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Secretary’s Report 2008

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Secretary’s Report 2008

From the Secretary’s Desk

Change is in the air and this will be my last ‘From the Secretary’s Desk’. I have enjoyed this column, passing on bits of info from you to others you may not have seen or heard of for many years. Gathering and researching details of your fathers, things that he never mentioned whilst alive, it has been a pleasure to do my best with all these requests.

But time passes by, and it is time to hand over the running of this association to the younger generation. I know they will do it well.

I haven’t had a lot of mail this year but it was still a pleasure to get a letter from an old mate in the letter box or a voice on the end of the telephone, and so here are some of the things that occurred this past year.

Rex Emmett 7 Bty actually sent two letters, that’s a first I think Rex! Rex has left Ouyen and now resides in the Mildura RSL Retirement Village. A good decision Rex. It’s a bit far for you to go to Bairnsdale fishing now Rex, but I am sure there must still be a few fish in the Murray that you can give a bit of a hurry up to!

David McDonald, son of Robert McDonald Sigs, couldn’t make it to 2007 Anzac Day, but came down from Canberra for the first meeting of the Remembrance Group, and again came down for the AGM and reunion lunch on the 24th April. I am not sure if you marched on Anzac Day David, I was not able to this year. Your interest and participation is very much appreciated, Thank you.

Alf Sutherland 7 Bty writes of his fading memories of Campo 57 and the ‘Hair Raid Incident’. This incident is recorded on p. 141 in ‘On Target’. Alf wonders if there is anyone out there who may have better memories of it, and the antics of the two guards. Drop me a line or write to Rex if you have a recollection.

It was good to hear from Bob Phillips 8 Bty again this year. Joyce and I will be coming to Noosa for the last two weeks this August Bob, so I will look you up, it will be great to see you again after many years. I was pleased to read that you and Phyl made it to the Anzac Day March in Tewantin this year. Your article on Tobruk was well received. Well done!

Congratulations to Arthur and Betty Spiller RHQ on their diamond wedding celebrations. We will give you another plug on the 10th Arthur.

Dan Hawkes 9 Bty, another faithful correspondent sends greetings to his old mates, from himself and other 9 Bty mates living around Sydney.

Frank O’Toole 9 Bty reports that he sees Jack Hunt 9 Bty from time to time. You will be sad to know Frank that your mate Grif Weatherly passed away during the year. Once again Gwen had written the letter for Frank. Many thanks Gwen, you are a gem.

James Coghlan, one of the sons of the four Coghlan Brothers 9 Bty, and his son Simon, have joined the new Remembrance Group. Good news James, the group can only go from strength to strength. James tells me that as well as memories of his father and uncles he also appreciates his maternal grandfather Capt L.A. Blackman MC who landed at Anzac Cove, later serving in the battles of the Somme. Thank you for your letter James.

Again this year your Committee has been very appreciative of the subscriptions sent in and the many substantial donations from so many of you. Thank you so much.

I think that is about all from me so I will sign off now.
My best regard to you all,

John S Campbell
(The retired Secretary !)

The Sentry’s Log

Butler’s butterflies in 1945

Frank Hands (8) and Ron Bryant (8) visited the home of Dr Barry Butler and his wife Denise. Barry is the son of the late Keith Butler, an original member of 8 Battery. Keith died in 1988. He was a school teacher before and after World War 2, as a principal in several rural Victorian towns. He spent some years in Corryong, and retired from Gardenvale Central. He enjoyed all his posts, but Corryong was a favourite.

He was a gun-sergeant during the Siege of Tobruk in Ig47, engaged in numerous actions against Italian and German enemy aircraft. Because of his knowledge and ability, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant while serving in New Guinea in 1943, Keith, as a Troop Commander, took the opportunity of putting together a remarkable collection of tropical butterflies, including the beautiful iridescent Blue Emperors.

Barry still has the collection preserved in good order. Several of the butterflies have been reproduced on Australian postage stamps.

At the cleared site of a troop of huge long-barrelled 3.7 inch anti-aircraft guns ready for action near Buna, it appeared incongruous to see ‘but as he was known through the gun-sites, chasing magnificent butterflies, swiping with his long-handled net, completely ignoring raucous shouts from the heavy anti-aircraft gunners at this intruder.

Keith often struggled through swamps and tropical forest in pursuit of unusual specimens.

He was also an avid collector of stones, minerals and postage stamps.

‘But’ was a good soldier, a good officer, and with so many interests, must have been an interesting teacher.