Secretary's Report 2020

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From The Secretary's Desk

Welcome and greetings to all members and guests for the 2020, 2nd / 3rd ALAA Regiment Association AGM and Annual Luncheon at this excellent RACV venue.

As has been the case since we established our web site, most enquires are received through the website or by email. Association Research Officer David McDonald handles the more detailed responses. (Please refer to the Sentry's Log for some examples of enquiries in this year's Take Post)

This past twelve months very little correspondence has come across my desk apart from a couple of phone calls towards the end of the calendar year and early this year.

One such phone call was from Foster and Katherine Crooke asking whether we would like an article for Take Post relating to their two trips to World War Two sites in the islands of Papa New Guinea in May and December 2019.(We are pleased to include Foster and Katherine's story in this issue of Take Post)

The Year in Review

I continue to receive phone calls from descendants of members of the 2nd/3rd and other anti-aircraft Regiments seeking information regarding former war veterans. These calls are usually received after family members have searched the internet, and frequently reflect that:

                  . Most WW2 Associations have been wound up, or Regiment Associations have not existed.

                  . Very few Associations have a website, particularly Australian Anti-Aircraft Regiment Associations.

                  .  A Web search under "Anti-Aircraft" will invariably bring up our 2nd / 3rd web site.

Whilst we are unable to answer all these enquiries, we do endeavour to provide sufficient information for them to be followed up by the enquirees.

The Association Committee normally meets every six months, but due to elected committee members either being unavailable on specific dates, or touring overseas, these meetings did not proceed over the past twelve months. Committee contact for matters that need to be discussed have been via email or phone discussion, with any priority items needing to be proposed and accepted by the majority of Committee members. Future committee meetings will be planned well ahead, with one to be arranged after this year's AGM.

The Association has not been advised of the passing of any original service members since the 2019 AGM.

Our records indicate there are only four surviving original service members, of the 1,935 original service members of the 2nd / 3rd ALAA Regiment, that we are able to contact.

Similarly, our records indicate there are possibly another four original members we have been unable to contact for over two years, and about whom we have not received any information regarding their whereabouts or passing.

Donations

The Association continues to receive donations from members, enabling us to continue to underwrite the cost of the AGM / Reunion, to undertake maintenance of our web site, to produce Take Post and to fund any unscheduled technical up-grades to our web site.

Thank you to all members who have made donations throughout the year, and in particular Foster Crooke, Doreen Bryant, Trish Stattery and Dot Harris.

The Association is very grateful and appreciates all donations to enable the continuance of this wonderful Association in remembrance of the original members of the 2nd / 3rd L.A.A. Regiment.

2nd/3rd Website

The Association web site is working well. Since we included a RECAPTCHA requirement on the web site last year the number of spam emails has been significantly reduced. The remainder are dealt with by Treasurer Colin Bragg and Research Officer David McDonald who maintain a regular watch on day to day activities. Website / server updates and security procedures are referred to Malcolm Romano from Designsense Web, for any necessary action.

Thank you again in particular to its principal, Malcolm Romano. We are very appreciative of David McDonald, and Colin Bragg for making time available to oversee and attend to and eradicate corruptive software, and installing new and important articles for all the Remembrance Group and others to view.

Remembrance Group

The Remembrance Group continues to grow and currently numbers approximately over 90 members, of whom 50attended the 2019 AGM/ Reunion Luncheon.... a very good attendance.

Last year we had one original service member, John Campbell, who thoroughly enjoyed the AGM/ Reunion and Luncheon.

Please remember to advise myself or Colin Bragg (Treasurer) of any changes to your address, email and phone numbers, so we can keep in touch with further developments or events that maybe forthcoming later in the year. 

Take Post

This year the production of Take Post will be in full colour, following on from the 2019 issue that featured the front and back pages in colour - a first since Take Post was produced in 1988. This year's "Take Post" feature articles are extracts from John Campbell's war diaries (thanks to Ian Campbell's transcription efforts) and Foster and Katherine Crooke trips to Papua New Guinea.

I would like to thank Colin Bragg for his tremendous effort and valuable time in sourcing wonderful articles that are headlight features in Take Post and in formulating and preparing this year's Take Post.Similarly, thank you to David McDonald for his "forensic" vetting to ensure dates, times, places, spelling and attribution are correct or added.

Shooting Through By Katrina Kittel

I attended the launch of Katrina Kittel's book "Shooting Through:Campo 106 Escaped POW's After the Italian Armistice"on behalf of the 2nd/3rd on the afternoon of Saturday 29 February at Tobruk House, Melbourne

The launch was a little like a writer's festival panel with Katrina on the panel with History Professor Peter Monteath of Flinders University and Cate Carrington of ABC Radio whose father was a PoW in Campo 106. The panel was moderated by Michelle Scott-Tucker, author of Elizabeth Macarthur.

The launch was introduced by Alistair Davidson, Secretary of the 2/24 Australian Infantry Battalion Association.

A total of 19 members of the 2nd/3rd escaped from Italian Camps to Switzerland between September and December 1943.

Both Professor Monteath and Cate Carrington had previously visited the sites of the rice farms in northern Italy where the PoWs were forced to work during their incarceration. They had also visited the Monte Moro Pass through which the escapees made their way to Switzerland.

Shooting Throughis available in book stores or may be ordered on-line.

Thank you and kind regards to all.

Malcolm Wrigglesworth, Honorary Secretary.