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President’s Report 2024

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President’s Report 2024

Greetings to all members and friends of the Regiment Association. It is a great honour to be penning (albeit digitally!) my first report as President of the Association. I was elected at the 2023 AGM. My predecessors as Presidents of the Association’s Remembrance Group, Anne Rae and Lynton Rose, provided outstanding leadership over many years following the 2008 handover to subsequent generations from the ageing Committee members who were veterans of the Regiment.

The past year has been a particularly busy one for the Association. Our 11-member Committee continues to work really well together, with members generously volunteering to take on tasks from time to time. Perhaps the highlight of the year was a matter that I dealt with in my December 2023 Association newsletter, namely the desecration of the memorial plaque to the Regiment situated at the Werribee Racecourse, its replacement, and the 20th anniversary commemoration of the original installation of the plaque held there on 24 September 2023. Particular thanks go to Committee members Ian Campbell and Malcolm Wrigglesworth, and friends of the Association Graeme Heddle and Matt Heddle, for their brilliant work on replacing the stolen plaque and, combined with other organisations (particularly the Werribee RSL and the Racecourse management), for the commemoration ceremony.

Another highlight of the year was the rebuilding, on a modern platform, of the Association’s website, funded by a Saluting their Service grant from DVA. The work was undertaken by Malcolm Romano, the Principal of DesignsenseWeb, the company that manages our website, supported by Colin Bragg and me. If you have not done so recently, please visit the website and explore the huge range of fascinating information available there.

The front-page feature article in this year’s issue of Take Post focuses on one of the many 7 Battery men captured on Crete in May 1941, and who spent the rest of the war as prisoners of war in Italy and Germany, or on the run in occupied territory having escaped from captivity. I am referring Cecil (Cec) Donelly. His son Alan will be our featured speaker at the April 2024 Association Reunion, speaking about Cec and his experiences. Please read Cec’s own account in this issue.

I invite you to turn back to the front page and look at the two photographs of Cec Donelly, the first dated July 1940 immediately after he enlisted, and the second April 1946, at the first reunion of the newly formed Regiment Association. I see a fresh-faced young man in the first photograph, and someone who has seen and experienced an awful lot during the intervening years—perhaps more than anyone should have to—in the second.

The apparent differences in Cec’s appearance resonate with an important ceremony conducted at the Australian War Memorial during the week in which I write. It is the dedication ceremony for a contemporary artwork titled ‘For Every Drop Shed in Anguish’, held on 22 February 2024. ‘The Memorial commissioned the artwork in consultation with veterans and their families who have experienced or witnessed service-related trauma. The sculpture by Alex Seton is made up of 18 unique droplets of marble, some weighing up to 3,000 kgs, which represent the blood sweat and tears shed by those affected by their service and their families.’ The focus is to remind us that the suffering of wartime does not end with the silencing of the guns, but for many service people and their families continues long after return to everyday life. See

We will remember them. Lest we forget. Ubique.