Secretary’s Report 2012 - Home
Alienum phaedrum torquatos nec eu, vis detraxit periculis ex, nihil expetendis in mei. Mei an pericula euripidis, hinc partem.

Secretary’s Report 2012

Home / About Us  / Secretaries’ Reports / Secretary’s Report 2012

Secretary’s Report 2012

From The Secretary’s Desk

After over two years of fairly concentrated activity to initially design, then to locate, obtain and scan hundreds of documents and photographs, and finally to upload all the information to the Association’s web site, the last twelve months have been a little easier for yours truly and your Committee.

That does not mean we have been able to rest on our laurels, as hardly a week has gone by without the need to respond to members’ correspondence and/or requests for information received through our web site. Whilst I have been able to respond to many of these enquiries, I am grateful to have had the support of the Association’s Research Officer, David McDonald to deal with the more technical questions

Additionally, and on several occasions throughout the year, I was pleased to be able to meet with Association members who had contacted me to offer access to their family photo albums, and in particular, I have had the pleasure of getting to know John Marshall (7th), Dianne Schubert (daughter of Ern Cope, 8th), Jenny Welsh and Jill McKenzie (daughters of Jack Curry, 7th) and Gwen Tonkin (widow of Roly Tonkin, 7th).

2nd / 3rd Web Site

Over 1,200 photographs and documents now reside on our web site, as does the Power Point presentation prepared by Anne Rae for the 2010 AGM, and the digitised version of the Regiment’s history ‘On Target’.

All previous issues of “Take Post” are also available on our web site, as is the Regiment history, and minutes of all Committee meetings. Additionally, links to 30 relevant web sites have also been established.

Remembrance Group

Whilst we have been pleased to welcome new members of the Remembrance Group, it is disappointing that a number have not renewed their membership.

I can only trust that these are no more than oversights.

As has been the case for the past couple of years, the number of surviving original members of the Regiment is dwindling and the number of Remembrance Group members is increasing.

At the date of preparing this report, the Remembrance Group numbers exactly 100 members.

Over 40 Remembrance Group members attended the 2011 AGM and reunion, as did 8 original members of the Regiment – an excellent outcome considering the clash with Easter. I know the Committee was very pleased and I am sure the former Committee and original members are equally delighted.


51 members, including 8 originals, attended the 2011 AGM and Reunion held at the RACV City Club. The originals were Jack Berkley (8), Ron Bryant (8), John Campbell (8), Ray Everlyn (9), John Hepworth (8), John Marshall (7), Cec Rae (9) and Dave Thomson(9).

Sadly, Dave Thomson passed away in June 2011 and John Hepworth in October 2011.

President Lynton Rose and myself attended Dave Thomson’s funeral in June 2011. John Hepworth’s family honoured his request for a private ceremony.

Approximately 25 marched on ANZAC Day, with Frank Hands (8th) “marching” in a vintage car. Fortunately, all those present were able to march directly behind our banner, despite the ANZAC Day Commemorations Council (ACC) directive changing the order of the March.

Dave Humphreys (7th), Rex Emmett (7th) and Barbara Wells (daughter of Charles Heddle, 9th) all contacted me with offers of photographs, all of which have subsequently been uploaded to the web site.

Similarly, Frank Hands (8th) visited me in his “big red van” and brought with him a number of photographs, which have also been added to the web site. See the Frank Hands Story in this issue of “Take Post”.

I received a lovely letter and a very generous donation from Dot Harris (daughter of Les Harris, 7th) – thank you Dot, very much appreciated.

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 / Annual Reunion costs.

Gwen Tonkin (widow of Rol Tonkin, 7th) wrote to me thanking the Association for including her late husband’s story in the 2011 edition of Take Post. Thank you Gwen and for giving me the opportunity to access Rol’s photo albums.

The “Contact Us” link on our web site started to pay dividends in May 2011, and generated five new Association members and one “lost” original.

In June 2011 Mark Harse (grandson of Earle Webster (7th) contacted me via email. Mark has since become a member of the Association, and I have added Earle to our list of surviving original members – he was not previously included on my Regiment Rolls.

I have subsequently enjoyed speaking with Earle about his experiences.

On a bi-monthly basis, I attend meetings of the Kindred Organisations & Unit Associations Committee, which liaises with the ACC, and I am pleased to report that the order of the ANZAC Day March arrangements in place up to 2010 has been reinstated, so that veterans and their descendants can march directly behind their Unit banners.

Dave Humphreys (7th) contacted me in September advising he had been in communication with an historian concerning the War records of his (Dave’s) old school (Ballarat College), and that the historian had indicated that the records in Canberra revealed the 2/3rd only had two members killed in action.

As we know that the Regiment suffered 65 KIA, Dave has asked that a younger person than he should rectify the records in Canberra.

Thank you Dave – it will be followed up.

In November 2011, Alistair Dowling (son of Bob Dowling (9th) emailed me from China where he was working, and offered to provide photos taken during his father’s time in the Middle East and Milne Bay to the Association. Alistair also advised he has photos of the Regiment and Battery taken at the Geelong Race Course. I look forward to receiving the photos when Alistair returns from China.

In January 2012, the Association obtained electronic copies of the Full Service Records of the Regiment’s twelve most senior officers from the National Archives of Australia WW2 Nominal Rolls.

In due course, it is proposed to place appropriately edited versions of these service records on our web site.

During the year, I received correspondence from Rhonda Allison (daughter of John Allison, 9th), Peter Roberts (son of Canon Phil Roberts, 8th), Bruce Baker (son of Stanley Baker, 8th), and Anne Payne (daughter of John Hepworth, 8th) notifying the Association their fathers had passed away.

Similarly, the granddaughter of Alan Rundle (9th) and the family of Dave Thomson, (9th) advised me of the passing of these former Regiment members.

You will recall we included Dave Thomson’s story, and a couple of excerpts from his Army issued cookbook, in last year’s “Take Post”

In January 2012, I was contacted by Katrina Kittel, who is undertaking research into her father’s and his fellow POW’s wartime history.

Katrina had already been in touch with Bill Rudd, himself a former P.O.W. who has developed his own web site (, and Peter Brimacombe (son of ex P.O.W. Harold Brimacombe, 7th), but was seeking to contact any surviving members of the Regiment who may have been imprisoned with her father, or the descendants of those who may have been imprisoned with her father.

I have forwarded a letter from Katrina to the four surviving ex-POW’s and to Remembrance Group descendants of former POW’s.

In due course, Katrina proposes to provide a copy of her research paper to the Association, for uploading to our web site.

Interestingly, I also received an email from Gordon Tootell (son of Stanley Tootell, 8th) also seeking information about members of the 2/3rd LAA Regiment who were taken prisoners of war. I was able to refer Gordon to both the AWM website and to Bill Rudd’s web site as well as to our web site which has a link to the Australian Ex-Prisoners Of War Memorial, situated in the Ballarat Botanical Gardens.

Les Whelan (son of Henry Whelan, 2/4th) contacted me in February asking whether we would like a copy of his semi-fictional story of his father’s time with the 2/4th in North Africa and New Guinea, and which is based on his father’s diaries and poems written by his friends. Whilst Henry Whelan does not appear on our Regimental Rolls, a large number of the 2/3rd 7th Battery were transferred to the 2/4th when it was raised in the Middle East in 1943, which explains the close connection between the 2/3rd and the 2/4th.

The Henry Whelan story has been added to our web site and may be found under “Take Post”, “Full Versions Of Take Post Articles”

Extracts from Russell Luckock’s (son of Charles Luckock, 9th) paper regarding the experiences of the 2/4th at El Alamein in 1942, and which appeared in last year’s “Take Post”, commented that whilst not specifically about the 2/3rd, “the desert was the same for all”.

I was pleased to be contacted by Captain Michael Squire, the current instructor in Gunnery for Ground Based Air Defence in the Royal Australian Artillery, and who asked “Given that the 2/3rd LAA Regt had such a marked experience across many campaigns of WW2, I should very much like to focus on their battle experiences if there is any way in which we could organise for my four Lieutenants and I to chat with some of the veterans of the Air Defence battles”.

The past year, with its different emphasis, has been both informative and enjoyable – and I continue to be gratified by the interest in and the support for the web site from both members and the general public.

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 to expand the photographic and document collection, is always welcomed.

Thank you to all members of the Association for your continuing support.

Colin Bragg