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Secretary’s Report 1999

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Secretary’s Report 1999

From The Secretary’s Desk

Greetings to you all from your Committee and from myself. Thank you for the letters and phone calls; please keep them coming. Again this year I have been able to help some family members with information of their father’s service in the 2/3rd. I am not always able to help a great deal, but will do my best.

Quite a number aren’t able to get around much these days and a number of apologies were received for our last Annual Luncheon. They included – Ted Sands, Bob Westall and Dave Humphries.

Frank O’Toole from NSW sends regards to his old mates. Bill Waddell and David Carty sent messages in appreciation of Take Post; keep it going was the cry!

David Owens hopefully has recovered from a heart attack.

Alex Barnett (8) of Port Macquarie has completed a 300 page book, which is to be published this year, and possibly called “Trapped in the Red”. Alex was a POW.

Jim Charters (7) met Dave Thomson recently and after all these years is now on our members’ list; welcome Jim, hope to see you at the reunion!

Kevin Grey, Hon Secretary of the 2/3 Composite Lt AA Regt Association was able to give me a list of former 9th Bty members not on our Unit Association list. I wrote to them all and had a wonderful response.

These “lost” members are Hugh Finn who couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw his best mate Pancho McDonald’s face on the front of the Take Post I had sent him.

Hugh says “Hi” Pancho. Dan Hawkes sent photos for identification. I hope you got them back Dan, with names attached.

Others who contacted me were Stan Walker, Bob Williams, Bob McAndrew, Bob Sampson, Cliff Cullen, Perc Hancock and Bob Robson.

Thank you all for the newsy letters. I look forward to this year when I hope to get more letters from you.

John Campbell

The Sentry’s Log

AIex Barnett (8) reports that Jack Harker of Port Macquarie received an achievement award in the Australia Day Honours list. After WW2 Jack joined the Merchant Navy as a butcher. In 1945 and 1946 he was stationed at Hong Kong at a time when its residents were suffering from the state of its economy that was vastly different to recent times.
Jack recalls Chinese wharfies going to the butcher’s shop for four inches of chicken gut to cook on the steam pipes of his ship. Girls would do washing and sewing and were so starved they would be glad to be paid with the innards of fowls.

Since Jack left the Navy in 1949 he has been a steady community worker in many ways – including delivery of Anzac Day meals to those unable to attend their ceremonial luncheon and in organising transport for ex-service personnel to hospitals, trains or airport. Jack remains bright and cheerful despite problems with his legs and knees.

Alex Barnett also advises that he hopes he will have his book on POW experiences in WW2 published in the latter part of 1999. If there are any members of the Regiment who became prisoner of war and who have not been in contact with Alex, he would be interested to hear of their adventures after the Italian capitulation and of their subsequent career in ‘civy’ life for inclusion in the epilogue of the book. Alex Barnett’s address is 2 Hassall Street, Port Macquarie. NSW 2444.

Despite the fact that Col McNaughton (8) lives quite close to the water’s edge at Metung, Gippsland Lakes, neither he nor his home suffered from the devastating Gippsland floods in June 1998 – even though his little jetty was metres under water.

However Col has had other difficulties, suffering from pneumonia and persistent shingles.

Frank Hands and Ron Bryant lost an old mate in April last year – namely Gunner George Young (8) of Baynton. Frank and Ron had many good days’ rabbit shooting with George, and visiting his family.

In fact, George’s model farm had few rabbits; but George would arrange with his neighbours for permission to shoot on their properties.

Gordon Connor reports that the WA Troop still get together occasionally. Fifteen members enjoyed the pre-Christmas meeting. Gordon Fellows and Theo Fitzharding were absent due to ill health.

Gordon Connor has to do his best as chief cook as a result of his wife Gwen’s nasty fall and resultant damage to her right arm.

Ron Bryant was pleased to contact Phil Hurst who sports that very low number of VX5862 – Phil was in the 6th Division and served with2/7 Infantry Battalion in Libya, Greece and Crete.

At Suda Bay, Phil was wounded in the shoulder by shrapnel from a large mortar bomb. As “walking wounded” he crossed the island and was lucky to be evacuated by the Navy.

After many weeks in hospital receiving treatment for his wounded shoulder and resultant bad infections, he asked for a transfer to join his brother, Stan Hurst, who was in our 8th Battery.

Phil saw out the war in New Guinea and Australia with 8th Battery. He and his wife Shirley now live at Mount Waverley – sadly Stan died about six years ago.