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Secretary’s Report 2004

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Secretary’s Report 2004

From The Secretary’s Desk

During the year I received many letters and phone calls from members, or other members of families. Thank you all for those contacts. I hope that I am able to help with your queries; some times though, I am unable to solve them.

Joan Oman, widow of Paddy Oman, expressed her appreciation of “Take Post”, and ‘yes’ Joan your son in WA is now on the mailing list.

Gwen Kruger, wife of Charlie Kruger (8) writes that Charlie enjoys reading “TP”. By the way the doctor who operated on Charlie’s brain tumour was the son of Tiny Brazenor (8).

Frank Wallis (Sigs) living at Tathra, has written that he enjoys reading “Take Post” as it is his only way of keeping up with the news of his old mates.

It was a welcome three-page letter from Bob Phillips (9), who lives on the golden sands at Noosa. Bob reports that “Take Post” has jogged his memory of times past, and those memories ebb and flow. Thank you Bob, for the reminiscences of John Hepworth, Frank Washbourne, Noel Moultan, Les Stephens, Chester Guest, Frank Coker, Bert Stringer, Chook Russell, Clarrie Cuttriss, Lou Potter, Bluey Davis, Jim Bell,, and Doug Simson – many now departed; but all remembered. Bob recalls the wild nights at the reunions at South Melbourne, when many of the above-named arrived at Bob’s house after the reunion. Wife Phyl turned on a great supper for all and made sure they either stayed the night or got home safely. Well done Phyl! Bob concluded his letter: ‘I mention these reminiscences in order to express my gratitude to Ron Bryant, for producing “Take Post” and to the members of the Committee for keeping alive the old regiment, and wonderful memories, for both Phyl and myself, of my old army mates’. Thank you Bob, for sharing your memories with us.

Kevin Grey the secretary of the 2/3 Composite Regiment, of which 9 Battery was a part, keeps me up to date on their activities in Sydney. Kevin writes that he has always felt that he knew Cec Rae (9) as they had many contacts over the years but in last year’s “Take Post” saw a photo of Cec. How did that affect you Kevin?

Frank O’Toole (9) writing from Somersby NSW appreciates “TP” greatly. Thanks for your note Frank. LesStephens (8) asked for names to faces on a photo taken at Werribee.

The same request from Alan Read (9). I hope that we were able to at least get some right!

Eric Maxwell, son of the late Vern Maxwell (8), shows great interest and support for our Association – thank you Eric.

Keith Sitlington (8) sent a message via Jack Berkley (8) via Frank Washbourne (8) wishing greetings to all his mates”. How about getting to the reunion Keith, we would love to see you there!

Edie Russell widow of Jim Russell (7) phoned asking me to pass on her regards to all of Jim’s old mates.

Colin Reilly (8) writes from NSW that because of medical problems he has not been able to attend reunions these past two years. I hope you will be able to make it this year Colin.

Doug Pulsford (9) sends greetings. Doug an original member was transferred to 2l4th in early 1942.

Terry Butler (9) sends greeting to all – especially Alan Read and Cec Rae.

Ann Bragg, daughter of Joan and Jim Paton (9) (deceased), advises that her mother has been very ill. I send best wishes Ann and trust that there is some improvement in her health. Joan was thrilled to see certain photos in “Take Post” and her spirits lifted to see and read about some of our members she knew. Thank you for your letter Ann’

A very nice note from Mavis Crittenden, widow of former president Jack (9).
Mavis had received from me a photo of Jack leading the 2002 Anzac Day March. Thank you Mavis.

Bob Robson (9) writing from Dungog NSW, reported that the Anzac March in Sydney was good and also that John Ballantine (9) is much improved after surgery and a spell in hospital.

Jan Sullivan daughter of Keith Sullivan (9) advised of the death of her mother
Patricia. Sad news but thank you Jan.

Marj Cope, wife of Ern Cope (8) had written to Cec Rae asking for a copy of his 9th Battery story. Cec then passed the letter to me Marj. Both enjoyed watching the March and seeing faces they knew, they did however miss meeting up with Les Shields (8). Will we see you at the reunion Ern?

Reg Dickson (7) writes from WA – “health is up and down but can’t complain” – that’s the only way to go these days! Reg hears from George Howat (9) and Cliff Ross (9) from time to time.

I am quite sure that I have missed mentioning something or someone but, like you, I am not as young as I once was!

All the best from – John Campbell, Hon Secretary

The Sentry’s Log

Many kind letters were received by our new President with best wishes, to him and to our members. Ron thanks all the writers for their good wishes and for their news.

Gwen Connor, widow of Gordon (7) is cheerily battling on, after overcoming a bad experience of a “break-in” by a crazy drug addict, who fortunately was picked up by the police. Gwen says that George Howat (8) has been in touch with her. He hasn’t been getting around much because of medical problems.

NSW members Howard Vipond, Lin Davis, Alex Burnett and Terry Gleeson noticed in “Reveille” the RSL journal in NSW a letter from one Bruce R. Stone, probably meant to be in light-hearted vein, purporting to be some of his experiences with 2/3 Light A.A.

The story was in fact disparaging, so responses were sent independently by Terry Gleeson and our President. Mr. Stone sent in an apology. He had been referring to his experiences as a reinforcement with some other battery which had no connection with our Regiment.

We were pleased that Reveille published our views of the original incorrect story, under the heading “Get your Facts Right!”

Jean Tom, widow of Bill (8) was at the funeral of Frank Washbourne (8), so our representatives there were able to have a few words with Jean. Members will remember a report on her activities in “Take Post” 2000. Jean has been involved with Country Women’s Association and numerous other organizations and causes for most of her life – a great lady who has never stopped working and giving her time for others.

Alan Jeffrey of 2/2 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment kindly donated to our Committee a copy of the book “On Target” which has long been sold out. Good use was made of the book to replace one donated by John Hepworth’s daughter to the National Library, Canberra. (Incidentally, if any family has a copy of “On Target” which is no longer required, perhaps it could be returned to the Secretary as we occasionally receive enquiries for a copy from members’ descendants).

Tom Dawson (8) attained the age of 95 years in 2003, in good shape mentally and physically. Congrats were sent on behalf of members. (If you know of others reaching 90 or 95 years, let the President or Secretary know, and formal congratulations will be sent.)

During the last year or so, Mrs. Enid Hayes has been writing to us to ask whether we are able to locate George A. Miller and L.A.Miller of 8 Battery. Mrs. Hayes knew them when they were serving in Western Australia and would like to contact them. If anyone can assist, will you please let the President know.

Harry Goodwin who joined 9 Battery as a “Don R” and later became a cook with Arthur Hampson is in his 97th year. After many years’ absence he attended the last two reunions with the assistance of Harry Sauerberg. Harry Goodwin is in reasonably good health.

And There’s More – The Sentry’s Log Continues.

Education Age of 24/11/03 gave an account of an interview with Ron Barassi, former AFL footballer, coach, TV personality and a great supporter of Melbourne Legacy.
Ron’s dad, (Ron the 1st) who was a Melbourne premiership footballer, was killed at Tobruk. Ron’s devoted mother didn’t have an easy time as bread- winner. Ron was keen on many sports and games, especially football. When at senior Tech. level, he was giving too much time to sport to the extent that he failed some exams. A teacher named Dick Telford gave him a timely lecture reminding him that ‘his mother was working at two jobs to keep him at school’. Although Ron was playing with Melbourne thirds, he worked hard after that and passed his exams. [Dick Telford was an 8th Battery Sergeant who died in 1999.

“Take Post” of April 2000 reported on Dick’s career as a science/maths teacher in the technical school system. That report mentioned that ‘Dick’s tireless efforts and his inspiration lives on in many who were touched by one of the State’s great educational leaders.’]

Another anecdote about Ron – As a junior nurse, Les Harris’ (8) wife Lynwas working at the hospital where Ron Barassi was born. It was part of Win’s duties to take the new born Ron from the nursery to his mother to be fed.

Ron Bryant paid his respects to Mrs. Little of Eagle Point, widow of Charles Little (8), and correspondent of the Age and “Take Post”. Constance still fires a few shots at or through the newspapers. She sends her best wishes to all, especially to those who knew Charles.

Incidentally, Col McNaughton (8) has left his idyllic home across the water from Metung, and now resides at the same hostel at Eagle Point as does Constance. Col was in the picture at left but the light didn’t pick him up.

Mrs. Marj Cope wrote to say that Ern (8) was not well enough to attend last year’s reunion although he is still working his farm. They had been visited by Stan Rowan (8) and his wife Florrie, who had celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and who both do well on their farm.

Blue Page (8) and Frank Hands (8) have both had knee reconstructions or repairs. Blue has had his done so often that his surgeons are quite intimate with his knee.

Frank is going well enough now. Sadly Frank’s wife Shirley passed on last year after battling years of illness with fighting spirit. Frank’s close family has been of great assistance to him.

It was a long wait! – The waiting room was full of the afflicted. Directly opposite I caught the eye of the fellow with the stick. He looked faintly familiar. There was something about him. I wondered whether I had met him before.

“Hello Ian” he said quietly. I moved over, searching back through the years and gradually it came – Crete and the German invasion! “It begins with an R – Rex. “Don’t tell me”, I said – Ron, Roy – Roy West? “Nearly got it – Roy East!”

Back we went, We’d been on the same Bofors gun waiting for the parachutists to drop. And now after 62 years we met again.

“Well, well, you haven’t changed a bit we lied.

Did you know NX 30633 Sig. R. McDonald? David McDonald has been documenting his father’s movements throughout his war service. His father was in the Section attached to our Regiment in June 1941 in the Western desert. If any of our readers knew him, David would like to hear from you. David’s address is P.O. Box 1355, Woden, ACT, 2606.

Ralph Hawkey (8), now 86 years of age, has kept in touch with us over the years. Ralph eventually had to give up farming and, four years ago, moved into Ottrey Lodge, Cobram, where he has lovely landscaped gardens in which to relax.

His wife Phyl has been seriously ill and resides in Irwin House, also in Cobram. Ralph was pleased to read in Mufti of our return to Werribee racecourse, which brought back many memories to him. He sends his regards to 8 Battery – F Troop men in particular. Ralph has always carried the scar and the effect of his gunshot wound received during the retreat from Benghazi which caused his repatriation. Nevertheless, he kept the farm going until late in life.

Attention 9 Battery! Mrs. Nancy Futcher, widow of Charlie, is applying for a War Widow’s pension. Charlie apparently was a boxer and was knocked out on occasion in boxing bouts while in our Regiment. As Charles died of head problems it may prove helpful if the RSL advocate could get a letter from someone who knew him and who is able to state that he was a boxer.

Wally Webb remembers Charlie sparring around the tent lines.

If anyone can be more specific about his boxing, please write to:
Mrs Nancy Futcher, 40 River Road, Sussex Inlet, NSW, 2540