President’s Report 2021
What an unusual year it has been with the 2020 ANZAC Day March cancelled, as well as our 2019-20 Annual General Meeting, reunion and lunch, due to Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.
With no official March and with the lockdown confining us to our homes, the ingenuity and commitment of members came to the fore. I received a messages from a number of members regarding the way that they and their families had commemorated ANZAC Day, mostly with personal and family dawn services conducted at the end of driveways.
This year the RSL has determined that only current veterans are permitted to participate in the ANZAC Day March and that banners belonging to Associations such as ours, must be delivered to the RSL, to be carried by scouts in a massed display. This arrangement is ostensibly due to the requirement to manage the total numbers participating in the March to less than 5,000 people.
The Committee has decided that as our fathers and grandfathers treasured the Regimental banner we are not prepared to hand it over for others to carry, where its safety and care is beyond our control. Thus the Regiment will not have a presence at this year’s March. However I trust that with the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccination program will see us again participating in 2022.
It is with pleasure that I welcome Allicia Rae, grand-daughter of Cec Rae (9thBattery), who kindly volunteered to assist with organising the AGM, reunion and lunch for 2021 and has been co-opted to the Committee.
Of particular interest to all those researching their father’s/grandfather’s war history, the official 2/3 ALAA Regimental H.Q. and some battery, signals and workshop War diaries have been digitised and uploaded to the Australian War Memorial website this year and are available on-line at https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C2660276.
Our Research Officer David McDonald has been busy ensuring that all past copies of our annual publication Take Post from 1988 to 2008 (printed copies from his own collection), and digital copies from 2009 onwards, have now been catalogued by the National Library of Australia and available on-line through its Trove collection. This has ensured that current and future generations who are searching Trove can readily find information about our Association. See https://trove.nla.gov.au/version/266934360 .
At this year’s AGM the Committee is recommending that the membership consider the move for the Association to become an Incorporated body. There are several reasons for this, the most pressing of which is to continue to secure the Association’s website domain name asantiaircraft.org.au as it has been since the website was launched in 2008. It is due for renewal in June 2021 and we have been advised that due to a rule change, Unincorporated Associations such as ours can no longer use .org.au in their domain name, and must become Incorporated Associations if we wish to retain our domain name when the current registration expires.
Additional benefits from incorporating our Association include providing a transparent structure and set of operating rules, and also limiting the liability of members in the extremely unlikely event of someone threatening, or taking, legal action.
This Take Pos t is again jam-packed with interesting stories and information and I congratulate Colin Bragg on another excellent edition. As this year is the 80thanniversary of the siege of Tobruk, the feature article relates to the Regiment’s and in particular, 8thBattery’s role in that event. The war diary extracts of Gunner Leslie Miller (8thBattery) provides us with the first-hand and personal experience of a Rat of Tobruk at that time.
This year is also the 150thanniversary of Australian Artillery. Events will be held in Canberra 1st August and in Sydney on 6thNovember. See http://artilleryhistory.org.
My sincere thanks go to the Committee members for their work throughout the year to ensure that the story of the men of the 2/3rdAustralian Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment and particularly those that didn’t return, is not forgotten.
Sadly, Vice President Matthew Heddle and Treasurer Colin Bragg have decided to stand down from their positions. I wish to thank them both very much for the excellent work that they have both done to further the interests of the Association. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude. Thankfully Colin has agreed to continue to edit Take Post into the future.