Makan No. 249
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
A reminder of Dates - more details in last "Makan".
4 August, 1979 -
Newcastle Ex-POW Reunion Dinner - Hamilton
14 September, 1979,
How about joining Max & Heather McClelland on this evening? Well recommended by Jack Carey and Joe Geoghegan.
14 October, 1979 -
3 November, 1979 -
Please see article "Reveille" July 1979 page 8, Middle column, headed "Second AIF Council".
23 November, 1979 -
The reprint is out. All those ordered have been distributed. A Hardback Cover. Price $10, originally forecast, plus postage. A Handsome Volume; which your family is going to appreciate in years to come. Only a few left. First in best dressed
Bouquets and Brickbats for Department of Veterans' Affairs
One of our Reporters in Western Australia has told us the Dept. of Vet. Affairs over there has asked Men of 2/4 M.G. Battalion to be "Guinea Pigs" on behalf of all fellow Ex-Ps.O.W.
The Dept. has set in train an investigation in order to determine the likelihood of ex-Ps.O.W. (J) in South East Asia having a worm infection, called strongyloidiasis, and not knowing that they had it, because their M.O.’s. have not diagnosed their illnesses as being due to its presence.
An explanation was given that the worm, that causes this infection, is unique among worms, which infect man, because it is able to reproduce. All other worms such as hookworm etc. do die after several years and cause no further trouble. The culprit, whose frequency amongst Ps.O.W. (J) they seek to determine and thence seek perfection of a blood test, which will allow of M.O.'s to make a diagnosis, that will permit the M.O. to decide whether or not their patients have been hosts to this worm and thereby infected by it, lives in the intestines for many years.
You may well ask, why come at this after all these years. But the explanation is that, the significance of this infection and its ability to spread throughout the body, has only recently become appreciated, and in addition, effective treatment has been available only in the past few years.
Many Doctors are said to have never heard of the condition, but often it has been that routine pathology laboratories almost always can't find the infection.
Another question you might well ask is, what are the symptoms? That is not easy to answer, there may be no symptoms at all; you might have indigestion and diarrhoea and think that it is just that; you might feel tired and lack energy; you may not be putting on weight no matter what the diet you may be on; your doctor may think that you have suffered from a virus infection, "Asian" 'flu or the like, or consider that you are just another one of the neurotic 'bludgers'.
The Dept.. of Veterans' Affairs may take a bow and accept a verbal "bouquet" for being concerned about this type of infection, and their desire to find any who are infected, and treat them.
However the "Brickbat" comes because one of the 2/30 Bn. was diagnosed in 1977 as having this infection. But did they see that he was treated? No Sir! Someone, who handled his file in 1977, put it away as "completed". He did not get any follow up treatment. His local M.O. kept on treating him as constantly prone to falling victim to the "wog" then current, whenever he went to him, on the various occasions that he was 'caught short', and that can be very embarrassing, if you commute daily to the city by train and your daily occupation requires you to be well dressed as salesman travellers have to be. He tells me, that one of the worst times, he failed to get to the 'throne' in time and was in the process of washing his underwear as best he could before the rest of the staff put in an appearance, when. the Boss found him. But he had the decency to send him home in one of the firm's cars. Did Repat care? Did they tell him his trouble as diagnosed in 1977? No sir, not they!
Not only was his file put away in 1977, but no one saw the omission, although our mate has been seeking assistance of Repat since, until he was in Concord last month.
So the Department deserves its 'brickbat', and we wonder how many others might have suffered from the same sort of treatment. It comes to mind that Nancy Hart's fight for her Widow's Pension was made all the harder for her, because Repat in Melbourne were passing over the reference to Cardiac Beri Beri on Jimmy's file, until 2½ yrs after Jimmy's death a doctor, who was fighting for Nancy, was able to have the file because her case had been twice up to Final Tribunals' and deferred, for more evidence, and found, as Nancy reported and we showed in "Makan" No. 239, tucked away in the medical records and, overlooked by Repat and everyone else, Dr. Frew found these words, “August 1943, Cardiac Beri Beri”.
A coincidence experienced by your scribe was that not long after he had received that letter from our reporter, he was referring to the Nominal Roll on a matter, when the words, 'Strongyloides Infection' were noticed. One of our cobbers- shown as having died on 25th July 1944 in Kranji Hospital, with the cause of death – “Oedema, Beri Beri, Strongyloides Infection, Cystitis, etc.”. Since these worms were known to some of the Medical Staff with the 8 Div. it makes one wonder, to what use their reports on these types of illnesses, to which all Ps.O.W. (J) were likely to be subject, because of Jap. callousness towards all their prisoners. Has the Army Department made these reports available to Repat. or are they sacrosanct to the Army, with Peter not knowing what Paul has done? and no one concerned to help, as so often in the past 8 Div. being neglected?
Comment at a recent gathering of Bn. Men of this type of infection and "Dutchy" Holland said he had had it. Ron Stoner another, and our mate above, whom we'll leave nameless. Who else?
Col. O'Donnell has this to say also: "Looking through old "MAKAN" for old copies you required, I reread the article that Phil Schofield published in No. 202, Jul/Aug 1972, written by Dr. Hinder, 2/19 Bn of his own experiences, as a doctor, trying to get a pension, and his appeal finally being accepted for 2 coronaries and loss of his eye, after some professor had given him a thorough examination and sent his report to Repat. But, as Dr. Hinder points out, it was granted, purely on medical grounds, applicable to his case, on post war effects after his privation.
"I just cannot believe, that all those prominent surgeons and physicians, who were with us as prisoners, did not write a full account of their observations to the BMA - AMA or to the Repat. Dept. after our return to Australia. There was also a P.O.W. Review by the Repat. some years ago.
"I suggest that we should get the 8 Div. Association to take up the question with the R.S.L. of having all Repat Doctors briefed on the findings and reports of those Doctors like, "Weary" Dunlop of "A" Force, Bruce Hunt, Johnny Taylor, Lloyd Cahill of "F" Force and many others, who must have put their opinions on paper. Those Doctors would know, that there were no Medical Text Books printed, that would cover the malnutrition and diseases, that so many of us are dying from now, and are not being accepted by Repat. as due to P.O.W. existence.
"I have been always under the impression, that all Doctors, who had served with the 8 Div. and were Ps.O.W. would have been required by the Army to have made a detailed report of their impressions and medical opinions on the various diseases, starvation, complete lack of vitamins, the brutality of our guards and the result of forcing ill men out to work.
"On re-reading Dr. Hinder's letter of his difficulty in obtaining Repat. recognition of his complaints, as being due to his P.O.W. life, it would appear, that the doctors made no report to the Repat. and, if they did, it has been filed away and the Doctors in the Repat., who consider our appeals for various complaints have never read or heard of a report from an M.O., who was a P.O.W. (J).
"Could this question be taken up by the Executive, in order to ascertain from the Minister for Veterans' Affairs, what is the true position or maybe through the R.S.L. submit it.
"If no detailed report from Doctors was submitted, can we make an appeal to those Doctors of the 8 Div., who returned, and are still alive to write a report now? I know that it is 34 years since we returned, but maybe the wives of some of our mates could qualify for a War Widow’s Pension, when he dies.
17 Royal New South Wales Regiment
An item appeared in a recent issue of "The Northern District Times", printed in Parramatta by Cumberland Newspapers, on our Hosts on "Gemas Day" Commemorations.
"Duo Help To Raise Regiment"
"Two Northern District men played major roles in recent celebrations, marking the raising of the historic Royal N.S.W. Regiment.
"The Army Reserve Regiment, whose origins date back to the birth of the NSW Colony, was raised on July 1, 1960, when it was given its Royal title by Queen Elizabeth in an Army reorganisation.
"At the forefront of celebrations were Dr. David Liece, of Carlingford, who is Commanding Officer of the Regiment's Pymble based 17th Battalion, and Mr. Wal Konowec, of North Rocks, who was Commander of a Quarter Guard held in Sydney.
"Dr. Liece holds the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel and Mr. Konowec is an Army Reserve Lieutenant.
"Mr. Konowec is a Taxation officer based at Parramatta Regional Office and Dr. Liece is Assistant Director. of the NSW Department of Agriculture's chemistry branch at Rydalmere.
"The Regiment's history can be traced to the 102 Regiment of Foot, popularly known as the NSW Corps, which was raised in 1791.
"Regiment members have served in the Sudan (1885), the Boer War and both World Wars.
"The Regiment now consists of six Battalions scattered throughout NSW, and based in 38 Training Depots from Murwillumbah in the North, Leeton in the West and Nowra in the South."
NX49041 DALY, Pte. W.H. ('Bill')
"A" Coy, Great World 4/7/42, at River Valley Rd "A" Camp 4/12/42 and "Blakang Mati Party". On enlistment his N.O.K. was shown as "Mother, Mrs G. Daly, of Armidale, N.S.W."
Towards the end of 1947 Bill Daly was heard of as 'driving a Bus at Katoomba', and at the 11th 'Paddy Walsh' Reunion on 23 Nov 1956 as still living at Katoomba.
Some of Bill's Pals do not know where he is now and wish to get in touch again. Does anyone know where Bill is now, if so, please drop a line to the Ed. so that he may pass it on.
NX20446 Pte S.J. Wallace (Scotty) - HQ Coy, Carriers.
No. 5 Camp, Singapore; Transferred to River Valley Rd Camp, thence back to Changi, '"F" Force. X8 Tunnelling Party with N1 Party.
Peter Mason and Jerry Bailey have both reported that the death of Scotty Wallace occurred on Thursday night, twenty fourth May last and that his Funeral Service was at 2 pm, Monday, 28th.
Peter received word on the Monday morning from "Darby" Young, Port Macquarie by phone. He passed the word to "Paddles" Clune at Taree, but it was short notice., on which to gather the boys. However Peter and his wife attended. Lyle Powers from Taree was there, but Peter thought that they were the only Bn. lads there; though there were about 30 Returned Men from the Kempsey R.S.L. Sub-Branch to give him his last salute
Jerry commented that Scotty had been sick on and off for years. He had been made T.P.I. early in the seventies. He had had a cerebral haemorrhage, and suffered from stomach ulcers.
Scotty's brother had told Peter, that Scotty had been in Hospital and suffered a couple more cerebral haemorrhages, and they had been fatal.
He had a couple of months to go before he would have bean 66 years of age when he died.
Scotty came of one of the pioneer families of the Macleay River Valley. He had never married and lived in the old town home of his parents in East Kempsey.
He had been Secretary of the Mid-North Coast Ex -P.O.W. Association for some years and did good work for the Reunions held in rotation at Kempsey, Port Macquarie and Taree.
NX2538 Cpl. Ronald Athol Johnston, 14 Platoon C Coy
and during P.O.W. days was in Changi, Great World 4/7/1942, and in the River Valley Road Work Party Camp 4/12/42, on '"F" Force on the "Death Railway" and in X1 Tunnelling Party in Johore.
Ron was born on 10/12/1920 and died 18/6/1979, leaving his wife, Meg, and children, Heather, Pamela and Stephen.
The manner of his death was due to an accident. As can be seen by the dates above, he was only 58½ years of age.
Tom Grant has written that Meg rang him to tell him that Ron had had a bad fall from a height off a roof. Tom went from Murwillumbah up to Broadbeach on Sat. 16th June to see him, since he was then home from hospital.
His letter says, that he found Ron "sitting in his chair, cheerful enough. He had suffered bad injuries indeed, including a fractured skull (3 places), punctured ear drum, (a spike had gone through his knee. It seems that he fell quite a distance and was in a suspended position for some time, and also unconscious, before help arrived. Ron was not sure how long he had been in this position. Bad and all as were the injuries I thought that time would see him O.K., though I had some reservations about the ear drum, which had upset his balance. As we went to sit at the table for lunch, he had to use a crutch, which did not look good to me.
"On the Monday, 18th June, I was sitting in my lounge room, reading his diary, which he had lent me on the Saturday, when the phone rang. It was Meg with the news that Ron had passed away, no doubt from complications resulting from his injuries.
"A cremation service was held in the chapel at Allambie Memorial Lawn Cemetery, Nerang on 21/6/79. Together with Harry Riches, Tom Nixon, "Joe" Johnston and Jimmy Small I attended the service, which filled the chapel to standing room. There was a wreath on behalf of the Battalion, and I was invited to give an address. I trust that I was able to do justice on the occasion."
As the Association's Representative at Murwillumbah, Tom cared for all matters on the Association's behalf.
Jimmy Small has written that, while the report of those who represented the Battalion at Ron's funeral, might have been made known to your scribe, "You wouldn't know what a great job Tom Grant did. He spoke of Ron's time in the 30th, from when he joined it; through training; action, and P.O.W. days.
"It is not an easy job to get up before 100 or more folk and speak off the cuff for a good ten minutes and not miss one beat. The Bn can be proud of him as a 30th fellow. I certainly was and the other boys there also felt that way. It was a job well done. He was congratulated afterwards by the different Rotary chaps, who were there, since Ron had long been a sincere Rotarian. A very close friend of Ron's, who came up from Sydney for the funeral, also congratulated Tom for the sincerity and feeling with which he spoke."
Returning to Tom Grant's letter, he went on, "Ron had joined the Battalion at Bathurst in the big draft, after "B.J." had had the big changes in the Battalion, with the result that many had been transferred out to Dubbo. He was said to be straight from the Militia, and, although young, had showed his capabilities and been promoted to Corporal on 20/5/1941. I had a long association with Ron from then on, until we got off the "Esperance Bay" in Sydney Harbour in October 1945.
"I saw little of Ron after the War. He was not of tall stature, but he was a brave man many times in the years, that I knew him. As he remarked, it is a miracle to be spared so long.
"Ron served with the forward elements of the Unit all the way from Gemas to that fateful 15th February '42 on the Island at Tanglin Barracks. He could recall these places as well as all stops in between, including 41 Mile Peg, Causeway and many others. He was unwounded, but, I guess that, like others, he was at times sick in body and heart as well. But despite all this, he stuck to his guns at all times.
"There is a sword, said to be hanging in the War Memorial at Canberra, which was brought back to Australia by Capt. Melville, O.C. “Don” Company, who had been badly wounded at Gemas and repatriated home before the capitulation. This is said to be the first one to come to Australia and is credited with having been captured by C. Coy, 2/30 Bn. It is reported on page 174 of the Bn. History, "Galleghan's Greyhounds", that the Bn was in position at 23/21 Mile Pegs on 30/1/42, when, as a Unit of "West Force" the Bn task was a "holding" one for 24 hours, in order to permit the retirement of the 9th Indian Division on the 27th Brigade's right flank and covering the Railway line, down which that Division was moving.
"The armoured car commanded by Sgt. George Christoff, DCM contacted an enemy patrol forward of "C" Company and engaged it, killing one Jap Officer and two other ranks and wounding one other.
Tom writes, "It was after the armoured car had done its work rather well that Ron, in charge of his section, went forward to investigate. I having been left with one other, together with the Bren Gun to cover the operation, recall them coming back with this Samurai sword, a beautiful piece of blue steel, two handed and jewel studded. It was the first one that we had seen. We could not carry it, so sent it back to H.Q. with the Officer's Map case and other equipment of the Jap. Patrol."
The Bn. Nominal Roll shows that Ron declared himself to be a "Salesman" on his enlistment. On being demobbed he joined his father and brother in a family printing business in the city, but later went into business on his own.. The butts of the receipt books, used by the Association, bear the wording, "Ron Johnston, Printers".
He sold his printing business in June '73 and, although the sale contract called for him to stay with the purchasers for 2 years, he managed to leave the business and Sydney in September 1974.
He and Meg undertook a trip to Malaya and Thailand and then to Hong Kong. They were in Bangkok in May '73. Ron carried out a resolve to visit the "Death Railway" but the experience was too much of an anti-climax and he had said, that he would not want to repeat the performance.
Farming on the Darling Downs was reported in 1975 as his next business venture on a 640 acre farm on the black soil near Toowoomba. Barley and Wheat were reported as his main crops.
Late 1977 he sold out of the farm and moved to the Gold Coast. It seems that the intention was to be to have a life of retirement, and so it might have been in the beginning. But still a salesman, he acquired a job on the Gold Coast with a firm which had been formed to introduce water-proofing of walls, especially their foundations.
Golf was his main sporting interest.. His wife, Meg, was a good exponent of the game too. One of his mates in Sydney, belonging to the same Golf Club in Chatswood, was "Jacko" Jackson. They often teamed together in Competitions. Ron and Meg became Members of the Southport Golf Club, after moving in to their new house on the Gold Coast.
Jimmy Small's letter had commented that Jimmy had played a few games of golf with Ron at Christmas time last year; his company and was amazed that he looked so young.
Ron was one of the early members of the Bn. Association, since he had joined on 4/2/1946. He transferred to Life Membership in 1961. He had expressed his regrets at having small contact with the Association over the years, but affirmed that he followed "Makan" very closely and read of the doings of everyone with interest.
He and Meg were in the Party, that went to Malaysia in January with Ron Maston for the Gemencheh Commemoration at the Bridge on 14th Jan. They were well liked because of their friendliness. Ron in particular showed his care for others in that he made himself responsible for seeing that "Sandy" Christensen was ready to move with the Party at all times, despite Sandy's leg troubles.
Letters in from Jimmy Small and Harry Riches both stress a wonderful job done by Tom Grant in his part for the service, and the sincerity in his voice and the choice of his words.
NX34950 Lieut. Ernest John PARSONS. O.C. 14 Platoon C Coy
was born 19/1919 and died 20/7/1979, as the result of an accident.
We have lost one, who was commented upon by Stan Arneil way back in 1951 in "MAKAN" in the statement, "Johnny ranks high in the estimation of the Unit", and no one will deny its truth.
As word of his death was passed to various Battalion Men, especially those of C Coy, a common theme in their conversation was: "He was a great little bloke"; "A better man we never had"; "He was a white man"; "He was one of my favourites"; “The characteristics, which come through to me so strongly are his enthusiasm, his steadiness, his energy and his determination to always do his best."
His Memorial Service was held at the Glenfield Uniting Church, of which Johnny was a strong supporter and office bearer. The church is small, but it was packed. Chairs were set outside and a loud speaker installed. There must still have been well over another 60 mourners standing outside, "Dutchy" Holland made the count of 2/30 Bn Men present at around the 40 mark.. Lady Galleghan attended to do him honour and our C.O., Colonel Ramsay, was represented by his sister and his nephew. Ron Ollis was the one, who had travelled the furthest to be there, coming down from Hawk's Nest, Port Stephens; then Freddie Butt from Terrigal. Altogether 10 of "C" Coy were there. One sad aspect to ponder is, how many of 14 Platoon have passed on in these last six months.
The Cremation Service was held at the Forest Lawn Crematorium at Leppington, where Arch Thorburn spoke of Johnny’s Bn and Association Activities. Noel Johnston recited the Ode and Battalion Members placed their sprigs of Rosemary, so thoughtfully provided for by Ron McBurney, on the coffin, after which the 'Last Post' and 'Reveille' were sounded.
He was commissioned in March 1940. When he joined the A.I.F. he was posted to the 2/30 Battalion and placed in command of 14 Platoon, C Coy, which post he retained in training, fighting and the period of Prisoner of War days until Recovery and Repatriation to Australia. At one stage he also cared for 13 Platoon, which had lost its officer, Mick Clemens, in the fighting at Gemas.
It was noticeable that hardships to Johnny, were some things, which had to be overcome. It was not so long ago that Johnny had mentioned to your scribe, what was happening in C Coy area at Gemas, when the order came for the whole of the Bn, to withdraw, and said; "We had been pushed back by the tanks and our training has always been not to let the enemy have time to consolidate, move in against him in a counter attack, so that was what we were preparing, when '"B.J.", himself came over to see that we got out."
Johnny was a tower of strength to the Association in its early days after demobilization. From 1949 to 1954 he was on the Organizing Committee for the Annual Balls. Then with Garry Evans, he became the leader of that Committee. It was said of the 1951 Ball, that it was late, "and would not have been held, had not Johnny Parsons volunteered to organise the function for us. He is doing practically everything, although Reg Ellis is doing what he can." The same came to happen with our early Annual Reunions and the comments after these activities were of high praise: ..."A success due to the efforts of Johnny Parsons.”....”Our most successful Reunion to date, our thanks to John
Parsons for a job well done." These were all hardships, which he sought to overcome. Perhaps it may be and feel that it was that he acquired this trait from his parents. Bessie Ellis has told me that Johnny's Mother, was a regular attendee at the Bn. Comforts Fund activities. She would come in from Rhodes, where their home was, bringing with her each time her sewing machine, work all day, and lug the machine back home again. It was difficult, but she kept at it for Johnny and the Battalion.
Page 24 of the Bn History, "Galleghan's Greyhounds" portrays his ability to enforce discipline even without orders, to clear a canteen, in the face of men; who, having had a few ales, "had reached the stage, when authority is difficult to enforce".
Johnny was elected to the Committee of the Association in 1951, with others of C Coy, but had to withdraw in 1954, as he had ventured into the business of running a Delicatessen and 'What have you' shop, which needed his full attention. In 1957 he shifted to the Post Office Store at Como; then in 1972 he was reported to be selling Life Assurance for the AMP Society.
Johnny was one, who was ever conscious of his duty to his country. He had been in the militia before the War. He had been with us in the A.I.F. over the period from November 1940 - until demobilisation. He re-enlisted in the Militia after the war, serving for some time in the St. George Regiment. It was during that time, that we were able to have some of our Annual Reunions and Annual Meetings in the Arncliffe Drill Hall.
In 1975 Johnny was entrusted with the Toast of the Evening at the Annual Reunion, that of "The Battalion", an honour accorded to those who may be considered to have the interests of the Association at heart, and in his pleasing and capable style he let us share his thoughts on some of the events and personalities of earlier days in the Battalion.
NX30772, Cpl. John F. ('Curly') SIMPSON, A Company.
Jack was born 9/9/1916 and died on 24th July 1979 at the age of 62 years. He was married quite happily to Thelma, when we sailed for Malaya but one of the conscientious ones, answered the call to arms.
He was wounded in action on 15th Jan 1942 at Gemas and remained in Changi for the duration; except for joining X1 Tunnelling Party in Johore in the end.
It was only last year, that Thelma allowed us to enjoy some of the humorous lines of poetry, which Jack had written in Malaya.
He was a member of the Battalion Cricket Team, in the short period that the Battalion was being acclimatized at Birdwood Camp on Singapore Island.
His daughter, Sandra, and son Stephen, and their respective husband, Wes, and wife, Georgia, and the grandchildren remain to help Thelma recuperate after the time of looking after Jack these last few years.
He had been occupied in work with the Electricity Commission at the Lallawarra Power Station before his ill health forced him to retire, and it was his constant suffering, which prompted Thelma to write last year, "When do War's end?" for those suffering like Jack had been.
Jack had become a shadow of his former self, down to six stone and less, but to those, able to see him daily in their cottage at Minnamurra, he maintained a courageous outlook, plugging along with more downs than ups; working around the home and in his garden, until he was unable to go outside. To his neighbours he had become legendary for his pluck.
Jack suffered a slight stroke towards the beginning of June. Thelma said that oddly enough it left him for a while a little better than before, but the improvement was of short duration. He entered Wollongong Hospital on Monday, 23rd July, but died on the following day.
Our thanks are due to Ron Cody for letting us, in Sydney know of his passing.
His cremation took place at the Wollongong Crematorium on Thursday, 26th July.
QX11863 Richard J.W. Eathorne
had been a Member of the 2/26 Battalion. During action he was sent with other reinforcements to 2/30 Bn at 21 Mile Peg, and was posted to the Signal Platoon.
He was with the 2/30 Bn Party at Mt. Pleasant and Caldecott Hill whilst on the Shrine Job and was sent to Japan with "J” Force.
He was born on 25/5/1921 and died 21/1/1973 at the early age of 51 years.
He had been a cane cutter and sugar mill hand before the war at Ayr (Q'land) and returned to that District where he was employed by the Australian Estates until the time of his death.
He married and leaves his Widow, Mrs Carley Eathorne.
This information was obtained for us by "Big Johnno", and the letter to him points out, that Dick's discharge papers were showing that he was a member of the 2/26 Bn without reference to the 2/30 Bn.
LEST WE FORGET
Deaths Of Next Of Kin
Mrs Beulah Collison, of Como West, Wife of D Coy identity, Arthur Collison, who left the Bn at Bathurst, lost her Mother, Mrs Hilda Blanche O'Neill on 18 July.
Mary Louisa White, George White's Mother, of Bexley, died on 1st June last at a Nursing Home, in her 94th year.
(Your scribe's Mother, when teaching at the Public School at Kingsgrove, with George in her class had been a friend of George's Mother.
WE SHALL REMEMBER THEM.
Ward Booth - Golf Champion
Garry Evans says that he was over at Royal Sydney Golf Club the other day. He took note of the fact that it has a membership of near 5000, and that "Ward" Booth's name was displayed prominently on the Trophy Boards and in 1958 he had been Club Champion; one of the Foursome Champions, and winner of the Royal Sydney Golf Club Cup.
Sir Edward ("Weary") Dunlop
George Gough passed on the information that he and Nan had a week in Canberra, having been taken down by son, Robert, for them to see his factory, where he is the Sales & Service Manager and Assistant Manager, and also to see his 'Digs'.
George and Nan had had a tour around Canberra, then on the Wednesday visited the National War Museum. There George was having a look at the display on the "Perth", when Nan came to have him visit the P.O.W. Display in the basement. She had been refused admission, at first, by one of the attendants, because there was some filming work being done there, but, when she was told that, the filming concerned Ex-Ps.O.W., she said George was an Ex-P.O.W., and the attendant allowed that he should be there. So they found, that it was an episode for one of the "This is your Life Series" in which Roger Climpson is compere, and the subject, who had been selected by the producer for the AMP Society and Channel 7, being Sir Edward "Weary" Dunlop, so George, being an "A" Force man, should have been in on the activity, and, in a way, it was providential that George was allowed to be there, he became so disgusted with Roger Climpson continually referring to "Weary" as having been on the "Burma Road", that he could not contain himself and, at length, went over, tapped one of the production team on the shoulder, and said, "Excuse me, but the "Burma Road" and the "Burma Railway" are miles apart from each other, you're making a mistake. The Producer immediately stopped the cameras rolling and had a retake, so that the wrong reference would be completely wiped out, and, in gratitude, gave George his own ticket, so that he and Nan could attend Channel 7's Studios at Epping on the Saturday evening, when "Weary" Dunlop was inveigled to come to Sydney, ostensibly to join in a Party, being given by some Nurses, with whom he had been associated, the said Party's location, being made known to him as Channel 7's Studio, when they had him there.
As "Weary" had been in Tobruk; Java; and joined to "A" with the "Java Party", there were many persons brought into the filming. It. was disclosed too that he had been a Rugby Union player in his younger days, during which. time he had represented Australia. George renewed acquaintance with a chap, who had enlisted in Hay with him, and met Mike Bailey, Mick’s son, so had a nat to him too.
George was not able to say, when the session will be on the air, so that it might be over by the time that you read of it here.
News, Views, and Who's Who's
Derek Smith - A Coy
Derek reports, "Since last I wrote I'm now semi-retired. The opportunity came up for me to take a part time job at the Primary School here at Bargo as a male cleaner.
"I find it a very rewarding job. I manage to do a lot in the school garden, growing flowers. Also I find the children at school very entertaining and cannot stop helping them out with their problems, as well taking time out training them at Soccer. I often find myself kicking the. ball about with them.
"The Headmaster at the school is ex-RAAF (Blue Orchid) and we get on very well together.
"I saw Ted Lutz the other day. He lives only a couple of miles from us here. He does not enjoy the best of health. (But then he has passed the three score years and ten and we do hope, that he will have many more years despite what the 'Hong Kong Kid' and 'Speedo' did to him back in Kobe. A.D.)
"Family wise Ethel and I are expecting our middle daughter, Betty, to have her first baby in the next few weeks and our youngest daughter, who lives at Narrabri, had a son towards the end of May, so that makes 4 grandchildren. Our only son, Bernie, is too busy sowing his wild oats to settle down yet. He is working in Canberra as an Electrician, lives at Queanbeyan and plays Soccer with a local team there.
"Best wishes to the folk of the Battalion.
Derek and Ethel Smith."
Ernie Spencer - Bn. HQ
Just a very brief letter from Ernie. He's not 100%, but keeps going, and sends his Regards to the Blokes."
Jack Stuart - HQ. Tspt Pl.
"Well here I am, coming out of the woodwork. Sid Stephens and his wife, Joan, from East Maitland dug me up. They had been up north and this was his second attempt to find me. We had been in Sydney, when he called last time.
"Well, for a start, I am in fairly good health. My wife, Rita, is better than I am, because she does not drink. I am on the invalid pension, the old liver playing up too much, beer I suppose, but I am taking a bit less now.
"Sid sent me up 24 Makans, I do not read much, but, when they arrived, I never stopped, until I had read the lot. They brought back a lot of memories. We think that we are fairly tough, but a few times I got a big lump in my throat. Then 3 days later I read the 24 again.
"In one of them I saw my old mate, Len Clavan. He looks big enough now; either he must be in a good paddock or else his wife must be a good cook.
"I don't see many of the boys, but, after seeing all the Makans I find that there are a few around the area here.
"Well, time has gone quickly, since we all came home, and it does not seem 34 years. I had a couple of jobs in the early part driving trucks, but for the last 25 years I was driving a taxi around Sydney.
"During P.O.W. Days I was on most Working Parties around Singapore (No 4 Camp and River Valley Rd in Dec. '42); went away on "F" Force; was on the Changi Drome and over to Johore, X1 Tunnelling Party. But I reckon "F" Force the worst. Anyhow, that is all History now. But I still can't stop thinking sometimes of all the good blokes, whom we left up there.
"I reckon that I have not done too badly, seeing that I am not a letter writer and most of the other boys seem to get their wives to write their letter’s for them. I wasn't game to ask Rita, as she wrote 4 letters on Sunday.
"I nearly forgot about my family.. I've three boys, two of whom are married, whilst the other's still playing the field. The grandchildren total is (4 Girls and 1 Boy).
"To all the people, who help keep the Association and Makan going? I say, THANKS.
"Yours, Jack Stuart.
P.S. Give my best regards to all the Boys of the Transport and those of C. Coy, Jack."
Doug McLaggan - HQ. Coy.
Doug reckons, "The 50th will always be that little extra in People's minds, although maybe I am prejudiced, being at St. Stephens with Lady Persia, Noel Johnston and Les Wharton.
"The Anzac Day Service was broadcast and, in introducing me to read the Lesson, special mention was made of the standards and example of the 30th.
"Maybe on another special occasion we could hold another Church service there to honour the Colours - wouldn't it be terrific, if ever Padre Walsh were to be in Sydney - truly Ecumenical.
"I'm always busy here at work. The tasks increase each year, no matter the assistance provided .... It is simply another case of the willing horse. But the work load of late has been rather ridiculous. The Company, The Australian Opera, seldom seems to stay out of the news, sought or unsought.
"The photos were a wonderful addition to "MAKAN", "Joe" Geoghegan, "Curly" Hardman and "Paddles" Clune haven't changed a bit - although Curly has had his problems.
"All the Best to All, especially the Committee.
George Stephenson - HQ Coy
George explains, "We live our life here at the same unexciting tempo A month or two doesn't seem to matter here. We seem to do much the same things day by day a little gardening a game of bowls, or a game of snooker at the Golf Club.
"I spend a few minutes each day brushing or ironing the billiard tables, of which we have three, two new tables at the old Beachside Golf House and one at the new Hilltop Championship Golf Course. Both are situated in Mollymook about one mile apart.
"My wife is fond of the garden, although unable to work in it, and it takes her quite a while to walk about in it to see the development of the plants.
"I keep an interest in Milton - Ulladulla R.S.L. Sub-Branch. We meet once a month and recently ran a golf day for local charities, and we have a Bowls Day coming up in aid of Milton Hospital.
"Many thanks to the Committee for the work, that is done to keep the 2/30 Bn Flag flying.
"Yours sincerely, George."
Ron Eaton - Bn HQ
Ron reported, "I am off to London the second Friday in June. I will be there for about three weeks and I know that I will be in for a very hard time.
"Each time I go abroad I come back more convinced than ever that Australia is the best place in the world and the only place where I want to live, despite the efforts of certain gentlemen to muck it up. We have so much here and we must never take it for granted.
"When you think about it, I suppose that this is how we all came together, although we probably did not realise it at the time.
"With kind regards to All.
"Yours sincerely, Ron Eaton."
Peter Mason - HQ Coy, Carriers
Peter, like George Stephenson, confesses, "Things here go along in the same old quiet style. I do some gardening or a bit of building, and, when I get sick of that, I go fishing.
"I hope that this finds the Boys and their families all well and happy.
Cheerio, Peter Mason:"
Col Tuckfield - D Coy
Your scribe was a little worried as to what might have happened to Wally Tedman, because the Post Office had returned his Makan, so a plea went up to Col, asking if he might be able to find out what was wrong.
Col's reply was reassuring, "You'll be pleased to know that I rang Wally's phone number.. and Wally himself answered.
"He is well and is coming up to my place for dinner in a couple of weeks. He is unable to explain why his "Makan" was returned. We are looking forward to renewing old acquaintances.
"I, myself, am keeping as fit as I expect, though I'm not as swift as I once was. With retirement threatening in a couple of years, Perena and I have both taken up golf and have been smitten with the bug.
"I am now Manager of Wolston Park Hospital, which is the largest psychiatric hospital in Australia. So if anyone is in need of "help", I'll endeavour to reserve a bed, after having booked one for myself! I plan to sit on this job for the rest of my public service career, by which time, I'll surely be ready to retire.
"We called on Jock Logan before Christmas and it seems strange now, driving through Palm Beach, to see Logan's Furniture shop replaced by a Plumbers' Supplies Store. I have not seen him since his retirement and overseas trip, but hope that he is enjoying a well deserved leisure.
"Well, Best of Luck to the Boys, Kindest Regards, Col."
M .L . (Jimmy) Small - C Coy.
Jimmy tells me that he will be off for a holiday up on the Outer Barrier Reef, opposite Gladstone, early in August.
Henry West - HQ Coy A/A Pl.
Henry reports that he is not in the best of health these days. Surgeons operated on nerves in his back, and he has to wear a back brace and collar; when he is out of doors.
We have not heard much of him since he was demobbed. He went back to his old trade of painting, but could not keep that up and confined himself to French Polishing, until he was forced to give up work.
Over the years he has been able to have a few holidays on the North Coast, favouring Yamba, although he has a V8 in the garage, it does not show mach mileage on the speedometer.
Remembrances of Changi Days - he asked your scribe, if he remembered the jelly that was made from the boiling of Hibiscus leaves, until they were pulp, and led to chaps with like illnesses to that suffered by Henry.
Ron Stoner - C Coy
It looks like Ron can't or won't take the count.
He states, "Although I retired, before I went overseas, I am involved still in ironing out problems for people. I am going into the office every day. People with whom I was involved before then, still continue to accost me with their problems and I end up becoming entangled.
"I am an associate member of the 2/4th "Mug Gunners", as they call themselves; on Anzac Days I march with them and attend their Annual Meetings. I was asked if I would join in the testing that was given them for Strongyloides. I undertook the test and received a negative result. I recalled to the Professor Grove, who was in charge of the testing, that I had been told in Changi, that I had Strongyloides and Ascaries, and was given a tablespoonful of Castor Oil to flush them out. I remember responding to the treatment with great delight. After swallowing the Castor Oil, I licked and re-licked the spoon to make sure that I had all that was in the spoon. Remember how oil-hungry we were in those days? Even to the extent of lapping up Palm Oil with a taste of petrol in it.
"Up to the end of April over eighty men had been tested and over 20% of them were found to be suffering from presence of the trouble. It is said to be quite a common state in Asian Countries, where hygiene is suspect. Our chaps, who were in the Forces on "The Railway" especially and elsewhere, where they might have been walking around on fouled ground, could have contracted it. The worm (like hookworm) enters between the toes and gets into the bloodstream and bowels.
"On the day, on which we were tested, 12 of us sat together and were required to swallow a capsule, which contained coiled up inside it, a string, one end of which was stuck to the cheek with sticky tape, whilst the other end passes into the fluid in the upper part of the intestines, as the capsule is dissolved. An inspection of the string is made under the microscope, when the string is pulled out after the end of a couple of hours.
"Needless to say, we were able to have a good yarn to each other for the two hours, that we were sitting around.
"It is hoped to perfect a blood test, which will avoid other Ps.O.W. from having to take a test, as we 'Guinea Pigs' underwent, and also to permit it to be done by any M.O. instead of having to report in to some central point for examination.
"Our overseas trip is imprinted still in our thoughts. Highlights were; three weeks spent in an apartment in the heart of Paris; a fortnight with friends in Switzerland; a reunion of 15 of us, all staying at the same hotel for 10 days over a white Christmas; delightful powdery snow throughout Austria; several days with Croatian friends on the Dalmatian Coast in Yugoslavia (it took us days to get our digestion back to normal after the rich food and drink, with which they plied use; bright balmy days at Venice and Como in the North of Italy; a visit to Nice, where I thought of my old "B" Coy friend, Dudley Bushby, and had a look at the hotel, in which he lived, overlooking the beach.
"After our return from Amsterdam, we had two weeks in London and spent a delightful weekend with Garry Rickwood and his gracious wife, Margery, in their resplendent new two-storey home, which Garry had built, since we were last visiting him in 1975. Garry and I discussed the weather, strikes, politics and other tensions in the U.K. and felt much better, after we had polished off a bottle of whisky between us.
"Yours ever, and Regards to All. Ron."
Jack Ellis - HQ Coy, Tspt.
Val. contributes on Jack's behalf, "The family could not get up here for the occasion of Jack's 60th Birthday, but I did manage to gather a few bowling friends and arrange a surprise party for him.
"Jack's health is not too bad, considering the heart attack - he does get tired, when he overdoes things, but he has learnt to rest now, when he feels that he should take it.
"Jack still has the four day job at the High School here with hours from 8 to 12 Noon. So it has good hours and keeps him occupied in the Agricultural side of the school.
"We had a visit from a Mrs Mary Benson, who is a sister of Don and Sammy Watts, who enlisted from Trundle. (Well that is a coincidence, - Makan 247, May/Jun '79, in which your scribe quoted the article from "Reveille"' of 1/1/1943, about the 'Watts Family of Trundle' was not posted until 6th June and Val's letter was written on 24th May - Your Scribe is happy to say that he received a letter from R.R. Watts, Orange, one of the brothers mentioned in that article, and was able to send him 3 copies of that "MAKAN'" at his request - If any of you, especially the B Coy chaps, who might have been in the same platoons as Don and Sammy, are in Orange and able to visit the brother, I am sure that he would be pleased to see you. Likewise Mrs Benson, their sister, is Vice-President of the R.S.L. Ladies' Auxiliary at Swansea, and I'm sure that enquiry, of the R.S.L. Club there, would result in good directions to her home, so that she too might have some detail of Don and Sammy's activities in Malaya and Singapore. Ed)
"Will sign off now, hoping that this note finds all in the best of health, considering, and Cheers to All Members and Mates. Yours sincerely, Val and Jack Ellis."
Les Hall - HQ Coy, Sigs.
Les is one in the Battalion, who has applied for a copy of the 2nd Edition of the "Galleghan's Greyhounds", not that he did not have a copy of the original but, as he says, "I actually had a first edition, but a friend borrowed it off me just on fifteen years ago and, as far as I'm aware, is still studying the contents!" (Perhaps, Les, your friend may intend to get his own copy of the 2nd Edition and let you have your's back., Ray Streatfeild, certainly did a great job in shepherding the 2nd Edition through the various stages with the printer; cover for hard back, and the bookbinder, as well as spending hours at home himself with what they call the 'Artwork' in the printing game. We have more copies of the book available for sale, the orders, which came in, did not reach the number, that was the least that we could have done to be economical, but it was decided by the Executive to go ahead and print, in order to keep faith with those, who had ordered, and give others the chance of buying it as of now. We have those 250 copies as ordered, but going quickly. Ed).
Chum Farley - B Coy
"Just a note to let you know that I'm still around the place and enjoying life. For so many of us the years are going by, just a little faster than perhaps we would like, but I am beginning to look forward to retirement in a couple of years time. That is, of course, if I don't get the nod to go earlier.
"By all accounts quite a lot of the chaps in the Battalion have retired by now. They seem to be enjoying it.
"At the moment my wife and I are planning to attend the Balling Reunion on 11 August, so hopefully I will be able to renew a few old acquaintances.
"By the way, a chap named Alan Garrick, who was the acting Officer in charge of the 2/1 Heavy Battery, Timor and later a P.O.W. Changi and Japan, recently joined the Dept. of Health here, following our takeover of a lot of the Medibank. He is in charge of our claims processing centre at Ipswich. I understand that he remained in the service for some time as a Lt. Col. Doubtless there may be some of our chaps, who might remember him.
“All the Best and My, Regards to all the Boys. C. Farley."
Don West - B Coy
Don comments, "'I will be down in the Riverina in October and hope that I may run into Athol Hyde-Cates, or whoever I may see in the street. About the only person of the Battalion, that I see is George White and he keeps me informed on things.
"I have given up golf and am now a very keen bowler with Bexley RSL Bowling Club, of which I am President and also South Hurstville Bowling Club, where we play - I enjoy it very much.
"I have met "Snowy" Stevens round the Bowls traps, but I have not seen him for some time. Yours, Don West."
Ron Ollis - HQ Coy
Ron offers a few of the impressions, which he gained on the recent trip to Europe with his wife, "We were away only for two months, so our knowledge of England and the six countries in Europe visited, would amount only to an on the surface view, but we enjoyed every minute of it; are delighted that we made the break, and saw a great deal of beauty and interest.
"Europe in spring is green, smooth, soft and lovely, and to stand on a spot, where history was made many centuries ago, has a special feeling, so that we are now studying history, as we should have 40 odd years ago. Suddenly too it brought home what a young nation we are.
"But England and Europe are expensive, even for the necessities of life. An Australian on an average income enjoys a far better standard of living than his European counterpart. How the English, in the lower income bracket, exist, I just do not know.
"I have mentioned their spring, but their winter? I'd rather not.
"However, of the seven countries visited, I do envy five of them one thing: their pride in their own country. For centuries they have worked for it. Some of them have had to fight many times to keep it, and work harder to rebuild it. They are working harder still and it shows. They have little unemployment and no dole. They have plays and are proud to show them. They do their military training, in one case, until they are 55 years of age.
"I feel that they practise what John Kennedy said, "It's not what your country can do for you, but what can you do for your country.
"I wonder if we are too young, or had it too easy, to realize, and if it will remain always so easy to have so much.
"Graham McLeod's daughter, Vicki, is now sharing our daughter, Rowena's, flat in London.
"If any of the boys are in our vicinity, as set out above, it would be very nice to see them. Kind Regards, Ron."
Bernie Clarke - HQ, Coy
Ron Stoner informs us, "I'm on the trail of Lieut Bernie Clarke, HQ. Coy and "B" Force. He has been living in W.A. for 9 years now. I have sent him a copy of "MAKAN" through a friend of his in the 2/4 M.G. Bn, of which I am an Associate Member.
Success was achieved on the hunt, for Ron continues, "I enjoyed having lunch on Friday, 15 Jun, with a very fit looking Bernie Clarke. It was a pleasure to exchange experiences with him ranging from the present to P.O.W. days.
"He mentioned that after a few years in Australia, following our return from Singapore, he went back there and, for a number of years, worked for a tin mining company in Malaysia and Southern Thailand before joining A.C.I. in 1953 in their operation that part of Asia.
He is now State Manager for A.C.I. in Western Australia.
Both he and his wife recently visited their eldest son, his wife and 22 year old grandchild in New Zealand, where the son is completing his Ph. D. at Dunedin University.
On his brief stay in Sydney he was able to meet up with Bill Clayton and Denny Garland, and reports a very happy meeting with them after a long separation.
Bernie's daughter is married and living in Karratha with her husband. who is in Hamersley Iron, whilst his youngest son is living with his parents at City Beach, Perth
Jim Morgan - HQ Coy, Tspt.
Jim's in luck, "Hoping this note finds all O.K. down in Sydney, as it leaves us well at the Port in the best, and the weather, at the time of writing is great.
"We have been getting some very nice fish, big sea bream lately, so we are hoping that they keep on for some time. Cheerio for now. Jim Morgan."
Garry Evans - A Coy
Over a 15 week period from 21st Feb. this year to 2 June, Garry's ever pleasant smile has been growing bigger and bigger with his successes in golf, one of our reporters declares.
On 21st Feb. he created a Club record, while winning in a Four-Ball Comp at Strathfield with 55 points. Two days later in another Four ball he won again with 53 points.
10th March he had a 67 Net in winning a Singles Stroke and 28th of the same month won a Scratch-Score Four ball.
He was Runner-up in a Singles Knock-out on 22nd April, and on 14th May won a Pro-Am Event with 47 points. Altogether he was amongst the winners in 4 events in May, with 48 points to win a Four ball, with his Son-in-law, on 26th May at Strathfield; 49 points on 29th May in a Four-Ball in the Marrickville Open, and back at Strathfield the very next day, 30th May, was Runner-Up with 49 points.
On 2nd June he was credited with the Monthly Medal and Page Cup with a 65 Net, to make a total of 10 trophies gained that series.
Athol Charlesworth - D Coy
Another Golfer of some prowess, the same Reporter stated, is Athol, who won the Foursomes Championship at Leura, 10 June.
Joe A. Noble - B Coy.
Joe, who was a Foreman Boot maker at Limbless (Repat) has retired, I'm told.
Jack (Curly) F. Simpson - A Coy
Thelma writes, "Jack is far from well. He had a slight stroke in. the early part of June and his stomach condition does cause him agony with everything that he eats.
The Newspaper, "Kiama Independent", thought so much of a scheme, that Thelma has outlined, to stop dangerous, time consuming journeys for heavy vehicles down the Macquarie Pass, that the Editor allotted front page coverage for Thelma's plans and description. The principle involved calls for the construction of a multi-storied, three sided building up against the escarpment between the Illawarra Lowlands and the Highlands, the core of that building to consist solely of elevators, which would be capable of carrying all types of road and rail vehicles, and to have an outer shell, vertically of floors devoted to office or administrative activities, motels and restaurants.
Her suggestion for its financing, which must of necessity be somewhat astronomical, is for the formation of a big combine of large firms, whose goods are being transported already up and down the escarpment, together with the Companies, whose vehicles are engaged in carrying those goods, because they must be the ones, who would benefit by rapidity of movement of the goods, with the combine then obtaining title to the land, to be used; build the structure; use it themselves and recoup outlay by their own savings and charge a toll of any person or firm not a party to the combine.
An Allied Construction's spokesman, who has examined the proposition has said that, in view of increasing haulage problems on the escarpment regions, Thelma's suggestions, "have possibilities from the engineering point of view." and one has to live in the coastal strip to appreciate the difficulties, such a proposal is aimed to overcome.
Arising from the Newspaper's appreciation of Thelma's imaginative approach in this scheme and painstaking historical research, which she has been carrying out, she has been asked to be a guest columnist for the Paper.
Arthur Buckingham - B Coy
Arthur has notified a change of address, "I received a warning before last Christmas, after a slight coronary, to take things more easily. So, much as I hated doing so we sold our 40 acres and now reside at the above address.
Instead of milking cows and growing things, I now aim to catch a few fish, or at least try.
"Kindest regards to all. Arthur Buckingham."
Ted Skuse - A Coy
Ted has been staying with his son at Macquarie Fields, whilst Edna was down in St. Vincent's Hospital for some surgery, and advised that she was to leave there, to go home by Air Ambulance on the 21st June last, whilst Ted preceded her the day before, to get things ready for her return home to Tuncurry. Edna still has a problem in moving round, but we hope that she will have a new lease of life.
Des Duffy - B Coy
Des has had quite a bit of movement from one hospital to another lately; in to Concord; to Lady Davidson; to a Convalescent Hospital in Manly; then back to Lady Davidson, and it may be for his own and Ivy's welfare that he remain in a convalescent hospital, and he is now at Endeavour Convalescent Hospital, Kogarah.
"Gentleman George" Ramsay
It is five months since "Gentleman George" came home from Lady Davidson, but he had to go into Concord for a while, whence he was moved to "Greenwood Convalescent' Homes", Normanhurst.
A.D. "Speed" Hollingsworth - B Coy & "J"
"Speed" tells me, Harry Wilson, B Coy and J Force has been transferred from Concord to the "Belvedere Nursing Home", Wahroonga.
Fred Bladwell - HQ Coy Mortars.
One of our reporters has found that Fred and his wife, Grace, are on an overseas tour and were to be in Ireland about the middle of July.
Bruce Greer - HQ Coy, Pioneers
Bruce reports, "Billie and I are on the move again, to Megalong Valley once more, this time to take over, whilst Ross takes his wife, Linda, to Sydney, to have their first child and our third grandchild. So, we are kept busy, one way or another and at least it helps to keep the waist-line down.
"Cheerio to one and all, yours sincerely, Bruce."
"Tiger" Sylvester - B Coy
Word has reached us from one of our reporters that our old friend from Belmore Day Boys, Wallgrove, B Coy, "Tiger" Sylvester, who was severely wounded at Gemas and, luckily for him, was repatriated to Australia on 10 Feb.'42 ex 13 AGH has retired from his job with the Railways. One of his activities is as a Hospital Visitor for the Belmore R.S.L.
Gerry Bailey – HQ Coy, Tspt
Gerry tells, "We are very happy here in the old home. It used to be my Mother's home, old but comfy.
"Mum and I are keeping well. Today she is in at Nambucca Heads, so I have sat myself down to write.
"I play golf twice a week. I'm a bit blind in one eye, but do alright. I'm no champ, but I enjoy it.
"I hope to be able to get down to the Reunion at Port Macquarie in August, and see some of the boys.
"I saw Mick a couple of weeks ago, towards the end of June. He seems well and happy, but does not get around much.
"Wishing one and all in the Battalion the best of everything in life, also their families, from Jess and Gerry."
Cecil Plews - HQ Carrier
Cec had the misfortune to lose his Sister, Clementine, in May, and, in reply to our letter of condolence, commented that our letter was the first time, that he had heard from one of the 2/30th Association.
He says, "As I am usually over in Sydney from Adelaide two or three times a year, I may be able to get to some Battalion functions, if I can get to know, when and where, I would like to establish contact again.
"My very best wishes to all the members of the 2/30 Bn. Association. Cec."
Ross Madden - A Coy.
Ross reports, "I was very interested in the List of names, and the more I went up and down the List memories came back..
"The Nominal Roll only gives the initial of the first name, E, for the chap Mills. Is this the chap, who was known as "Padre"? and did he live at Guyra? There is no "Mills, E" on the Phone or Roll-up here. (His first name is "Eric". He was on "J" Force with me. His Mother's address, when he enlisted is given as Little Plain via Inverell. He was said to be a shearer and that he was to have been married in 1949. That is the only news, which we have had of him. Ed)
"When reading about the Watts family, a bell rang, and I dug out an old note book, and I came across the name of 'Sandy' McLean, c/- C.A. Widdes, "Main Camp", Myrtle Creek via Casino. I have it at the back of my head, that Sandy died up on F Force. I thought that he was a "A" Coy man. ("Sandy" would seem to have been "A.C. McLean", since his Father's address was given as Maroora, Casino. However he came back to Australia and although we were never in touch with him, his name was listed in one of the copies of "Reveille", as having died during 1970. Ed.)
"These three names come to mind as transferred to other Units: Jack Lynch, A Coy; "Snow" Evans, A Coy and -- Stokes, A Coy. Lynch and Stokes being transferred at Bathurst and Evans at Tamworth. Are these names correct? If you are talking to Garry Evans, he may be able to give you more information than I can. (Jack Lynch was reported in 1952 as "that great roaring fellow, who left the Unit, when we were at Bathurst", by Stan Arneil, who also said, "Jack is a Farmer now at Mona Vale, Deep Water, on the North Coast, and making quite a success of his farm".) (On reference to Garry Evans, he said that he could picture Lynch and Stokes, as, if they were standing right beside him, and that Stokes' nickname was "Beady" because of his black piercing eyes. However he was lost on Evans, he said that he only knew of the three, Wilf, (Tspt), "Tommy", (F.J.) the little chap in "B" Coy, and himself. Ed)
"Here is the address of H.H. (Harry) Bullen, Uralla, 2358. I have not seen Harry since coming to Armidale and that was way back about 1947. (Harry's Mother used to live at Rocky River via Uralla, so he must be well and truly settled in his old haunts. Ed.)
"Things are rather quiet up this way. We do not go out very much.- I had a yarn with Bill Humphrey this week. He is keeping fit and still doing a spot of work.
"The Madden family is keeping well.
"All the Best to the Boys. Yours sincerely, Ross." (Ross included a clipping from "Barbed Wire and Bamboo" Oct 64, commenting that the names of Hospital Patients as listed there might be of interest - The tough thing was, that those listed had all since died. Ed).
Col O'Donnell - C Coy
Col notes, "Regarding the St Patrick's School at Katong being used as 10 Aust. Gen Hospital. I was evacuated to there from the Singapore General Hospital after the Capitulation.
"After John Taylor had pushed my eye back into its socket and bandaged it, I was sent to a temporary A.G.H., called "Manor Hall" I think. A Major Claffy, fortunately an eye surgeon, operated on me; stitched the bottom eyelid and got the tear duct working
"When the Japs commenced shelling near this hospital, patients were taken to either the Cathay Theatre or Singapore General. As I was a walking wounded, I was put in charge of the kitchen on the floor, which we occupied at the Singapore General. When orders came from the Japs, that we were to be evacuated., they also said, that we were to take nothing with us. I decided that each stretcher case would take as many tins of food as would fit alongside his body on the stretcher, covered with a blanket. The excuse, if the Japs checked them, was that it was their week's ration of food, authorised by the Jap. Captain; we did not know his name. Nobody was searched and, although the men were told to hand in the tins at Katong, none were so I gathered up all the cutlery, that we had, and handed that in. Obviously I could not eat that.
"I don't recall any 2/30 Bn men being with me at Singapore Hospital or Katong, or how long I stayed at Katong, I do know, that I was really glad to rejoin the 2/30th at Selarang Barracks later.
"Going down Memory Lane to the month after we returned home from Malaya, I recall being directed by ""B.J.” to prepare a five minute talk on the "A.I.F. Nursing Scholarship Fund" for Chinese Nurses of Malaya and Singapore to be brought down to Australia. He had arranged it with 2 FC that the talk follow immediately after the 7 pm News Session Much to my surprise the talk was not put on tape, as I had expected, when I arrived, but I was just told to relax and not speak too close to the mike. It must have come over the air better than I thought because, even Rickwood said that it was OK.
I have not heard for some years how this 8 Div. Memorial is going.
(I take the liberty of interposing an extract from the Apr.'79 Newsletter of the 8 Div Sigs Association NSW, Ed)
"As you may recall, after we were discharged in 1945-46, donations were called for to fund a scholarship to further the studies of nursing personnel from Malaya and Singapore. This fund has provided the means to bring to Australia each year a nurse of outstanding promise.
"The present N.S.W. representative of the Fund is our own (8 Div Sigs.) Jim Ling. 8 Div Sigs has been nominated as host to this year's recipient of the Scholarship, while he is in New South Wales. It is hoped to have a few informal evenings and to provide some sightseeing etc .
"The recipient this year is a male - Matron Anandadumarasamy - who will arrive ex Melbourne on 26th April to live in at Royal North Shore Hospital.
"On Friday, 11th May, he moves from North Shore to Prince Henry Hospital at Malabar.
"Saturday, 19th May; he moves to Royal Newcastle Hospital, where he will stay, until returning to Sydney on either Sat. or Sun, 1 or 2 June, to Kingsford-Smith Airport to board a Qantas Flight to Singapore..
Also items, which appeared in Dec. '78 & Jun '79 issues of the "Barbed Wire and Bamboo", have this to say:
"The 31st Annual Report recently, signed by Mr. S.A.F. POND (C.O. 2/29 Bn), shows credit balance $23,010.50. Receipts for the year were $8,442.49; Disbursements $3,853.99.
"The 3 page report is very interesting and deals with the work involved in bringing out candidates from Singapore to do training in various hospitals in Australia.
"Matron Bullwinkel resigned, as she now lives in Western Australia and her place has been taken by Mr. Ben Barnett (8 Div Sigs.), (But he himself has died recently. Ed)
"Bob Christie (2/29 Bn) has completed 30 years work as Secretary to the Scholarship."
"Qantas, 'the Australian Airline', is again helping a worthy ex-Servicemen's cause.
"This time it is the AIF Malaysian Nursing Scholarship, the Official War Memorial of the 8 Aus. Div. and AIF Malaya, formed as a Trust in 1945 to show appreciation of loyal and generous work and assistance given to Aus Troops by the Asiatic Community in Malaya, later extended to Singapore.
"Regular visits of nurses have been sponsored by the Scholarship as funds have permitted.
"This year a male nurse, of Matron status, has been brought out from Singapore. He was booked on a Qantas flight each way, at Qantas' expense a very favourable reaction to a plea for assistance from the hoard of Management of the Trust."
"I enclose copies of letters to all of our Members, enclosing Membership forms, and of a screed, prepared by Col. S.A.F. Pond, with a letter to all 8 Div. Personnel in '45, and donate them to the Bn Archives.
"Also here is a piece of doggerel, that was circulated to be read on Company Parades, for .the Archives. "Cheers for now, Yours sincerely, Col O'Donnell."
A Thought For The Moment
Now that we're together
here, together in the clink,
It isn't very difficult,
behind this prison wall,
We've all of us got loved
ones, mother, sweetheart, wife,
So isn't it worth trying,
worth the effort made,
The Greatest March Of All
Norm King responds to Tom Higgins' poem with this from Changi days. (Author unknown).
You may have seen the
It started down at
The first three nights
were not so bad,
There were three thousand
In parties of six
Feet soon were sore and
The food we had was not
We left the swamp behind
Then we hit the mountains
But on and on we battled,
Men dropped by the
Hospitals were crowded
Now the March is over,
So, when this war is
Think of the men, who
paid the price,
For the Reaper swung a
So we, who were upon it,
We stood and saw Pals
Although not "Killed in
Though you preach to us
So when the price you
And so when the talk of
Birth Of A Name
As the Master drew back
the curtains of night,
They came in with the
They carved a name in
this foreign land,
Valiant, they suffered
the horrors and pain,
But their fighting sprit
was still intact,
All were initiated in
this fearsome battle,
They confirmed the
courage of Anzac,
They were slain, as they
struggled up the slope,
They were forced to
retreat down that deadly trail,
Weary and wounded they
They gave all they could
Today we know Gallipoli
was not in vain,
The fallen, who are free
from jealousy and hate,
As the Master rings down
the curtain of night,
Col. D.J. Duffy MC. ED.