Makan No. 246
Official Journal 2/30 Bn. A.I.F. Association
Subscription Rate for Makan for both Life and Annual Members per year: $1.50
Registered for Posting as Periodical: Category A
Dates for your Diary
25th April 1979 -
11th Aug. 1979 -
Other dates in August (not yet known)
14th Oct 1979 -
Kevin Ward reports that those who have been discharged from Hospital, since last report and as at 29/3/79 are:
Keith Chapman, Des Duffy, "Lofty" Gersbach, Wally Jordan, Tom Kennedy, Don MacIver, Hilton McLaren, "Digger" Preen, Phil Schofield, Jack ("Curly") Simpson, Harry Wilson, George Winchester.
Will Members and Wives please let Kevin Ward know of an admittance to Hospital. Phone (Bus) 2 0922 or Home 642 3932, or alternatively Garry Evans, Phone 747 2237, or Alex Dandie, Phone - 85 1017.
Concord Hospital, in particular, is no longer a reserved hospital for Repat. Patients only. It has been transferred to the State Health Commission; it is a Teaching Hospital and all sick are being admitted. Its Computer Print-Out will NOT include the detail that you belong to the 2/30 Bn, unless you see that the Admission Clerk NOTES THAT on your admittance card. It will be NO good to have it recorded as ARMY, that will lose you just as much as to let yourself be shown as an ordinary patient.
As Local M.O.'s can have you admitted to Local or Base Hospitals, near to your home, instead of to Concord, please let us know in Sydney, if such is done in your case.
Remembrance at Cenotaph, Martin Plaza, Sydney, 13 Feb. 1979, as arranged by 8 Div. and Services Associates Council.
The Battalion was represented at this short Remembrance Service by Noel Johnston, who delivered the address, Ron Maston, who laid a wreath for the Battalion, Alan Pryde, Bruce Ford and Jack Black, Ken Crispin, together with Mrs Janet Johnston and Mrs Betty Pryde.
Noel Johnston has sent me the notes of his address:
"This evening - We, 8th Div and its Service Associates are gathered at the Cenotaph to commemorate our Dead.
"The numbers of those Killed or Died in Battle - 1,789. Far greater numbers as Ps.O.W. - 7,777
Since 1945 - the last 33½ years - many more thousands. In the 1st World War there were 60,000 dead, in the 2nd World War 40,000; altogether 100,000, whom we honour as our Dead and mourn as our 'Mates'.
"Since 1942 many books have been written about the Malaya Campaign, and the Fall of Singapore. There has been much argument and speculation, but I do not want to enter into that.
"Tonight I want to tell you why I am proud to say that I served Australia in the 8 Div.
"Just as it happened in 1940 with the British Army in France, where many thousands of British Troops, defending the Bridgehead around Dunkirk beaches had eventually to finish the War in German P.O.W. Camps, so it was that the 8 Div. - spread across the North of Australia from Rabaul on the East, to Ambon, Timor and Malaya on the West - had eventually to finish the War as Jap Ps.O.W.
"In both cases, the big battle was for time. Did we succeed? The answer is a resounding YES - We did succeed.
"Firstly our initial dispositions forced a great dispersion of enemy strength, to deal first with the defended positions occupied by the 8 Div.
"The subsequent time spent on consolidation and preparations for further advance took the Japs until September 1942 to complete.
"Thus it was that the Australian Force at Milne Bay in Sept. 1942 was strong enough to repulse the enemy attack, aimed at capturing that jumping off place for an attack on Port Moresby and later on Australia itself.
"Secondly, the time lost by the enemy in using the Kokoda Trail to get at Port Moresby, was used by Australia to get the 6th, 7th, and 9th Divisions back from the Middle East.
"Japan never reached the Southern Coasts of New Guinea. It never landed a single soldier on Australian soil (under Japanese own control).
"So - It was our fighting in those 'Forlorn Hopes' to the north of Australia that saved Australia from enemy landings in its own coasts early in 1942 - and gave Australia time to build up the strength necessary for the tremendous counter offensive, that was launched ultimately alongside our American Allies.
"Therefore let us all take pride in the fact that the 8th Div. did the job that was set for it to do. It was face to face with the enemy every single day until the War ended.
"Proudly we look back to a great achievement. Sadly, we see before us many faces of 'That Great Sacrifice' of Gallant Men. We join together and say again:
"WE WILL REMEMBER THEM"
Is It Later Than You Think?
Members will remember that in "MAKAN" No 241 your scribe used the above heading. We deliberately repeat it.
We have received a copy of the 8 Div Sigs' News-Sheet of last month and have their permission to quote an article in it.
"Your Committee has been concerned at the general cutback in some benefits by the Federal Govt.; T.B. Pensions etc. as well as the non-acceptance of heart trouble generally, and your President has had a discussion with the Deputy Commissioner of Dept. of Veterans' Affairs on the question of acceptance of disabilities, generally and his reply is as follow:
“A feature of the Repatriation system is that the veteran or his dependant is given every opportunity to explain, in his own words, the reason, why he feels, the disability, he has claimed, is related to his war service. This ensures that the determining authority has all the facts before it and may also mean that the benefit of any doubt can be extended to the claimant.
“It is, therefore, important that, during his lifetime, a veteran submit a claim for any disability, which he feels can be related to his war service. The veteran is the only person, who really knows the detail of his service during the war and, indeed, he may well be able to describe happenings that, for many reasons, would not appear in the service records and, which may have a relationship to his present disability.
“I am sure you will realise that on the death of a veteran, it is often difficult for his widow to be able to give details of his war service and this may well act to her detriment in relation to the claim. I know of many cases, where the ex-serviceman could well have claimed for disabilities, during his lifetime, but failed to do so, making it exceedingly difficult at times for his widow to present all the facts.
"In view of this reply, says Sig. Committee, it is in the interest of all, especially your dependants, for you to document your history or submit a claim.
There you have the advice of the Deputy Commissioner for Veterans' Affairs. Please take heed of it. Do not leave it too late. You are receiving medical treatment under the Ex-Ps.O.W. Free Treatment through the Dept. of Veteran Affairs, but how many of you have bothered to get on file happenings as Ps.O.W., happenings, in which you played a part, and asked your M.O. to state his opinion on how that event or the circumstances of the time may have affected your illnesses and so may be claimable under the Repatriation Act. You do not have to pay the fee of any specialist. If your local M.O. is of the opinion that a disability, from which you are suffering, is due to or attributable to your War Service from enlistment till demobilisation and, if he is prepared to put his opinion and grounds for it on paper, for you to submit it with your claim, you will have taken the first step towards not being too late.
Remember TIME is the essence of ALL Claims. Do NOT let it run out for you or your dependants.
The Greatest March Of All
"Digger" Preen has told your scribe that this poem, which appeared in last "MAKAN", was written by Tom Higgins (Corporal Pioneer Platoon): that Tom, who died at Sonkurai No 1 on 27/5/43 composed it on 23/11/1942 at Caldecott Hill Camp, while on the "Shrine" Job. So Ernie McNiven may note his Scrapbook with the name of the author of that poem and these other details.
Anzac Day -- Our Tribute to those no longer with us.
Assembly Point, as in last few years, in Elizabeth St. between King St. and Martin Place,
Noel Johnston will not lead the Battalion this year, as he is to attend an Anzac Commemoration at the Corso at Manly,
Rod Anderson will be in Sydney, down from Queensland; he will be at the March and will lead the Battalion.
After the March has concluded, the Get-Together will be at the Ex-Ps.O.W. Rooms, 101/5 Clarence St. on the Harbour Bridge side of Erskine St., and immediately behind the old Erskine St Police Station, opposite the Cosmopolitan Hotel. A few tables will have been set aside for the Battalion in those rooms, as in the last two years.
Hylton Collins tells me that some of B Coy are to join together for lunch at "Shanghai Village", Dixon Street at 12 Noon (this Eating place opens at 11.30 am) and from there join the rest of the Battalion at the Ex-Ps.O.W. Rooms. Other B Coy not previously contacted, are asked to join them.
Anzac Day at Bathurst
Jack Maclay has volunteered to be one of the Battalion representatives at Bathurst for the City's Commemorative Services, from the Dawn Service to the Sunset Service, including the Service at the Battalion Cairn in Limekilns Rd opposite the Camp Gates. He will be going up on Tuesday by train, returning on the Thursday.
We need some other Volunteers to be with him there, from near Country Centres or the City. Anyone, who will do so, please get in touch with Bruce Ford, 8 Joan St. Hurstville, 2220 (phone 50--8936), so that he may advise the Bathurst R.S.L. beforehand.
List of Deceased Members of the Battalion
A List of Deceased Members of the Battalion is included with this "MAKAN"; however your scribe is not able to say that all the information is correct. It is felt, that, whilst we list 657 names, there may be others, whose death has not come to our notice. Our Roll shows 222 Members of the Battalion, as being out of touch. Some of those 222 may have passed on.
It will be apparent that we have not exact details in a few cases. If you can fill us in on such details, please write in, so that we may make necessary adjustments.
Battalion Bowls Day At Bankstown R.S.L. Bowling Club
Sunday, 14th October, is the day set aside by the Bankstown RSL Bowling Club, on their fixture list, for the friendly competition between the Club and the Battalion for the "B.J." Memorial Shield, with the usual arrangements of a Morning Game.
Kevin Ward says that he mentioned it at the Lismore Reunion and there is a possibility that a team may come down from the Far North Coast with "Joe" Johnston, although not a bowler himself, constituting himself as "Manager" to urge their attendance.
Kevin would like to see other Country Bowlers come down, there are several on the Coast and some down in the Riverina, so if you are interested, please let Kevin know and he will see to which of your mates in the City, will be able to put you up for the Saturday night, wives would be welcome, because the Bankstown Club's invitation, to sit down to a Smorgasbord Luncheon after the game, is extended to the team supporters, as well as the players.
Next Of Kin Deaths
Whilst we have not been notified of the deaths of any of the Members of the Battalion, several of them have had deaths in their families and, where known, we have extended to them our sympathy, on your behalf:
Mavis Jackson, Ossie's wife, lost her mother, Mrs Elizabeth Wright, on 9th January last at the age of 81 years.
"Doover" Gordon Brown lost his wife in the second week of March after a long period of sickness.
Darcy Pickard's brother, Leslie, died on 7th March. He was only 57, when he passed on.
Jack Boss's Mother died on 2nd March at the age of 90 years. She had been in a Convalescent Hospital for some time. Your scribe attended the Cremation Service at the Eastern Suburbs Crematorium on behalf of the Battalion. Bessie Ellis told me that she had been a very willing worker for the 2/30 Bn Comforts Fund through the War years from the time of the establishment of the Fund.
The History of the 30 Bn A.I.F. (First World War) our sister Battalion was published in 1938. One of the applicants for a copy of the reprint of our own Battalion History, "Galleghan's Greyhounds", Mr Ian Hamilton, 3 MacNamara Road; Cromer, 2099, is the son of one of the Members of that 30 Bn 1st AIF, No 184, Lt. Frank A. Hamilton. His Dad had a copy of that History. It has come to Ian, as the only returned chap in his family - as he had served in Malaya during the emergency 1954/5 with the RAAF, and Ian has made a donation of it to the Association in memory of his father. In due course it will be held by the 17 Royal New South Wales Regiment, "A" Coy, as the successors to that 30 Bn, AIF and our 2/30 Bn AIF in its library. The History was called "Purple and Gold".
The book was rebound and placed on one of the tables at the Gemas Day Commemoration in January, so that those present might be able to look at it. A resultant conversation with Lt. Col. Liese, who is now C.O. of the Royal NSW Regt., revealed that the Regiment has not a copy of "Galleghan's Greyhounds" in its library, an omission, which was to be discussed at the next Executive Meeting.
It happened that Mrs Bell, Mother of L/Cpl Wally Bell, A Company, on "F" Force and who died on 15/12/43 at Kanburi No 1, had written between 14th January and the holding of the next Executive Meeting, to say that, if any one of the Battalion, who was without a copy of the History, wished, she was prepared to let them have her copy. Your scribe asked Mrs Bell, if she was prepared to let her copy be given to the Association, in like manner to the other History of the 30 Bn 1st A.I.F. She has agreed to this proposal and it will be held as a memorial for Wally Bell.
Reprint of "Galleghan's Greyhounds"
It is regretted that Printing Firm troubles have delayed being able to let you have the reprint before this. The set-up or paste-out of the book for the offset printing has had to be taken apart and set up again in order that the work may be put on a smaller machine. Progress is being made. The reprint will be issued but, as one of our fellow members is doing this artwork in his spare time at home, in order to keep the price within the figure quoted to you; it will be some time yet before we will know, when we may tell you that the book is ready.
We have to thank you for your forbearance up to now and ask for some additional grace, please.
Far North Coast Ex-Ps.O.W. Association Reunion at Lismore.
This Reunion, held on 17th February last is reported to have been very successful, although numbers were said to be not as great as in previous years.
Kevin Ward and "Joe" Geoghegan, together with Dorothy and Georgina attended from the 'Big Smoke', whilst there was a very good representation of 2/30 chappies, a great attraction being that Paddy Walsh was guest speaker.
Tom Davis tells me, that he and Marj attended and had a great time renewing acquaintances, including here several of his best mates; which included "Dadda" (Alex) Olley and Ossie Jackson, and again, he met some of the men, whom he had not seen at all since coming home.
He says, "It is remarkable how some can remember one by different points or by recalling an incident, in which both had been involved. He quotes Tom Nixon, who, when Tom met him, said "Of course I remember you, you were a very fresh faced chap", and Tom acknowledges that he had that appearance and that would have been, he supposes, how he might have been best known in those days.
Tom also says, "Paddy Walsh made a great hit with everyone present, and the comment by the Chairman, when he said, 'I had not met Paddy until tonight, but now I know, why he was the best loved Padre in the Second World War.' showed it.
"Paddy spoke of the lighter side of our days, making the point that no doubt the worst features was our loss of freedom.
"Ossie Jackson was in fine form, when he thanked Padre and told something of his work; particularly whilst on "F" Force and, of course, Ossie just had to finish up with one of his famous jokes.
"A really great night."
Tom Grant, as reported on other pages, took two of his daughters and one son-in-law to the Reunion and they, as well as he and Norma enjoyed the evening.
Ernie McNiven and Phyl were there, in fact, they hosted Paddy Walsh for the weekend, and, as Mac had not seen Kevin or "Joe" since we arrived home, their presence added to his enjoyment of the night.
Kevin Ward reported that he had had a wonderful time. It was an eventful trip for him and Dorothy on the Moto-Rail, since one of the carriages had blown its motor near Strathfield; the train was put on to the loop at Strathfield, but evidently the damage could not be fixed there, as, on moving on they were sidetracked into the marshalling yards at Hornsby; to Kevin these reminded him of the Railway yards at Bampong.
They did not leave Hornsby until 10 o'clock and arrived at Lismore at 1 o'clock. "Joe" Johnston was there to meet them but the usual ritual was scrubbed, they did not go down to Ballina for the Sat. morning gathering of 2/30th chaps or call on Lismore folk, Harry Teasdale and Eva Standing. "Joe" was also meeting a friend from Clovelly, up for RSL Meetings, which meant that "Joe" would have to be absent on the Sunday at an RSL District Council Meeting at Murwillumbah, as he was the President of that Council and had been so for the last 9 years.
Kevin and Dorothy are so well known to the proprietor of the Motel, at which they are used to staying over the weekend, that they are welcomed as one of the family and, in fact, do get No 1 treatment with rooms. Kevin told them that "Joe" and Georgina would be along, when the plane came in and went off to the Workers' Club for lunch, as it was reputed to be one of the best in the State. There they were joined by "Joe” and Georgina, and their lateness was no cause for trouble, in fact, they were welcomed, as soon as it was known that they'd come up from Sydney.
The Reunion was a knife and fork job in the RSL Club. It was noticeable that there were a lot of young folk. Kevin took it that they might have been sons or daughters of some Ps.O.W., now dead. He also commented that he thought that numbers were down.
At the wreath-laying Ceremony at the Cenotaph before the Dinner, the bugler was Monty South, an old boy of the Marist Bro College at Lismore. He has been the bugler ever since the War but now only does it for the P.O.W. Reunion.
Kevin was pleased to see one of his old 2/3rd Bn Reinforcement men of Manilla Road days, Angus McFalbyn, who ended up in the 2/2 Bn and had been taken P.O.W. by the Germans in Crete. His memory being awakened by the happenings of the weekend, Kev mentioned that, on the day, that he went down to Broadmeadow to enlist, there were 120 altogether from Lismore.
The usual Sunday Barbeque for 2/30th was held at Lennox Head this year, and was as popular as ever.
News, Views, And Who's Who's
Des Gee - 20 Evans St. Moonee Ponds, 3039 - HQ Coy, Carriers
Des glories in the fact that he is now retired, "Retirement has meant I can do many things and go places that I did not have time to do before. I feel all the better for it and have not been so fit for years. I even won a golf tournament, which I have been trying to win for years. Beat all the young blokes.
"My good wife also retired, so we can both settle down to the easy life.
All the best to all the old boys,
Tom Hellmrich - 22/140 Addison Rd. Manly, 2095 B Coy
We're all getting old, but won't give up. Here's another, "I've been retired for a few years and now live over-looking the beach at Manly. A daily surf helps me keep fit - also fortunately my health is quite O.K., and I can still manage a glass or two.
"Kindest regards to all, Tom."
Frank Sullivan - 30 Argyle Place, Millers Point, 2000 - B Coy
Olga has written in on Frank's behalf, thank you, Olga, and says, "Frank has been out of touch, as we have been travelling the country side for his work. We were first at Young, then Canberra and lastly Griffith, being there this time last year. What a hot place it is. Frank was out working in it and by the time that we came home he had just about had it. He was very tired. The building game is not an easy one. We had a holiday for a month, then he started at Rhodes and has been there ever since.
"Last October Frank had a bad turn and was taken to Hospital at Concord by ambulance. He had severe pains in the chest and they told him it was a warning, so that he ought to slow up. "Hoping that the boys are keeping the best of health in the circumstances that they are in, and enjoying life.
"Yours sincerely, Olga."
Ray Ferry - P.O. Box 96, Campbelltown, 2560, - B Coy
A very brief note from Ray, but he appears to be keeping Well. He looked as huge as ever at the Annual Reunion in Nov.
Bruce Pratt - 94 Mitre St.
Bathurst, 2795 - D Coy
Some Members may remember that for a few years now there has been mention in the report of the party, which goes to Bathurst on Anzac Days, in order to take part in their Anzac Day ceremonies, of the placing of a wreath on the Battalion's Cairn in Limekiln's Road, the card on the wreath showing that it was in memory of John Sandry, but that no-one had ever been able to talk with the lady, who has been seen to place the wreath.
Your scribe asked Bruce Pratt, if he might be able to get any clues. The Electoral Roll for Bathurst and Blayney had listed that there were two people of the name of 'Sandry' in Bathurst and another two families over in Blayney.
Bruce has been able to make a report of success, "I have been away from Bathurst for the past two months, so have had not much time to attend to the 'Chore' for you.
"I was able to find a sister of John A. Sandry, Mrs Ray Lloyd of 12 Ophir Street, Bathurst. Mr. and Mrs Lloyd showed me a number of photographs and items, which John had sent home during his service. They informed me that John lost a leg on 4th Feb 1942 (The Nominal Roll says that he was wounded in action (Accident) 24/1/42, which would make it somewhere about Ayer Hitam or Simpang Rengam); was repatriated from Singapore on 10th February (again the records shows from 10th A.G.H.) most probably, as you suggest, on the same craft as myself and was buried at sea on the 13th Feb 1942, before the vessel reached Batavia.
"Mr. and Mrs Lloyd place the wreath on the Cairn. each Anzac Day. I will look out for them next Anzac Day, especially so if anybody from "A" Coy, who may have known John, is present."
Fred Campbell - D.O.I. Kanburi No 1. 3/12/1943.
Bruce Pratt has also advised that Fred's Mother died at the age of 101 yrs last September. Again the nature of his job with the Commonwealth Dept. of Works, with his absences from Bathurst, has been the cause of learning of this only now.
Mrs Campbell was the last of 11 children of George and Agnes Wood and was born at Inverell in 1877. Mr. Wood, a shopkeeper at Inverell, was that town's third Mayor. With his family he later took up a 20,000 acre property on the Darling River between Bourke and Brewarrina. The next move was to Narromine, at which town he was engaged in soap-making.
After Mrs Campbell married, she and her husband, George came to Bathurst, where he entered into partnership in the boot making business of Campbell and Wootton in William St. Bathurst.
Mr. Campbell was a director of the former Bathurst "National Advocate" Newspaper.
Mrs Campbell received part of her early education at Burwood Methodist Ladies' College and, during her lifetime in Bathurst, she was a strong adherent to the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
She died on the 2nd Sept. 1978. We have conveyed to her family, on behalf of all members of the Battalion, the sympathy we feel in her passing.
Bruce Pratt says of himself, "Life goes on much the same here, just a little hotter and dryer than usual, but, as Marjorie and I both keep fairly well, we can put up with it. Our daughter is now practising with a firm of lawyers' and putting up with the big freeze in Shrewsbury, U.K. Our Son is studying in Spain, so we feel a little deserted. I
"With Best Wishes to all, Bruce Pratt."
Cliff ("'Jack") Rooney - 20 Macarthur Pde. Dulwich Hill, 2203 - HQ Coy - Pioneer Pl
Cliff Rooney writes that he had been an early member of the Association but, moving round, he had lost touch. His card indeed does show that it was 13th Feb 1946 that he paid his money, so that it was almost as soon as he must have been demobbed.
"Yes, I was really thrilled to see "Digger" Preen again. I also had a bit of a natter with Billy Senior, "Debbil Debbil" as we used to call him.
"Hoping that the members of the Association may have all the best that they may wish themselves in this world.
"I remain, sincerely, C. Rooney."
Jack Grossmith - 5 Plane St. Woy Woy, 2256 - HQ Coy, Sigs.
Jack states, "Though I have joined the ranks of the Septuagenarians, I am pleased to report reasonably good health and that I am fully occupied with several local activities:-Woy Woy Ettalong R.S.L. Sub-Branch (for some mysterious reason, with which they managed to convince State Branch, procured for me a "Certificate of Appreciation" last year) (Congratulations Jack, an honour not granted lightly, but, when we look at your record and the other Community jobs, which you do, Woy Woy & District Community Service; Woy Woy Women's Refuge; Meals-on-Wheels, and the publication of your 40 page, 50th year Anniversary Souvenir Brochure on the Sub-Branch, it is no wonder that they think of you as a worthy citizen. A.D.)
He continues, "I am gratified that I am able to help all of these, but there are times, when it is difficult to find time to cut the grass or go fishing. Oh well, some day I may retire.
"With Best Wishes to all members of 2/30th, Jack."
Nev. Riley - 24 Monie Ave. East Hills, 2213 - HQ Coy, Carrier Pl.
Nev, has let us know that he is alive and kicking, but has no news and apologises for the brevity of his note. But we expect to see him as usual on Anzac Day.
Keith (Chappy) Chapman - 9 Chadwick Ave. Regents Park, 2143 - A Coy
Chappy has reason for being brief. He has to conserve his energies these days, since his health has forced his early retirement from work, but we do hope that he has many years in front of him now and does not go and do anything to wreck himself.
Jim Morgan - 54 Gore St. Port Macquarie, 2444 - HQ Coy. Tspt Pl.
Jim is one of those, who has sent in for a copy of Noel Johnston's Memo on "F" Force. He reports, "Just home from Hospital after having surgery to both hands, and hope to have the stitches out, the Thursday after writing you this letter. As I was a member of "F" Force and on Train 5 the memo may be able to help in a claim for a Pension increase, which I hope to submit in the near future.
Hoping that this note finds all well, Cheerio, Jim."
Noel Johnston - 7 Bellambi St. Northbridge, 2063 - HQ Coy
Noel's letter was written towards the end of February; he states, "I have finished reading Doug Harris' book "G. Strings & Bangkok Bowlers", and consider it was well written - obviously authentic in every detail, and quite interesting all through.
"As a matter of interest, I ran into Bob Howells in Sydney today and had lunch with him. He maintains a keen interest in the Association. He looks well from appearance and will be returning to Adelaide tomorrow.
Sincerely yours, Noel."
"Zipper", R.A. Charlton - 2 Cumbulam Close. Harrington, 2427 – B Coy
Pearl reported on New Year's Day, "We are both well, but Zipper isn't catching many fish at present, but he hopes things will improve in the future.
Yours sincerely, Pearl."
Len V. Roberts - P.O. Box 124, Wyong, 2259 - HQ Coy Transport Pl
Margaret tells me, "I am writing for Len, who never puts pen to paper except for signing his name.
"Since last writing, we have done a lot more travelling, but here in Australia, by car and caravan.
"We drove to Perth 1976 to visit our daughter, Susanne and her husband, Richard; they, at that time, had a toy and gift shop at Manning. Our stay in the West extended to 7 months, in which time we travelled north as far as Kalbarri at the mouth of the Murchison River, a beautiful fishing and holiday resort. We adopted the inland route on the way up and came back along the coast road, staying overnight at some of the numerous beaches and caravan parks, of which there are so many, that, if I mentioned the lot, I would be writing for ever. The crayfish were on whilst we were there, so we were able to take some back to Perth for Christmas Dinner; the fridge's freezer compartment in the van provided us with this delicacy.
"Then we toured the South-West and were glad that we had visited the dry north first, because we did appreciate the green of the countryside and the Jarrah and Tinglewood Forests. Near Pemberton, we saw hops, which was being harvested at that time for the first time. We had the pleasure of attending a Country Ball at Pemberton on St. Patrick's Day, 17 March, and found all the people very friendly.
"We had returned to N.S.W. but went
back to Perth in September 1977 to await the birth of our first
grandchild, Tracey Ann Izzard, who arrived 20th Sept the day after her
May ‘78 Vawn' s wife, Lynn, and baby, Heidi, with Lynn’s parents; Sonny and Grace Dymond from Port Elizabeth, Sth Africa, flew over for a 3 month holiday. We took the Van, which has 6 berths, travelled to the Caravan Park at Queanbeyan and stopped 4 days, while Len drove our visitors around Canberra showing the tourist attractions. We then headed for the coast in order to come home by that road. Home for a couple of days and we headed north via the New England Highway, with a one day stop at Tamworth, on inland roads to Mount Morgan and down to Rockhampton, passing through the cotton fields at Biloela, where the harvesting was being carried out, something not seen before by our visitors. From Rockhampton we travelled up the coast to Shute Harbour, so that our visitors might enjoy three days on cruises through the Whitsunday Islands. After about six days of rest we headed for home once more and followed the Coast road for the entertainment of our visitors.
"After spending the cold winter at home, suffering with our rheumatism and arthritis, we set off for Perth again about 9th August, accompanied by Len's sister, Enid and her husband, Keith Cains from Taree. We followed the coast roads in N.S.W. and Victoria round to South Australia, The Great Ocean Road in Victoria is really beautiful, and in the Port Campbell National Park the coves and crevices blow holes and rock formations are really fantastic. Len and I considered that the road round Cape Peninsular in South Africa was beautiful and found this to be just as nice. On the way we had driven through three lots of snow and ice 45 miles above Melbourne, an exciting experience for Len's sister, since, in her 60 odd years, she had not seen snow.
"Susanne and Richard were living at this time in Karrinyup. Both fell ill, so we left them the van, in which to have a holiday, and the in-laws and we set off back home via South West Coast road. As it was the season for the wild flowers to be out in Western Australia, Lens sister, being a keen gardener was delighted to see them, getting Len to stop at different times so that she might have a closer look.
"We arrived home early November and the children brought our van over and stayed with us over Christmas. Richard had a temporary job at Gladesville R.S.L., which lasted until a couple of weeks ago, when staff had to be reduced, and they have now gone back to the West.
"I think Len plans a couple of weeks at Port Stephens in the van, as soon as we straighten up the house, van and garden, but it has been too hot for much work lately. Len himself has not been so well and is off for an I.V.P. next week,
"I wonder if any of the boys from the Bn Transport would care to write to Len please. Len remembers most faces but he is not so good at remembering names, or our phone number here is (043) 531 162.
"Kind regards to all for Len, Margaret Roberts."
Tom Kennedy - Allynbrook Rd. Gresford, 2491 - C Coy
Helen writes, "I'm dropping you a line or two to tell you that Tom was in hospital for 3 weeks. He had a stroke affecting his left side. He is getting a lot better, being able to use his leg and arm. His speech is a little hard to understand yet, but I guess that we are lucky, because the diabetes makes the position more serious.
"I think that his biggest annoyance is not being able to get out digging and planting.
"We came here in July and Tom had corn, potatoes, beans, tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage, watermelon, rockmelon, cucumber, Veg. marrow and spinach. They are all finished now. (I must say, Tom, that you must be one of those with green fingers. May you have the best of luck. Ed)
"Bob Wells was over to see Tom last Tuesday. Bob looks very well and is happy. He said that he won some ribbons for his cattle at the Maitland Show.
"We have met up also with another 8 Div Man; Bill Stevens of the 2/19Bn. He is another very nice fellow too. Helen."
Allan Prentice - "Wellwood", Walgett, 2385 - HQ Coy
Peg advises, "Both Allan and I enjoy "MAKAN". Allan is now 60 years young and, I feel, that it is time that he stopped working a 16 hour day for 7 days a week.
"Allan's pride and joy is his baby daughter, Meg-Mary who is now in final year of Physiotherapy.
"We wish one and all a very happy
Arthur G. Buckingham - 46 Kings
Creek Rd, Krambach, 2429 - B Coy
Alan Kevin Thompson - 19 Bean St. Maleny, Q. 4552 - HQ Coy, Carriers
Dudley Alford, Hon Secretary, Near North Coast, Q'ld Ex-Ps.O.W. Association, has been able to let me know that Alan is back at Maleny.
Dudley also comments, "I knew some of the boys in the Bren Carriers and later in the Armoured Cars; was last out one night with Captain Peach, who was in charge of the rear-guard."
(Do you Remember? Ed.)
Hilton McLaren - Telegraph Rd, M/S 108, Bundaberg, Q., 4670 - C Coy
Hilton advises, "I was granted the pension on 12th Feb., so I may be able to find more time now to track down a few more of the 'boys' than previously.
"The operation, which I had, was for a partial gastrectomy, which seems to be quite common these days. They discharged me a week after the operation and I played a game of bowls three days later.
"Both Evelyn and I are in fairly good health at present, my eyes, I think, might see me out or in other words, are not too bad.
"All the Best to everyone,
Ray Reeves - 227 Brown St. Armidale, 2350 - HQ Coy A/A Pl.
A note from Elsie tells us, "Ray hasn't worked for the last 4 years, because of his hearing. He is quite deaf now and, though he has two hearing aids, they are no good to him.
"He fills in his time with gardening, fishing and reading but fishing is tops with him.
"Both Kerrie Anne and I are quite well at present. I am working and happy at being able to do so.
"Kerrie Anne is in A Class at school and doing very well. She will be eleven years old on the 18th March. Tall for her age, she keeps Ray and me on our toes, and that is truly in more ways than one.
"The two boys, Raymond and Peter are living in Sydney and Patricia, our eldest girl, in Canberra.
"Patricia has 2 boys and one girl; Raymond has a little girl, so, with the 4 grandchildren and Kerrie Anne, we have not time to feel old.
"I must close now, wishing each and every one all the very best for the future, especially Phil Schofield,
"With kind regards, Elsie, Ray, and Kerrie Anne Reeves."
Don MacIver - 55 Newton Rd, Blacktown. 2148 . HQ Coy, Mortars
Don confesses, "A few weeks ago I mashed my little finger on an electric saw and planer, which I have in my garage and had to go to Hospital to have half the finger removed. It is coming along nicely now.
"What seemed to make it worse, at the time, was that I had been picked to play No 3 Pennants and that was due to commence the following Saturday. So that was squashed. I have been able to commence playing social bowls again this week, as the finger had been on the left hand, and am enjoying being on the green once more.
"I wish the Battalion all the best,
Ernie McNiven - Flat 1/15 Glen Lyon St. Gladstone, Q,. 4680 - A Coy
The above address is but temporary for Mac. Southport is still home, but he says, "I will be working ('Managing' is the word, for those who know you, Mac. Ed) on the construction of a golf course here for at least six months, so, if anyone should be passing through, they could call in and say 'hello'.
"As you will have learnt, Padre Walsh stayed with us on his way down to the Lismore Reunion. I was pleased to see Kevin Ward and "Joe" Geoghegan down there. It was the first time, that I've seen either, since we arrived home.
"Cheerio for now, Regards to all, Phyl and Ern McNiven."
Muriel Tate – Box 3 P.O. Garradunga Via Innisfail. Nth Qld, 4860
Muriel has told us that last year she put in a claim for a War Widow's Pension, because of Dave's death, being helped by the Welfare Officer at Innisfail R.S.L., and after about seven months received the report, consisting of six pages, describing the causes of heart disease, and which said, according to medical evidence, doesn't relate to War Service.
Dave Tate was the type, who did not give in too easily, he would plug away at whatever job he had to do and, if some of his cobbers collapsed, he would have redoubled his own efforts to shield them from the Japs' wrath. Unfortunately your scribe was not with Dave on any work parties and going to Japan on "J" Force, had no chance of seeing Dave on return of "F" Force to Changi. Is there anyone, who can supply any evidence of time that Dave reported on a Sick Parade and of what complaint he was suffering at the time?
Arch Craig - No 4 Elizabeth St. Beenleigh, Q'land, 4207 - C Coy
Archie Craig has notified a change of address, but still in the same suburb, near the Gold Coast, but, unfortunately, he says that his arthritis is no better than when your scribe saw him last August, nor is his wife any better.
Phil Schofield - 66a Ponsonby Pde. Seaforth, 2092 - C Coy
Schoy went into Hospital at the end of March for operation on one of his eyes, and Garry Evans reports that Phil says that he is able to see to a degree with that eye now, not yet to see detail of objects. We hope his progress is satisfactory.
The time to go into hospital came after what might have been one of Phil's worst occasions, because Phil's support from Vi around the home was not there. She had been up at the local hospital doing her usual weekly stint for "'Meals on Wheels", was leaving for home, but damaged her ankle and had to be admitted as a patient. She is able to move around now with the aid of a support, and now goes to Coorabel Hospital, Ryde, to convalesce.
Wally Jordan- 188 Wyndham St. Alexandria, 2105 – Bn HQ, Band
Wally has been crook for some time with chest complaints and is at present in Concord Hospital, where Garry Evans found him on his rounds last week.
Don Garner (Sgt) - 35 Plunkett St. St. Leonard's, 2065 - B Coy
Porky Moore reports running into Don, whom he was highly delighted to see, as he had not seen him for years, but found that Don has had the misfortune to have his wife invalided, so that she has to have constant attention.
Mick Bailey 15 Badger Ave, Sefton. 2162 - HQ Coy, Tspt Pl
The Sun-Herald of 25/3/79 carried an article - "This week Channel 7’s weather expert, becomes The Sun-Heralds weather expert. Mike Bailey, (Mick's son), who is 29, has been explaining the signs and symbols on T.V. weather maps for more than 2 yrs, after a background as a general news reporters”. A 2 Media man.
Dick Tompson - 20 Jungira St. Howrah, 7018 - HQ Coy, Carrier Pl
Dick is another, who wishes to back up a claim with one of Noel Johnston's Memos on "F" Force. While subject to various troubles, his main one is arthritis, which has hit him now in the neck.
L.F. ("Darby") Young - 26 Clifton Drive, Port Macquarie, 2444 HQ Coy, Carrier Pl.
"Darby" retired from the Forestry Commission at the end of last year, and has returned to old haunts in the country, not from where he enlisted, Wauchope, but near enough to it. His note read, "We're moving to Port Macquarie on 23/1/79, would you please note new address." (So I suppose you Port Macquarie men have been able to welcome him already by the time you receive this "MAKAN". Ed) "Am hoping to attend some of the North Coast Reunions this year.
Yours fraternally, L.F. ("Darby") Young."
Sid Hart - 231 Sandgate Rd. Birmingham Gardens, 2287 - A Coy
Sid relates, "Over the years my wife and I have had three boys and, at long last, two of them (with help of their wives) have presented us with grandchildren: 1 girl, Oct. 1978, 1 boy Dec. 1978. Our third boy turned 21 just recently and it may not be long before he leaves the nest also.
"As far as my health is concerned, I had a bad time for five years (nerves and stomach) 1973-1977, but now I seem to have come back to square one.
"Like most of us, who are getting near the sixty mark, my thoughts are on retirement and I feel sure, that healthwise, it would be a good move.
"Kind regards to all, Sid."
Tom Grant - 7 Elizabeth St. Murwillumbah, 2484 - C Coy
Tom Grant comments on Noel Johnston's Memo, "I think that his writings on the subject of Burma Railway and Thailand are important. He was, in those days, one in authority. Much has been written one way or another on the subject. But, what is overlooked mostly, was the continual torment. Verbal torment, that seemed never-ending. The physical strain was one thing. The verbal attack was another, which went close to driving men mad. Indeed, in some cases, it did just that. I recall on one occasion, out in the mud and rain, as we were often compelled to work, it came time to move for camp. Before doing so, although it was getting dark, these tormentors, of whom I speak, wanted a count taken of those present. The day had been such that no one wanted to come forward. Morale, at that moment, was at rock bottom. It was a junior NCO, who came out, to dress the column by the right, so that a count could be taken. Perhaps it was individuals, who came forward at such times, when, maybe, others faltered for the time being, who pulled us out of the place. There were no officers present on this occasion.
"Stan Coultas called to see me one Sunday afternoon. He stood at the door. I enquired if it were Stan Coultas. He said "Yes". I had not seen him since 1945. A bit older perhaps, but still Stan. He was on his way further north, together with his wife, Else. They stayed an hour and had some refreshments with us. Else is a wonderful person.
"Another to call and see me was Padre Walsh. I and my wife were delighted to see him, together with his old mate, Father Dolan. They had lunch at my place, also their two escorts, "Joe" Johnston and Stan Scarrabellotti. On arrival at Keith McFarlane's house, Padre did not forget to give his old mate a ribbing about the second set of high steps. He appears to have a bad leg, Keith is as well as one might expect. He also was pleased to have them call. He would have liked them to stay a while longer. But no, Lennie had said, that we have to be back in Ballina by 5 pm. No doubt about that Clavan. What's he got at Ballina, that we have not at Murwillumbah.
"The passing of Jack Dingwell has left us short of one, who could rightly be called a personality in his own right. He was what, I call, a true Sydney-ite. He described his address as being just up from the Cross. Paddington, I think. He had a great love of sport, especially racing. He seemed to be on good terms with Cyril Angles, "The" race caller of the day. A bit of a dreamer as well. He played with the idea 'he might become a caller at some time!. The calling was done, I believe, from outside the course in those days. No doubt "Ding", as he was sometimes known, would take advantage of this and make himself known.
"Anyone beyond Strathfield was considered to be out in the sticks. The North Shore rated a mention only because someone built a bridge out that way.
"He claimed he'd won the Heavyweight Championship of 8 Div. about Dec '41. Pointing out that the bulk of the Div. was at that time in Malaya, cut no ice with "Ding". He won it and that was that.
"Although a big man, he was not of a particularly athletic build, being somewhat round shouldered. He claimed that this was caused by eating sloppy meat pies, cupping them in both of one's hands and leaning forward, in order to keep the gravy off his shirt.
"The occasion of canteen supplies comes to mind. It must have been at Changi. The credit system at the time, allowed us a certain amount of some things such as, soap, bananas, gala malacca; things like this according to your choice. Soft drink could be had also. These were moments of great decision making. "Ding's" eyes got the better of him, so he settled for a bottle, maybe two, of soft drink. He was somewhat guilty about this. It was suggested that something more substantial would be a wiser choice. All to no avail. Sitting on those slats, which we called our bed, idly looking at his toes, he noted that his nails appeared to be turning brown. It was suggested that he might be dying from the toes up. He scoffed at the idea. Any damned fool could see it was the soda in the drink working through his body and showing in his toe nails. Ah! Well! He must have been right after all. He stayed with us till Jan '79. May the turf lay gently on Jack Dingwell.
"At last sighting "Andy" Knox seemed better. He was at that time still in Tweed Hospital.
"My own crowd are quite well. I took two of my daughters and one son-in-law to the Lismore Reunion. They enjoyed the evening, as did Norma and myself.
"At present I am having a week off work. The heat here has been quite exhausting. The spell will do me no harm.
"A friend of mine, Jack Sherry, enquires if there is anyone, who has a copy of "Galleghan's Greyhounds", 1st Edition, which they would like to sell. I told him further copies were being printed, but he says, No. He wants an original.
"Jack served in New Guinea - Borneo Area as an NCO, stayed with the CMF after the War and rose to command 41st Bn CMF.
"He is trying to put together a library of the Official History of Infantry Units of 2nd World War, hence his desire to have an original.
"He is in charge of the printing side of the Newspaper game, being with "Daily News" Murwillumbah. So if anyone should be interested, contact M.J. Sherry at the above Newspaper, and quote Tom Grant.
Kind regards to all the Boys, Tom."
Les Perry - 38 William St. Narrandera, 2700 - D Coy
Writing on the Twelfth of February, Les reported, "Terry O'Rourke's wife, Muriel, will be tendered a Dinner Party and Presentation farewell in the Ex-Servicemen's Club here on Tuesday evening, 13th, and I am sure that the Club will be packed for the occasion. Muriel will be going to live in Sydney, and so she is to be closer to her four children.
"I saw Bill McKenzie recently in Leeton and was pleased to find that he was much improved, following a serious illness. Keith Mulholland and Vic Hamlin have been to see him also.
"We have a little gathering on the 15th February every year that also is the date of my Birthday. What a day to celebrate my Birthday on the 15/2/1942.
"Our local R.S.L. has issued an invitation to Curly Heckendorf to be our guest speaker on Anzac Day and we are all hoping that he will accept.
Regards to all, Yours sincerely, Les
Jim McGoldrick - Chaffey Dam, Nundle Rd. Tamworth, 2340 - D Coy
A note came from Jim to put me right on his family. He and Peg have daughter, Ann, and son, Mark. Ann has the two grandchildren, Michelle and Vanessa. Mark, is thirteen years of age. He is in Year 9 at Tamworth High School, along with 1600 other children at the school.
"I am a Contract Inspector at Chaffey Dam, which will be completed soon and we will be shifting on again.
"Except the Reunion at Tamworth last October I have not seen any 2/30 Bn men since we were at Lostock Dam, where we met Bob Wells and his family in 1970. Yours, Jim McGoldrick."
Mrs Helen Bell – 14 Mathew St. Tamworth. 2340
"In answer to your letter I would very much like to give my copy of "Galleghan's Greyhounds" to be placed in the Library of the 17th Royal NSW Regiment, in loving Memory of my son, Wally Bell.
"'I am about to move into a small unit about the end of February. At the moment all I know is that it is Lot 65 Susanne St. South Tamworth, 2340, until a Street Number is allotted."
Jack Greenwood - 1467 Anzac Pde, Little Bay, 2036 - HQ Coy Mortars
Jack sends "Kind Regards to All" but no other message.
Jim McIntosh - 17 Duffy St Ainslie A.C.T., 2602 - A Coy
Jim is reasonably well and sends his regards to all.
Charlie Brouff - "The Hollies" Calle Calle St. Eden, 2551 – Bn HQ
Charlie writes, "My family are all grown and have children of their own. I now have three strapping grandsons.
"However I must say that my family decided to get well away from Dad. One lives in Port Lincoln, South Australia - he is a fisherman. One daughter lives in Sydney and one in Brisbane.
"So you see, that I have to cover quite a lot of ground during my holiday break.
"I am working still. I often feel like taking the service pension, but one must have something, with which to occupy oneself. I have been reasonably lucky healthwise, and my hope for the boys is that they may also have reasonable health."
Ray Duncombe - 7/2 Lockhart Ave. Balmain, 2041 - HQ Coy Sigs
"My grandchildren gave me a great kick-off for the New Year. Peter passed his final exams and is now an Electronics Engineer. Deb. received word on the same day that she had passed her H.S.C. She had commenced work already in the Pitt Street (Circular Quay Branch) of the C.S. Bank and likes the work.
"I spend most of my time reading and feeding a flock of stray pigeons, that hang around the waterfront here. That's enough to do this weather.
"My regards to all the boys in the Association, especially the chaps, who are doing a good job, keeping us in touch per "MAKAN"
Ray." ( Thanks Ray, on behalf of the "Gang".)
Peter Mason - Kew Road, Kendall, 2439 - HQ Coy, Carriers.
Peter says, "We are all well up here, except for a rash of visitors. While I like to see them, we will be pleased to be on our own again. Must be getting old, I think.
"All the Best to all the boys. Peter."
Keith McFarlane - 17 Uki Rd. Bray Park, Murwillumbah, 2484 - A Coy
Keith reports, "Had a flying visit from Paddy Walsh and a few of the boys recently. It was a real morale booster.
Alan Charlton - 10 Howard Cres. Ballina, 2478 - HQ Coy
Another one, happy to meet, but not sorry to see his visitors go; and then, what did he do? "We have just had a four day visit to one of my brothers at a property, which he has bought at Bundarra (Inverell District) and it was just what we needed to relax us after our hectic Christmas period.
"Keith has gotten hold of a very good 2,500 acre grazing lot, with very good potential and has bought 49 calves to start, so I helped brand them.
"He took us into the mountains and I had a quick shot at two big pigs, but refused to shoot a fox, as I reckon the skin looks better on the fox than on a woman. There are just a few Roos, but a lot of "Myxo" free rabbits, so Sunday night we went out spot lighting. It was my first experience of that type of shooting and, using Keith's rifle with 'scope, I shot 7 through the head in half an hour and caught three by hand. Next time I will take an old golf wood, that I have. A few practice swings and I can club them; the light blinds them and they sit still until hit.
"Yvonne's wrist continues to be a problem. The "Bone Boy" was going to operate, but yesterday he told her to practise with a golf club and see if it helps, to give it a go for the month and he will see if it will improve that way.
"I saw a familiar face in "Woollies" in Lismore yesterday, but could not think of the name of the chap, with whom I tried to place him until later on. (We're all the same, Alan.)
"All the Best to the Boys and their's.
Ken Dale - Flagstaff Point, NSW, 2256 - B Coy
A brief note from Ken. He showed that he was O.K.
Jack Lonie - Unit 9, 6 Sudbury St. Belmore, 2192 - HQ Coy Sigs
A brief note. Subs to put him in advance and expressing regret at being late. But we can quite well understand, that his Secretary/Manager job must take quite a bit of time, but on a salaried job these days most bosses take it 'No Pay for Overtime’.
Don Schumacher - 5 Atkinson St. Birmingham Gardens, 2287 - D Coy
"Just a short note to let you know that I'm still on the hoof and on the improve, though I feel that it is going to take some time.
"Ray Godbolt has given me a run down on the trip and he brought his snaps out to show us. I must say that I wish that I had been with them.
"I had to miss Dick Fisher's funeral, as I was not too well on that day. I was very sorry to hear of his passing.
"Cheers for now, and regards to all. Don Schumacher".
George Michell - 76 Herdsman Pde. Wembley. W.A. 6014 - B Coy
Claxton Shield days were with us again in January but a final result was missed by your scribe. The Herald commentator said, 'Titleholders (W.A.) cruised to a 7-2 win against NSW; strengthened their grip on the shield against S. Aust.; then Victoria cracked the series wide open, beating W. Aus. in their 4th round match.
However George Michell has assured me, W.A. won the Claxton Shield again this year and Ray did his share of pitching.
"They played a Japanese team over the last Sunday and Monday Holiday in January and Ray pitched a winning game 4-2; he would have had a shut-out only for a dropped catch, which let the other side get 2 home on it.
"All the Best to all the Unit, George".
George Winchester - 10 Ranson Cres. Pymble, 2073 - C Coy
Lee informed us that George had not been too well lately but was set down to go into Lady Davidson on the 2nd March. Kevin Ward checked up that he was admitted on that day, and we do hope that Lee may be able to have a break away from the home, so that she may build herself up again. We can't have two sick in the same home.
Frank Silver - 230 Lawrence Hargrave Drive, Coal Cliff. 2515 –C Coy
A short note from Frank. He is as well as can be expected.
Ray ("Andy") Knox - C/- 267 Adina Ave, Bulimba, Q, 4225 - C Coy
Freda advises, "Teen, my sister, sold the home at Wheeler Heights and we are moving up here towards the end of March, when our address will be, 355 Adina Ave, that is still in this street.
"Wise after the event, Ray should have stayed in Concord after his by-pass, but he was sure that he was well, however he was admitted to Tweed District Hospital.
Tom Grant and Jock Logan have visited Ray quite often, which I appreciate very much; but only on Wednesday last I heard that Jock is a patient in Greenslopes Hospital. We are hoping that he is only in for a check up, we don't know enough about it he is going for a trip to England in March. Tom Grant does not look the best himself, and his sister, Jean, said that they all wish that he would give up work and take things easy. He is always the same dear Tom to everyone,
"I went to see Slim de Grey at the R.S.L. Tweed. I spoke to him at interval. He was delighted to hear that Ray is here and tried to see him, but he had a tight schedule, so will try to call and see him the first chance he gets. He had us in fits with his "Patter". He is a "born Entertainer". He had an Entertainment card with his photo on, so he autographed it and sent it to Ray.
"With Best Wishes and Kind Thoughts to the Men of the Bn
Yours sincerely, Freda Knox".
Tom Davis - Ambulance Station Grafton. P.O. Box 82 Grafton, 2460
Tom is one of those, who have written in for a copy of Noel Johnston's Memo on "F" Force; reported on Lismore Reunion, as shown on another page, and then earned himself five days in the "Dog-House"... "I nearly forgot..Marj and I are grandparents for the second time, Son, Graeme and Daughter-in-Law, Helen, had their second son born on 31st Jan (nearly on my birthday, 26th) Stuart ......both well.
"My regards to all, Tom."
Jock Logan - Box 20 P.O. Palm Beach, Q' Land, 4221 - HQ Coy, Tspt,
Here's a follow-up to Freda Knox's letter Jock states, "I visit Ray (Andy) Knox every 2nd afternoon when I can. His doctor, John Follent, is very highly regarded by all ex-servicemen here, including Andy, so we look for improvement.
"I have had about 10 days in Greenslopes, where I had excellent treatment, and I improve every day.
"I am booked to go to Johannesburg on the 6th March, that is, if all that I have to do is completed here. I hope that I make it. It has been recommended by friends that I go there before London, where it is still cold.
"Kindest Regards to all, Jock Logan."
Graham McLeod - 14 King's Lodge, 9 King St. Randwick, 2031 - Bn HQ
I asked Graham on Gemas Day at Pymble, when was I to be favoured with another of his inspirations?
His answer- "Prompted by comments in recent issues of "MAKAN", I feel that I must come to the defence of the Department of Veterans' Affairs. Before someone tries to hit me, I'd better explain why. It's simple. They've given me one of the most absorbing hobbies that I've had.
"In a way it's Ron Ollis' fault. At the beginning of last year, I lovingly described my symptoms to him. To wit, after a few mouthfuls, I was apt to get stuck, necessitating a hasty exit in the direction of the gents' retiring room. Indeed whenever dining out, I found it expedient to establish the whereabouts of this facility, since it does little for one's social image to inadvertently chuck all over the carpet.
"Ah". Ron observed wisely, "I get that too. Lyn Booth is another sufferer. You've got a hiatus hernia."
"I have?" I asked. It sounded exotic. "Is it pensionable?"
"It was in this simple manner that my hobby began.
"At the time, I was living in Canberra. I went to my Repat M.O., describing my symptoms. There was a flurry of phone calls, plus some letters, and the Department authorised my having X-Rays. (In passing, I was asked, if I liked chocolate flavoured barium meal? I told them that I preferred caramel. I finished up with chocolate.)
"My M.O. examined the photos. Yes, it looked like a hiatus hernia.
"I was to find that the Department does not make rash decisions. They wanted to see me and my Rays. This involved a flight to and from Sydney. Naturally they picked up the tab.
"At Grace Building, I was examined by a lady doctor (very friendly) and my records checked. Yes, I'd reported a nervous condition back in 1951, but, the Department had decided that, whilst it was due to war service, its extent was unascertainable and hence unpensionable. I told her how for the succeeding 11 years I'd spent a lot of money on private treatment, which did not do anything, but deplete my bank balance. She tutted sympathetically. Then, in 1962, I collapsed, finishing up in Concord. It was then, I first began experiencing my swallowing problems. I reported to a resident M.O., who thought that it was very interesting, but probably induced by my heavy sedation. At this I achieved a 10% pension.
"I collapsed again in 1969, Concord once more. In the intervening years, I was beset by the violent retching. It was steadily getting worse. During my stay, I had one particularly
bad bout. Another M.O. suggested that I chew my food more thoroughly. On discharge I was given another 10%, and that's how things stood until early 1978, when this epic begins.
"I was again flown to Sydney (and return), where yet another M.O. (they're not short of these chaps) examined me. His opinion: Not a hiatus hernia at all. My swallowing problems were an outcome of my nervous condition.
"Seeing that I was getting a pension already for this, things were looking promising.
"He and I were both wrong, Upper Echelons of Command deciding that it was a hiatus hernia, after all. The Rays indicated that it was two years old and, I was told that it was part of the aging process and had nothing to do with war service. Application for increase in pension was disallowed. However, should I care to appeal before 31/8/78 ('to ensure the maximum benefits under the Repatriation Act', whatever that meant, 'the matter would be reconsidered).
"By this time, I was like a terrier halfway down a rabbit burrow. Here was a cause to while away those hours, when I had nothing better to do.
"I proceeded to rip their case asunder by sheer, irrefutable logic.
"They claimed that my hernia was two years old. The rays proved that, and I was prepared to concede that they knew what they were talking about. However, if that were true, how did my hernia cause my vomiting, 14 years before it existed? Was it possible that the violence of my retching had been the cause of the hernia? A sort of chicken and egg thing?
"Like Chairman Mao, I put these thoughts on paper and for a while nothing happened.
"Finally, I phoned the Entitlements Section and enquired the Department's reaction to the presentation of my case. Fortunately, I got on to a very nice chap.
"You've got 'em thinking", he admitted. "It's being referred to the Senior Specialist'.
"In due course, the Senior Specialist turned out to be on my side, conceding that ‘forceful vomiting could not be excluded as playing some part in producing the member's hiatus hernia'.
"They wanted to see me again. Yet another doctor (they must have cupboards full of these characters) had a go at me. He was stunned by the lurid colour of my specimen, until I explained that I'd been taking vitamin pills. More questions, more paper work. However, he put my mind at rest. Yes, I'd get an increase. How much?
"From the way that he spoke, it looks as if 10% extra is the going rates The way I figure it, this means an extra $3.84½ for me and 40½ cents for my spouse, presumably as some compensation for her having to endure watching me dart bathroomwards at double time,
"Have I got it yet? (Oh, dear not ‘Accounts are a bit overloaded with you chaps' claims. But it will come.....)
"No one seemed amused by my comments. It was fortunate that I wasn't dying of malnutrition or bleeding to death. The poet, who wrote of the Mills of God grinding slowly MUST have had the Department in mind. But they're such nice chaps......
"As a result of all this, two things occur to me. First, that with all the time and effort involved in investigating my case, together with travelling costs, the only one not making anything out of my complaint, is me. But I do have the consolation that, I'm playing my part, in keeping a lot of folk gainfully employed.
"The second is that my hobby is drawing to a close. Realizing this, I came to a decision. As soon as my increase is slumbering in the bank, I'm going to shock the Department right down to its collective underpants. How? I'll explain.
"I'll write them another letter, pointing out that they admit that my hernia is the outcome, not the cause, of my vomiting, which, on, their admission, is induced by my nervous condition, which is admitted as war-oriented, and for which they're paying me a modest pension. Under such circumstances, I think that I’d better appeal against what is so obviously a niggardly increase......
"Can't you imagine their reaction?
"Oh! No! That rotten old cow is into us again! ...Very well. Dig out his file. Strewth! it's getting thick. Requisition for an extra wheel barrow......'
"With luck, I think that I can get another 3 years mileage out of my hobby; May be 5.
"Which goes to show what can be done by dogged persistence.
"Yours, Graham McLeod."
Do You Remember? "F" Force March.
As a follow-up to Noel Johnston's Memorandum I have been able to sight the following report:
"On May 11 '43 No 5 Train "F" Force arrived at Takanoon, here again bashings were handed out wholesale. Men, who fell, on being punched, were cruelly kicked in the stomach. The food on issue at this camp, however, was a surprise, the men being given rice and stew of vegetable and meat extract.
"The Camp Commander said that a 24 hour rest period was to be granted at this camp.
"A large number of the party now was suffering from dysentery, but the Japanese were loath to permit the sick to stay behind at the various camps. As a result the 12 trainloads of British and Australians strung out over that long, muddy trail through the Thailand jungle contained about 70% of sick men.
"Hunger, lack of sleep and the punishing march through the mud over terrible country had left the Ps.O.W. in a pitiful state. The chaps in my party were settling down for what they thought was to be a night's rest, when the Japs raced amongst them, kicking them and dragging them to their feet. There was to be no sleep that night. The column was to march immediately.
"The party moved down into the twisting valley, which was shrouded in a heavy mist. For the first few miles visibility was extremely bad. Soon the track became rocky as the Ps.O.W. converged on to the river, flowing down the valley's centre.
"About 40% of the men now were without boots, and those worn by the remainder were practically worthless, so that the sharp stones out the feet of almost everyone.
"The country, being passed at this stage, was rough and dangerous. The track led along a river bank and huge jagged rocks towered into the darkness on the side away from the river. It was a precipitous area and a false step would have sent a man hurtling many feet to the jagged rocks below.
Sometimes the men marched beside the river, at other places impassable walls of rock forced them to leave the riverside and travel a faintly defined trail through boulders and rubble. One mile on this tortuous trail took two hours to cover. All were badly spent, when the guards called a halt for 30 minutes in a rocky canyon, beside a vast, stagnant stretch of water, from which walls of rock rose sheer on either side. After resting the party groped its way forward among large rocks.
"An hour later and the party was in jungle again, struggling along in blinding rain. As was always the case in rain and when the column was without lights, various sections of the party lost contact with one another. The rain streamed down for two hours, as the men struggled on in the pitch dark. Sick men and those assisting them now were strung out over more than a mile of the muddy track.
"At a spot, where the jungle thinned a little, the various groups were halted, whilst stinging rain lashed them. The Jap guides were lost. Shivering and unutterably weary, the men stood waiting for the rain, which blotted out all sound, to cease, and when it did, it was discovered that many sections were missing, and quite understandingly so. Fires of dead bamboo were lighted by those in the advance party, and by following the fire glow the lost ones gradually established contact.
"KonKoita was reached the next morning. Here, as usual there was no shelter, and the party lay down in the sodden jungle to rest, but the fierce heat of the tropical sun was making sleep an impossibility.
"During the afternoon a ration of rice and a few raw onions were given to us for a meal. The sole food for the 24 hrs.
"At this stage the Battalion Medial Officers, who had been doing heroic work, were being hard pressed to tend to the great number of sick men ......About 400 native labourers were sharing KonKoita with the Australians stationed there, and these natives were dying at the rate of 5 a day. The river was placed out of bounds and men were ordered to drink only water, which had been boiled beforehand.
"All, who expected a 24 hours rest at this camp, were again disappointed. All men were lined up to march onward once more as the evening came on. They were told by Medical Officers that it was believed that the natives in KonKoita had cholera in their midst.
"The destination this night was to be Niki camp, 21 kilos distant. The column had been encamped in Niki for about an hour, when the men were called together, the Medical Officers were really worried. The grim news was made known. The Party had some of its men down with Cholera........
"It has to be remembered that one reason for the lack of concern by the Japanese guards at the condition of the party at the end of each night's march, was that the guards were changed; one night on that gruelling track being sufficient for them.
Signals Platoon Manning Chart
Signallers Attached to Rifle
Companies - A Coy
Runner Platoon HQ
Signallers Attached to Rifle
Companies - B Coy
Runner To Pl HQ
Signallers Attached to Rifle
Companies - C Coy
Runner to Pl HQ
Signallers Attached to Rifle
Companies - D Coy
Runner to Pl HQ
Tfd to GBD
Tfd to 8 Div Sigs