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Secretary’s Report 2011

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Secretary’s Report 2011

From The Secretary’s Desk

Another year has flown by and once again my attention turns to the AGM, the annual reunion arrangements, the ANZAC Day March, the production of “Take Post” and wondering what I have for the Secretary’s Report.

2nd / 3rd Web Site

Your Committee was obliged to replace the original web site developer in September 2010, and over the past six months, the web site has been re-organised and significant development of the site has taken place. In the process, yours truly and David McDonald have come to grips with a foreign language called the Joomla Content Management System, which enables us (i.e. David and myself) to undertake any ongoing maintenance of the web site.

The approximately 700 photographs and documents collected from former members, the Power Point presentation prepared by Anne Rae for last year’s AGM, and digitization of the Regiment’s history ‘On Target’ are works in progress, which will be available on the web site in the near future.

Remembrance Group

The Remembrance Group continues to grow and currently numbers 84 members, of whom about 50 attended the 2010 AGM and reunion – a truly satisfying state of affairs. I know the Committee is mightily pleased and I am sure the former Committee and original members are equally delighted.

Please remember to advise me of changes to your address, email and phone numbers so we can keep in touch with you.

Take Post

Your Secretary has also had to get up close and personal with Microsoft Publisher (the desk top publishing software used to produce ‘Take Post’) during the year. Because of the volume of material available (even heavily edited), this year’s edition of ‘Take Post’ has been increased to 16 pages.

To compensate, full versions of the edited articles are placed in their entirety on the web site.

Sentry’s Log

62 members, including 9 originals, attended the AGM and Reunion. The originals were Jack Berkley (8), Ron Bryant (8), John Campbell (8), Roy East (7), Ray Everlyn (9), John Hepworth (8), John Marshall (7), Cec Rae (9) and Malcolm Webster (7).

Sadly, both Roy East and Malcolm Webster passed away in July.

Late in 2009 Roy had made a very generous donation to the Association and signed up his grandson as a member of the Remembrance Group.

Whilst not able to attend Roy’s funeral held at the Glen Waverley Police Academy (Ann and I were in Sydney visiting number 3 son), I did attend Malcolm Webster’s funeral with Malcolm and Graeme Wrigglesworth (whose father Bill fought alongside Malcolm with the Italian partisans following their escape from a P.O.W. camp) and many, many more people.

Approximately 40 marched on ANZAC Day, with John Hepworth and Alan Rundle taking advantage of the RSL provided jeep.

During the past year, I received telephone calls, letters and emails from members either seeking or providing information, offering photos and documents or just ringing up for a chat. For example:

Alf Sutherland (7th) wrote requesting information about a fellow soldier named ‘Gates’ (see Alf’s letter below). I was unable to help Alf. Whilst there are two ‘Bates’ on the Regiment Rolls, there are no ‘Gates’ – perhaps someone else can help Alf?

Alf also made a generation donation to the Association, as did Foster Crooke, son of JD Crooke (9th), Graeme Guy, son of WH Guy (9th) and Esme Curtis, widow of Ron “Killer” Curtis (9th) – thank you to all who have made donations to the Association, as they help us to defray the costs of producing Take Post and to subsidise the AGM / Reunion costs.

Eric Maxwell, son of Vern Maxwell (8th) sent me photographs taken in Tobruk, Benghazi, Gaza and Tel Aviv as well as extracts from his father’s diaries.

John Fryer, son of Keith Fryer (8th) provided a copy of the fourth and final publication of “ACK-ACK” produced in August, 1945. Only four issues of this publication, produced by the 2nd Anti-Aircraft Regiment (Heavy) and containing news, anecdotes, humour and sports items contributed by soldiers of the Regiment, were printed.

I also received a letter from Mary Woodfield, daughter of Ken Elder (RHQ), saying how much her family were interested in seeing a photo of Ken on the back page of the 2010 Take Post. Thank you Mary.

I received a letter from Betty Spiller, widow of Arthur Spiller (RHQ) advising that Arthur had died in May 2009, and that he had not been included on our Vale list – apologies Betty – we have included Arthur’s name on this year’s Vale list.

Dianne Schubert, daughter of Ern Cope (8th) wrote to me offering access to her father’s war album and photographs – thank you Dianne.

Letters welcoming new Remembrance Group members were sent to Ian and Phillip Brown, sons of Laurie Brown (8th) and Trevor Smith, son of Laurie Smith (8th).

Cec Rae (9th) advised me that Wally Webb (9th), a member of his gun crew had passed away – Cec is now the last surviving member of his gun crew.

Similarly, Terry Gleeson (Signals) advised (via David McDonald) that Frank Wallis (Signals) had passed away, leaving Terry as the sole surviving member of Signals Section.

Ray Everlyn (9th) contacted me to advise his change of address after living at the same address in Spotswood for over 60 years.

Dave Thomson (9th) rang me to say he had had a pretty tough year, but reckons he will be O.K. to attend the 2011 Reunion and the March. Dave offered to give me his cook book which he developed during his years as a cook with the 9th Battery – we will reproduce some of Dave’s culinary delights.

Russell Luckock, son of Charles Luckock (9th) and nephew of Griff Weatherly (9th) provided a copy of a History paper relating to the experiences of the 2nd/4th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment at El Alamein in 1942 he had prepared as part of a University project. An extract of this paper is included in this edition of Take Post and the complete paper is accessible on the web site. Russell claims that even though the paper does not relate directly to the 2nd / 3rd, “the desert was the same for all”

During the year I have also exchanged correspondence with Australian War Memorial Research Officers, particularly relating to the special 1941 anniversary exhibition at the AWM featuring the mobile Breda guns used so effectively by 8 Battery under the command of Major Phillip Stokes. I am very appreciative of the assistance provided by Dr. Karl James of the Military History Section of the AWM.

The story of Roly Tonkin (7th) in this issue of Take Post was also researched and produced by an AWM staff member. Thanks go to David McDonald for alerting me to this fascinating article, the full version of which is on our web site. I would like to record my thanks to Dan McGlinchey, Assistant Curator, Military Heraldry and Technology, AWM for allowing us to reproduce the Roly Tonkin “Undercover POW” story.

I continue to engage with the “old guard” who are battling on and I enjoy my conversations with Ron Bryant, Cec Rae, John Hepworth and John Campbell. I know I can continue to turn to them if and when I need any information or clarification about people, events or processes.

Once again, and despite the web site challenges mid-way through the year, I have enjoyed my role as Honorary Secretary of the Association for the past twelve months.

Whilst the number of surviving original members of the Regiment is dwindling, the number of Remembrance Group members is increasing.

We are always grateful to receive information about former Regiment members, be it anecdotes, stories, extracts of diaries and/or letters and/or photographs that individual families may know of and which we could use in future issues of “Take Post”, or simply to expand the photographic and document collection already on the web site.