generation who go off to fight in Vietnam now. I'm sure we all know of at least one person who is either fighting in Vietnam or training to go. Well think of the attitude of these young men. They don't see themselves as great heroes or saviours of their nation, all they know is that there is a job to be done, they are called on to fight for their country and they do it and most don't loudly question why. They just feel a certain responsibility that if Australia has involved herself in an overseas problem whether she is right or wrong, it is up to them to support their country in the commitments she makes.
Well this is exactly the same attitude that the Anzacs and soldiers of the Second World War had. As time has passed an aura of glory has built up over them, and it is deserved; but they didn't go out seeking it. All they knew was that Australia had committed herself to fight beside Britain and as loyal Australians, their consciences called on them to support their country's commitments.
Don Kentwell, D Coy & J Force, died on 17/5/69 aged 64 years. Don, whose brother Wilbur is a well known radio and T.V. personality and organist, was rather the opposite to brother. Retiring, but not unsociable he resigned himself to the lot of a T.P.I. pensioner and despite many years of illness presented a cheerful front to all with whom he came in contact. He liked his daily pot of beer and joked about his difficulties. His right leg was amputated some seven years ago, the result of diabetes and a blood clot which brought on gangrene. He boarded with friends at Merrylands and was a member of the Limbless Soldiers' Association. Our sympathy goes out to Don's next-of-kin and those who loved and found in him a friendly mate.
Ron McLean, A Coy & A Force, passed away at Tamworth on 3rd April, aged 57 years. I quote from a letter received from Wal Eather :
"Ron McLean's death came as a shock to me even though I knew that he had been having health problems. He was most highly regarded by all in his neighbourhood and despite his disability, (he had a leg amputated at Bangkok in 1944) did a tremendous amount to help all who were in need.
He was a practical Christian, an Elder of his Church and his Minister, Rev. McLeod, told me that Ron was one of the finest men, that he had ever met. He was a quiet, unassuming fellow, but the large number who attended his funeral was a testimony to the regard in which he was held.
It was a privilege to be able to place a wreath on behalf of his old Battalion."
Members of the battalion extend sympathy to Ron's next-of-kin in their sad bereavement.
Kevin Ward, our hospital visitation wallah, informs me we have five fellows at present in R. G. H. Concord, namely :-
N. L. "Mick" Cutler, A
Coy, admitted 2/4/69
Discharged since last "Makan" were: Jack Brooks, Dick "Salt" Fisher, Ron McBurney, Ray Duncombe and George Lawson.
Mick Cutler by virtue of his lengthy occupancy has become the doyen of the 2/30th group in Concord and dispenses cheerfulness to those around him. Mick is father of an 18 year old daughter and two sons aged 16 and 9 respectively and is being permitted to go home to his family for an occasional weekend.
Dave Jordan, like Tommy Evans who marched with us on Anzac Day, would be one of the lightest 2/30 Bn. men today. He presently weighs only 6 stone 3 lbs., which was about the average weight of all those arriving back in Changi from Thailand in 1944. Dave has a bright young 10 year old daughter, Gail, who is in 5th class and is very much a favourite with Dad, also with a team of young friends living in her neighbourhood.
The Old Man visited R. G. H. Concord on 23rd April as part of the Repatriation Department's commemoration of "Anzac". He made a point of meeting 8th Div. fellows while he was there.
His visit received widespread publicity in the press and both the "S.M.H." and "Telegraph" prominently featured the visit. Many of you will have seen the photograph of Jack Brooks, Dick Fisher and Mick Cutler in the "S.M.H. " on Anzac Day under the caption "Old Scroungers Recall Changi".
Over the page is a photograph of Sir Frederick and some of the 8th Div. fellows.
The three on the right are Jack Brooks, Mick Cutler and Dick Fisher who - not at the time knowing that the other was in Concord - were brought together as a result of the Old Man's visit. The others in the picture are Max Bradford, A. Searle and E. Bartley of other 8 Div. units.
PERSONAL PARS ABOUT PEOPLE WE KNOW
Country men to the core, and both D Coy stalwarts, Harry Griffis and Max Ross are now living fairly close to one another in Taree. Max and his wife Verna after spending most of their working life storekeeping at Krambach have moved to Taree where Max acting on medical advice intends, as he thinks, to make life easier for himself from now on. Max normally a persistently active type might find it difficult to slow down after so many years at the grindstone. We're tipping he'll indubitably find some useful interests to absorb his time in Taree.
Neil Sellers, B Coy, has become a life member of the Association. Neil is a hard working farmer on his luxuriant Woodford Island paddocks just out of Brushgrove, Clarence River. His brother who brought us the life subscription says Neil is in good health and still a bachelor, also that he is the world's worst letter writer. Neil, living on a largish inland island surrounded by the waters of the Clarence River probably thinks he hasn't much to write about so we will just have to prise some news out of him next time we are travelling his way which is only a few miles off the beaten track. Welcome to the ranks of the "Lifers" Neil.
George Gough, BHQ, sent in his annual sub, also regrets that he could not attend the grand occasion of the dinner for the "Old Man" and the Annual Meeting. He wishes everyone well but did not venture any news of himself or family.
R. Franks, HQ Coy, is another one who hasn't much to say for himself. His note enclosing subs, like the women's skirts of today, was mini mini. Excepting his Ettalong address it consisted entirely as follows :
"Sorry I am late with my sub. Yours R. Franks." Shakespeare truly says in Hamlet, Act II Sc. 2 - "Brevity is the soul of wit. "
D.J. Smith, A Coy, writes from Bargo enclosing subs and tells us how his family is growing up. His eldest daughter, now 20, is nursing at Sydney Hospital, Betty 18 is working for the Government Insurance Office and there are two still at school.
He thanks Arch Thorburn for assistance in obtaining necessary documentation to complete requirements for his trip home to England last year after 30 years residence in Australia. He took his eldest daughter with him and they obviously had a great time for 5 weeks.
In his letter he says: "Major Johnston was also over there at the same time. He said in his letter to "Makan" that he thought London a lovely city and enjoyed London and England more than the other places to which he had been. They were my feelings exactly. They knock England around as much as they can, but for a holiday and for places to see you will find it hard to better, especially at this time of the year when it is a carpet of beautiful green. When I retire I hope to be able to afford another trip and to go and see an English Cup Final".
"D.J." goes on to say his daughter Betty who is eighteen is looking for a place to board from Monday till Friday during the Winter. It takes two hours to travel by train from Bargo to Sydney and whilst Betty thinks this is O.K. in the Summer she is not so keen about it during the cold months. If anyone reading this "Makan " could assist us to find a conveniently situated place for Betty it would be appreciated if they would phone Bessie Ellis or myself for information about Betty whose qualities would undoubtedly impress anyone will to accommodate her from Monday to Friday each week.
Dick Tompson, HQ Coy, passes on his thanks and kind regards to all who sent him messages on Anzac Day. Many of you will remember Steve Allardice moving amongst us in Macquarie Street before the march with a little note book in which a number of chaps penned brief notes to Dick. Steve and his wife, Gwen, later caught a plane to Brisbane and the notes written that morning were delivered in the early afternoon. They gave Dick a great thrill and despite distance I guess they seemed to bring his Sydney mates a bit closer to him on that Day.
After 4 years in Hobart Dick was recently appointed Manager of his Bank's Brisbane Office - an obviously well-merited promotion. His two boys Phillip 20 and Andrew 17 are both in the faculty of engineering at Queensland University.
Stewart Blow and John Haskins, both H. Q. Coy, had a week at Eucumbene Dam recently fishing for trout. They bagged quite a number of good fish and had a whale of a time. We haven't heard yet of the big ones that go away.
Does anyone know Jack Lonie's present address? If so would you kindly let us know. The last one we have is 36 Armitree Street Kingsgrove. "Makan" was returned from there in July, 1968.
If you intend changing your address would you please let Bessie Ellis know. Out of every issue of "Makan" posted one or more envelopes are returned with the endorsement "Unknown at this address". This waste of time and money should be avoided by a timely phone call or brief note to any one of your Committee.
Alan Penfold, BHQ, is at present overseas and a letter dated 4th May is hereunder published in full :
"My wife and I are here in London, after seeing Scotland once again. Amongst the many things of great interest in the Highlands we came across many references to the Scottish Regiment - the "Black Watch" - which as you know used to have some sort of affiliation with our 2/30th. Bn. I am enclosing a picture of the very fine memorial - a rugged and imposing piece of work - at Aberfeldy in Perthshire which please pass on to the "Brigadier".
The "Black Watch" Regiment was disbanded in 1949 and the Colours laid up in an ancient Cathedral at Dunkeld not far from Aberfeldy where the first gathering of recruits formed the original units to "watch" over their Highland domains several hundred years ago. There is a fine marble memorial prominently displayed also in the Cathedral.
We have been in England since December and tested out the Winter without any great hardships - though we sought a warmer climate in Majorca and Yugoslavia at one stage.
We have found that conditions for tourists here are becoming more difficult and expensive and the future is full of doubt. There is a good deal of disinterest in and lack of knowledge of Australia, most likely because of almost complete lack of news of Australia on radio, TV, or in newspapers.
Having come over by ship and been away 7 months we are looking forward to flying home in July via Hong Kong and Singapore. We anticipate paying a visit to Half Moon Street and seeing what's left of Birdwood Barracks, Selarang and Changi Aerodrome. We also plan to visit the Kranji Memorial where I will pay respects to 2/30 Bn. men who remain there - amongst whom Cliff Bayliss, Ken Reid, Kevin Prichard and so many others will come back to mind. Cheerio and kind regards to President and members of Committee".
President Arch Thorburn and his wife Daphne recently left by air to join a ship at Fremantle to take them the restful way across to Europe. They will be leaving the ship at Naples and travelling across Europe to London and returning from there by air early in July. Although the trip is partly associated with business Arch and Daphne will holiday and should come back refreshed and up-to-date on many aspects of overseas happenings.
Jack Fell, B Coy, is a rugged outdoor type of man with a down to earth manner. He is not, as he says, a letter writing bloke so we can be sure that if he sets about writing a letter what he has to say comes from the heart.
That is why we appreciate and are honoured to hear at such length from Jack. Here is an extract from his letter :
"I would like to say how thrilled my wife and I were to read the news that the "Old Man" had a knighthood conferred on him. I felt that it was an honour long overdue.
Unfortunately, I couldn't get away to attend the dinner in his honour, but I know that the "Old Man" would have been proud that so many did turn up to show him how very much he is loved and looked up to by the men who were fortunate enough to serve under him, from our training days at Tamworth right through until we returned home. It says much for the way he instilled in us the Esprit de Corps, that carried us through trying days as P.O.W's, that we have formed such a strong post war Association, even though our members are scattered all over Australia.
I am still working as a bowling green keeper for the East Cessnock Club. If any of our members who are bowlers, and I know there would be a lot, are passing through Cessnock and would like a game. I would always like to see them.
I don't see many of our members up here, and this is one of the reasons I look forward to receiving "Makan". It is always pleasing to hear about the fellows, their doings and their families. By the same token I am saddened to read in the Last Post column the names of fellows we knew and were proud to call mate."
Wal Eather, C Coy, who is Headmaster of Westdale Public School, Tamworth will be retiring at the end of this year and has promised himself that he will march with the 2/30 Bn in Sydney next Anzac Day (for the first time since we traded in the helmets, steel). He fully intended coming down this year but was pressed into giving the Anzac Day address at Warialda. On 6th June, both Wal and his wife Freda will be receiving the debutants at the Barraba Diggers Ball which is being officially opened by Wal.
Wal sends his regards and respects to the "Old Man" and his Bn. friends and tells us that Ray Michell, B Coy, still as genial, open handed and helpful as ever, has not been enjoying good health during the past year. "He is the type of person who doesn't know how to take it easy", says Wal.
Blair Taylor, C Coy and J Force was featured in "The Serviceman" the official organ of the West Canberra Sub-Branch R.S.L. Since Blair is the Editor of this high-class magazine the pen portrait of him, presented under the heading of "Personality Parade" was contributed by an old friend of Blair's with the assistance of Mrs. June Blair.
Extracts from the two page article describe the fullness of Blair's life as follows
"Mr. Blair Taylor was born in 1923, and is consequently one of the younger members of our Sub-branch. During his schooldays he lived with his mother and brothers at Bondi Beach which accounts for his love of the surf and the reason why he and his family still go to the coast and to surfing beaches as often as possible.
Blair was educated at Bondi North and Woollahra Primary Schools and at Sydney High School. He later qualified as an Accountant and is a member of the Canberra Branch of the Australian Society of Accountants.
After leaving school he worked with a Sydney firm of Real Estate Agents before joining the N.S.W. State Taxation Department in November 1938. At the age of 18 he unsuccessfully (due to eyesight difficulties) attempted to enlist in, successively, the R.A.N., the R.A.A.F. , and the A.I.F. A second attempt for the A.I.F. was successful and he joined the famous 2/30th Infantry Battalion.
Blair saw service with his unit at Bathurst, and later in Malaya and Singapore, where he became a P.O.W. with his comrades.
During the very earliest days of the war against Japan, Blair was seconded from the Battalion to a special Independent Company (known as "Rose-Force" - perhaps the first Australian Commando-type outfit to become operational) which was formed to function behind Japanese lines during the Nips advance down the :Malayan peninsular. Although Blair is very reticent about his experiences in those days, it is known that this special unit had some very exhilarating experiences behind the lines, where it was conveyed by R.A.N. Motor Torpedo Patrol boats, operating from Port Swettenham, for instance, it killed the highest ranking Japanese officer who died in the Malayan campaign when his staff car was overtaking a Japanese convoy being ambushed. Thus Blair and his comrades were the first Australian soldiers in action against the Japanese during the war.
Following a brief period of hospitalisation at Johore Bahru, Blair rejoined his old Battalion and became a P.O.W. at the infamous Changi prison camp in February, 1942. He was subsequently transferred to Kobe prison camp in Japan. Strangely enough, Blair has always had a desire to see Japan again, in peacetime, and hopes to go there with his wife some time in the future.
After returning home, via Okinawa and Manilla in October 1945, Blair was discharged from the A.I.F. and rejoined the Taxation Department, which by that time had been taken over by the Commonwealth. He was later transferred to Canberra where his diligence and qualities over the years resulted in his promotion to the position of Executive Officer in the Income Tax Branch of the Head Office of his Department, which position he still occupies."
The article then goes on to outline what a pillar Blair has been to the R.S.L. since he joined it in Sydney in 1946. He has held almost every known office in the West Canberra Sub-Branch and has, since its inception, been the Editor of the Sub-Branch magazine. His wife, June has also been a tower of strength on magazine and typing duties for the Sub-Branch. She and Blair has been blessed with three fine children, Jennifer, Joanne and David, of whom they are understandingly proud.
Blair is a playing member of the Canberra West Bowling Club, a member of the Queanbeyan Leagues Club and a Vice-President of the Woden Valley R.S.L Bowling & Recreation Club. In his younger days in Sydney he was a prominent Rugby footballer and, after giving up playing, took up refereeing for a number of years culminating in the A.C.T. Grand Final appointment in 1959.
Blair's health has, to some extent, troubled him in recent years and he has, from time to time, been under repatriation treatment. This has improved, however, since he took up bowls.
The many years of devoted service to his R.S.L. Sub-Branch, particularly as Sub-Branch Secretary and Magazine Editor, have endeared Blair to a host of friends and earned for him lasting gratitude from so many he has helped.
Welcome communications, mostly enclosing remittances of subs. or donations have been received from Garry Evans, A Coy., Phil Paget, B Coy., Wal Jones, HQ Coy., Harry Wilson, B Coy., and W. R. Jackson, B. Coy.
G.H. "Bluey" or, as he is more popularly known, "Changi" Aspinall, HQ Coy., turned up on Anzac Day. With him he had a pocketful of photos taken during P.O.W. days at Changi, Mount Pleasant and No. 3 Camp with F Force working party. Prior to returning to Sydney to live, "Changi" spent a number of years in Perth. Prior to that he lived in Woomera and Melbourne. He is now working in Sydney as an Electrical Supervisor with O'Donnell, Griffin & Co. Ltd. , with whom he has been continuously employed since he joined up with them in Woomera many years ago. "Blue" has a son, Robert, aged 19 who is an analytical chemist with CSIRO in Melbourne and a daughter, Evelyn, aged 16, who is employed with "Boans", the big department store in Perth. Welcome back to Sydney, "Blue". We hope to see more of you.
Steve Allardice, HQ Coy., marched on Anzac Day. Elsewhere in the march his son, Gregory, led the Trinity Grammar School Band as its Drum Major. Gregory, who is 17, is in 6th Form and is a Cadet Under-Officer in his school's cadet corps. Steve's other son, Stuart, aged 20, is a junior Commercial Trainee with Qantas.
OUR AFFLUENT ASSOCIATION (?)
The Association's finances are from malnutrition.
Partly as a result of a reminder in last "Makan" funds ($$) have come in fairly well, including a number of generous donations from Life Members.
However, don't let up, chaps! If you've any dollars to spare, send them Bess Ellis or Jack Boss and they'll be thankfully received.
We still need funds to ensure we won’t become undernourished... again!
The Annual Reunion will be held at Bathurst this year 22nd/23rd November.
It will be an historical event in the life of the 2/30th Bn. Association and, we expect, the greatest get-together we have ever had, particularly as we want you to bring your wives (one per man) as well.
We would expect that those interested would communicate as soon as possible with the pivotal man in their area who, in turn, would pass on pertinent information to Bruce Ford.
Once it is known who will be attending, arrangements can be made to avoid duplication of transport. Already we have had, through Jock Logan of the Gold Coast, details of air charter costs for chaps from that area direct to Bathurst.
Further enquiries are in train and your Committee will be meeting in a few days time after which special advices will be issued giving detailed information available.
The thing to do now is to make up your mind to attend the Reunion and to get cracking on organising to get yourself there.
It's going to be the best
ever so you've just got to be in it!