Makan – No. 187
Official Organ of the 2/30th Bn. A.I.F. Association
By the time you read this there will be a Lady Galleghan. The Old Man spoke a few days before he somewhat nervously faced the altar on Monday, 8th December.
"It gives me great pleasure on behalf of my future wife and myself to send to all members of the 2/30th Bn. Association and their wives and families our best wishes for the festive season.
I think 1969 has been one of the most momentous years since the War because we revisited Bathurst and those who were fortunate enough to be there were overjoyed with our reception from the people of Bathurst and from our mates.
Good luck to you all and God bless you. " President Arch Thorburn followed up by saying:
"The Bathurst reunion weekend was undoubtedly the most successful function we have ever organised. Credit for what happened at Bathurst goes to the President, Secretary and members of the Bathurst R.S.L. Credit for the large attendance of members and their families and for their billeting at Bathurst goes to Bob Jack, Ron Stoner and those they co-opted. So long as we have men of their calibre at the helm our Association will continue to go from strength to strength.
I extend warmest greetings to you and yours for the festive season and may good health and happiness go with you throughout the coming year. "
There were no complaints about the Bathurst reunion. Everything clicked to make it an outstanding success. The weather was perfect and the country, as Herb Pratley who has lived in Bathurst all his life, said, has never looked better.
It was truly a stupendous effort on the part of all those who had anything to do with the organisation. The greatest thanks must go to those efficient & generous spirits governing the R.S.L in Bathurst who contributed so much towards making the weekend the resounding success that it was.
To those who were fortunate enough to have seen this momentous weekend through to the pleasurable barbecue function it will always remain a classic.
The benefits of having 30 ladies enjoying the weekend with us added to the happiness of the occasion and did not appear to curtail the freedom of the fellows who wanted to yarn and have a few drinks together.
It was also a delight to be able to meet and talk with the Old Man's fiancée, Mrs. Persia Porter, known to many of us as the Honorary Divisional Commandant, Australian Red Cross Society, NSW Division. She has since become a very special personality to ALL of us. By marrying our Patron on 8th December she has become truly one of the 2/30th family.
Her graciousness at Bathurst certainly won our hearts and we have no trepidation at all in sincerely welcoming Lady Galleghan to our exclusive family.
Another embodiment of goodwill and service to our Battalion in the person of Herb Pratley, that grand old man who has tended our memorial cairn for so many years, we are also pleased to bring into the fold of our 2/30th Bn. Association. The presentation to him by Sir Frederick Galleghan of a set of Battalion cuff links at the barbecue function following the cairn service, sealed a friendship that has gained strength as more and more of us have learned to know and appreciate the very special qualities of Herb Pratley .
Over 130, including our ladies, enjoyed the momentous two days at Bathurst which culminated in an unforgettable barbecue luncheon on the banks of the Windburndale River - a truly fitting climax to a fast moving, inspiring and joyful weekend.
THE BATHURST PATTERN
These excerpts from the "Western Advocate", Bathurst's daily newspaper of 24th November, briefly cover the 1969 reunion activities:
"A permanent memorial honouring the members of the Eighth Division is to be erected in Bathurst. This was stated by the former Commanding Officer of the 2/30th Battalion and senior officer of the Division, Brigadier Sir Frederick Galleghan, DSO, OBE, ISO, ED. , in Bathurst on Saturday.
Sir Frederick was speaking at a civic reception tendered by the Mayor, Ald. J.C. Matthews, to former members of the battalion who participated in a series of reunion functions over the weekend.
In the early days of the War the battalion received several months training at the old military camp on the Limekilns Rd, before leaving for Malaya.
Features of the reunion included a street march and laying of a wreath at the War Memorial Carillon, a civic reception, a dinner at the R.S.L Club on Saturday night and a service and wreath laying ceremony at the Roadside Memorial Cairn on the Limekilns Rd.
More than 130 members of the battalion and their wives attended a barbecue lunch on the banks of the Windburndale as the final segment of the weekend's activities.
Amongst those in attendance at the reunion were members from Bethungra, Cobar, Cessnock, Broadbeach Q. , Woolgoolga, Bega, Fairymeadow, Coffs Harbour, Kempsey, Copmanhurst, Orange, Oberon, Berry, Narrandera, Condobolin, Coniston, Taralga, and Tottenham. District members present included Messrs. Bruce Pratt (Bathurst), John Haskins (Oberon) and Arthur Piper (Orange).
The wreath laying ceremony on Saturday was preceded by a march of the visitors to the War Memorial Carillon. Bathurst District R.S.L Band headed the ex-servicemen and Bugler Aub Deveson sounded the Last Post and Reveille.
A wreath, in honour of fallen comrades, was laid by Mr. Arch Thorburn, president of the 2/30th Bn. Association. Brigadier Galleghan accompanied Mr. Thorburn to the steps of the Carillon. Standard bearer was Mr. Bob Jack.
At the civic reception in the City Hall, a group of more than 200 was welcomed by the Mayor, Ald. Matthews. Mr. Thorburn referred to the great affection men of the 2/30th Bn. have for the city of Bathurst and its residents.
He made particular mention of CUSA and other welfare organisations which operated in the old Howick St. Public School, providing amenities for servicemen.
In his welcome, Ald. Matthews said that Bathurst's streets were not as lively now as when hundreds of servicemen spent their leisure time in the city during their training period at the former camp. Ald. Matthews said that the thoughts of Bathurst's people were with the men of the 2/30 Bn. when they were fighting gallantly in the Malayan campaign.
"Even though defeated their spirits were undaunted," Ald. Matthews said. "They were to undergo further hardships in the prison camps and on the Burma-Thailand Railway. As a result 270 men were never to return to these shores. "
The Mayor said that friendships were formed in the heat of battle and the desperation of defeat, and Bathurst was proud to have former members of the unit back again to celebrate their reunion. Ald. Matthews promised every support to the association in the erection of a permanent memorial to the 8th Division.
He invited individual members of the gathering to make suggestions for a proposed memorial site, mentioning the Court House grounds, the City Hall or Kings Parade.
Mr. C. G. Osborne, Member for Bathurst, supported Ald. Matthews in his welcome. Mr. Osborne said that the legend of the unit's commanding officer, Brigadier Galleghan, did not end with the cessation of hostilities. Referring to the lessons of the past war, Mr. Osborne said that there was an obligation on those who had served to bring the message to the younger generation. "You do not have to do this in a boastful manner, " Mr. Osborne added, "but in a quiet way so that the young people will know what everything was all about."
Replying to the welcome, Brigadier Galleghan said he was particularly grateful to the citizens of Bathurst for extending the hand of welcome to members of his association. He said that when learning to be soldiers at the Bathurst camp. his men had become familiar with every blade of grass and tree in the countryside. He commended the citizens for the friendship and understanding extended during those days.
In relation to the erection of a permanent memorial, Brigadier Galleghan said that senior officers of the Eighth Division had not thought it expedient for such to be placed in a remote spot where it would be subject to vandalism.
With this in view, it was proposed to place it in the city of Bathurst where it would be protected.
Mr. Thorburn, in concluding the welcome, said that it was just on 30 years ago, when the 2/30th Bn descended on Bathurst and members were treated with tolerance and understanding. "
The health of BOB DICKSON, H.Q. Coy, (New Lambton) has been below par for the past 10 months following treatment at Concord. He has lately had to give up work permanently. Because of poor health he missed the reunion but sent along best wishes to all.
GEORGE STEPHENSON, H.Q. Coy, formerly a Cost & Production Clerk with A.C.I. Metal Stamping Co., a subsidiary of Australian Consolidated Industries, has retired and moved to Mollymook, a pleasant but quiet beach resort on the South Coast just beyond Bateman's Bay. There he expects to keep himself occupied mainly with gardening, golf and fishing. He sent regards to the Old Man and members of the Bn. at the reunion which he regretted he could not attend.
STEWART BLOW, H.Q. Coy, (Berry) and his wife, Ruth, were at the reunion. They are no strangers to Bathurst where they occasionally visit daughter Barbara who is school teaching there. Their other daughter, Sue, is with the Commercial Banking Co., in Sydney. There may not be as much activity in the big house at Berry without the girls around, but we know that Stewart & Ruth have many irons in the fire and would be fully occupied with town activities and other absorbing interests.
TED SKUSE, A Coy, and his family came to Bathurst on Sunday for the day, to attend the cairn service and barbecue lunch. Ted suffered the loss of his father a few weeks previously. Our sympathy is extended to him in his bereavement.
KEVIN WARD was pleased to renew acquaintances with Neil Huntley's wife, Molly, at the barbecue lunch. Molly, who served overseas as an army nurse, was a nursing sister at Concord in 1947 when Kevin was undergoing plastic surgery.
NORM THORLEY, H.Q. Coy, and wife have moved from Hurlstone Park to Surfers' Paradise, Jock Logan and Norm, both of whom came from Narrabri, have much in common and no doubt will be seeing quite a deal of each other from now on.
Amongst those who recently sent in subs were JACK GRAHAM (South Grafton) and BILL HUMPHREY (Armidale).
We are pleased to welcome GEORGE OSMOND, C Coy, as a new member of our Association. George, who has not had robust health for quite some years, moved from Gloucester to Sydney about 7 years ago and is living at Tregear, a new suburb in the Mt. Druitt area. His eldest son Kenneth, 22 has been with the 6th Royal Australian Regiment in Vietnam since last May. Son, Geoffrey, (13) has just completed first year at Mt. Druitt High School and like his Dad is a keen sportsman, showing up particularly well in R. L. football and cricket. Only daughter Michele, is 10 and the baby of the family, Ross, is 7.
At the time of going to press we had only two from our Bn. in Concord, namely:
John McDonald, D Coy., George Osmond, C Coy.
Both are in Ward 17. John has been there for about 6 weeks and George was admitted in the second week in December.
Since the last "Makan", the undermentioned have been discharged:
Norman ("Mick") Cutler, Ross Hutton, Charlie Irwin, William Perry, Ashby Jones, Tom Rockett, Bernie McMahon, and Ted Rickard.
Mick Cutler became a grandfather on the day he was discharged.
The Bathurst District R.S.L Band won loud praise from those of us who marched to the Bathurst War Memorial Carillon for the wreath laying. The band comprised of a number of returned men with a good sprinkling of youthful players and was a delight to march to. We started off on the correct foot and, surprisingly, did not have to change step once.
Fourteen former officers of the Bn. attended the reunion. It was good to see such strong support from such an important section of our old Bn. We were also delighted to have the company of Ron Eaton's son at the cairn service and barbecue lunch. Warwick, in his late teens, attends "Scots" in Bathurst. He seemed at home with fellows of the Bn. on the Windburndale flats and fittingly represented his parents. They should be proud of him. We were.
We are grateful to Jack Gunning of the Bathurst newspaper "Western Advocate" for sending us a batch of papers covering the Bn. reunion and for the photographs of the march and wreath laying ceremony.
The barbecue on the banks of the Windburndale was the most pleasurable experience of the reunion weekend - a fitting finale to a great Bn. gathering.
Here on the freshly mown grassy flats of the swiftly flowing rivulet, a setting fit for Gods, were tables set out under brightly coloured beach umbrellas. Army tarpaulins sheltered the bar and barbecue and from a portable servery ladies of the R.S.L Auxiliary served out delectable food which was washed down with copious draughts of cold beer, cordials and cups of tea.
We were guests of Herb Pratley, the owner of the property, and the generous hearted folk of Bathurst R.S.L.
What mighty hosts they were!
This barbecue will go down in the minds of members of the Bn. fortunate enough to be present as one of the most satisfying experiences of a lifetime, and to their children who were there as amongst the best Huckleberry Finn country they have played in for many a long day.
We had to literally tear ourselves away from this rapturous setting to wend our way homewards.
Thank you, Bathurst, for such an experience.
Although unable to get along to the Reunion for various reasons marriage of sons, harvest and the like, several fellows sent along donations to Bob Jack to help defray expenses. Their thoughtfulness was appreciated.
THE REUNION DINNER
The dinner held in the luxurious air conditioned comfort of the R.S.L Club auditorium was a most pleasurable and memorable experience.
Including guests and 30 wives of members, 130 enjoyed the pre-dinner drinks and sat down to a delectable 8-to-a-table dinner.
Our President, Arch Thorburn, in his opening remarks, expressed delight to see so many present and extended a special welcome to the ladies and distinguished guests.
He continued: "We have an expression in the law to the effect that when you are sending to somebody a document which they have not seen before and you want to get their opinion of it, you send it to them for perusal and approval. Well, tonight we have brought along for your perusal and approval the future Lady Galleghan." Then, turning to Mrs. Porter he said, "May I say, Ma'am, on behalf of the Battalion, and speaking as one who knew and loved Vera Galleghan, we have perused and we approve. May you and Sir Frederick have many happy years together. However, I sound this note of warning. You may have to share him with us. "
Arch then went on to pay tribute to the work of those who organised the reunion from the Sydney end and the outstanding work done at the Bathurst end by the local R.S.L President, Clive Osborne, M. L. A. , and his able team headed by that master of detail, Col Watson, Secretary/Manager of the Bathurst R.S.L Club. He further expressed appreciation to men of the 9th Division who voluntarily acted as stewards in the serving of drinks before and during dinner. The good work of Bill Clayton in the printing of the menu and order of service cards was also commented upon, as was the stirling work of the R.S.L Ladies' Auxiliary who waited on us during the dinner.
Ald. J.N. McGrath (Deputy Mayor) in responding to the welcome said Bathurst was proud to do honour to Sir Frederick and to Mrs. Porter who is a personality well known to Bathurst. He expressed the pleasure of the City Council because Bathurst had been selected as the venue for the reunion and welcomed all present on behalf of the citizens.
He evoked applause when he declared that by the time the unit holds another reunion at Bathurst it could have been declared the State capital.
Councillor M. H. Locke, President of the Turon Shire, in his response congratulated the unit for holding its reunion in Bathurst and remarked that functions such as this consolidate friendships. He expressed the hope that this would not be the last occasion we would foregather in Bathurst.
The Toast to Fallen Comrades was proposed by Des Duffy who recalled the names of two men - L/Sgt Athol Nagle, the first man from the unit killed in action, and S/Sgt Jimmy Peebles who died after returning to Australia. He asked those present to bring to their minds others in the Bn. close to their hearts who had passed on during or since the War and to specially remember them during the reciting of The Ode by Phil Schofield and when honouring the Toast.
The Toast of the Evening, that of The Regiment, was in the hands of Ian Pryce.
He described a Regiment as a body of soldiers cemented by common ideals, motivated by the same things, men who have known tragedy, excitement and adventure. Men who have joined together in sorrow and laughter.
In referring to the 2/30 Bn. he stated we were and are absolute in our loyalty to the Crown and in service to our country.
He said: "A Regiment just doesn't come into existence. It has to be born, nurtured and developed and ours saw the light of day at Tamworth where, in the Showground and training areas, we has as a midwife a soldier named Galleghan. And what a midwife!
"There, as men came together and had to have confidence in themselves and in their commander, the spirit of the Regiment grew. By the time we arrived in Bathurst we were certain we were the best Regiment in the 8th Division and almost the best in the A.I.F.
"We proved ourselves overseas. We were in a losing campaign but we were never beaten. They weren't beaten men who walked into the prison camps, nor were they beaten men who came out of those camps.
Sustained by the spirit of the Bn. and the knowledge that we belong to something better than ourselves, we have kept together in battle, captivity and in civilian life."
Ian then mentioned the names of some of the men who formed the Bn. and helped build its spirit. He talked about Jim Russell, Cliff Bayliss, little Billie Liddell, of Lofty Ambrose, Wally Bell, Ken Reid and Reg Ellis. He mentioned the wives, the children and the girls of the men of the Regiment and said, "They are part of the Regiment, too."
He welcomed Mrs. Porter into the fellowship and companionship of the Bn., talked of the living members of the Regiment - Arch Thorburn, Stan Arneil, Harry Collins, Jackie Boss, Reg Napper "that incomparable soldier", and others. Of the men of the Bn. who have joined Legacy and the wonderful job they have done.
In concluding Ian said, "At the head of them is the man of whom we are very proud, who was present at the Regiment's birth, Frederick Gallagher Galleghan, the great Australian patriot. The man who has become a legend in his own lifetime."
Replying to the toast, Sir Frederick firstly thanked those present for their acceptance and approval of Mrs. Porter. In lighter vein he said: "You know, she has been commanding women for 20 years. I've been commanding men for longer. The great problem of who commands who will be settled in a couple of weeks. "
Referring to the future he talked of the Bn. spirit and asked whether the reflection of that spirit is getting through to young Australia. He said that a tremendous responsibility rested on those whose duty it. was to instil into boys and girls the spirit that motivated the Regiment in war and in peace.
He then referred to two memorable personalities and in reminiscent mood gave us some interesting sidelights on our Tamworth and Bathurst training days. These facts are historical and will be reported in a later "Makan".
The Old Man spoke at length and space does not permit us to quote him in full. Here are a few snippets taken from his oration:
"You know Ian Pryce, in referring to the Bn. , mentioned loyalty. Was there ever any Bn. with greater loyalty to itself than the 2/30th? The purple and gold meant a lot to us."
"What makes a Bn. tick? I feel that our Bn. was created into the fighting force that it was because we were selective. Don't forget this.
"We transferred practically 300 men out of the 2/3oth to get the Bn. we took away. "
"Yes! The Japanese have said we fought with a bravery not previously experienced in the campaign, and if you have read another book, by Russell Roberts, you will have learned what was thought of Australian troops from the British angle - 'How the 2/30th covered itself with glory at Simpang Rengam.' I have always considered the Simpang Rengam battle as the greatest battle this Bn. ever fought. "
"Then we became prisoners. I think that to fight the Japanese in the passive way we did was just as meritorious as fighting them in battle. "
The Old Man concluded by saying we all owe a responsibility to those who did not return.
"Search your consciences - are we carrying out that responsibility?" He asked, "Are we passing on our own experiences, our own pride, to our children, to our widows, and are we passing on to Australia what we learned and what we are?"
WREATH LAYING AT ROAD CAIRN
"Despite developments in the fields of science and technology in which men were being sent to the moon, no economic plan had been evolved to feed the world's starving millions. "
This was stated by Cr. M.H. Locke, President of Turon Shire Council, in an address at the roadside cairn, commemorating the departure of men of the Bathurst Camp to participate in the Malayan campaign during World War 2.
A gathering of about 200 witnessed a wreath laying ceremony at the cairn and a memorial to men of the Ninth Division on the opposite side of the road. Wreaths were laid by Cr. Locke on behalf of the Turon Shire Council Mr. C. Osborne (R.S.L) ; Mr. A. J. Thorburn (2/30th Bn) and Brigadier Sir Frederick Galleghan (8th Div.)
Two Bathurst residents, Mr. J. T. Woolfe and Mr. C. Hollingsworth, placed a wreath on the memorial for Mr. Jack Logan, in memory of his comrades, Charlie Annand, Dick Lumby, Alf Stone and Ken Lindsay. All of these played District football with Bathurst League during their stay in Bathurst Camp.
Prayers were offered by Archdeacon Ellis (Kelso parish), Bathurst District R.S.L Band led the gathering in the singing of a hymn, and Bugler Aub Deveson sounded the Last Post and Reveille.
President of the 2/30th Bn. Association, Mr. Arch Thorburn, expressed appreciation to the Turon Shire Council, Bathurst members of the Ninth Division and Mr. Herb Pratley for the interest shown in the care of the memorials.
Cr. Locke paid tribute to the men of the AIF who had done so much to preserve the Christian way of life. He spoke of the present times which had brought prosperity to some and wretchedness to others.
"No longer can you ignore the cries of the hungry in a world of plenty," Cr. Locke declared. "It is not only a problem for the Governments, which are the masses in miniature. It is the individual who can ensure greatness and goodness in just causes. "
Cr. Locke said that not only would the memory of the men of the 2/30th Battalion live on, but their deeds would illuminate the future.
The Mayor of Bathurst, Ald. J.C. Matthews, supported the remarks of Cr. Locke.
Following the reading of the 99th Psalm by Mr. Ron Stoner, Brigadier Galleghan spoke briefly to those assembled. He paid tribute to the Bathurst City Council and Turon Shire Council in facilitating the "return pilgrimage" of former members of the 2/30th.
Mr. C.G. Osborne offered full cooperation of the Bathurst R.S.L in the preservation of the monuments, and any other monument under consideration. "
(extract from "Western Advocate")
Overheard at Bathurst:
Well known member of HQ Coy (Tom Nixon) to Mrs. Porter -
"By Gawd, if you don't look after our Old Man we'll rouse on you!" Mrs. Porter to well known member - "If I don't look after him you CAN rouse on me'. "
GEMAS DAY - WEDNESDAY, 14th JANUARY, 1970, SYDNEY
This ceremony held annually in remembrance of our Fallen Comrades is a very special occasion to members of the 2/30th Bn.
Note the date in your diary now and make it your business to phone at least one of your mates and invite him to join you at the 1970 ceremony.
Time of Assembly: 6.30 p.m. on the GPO steps opposite the Cenotaph.
Time of Wreath Laying: 7.00 p.m.
After the ceremony we will retire to The Combined Services Club, Barrack Street, for a yarn and some refreshments.
Bring your wife and adult sons & daughters along with you.
Editor Ron Stoner would, at this time, like to thank those who devote considerable time and effort towards the production and distribution of our Bn. paper.
Notably our beloved Bessie Ellis, her daughter, Cecilie Boss, and our esteemed printers, Northside Duplicating Service. To them, to those who write in about themselves and their families (God bless them!) and to all members of the Association, may the .Joy, the Peace and the Blessings of Christmas be yours.