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Vale Digger

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Vale Digger

Vale Digger

Of the original enrolment of 1,935 men, John Campbell, 8 Battery, who turned 100 years on 21 April 2021 was the last survivor, and sadly, John passed away on 30 November 2021, aged 100 years.

The last 28 original members of the Regiment were:

TJ (Thomas) McGill, 9 Battery (NX145530), who passed away on 19 May 2013. Tom was known to his close friends as “Giggles” or “Mac”. Daughter Carol McNairn and her sons wish to continue to be in touch with the Association and have joined us as members of the Descendants Group.

RD (Bob) Phillips OBE, 8 Battery (VX44404), who passed away on 28 June 2013, aged 93 years. Bob’s wife Phyllis is the sister of the late Les Stephens, also of 8 Battery, who introduced Bob and Phyllis during a visit to Werribee in 1940. Bob and Phyl were close friends with John Forbes, Ken Welch, Clarrie Cuttriss and Frank Washbourne, all deceased.

CJE (Cec) Rae, 9 Battery (VX48132), who passed away in August 2013, aged 94 years. Cec was a member of the Committee from 1949 to 2007, Association Secretary from 1969 to 1996 and President from 1995 to 1999. Cec was instrumental in the move to change the Constitution to allow descendants of original members to become members of the Association, and was a tremendous source of knowledge and guidance in the handover to the current Committee.

RV (Ray) Everlyn, 9 Battery (VX37472), who passed away in September 2013. Ray was a despatch rider during his time with the Regiment and photos of Ray and his motorbike may be found on our web site.

WS (“Blue”) Page, 8 Battery (VX29847), who passed away on his 94th birthday on the 12th September 2013.

WJ (Bill) Garrigan, 7 Battery (VX32518), who passed away in 2012. We only became aware of Bill’s passing when mail addressed to him was returned. Bill was captured on Crete and spent the rest of the war as a POW.

TP (Terry) Gleeson, Signals (NX58765), who passed away on 11 July 2014, aged 92 years. Terry was the last surviving member of Signals Section and a staunch supporter of the Association.

After the war, Terry joined the NSW Police Force and served for 35 years before retiring with the rank of Inspector. Terry was also a champion athlete in his younger days.

KA (Alan) Read, 9 Battery (VX25157) – Alan “Bushy” Read passed away on 5 August 2014, aged 94 years. A selection of Alan’s memoirs were printed in the 2010 issue of “Take Post”. A great supporter of the Association, and a regular contributor to “Take Post”, Alan will be sadly missed. In 2012, Alan was one of a group of former diggers selected by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs who visited El Alamein on the occasion of the 70th Anniversary of the El Alamein battles.

HC (Bert) Langley, 9 Battery (VX148044) – Bert Langley passed away on 31 August 2014, aged 88 years. He enlisted at age 15, and was probably the youngest member of the Regiment. His life long mate Tom Dusting (also of 9 Battery) kept a watchful eye on Bert during his service years, which included a posting to Japan as a member of the Occupation Forces. Bert and Tom were regulars at the annual Anzac Day March at either Rye or Rosebud on the Mornington Peninsula.

FA (Frank) Hands, 8 Battery (VX52835), – Soldier, Jeweller, Traveller – passed away on 11 September 2014, aged 95 years. Frank was a regular attendee at Annual Reunions and participated in the Anzac Day march until 2012. Frank’s story was told in the 2012 edition of “Take Post” which may be viewed on our web site.

GI (Ian) Rutter, 7 Battery (VX47927) – Ian Rutter passed away on 19 September 2014, aged 98 years. Captured on Crete in May 1941, he spent 4 years as a POW in Germany. His experiences are recorded in his journal entitled “Run, Rabbit Run”. He was a very staunch supporter of the Association and was delighted to be invited to attend the Air Defence Luncheon held at the RACV Club in May 2012 where serving members of the Royal Australian Artillery (Air Defence) mingled with a group of our 2nd/3rd veterans. Photos taken at this gathering are available for viewing on our web site. Ian’s visit to Crete to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Crete was featured in the 2002 edition of “Take Post”

PG (Pat) Delves, 7 Battery (VX57208) – Murray Delves contacted the Association to advise that his father Pat had passed away on 21 February 2015. Pat, who was 92 years of age was a regular attendee at Reunions until recently, and always looked forward to receiving “Take Post’.

DN (Norm) McPherson, 9 Battery (VX87852) – We were contacted by Andrew McPherson, who advised that his father Duncan Norman McPherson, had passed away on 20 March 2015, aged 93 years. Norm was always one of the first to pay his annual Association subscription and was an avid reader of “Take Post”.

John (Jack) Leaker, 8 Battery (SX18405) – We were advised by Mark Leaker that his father John (Jack) leaker had passed away on 5 April 2015, aged 93 years. On a personal note, Mark added that his father really enjoyed his interaction with the Association.

Earle “Slim” Webster, 7 Battery (VX44594) – We were advised by Mark Haase, grandson-in-law, that Earle passed away on 18 June 2015, aged 95 years. Mark told us how much Earle enjoyed being part of the 2nd/3rd family since we “found” him some three years ago. He particularly looked forward to the Annual Reunion and was especially chuffed to lead the Association at the 2014 Anzac Day March.

CJ Cliff Cullen, 9 Battery (NX95625) – we received a phone call from Toni Boyce, daughter of Cliff Cullen, advising that Cliff (known as ‘Snowy’ to his mates, had passed away on 27 March 2015, aged 91 years. Toni advised that Cliff looked forward to receiving “Take Post” and regularly marched on Anzac Day. Toni also advised that she accompanied her father to New Guinea early in 2015 on a trip “down memory lane”

Rex Nelson Emmett, 7 Battery (VX50407) – sadly, we only became aware that Rex had passed away when the invitation to the 2016 AGM / Reunion was returned unopened with a hand written note that he had passed away.

Thomas “Tom” Dusting, 9 Battery (VX147399) See HC (Bert) Langley above.

William Alfred “Alf” Sutherland, 7 Battery (VX46280) – as was the case with Rex Emmett above, we became aware of Alf’s passing by way of a hand written note on the returned envelope containing the invitation to the 2016 AGM / Reunion.

Philip John Hurst, 8 Battery (VX5862) – we were advised by email by Phil’s grandson that his grandfather had passed away on 14 June 2016. Phil had a long and productive life and his grandson commented that Phil’s time in the Regiment and its achievements were something of which he always spoke highly.

John McKenzie Hilliard AO, 8 Battery (VX27064) – we were advised by John’s son Philip that John had passed away on 11 May 2017, aged 98. John was the second Treasurer of the Association and maintained a close interest in the activities of the Association. John’s story was part of the lead article in the 2017 issue of Take Post.

Edward James Wellsted, Lieutenant, 9 Battery (VX21937) – correspondence addressed to Dr. Wellsted was returned in April 2018 with the notation “addressee deceased”

Allen Grantley Martin, 9 Battery (VX109471) – we were advised by the son of another Swan Hill member of the Regiment (Bill Schack) that Allen had passed away suddenly in June 2018. Allen’s story was featured in the 2018 issue of ‘Take Post’.

William Ernest Schack,8 Battery (VX25412) – we were advised of the passing of Bill Schack in January 2019 by his nephew Eric Maxwell (son of Vern Maxwell and a member of the 2nd/3rd ALAAR). Bill had attained the great age of 100 years in September 2018 and his story is featured in the 2019 issue of Take Post.

Joseph (John) Hamilton Marshall (NX20486) – We became aware that John had passed away in late 2019. Many of the photos on our website were sourced from John’s extensive collection of photographs.

David Stanley Humphreys (VX35094) – we learnt of Dave’s passing in mid 2020. An article about Dave’s life was featured in the 2018 issue of Take Post.

Ian Francis Barker (VX31735) – we were advised by Ian’s daughter that he passed away in 2020. Ian’s story was featured in the 2017 issue of Take Post.

John Selby Campbell (VX38276) – John Campbell, the last surviving original service member of the 2/3rd, passed away on 30 November 2021, aged 100 years. John was a Rat of Tobruk, a long serving member of the Association’s Committee, and Secretary of the Association for many years. John’s story was told in the 2019 issue of Take Post, and extracts of his transcribed war diaries comprised the lead story in the 2020 issue of Take Post.

Last updated on 11 April 2024