Secretary's Report 2019

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Welcome and hearty greetings to all members for the 2019 2nd / 3rd LAA Regt Association AGM and the Regiments Annual Luncheon.

For me personally it has been a rather full year, with casual work two or three days a week, holidays to Palm Cove in Queensland and Merrijig near Mansfield in January, plus planning our overseas trip in May 2019.    

Since January my thoughts have turned to the preparation of this year's AGM, annual reunion arrangements, the Anzac Day March, and sourcing information / articles for Take Post, plus of course what information I have for the Secretary's Report.

Regular contact twice a year with the 2nd / 3rd committee meetings created plenty of thoughts, ideas and action plans that are already in place, or to be implemented for the future of the Association.

This year correspondence enquires received from members and relatives are received electronically through our website, emails, or a telephone call have been redirected to the Association Research Officer David McDonald for a more detailed response. Some examples of these email enquires received from members and interested persons are included in this year's "Take Post" under Sentry's Log.  This redirecting of enquiries via email, webmail or telephone conversation, has certainly made the Secretary's role a lot easier.

Some of these 'happenings' that have come across my desk are as follows:-

In May 2018 we received correspondence from Alastair Dowling, son of Robert (Bob) Graeme Dowling VX32345 (9th Battery). Alastair was going through a collection of photos from his Dad's time in the Middle East and Milne Bay, and scanning the best photos with names of Regiment members written on the reverse. Two photos have comments written by his mother in later years. The Association thanked Alastair for the photographs, which have been uploaded to our website. Alastair mentioned that he enjoys reading Take Post, and also that his father was a great friend of Cec Rae. More recently, and as a member of Melbourne Legacy, Alastair knew former President, the late Ron Bryant and Committee member, the late Les Harris, as fellow Legatees.

I received a phone call in September, from Geoff Exton requesting information on his wife's grandfather G.J. Potter, VX20920, 7th Battery, POW Italy. Passed contact details onto David McDonald our Research Officer in Canberra whom provided Geoff with more information on Gnr G.J Potter. Amazingly, Geoff lives in Kinglake, not too far from where I live in Mooroolbark.

Early this year, Mathew Langley Son of (Bert) H.C. Langley VX148044 contacted the Association via email requesting that he would like to try and continue to connect with his father's service history. I advised that he would be most welcome to the Remembrance Association, and provided information on our yearly AGM/ Reunion and membership / subscription and website details. Bert Langley was also great mates with T.D. Dusting VX147399 of the regiment.

Foster and Katherine Crooke emailed informing me that they are intending to take a week's trip to New Guinea, in May, seeing Kokoda Trail, Gona and Buna. Milne Bay was included, but proving too difficult to visit. Foster has some army records of his father, but are hard to interpret. I sent an email back to Foster providing David McDonald's (Our Research Officer) contact details.

Bruce Stewart contacted the Association informing us that he had a near mint copy " On Target" and asking whether we would be prepared to purchase it. On behalf of the Association I replied we did not need to purchase his copy of "On Target" as the Regimental History is available for viewing and/or down loading on our website.                  

The Year in Review

Throughout the year I have received phone calls requesting identification of former war veterans from descendants of members of other anti-aircraft regiments. These calls are usually after researching on the website. This most likely a reflection on the fact that:

 A Web search entering "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 enquiree.

Throughout the year, we were advised of the passing of the following original Service members of the Regiment:

Edward. J. Wellsted                  (VX21937)                    9th Battery                Passed away early April, 2018

Allen. G. Martin                         (VX109471)                  9th Battery                Passed away in June, 2018

W.E. (Bill) Schack                  (VX25412)                       8th Battery                Passed away on 20th January, 2019

Donations

The Association has again received donations from members, which enables us to continue to underwrite the cost of the AGM, undertake regular maintenance of our web site, produce Take Post and to fund any unscheduled technical maintenance of our web site.

I would like to thank all members who have made donations throughout the year, and in particular Dot Harris, Foster Crooke, Doreen Bryant and Tish Slattery.

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 Regiment.

Banner Repairs

The Association was fortunate in having Graeme and Matt Heddle undertake the repair of the Regiment's banner. Materials and labour were sourced from Geelong City businesses to enable repairs to the original 2nd/3rd banner. Fortunately, Matt and Graeme were able to locate the special golden ropes and tassels to be attached to the ropes in a local hardware store, which agreed to supply the materials for a very good price. A local upholsterer undertook the actual repair of the banner. Main repairs related to repairing the holes where the material was wearing thin, and the rod openings where the rods slide through the banner, and re-sewing loose and temporary hand stitching. The original Banner has not been altered in anyway, but is significantly stronger.

2nd/3rd Website

The Association web site is working well. We receive a lot of spam emails on the site, which is dealt with by Treasurer Colin Bragg and Research Officer David McDonald who maintain a regular watch  on day to day activities. Technical issues such as Joomla updates, website / server updates  and website security procedures are referred to Malcolm Romano from Designsense Web.

Remembrance Group

The Remembrance Group continues to grow and currently numbers approximately over 90 members, of whom 53attended the 2018 AGM / Reunion Luncheon.... very good attendance. Last year we had two original Service members, John Campbell and John Marshall, who thoroughly enjoyed the AGM/ Reunion Luncheon. John Campbell provided the Remembrance Group with an in site into his war action and escapades. His informative talks, discussions, always provide the Remembrance Group with a great deal of knowledge as to what the Regiment and the Batteries within the Regiment, withstood during WW2.

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. 

Opening of a Exhibition at the Shrine

On the 10th August I had the opportunity to represent the Association at the opening of an exhibition at the Shrine of Remembrance titled "Resistance - Australians and the European Underground 1939-45. This exhibition is open from the 3rd August 2018 until the 4th August 2019.

A full report was by President Anne Rae was included in our 2018 Mid Term Report emailed to the Remembrance Group in November last year.

Please take this opportunity to visit this exhibition, especially those members whose fathers were POWs who were associated with the partisans.

For me personally this was a very emotional and proud occasion and I am amazed at these brave veterans' survival skills. The family stories of survival of our fathers during this horrendous period of WW2 in Europe, discussed by family of veterans involved with the resistance whom were on the run in the northern provinces of Italy was astounding.

Take Post

This year's Take Post newsletter is in colour for the first time.

I would like to thank Colin Bragg for his tremendous effort and valuable time in obtaining wonderful interviews with veterans and formulating and preparing this newsletter. David McDonald for his overall vetting and ensuring that articles in this edition of Take Post are correctly authenticated with dates, times and places, and any spelling mistakes or phrases are corrected.