Secretary's Report 2018

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Welcome and hearty greetings to all members to the 2018, 2nd / 3rd LAA Regt Association AGM and the Regiments Annual Luncheon.

This is my fifth year as Secretary, and again the past 12 months flown quickly. For me personally last year has been rather full year with the marriage of my eldest daughter Sarah to Clyde Davidson in April, and the attending of three other nephew and nieces weddings. A planned trip to Palm Cove in Queensland for 10 days and the closure of the company I had worked for 22 years rounded up the end of the year for 2017. 

Towards the end of last year and in particularly early this year my thoughts have turn to the preparation of this year's AGM, annual reunion arrangements and Anzac Day March, and of course the preparation and production of "Take Post " and what information I have for the Secretary's report.

Regular contact and our twice a year 2nd / 3rd Committee meetings create plenty of thoughts, ideas and action plans either already in place or just needing a little attention to detail prior to implementation.

Well it turns out that Colin Bragg, the Association's Treasurer has accumulated through his various contacts enough articles, photos and information to produce another very well presented 'Take Post' newsletter for us this year.

From the Secretary's Desk

As has been in the case in recent years, most of the enquiries are received electronically through our website or direct to myself, Treasurer Colin Bragg or Association Research Officer David McDonald.

This year David McDonald has attended to a lot of the correspondence from members and relatives via email, webmail or telephone conversation, which makes the Secretary's job a lot easier.

On occasions, usually after Anzac Day, there have been phone calls or emails direct to myself regarding the 2nd/3rd or even the 2nd/ 4th, and so I will pass on some of these 'happenings'.

We heard from Foster Crooke and family, thanking the Committee for the great lunch and commenting that the 2017 issue of Take Post was excellent to read. Foster mentioned at our reunion that our online roll had an error with the spelling of a veteran's name. A check of ON TARGET and AUST ARCHIVES verified that there was a name incorrectly spelt - our web site alphabetical roll section has been amended. Thank you Foster.  Foster also mentioned that it might be worth while including the 2/4th at the 2nd/3rd's AGM/ Reunion.

Toni Boyce, daughter of Clifford John Cullen wrote in June 2017 advising that she has had a stroke and finds it hard to get around much. In 2015, Toni and Clifford Cullen travelled to PNG, they had a wonderful trip, where Clifford was surrounded by families, whose people he had fought with in the war. They just wanted to say thank you and shake his hand. They travelled to three airstrips, even though they were covered in grass, he knew where they were. Toni has some photos of him at the Memorial surrounded by these local people. During the year, the NSW Vets Association contacted Toni, and they have placed a plaque in Rookwood Cemetery in the Wall of Remembrance for our fallen heroes, and also a plaque in the Woy Woy Memorial Gardens. 

The Year in Review

On a couple of occasions I have received telephone calls or emails from family members who no longer have a need to hold onto photo memorabilia. The Association is always receptive to obtaining such memorabilia depicting our 2nd / 3rd LAA war veterans.

 Alan Read’s daughter, Vivienne and family have recently sorted through Alan's papers and books.  There are quite a few books related to WW II, some related to the Regiment, others more general.  And there are somespare books related to the mission to El Alamein that heparticipated in.  Would you be in a position to take these and if not, can you suggest who I might contact who would be interested? No hesitation to this offer, and subsequently received two cardboard cartons full of books, calendars, and other interesting memorabilia and information on the 2nd/4th LAAA Regiments from Bushy Read's family, who kindly donated his war memorabilia to the 2nd/ 3rd LAAA for our safe keeping.  Thank you Vivienne for this generous gift.

Throughout the year, we received the advice of the passing of original service members.

We learnt of the passing of the following servicemen:-

John Hilliard                  (VX270684)                  8th Battery

These are sad and regrettable events and we should be grateful that these men returned home to their families to live and lead long lives, and provide inspiration for the future generations.

Colin advised there were only 13 original war veterans remaining out of the 2nd / 3rd LAA Regt. This has now been reduced to 12, with John Hilliard's passing.

Nominal Rolls

A digitised version is available on our website. (www.antiaircraft.org.au). The AWM was very grateful to receive the original books, as they have few originals of this kind. We are extremely pleased that they have accepted these extremely important rolls of the Regiment's history, which will be cared for and available for future generations.

The Association's Original Nominal Rolls, that Anne Rae passed onto David McDonald (Research Officer) carefully packaged, have been donated to the AWM in Canberra for commemoration, preservation and to provide public access to the information contained therein.  The many months wait till the offer is assessed, was expedited on the authority AWM senior officer, and a printed 'Deed of Gift' legal document was signed by David McDonald on behalf of our Association.  The Roll is now the property of the AWM, to be retained there, and preserved there, in perpetuity. They will provide a hyperlink from the AWM catalogue entry for the roll to our website. The establishment of a database by Colin Bragg, from the roll will be hyperlinked, so members of the public will be able to access the roll's contents. Fabulous outcome - makes everything we do worthwhile. Big thank you to David McDonald for being such a wonderful Ambassador for our Association.

The Original 'Deed of Gift' signed is in the possession of the current Secretary...Malcolm Wrigglesworth for safe-keeping.

Colin had previously photocopied the Original Honour Roll as a record for ourselves when he held the position of Honorary Secretary.

75th Anniversary Battle Of Milne Bay

Both Anne and Ian Rae were incredibly fortunate to be selected to travel to Milne Bay. Thales Australia, with the support of the Australian War Memorial, organised a battlefield tour of Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea late August last year, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the battle. Anne and Ian will share this moving experience at this year's AGM and Reunion Lunch and have prepared an article for Take Post. Two troops of the 9th Battery were involved in the defence of Milne Bay. A Remembrance member, Clive Wawn from Geelong, was also on this trip. Clive's father was a Kitty hawk pilot at Milne bay in 1942, and he often used to talk about the anti-aircraft people with great affection.

There were three other nominations and enquires for this trip from the Remembrance Group, but unfortunately the subcommittee had the unenviable task of nominating only two as per the criteria requirements and restraints of Chief Security officer, at Thales Australia. I do hope that those who nominated and missed out on this opportunity do have the chance to perhaps visit Milne Bay themselves at a later stage.

 Proposed Merger of 2nd/ 4th and 2nd / 3rd Aust L.A.A Regt. Association

 Since our committee meeting held in October, 2016 there had been no further information or progress in obtaining membership details from the 2nd / 4th or whether the group had considered our suggestions in regard to a proposed merger of both Regiments.

The Committee did agree to write to Peter Davidson with an invitation to join us at our AGM/Reunion on the 22nd April, 2017 at the RACV.

As there had been no subsequent response from our initial contact, Peter Davidson, our Committee agreed to not proceed with this recommendation, and no further action is proposed to be taken by the Committee, on behalf of the Association.

Donations

The Association has again received donations from members, which enables us to continue to do what we do, to provide for unscheduled technical maintenance of our web site and to underwrite the cost of the AGM / Reunion Lunch.

I would like to thank all members who have made donations throughout the year, and in particular Foster Crooke, Doreen Bryant, Midge Donelly 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

An updated Rats of Tobruk list (courtesy of Owen Carlton) has been posted to the web site under Regiment Members, an article relating to the POW Adoption Fund, originally provided to Colin by David, has been added to the POW link of the web site, and Joomla has been updated, along with two extension updates.

Web site fairly quiet, and working well. Some spam and emails on site, creating some work to be handled over the past 12 months by Malcolm Romano who has continually kept an eye on the Association web site. Any alterations or amendments that need to be attended to are usually corresponded with David McDonald or Colin Bragg.

Remembrance Group

The Remembrance Group continues to grow and currently numbers approximately over 90 members, of whom 43 attended the 2017 AGM and Reunion Luncheon. This year we had an original, John Campbell who thoroughly enjoyed the AGM/ Reunion Luncheon. John provided the Remembrance Group with an insight into his war action and escapades. His informative talks and discussions always provide the Remembrance Group with a great deal of knowledge of what the Regiment and the Battery's within the Regiment, withstood during WW2.

The Remembrance Group number who attended the 2017 AGM and Reunion Luncheon was satisfying, as early on in April, acceptance numbers were looking to be down considerably compared to previous years.

As mentioned above, the Committee and widows of past originals were pleased with the attendance - those who attended thoroughly enjoyed a well presented and entertaining AGM / Reunion.

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.