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Secretary’s Report 2003

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Secretary’s Report 2003

From The Secretary’s Desk

Welcome once again to my bits and pieces. I think that it keeps us together and gives a little information on what we are all doing.

Ina Gregory advised that Keith Gregory (9), is in full time care, but comes home most weekends. Keith sends his regards to all his mates.

As usual, Kevin Grey secretary of the 2/3 Composite AA Regiment Assoc. regularly sends news of that Association. A number of our 9 battery members are associated and attend functions. Keep up the good work Kevin.

Constance Little, happily settled in a retirement village, sends newsy bits to me. There are a few verses in this issue written by Constance. She catches up with Col McNaughton (8) who lives in the same area in Gippsland.

Thank you to Doug Esler, for advising of the death of his mother Jessie.

A nice letter from Reg Dickson (7) wishing to buy a copy of “On Target”. If anyone can help, please contact me.

Jim Silver and Alan Rundle (both 9th) applied to attend the Milne Bay Commemorative Mission but missed out as there were only 20 places altogether.

From David McDonald son of Robert McDonald, Sigs – had hoped to be at the 2002 Reunion, but didn’t make it. Maybe this year David.

Dan Hawkes (9) sent us our front page photo of the Bofors crew at Milne Bay. Dan remembers Grif Weatherly when visiting the gun crews always had a camera hanging around his neck. Have you any photos for the editor Grif?

A great letter from Bob Phillips (8) enjoying immensely although reading with great difficulty owing to sight impairment,

Alex Barnett’s book “Hitler’s Digger Slaves”. It is a good read!

Col Reilly (8), a regular at the reunion and the March, missed on coming last year because of a sudden illness. [Better luck this year Col.]

Joyce Ritchie, daughter of Lt Col Hipworth, telling of his great-grandson Captain Chris Smith having passed through the Military Academy and Duntroon. He was posted to Israel in June last.

John Ballantine (9) was in hospital and who was in the ward with him but John Graham (also 9). We hope that you are both O.K.!

A lovely letter from Rosemary Hay, daughter of Herbie Hay (8); Rosemary enclosed a copy of her eulogy given at his funeral. As well as being a good athlete, he was a well known cricketer in Bendigo and district, and later an owner of horses, with which he had some success.

Mary Woodfield, nee Elder, writes that she always watches the March. Mary has taken her children to the Hellenic Memorial at the Shrine so that they can honor their great grandfather.

George Roberts (8), still wondering where Bluey Page (8) is. [Bluey hasn’t been too good George, and hasn’t travelled – give him a call at (03) 9807 5684.]

Stan (Twinkle) Rowan (8) however did call and renew old times, as did Roy Popplestone (8).

Lynton Rose son of the late Clive Rose, sent a change of address to Beaumaris and thought that the photo of the Regiment taken on Anzac Day 1946, and printed in last years “Take Post” was a ‘classic image’ of that era. [I thought that none of us had the look of those “Bronze Aussie Anzacs”.]

Thanks to Bill Garrigan (7) for identifying names in a photo for Margaret Warren, daughter of Jack Phillips).

Alex Barnett (8) appreciated the plug for his book “Hitler’s Digger Slaves “. [I hope the sales have been satisfactory Alex.]

Frank O’Toole (9) has trouble travelling from NSW for our reunion. [Maybe one day soon Frank.] Frank has seen Jack Hunt (9) every so often.

Had a phone call from Beryl Hawkins during the year, asking that because of poor sight, would I send “Take Post” to her son Graeme – no problem Beryl that will be done.

Esme Curtis writes that she has moved to a retirement village since the death of Ron (Killer) Curtis (9). [We will miss Killer at our reunion and March this year Esme.]

A letter in his impeccable writing, from David Carty (9), thanking the Committee for its good work. [Thank you David, lets hope we can continue for a few more years.]

Winifred, widow of Len Jeffrey (7) rang asking if any 7 Bty members can remember her husband either in Crete or in POW camps. If so please contact me, the Secretary, and I will arrange for Winifred to contact you.

I have had many messages of thanks to the committee for its work for the Association; the quality of “Take Post” is always high on the list too. Thank you all for those expressions and I am sure that your committee will endeavour to keep up the standard. As David Carty said in his letter “you must all be over eighty “; he is not far wrong.

Make the most of the year – each year is getting shorter.

John Campbell, Hon Sec.

The Sentry’s Log

Congratulations to Les Harris (7) and Win on the celebration of their 60th wedding anniversary in 2002. Les at 92 years of age, and win are still very active at home, in the garden, with Probus and Melbourne Legacy.

Tom Dawson (8), very dapper and well-groomed, visits Les. Both Les and Tom shape up remarkably well.

Ralph Hawkey (8), a widower, lives in Cobram. Vic. His address: PO Box 535, Cobram, 3643. Reading Alex Barnett’s book “Digger Slaves”, he was interested to find photos of himself and mates. (Ralph was not a POW, he was sent home from Tobruk after being shot during the Benghazi retreat).

Ex-POW Alf Sutherland sends his greetings and requests information on “the date of a 60% cut in rations in Italy, together with the weight of the new rate of extravagance”. His recollection is 13 ounces per day. He believes it was while they were in Calcaterras ‘guest house’ late in January 1942. It sounds as if those reduced rations are still sticking in Alf’s craw! Alf’s address is RMB 1032-8, Wodonga 3691.

Recently, The Age had a brief story on how Prince Charles exercises his democratic right by writing to Government on his views on contentious matters of the day. The Age article, part of an editorial, stated amongst other things – “In fact, over 20 years, the Prince has become the British equivalent of that famous letter writer to The Age, Constance E. Little of Eagle Point – except his letters on various subjects don’t go to newspapers, but straight to the top of Government.” Constance, widow of Charles Little 8 Battery, is an old friend of “Take Post “. [See her poem in this issue].

Dan Hawkes (9) sent in the fine photo of the Bofors gun and crew at Milne Bay airstrip that is featured on the front page of Take Post… Dan is OK except for a few typical medical problems.

Harry Sauerberg (9) and his wife Hilda recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. Both look healthy and happy. On their first date, the young Hilda took off her footwear to walk through a brook. On reaching the other side, Harry pulled out a hanky and dried Hilda’s feet. How gallant! What a way to make an early impression! The Sauerbergs are still very active. They regularly help seniors in Brighton, and are members of Probus.

Alex Barnett (8) who lives at Port Macquarie, sadly lost his wife Lois in November last. His excellent book, “Digger Slaves “, has sold out. Alex expects that a second edition, together with a new book “Diary of a Desert Rat “, will be printed later this year’