Attachments to Weekly News

Attachment to Weekly News of 2 May 2021


Happy Birthday to Darkie, Charlie, Ron, Ian, Wally, Pat and Mick. Hope you all have a fabulous time celebrating your special day with your family and mates.  I am in Adelaide for our daughter’s special day so I will have a top day.










Hine (McLean)











Ross Gowers on PTSD Course


I can highly recommend attending such a Course. Having done so myself over three days at Bribie Island. Of specific benefit to spouses to give them a glimpse and half-understanding on why we are what we are and how we view the world in our singular thoughts of maybe black and white, because we tend to keep it all to ourselves for obvious reasons. Then the gathering and meeting up of other like-minded that share their thoughts and you know you are not alone.


Unfortunately South Australia is far, too far away for me. 


Post this if you wish.

Ross Gowers




Hope you and yours are well and enjoying a respite from the pandemic.  I’m currently in lock down in Perth and hopefully will be free on Tuesday 27th April, god willing.


Finished work with the Department of Justice in August 2020 after being diagnosed with lung cancer.  I haven’t smoked for 20 years but worked in a environment where there was a lot of passive smoking.  My GP referred me to a Lung Specialist who then had me doing tests which showed that I had a hot spot on my Thyroid and another on my right lung upper lobe.  Half of my Thyroid was removed but was benign.  The cancer on the Lung was removed via resection and after a stay of a month in hospital I was discharged to home and commenced a 30 day course of Radiotherapy.  All finished and now almost back to normal although I do get a shortness of breath when I try to overdo my exercises.


Results from the PET and CT Scans indicated an exposure to asbestos but I believe a lot of Engineering sailors and others that served on the older ships would have had exposure too.


Well Ron, that’s for me so take care and will keep in touch.




Des Honess


Mal Ritchie


G’day Ron,      Anzac Day in Goulburn went well although with restrictions.  We have a great relationship and support from our council and police. We had 2000 at the Dawn and Main services and our March was restricted to serving and ex-serving members but still managed 100 or so marchers including cadets from Duntroon who are exercising in town for several weeks.  Hope you are well mate, keep safe.
Mal R

Hypohystericalhistory’s guide to the Hobart Class Destroyer

Sky News host Alan Jones says the “brutal truth” is not the Brereton report but the “600 veterans who have committed suicide” since Australian forces were fi…


China Panic: Australia opens new airstrip to bring in US aircraft & 30,000 troops to near SCS island

Heston Russell founder of Voice Of A Veteran & Retired Special Forces Major.A big thank you to Currumbin RSL for the beautiful dawn service you put on for An…


All out War (May 02 2021) : Australia warns China against attacking Taiwan

Heston Russell founder of Voice Of A Veteran & Retired Special Forces Major.A big thank you to Currumbin RSL for the beautiful dawn service you put on for An…



 G’day Old Salts

For those heading to Canberra the last weekend in May for the rugby and are interested in attending the LLL here’s all the info. Ask anyone who has been before and they’ll tell it’s a great afternoon with the added bonus of assisting the Leopards in assisting their charity. The ticketing info is in the ad. Can I ask that if you do book just drop me an email as well so we know what Old Salts are attending and we can arrange tables etc.

Cheers ………….. Glenn





Navy Victoria Network’s April edition of BROADSIDE is now available to download: 


If you don’t wish to download the file you can now view it from your browser: 


Please feel free to distribute widely.


Your Aye!

NVN Team



Good read, I had to enlarge the print.







I wandered thru a country town, ‘cos I had some time to spare, 

And went into an antique shop to see what was in there.

Old Bikes and pumps and kero lamps, but hidden by it all, 

A photo of a soldier boy – an Anzac on the Wall.


‘The Anzac have a name?’ I asked. The old man answered ‘No’.

The ones who could have told me mate, have passed on long ago. 

The old man kept on talking and, according to his tale, 

The photo was unwanted junk bought from a clearance sale.


‘I asked around’, the old man said, ‘but no-one knows his face, 

He’s been on that wall twenty years…  Deserves a better place. 

For some-one must have loved him, so it seems a shame somehow.’

I nodded in agreement and then said,  ‘I’ll take him now.’ 


My nameless digger’s photo, well it was a sorry sight 

A cracked glass pane and a broken frame – I had to make it right

To prise the photo from its frame I took care just in case, 

Cause only sticky paper held the cardboard back in place. 


I peeled away the faded screed and much to my surprise,

Two letters and a telegram appeared before my eyes

The first reveals my Anzac’s name, and regiment of course 

John Mathew Francis Stuart – of Australia’s own Light Horse.


This letter written from the front… My interest now was keen 

This note was dated August seventh 1917 

‘Dear Mum, I’m at Khalasa Springs not far from the Red Sea

They say it’s in the Bible – looks like a Billabong to me.  


‘My Kathy wrote I’m in her prayers…  she’s still my bride to be 

I just can’t wait to see you both, you’re all the world to me.

And Mum you’ll soon meet Bluey, last month they shipped him out 

I told him to call on you when he’s up and about.’ 


‘That bluey is a larrikin, and we all thought it funny

He lobbed a Turkish hand grenade into the CO’s dunny. 

I told you how he dragged me wounded, in from no man’s land 

He stopped the bleeding, closed the wound, with only his bare hand.’


‘Then he copped it at the front from some stray shrapnel blast 

It was my turn to drag him in and I thought he wouldn’t last. 

He woke up in hospital, and nearly lost his mind

Cause out there on the battlefield he’d left one leg behind.’ 


‘He’s been in a bad way Mum, he knows he’ll ride no more 

Like me he loves a horse’s back, he was a champ before.

So Please Mum can you take him in, he’s been like my own brother 

Raised in a Queensland orphanage he’ s never known a mother.’ 


But Struth, I miss Australia Mum, and in my mind each day

I am a mountain cattleman on high plains far away. 

I’m mustering white-faced cattle, with no camel’s hump in sight 

And I waltz my Matilda by a campfire every night


I wonder who rides Billy, I heard the pub burnt down 

I’ll always love you and please say hooroo to all in town’.  

The second letter I could see, was in a lady’s hand

An answer to her soldier son there in a foreign land. 


Her copperplate was perfect, the pages neat and clean 

It bore the date, November 3rd 1917.

‘T’was hard enough to lose your Dad, without you at the war 

I’d hoped you would be home by now – each day I miss you more’ 


‘Your Kathy calls around a lot since you have been away

To share with me her hopes and dreams about your wedding day. 

And Bluey has arrived – and what a godsend he has been 

We talked and laughed for days about the things you’ve done and seen’


‘He really is a comfort, and works hard around the farm, 

I read the same hope in his eyes that you won’t come to harm. 

McConnell’s kids rode Billy, but suddenly that changed.

We had a violent lightning storm, and it was really strange.’ 


‘Last Wednesday, just on midnight, not a single cloud in sight, 

It raged for several minutes, it gave us all a fright.

It really spooked your Billy – and he screamed and bucked and reared 

And then he rushed the sliprail fence, which by a foot he cleared’ 


‘They brought him back next afternoon, but something’s changed I fear

It’s like the day you brought him home, for no one can get near. 

Remember when you caught him with his black and flowing mane? 

Now Horse breakers fear the beast that only you can tame,’


‘That’s why we need you home son’ – then the flow of ink went dry- 

This letter was unfinished, and I couldn’t work out why. 

Until I started reading, the letter number three

A yellow telegram delivered news of tragedy,


Her son killed in action – oh – what pain that must have been 

The same date as her letter – 3rd November 1917 

This letter which was never sent, became then one of three

She sealed behind the photo’s face – the face she longed to see. 


And John’s home town’s old timers – children when he went to war 

Would say no greater cattleman had left the town before.

They knew his widowed mother well – and with respect did tell 

How when she lost her only boy she lost her mind as well. 


She could not face the awful truth, to strangers she would speak

‘My Johnny’s at the war you know, he’s coming home next week.’ 

They all remembered Bluey he stayed on to the end. 

A younger man with wooden leg became her closest friend.


And he would go and find her when she wandered old and weak 

And always softly say ‘yes dear – John will be home next week.’ 

Then when she died Bluey moved on, to Queensland some did say.

I tried to find out where he went, but don’t know to this day.


And Kathy never wed – a lonely spinster some found odd. 

She wouldn’t set foot in a church – she’d turned her back on God.

John’s mother left no Will I learned on my detective trail. 

This explains my photo’s journey, of that clearance sale.


So I continued digging, cause I wanted to know more.

I found John’s name with thousands, in the records of the war. 

His last ride proved his courage – a ride you will acclaim 

The Light Horse Charge at Beersheba of everlasting fame.


That last day in October, back in 1917 

At 4pm our brave boys fell – that sad fact I did glean.

That’s when John’s life was sacrificed, the record’s crystal clear

But 4pm in Beersheba is midnight over here……  


So as John’s gallant spirit rose to cross the great divide, 

Were lightning bolts back home, a signal from the other side?

Is that why Billy bolted and went racing as in pain? 

Because he’d never feel his master on his back again? 


Was it coincidental? same time – same day – same date?

Some proof of numerology, or just a quirk of fate?

I think it’s more than that you know, as I’ve heard wiser men, 

Acknowledge there are many things that go beyond our ken


Where craggy peaks guard secrets ‘neath dark skies torn asunder, 

Where hoof-beats are companions to the rolling waves of thunder 

Where lightning cracks like 303’s and ricochets again

Where howling moaning gusts of wind sound just like dying men. 


Some Mountain cattlemen have sworn on lonely alpine track, 

They’ve glimpsed a huge black stallion – Light Horseman on his back.

Yes Sceptics say, it’s swirling clouds just forming apparitions 

Oh no, my friend you can’t dismiss all this as superstition.  


The  desert of Beersheba – or windswept Aussie range,

John Stuart rides on forever there – Now I don’t find that strange.  

Now some gaze upon this photo, and they often question me  

And I tell them a small white lie, and say he’s family.


‘You must be proud of him.’ they say – I tell them, one and all, 

That’s why he takes – the pride of place – my Anzac on the Wall.


By Jim Brown



Attachment to Weekly News of 18 April 2021


Happy Birthday to Gordon, Rod, Bill, Col, Jim and John.  Hope all you blokes enjoy your special day celebrating with your family and friends.







Donald (Broome)










Someone in the group may know what became of Lyndsay Stiles (7th intake, Mokare Division). The last I heard of him we were on the Sydney as O/D’s after leaving Leeuwin.

Thanks, Errol


G’day Errol,


Errol, I hope you are keeping well. Good to see you in print, and good to see mention of Lindsay Styles in the weekly news, albeit a query as to whereabouts.


I never saw him again after Leeuwin Errol but as you will recall with ‘alphabetical bunks’ at Leeuwin, Lindsay and I saw a lot of each other in Mokare Div. I often wondered what was his lot and would be grateful for any info you receive.


For what it’s worth, I can tell you he was a Sydney native as from Pennant Hills but born in Gladstone Qld. He discharged with VG conduct on 26 Sep 1969 at Penguin Hospital having served on Sydney, Duchess, Yarra, courses at Cerberus and finished up at Waterhen. He made L/EMC. All is available of course through National Archives Records so it’s in the public domain. His old home address was 72 Malahide Rd, Pennant Hills and he discharged to 6 Watson St, Neutral Bay.


I have enquired from time to time among the communicators but nothing further heard. Maybe try the ‘greenies’? 


Through my ANL subscription, I searched the Ryerson Index Online Database to death notices and obituaries in Australian newspapers, publishers websites and funeral director websites across all states for Lindsay Stiles from 1969 onwards. There were no entries, so that’s encouraging. He might still be around. 


Hope that helps


Cheers ‘n occasional beers


Nifty (Nev) Thomas



Thanks for the info on Lindsay, Nev.

He would, I think, have been on the same Greenie course at Cerberus, but I can’t remember seeing him anywhere after the Sydney. As I was on the Sydney for almost 11 months and most of our intake had already well and truly shipped off to their courses by then, it is possible he may have got an earlier course.

If he was medically discharged from Penguin after 6 years, I guess he could have had a serious illness or disability – all speculation.

I never thought to look up the Service Records at the NAA although I have done that for WW1 and WW2 relatives as I didn’t think they would be there yet. Are we supposed to have our service details online if we are still alive?

Thanks for the further information.

Cheers, Errol


A brief history of sea shanties | RANOPS


Attachment to Weekly News of 28 March 2021


Happy Birthday to Terry, Ian, Fred, Peter and John.  Hope all you blokes celebrate your special day in the company of your family and mates.














Voice Of A Veteran Community Updates

A Note from Heston

G’Day Ron,

This last week saw the Lower House of Parliament also vote in favour of the motion calling for a Royal Commission into Veteran Suicide. Now we wait and watch to see Democracy in action, with the Prime Minister as the only one who can actually make this final instruction. Thank you to all those of you who have written, called and continued to engage with your elected Politicians. During my time meeting with many of the politicians over the last few weeks, it has been your voices and words that have set the conditions and shaped their understanding and opinions. This time has been truly insightful to appreciate what we can achieve together, and I again thank you all so much for those that have done all that they can for this authentic purpose. Please continue to reach out and support each other. These developments also work to stir and strain emotions. Please be proactive, persistent and passionate about supporting all you can, here and now. 


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Media & Resources

For more information on Heston’s opinion of the Royal Commission and the current state of affairs here are our recommended resources:

·         All we need is Action & Accountability (The ever missing A’s)


·         Royal Commission Now


·         “A Fierce Campaign” for A Royal Commission – seen on SBS, Channel 9 & Channel 10

·         “The Need for A Royal Commission” Breaking Politics Breakout Radio – 2GB

·         Support from Sky News




Have you tuned into‘ VOAV Podcast ‘ yet?5 Star ratings and reviews increase our position on platforms like Apple Podcast. Please help us reach as many as we can and show your support by clicking here and leaving us a 5 star review 🙏🙏


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We were stoked to see the ‘VOAV Podcast’ rank as position 15 in the mental health category of podcasts this week. Thank you to those who have joined the conversations, offered feedback, recommendations and reviewed the podcast on itunes.Reviewing the podcast on itunes and subscribing to the show helps us reach more people – so if you would like to support the show Subscribe & Review (and share). If you haven’t yet listened – head on over give it a go. We have had some great, honest and valuable conversations across a broad range of topics and guests.


Veteran Community Shoutout

·         Disaster Relief Australia

While I was in Perth this weekend I popped in to visit the Disaster Relief Australia (DRA) Team currently deployed in support of the community recovering from the recent bushfires in WA.DRA represents the very best of what our Veterans, First Responders and Volunteers can unite and provide Australians at home. For anyone looking for purpose, community or simply to help those in need – please check out how to get involved at

As a Volunteer with DRA – you can choose to support when you can, supported by the highest levels of experience, equipment, and common sense.

Stay Connected

·         Please visit our VOAV Youtube channel here and hit the subscribe button to stay informed.

·         Click the follow button on our instagram page here

·         Click Like on our facebook page here.

·         Follow up on Linkedin.


You can show your support by sharing our donation link – every dollar is spent on supporting and advocating for Veterans, today. 


Yours in service,


Voice of a Veteran, Bayswater Road, Potts Points NSW 2011, Australia | Unsubscribe

Defence Force Welfare Association 

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Royal Commission into Veteran Suicide

Letter from the National President

Dear DFWA members and supporters,

You will be aware of the continuing call for a Royal Commission into veteran suicide. This goes back several years, originating from a call for the establishment of a Royal Commission into DVA in 2015/16. Since that time there has been many studies and reviews into DVA, its workings and its place in addressing the issues confronting the veteran community. 

The call to establish a Royal Commission into veteran suicide has proved to be problematic for many veteran organisations and individuals who work and volunteer in the veteran space. This has certainly been the experience within DFWA, across the branches, and amongst the membership. We all have a view on veteran suicide, whether it is from personal experience—through the death of a friend, a mate, or a family member—or from coverage of the issue in the media, on social media platforms, or in conversation over a drink.

The Federal Government tried to address the call for a Royal Commission by the appointment of an interim Commissioner into veteran suicide. This was to be a precursor to a permanent Commissioner for Veteran Suicide who was to have the standing powers of a Royal Commission. The legislation required to establish the permanent Commissioner was not supported by the Senate and did not get the support of the Opposition or crossbench in the House of Representatives.

The conversation has reached the point where both houses of the Federal Parliament have voted in support of a Royal Commission and have called on the Prime Minister to initiate one. 

Throughout this period, DFWA has sought to work with the interim Commissioner for Veteran Suicide. Her work should prove to be a positive contribution to a future Royal Commission.

DFWA supports the establishment of a Royal Commission into Veteran Suicide and looks forward to opportunities to contribute to that process.

We are seeking reassurance from the government that no resources will be diverted from veteran support during a Royal Commission; and that recommendations from the 2019 Productivity Commission Report – A Better Way to Support Veterans, continue to be implemented and appropriately resourced.

The Alliance of Defence Service Organisations, of which DFWA is an active member, has today released a media release calling on the Prime Minister to initiate a Royal Commission into Veteran Suicide.

Take care,


Kel Ryan

President, DFWA


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Defence Force Welfare Association – National Inc. PO Box 4166, Kingston ACT 2604 


I am still pissed off with the attitude of the Federal and State Governments, The RSL and Bureaucrats (State and Federal) re the handling of the ANZDAY Celebrations for 2021. 

The Premiers of all the states have now relented and have allowed the ANZAC DAY March to proceed as normal albeit with restrictions. WHY?? The Premiers of the Eastern States have allowed unrestricted Aboriginal activists, climate change activists, Black Lives Matter, Poofters and Lesbians at Mardi Grai to march during COVID whilst Victoria have allowed Moombah to proceed yet , ANZAC DAY (gazetted as a public holiday Australia wide) which commemorates the sacrifices made by the Australian and New Zealand Armed Forces has restricted participants. WHY?? Do the State Premiers acknowledge that Climate Change Activists, Poofters and Lesbians are more important to Australia than those who have served ( and some who have lost their live) Australia 

The Federal Government is no better. The Federal Government is the first to say to Australians “WE NEED YOU – JOINT THE ADF TO-DAY” in times of crisis, and send young Australians off to fight in another Country, to be shot at etc and hopefully return unscathed. The Unions do not care – they refuse to help by their unwillingness to load critical supplies on to ships etc for those fighting for their lives overseas. 

When the troops returned from Vietnam they were shunned, spat at, ridiculed etc by the public. Did the Federal & State Governments step in to help those returning Veterans? NO. The same thing is happening to-day. Maybe not the demonstrations etc but the apparent lack ofacknowledgement for their efforts. It is apparent this is probably the reason as to why so many of our recently returned Veterans are committing suicide. 

Where has The RSL been in these matters? Hardly a whimper from them. By their silence they appear to rubber stamp the decisions of both Governments. So one asks the question “what is the use of the RSL to-day”? As for the bureaucrats – the less said the better. All they seem to acknowledge is a fat paycheck – couldn’t give two hoots about anything else. 

Despite the restrictions, those who wish to march MARCH. Who would refuse a veteran (wearing medals etc) the right to join in the ANZAC DAY MARCH irrespective of the numbers permitted? 


Bill Farrell 


Two-star general guilty of swindling £48,000 to pay for children’s private school fees

Maj Gen Nick Welch becomes the most senior officer in 200 years to be convicted at court martial and now faces 18 months in prison

ByDanielle Robinson25 March 2021 • 7:48pm

Major General Nick Welch allegedly abused Army allowances when he took on the top job at the Ministry of Defence’s London headquarters CREDIT:  BNPS

A senior officer in the British Army has become the highest-ranking soldier to be convicted at a court martial since 1815 after he was found guilty of fraud.

Major General Nick Welch was found guilty of dishonestly claiming £48,000 in allowances to pay for his children’s boarding school fees and will be sentenced on Friday following a four-week trial at Bulford Military Court.

The 57-year-old two-star General, who left the military in 2018, had applied for the Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA) on the basis that he and his wife Charlotte would not be living close to the children’s schools at £37,000-a-year Clayesmore School and £22,500-a-year Hanford School between December 2015 and February 2017.

The payment, which covers 90 per cent of fees, is aimed at allowing children of service personnel to remain at the same schools to enable their serving parent to be accompanied by their spouse as they are posted to different locations.

However the prosecution said Mrs Welch, 54, spent most of her time at the cottage in Blandford Forum, Dorset, close to the two schools, rather than at their allocated military accommodation in Putney, south-west London.

CEA rules state a spouse must not be away from the residence at work address (RWA) for more than 90 days per year.

The investigation was launched in February 2017 after a neighbour alerted authorities about the Welch family’s absence from their London home.

Welch denied being dishonest and said he believed he had complied with the requirements of accompanied service because his wife was living with him for the majority of the time.

The father of three abused Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA) to send two of his children to private schools in Dorset  CREDIT: Solent News & Photo Agency

His barrister, Sarah Jones QC, added that the CEA system and the 90-day rule were a “mess” and not strictly enforced by Ministry of Defence (MoD) administrators.

Welch was also given character references by senior military commanders including former Commander Joint Forces Command, General Sir Richard Barrons, who said he believed the defendant was of “unimpeachable integrity”.

However prosecutor Sarah Clarke QC accused Welch of lying and “attempting to manipulate” the figures regarding his family’s locations to cover up his dishonesty.

The court martial board consisted of a retired Major General, a Rear Admiral, a retired Air Vice Marshal, two Commodores, a Brigadier and a civil servant.

It is understood that the board had to be made up of tri-service personnel because of Welch’s seniority meant he was well known among the Army. 

The maximum sentence is 10 years for fraud however legal sources said it was like his custodial sentence would be no more than 18 months. 

An MoD spokeswoman said: “If a service person has been reported to the Royal Military Police because it is believed they have committed a crime it is only right that it is investigated fully and the results of the investigation are presented to the Service Prosecuting Authority.

“It has been proven in this case that the retired Major General Nicholas Welch OBE did commit fraud and therefore he will be sentenced accordingly.”

Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the Defence Select Committee, cautioned that this “individual incident” did not “damage the overall value this support mechanism provides for Armed Forces families”.

He said: “The CEA has allowed many personnel to continue their careers knowing their children’s education is less disturbed.”



FYI if you’re a DFRDB recipient, the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee is calling for submissions, by 30 April, from those concerned over the accuracy of information provided to Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits (DFRDB) members, including:

  1. the accuracy of information provided to DFRDB members about the effects of commutation on future retirement pay entitlement, the consequences of this, and what remedial action (if any) could be taken;
  2. whether retirement payments were indexed as required by legislation and, if not, what remedial action (if any) could be taken;
  3. policy and legislative issues, including provisions for:
  4. use of certain life expectancy tables,
  5. permanency of reductions to commuted pensions,

iii. indexation arrangements; and

  1. recommendations on any potential changes to administrative arrangements, policy or legislation;
  2. advice on costs associated with any recommendations;
  3. all relevant existing information and previous reviews in relation to DFRDB, including the findings of the Ombudsman’s investigation;
  4. the level of understanding among DFRDB members about how the legislation works, and ways to improve this; and
  5. and any related issues.

More info available at: 


Accuracy of information provided to Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits (DFRDB) members – Parliament of Australia


Welcome to Country: Bogus but Preferable

Contrary to popular belief and practice, there is no evidence the fashionably modern “Welcome to Country” ceremonies were ever a part of traditional Aboriginal culture. Instead, as is well if not widely known, they were created as recently as the 1970’s by none other than Ernie Dingo and his cobber, Dr Richard Walley. An article in The Australian, published in 2010, explains how it came about

Entertainer Ernie Dingo and prominent Perth Aboriginal performer and writer Richard Walley have emerged as the modern-day creators of the controversial “welcome to country” ceremony, after visiting troupes of Pacific dancers forced their hand during a visit to Western Australia in the mid-1970s.

In a few words, the visiting dancers had a ‘welcoming’ routine, so Messrs Dingo and Walley, feeling obliged to return the favour, whipped up their own welcome out of whole cloth. In doing so they perpetrated what amounted to — oh, irony of ironies! — an act of cultural appropriation, as the Welcome’s white-bread cliches have become a droning obligatory overture before everything from football matches to the opening of parliaments.

Yet in re-scripting “authentic” Aboriginal greetings as something blandly akin to a Rotary Club’s pre-lunch preamble, Dingo rather tactfully chose not to endorse what he described as a genuinely indigenous greeting. This involved getting “the sweat from under their arms and [rubbing] down the side of your shoulders so any spirits around can smell the perspiration or the odour of the local, and say, ‘He’s right, leave him alone’.”

As someone with an undergraduate degree in anthropology, these types of issues have always been of interest to me. What were the actually beliefs and practices of the Aboriginal peoples living in Australia, especially since Europeans arrived? To help answer this question, I turned to the renowned A. P. Elkin, at various points president of the Anthropological (1934) and Royal (1940-41) societies of New South Wales, the Australian Anthropological Association (1941) and the Australian Institute of Sociology (1941-44). In 1964, some 15 years before his death at the age of 88, Elkin published the final edition of The Australian Aborigines: How to understand them, which first went to press in 1938 and is still viewed by many as a classic — an appraisal predictably decried by today’s blacktivists, who regard it as imbued with paternalistic racism.

Unsurprisingly, in his almost four-hundred pages analysing indigenous culture, Elkin never mentions either the custom of ‘Welcome to Country’ or ‘Acknowledgment of Country’. Significantly, what details he provides by way describing how indigenous communities “inter-related” with other tribes is quite shocking. If a mischievous imagination is amused by the mental image of, say, 100,000 spectators at an MCG Grand Final exchanging underarm secretions to honour Aboriginal culture, the convention of swapping wives to promote amity amongst potential rival groups will make the mind boggle. In his book, Elkin gives the following six examples:

♦ Before a revenge expedition sets out on its dangerous enterprise, its members temporarily exchange wives, thus expressing their unity and friendship to one another.

 When an attacking party is about to attack the home party, the latter if it does not want to fight, will send a number of its women over to the former. If these are willing to settle the matter in dispute without fighting, they have sexual intercourse with the women; if not, they send them back untouched.

 In some parts (e.g. north-eastern South Australia), the temporary exchange of wives between the two parties to a quarrel is a regular part of the method of settling it, if each has an admitted debt or charge against the other.

The final making of peace between two groups may always include the temporary exchange of wives, and on such occasions, all the usual tribal marriage laws (except those concerned with incest within the family) may be and are usually broken. This apparently marks the renewed friendship in a special manner; all groupings are transcended.

 Very often at times of great excitement during ceremonies, the men go aside to prearranged places and there have sexual intercourse with the women, and once again, the usual rules governing the intercourse of the sexes are ignored. Sexual excitation is a feature of some rites, and it may be thought that sexual intercourse will add to the effectiveness of the rites, or it may be just another occasion for expressing the common unity which those participating in the rites fell. In any case, it is for them just part of the traditional pattern, and they do not look for reasons.

 The above five occasions are communal in nature; but there is another similar in some ways, which differs in being a mark of friendship or hospitality and in being practised between individuals. This is the lending of a wife to a visitor. In such cases, kinship rules governing marriage apply, and “incest rules”, interpreted tribally, are not broken. This is more than a mark of hospitality in some tribes (e.g. north-east of South Australia); it is an institution.

While acknowledging that these are customs “though not unknown in the past in Europe, are considered by us to be objectionable”, Elkin declines to provide a sanitised interpretation, rejecting such bowdlerisation as fundamentally and historically dishonest. In keeping with the current sexual zeitgeist, one can only hope that, like sweat-swiping, mass wife swapping is not taken up as a further tribute to indigeneity. Apart from my moral objections as a man of the cloth, the seats at the MCG aren’t designed for it, and the big game would be annoyingly delayed as the wives of Richmond supporters returned from their peace-making missions to Geelong barrackers and vice versa.

Both ‘Welcome to Country’ and ‘Acknowledgement of Country’ practices not only fail to honour traditional Aboriginal culture, such as it was, but are disingenuous representations  as to what indigenous people historically did. Interestingly, the The Australian article cited above concluded that “both Dingo and Dr Walley agreed the Welcome to Country ceremony should not be mandatory, or it would lose all meaning.”

And yet, this is precisely 


Dear ANZAC Day March Stakeholders,RSL NSW is pleased to advise that the Minister for Health and Medical Research has granted an exemption to the Public Health Order for 10,000 marchers to participate in Sydney ANZAC Day March on 25 April 2021.  Veterans of the Australian Defence Force, British and Commonwealth Forces, Allies and Descendants can now march with their unit, ship, squadron or association, and behind their banners.  To comply with the guidelines to the Exemption that was granted each unit, ship, squadron and association is required to register its participation in the March for the purposes of COVID-19 contact tracing. To register please follow this link.  RSL NSW will send the nominated contact person for each unit, ship, squadron and association a spreadsheet to capture the names and phone numbers of all known people who intend to March in the Sydney CBD. The spreadsheet must be returned to RSL NSW by 23 April. This information will be collected and stored for contact tracing purposes only.  As a result of late changes to the March logistics and the approval processes vehicles or golf buggies are not permitted in the March or in the form up areas.  To meet the guidelines of the Exemption a limited number of bands will be directly invited by RSL NSW to participate and will be allocated a position in the Order of March. Please read and circulate the attached information to your members ahead of the Sydney CBD March on 25 April.  Kind regards,Lisa

Attachment to Weekly News of 21 March 2021


Happy Birthday to Ross, Dave, Tangles and Allan.  Hope you blokes have a wonderful time spending your special day with your family and friends.











Russ Dale


Let’s start with a huge thank you to the crew who selected Ulverstone for the reunion that has had to be cancelled. Great venue, we are enjoying our stay at the Bass and Flinders, fantastic weather and local attractions.

Thanks Norm Friebe for making sure we had the RAN park and Shropshire memorial on our list.

Had a most enjoyable lunch with Rick and Lee Avery on Friday.


All the best to everyone


The pics are on our FB page.


Russ and Joy Dale


Hector has asked for help.


From: Alan Comben <>Date: Sun, 21 Mar 2021 at 3:37 pmSubject: HMAS Perth … The Name Of The Song…To: 


Hi Members,


Can any of our seafaring members help with this one…any thoughts – back to me please.


***I was wondering if you could help me out I am wanting to know what the song they played on the HMAS Perth I think you call it they breakaway song.

Looking at when the Perth went on the 2nd deployment to Vietnam in 68 I believe.***




Alan Comben


Diamond Valley Vietnam Veterans Sub Branch

VVAA (Vic)

0432 631413.


WIN 20181016 11 11 49 Pro HMAS Melbourne Collision at Sea

Sky News host Alan Jones says the “brutal truth” is not the Brereton report but the “600 veterans who have committed suicide” since Australian forces were fi…


On Friday 19 October, 1934, the passenger plane Miss Hobart fell from the sky to the sea.

Eight men, three women and a baby boy fell with her, swallowed – it’s believed – by the waters of the Bass Strait that lies between Tasmania and mainland Australia.

The plane’s wreckage was never found.

One of those on board was a 33-year-old Anglican missionary, Rev Hubert Warren (pictured at end), who had been travelling to his new parish in Enfield, Sydney. His wife Ellie and four children had stayed behind, intending to follow by boat.

The reverend’s last present to his eight-year-old son, David, had been a crystal radio set that the boy treasured deeply.

As a boarder at Launceston Boys’ Grammar School in Tasmania, David Warren tinkered with the machine after lessons, learning what made it work. He charged friends a penny to listen to cricket matches, and within a few years was selling home-made copies at five shillings each.

By his mid-twenties, David Warren had studied his way to a science degree from the University of Sydney, a diploma in education from Melbourne University and a PhD in chemistry from Imperial College, London.

His specialty was rocket science, and he went to work as a researcher for the Aeronautical Research Laboratories (ARL), a part of Australia’s Defence Department that focused on planes.

In 1953, the department loaned him to an expert panel trying to solve a costly and distressing mystery: why did the British de Havilland Comet, the world’s first commercial jet airliner and the great hope of the new Jet Age, keep crashing?

Why Did The de Havilland Comet Keep Crashing? – Plane & Pilot Magazine

He thought it might be the fuel tanks; but there were dozens of possible causes and nothing but death and debris as evidence. The panel sat down to discuss what they knew.

“People were rattling on about staff training and pilots’ errors, and did a fin break off the tail, and all sorts of things that I knew nothing about,” Dr Warren recalled more than 50 years later.

“I found myself dreaming of something I’d seen the week before at Sydney’s first post-war trade fair. And that is – what claimed to be the first pocket recorder, the Miniphon. A German device. There’d been nothing before like it…”

The Miniphon was marketed as a dictation machine for businessmen, who could sit at their desks (or on trains and planes) recording letters that would later be typed up by their secretaries. David, who loved swing music and played the clarinet, only wanted one so he could make bootleg recordings of the jazz musician Woody Herman.

However, when one of his fellow scientists suggested the latest doomed Comet might have been hijacked, something clicked for him.

The chances that a recorder had been on board – and survived the fiery wreck – were basically nil. But what if every plane in the sky had a mini recorder in the cockpit? If it was tough enough, accident investigators would never be this confused again, because they’d have audio right up to the moment of the crash. At the very least, they’d know what the pilots had said and heard.

The idea fascinated him. Back at ARL, he rushed to tell his boss about it.

Alas, his superior didn’t share his enthusiasm. Dr Warren said he was told: “It’s nothing to do with chemistry or fuels. You’re a chemist. Give that to the instruments group and get on with blowing up fuel tanks.”

David knew his idea for a cockpit recorder was a good one. Without official support, there was little he could do about it – but he couldn’t get it out of his mind.

When his boss was promoted, David pitched his invention again. His new superior was intrigued, and so was Dr Laurie Coombes, ARL’s chief superintendent. They urged him to keep working on it – but discreetly. Since it wasn’t a government-approved venture or a war-winning weapon, it couldn’t be seen to take up lab time or money.

Dr Warren said the chief superintendent had cautioned him: “If I find you talking to anyone, including me, about this matter, I will have to sack you.”

It was a sobering thought for a young man with a wife and two children.

But his boss’s backing extended to sneakily buying one of the precious new dictation recorders, and chalking it up as “an instrument required for the laboratory…”

Encouraged, Dr Warren wrote up his idea in a report, titled “A Device for Assisting Investigation into Aircraft Accidents”, and sent it out across the industry.

The pilots’ union responded with fury, branding the recorder a snooping device, and insisted “no plane would take off in Australia with Big Brother listening”.

That was one of his better reviews.

Australia’s civilian aviation authorities declared it had “no immediate significance”, and the air force feared it would “yield more expletives than explanations”.

Dr Warren was tempted to pack it all in.

However, Dr Warren took to his garage and assembled his 20-year-old radio parts. He’d decided the only way to overcome his critics’ mockery and suspicion was to build a solid prototype.

It would be the first ever “black box” flight recorder.

One day in 1958, when the little flight recorder had been finished and finessed, the lab received an unusual visitor. Dr Coombes, the chief superintendent, was showing round a friend from England.

One day in 1958, when the little flight recorder had been finished and finessed, the lab received an unusual visitor. Dr Coombes, the chief superintendent, was showing round a friend from England.

“Dave!” he said, “Tell him what you’re doing!”

Dr Warren explained: his world-first prototype used steel wire to store four hours of pilot voices plus instrument readings and automatically erased older records so it was reusable.

There was a pause, then the visitor said: “I say Coombes old chap, that’s a damn good idea. Put that lad on the next courier, and we’ll show it in London.”

The courier was a Hastings transport aircraft, making a run to England. You had to know somebody pretty powerful to get a seat on it. Dr Warren wondered who this man was who was giving away tickets round the world to somebody he’d never met.

The answer was Robert Hardingham (later Sir Robert), the secretary of the British Air Registration Board and a former Air Vice-Marshal in the RAF.

In David’s words: “He was a hero. And he was a friend of Coombes, and if he gave away a seat, you took it.”

A few weeks later, Dr Warren was on a plane bound for England – with strict instructions not to tell Australia’s Department of Defence what he was really doing there, because “somebody would frown on it”.

In a near-unbelievable irony, the plane lost an engine over the Mediterranean.

Dr Warren recalled: “I said, ‘Chaps, we seem to have lost a donk – does anyone want to go back?’ But we’d come from Tunisia and it was about 45 degrees overnight. We didn’t want to go back to that hellhole.”

They decided they could make it if they ploughed on.

He recorded the rest of the flight, thinking that even if he died in that limping transport plane, “at least I’d have proved the bastards wrong!”

“But unfortunately we didn’t prang – we just landed safely…”

In England, Dr Warren presented “the ARL Flight Memory Unit” to the Royal Aeronautical Establishment and some commercial instrument-makers.

The Brits loved it. The BBC ran TV and radio programmes examining it, and the British civil aviation authority started work to make the device mandatory in civil aircraft. A Middlesex firm, S Davall and Sons, approached ARL about the production rights, and kicked off manufacturing.

Though the device started to be called “the black box”, the first ones off the line were orange so they’d be easier to find after a crash – and they remain so today.

Peter Warren believes the name dates from a 1958 interview his father gave the BBC.

“Right at the end there was a journalist who referred to this as a ‘black box’. It’s a generic word from electronics engineering, and the name stuck.”

In 1960, Australia became the first country to make cockpit voice recorders mandatory, after an unexplained plane crash in Queensland killed 29 people. The ruling came from a judicial inquiry, and took a further three years to become law.

Today, black boxes are fire-proof, ocean-proof and encased in steel. And they are compulsory on every commercial flight.

It’s impossible to say how many people owe their lives to data captured in the death throes of a failing plane – to the flaws exposed, and the safety innovations that followed.

David Warren worked at ARL until his retirement in 1983, becoming its principal research scientist. He died on 19 July, 2010, at the age of 85.




G’day everyone,It has been a huge week for the Veteran Community, we thank you for your continuous support.The motion for a Royal Commission into Veteran Suicide has passed in the Senate and will be voted for in the Parliament on Monday. We are now calling on you, on all Australians, to act and show your support. We need you to please contact your elected representatives this weekend, ahead of Monday and let your voice and views be heard! If your wondering how or what to say here is a helpful link: join us out the front of Parliament in Canberra at 9am on Monday 22 Marchto show your support in person. Join us for this moment of history and to demonstrate our strength as a community.This action will be a symbol of hope, respect and recognition that will allow the rest of us to unite and commence the healing process that is so badly needed within generations of our community. Thank you to all who have put so much energy and trust into achieving this first major step forward. Now is our time to unite.

Defence Force Welfare Association 

View online


DFWA National E-News

Issue 8 – March 2021

Greetings Veterans and Military Families,

You, the reader, are important to DFWA! There are several issues on the table at present and your view and ideas are important to us.

Operational and Non-Operational Service

The Australian Parliament has legislated and now formally recognises, ‘the Unique Nature of Military Service’. Veterans and the military family hold a special place in the Australian community. An aspect of this recognition is the ‘service’ we undertake on behalf of the nation. This service has been recognised for compensation purposes since 1914. However, today the relevant Compensation Acts identify eleven (yes eleven) types of service and each of these attracts different level of care and/or compensation. Unhelpful, confusing, a drain on resources and mentally confusing.

In the latest edition of Camaraderie, the nature of Operational and Non-Operational Service is discussed. Have a read of the articles and let us know what you think. Your ideas and thoughts will help form the way ahead for DFWA as the organisation pursues simplifying legislation for those coming after us.

DFRDB and MSBS Invalidity Benefit Taxation

Veterans who started receiving DFRDB and MSBS invalidity pensions after September 2007 have had a major win regarding taxation of those benefits – be sure to read the updates below, or the full account here.

DFWA is concerned that those veterans who started receiving their pensions before September 2007 do not receive the same favourable tax treatment; we are still assessing the impact and options, and how the Association may advocate for greater equity between the two groups. Comments and thoughts from the community are appreciated. You can provide feedback here.

Seeking your feedback

DFWA is privileged to be a member of the DVA ex-service organisations round table (ESORT). Membership of this consultative forum means we can raise issues and ask questions directly of the DVA and Repatriation Commission senior management and leadership. Our aim is to use the consultation process to help those organisations to improve services.

To do that, we need your help to be our eyes and ears. We are always interested to hear the experiences of clients and advocates, both good and bad. Please let us know using our community feedback form here.

Take care,

Kel Ryan, President


Consider Donating

The Defence Force Welfare Association advocates for issues affecting current and former members of the Australian Defence Force, including:

  • Health and wellbeing
  • Compensation schemes
  • Superannuation and retirement benefits
  • Defence Force remuneration and pay cases

Please consider donating to the Association. Your donations will enable this important policy advocacy on behalf of current and former members of the Australian Defence Force, as well as their families.


Donate Now

Latest News


14 Mar 2021 

Camaraderie Vol 52, No 1 

Camaraderie Vol 52, No 1 available to view or download online. 

Read more…

10 Mar 2021 

Update on DFRDB and MSBS Invalidity Benefits Taxation Changes 

The ATO has released a roadmap for implementing a streamlined process to amend tax assessments for the 2020 and earlier years, of those veterans affected by the Federal Court decision. The changes may affect up to 16 thousand injured veterans. 

Read more…

15 Feb 2021 

Productivity Commission Report – A Better Way to Support Veterans 

In March 2018, the Prime Minister announced that the Productivity Commission was to inquire into whether the system of compensation and rehabilitation for veterans (Serving […] 

Read more…

07 Feb 2021 

Pharmaceutical Advisory Centre Changes 

DVA reassures the veteran community that the services delivered by the Veterans’ Affairs Pharmaceutical Advisory Centre (VAPAC) are not changing. 

Read more…

18 Jan 2021 

Submission to DVA: Dental Program Review 

DVA conducted a review of its dental program, in response to concerns about whether or not the program met current clients’ needs, and its capacity to meet future needs. DFWA made a submission to the review. View or download the submission here. 

Read more…

Connect with us


Defence Force Welfare Association – National Inc. PO Box 4166, Kingston ACT 2604 

Modify your subscription    |    View online



Attachment to Weekly News of 14 March 2021


Happy Birthday to Bill, Reg, Dave and Billy.  Hope you blokes have a marvellous time spending your special day with your family and friends.


















Voice Of A Veteran Community Updates

A Note from Heston

G’day everyone,This last week has been a big one for our community. We have successfully campaigned to have the ANZAC Day parade return to its full format in the Sydney CBD! Thank you to all of you who have supported this effort and please, please, please head to the RSL New South Wales website to sign up and show that you will be attending. I know that we all hate to have to sign up – however the more who sign up means the more support we can receive from the New South Wales Government, who have promised to do so. Please sign up now.This last week I also attended the Interim National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention – Research Symposium in Canberra. I will be releasing a detailed summary of the event via our website & email in the next few days. However in advance I will let you know that unfortunately this National Commissioner continues to have discussions and revisions without action – of topics and facts that have already been detailed, documented and published for a number of years now. This process appears to be a continued distraction and is adding insult to so many Veterans and families within our community who also see this. I will be traveling back to Canberra this coming week to call on the Morrison government to do what is needed and call a Royal Commission into Veteran Suicide. In doing so the Prime Minister will be able to finally commence the process to help heal the Moral Injury & Trauma that has been inflicted through the systemic failings of the Veterans Affairs and Defence Transitions processes for generations of our Veterans. Please join in the conversation and campaign by emailing, calling or writing to your elected Federal Parliament Member and Senators this week!Yours in service,Heston

Follow us on Instagram 



Heston recently attended the Effective People Event in Canberra as the guest speaker. He shared an in depth and authentic conversation taking on topics like:


·         Layers of Resilience

·         DVA, Politics & RSLs

·         Suicide, Mental Health and Mental Fitness 

·         Culture & Responsibility 

·         The Veteran journeys – Time in service & Transition

·         Authentic purpose

·         Lack of action 

·         Royal Commission

·         Advocacy 

·         Anzac Day 

·         ESOs

·         The future of Voice of a Veteran

·         Leadership

·         Emotional Regulation & Living in the moment.

·         How YOU can help.


You can watch the event on our youtube channel – please comment with your thoughts/insights & feedback.View here.


Have you tuned into‘ VOAV Podcast ‘ yet?5 Star ratings and reviews increase our position on platforms like Apple Podcast. Please help us reach as many as we can and show your support by clicking here and leaving us a 5 star review 🙏🙏


Subscribe to the Podcast 


In the latest episode, Heston sits down with Former Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott  AC.During this very open conversation they talk on transitioning from duty & service and in particular from Tony’s political perspective and personal experience.They draw and discuss parallels between both of their unique experiences – in the military and parliament – with authentic accounts spanning personal and professional reflections. They pull threads on topics including: 


·         Duty & Service 

·         The empty void of transitioning from purpose and leaving parliament 

·         Acceptance that things change and don’t last forever 

·         Importance in discovering your sense of self 

·         Physical Fitness as priority to create mental resilience 

·         Maintaining equilibrium to reduce stress

·         Behind the ‘politics’ scenes 

·         Creating a network of people you can be yourself with

·         Relationship with mental health 

·         Purpose, meaning and contribution.

Please enjoy this episode, subscribe to the show, share with a friend – and if you want to watch this episode head to the Voice Of A Veteran YouTube channel. 


Subscribe to the Podcast 

Recent Media

·         Heston spoke with Jim Wilson on 2GB radio on the latest announcements of Anzac Day – Listen here.


·         Heston also spoke out on Channel 10 news at the importance of Anzac Day in our Veteran Community – view here.


Veteran Community Shoutout

·         Advocacy for Veterans


If you are following Voice of a Veteran on social media (if not, please do so now) – you would have seen a short clip posted on getting yourself an advocate – You can view the clip here.If you are looking for a great advocate that has got your back & will help take the weight off your shoulders, whilst getting the job done effectively. We recommend Bob Richards and the team at Advocacy for Veterans (AFV). Contact Bob for more information here.

Stay Connected

·         Please visit our VOAV Youtube channel here and hit the subscribe button to stay informed.

·         Click the follow button on our instagram page here

·         Click Like on our facebook page here.

·         Follow up on Linkedin.


You can show your support by sharing our donation link – every dollar is spent on supporting and advocating for Veterans, today. 


Yours in service,


Heston RussellFounderVoice of a



Voice of a Veteran, Bayswater Road, Potts Points NSW 2011, Australia | Unsubscribe




Attachment to Weekly News of 7 March 2021


Happy Birthday to Jock, Bryan, Glen, Danny, Brent, Neil, Neil, Jim and Mike.  Hope all you blokes have a fantastic day celebrating your special day with your family and friends.























Hi Ron and 63ers,


Joy and I are still staying in Ulverstone as planned for this year’s reunion, so if anyone else is doing likewise, we would like to catch up.


If you will be there during any part of the above period let us know now by email or phone, and we will organise one or more meets for coffee, a beer or what ever floats your boat.


Russ and Joy Dale



Gundula Holbrook, nurtured the legacy of her husband who was awarded the Victoria Cross – obituary

When an Australian town was named after her husband she donated his medals and paid for a memorial

ByTelegraph Obituaries3 March 2021 • 6:54am

Gundula Holbrook

Gundula Holbrook, who has died aged 106, was a last link with stirring events of the First World War. On the ski slopes in 1952, when the Austrian Gundula Bleichart met Norman Holbrook, she was fascinated to hear that, in the year of her birth, Holbrook had won the VC.

She learnt that on the morning of December 13 1914, Lieutenant Holbrook – who was then 26 – commanded the submarine B-11, when, despite treacherous currents, he dived under five rows of mines to enter the Dardanelles. There, in Sari Siglar Bay, he torpedoed and sank the Ottoman navy’s ironclad Mesudiye, which was guarding the minefield.

Gundula Feldner, as she then was, in the pre-war years

In spite of shallow water – where he bumped along the bottom, scraping mine mooring wires, was fired upon from the shore and attacked by patrol boats – Holbrook brought B-11 back to the safety of the Aegean Sea. After a last, nine-hour, submersion, B-11 was filled with stale air and was so low on battery power that Holbrook had to rely upon the outgoing freshwater current to carry him into open waters.

Holbrook’s was the first naval VC to be gazetted in the First World War. The following year, 1915, amid a wave of anti-German feeling, the name of the New South Wales town of Germanton, once known as Ten Mile Creek, was changed to Holbrook.

A dozen other names of politicians, senior admirals and generals, including Asquith, Jellicoe and Kitchener, were considered, but the residents decided that Holbrook was more in keeping with the young nation whose soldiers were now fighting on the shores of the Dardanelles. In September the shire clerk wrote to Norman Holbrook informing him of the honour: it became and remains the only town to be named after a VC winner.

Lt Norman Holbrook VC

Gundula Helene Feldner was born on November 1 1914, the only daughter of an Innsbruck lawyer, Alois Feldner, and Gretel, née Kofler, whose family still own the Grand Hotel in Kitzbühel, in the Austrian Tyrol.

Educated privately in Switzerland, Gundula married an Austrian doctor, Raoul Bleichart, in 1939, but by 1941 the marriage had fallen apart under wartime conditions.

Postwar she travelled widely, including to Kenya and to South Africa, and married Norman Holbrook in 1952; in 1956 they visited the town of Holbrook for the first time, and there followed intermittent visits, while the town, which was nowhere near the sea, became known as the “submarine town”.

Norman Holbrook’s submarine, B-11

In 1971 a model of B-11 was installed in a park there, and after Norman died in Stedham, West Sussex, in 1976, Gundula retired to Austria, donating to the town of Holbrook her husband’s medals, including his VC and his midshipman’s chest, which was filled with personal artefacts including invitations to past dinners and events, many signed by the principal guests.

On Anzac Day, April 25 1986, the freedom of the town was given to the Royal Australian Navy’s submarine squadron. In 1988 a bronze statue of Gundula’s husband was erected at Germanton Park in Holbrook, and in 1994, when the Oberon-class submarine HMAS Otway was decommissioned, the boat was broken up and transported in sections by road to Holbrook, where it was intended to be rebuilt as a submarine memorial.

An account of the sinking of the Ottoman ship Mesudiye

When Gundula Holbrook learned that the scheme had stalled, she wrote a generous personal cheque, which galvanised the community into completing the project. In 1997 she paid her last visit to the town, and was made an honorary citizen. “I think this is the most important thing that has ever happened to me,” she said. “I don’t feel like a visitor anymore, now I am a resident.”

She had also helped to turn the town from a stopover on the day-long drive between Sydney and Melbourne, into a place of destination which receives some 200,000 visitors each year. There, where she is remembered as being down to earth, articulate, possessed of a sharp mind and a nice smile; her hologram in the museum narrates her husband’s story.

Gundula Holbrook, born November 1 1914, died December 31 2020




We have a problem




Radio Stations online


The green dots on this google earth represent a radio station anywhere in the world.  

Click in any of the dots and you will immediately listen to that station with very good sound. 

Perhaps some stations are undetected but mostly OK, Enjoy this,


DOWNED POWER LINES – great reminder!!!


Following is information which everyone needs to be aware of.

I knew about not getting out of the car, but I didn’t know what to do in case a fire starts. This video provides a good explanation. Hopefully, no one will ever need to use it.

Please watch it all the way through; it could save your life.



Attachment to Weekly News of 28 February 2021


Happy Birthday to Len, Froggy, Stan and Bob.  Hope you blokes have an absolutely marvellous time celebrating your special day with your family and mates.













Attachment      Rocky’s Orchid, one of many  above


Admiral Chris Barrie and the Brereton Report



This series of COVID-I9 discussions was undertaken between Dr Neil Baird, industrialists, senior Defence personnel, Iegal experts, public servants, diplomats and academics between September and November 2020. The papers provide a commentary

i on the strategic failure of Australia politically, diplomatically, economically, and industrially over the past 20 years.

Since the first article appeared in the Oct 2020 Issue of The NAVY, there have been some developments – yet the much hoped for COVID-I9 changes to lndustrial Relations and Australia’s lndustrial, Research, Defence, Business, University, Migration i i and Media Base – including to the Federation and State models – have been slow in coming forward. Indeed, some would i : argue that Australia runs the risk of regressing to an unsustainable 1970s model – neither nationalised nor capitalised. At the same time, Australia is also at existential risk of being isolated in the Indian-Pacific 0ceans. Gut loose by an entrenching U.S. i i – under whatever leadership that emerges from the Presidential elections and the Trumpian excursion. Divided from South i i East Asia by Chinese Communist Party policies, designed to punish Australia by example. Not since 1903, has Australia had i i such an opportunity to renew and revitalise its sovereign identity and Federation. Yet the hope may again be squandered in i i a post-C0UlD recovery, as it was lost in the battlefields of France in 1917.

Admiral Chris Alexander Barrie AC RAN – Last Navy Chief of Defence Force, 1998-2002 (lmage RAN),

Neil: Thank you for agreeing to take part in this second discussion. I have set out my thinking and would ask you to address these matters, specifically as they relate to Defence, our Industrial Base and to Navy.

What strikes me today, with the release of the Brereton Report into alleged SAS (and Commando) war crimes and unlawful killings in Afghanistan between2006/7 and 2014/15, is how “we are all ADF now”.

Precisely, it is all about Army when it suits Army and the SAS is their crown jewels, that they have fought so hard to protect and build up. But suddenly, when the chips are down the problems are all the ADFs – Navy, and RAAF as much as Army. This is a nonsense.

It also, perhaps, spells the danger of creating the ADF in the first place and doing away with the Single Service identities, and their own political secretaries.

It is an Army problem. More than half of all Chiefs of Defence Force (CDF) in the past two decades have come from Army. None from Navy…

And Governors General and state governors t00…

Yes. CDF wrote to all ADF personnel about the matter – as if sharing the blame meant not having to apportion and ascribe the blame. *We are all guilty now…”

The point I was making, though, was that many of the Army senior command, and CDFs, and Chiefs of Army have all come from a Special Forces background. Yet, when called out, it is no longer Army’s problem but ADFs. That is deceitful and harmful to the other Services and indeed to the many non-Special Force Regiments and Corps in Army.


Neil: I recall what the Army did after Vietnam. It was a war where Australians – many conscripts – fought with integrity, competence and honour. Yet when they came home, they were treated abysmally by fellow Australians. And Army, rather than learning and retaining these (mostly men), Bot rid of them and secured future commands about armour and infantry and “people like us”. It was quite disgraceful. Could this happen again?

There is every likelihood it will happen again.

I concur. Look at the Brereton report, it essentially exonerates the officer caste, many of whom are now senior officers, and exclusively blames troopers, corporals and sergeants.

Breaker Morant all over again. ..

20 THE NAVY VOL. 83 NO. 1

East lndiaman REPULSE (1820) in the East lndia Dock.

Are we honestly to believe that the SAS operated in a command, moral and values vacuum for over 10 years – where no officers asked questions, 0r raised concerns, or took part in the decision making and planning processes of these operations?

0n command, leadership & management – leading such a potent force would be the ultimate leadership challenge. One acknowledges that soldiers using “thrown-downs” went to extraordinary lengths to cover up their actions, and had no doubt gotten away with it for many years. However, it is patently unacceptable for officers and SNC0’s to say “we didn’t know”. It poses only one question: “WHY didn’t you know?”

Yes, as also upheld under International Law and the U.S. Supreme Court (decision 7-2) in terms of the Yamashita Standard, which states:

The highest-ranking officer is accountable for, and should be prosecuted and convicted of the crimes of every officer and soldier under his command, even if he/she is unaware of that the crime, or was aware and actually gave orders to stop it. Ignorance of the actions of his/her subordinates and failed attempts to stop them are not a defence. [1]

These very same senior officers, legal advisers and pollies should have known this and advised accordingly before they began the witch-hunt, apportioning blame and stripping honours.

My indication is that it was apparently much worse in the Commandos, than even the SAS – yet this has not yet come out. The Commandos were essentially contracted out to a [foreign] agency.

It still comes back to at least two generations of Army Officers (from 2000 onwards) many of whom have gone on to enjoy senior positions in Army and the ADF. And yet we are led to believe that none of them knew or did anything – even to ask what was going on? In my book that is a dereliction of command and duty of the highest order.

Neil: I think, generally, we should also apportion more blame to the Howard Government, both for its infatuation for using the SAS and the ridiculous decisions to completely unnecessarily involve Australia in Iraq and Afghanistan in the first place. That was criminal idiocy. Our Kiwi cousins were smart and brave enough to keep out. They weren’t thrown out of ANZUS as a result. Context is critical but how does this relate to Navy and ADF?

In this instance, Neil, I believe it is fundamental to the question. Look, in 2004, the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal blew up in Iraq. You may recall that this was a high security prison taken over from Saddam Hussein and being run by the Coalition (of the Willing) by U.S National Guardsman and Reserve Military Police under a Reserve Brigadier General, Janis Karpinski. It was a disaster at the time, and remains so.

I recall this – it is a long time ago though…

In the end the Brigadier General and a handful of National Guardsmen (a number of them women) were dismissed. It never went any higher than that. Yet context was key, and evidence since uncovered indicates that the orders and way in which the prison was run came from the top of the administration. Political, Diplomatic and Military. The context – subsequently found to be in clear breach of the Geneva Convention – was established through Executive 0rder. Yet only a handful of National Guardsman were ever brought to account – many of whom had probably never been outside Continental U,S. before they ended up in Iraq running a Prison.

I thought when it occurred, that the only answer was to pull the prison down, admit [our] mistakes and apologise. None of this was done and, like Guantanamo, it became a recruiting sergeant across the Muslim world…

And those who asked questions of the pol-mil command chain at the time – of course – were moved on. Nothing to see here, etc, etc. Sound familiar?

Neil: How does this relate significantly to the questions we are seeking to address?


It relates to ADF, because of the way in which – as identified in the Oct 2020 issue of. The NAW editorial, Paper I, and the article by Alston on VCs – Defence, ADF, and Navy have essentially been privatised. 0r, at best, treated like Private Armies – or Private Security Companies (PSC).

Neil: I can see how this might change the context – perhaps you might elaborate?

In 2006/7 there was a concerted effort in both the UK and U.S, to address the matter of Private Security Companies (PSC). A Green Paper was drafted, with the intention of this being taken forward for legislation as a White Paper. Critically, many PSC operatives were and still are drawn from the U.S.; UK; Australia; Canada and South Africa, it:

THE NAVY VOL. 83 NO. 1 21


0524 21 August 201 7 USS JOHN S. McCAIN (DDG 56) involved in a collision with the Liberian lagged tanker Alnic MC off Singapore (image USNI).

  1. Sought to bring PSCs under some form of Command and Control, in Theatre;

2, Looked to Licence individual companies to an agreed set of standards that also created a revenue stream to Defence. Since Defence would undertake the licensing.

  1. Licensed individual operatives for their skills sets – requiring each operative to re-certify every two years, again through Defence.

What it was attempting to do was place PSCs under accountable command, and a licensing system that paid for itself. Without robbing Peter to pay Paul.

0f course, it went to the very heart of the U.S. Administration, billion-dollar contracted military complex (CMC), and to the whole Shock and Awe methodology for fighting wars 0n the cheap. It was never going to be enacted, for the exact same reasons that led to Abu Ghraib and prevented a proper investigation.

Neil: The whole thing sounds a bit like the East India Company on steroids. We know how that ended, in what India calls today, its First War for Independence.

Shock and Awe tactics assumed that there would be no need for a Phase 4 stabilisation after the conflict.

It was worse than that. As I recall, General Eric K. Shinseki (Chief

of U.S. Army) and Admiral Lord Boyce (Chief of UK Defence Staff) at the time, both reference detailed Phase 4 planning.  All of which was thrown out for Shock and Awe, underpinned by contracted support and PSCs.

Exactly, by 2006 the second largest force in Iraq was PSCs and, by 2011, it was the largest force.

For locals, one westerner in ray-bans and carrying a gat looks pretty much like any other westerner, whether in a regular Army 0r not.

Neil: I think what you are saylng – and there is growing evidence to support this – “is that privatisation and contractorisation essentially drove selection of the Force on the Ground”. At the same time, Government Departments, such as DF’AT – no longer constrained by requirements to employ their own Defence Forces – sought to use PSCs they could control. Who they could use as they liked, avoid accountability, and provide deniability. All totally immoral

Exactly so. Not forgetting that the Coalition in Iraq had to fight two bloody urban warfare campaigns in Falluja because of rogue PSC elements, or mistakes made by them.

At the same time that privatisation and contractorisation commencing in the 1980s drove selection and choice, it also, through outsourcing, removed capacity from Defence Forces. They were pared to the bone by the processes of Performance

22 THE NAVY VOL. 83 NO. 1

UK no longer able to build RFA Fleet Solid Support Ships in British Shipyards (image M0D).

Management (Lean, 6 Sigma, Agile etc.) driven by the accountancy and management consultancy companies. They dominate Defence Forces to this day. They are the real power – unaccountable and hidden from the pol-mil command chain.

The impact on Narvy was profound – the USN and RN in particular. The wars meant that peace time forces (tanks, crews, ships, aircraft etc.) with a design life of 25 years, were being consumed at three times that rate. In other words, after 8 years fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan they had run out. There was no additional funding, so funds for new ships, service hospitals, pensions, pay, submarines, aircraft, recruits etc. were transferred to keep armies fighting. As it turns out, simply to prevent them losing. Ships like the British Type 23 were run on, and on, and 0n…

By 2010, the UKAF had run out. It was the same in the U.S. Armed Forces, by 20ll/12. Think of the ageing ships and plethora of collisions brought about due to inadequate training and increasing operational demand on both the USN and RN. Many of these ships (and crews) should have been replaced years ago – as seen by the collapsing ship build rate in the U.S. In the UK, shipbuilding hardly exists anymore. So much s0, that they cannot build their next generation Fleet Auxiliaries in the UK, even as now directed.

As an aside. there were times in the UKAF where the majority of forces fighting in Afghanistan were Royal Navy (mostly Engineers and Logisticians), Fleet Air Arm (Apache (flown by Royal Marines), Harrier, and Seaking) and Royal Marines.

0n the ground, fatalities became politically unacceptable. Success for a deploying battle group was measured not in campaign success, but lack of fatalities. How can you win hearts and minds like that – when all you are doing is feeding and fighting to look after and protect yourself?

One deployed European Troop Contributing Nation actually employed PSCs to protect their own troops on the ground – rather than take any attributable losses themselves. How can you “win” like that?

In Australia – as in the U.S. and UK – the political emphasis was on Special Forces. They were separated from Army mainstream

and politicised to do tasks for which they were never designed; nor intended. They were sexy. All the pollies wanted to be associated with them.

As noted in the Brereton Report, SAS Squadrons were repeatedly rotated through with little respite. It is important to note all RA Infantry soldiers are trained in counter insurgency ops. This training commences at No. 1 Recruit Training Unit for all recruits, and is refined further in Initial Infantry Training. So, it is a fair comment that the work being performed by SASR in Afghanistan is not unique to the SF elements. It can be performed very effectively by regular mounted and dismounted infantry.

Why then was SASR allowed to treat 0P SLIPPER as “their train set?” They could have been relieved by any number of Australian Regular Army and even Reservist RA Infantry units as “fresh relief”. 0n the contrary, I fear that the SAS Squadrons had been so frequently cycled through this theatre that they became desensitised to killing.

They were watch on stop on. The context had changed, perhaps irrevocably. It was driven more and more by immoral decisions and advice, made and taken as much by senior officers, as by management consultants, the Prime Minister and Cabinet Office, the “Top Four” accountancy companies, central bankers, and Pollies. They were all to blame – yet only a few corporals and sergeants will be hung. Nothing to see here, Guv, move along!

Collectively, they sold out the Global West and the covenant between our people, Commonwealth, and our soldiers, sailors and aircrews.

Neil: Voltaire (1759), commenting on Britain and Admiral Byng RN, said: “mais dans ce pays-ci il est bon de tuer de tems en tems un Amiral pour encourager les autres”. He did not advocate killing a few sergeants from time to time to punish a few. Yet that is probably what Army is going to end up doing.


I appreciate we are off target by a country mile – yet when we talk about Industrial Relations, it is as important to examine the employer as it is the employee. And who represents both sides of the table.

THE NAVY VOL. 83 NO. 1 23


Supply Ships offloading munitions and supplies at Milne Bay, Papua, September 1942 (lmage AWM),

Neil: Agreed. Look, Hal Colebatch in his 2013 book “Australia’s Secret War: How Unions Sabotaged Our Troops in World War II” (Quadrant Books, Sydney) drew immediate ire from political pundits and academies alike: “It was lacking in evidence and detail, poorly written, and clunky”. Yet some of the assertions, for those who fought at the time, like my Father who fought at Milne Bay and beyond as a “ehoeeo” infantryman, rang true. He saw his boss, Major General Cyril Clowes, fired by the pathetic Blamey at the direction of MacArthur after winning the Battle of Milne Bay handsomely at minimal cost in Allied lives and treasure. Not terribly unlike today. A first-class general side- lined because he wouldn’t toe the party line. In contemporary parlance, he was not woke enough. I fear this remains the ease, or maybe worse?


The Australian Trade Union movement – unlike in the UK and the U.S. and most of Europe – was never reformed. There are indications that, like the British Trade Union Movement, it was deeply infiltrated and sympathetic towards Moscow and the Soviet Union by the 1970s. This has never gone away.

And unlike the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Germany – and ironically the role played by the House of Lords and honest obits in the UK – this has never come out in Australia.

The wharfies like their counterparts in the London Docks, Liverpool, Glasgow, and Belfast destroyed their own industry through greed and corruption. To this day many unionists come from the UK. Some having risen, with their Glaswegian accents, to the top of the Labor party. This may be n0 bad thing – but union power and disruption to Industrial Relations also remains to this day.

At the start of C0VID, the Government made an honest attempt to resolve these huge additional costs borne by Australian Industry, when compared to their South East Asian and European competitors. It appears to have come to nothing.

This, along with the behaviour of the banks, accountancy and management consultants, and senior pollies – many of whom have never had a proper job in their lives – is destroying our economy and future for a long-term sustainable, knowledge-industry based recovery.

Just as the union movement leadership has relied largely on immigrants, so too has much of our labour market. Think of it, our immigrants – including those fleeing the Middle East – are often better educated than their Australian counterparts, and more willing to do whatever job they can to make a go. And to give back.

I agree. Recent analysis is showing that Australians from rural communities and universities are doing better than their city- educated contemporaries – many from better universities and backgrounds. The reason appears to be that regional workers are more prepared to do the small jobs – working with less prestigious companies – than their city cousins. The result is, of course, that these youngsters get on and make the big breaks later on, exactly because they have the “Plus”,

My own observation ties in with this. Many young, often female graduates in the big cities, are putting their lives on hold. Rather than take ajob with a lesser company – in other words not one of the “Top Four” – they are pursuing more and more Masters. For what end or purpose – other than greater debt, from a Higher Education sector that (unlike 40 years ago) is no longer in the first division? I know what candidate I would rather take on, and that is the regional graduate who has tried, perhaps joined the Navy – and kept at it during this time. Creating the plus that we so desperately need amongst our graduate population,

Neil: We need to spend more time, I believe, on the failings of the Higher Education Sector and Industrial Relations. Including putting forward practical recommendations that will revitalise both sectors. It is not that we do not need Unions – but when the Unions become too big to fail, like the banks, they have failed. Particularly when their membership also continues to fall year on year. Perhaps Paper III?

I also want to explore the culture in Defence, today. One of the critical matters raised in Paper I was that every consultant employed by Defence costs at least $100,000 more than a public servant or ADF equivalent. How have we come to this? At the same time, despite One-Defence, we have consultants and public servants firing consultants and reservists on a days’ notice. This cannot be right. What does this do – it certainly cannot encourage loyalty.

lll| GASG

Neil: In 2016 we smashed a failing organisation with a specific and different (some might say) broken culture – the Defence Materiel 0rganisation (DM0) – together with a marginally more effective organisation working to a different time constant, known then as the Capability Development Group (CDG) into a single entity: The Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG). Has this worked?

When considering the commercial acumen of CASG, ask yourself this question: if you were to buy shares in a company with a rather large list of failed high value CAPEX projects, would you want your super going into it? (or would you buy shares in it?)

Ergo, it speaks to CASG’s inability to manage projects effectively.

I guess my major concern is that there is a risk that industry will walk away from Australian Defence as a “high risk” client.

Neil: Much of the commercial shipbuilding industry already has.

24 THE NAVY VOL. 83 NO. 1

HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH entering Portsmouth Harbour (passing the Round Toweo to be stationed in Far East – WWll Malaysia all over again? (image USNI).

Ack. As we also nearly saw in 2014 when the Boeing company in Chicago made serious preparations to shut down the BDA entity, and focus exclusively on commercial aircraft sales (which relatively speaking is a very, very small market for them.)

Despite numerous attempts to professionalise their workforce, CASG continues to suffer the effects of being a large public sector agency which fails to understand the basic nature of private sector business and commerce.

This is clearly evident in the existence of the so-called “list of Projects of Concern”. Companies routinely have the threat of being placed on this dreaded list waved at them as a means of complying with overtly onerous contractual conditions. For the avoidance of any doubt, this list affords all blame for underperforming projects squarely on prime contractors whilst exculpating CASG of any contribution.

Tellingly, the mere existence of this “list” is unique to CASG.

Consider the obverse scenario of a mining company such as Rio Tinto, Newcrest or BHP having such a list, wherein all underperforming projects are blamed exclusively on contractors. The General Managers and other executives 0n the client side responsible for these projects would be dismissed without further redress.

Neil. I seem to recall that BP did exactly this when they erected their Business Units, all of which came tumbling down when the Deepwater Horizon rig blew up in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. They were “beyond petroleum”, indeed. More recently, their chief economist has said BP is getting out of oil – complete madness.

Just look at their share performance for where the market wants them to be.

Sadly txl appears to be heading in the same crazed direction as BP. That is the real reason, not the caves, why the top three execs have been fired. Several of their big projects, notably in [Y], are a complete shambles.

Yes. Think of the ridiculous policy of the UK to phase out all new ICE car sales by 2030. It will simply make the rich richer and the p00r poorer, and less mobile. The pollies have no empirical clue as to where the power is coming from, how it is to be paid for, or highly toxic batteries disposed of and what it will do to remaining British industry. Let alone the lack of base load capacity – filled, presumably, by non-sustainable wood chips, gas and nuclear.

I agree and although we are a bit off track, Private sector companies (unlike government departments, privatized industry, accountants and governments) understand that it is impossible to apportion ALL blame for ALL failed projects exclusively on contractors. Rather, it is commonly understood that clients are at least equally culpable for capex and sustainment projects which fail to meet objectives.

Neil: It sounds depressingly like the Victorian State Government, or indeed how many of our Government and public service organisations are being run.

Agreed, except a “blacklist” of underperforming companies simply does not occur outside of CASG. Moreover, CASG’s “blacklist” fails to appreciate two key factors:

THE NAVY VOL. 83 NO. 1 25


  1. The standard ASDEFC0N (Australian Defence Contract) suite of contractual terms remains absurdly onerous on contractors, to the point where contractors are doomed to fail in almost all circumstances. To couch it in simplistic terms, the Commonwealth can default on its obligations and walk away blameless – yet Contractors must have the veritable Sword of Damocles hanging over their head for the duration of the program. This is despite numerous attempts to reform these contractual terms and
  2. Many of these “projects of concern” ultimately end with a Deed of Settlement. This deed apportions blame somewhat more equitably and therefore, realistically but at considerable cost and waste of time.

CASG has conducted numerous attempts at professionalizing its workforce. All have failed, and been consigned to the waste bin of bureaucratic reform projects. The solution is neither simple nor expeditious:

  1. Hire the right people, starting with an emphasis on candidates with experience from working in industry. Specifically, people who viscerally understand how industry works, and how fair and reasonable profits are made;
  2. Understand that the ASDEFC0N terms are totally unacceptable, but are only tolerated by industry on account of CASG being a “monopoly client”. In almost any other industry, the client would be greatly challenged to get contractors to sign-up to such terms; and;
  3. From that understanding, the ASDEFCON terms must be discarded once and for all, and replaced by terms more along the lines of FIDIC [2] or Australian Standard (AS) terms. It’s worked in the US and UK, and the Australian market is primed for such a reform. However, such a reform will never succeed unless and until there is root & branch attitudinal change in CASG.


Neil: Thank you. We are covering considerable ground – I can only hope that some of this is being read and understood by the so-called professional-political class?We do need to get back to Industrial Relations and the Australian Trade Union Movement. There is much more that needs uncovering.

We also need to understand the complete failure of basic Government Project Management. I have on record – as also detailed in The NAVY regarding the Attack-class submarine program – that all the recent NSlV infrastructure projects were predicted to blow out by the amounts they have (100% or more), years before the first sod was turned. How can it be that the rest of the community can make accurate predictions of failure – and the Government sector simply cannot? At this size of blow outs, the whole sector is at risk of becoming a rort – corruption cannot be ruled out. All of this is money lost – that can no longer be spent on ships, hospitals, universities, research etc. Although off topic, I was amused by Boris Johnson’s big announcement re. a UK defence expenditure boost. What will $31.6 billion get them? Why on earth are they thinking of stationing a carrier in the Far East? It will be a prime target for both the Chinese and the Russians – WW II Malaysia all over again!

We are in a period of mobilisation. Things are looking as bleak today, as perhaps they did for Australia in L942 and at the height of the Cold War in the late 1970s. I want to explore the Directive system that used to apply – when there were clear lines of authority and command. Not divided by accountancy and management consultancies, contractors, and private armies, from a core moral understanding of the Discipline of War and its leaders. For example, could today someone like Essington Lewis rise to the top and take forward I revolutionise the Defence industrial sector? Or would – as appears more likely – he be killed off at the soonest opportunity. Exactly because his success would expose the miserable failing of Government agencies like CASG, the APS and senior ADF Officers?

I agree. If I may illustrate, the SAS problem seemingly stemmed from a confluence of the following:

o An almost narcissistic belief in their “elite” status and the cult of the warfighter;

o A virtually unlimited pool of resources, 0n demand; [from pet acquisition consultants working directly for PM&CI;

. A total lack of any accountability [to Defence and Army];

o A misplaced belief at Whole of Government level that they were the default force element for counterinsurgency ops; and

o The unremitting cycling 0f SASR through this particular theatre, which resulted in soldiers becoming de-sensitized to killing.

Neil: Thank you. This segues to my final thought: 65what is the point of expensive staff courses and Master’s level ADF graduates, if they are never listened too?” Their advice discarded by the senior officers, pollies, and APS they serve – in favour of an ever-expanding elitist group of poorly brought up, over-educated, expensive consultants. Many tton loantt from the PM&C? This is all part of the context we spoke of earlier

and part of the conditions leading to the moral failure of the SAS. Indeed, the Commandos may, like the SAS Second Squadron, not survive. r

26 THE NAVY VOL. 83 NO. 1

REFERENCES1. SeeAlistairPope, “Yamashita’sShadowFallsontheADF”,

Quadrantonline,11 Nov20, https://

  1. Fdddration lnternationale Des lngdnieurs-Conseils is an international standards organization for Consulting Engineering and Construction best known for FIDIC family of contract templates.



Attachment       002-4 above


Covid Mortality Rates vs Other Mortality Rates


This is a very interesting chart that gives you the death rates for various diseases over time, compared to Covid. 

Just pick a country in the drop down menu and see what has happened since March last year. USA, UK, Brazil and Belgium are shockers – NZ and Australia are of course standouts. China was interesting too! 

Thank goodness we live in Australia!

Go To:





March 1943 – the destruction of Japanese ships and troop transports in the Bismark Sea, New Guinea.


Make allowance for the propaganda aspect at the time,  !0 minutes of good filming and at the end, some bad acting.




Home /Military/Orwell or Mao? U.S. Navy Begins Radical Socio-Cultural-Sexual Indoctrination to Fight ‘Bias’


Lieutenant Bryce Hadley via Wikimedia Commons

February 19, 2021

 | Paul Crespo | Military | 77

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ANALYSIS – dangerous precedent is being set by the U.S. Navy as it initiates what amounts to radical socio-cultural-sexual indoctrination of its young service members. Under the guise of an effort to “address the issues of racism, sexism and other destructive biases and their impact on naval readiness,”Task Force One Navy (TF1N) now requires sailors to “advocate for and acknowledge all lived experiences and intersectional identities of every Sailor in the Navy.”

This bizarre, subjective, open-ended, neo-Marxist mandate opens the door for ideological indoctrination of service members in almost every area of life. When the Task Force was created in late June, the Navy published a Press Release for TF1N that:

The task force will seek to promptly address the full spectrum of systemic racism, advocate for the needs of underserved communities, work to dismantle barriers and equalize professional development frameworks and opportunities within the Navy.

The Task Force recently released its report which sounds like it came from a university diversity officer’s ‘woke’ dream. As reported by The Blaze, the Task Force Navy One leaders created recommendations related to:

  • Matters surrounding gender minorities.
  • Updating naming ships, buildings, and streets.
  • Countering hate speech.
  • Health disparities among minorities including nutrition.

And in a frighteningly Orwellian/Communist manner, the report also includes a new ‘TF1N Pledge’ for all Navy sailors:

As a key member of Task Force One Navy I will invest the time, attention and empathy required to analyze and evaluate Navy-wide issues related to racism, sexism, ableism and other structural and interpersonal biases.

I pledge to be actively inclusive in the public and private spheres where I live and work, and proactively encourage others to do the same.

I pledge to advocate for and acknowledge all lived experiences and intersectional identities of every Sailor in the Navy.

I pledge to engage in ongoing self-reflection, education and knowledge sharing to better myself and my communities.

I pledge to be an example in establishing healthy, inclusive and team-oriented environments.

I pledge to constructively share all experiences and information gained from activities above to inform the development of Navy-wide reforms.

Still to be announced – what the punishments will be for violating the new pledge and whether it will be required to be read aloud in mass formations with left fists raised.

It is difficult to ascertain whether this is more like George Orwell’s dystopian novel ‘1984,’ or Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution in Communist China. No word yet on whether reading Mao’s Little Red Book of his speeches and writings will also be mandated.

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Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank.


HMS Alliance is a Royal Navy A-class, Amphion-class or Acheron-class submarine


HMS Alliance is a Royal Navy A-class, Amphion-class or Acheron-class submarine, laid down towards the end of the Second World War and completed in 1947. The submarine is the only surviving example of the class, having been a memorial and museum ship since 1981.

The Amphion-class submarines were designed for use in the Far East, where the size of the Pacific Ocean made long-range, high surface speed and relative comfort for the crew important features to allow for much larger patrol areas and longer periods at sea than British submarines operating in the Atlantic or Mediterranean had to contend with. Alliance was one of the seven A-class boats completed with a snort mast – the other boats all had masts fitted by 1949.




Attachment to Weekly News of 6 December 2020


Happy Birthday to Geoff, Charlie, Bristles and Allan.  Hope you blokes have a great time celebrating your special day with your family and your mates.














SCHUBES on travelling to Tasmania for our function.


As discussed this morning here are our intentions & views:


Marian & I have booked ourselves on the Spirit of Tasmania for the Ulverstone Reunion next year.


The trip from Melbourne to Devonport & return is $1058.96 includes a Federal Government rebate for Pensioners of $478.00  . This includes:

The vehicle, Mazda3, two passengers at the Pensioner Rate and Accommodation – Twin bed, private cabin with  own shower, toilet & scuttle.


Taking into consideration the cost of airfares Canberra to Hobart (direct) & return plus the cost of a hire car per day for the period, I consider the above is very reasonable.


Some may consider the Spirit of Tasmania for this trip especially if you need a car during your stay.


I hope this helps and would consider booking sooner than later if you intend to travel this way. Tassie is going to be very popular in March.






Russ Dale and Teddy Sheehan VC


We have been watching the presentation of Eddy Sheehan’s VC, it was a great service.


Thanks to all who fought for so long to ensure he has finally been recognised.


Russ and Joy Dale


SASR article forwarded to me




Soldiers have rights too.

Why are politicians, elected public servants, so determined to run down morale in our defence forces, discourage enlistment and leave Australia defenceless?


In creating a four yearlong investigation into allegations about our soldiers in Afghanistan,  why have they not honoured the presumption of innocence which all Australians, even cardinals, are entitled to?

Why were hostile, left wing, media granted special access by Defence?


And why weren’t those consequently forced to protect their reputations granted legal aid similar to that thrown at anyone claiming to be a refugee?


Instead of prudently keeping the report private until prosecutions are launched, the PM prejudged the issues as ‘brutal truths’ which will constitute difficult and hard news for all Australians,


Before a jury has reached its verdict?

Yet not only is our biggest defence contract for what many experts think will be a dozen obsolete Turnbull-Pyne diesel submarines, some will not be delivered in time for our future King to review the fleet for the 2045 centenary of the Victory in the Pacific in the last war.


Meanwhile, the politicians seem intent on turning the armed forces into some social laboratory.

From the selection criteria, you would think the very last people they want as soldiers are strong young men!!!!.


There is a history of our soldiers putting up with more than fighting in foreign wars.

In WW2, supplies were too often sabotaged on the water front with fatal consequences.

As the late Hal Colebatch revealed in his Australia’s Secret War, the wartime government was rendered too weak by its left wing even to stop the stevedores saboteurs who, in any other country, would have been arrested.

Sometimes American troops did what Australians were stopped from doing.

They just trained their guns on the communist led saboteurs.


The armaments and other supplies were then loaded with unusual speed and care.

Then later, rather than politicians ensuring they were welcomed home with street parades, V

Viet Nam veterans were subjected to personal attack by left wing revanchists opposed to the US alliance.


This is not the first time soldiers who risked their lives have been the subject of controversial prosecutions.


On one occasion when our soldiers came under fire in Afghanistan in 2009, they returned fire and lobbed grenades into a compound which also unfortunately but unavoidably resulted in the deaths and wounding of civilians.

Most would ask what else they could have done, but the calm re-assessment of this in a Canberra air conditioned office led to a different conclusion.


Under the politicians unnecessary and poorly designed centralization of military prosecutions, a system set up without any dissent in parliament,

the soldiers were charged with manslaughter!!!!.


Just as well such an approach did not apply in WW2, otherwise the Rising Sun would be flying over Canberra now!!!!


Until a prosecution is actually launched, the presumption of innocence surely dictates that any examination or report remain private.


Above all, when it comes to those willing to die for their country,

politicians have an elementary duty to ensure they enjoy the presumption of innocence.


I could go on and on about these bed wetting green liberals and their Cancel Culture, plus the Labor Party is no Better



NHSA Members and Subscribers,


Please find attached the December 2020 edition of Call The Hands, the Naval Historical Society’s monthly newsletter. 

Attached also are Occasional Papers 97 and 98.  


All are now available on the Society’s website via the following links.

Call the Hands

Occasional Paper 97

Occasional Paper 98


Back copies are also available on the Society’s website Research page.


Christmas Catalogue

Also attached to this e-mail is the Society’s Christmas Catalogue.  It offers a 20% discount on a range of Society products.

It is a great opportunity to purchase Christmas gifts and support the Society at the same time.  Don’t miss out.

Shopping on the website is easy. Don’t forget to apply the coupon reference number in the checkout.


Members Zoom Presentation: The Costa Concordia

Our final presentation for the year is scheduled for next week, 9 December at 1000 Sydney time.

Attached to this e-mail is your invitation to this most interesting subject to be delivered by Noel Phelan.

It is simple to join the presentation. Just click on the link in the invitation.


If you are receiving Call the Hands for the first time, unsolicited, it is because you are a new member or have come to our attention as a person who may find it of interest.


As always, feedback is welcome as are contributions in the form of factual stories and anecdotes which may not have been previously published.




David Michael



Another SASR document forwarded to me




Hey men, the vets’ site, is running a petition to oppose the unjust removal of the meritorious service award that the heirarchy wants to remove from ALL special forces vets.  You can add your signature by visiting.




Attachment to Weekly News LEEUWIN 63 of 29 November 2020


Happy Birthday to our birthday boys for this week, Rod, Lew and Gil, hope you three blokes enjoy your special day sharing with your besties, your family and your mates.












In fact, I received quite few calls or emails from ex JRs and their wives.


The advice received was great because it was coming direct from similar aged, experience users. All being quiet positive about the benefits of where needed, using a pace maker.


I suppose I don’t need to tell you what a brotherhood we have out there, while over the last week I’ve talked to only a few of the many still with us, some of whom I haven’t seen since ‘63, in every case I felt like I was talking to family.


Please accept and pass on our best wishes for a happy, healthy, festive season and New Year, to you and  yours and all of JR Mates and theirs,


All the very best


Russel Dale




I am seeking assistance in obtaining a previously issued Gold Right Arm Safety Equipment (SE) Badge for the Junior Sailors’ No 1’s Blue Winter Uniform Jacket. The SE Branch no longer exists and these badges are no longer in production any more.


If anyone who may have or know of anyone who may have one of these badges, your help and assistance will be most appreciated.  


My contact details are as follows.


Jim Bush




Phone; 08 9574 4937


Mobile; 0409 884 545




Jim Bush




Please email me to let us know:

  1. if you are a potential starter or,
  2. will not attend

There are 65 Potential starters to date.  

Spook Carirns, Jeff and Kay Dunn, Knocker and Marilyn Whyte, Russ and Georgina Nelson, Marty and Lyn Edwards, Doug and Trish Wilson, Nifty and Dianne Thomas, Rass and Ada Rasmussen, Doug and Nyree Brown, Grant and Basia Dernedde, Kev and Larraine Uttley, Mike and Jill Hogan, Schubes and Marian Schubert, Bryan and Kay Stapley, Mick Gallagher, Rocky and Linda Freier, John and Lyn Hatchman, Stan and Margaret Church, Tom and Val Houldsworth, Rick and Lea Avery, Bongo and Jo Di Betta, Mal and Rob Chatfield, Ron and Bev Giveen, Roger and Dee Collins, Jock McGregor and his wife, Jim Harris, Terry and Helen Dack, Narra and Tracy Narramore, Russ and Joy Dale, James Carroll, Wally and Robyn Gawne and Ted and Fiona Hase.




A funny piece sent me by Sam’s great nephew Bruce Lees. Post WWII Sam was the federal member for Batman Vic & was one of the federal parliamentarians who was involved in the VOYAGER inquiries. Despite being a Labor man, he & Bob Menzies were great mates.


Fresh Eggs For the Captain by Lcdr Colin Fiford


On 13 July 1945, HMAS Kiama berthed at Cairns. Scheduled for a boiler clean, the ship’s company was looking forward to some well-earned rest and recreation. About a week later, a contraption constructed of wood and wire netting was delivered to the ship, addressed to the skipper, Sam Benson. He ordered it be placed on Y Deck by the potato and vegetable locker, under the Oerlikon gun. And there it sat, evoking curious glances and many theories as to its purpose, until the day before departure. In the mid-afternoon of that day, Sam Benson handed Able Seaman Ray ‘Bluey’ Paley two pound notes, with instructions to go ashore and purchase two healthy young laying hens. A short time later, Paley returned and passed the fowls to Sam, who placed them in their new wire netting home on Y Deck. There was no change from the two pounds (the equivalent of an AB’s weekly wage) which were tucked safely away in Paley’s pocket. Later in the afternoon it was reported that the Cairns police were looking for a redheaded sailor who had stolen two prime pullets from the fowl house of a Cairns citizen. Kiama slipped away quietly early next morning, bound for Milne Bay, New Guinea. Elected as keepers of the fowlhouse, the Captain’s steward, Joe Howell, and officers’ steward, Jack Thompson (not the film actor!) were held responsible for the care and wellbeing of the two pullets. They also had to account for all eggs laid. Now, it was routine that each evening at sunset the crew would close up for action stations, when guns were tested and fired. On the first night out from Cairns, it was the Oerlikon gun that was fired. When action stations ended there were two freshly-laid eggs in the hen house. Consequently, the Captain had two fresh, boiled eggs for breakfast next morning. After a short settling-down period, adjusting to shipboard life, the two stewards assured the Captain that the two birds had each continued to lay one egg a day, usually during or just after action stations. And, although Joe Howell continued to assure Sam that the two eggs he had each morning were fresh from the nest the previous evening, some of the shells were clean while others were stamped QEB (Queensland Egg Board). Sam Benson never queried this anomaly, and no explanation was ever given, but he regularly commented on how delicious freshly-laid boiled eggs were. Later, one mid-afternoon when Kiama was escorting a convoy from Langemak Bay through calm seas to the Admiralty Islands, the alarm was raised. One of the chooks had literally flown the coop, and was strutting casually around Y Deck. Naturally, nobody knew how it had happened. Conveniently, everyone in the area at the time had gone temporarily blind! It was proposed later however, that the breakout probably occurred either during an exchange of QEB eggs for freshly-laid, clean ones, or the surreptitious placement of two QEB eggs in the nest before action stations. One of the crew tried to catch the fugitive, but it evaded him and flew overboard. There was no way that Sam Benson was going to forego his standard breakfast as easily as that. He turned the ship around, stopped near the chook, and called for a volunteer. ‘Lightning’ Martin stepped forward, donned his gear, and dived into the sea. When he reached the water-borne fowl it immediately leapt onto his head and hung on for dear life. Martin began to swim back to the ship, freestyle, but every time his arm came over he knocked the startled chook into the sea. Sam Benson quickly assessed the situation. “Swim breast stroke,” he yelled. ‘Lightning’ did so, and brought his bedraggled friend back to safety. For a while the pair continued to ‘lay’ QEB eggs. But whether they stopped producing any of their own, or whether Sam finally twigged the game, or just got sick of eggs, we’ll never know. Whatever the reason, he eventually gave the chooks to the Petty Officers Mess at Madang, hoping they would do better ashore. They later advised him the baked chooks had been delicious and tender. 




“Judge Softly” was written by Mary T. Lathrap in 1895


“Just walk a mile in his moccasinsBefore you abuse, criticize and accuse.If just for one hour, you could find a wayTo see through his eyes, instead of your own muse”


Every Australian needs to read this.

It illustrates a systemic failure of the ADF leadership and the media that prioritised to investigate alleged outcomes of a few, rather than address and examine the cause.

The suicide rate of those who served is 7 times the KIA deaths.

Who is responsible for that outcome?

  The contributors of this piece were junior Officers, NCOs, or Diggers in Vietnam. We served in combat roles with 2RAR/NZ (ANZAC) Battalion June 1967 to June 1971, experiencing the horrors and triumphs of armed conflict. We understand the ongoing effects on ourselves and our comrades. We wish to record our disappointment and distress on how the allegations of alleged atrocities in Afghanistan have been addressed by the Prime Minister and in particular the Chief of the Defence Forces.

 Before the release of the report, the PM created an expectation of horror, with at least an impression that the contents were proof of criminal conduct by members of SASR. On the release of the report, his obvious rage supported the impression he had given the week before. To confirm that impression, he advised that he had formally apologised to the Government of Afghanistan. It is not unreasonable to conclude that the various addresses adopted a ‘Presumption of Guilt’, contrary to Australian Law and the UN Charter.

 The CDF essentially echoed the words of the PM. He compounded the issue by not only adopting the ‘Presumption of Guilt’, but by announcing the initial retributions that would be imposed. The CDF then offended many veterans and current service members by restating the unfortunate observation in the report that ‘no officers were involved’ in the various activities. No mention of the other 26,000 armed service personnel who served there, many of whom sacrificed life and limb and mental health, and insulting many officers who consider that they are an integral part of the unit they serve or served with. His address was insulting, inappropriate, self-serving, and an extremely poor example of leadership. The CDF may well be a person who has to bear part of the responsibility for the numerous failures obvious in the conduct of the conflict.

 The PM and the CDF were intense in their moral indignation, clearly intended to represent their responses and behaviour as virtuous. Having clearly adopted and encouraged the Presumption of Guilt, they then promised all accused an independent investigation and a fair trial.

It may be the case that no officer has been identified as being involved in any of the events. To suggest that for more than five years and thirty-nine atrocities, not one officer was close enough to his troops, or had access to the usual boozer gossip to at least be aware of some allegations, is simply not credible.

 Official reports inform that in the period 2001 – 2016, a total of fifty-six Australian service personnel were killed in action, and three hundred and seventy-three of the veterans who served in that period committed suicide. The suicide rate was seven times more than battle casualties. What more warning was required to the Government and the military hierarchy to thoroughly investigate the causes of suicide and develop appropriate responses? To our national shame, the suicide rate has increased and is more likely to be ten times above battle fatalities with another nine suicides in the last few weeks. If the same proportions applied to all wars we have been involved in, we would have experienced over one million suicides. Unimaginable.

We are of the view that with the retirement of General Peter Cosgrove, the army lost the last Commander who had any serious and life-threatening battle experience. Those who followed were undoubtedly qualified academically, but did not, and probably could not, have a meaningful understanding of the psychological impacts of battle, including the impact of overexposure to traumatic experiences, the initial paralysis of fear, the horror of loss or mutilation of comrades, and the images that will never be erased.

It is a simple reality that soldiers dehumanise their immediate enemy combatants. Any one of sound mind could not callously take the life of another non-combatant human being, yet innocents have been massacred in every war in history. It is only when the perpetrator dehumanises an entire country or a section of a country, that this will happen, and has happened throughout history, and continues in many conflicts today. The focus for Australia should have been on the origin of mental health issues, starting with the initial recruitment, basic and corps training, leadership, tolerance assessment, and overexposure to battle.

 Many SASR soldiers have served multiple tours of Afghanistan. Up to six or eight tours are not uncommon, with one reported as having had sixteen tours. In time spent in actual operations on six tours, it would equate to the actual time spent in operations that a digger would have served in the entire WW2. Sixteen tours would equate to the time spent in all wars since Federation.

 The ADF senior management, including the CDF, will eventually have to answer for their failures.

 We do not in any way condone any violations of the Geneva Convention, notwithstanding that in both Vietnam and Afghanistan our enemies were not distracted by any such niceties. We are however determined to ensure that all relevant matters required to give a complete perspective are canvassed.

 Any of those accused who are of sound mind and are found or plead guilty will have seriously diminished the proud reputation Australians have earned in battle since Federation. They will receive no sympathy.


Andrew Wilkie MP 


My Reflections On The Afghanistan  Inquiry


As published today in the Australian.


Red rocky earth cut into our flesh, numbing our hands. It was well  after midnight, perhaps 3am. Floodlights lit up the group. Cadence  push-ups on bleeding knuckles in the dead of night is the sort of  misery that either consumes you, or clarifies your sense of  mission. 


Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith, fresh back from the Battle of Tizak,  towered over us, the 25 officer candidates on the 2010 SASR selection  course. His displeasure writ large in his menacing body language. He  switched out our hand position from palms down to knuckles. 


‘You f—ing officers. You always take the easy option. Lower.  Hold.’


An eternity passed as our fatigued muscles trembled close to the  ground. 




The irony might have been lost on him, but not on me. Humbling  myself before Ben Roberts-Smith was not easy. Nor would be serving in  the Special Air Service Regiment in the weeks, months and years ahead.  SASR selection is an exacting experience. For an officer, your  command, leadership and character is closely scrutinised for 21 days.  They break down your body to see who you really are—what you are like  when you’re tired, hungry and dejected. 


Moments like this over the following fortnight thinned the ranks of  officers. Men, gifted in command and planning, departed on their own  terms—withdrawing quietly. Others were removed by the Directing  Staff.


The rest of us pressed on, reaching a point of insanity in the  final week. No food for days, almost no sleep, impossible physical  tasks. What was the point of it all? The last week posed this question  for those candidates remaining: when there is nothing left to give—who  can go beyond and finish the mission? For the first time I understood  Clausewitz’s dictum that war is a contest of wills. Finish the job, or  fail. 


We finished Selection on Friday 13 August 2010. When I called my  wife to tell her, I wept. I was cold, shivering and spent. I’d lost 12  kilograms in three weeks and I had no emotional reserves. That day  SASR Trooper Jason Brown died bravely—under fire—in Afghanistan  serving with the Special Operations Task Group. It was a subdued mood  back at Swanbourne. There were no high fives. 


Starved, physically exhausted and emotionally shattered, we sat  around a radio cleaning our rifles the next morning. We quietly  listened to the voices of our Prime Minister Julia Gillard, and Leader  of the Opposition Tony Abbott express their condolences at the death  of another digger in Australia’s longest war. 


That day set a course for me. I served in the SAS for the next five  years, deploying to Afghanistan as a Troop Commander in 2013 as part  of the Special Operations Task Group. I did not anticipate that ten  years later I would be a Member of Parliament, explaining how we found  ourselves in a dark place. 


Like all of us, I am grieved by the findings of the Brereton  Report, handed down by the Chief of the Defence Force. There is much  to be troubled by: the report details credible information regarding  allegations of unlawful killings by Australian soldiers. Specifically,  23 incidents of alleged unlawful killings of 39 people, perpetrated by  25 Australian Special Forces soldiers, mainly from the Special Air  Service Regiment.


The report is hard reading. It is comprehensive, detailed and  unsparing in its judgement on those alleged to have committed war  crimes. As a former officer of the SASR and someone who believes in  Regimental honour, I feel great shame in what has occurred. We were  sent to Afghanistan in a double trust—to defend Australia’s values and  interests by force, but also to uphold those values in our battlefield  conduct. Many good soldiers honoured that trust; a small number of  soldiers did not. 


Many people want to know: how did this happen? Here are some  personal observations on the Brereton Inquiry that are shaped by five  years of service in SASR and five years as a Member of the Federal  Parliament. 


First, we have forgotten basic truths about human nature that  previous generations of Australians better understood. We live in a  bent world. We all carry man’s smudge: people do bad things.  Christians call it sin in a fallen world. Enlightenment thinkers like  Immanuel Kant called it the ‘crooked timber’ of humanity. Whatever  name we give our condition, we should always guard against the reality  of people doing bad things when they are left unaccountable.


The Australian constitution aligned our system of government to  this realist view of human nature. The drafters understood the  importance of the rule of law, the separation of powers and the need  for accountability amongst those who serve in government. Our soldiers  and officers are no different: they need accountability and firm  leadership in the degrading cockpit of war. It appears this did not  happen from the very top to the bottom of the command chain. 


Second, we ignored the true nature of war and sanitised it. We  pretended it was no different to any other form of unilateral  government policy. But the reality is that war is inherently violent,  escalatory and degrading. It is a modern conceit to pretend that war  can be managed with a set of safe technocratic hands. The brutal  reality is that no plan ever survives the first shot. People lose  their way and become hard of heart, especially after multiple  deployments.  


During the Second World War, the Churchill government commissioned  Laurence Olivier to make a technicolor film version of  Shakespeare’s Henry V to boost wartime morale. Olivier edited  out one third of the play,  excising Henry’s violent speech demanding  surrender of the Governor of Harfleur. King Henry, understanding the  nature of ‘impious war’ once unleashed, posed the question: 


What rein can hold licentious wickedness


When down the hill he holds his fierce career?


Shakespeare paints violent imagery of the ‘blind and bloody soldier  with foul hand’ committing all sorts of atrocities. He saw that war  has its own dark energy. He knew it consumes people in ways that  modern society cannot comprehend, largely because we have packaged it  up nicely for the evening news. 


The Australian Defence Force was very effective at sanitising our  longest war with its legions of Public Affairs Officers. The United  Kingdom and the USA took a liberal approach, allowing reporters to see  their soldiers at war. However, we stage-managed Australia’s  contribution to Afghanistan through a carefully crafted information  operation. This approach stifled public interest reporting. Perhaps  with greater access for the Australian media, some of the events  alleged by the Brereton Report might never have happened. 


Third, parliamentary scrutiny of Defence is broken and needs  fixing. Politicians routinely visited Aussie troops in Tarin Kot. I  first met Malcolm Turnbull and Julie Bishop in 2009, on my first  deployment with the 2nd Mentoring and Reconstruction Task Force. I  harangued a Labor MP in 2013 about Defence budget cuts when he visited  the Special Operations Task Group. Each of them were interested and  supportive, but it seemed they didn’t know what questions to ask. I  now realise this is partly a function of a deficient Parliamentary  Committee system. 


There is no independent Joint Defence Committee where tough  questions can be asked in a classified, protected space. Parliamentary  scrutiny these days is surface level. It amounts to senior Defence  leadership presenting a few PowerPoint slides and giving  parliamentarians a pat on the head. This is an area of urgent reform.  If we are serious about increased accountability and transparency,  then we need proper parliamentary scrutiny of the Department of  Defence and the Australian Defence Force. Without it, our parliament  can’t exercise proper civilian oversight of our military. 


Fourth, the Brereton Report rightly condemns a warrior culture that  fused ‘military excellence with ego, entitlement and exceptionalism’.  Sometimes SASR operators carried themselves like modern incarnations  of Achilles, Thor or Mars. I reject that culture, too. But I believe a  warrior culture is an important part of an elite combat unit. It all  depends on the beliefs and values you build that culture on. 


When I posted to SASR as a non-qualified Captain in January 2010, I  was befriended by the Unit Chaplain, a bloke by the initials of SB. He  had an Irish temperament and liked to box, often with the operators.  He was refreshingly confrontational, not a social worker in uniform.  SB confronted what he called a ‘pagan warrior ethos’, shorn of any  connection to the Just War tradition that has shaped our approach to  warfare. As Saint Augustine wrote near the end of the Roman Empire, we  must:


“In waging war, cherish the spirit of a peacemaker, that by  conquering those whom you attack, you may lead them back to the  advantages of peace.” 


Our boxing chaplain was right. The warrior ethos I sometimes saw  was about power, ego and self-adulation. It worshipped war itself. It  was the opposite of the humility that I expected to find at SASR. 


But there was a competing, more positive warrior culture at SASR,  it just wasn’t the prevailing one at the time. If you looked closely,  you’d find humble, quiet operators. Tough as nails. Fiercely  competitive. Supremely competent at arms. The sort of bloke that you’d  want next to you in a gunfight. They never thought themselves bigger  than the team or the mission. They were humble. They were committed to  truth. They were the ones who blew the whistle and repudiated the dark  toxic personalities that have shamed the SASR in Afghanistan. Many are  still serving quietly in the shadows. 


So before people cry for a repudiation of all warrior culture, they  should first understand what you need in an elite special operations  unit. You need people who run to the sound of the guns. Who are  prepared to fight and destroy Australia’s enemies. Who will die doing  so, if necessary. Those men exist. They are serving at present. They  have done nothing wrong. We need to uphold them and their vital  mission. They will not be helped by soulless modern cultural theory,  derived from the academic ivory tower. It may well diminish our  effectiveness if shoe-horned and institutionalised. 


Fifth, in the hierarchy of virtues, moral courage remains paramount  to physical courage. The public record doesn’t reflect this as our  military honours and awards system preferences the recognition of  physical courage. Acts of conscience are hard to write up in vigorous  prose and people rarely thank leaders who make unpopular  decisions. 


Yet there were acts of command moral courage during the period  investigated by the Brereton Inquiry. History won’t record these good  deeds the way it will the battlefield criminality of a few, but there  were junior leaders at SASR who made hard decisions to uphold the  sacred trust reposed in them by the Australian people. Leaders who  took responsibility for their command. They know who they are and we  honour them. 


Finally, despite the Brereton Report, I still believe the  profession of arms is a noble one. In any case, a survey of history  shows us that war is part of the human experience. Australia has  fought wars in the past; we will fight them in the future. We must be  ready. And we cannot afford to lose. As Ernest Hemingway wrote, “I  have seen much war in my lifetime and I hate it profoundly. But there  are worse things than war, and all of them come with defeat.” 


In July, the Prime Minister spoke of the post-pandemic world being  poorer, more dangerous and more disorderly. We cannot afford to draw  the wrong lessons from the Brereton Report. The mission of the ADF  remains unchanged: to win our wars. We must prepare ourselves for the  challenges ahead. But we must always hold ourselves to high moral  standards. When wrong is done, we must hold ourselves to account.


That’s why I have supported the Brereton Inquiry: I love my country  and want to protect it from those who would harm us from both without  and within.

War crimes???


Let’s start at the beginning. On 12th February, 2009, two Australian commandos on a night operation were fired upon by an Afghan in the doorway of his mud hut. Not wanting to be killed by an Afghan with an AK-47, the commandos threw grenades through the door of the mud hut to kill the insurgent. The grenades also killed half a dozen members of the insurgent’s family. A year later the Director of Military Prosecutions, a Brigadier Lyn McDade, brought charges against the commandos for defending themselves. The charges were dismissed by more senior military staff with a better grip on reality. The episode revealed Brigadier McDade to be a self-absorbed, useless person.

In early 2016, the then head of Australian special operations suspended operations and invited everyone under his command to write to him personally, and advise him of any unacceptable behaviour they had witnessed or conducted. He received 209 letters that contained no evidence of criminal behaviour.

Then things deteriorated. In March, 2016 the then head of the army, now chief of defence General Angus Campbell commissioned a secret report on SAS culture from a Canberra sociologist, Dr Samantha Crompvoets. Members of the SAS, past and present, were encouraged to contact Dr Crompvoets anonymously and tell tales of what went on in the regiment. Some of the lurid tales were included in her report as fact. For example:

‘The inquiry has found that there is credible information that junior soldiers were required by the patrol commanders to shoot a prisoner, in order to achieve that solider’s first kill, in a practice that was known as ‘blooding’. ‘Throwdowns would be placed with the body, and a ‘cover story’ was created for the purposes of operational reporting and to deflect scrutiny. This was reinforced with a code of silence.’

As several thousand Australian troops have rotated through Afghanistan, you would expect at least several hundred of those to undergone the ‘blooding’ initiation. But strangely the just-released Brereton report doesn’t cite a single, individual case. Another SAS practice cited by the Crompvoets report and repeated in the Brereton report is that:

‘after squirters (runners) were dealt with, Special Forces would then cordon off a whole village, taking men and boys to guesthouses, which are typically on the edge of a village. There they would be tied up and tortured by Special Forces, sometimes for days. When the Special Forces left, the men and boys would be found dead: shot in the head or blindfolded and with throats slit.”

That passage implies that there should be a lot of villages in which only the women and girls survived a visit from Australian special forces. Such atrocities of that magnitude should be easy to track down but strangely the Brereton report does not include a single instance. By comparison the Surafend massacre of 1918 in which New Zealand troops massacred 40 Arab men in Palestinian village gets its own Wikipedia entry.

The soldiers that Dr Crompvoets was interviewing knew what she was about and gave her what she wanted to hear, like Margaret Mead in Samoa. Old army lags can be quite entertaining and would have competed with each other to make up the most far-fetched stories for her report.

The fact that General Campbell swallowed the Crompvoets tales and Major General Brereton repeated them as fact in his report tells us that both these men are complete idiots. Normally that would be enough to dismiss the Brereton report as useless garbage but it does give us an insight into the preoccupations of Australia’s high command.

The report says that the warrior culture in the SAS is a bad thing and that soldiers should be more caring and sharing. To give his report more gravitas and to pad it out, Brereton included a section on the history of Australian war crimes. There is not much to report so he included the glorious Battle of the Bismarck Sea as a war crime.

The senior officers of the ADF are jealous of the SAS because the SAS get most of the medals for gallantry. And so the person they hate most is Ben Roberts-Smith because he earned both the Victoria Cross and the Medal for Gallantry by conspicuous acts of bravery. Relations between the Army and Mr Roberts-Smith started deteriorating years ago.

On the Australian Army website Mr Roberts-Smith is mentioned as having received a Victoria Cross but the link to the citation in broken. Fortunately the National Library’s Trove service provides a snapshot of his citations as at 10.17 on 4th April, 2012.

As the Army’s persecution of Mr Roberts-Smith intensifies, it would be good to keep in mind what he did to earn his Victoria Cross in a helicopter assault into Tizak, Kandahar Province on 11th June, 2010:

Corporal Roberts-Smith and his patrol manoeuvred to within 70 metres of the enemy position in order to neutralise the enemy machine gun positions and regain the initiative.

Upon commencement of the assault, the patrol drew very heavy, intense, effective and sustained fire from the enemy position. Corporal Roberts-Smith and his patrol members fought towards the enemy position until, at a range of 40 metres, the weight of fire prevented further movement forward. At this point, he identified the opportunity to exploit some cover provided by a small structure.

As he approached the structure, Corporal Roberts-Smith identified an insurgent grenadier in the throes of engaging his patrol. Corporal Roberts-Smith instinctively engaged the insurgent at point-blank range resulting in the death of the insurgent. With the members of his patrol still pinned down by the three enemy machine gun positions, he exposed his own position in order to draw fire away from his patrol, which enabled them to bring fire to bear against the enemy. His actions enabled his Patrol Commander to throw a grenade and silence one of the machine guns. Seizing the advantage, and demonstrating extreme devotion to duty and the most conspicuous gallantry, Corporal Roberts-Smith, with a total disregard for his own safety, stormed the enemy position killing the two remaining machine gunners.

His act of valour enabled his patrol to break-in to the enemy position and to lift the weight of fire from the remainder of the troop who had been pinned down by the machine gun fire. On seizing the fortified gun position, Corporal Roberts-Smith then took the initiative again and continued to assault enemy positions in depth during which he and another patrol member engaged and killed further enemy. His acts of selfless valour directly enabled his troop to go on and clear the village of Tizak of Taliban. This decisive engagement subsequently caused the remainder of the Taliban in Shah Wali Kot District to retreat from the area.Corporal Roberts-Smith’s most conspicuous gallantry in a circumstance of extreme peril was instrumental to the seizure of the initiative and the success of the troop against a numerically superior enemy force. His valour was an inspiration to the soldiers with whom he fought alongside and is in keeping with the finest traditions of the Australian Army and the Australian Defence Force.

Neither General Campbell or his pet fantasist Major General Brereton have seen combat while Mr Roberts-Smith has wiped out multiple enemy machine gun positions in an afternoon. I know who I would believe.

The Federal Police will be given the job of prosecuting the servicemen mentioned in the Brereton report but the effort will go the way of the McDade prosecutions. They will be dropped for lack of evidence because mostly they are complete fabrications.

David Archibald is the author of American Gripen: The Solution to the F-35 Nightmare



Barry Howe

It is with regret that I must onforward recent advice that Barrie Howe passed away on 9 November 2020.

 Barrie was a former JR, a 1967 entry I believe, who later became a Supply Officer.  During his service he acted as Secretary to NOCWA.  A quiet individual who always got on with the job at hand.  I am sure that he will be missed by many.

 Yours aye

 Bob Mummery




NVN’s November edition of Broadside is now available to download: 



HMAS ARUNTA ends North Korea sanctions duty”! 


Attachment to Weekly News of 22 November 2020


Happy Birthday to Barry, Peewee, John, Charley, Col and Karl.  Hope all you blokes enjoy your special day celebrating with your family and friends.  Does anybody remember John Hunter?











no record





no record



Please email me to let us know:

  1. if you are a potential starter or,
  2. will not attend

There are 70 Potential starters to date.  

Jeff and Kay Dunn, Knocker and Marilyn Whyte, Russ and Georgina Nelson, Marty and Lyn Edwards, Doug and Trish Wilson, Nifty and Dianne Thomas, Rass and Ada Rasmussen, Doug and Nyree Brown, Grant and Basia Dernedde, Kev and Larraine Uttley, Mike and Jill Hogan, Schubes and Marian Schubert, Bryan and Kay Stapley, Mick Gallagher, Rocky and Linda Freier, John and Lyn Hatchman, Stan and Margaret Church, Tom and Val Houldsworth, Rick and Lea Avery, Bongo and Jo Di Betta, Dave and Louie Borgo, Mal and Rob Chatfield, Ron and Bev Giveen, Fred Howes, Dave Scarce, Ian and Val Smith, Roger and Dee Collins, Jock McGregor and his wife, Jim Harris, Terry and Helen Dack, Narra and Tracy Narramore, Russ and Joy Dale, James Carroll, Wally and Robyn Gawne and Ted and Fiona Hase.




Form your own conclusions on these war of words.


War Crimes Inquiry – The Grunt Vs General #POSTS


From: graeme gaunson [mailto:graemegaunson@hotmail.comSent: Sunday, 15 November 2020 3:22 PMTo: RE: War Crimes Inquiry – Interesting read


I am quite happy not to converse with you again James, if that is your wish, however let me correct you.

I see what happened as an incident of a guerrilla war, fighting terrorists & terrorism, & I am quite aware as to where a lot of the allegations come from. I never once intimated that it was an officer involved in those allegations


You incorrectly accuse me of condoning murder, for suggesting any accusations should be handled in another manner. The attempt to make scapegoats out of soldiers fighting political dirty wars is not productive. Remember these are terrorists, and politicians gave it the name of a war on terror. We see terrorists continually shot on TV. Not many prisoners there.


You say to me “Don’t let facts get in the way of your views”. This paltry attempt to put me down is laughable. I spoke of nothing but facts. Every word is a fact. I take it in light of your strong moral views you will be pushing to bring charges against the politicians & Army officials who sanctioned the use of Agent Orange, for killing hundreds of thousands……but of course you won’t, your above that. I could name incidents in every conventional war, but won’t waste your time.

Keep fighting for us old diggers James, & enjoy your pension when it’s over. It’s a pity none our TPI’s aren’t fairly compensated similarly for their injuries & their loss of earnings.


From: [ Sunday, 15 November 2020 1:08 PMSubject: RE: War Crimes Inquiry – Interesting read


Graeme, keep thinking like that if it makes you happy. Funnily enough, it was their mates that made the allegations, not senior officers. Strange that. You can condone murder which is the allegations, I will not. But don’t let the fact get in the way of your views. Please don’t reply, we are wasting our time talking. All the best to you, Jim


Senator Jim Molan AO DSC

Senator for New South Wales

Suite S1.46 | Parliament House | CANBERRA ACT 2600 | P: 02 6277 3695 



Sent: Sunday, 15 November 2020 2:35 PMread


You can think what you like Jim. I don’t call them irresponsible. Many high ranking officers send troops on dangerous missions & monitor their progress from the safety of a bunker. Then they are the 1st to put their hands up for awards or medals for themselves & the troops get little to nothing, as quotas were full. They accept all the glory but few accept the responsibility when something goes wrong, like when soldiers are shot by supposedly friendly coalition forces or allies. Nothing changes, no blame accepted. Or the bright spark who instigated the minefield in Vietnam. It probably killed more of our soldiers than it did the enemy. 


We fought in Vietnam supposedly at the behest of the USA. The same politicians let our troops be sprayed with Agent Orange, gave us WW11 equipment, “called time out” for Xmas & other occasions, gave the enemy 24 hrs notice before bombing  them, & of course we gave them free mines. The enemy were laughing at the stupidity of it all, because they, like the Muslims, didn’t play by the rules. (I won’t  pander over the bullshit of what we were told about Iraq & weapons of mass production.)


I bet a lot of politicians would waffle on about what they’ve done for TPI’s, when we are the ones getting played every day. Not much achieved on that front either in the last 30 yrs. & not much responsibility accepted for the cause. Just excuses. This whole investigation is a witch hunt, no doubt instigated by some left wing group & probably the Govt funded ABC, with ulterior motives.  To my mind we achieve nothing by publicly humiliating soldiers who were involved in a guerrilla war, where there are no rules. The rules were shot out of  the window by the Muslim opposition years ago, just as they were by the Vietnamese. 


The system turned out soldiers to perform. If they go off the rails, rectify the system, & don’t crucify the product that you have produced.


From: Jim Molan [ Sunday, 15 November 2020 8:31 AMSubject: Re: War Crimes Inquiry – Interesting read


Graeme hi, thanks for the article which came to me through Allen Petersen. The article is not too bad and there is much in it that is really true. 

But your comments are silly and spoil it. If you are going to send out such articles, can I suggest you don’t lead with your irresponsible comments.


Regards Jim Senator Jim Molan AO DSC

Senator for New South Wales

Suite S1.46 | Parliament House | CANBERRA ACT 2600 | P: 02 6277 3695



Sent: Sunday, 15 November 2020 9:14 AM           RE: War Crimes Inquiry – Interesting read


There was a reason no indigenous locals (Viets) were permitted into Nui Dat, not even ARVN…their security was so shot full of holes it wasn’t worth taking the risk…Pity the hierarchy forgot those incredibly valuable lessons<img draggable=” />


From: Sent: Sunday, 15 November 2020 5:17 AMSubject: RE: War Crimes Inquiry – Interesting read


This is nothing but a witch hunt, instigated by people pushing an agenda & who have never faced an angry man. Maybe the buck should go all the way to the generals & not the digger. Not too many prisoners were taken in New Guinea, & I heard & read of a few prisoners who skydived from helicopters from a few thousand feet up, in Vietnam. No one addressed the uncountable atrocities carried out by the North Vietnamese. Afghanistan was & is a dirty war where your so called allies murdered you in your camp or organised IED’s to be placed. Trust towards them was not on the card, just like Nam. Those that weren’t there shouldn’t judge. If there’s a problem fix it in house, & not publicly ridicule & bring heroes to their knees. Govt’s & Generals are totally to blame, but they’ll do a Pontius Pilate as always. 


War crimes inquiry: Joel Fitzgibbon lays responsibility with the national cabinet.Joel Fitzgibbon believes the responsibility for any war crimes committed by Australian special forces in Afghanistan goes right to the top  national cabinet.Defence top brass and politicians were condemned yesterday for sending special forces troops to Afghanistan up to 16 times, in a cultural failure that went right to the top.Former Labor defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon said SAS troops had been sent on too many deployments for too long and the responsibility lay with the national cabinet.Mr Fitzgibbon was defence Minister from the end of 2007 until the middle of 2009 – during the period Prime Minister Scott Morrison said was at the centre of the damning report to be released next week.

“Culture comes from the top and when poor culture emerges we must all take responsibility, all the way up the chain of command and into the National Security Committee of the cabinet,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.He was pushing through Defence strategic reform when he was forced to resign over a breach of the ministerial code of conduct.Suggestions at the time that Defence officials had secretly investigated his relationship with a Chinese businesswoman were dismissed.Mr Morrison said his government had never received any word of the alleged atrocities listed in the report. “The matters contained in the report were never raised … with government, with ministers at the political level,” he said.Mr Fitzgibbon said the SAS had been deployed too often.“Members of our Special Forces were sent to Afghanistan too often and rotations were too long,” he told The Daily Telegraph.“The strategic objective was vague and the prospects of success were poor. Close air support and Medevac retrievals were unreliable.“Our boys were operating under their Rules of Engagement and international law. 

Their enemy was not constrained by rules or Western values. It’s no wonder things went wrong”.

Former defence force chief Sir Peter Cosgrove said last month: “Some of the people who are swept up in this have had multiple tours in a very, very dangerous place. This has to have an impact.”Australian Defence Association executive director Neil James said the average number of Afghanistan tours of duty were between eight and 12, and they were of between three and four months, shorter than the usual regular army deployments.“I have heard of one person who did 16,” he said. “That’s part of the problem. The reason for this is governments because they feared the political blowback of higher casualties.“The ADF should have protested, they should have said you need a balance of conventional forces. This is a big lesson for next time around.”Mr James said the high tempo “stressed unit cultural norms, taxed individuals psychologically” and may have “diluted accountability mechanisms”.Another major problem was that, under international law, the conflict was not defined as an international war but as a conflict within one country.“And that’s why they had the stupid catch-and-release policy where you could capture someone but three days later they had to let them go.”Mr James said that might prompt soldiers to think “why should I risk my life to catch someone who keeps getting released and why don’t we put a bullet in them”.He said: “You should never put someone in that situation.”

Australian Defence Force Academy academic at UNSW in Canberra James Connor said it was time to think about “what created the conditions for the special forces to do this – how did they get away with it for so long?”“This is about command, people not being responsible, the band of brothers idea and how special forces are bonded tightly together which goes with how they look after one another, but it sometimes means covering up or allowing bad things to happen.”Dr O’Connor said the report would inevitably lead to major changes.“There is something very problematic within the culture of the special forces and perhaps more widely in the ADF.”Former soldier Bernard Gaynor said top brass in Defence were focusing too hard on cultural shifts – such as advertising female-only infantry jobs – and political correctness rather than the business of soldiering.“I think this inquiry has been nothing but an arse-covering exercise by military leadership obsessed with political correctness,” he said.The alleged war crimes were brought to light in a 2016 report by sociologist Samantha Crompvoets, who was hired to examine cultural issues in the ADF and SAS.“I am very concerned that this investigation will do nothing more than provide an opening for military-hating leftists to impose their radical agendas in the SAS,” Mr Gaynor said.“I would not be surprised if we soon hear the usual mantras that the SAS is too patriarchal and too masculine to stamp out micro-aggressions and unconscious bias,” he said.




Dear NHSA Subscriber,

Please find attached an invitation to next week’s Zoom presentation.

The link to join this Webinar is in the invitation and repeated below.

Kind regards,


David Michael



Please click the link below to join the webinar:

Webinar ID: 885 4664 8259


The Red Baron’s last flight re-enacted


Whoever put this together and produced it did a very good job.  Well worth watching.


Attachment to Weekly News of 15 November 2020


Happy Birthday to John, Dave, Phil, Bocky, Phil, Shiner, Soz and Tom.   Hope all you blokes enjoy your special day celebrating with your family and friends.








no record















About ten years ago I was told that one day  I might need a pace maker.


It seems that is getting much closer, so if you know of any of our mob who have one and are willing to discuss the ins and outs. Upper chamber back of heart.


I would be very pleased to talk to them.


I’m really not concerned about the concept it is more that I have three options and would like to find someone who had to make a similar decision.


I know it is a strange request, but I’d rather trust someone who has addressed  the issue than a young surgeon who really can’t put themselves in a satisfied senior position.







Please email me to let us know:

  1. if you are a potential starter or,
  2. will not attend

There are 71 Potential starters to date.  

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Sent in by Ward Hack on his venture to Ulverstone 

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Enjoy our history.


In commemorating the WWI Armistice 102 years ago on 11 November 1918, some history here:

For our 7 RAR colleagues, a WW I history of the 7th Battalion is here: and the battalion’s War Diaries 1914-1919 are here:


World War I

Rabaul and the Half Flight

The start of World War I in August 1914 coincided with the birth of military aviation in Australia.

Australian pilots and mechanics from Point Cook were soon required to take part in the campaign against German colonial forces in New Guinea. The rapid capture of Rabaul in November 1914 by Australian naval and land forces left the small Australian Flying Corps (AFC) contingent with little to do and it returned to Melbourne with two aircraft still packed in crates.

On 20 April 1915, four officers and forty-one airmen commanded by Captain Henry Petre sailed from Melbourne for Mesopotamia (now Iraq). Known as the Half Flight, the Australians were to operate with British forces against the Turkish Army with aircraft supplied from India.

Flying primitive aircraft in a harsh climate, the Half Flight fought until almost all of the original aircraft were destroyed and three of the four pilots were dead or captured. Lieutenant George Merz was the first Australian airman to be killed in action when his Caudron aircraft force-landed in the desert. Hostile tribesmen killed Merz and his New Zealand observer. Turkish forces later captured nine Australian mechanics after the siege of Kut. Seven of these men later died as prisoners of war.

Australian Airmen In the Middle East

Formed at Point Cook in January 1916, No 1 Squadron AFC arrived in Egypt in April 1916 to support British Army and Australian Light Horse formations fighting Turkish and German forces in Palestine.

Flying a mixture of aircraft types, the squadron took on tasks including reconnaissance, photography, bombing and air fighting. It was now possible to see and strike beyond the enemy’s front line and Australian airmen in the Middle East took a leading role in the development of air power. Unlike the Western Front, fighting in the Middle East was highly mobile, allowing aircraft to find and attack the enemy across vast distances.

By September 1918, Turkish defences in Palestine were collapsing and No 1 Squadron AFC, along with British squadrons, bombed and destroyed most of the Turkish Seventh Army of 7000 men that had been trapped in a valley. Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Williams, who planned the attack, was one of the first four pilots trained at Point Cook in 1914 and now commanded a Wing of three squadrons, including No 1 Squadron AFC. Williams later wrote that

The Turkish Seventh Army ceased to exist and it must be noted that this was entirely the result of attack from the air.

No 1 Squadron AFC also supported Colonel T.E. Lawrence’s Arab Army with Bristol fighter aircraft and a giant Handley Page bomber.

Over the Western Front

Fighting the first war in the air required all new tactics, training and equipment. As part of the army, the Australian Flying Corps (AFC) operated in support of Allied ground forces in Belgium and France but developed a distinct Australian identity. 

Three AFC squadrons served on the Western Front between 1917 and 1918, integrated with the British Royal Flying Corps. Nos 2 and 4 Squadrons were equipped with single-seat SE5a, Sopwith Camel and Snipe ‘fighting scout’ aircraft and No 3 Squadron with RE8 two-seat reconnaissance machines. 

Flying and fighting the Germans over the Western Front in open cockpits was as uncomfortable as it was dangerous. Pilots and observers did not wear parachutes. Captain George Jones, a Sopwith Camel pilot with No 4 Squadron, later wrote:

We all wore knee-length leather coats, fur-lined leather flying helmets, goggles, fleecy-lined thigh boots and silk gloves beneath our leather gauntlets, but even with all that we suffered and found it very difficult to concentrate at times because of the cold.

When the war ended on 11 November 1918, 178 Australian airmen had been killed.

Several hundred Australians also served with the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service. These elements combined to become the Royal Air Force in April 1918.

Training For War

Point Cook remained the home of the Central Flying School, where many pilots received their initial training before being sent overseas. Australian Flying Corps mechanics were initially recruited from skilled civilian tradesmen.

The New South Wales Government also sponsored training courses for pilots, observers and mechanics at a State Aviation School located at the site of the present-day RAAF Base Richmond, near Sydney. Many of these trainees joined the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service.

Four Australian Flying Corps training squadrons were based in Gloucestershire, England, between 1917 and 1918. Nos 5 and 6 Squadrons were located at Minchinhampton and Nos 7 and 8 Squadrons at Leighterton. Pupils received basic flying instruction and had to complete twenty hours solo flying and pass a series of tests before gaining their ‘wings’. Experienced instructors passed on hard-won lessons in air combat, as well as familiarising novice Australian pilots and observers with the types of aircraft they would operate over the Western Front. Mechanics were trained at Halton Camp in England.

Flying training was dangerous. Twenty-five Australians who were killed during their training are buried at Leighterton cemetery in England.

A Divided Nation

As part of the British Empire, most Australians viewed involvement in World War I as a natural response. However, the war exposed political and social divisions, especially over the issue of conscription for overseas military service. 

Prime Minister Billy Hughes strongly supported conscription and put the matter before the people at referenda in October 1916 and December 1917.   The rejection of conscription on both occasions was accompanied by heated debate and led to Hughes leaving the Labor Party following the 1916 referendum.

On 11 November 1918, World War I ended.   Four years of conflict had cost the lives of 61,720 Australians.


And some other WW I statistics – Source: Statistics of the Military Effort of the British Empire During the Great War, 1914 – 1920, London, The War Office. ISBN 0 948130 14 8. pp 759-770

Comment: These figures (58,126 KIA) do not match the figure quoted above (61,720); this latter figure is close to that cited by Les Carlyon (below). There is no precise, agreed figure of WW I casualties. The Australian population in 1914 was less than 5 million. According to the Australian War Memorial, the number of males enlisted represented 38.7% of the total male population aged between 18 and, as two WW I conscription referenda failed,  the First AIF comprised volunteers only.

416,809 personnel enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (including the Australian Flying Corps) 331,781 of these people served overseas (RAN figures are not available) EMBARKATION OF AUSTRALIAN IMPERIAL FORCE FROM AUSTRALIA BY ARMS


Total Strength



Machine gunners






Australian Army Medical Corps


Australian Army Service Corps




Australian Light Horse




Australian Flying Corps






Trench Mortars




Transport officers


Australian Army Nursing Service


General Reinforcements


Miscellaneous Arms returned to   Australia


Total Forces Overseas all Theatres of War


TOTAL CASUALTIES OF THE AUSTRALIAN IMPERIAL FORCEKilled in Action Died of WoundsOfficers 1,907 Officers 679Other Ranks 37,832 Other Ranks 12,661Died of Disease Died of Gas PoisoningOfficers 128 Officers 17Other Ranks 3,791 Other Ranks 308Died of Other Causes Total DeathsOfficers 95 Officers 2,826Other Ranks 714 Other Ranks 55,306Casualties that Survived

Wounded In Action GassedOfficers 5,721 Officers 583Other Ranks 129,963 Other Ranks 15,904Prisoners Of WarOfficers 170Other Ranks 3,887—Total Battle Casualties including Deaths

Officers 9,300Other Ranks 205,060——-Total All Ranks 214,360


Extracted from ‘The Great War’, Les Carlyon, Pan Macmillan Australia, 2006.

pp 752-753

“Some 61,700 Australians didn’t come home. They were in the ground on Gallipoli and in Palestine and – most, about two-thirds of them – along the line that stretched from Villers-Bretonneux to Passchendaele.   The wounded ran to 155,000, or about half the 324,000 men who had served overseas, and this figure excludes a large number who were gassed but did not seek treatment and spent the rest of their lives coughing and scratching.   The Australian casualty rate was the highest among the British empire forces. Perhaps one-quarter of the original force of about 30,000 that left Australia in 1914 had survived.   The casualties were still being counted during the 1930s. By then another 60,000 had died from wounds or illnesses caused by the war. At least one generation of women and children, and maybe a second, suffered terribly from all this, and it is impossible to count others turned drunk and violent.   This legacy has been little explored.   It may explain why many Australians in the thirty years after 1918 did not see the war, and Gallipoli in particular, in the romantic lights that have flickered around it in the new century.”


“A generation had lost many of its most generous male spirits.   Geoffrey Blainey wrote that the worst effect of the war on Australia could never be enumerated.   It was the loss of all those talented people who would have become prime ministers and premiers, judges, divines, engineers, teachers, doctors, poets, inventors and farmers, the mayors of towns and leaders of trade unions, and the fathers of another generation of Australians.”

Post-War Repatriation

The first transport with Australian service men and women returning home, HMT Port Hacking, embarked from the UK on 3 December 1918.   The last transport, HMT Port Sydney, docked in Fremantle on 22 September 1919.   Between these two voyages, 135,000 troops were transported to Australia from Britain in 147 shipments.   Another repatriation operation moved 16,773 troops from the Middle East in 56 shipments.

The journey to Australia lasted around 2 months.  One such journey was that of HMT Norman, which left the UK at the start of July 1919 and arrived at its final destination, Sydney, on 20 August 1919. HMT Norman was fitted out to carry 841 personnel split between:

  • first class – 75 officers, six nurses and an ‘imperial’ allotment of 55
  • second class – 101 Warrant Officers and Sergeants
  • third class – 608 other ranks

Unlike most transports to Europe during the war, the repatriation transports had a general and isolation hospital located on the poop deck. They were also ‘dry’, with no consumption of alcohol permitted for all onboard.  Apart from the ship’s Captain who was responsible for his crew, each ship also had an Officer Commanding Troops who was:

Actually and morally, personally responsible for everything connected with the voyage so as concerns the troops committed to his charge.  Each Officer Commanding Troops was given a set of instructions for the voyage that covered issues such as embarkation, the voyage and disembarkation in Australia.

During World War I, some 10,000 Australian troops met and married local women in the places where they had served.   By the time they were repatriated, some also had children and pregnant wives.  As such, the Australian Government organised for around 20,000 women and children to be repatriated to Australia. This included those married or engaged to Australian soldiers, as well as dependants of munition workers who had come to the UK to work during the war.

Marriage to non-Australian women caused discussion amongst the troops in Europe and back home in Australia.  For example, around 20 soldiers of the 1st Australian Division married Belgians after the Armistice. As entertainment, the 7th Battalion held a debate on whether Australian soldiers should marry Belgian women.

History of the Red Poppy –


Lest We Forget


Attachment to Weekly News of 8 November 2020


Happy Birthday to Terry, Pete, Bill, Max and Stevan.  Hope all you blokes are able to celebrate your special day with your family and mates.


















Please email me to let us know:

  1. if you are a potential starter or,
  2. will not attend

There are 85 Potential starters to date.  

 Russ and Georgina Nelson, Marty and Lyn Edwards, Doug and Trish Wilson, Nifty and Dianne Thomas, Rass and Ada Rasmussen, Knocker (Steve) White, Doug and Nyree Brown, Sandy and Rhonda Michels, Grant and Basia Dernedde, Kev and Larraine Uttley, Gordon and Nita Stringer, Mike and Jill Hogan, Schubes and Marian Schubert, Bryan and Kay Stapley, Max and Ann Lampo, Kim Dawe, Mick Gallagher, Rocky and Linda Freier, John and Lyn Hatchman, Stan and Margaret Church, Tom and Val Houldsworth, Bob and Pat Stupple, Rod and Karin Hazell, Rick and Lea Avery, Bongo and Jo Di Betta, Dave and Louie Borgo, Mal and Rob Chatfield, Ron and Bev Giveen, Fred Howes, Surfie and Joy Richards, Dave Scarce, Ian and Val Smith, Roger and Dee Collins, Jock McGregor and his wife, Jim Harris, Terry and Helen Dack, Narra and Tracy Narramore, Russ and Joy Dale, James Carroll, Wally and Robyn Gawne and Ted and Fiona Hase and Bristles and Lou Lassau.


Ross Fullarton, Butts and Margaret Butterfield, Darby Ashton, Spike and Jean Jones, Errol Delaney, Knobby and Rhonda Clarke, Irish O’Leary, Barry and Kayemarie Andrews, Ron Pope, Greg Williams, Terry Coulthard, Ross Muller, Vic Dzodz, Dave Hanlon, Roy Rigg, Chris and Angela Jamieson, Davo and Faye Davison, Darkie and Shirley Rowland, Trevor Elias, Pooley and Janis Poole, Lew and Jo Smith, Tom Kinross, Boong Bartlett, Sandy Powell, Ross Gowers, Kev Bock, Spook Cairns, Les Barclay, Stevan Coll, Nick and Lynda Bryant, Barry and Margaret Parker, John and Luba Miscamble, George and Carol Pike, Jeff and Jenny Wake, Garry and Helen McGrath, Stewie Dewar, Gil Larsson, Rob Cavanagh, Jim Bush and Mal Ritchie.


Courtesy of the Naval Historical Society Association


NHSA Members and Subscribers,


Please find attached the November 2020 edition of Call The Hands, the Naval Historical Society’s monthly newsletter. 

Attached also are Occasional Papers 94 to 96.  


All are now available on the Society’s website via the following links.

Call the Hands

Occasional Paper 94

Occasional Paper 95

Occasional Paper 96


Back copies are also available on the Society’s website Research page.


If you are receiving Call the Hands for the first time, unsolicited, it is because you are a new member or have come to our attention as a person who may find it of interest.


As always, feedback is welcome as are contributions in the form of factual stories and anecdotes which may not have been previously published.




David Michael




Attachment to Weekly News of 1 November 2020


Happy Birthday to Guy, Allen, Rocky, Marty and Wayne.  Hope you blokes all have a wonderful time celebrating your special day with family and friends.












Sailor shortage strands Australian warship HMAS Perth in dry dock for two years

By Defence correspondent Andrew Greene

Posted Thursday 6 June 2019 at 1:10am, updated Thursday 6 June 2019 at 10:50am

The recently upgraded Anzac class frigate HMAS Perth has been stuck in dry dock since 2017.(Supplied: ANAO)

One of the Navy’s recently upgraded Anzac class frigates has been stuck in dry dock since 2017, because the ADF is struggling to find enough sailors to put the warship to sea.

Key points:

  • A report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute confirms military spending will reach the Government’s target of 2 per cent of GDP by next financial year
  • But the ADF has failed to meet recruitment targets, increasing by 600 people against a target of about 1,730
  • The report calls on the ADF to devote more resources to autonomous systems, such as unmanned submarines and aircraft drones

The situation, first uncovered by the auditor-general in March, has been highlighted in a new report that closely examines Australia’s $38.7 billion annual defence spend.

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s (ASPI) latest “The Cost of Defence” report confirms military spending will easily reach the Government’s target of 2 per cent of GDP by next financial year.

However, the ASPI study also found the ADF had failed to achieve “modest” personnel recruitment goals laid out in the most recent defence white paper, published in 2016.

“Overall, it’s only increased by 600 actual people against a target of around 1,730 over the period since the white paper,” the report concluded.

“If increasing capital spending quickly is hard, increasing ADF numbers seems even harder.”

Report author and former Defence official Marcus Hellyer said the recruitment problem was underlined by the case of an Anzac frigate that had been out of operation since October 2017.

“HMAS Perth, one of Navy’s frigates, had gone through a very extensive refit and upgrade, got new radar capabilities, so a lot of investment went into that, but at the end of that process Navy couldn’t find a crew for it,” Dr Hellyer said.

“So, it’s essentially sitting up on blocks for two years, out of the water because Navy doesn’t have the people and I think that’s really a microcosm of the challenges the defence force is facing.

“Defence is finding it really hard to recruit: it takes a long time to train a submarine captain or to train a fighter pilot — you can’t just do that overnight.”

Australia maintains a fleet of eight Anzac class frigates, although Dr Hellyer noted two of the warships were almost always in deep maintenance, meaning only six at most were available at any one time.

Report calls for more unmanned technology

The ASPI report also called on the Australian Defence Force to “devote more resources to autonomous systems”, such as unmanned submarines and aircraft drones.

“One of the advantages of autonomous systems is less people, because these systems can do a lot of the job themselves,” Dr Hellyer said.

“Much of the cost of military platforms is due to the need to keep the crew alive, as is much of the complexity of design.


From Senator Jacqui Lambie

Where do I start?

The Government said the National Commissioner for Veteran Suicide Prevention would be completely independent from Defence.

In the Senate this week, we’ve learned:

  • The Commissioner’s actually a close mate of the Defence Minister (20 years!)
  • The Commissioner only resigned from the ADF two days before she was announced as the National Commissioner
  • The Defence Minister personally recommended her mate for the gig
  • Defence and DVA designed every part of the role — from start to finish

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This would be like putting the police in charge of the NSW Royal Commission into police corruption.

Or putting John Setka in charge of the Trade Union Royal Commission.

It’s not independent. It’s a mockery. It’s a scam. And we’ve got to stop it. 

Can you help get the word out about this? Veterans deserve so much more than this two-bob stitch up. 



PS: If you haven’t reached out to your local MP yet, can you hit them up here? And if you have, did you get a response? I’m collecting them all in a spreadsheet so if you’ve got an email, can you send it over to me? 




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27th October 2020 

The Hon Scott Morrison MP Prime MinisterParliament House CANBERRA, ACT 2600 

Dear Prime Minister, 

Dear Prime Minister,The TPI Federation (the Federation) feels obliged to respond to you over serious concerns regarding your ‘Independent Review into the TPI Payment Report by Mr David Tune AO PSM’ (Tune Review). 

Whilst the Federation acknowledges your 2019 promise to hold such a review, based on your own recognition of the Federation’s ‘compelling case’1 in for a fair and equitable ‘economic loss’ compensation for approximately 28,000 Veterans who have been medically retired and classed Totally & Permanently Incapacitated (TPI), as a result of their Service to this Nation. 

The Federation is grateful that, finally, its 15-year campaign to have ‘rent assistance’ extended to TPI Veterans has now been fulfilled, in-part, for just ~2,600 TPIs. However, the Federation nevertheless feels that the Tune Review has failed dismally in regards to a proper analysis of the TPI compensation payment issue, because, just like the flawed Productivity Commission and DVA/KPMG exercises before it, it appears that the Tune Review is nothing more than yet another distorted reverberation emanating out of that echo chamber known as DVA. 

Contrary to Mr Tune’s assertion, the Federation has only ever sought to affect a structural increase to the overall total payment in TPI compensation, as a means of restoring the ‘Living Wage’ legislative provision for which the Parliament had intended almost 100 years ago now, but for which DVA has allowed to erode. 

The Federation’s 7-year campaign to have the total payment structurally adjusted remains ever persistent in the unquestionable image that is seen at Figure 1, where the dialogue box alone remains a testament to this fact. 

As you are aware, the total payment has been described as being broken into ‘notional’ ‘non-economic’ and ‘economic loss’ components, descriptors not that of the Federation, but instead that of past Ministers and senior bureaucrats. 

Unfortunately, Mr Tune has attempted to re-engineer the language by dismissing these components. Should this be allowed to happen, this would negate the ‘pain and suffering’ component of the TPI compensation. This must never be allowed to occur. 

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1 Your letter to TPI Federation of 2nd April 2019 


Ms Pat McCabe OAM 0417 291 546 


John Reeves 0478 609 046 


Shayne Eades 0411 296 711 

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The Australian Federation of Totally and Permanently Incapacitated Ex-Servicemen & Women Ltd (Incorporated in the ACT) ACN 008 591 704 ABN 61 008 591 704 

Patron-In-Chief: His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd) 


“Disabled in our Service United in our Cause” 

PO Box 450, ERINDALE, ACT 2903 Mob – 0411 296 711 | Email 

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Figure 1 

In line with this, the Federation has only ever petitioned you and a succession of LNP Governments since 2013 to affect a single line amendment to VEA legislation (i.e. s24(4)2), using only the differential between the tax- adjusted minimum wage (less Medicare levy) and the ‘notional economic loss’ component (as described by others) as a legitimate means for doing so.3 

The Federation takes great exception to the continuous and scurrilous suggestion by bureaucratic forces that in order to affect a rightful and justified modest restoration of the total tax-free TPI compensation payment, that such restoration would require them to fundamentally change a notional component that makes up the total fabric of a 100-year compensation entitlement. 

This is not the first time that such disgraceful and reprehensible language has been used, presumably in an attempt to adversely influence Veterans and policy makers who may not be well acquainted with the issue. The Federation believes that such nefarious ideas and communication, if left unchecked, reflects rather poorly upon the Government; a Government that claims to put ‘Veterans first’. 

When the Federation met with Mr Tune on the 18th of July, he went to great lengths to suggest that he was “independent”, presumably on the back of our 7th July 2019 communique to PM&C expressing considerable concern and disquiet about his appointment. Whilst we accepted assurances of independence at face value, it became quite evident to TPI Federation Executives and our independent adviser, that Mr Tune had already been captured and was heavily influenced by the flawed thinking and misconceptions of DVA and its KPMG/Productivity Commission enablers. 

So evident and palpable was this feeling that the Federation felt it necessary to provide yet another detailed research paper, together with the offer of Federation data4, which was dispatched to Mr Tune on the 7th August 2019.5 Disappointingly, Mr Tune offered no further correspondence, no follow-up consultation, and no right of reply to any draft. 

2 Which by direct legislative association extends to MRCA Special Rate Disability Payment (SRDP) recipients also.3 One such request, as sent by email directly to you on the 31st of March 2020, is copied at Attachment B.4 Mr. Thornton graciously offered to relinquish 7 years of intellectual property and data to Tune providing Tune made a modest charitable donation to the Federation.5 As per our correspondence to you of 22nd Oct 2019, an abridged copy of that research is once again attached at Attachment C for your quick reference. 

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“Disabled in our Service United in our Cause” 2 

The Federation is at a loss as to understand how Mr Tune, appointed on the 5th July 2019, could have reasonably availed himself to such an important review (i.e. TPI), when over the same period he was consumed by the National Archives Review and then appointed to the NDIS Review shortly thereafter on the 12th of August as well. 

In the report, Mr Tune summarily dismisses the Federation’s sound AWE analysis, in favour of its own questionable Basic/Minimum wage and MTAWE distributions, presumably acquired from DVA/KPMG; distributions seemly concocted and stitched together from multiple ABS source files, and that of DVA’s ‘unpublished data’. 

Outrageously, the Tune Review misrepresents the Federation by stating that the Federation was unable to construct an index from reliable sources, thereby permitting Mr Tune to then favour and build upon DVA/KPMG’s flawed modelling and narrative, presumably as a means to continue to deflect attention away from the ineptitude of a Department that for decades has failed to ‘maintain and enhance’ the very legislative provisions for which it is responsible for. 

The Federation’s ‘Data Sources’, as can be seen in the legend of Figure 1, have remained front and centre and ever persistent for over 7-years, and is not in dispute. 

With the Federation’s AWE analysis as a firm backdrop, the Federation treats Mr Tune’s Fig. 4 distributions with great caution and scepticism, because as can be seen at Attachment A, Justice Toose provided official tabulated data where in 1950 the TPI Payment was $14/week, measuring at 104% of the then (Basic) ‘Wage Index’, and where visual observation between 1974 to 1980, shows unbelievably that the total TPI payment declined against the Minimum Wage, from 100% to 60%. As per Fig.1, such anomalies are not well reflected or supported against TPI payment rates as per Toose/DVA and/or the RBA’s published AWE data. 

Contrary to the Tune Review’s assertion, the fact remains that any modicum of research will reveal that AWE is a mature statistic used widely in compensation literature and application, both locally and internationally. Indeed, AWE better reflects the long-term and relative nature of wages/compensation across the whole community. 

Unwittingly, the Tune Review reveals firsthand how an implied ‘economic loss’ under TPI Compensation (i.e. $935.60/wk or $24,325.60 p.a.6) reflects rather poorly against a SRCA/DRCA Incapacity Payment of anywhere up to $125.181.20 p.a., and where an uncapped payment reflecting Normal Weekly Earnings of 100%/75% can exist for any MRCA recipient7. 

No matter whether one was a Private solider or a Major General, at a fundamental level, the compensation afforded under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act is no comparison to contemporary compensation schemes. 

Indeed, the Federation provided the Tune Review with a specific example of how a modern day Private soldier who may be medically discharged on Pay Group 10, earning a current NWE of $104,304p.a8., could receive Incapacity Payments at 100% for first 45 weeks, rate adapting down thereafter to 75% until Age Pension age. This example, when compared to a Private solider at the other end of the pay spectrum, only reinforces the Federation’s advocacy about the deleterious nature of the MRCA SRDP, as explained on pages 7 & 8 of the attached research paper. 

Even when explained in great detail, each and every one of these reviews has elected to ignore the fact that the TPI Federation has only ever sought to obtain a structural increase to the whole payment, using only the notional economic loss component (as described officially by others) as a defensible means to determine a quantifiable deficiency, as measured against Australia’s National Minimum Wage, in doing so. 

6 Including energy supplement.7 Page 26. By way of an extreme example, if the CDF was to be medically retired under MRCA, he would receive 100% of his current salary for 45 weeks and then 75% of that figure until he reaches Age Pension age.8 Annual Salary plus Service Allowance. 

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“Disabled in our Service United in our Cause” 3 

By any measure, 62% of the gross minimum wage for a TPI’s notional economic loss compensation remains a disgrace and a blight on a succession of LNP Governments, that for over the last 7 years, have allowed themselves to be “hoodwinked” by a cabal of bureaucrats who continue to perpetuate financial harm against Australia’s most disabled TPI Veterans. 

Notwithstanding some minor adjustments to some welfare provisioning in the last Budget (i.e. rent assistance), it seems rather churlish to have not acquiesced to the Federation’s main contention, when for 7 years, the Commonwealth has knowingly continued to equivocate on doing ‘The Right Thing’ whilst banking the quantifiable deficiency. 

More galling, without any follow-up consultation, and with the Tune Review Report purposely buried under ‘Cabinet-In-Confidence’ until after the Budget, your Government has proceeded to deliver tax cuts to the general community that has in effect, only marginalised the relative purchasing power of the TPI compensation payment even further. 

Prime Minister, if you think this is the last hurrah, then Sir, you have not fully grasped a true meaning of the ANZAC spirit, because like Teddy Sheehan VC, every constituent member of this Federation will continue to ‘keep firing their collective guns’ for the benefit of 28,000 of Australia’s most disabled Veterans until we ‘sink below the water line’. 

Given all the misrepresentations and the dubious analysis presented by DVA/KPMG/PC and now the Tune Review, the Federation now calls upon you, and your Government, to unequivocally and forcefully repudiate these toxic reviews in favour of the TPI Federation’s rightful claim, by immediately facilitating a corrective action to that ‘compelling case’ that you, and so many others, have identified “as the most deserving issue in the Veteran community9 & 10”. 

Yours sincerely 

Ms Pat McCabe OAM President 

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9 Senator Jim Molan – Senate Estimates, Feb 2019 10 Senator Michael Ronaldson – 4BC Radio Aug 2013 

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“Disabled in our Service United in our Cause” 4 

A letter to an Editor

ADF Afghanistan Inquiry 

The Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force (IGADF) is conducting an Inquiry into rumours of possible breaches of the Laws of Armed Conflict by members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) in Afghanistan, between 2005 and 2016. 

To do this inquiry, the IGADF has placed notices in local Afghani newspapers seeking evidence of possible breaches of the laws of armed conflict by Australian servicemen while on operations in a war zone. What an incredible ask. What kind of un-Australian legal professional suggested this approach. Basically, they are asking the enemy to list their complaints into Aussie behaviour while on patrols—no doubt the Afghanis are expecting some monetary compensation. I find the IGADF approach positively appalling. 

Being a retired serviceman who served as a Forward Air Controller in Vietnam, where I heard of Viet Cong atrocities against local village leaders and others, I know that usual standards deteriorate when on the battlefield. One cannot suppress the emotion of hate for an enemy combatant when one sees the enemy soldier cut a mate’s throat. Do you kill that enemy soldier or take him as a prisoner during the hectic battle in progress? If arresting him may cause you to be killed, you kill him. All readers will have experienced the hate that I’m trying to describe when they viewed videos of recent Islamic State atrocities such as the cutting off of a defenceless prisoner’s head with a knife and the burning alive of captives in a cage—and that was not while under extreme pressure on the battlefield. The current enemies who we are fighting have no rules. 

Changes were made to the Military Justice System in 1985 where the purpose of the Defence Force Discipline Act (DFDA) is to maintain and enforce military discipline. It applies to all Australian Defence Force members in times of peace and war and includes offences that are uniquely military and other offences that occur in a military environment. However, having legal professionals, or anybody else without battlefield experience making decisions on a soldier’s behaviour on the battlefield is just not appropriate. They don’t understand the complex emotions involved in battle. I often heard the fear in the voices of the infantrymen under attack when they asked me for help. Prior to 1985, Commanding Officers in a combat zone heard charges against their subordinates, and understanding the environment in which the offence occurred, made a decision to punish the offender or not. More serious charges were heard by a Courts Martial panel comprised of senior war experienced officers. The decision was not handed to higher headquarters in Australia years later where the legal teams have no clues other than what is written in a book of law. Peacetime experiences cannot be compared. 

Some time ago I researched Charles Bean’s writing on the Gallipoli landing in 1915 and I thought I should include a couple of quotes here for the members of the IGADF team. When the Aussie soldiers were rushing up the side of Ari Burnu Knoll only minutes after landing in their small boats, an Australian soldier captured a Turk soldier with his bayonet because his rifle was still full of sand. “Prisoner here” he shouted. “Shoot the bastard” was all he heard from his mates scrambling up the hill. The men had been constantly warned that Turks mutilated men whom they captured or found wounded; but in this case the Turk soldier was escorted down to the beach. War is a dirty business. 

Soon after the Turk was spared, some Turks who had caused havoc on one of the landing boats at close range below the Knoll ran from their trench hoping to escape along Shrapnel Gully, but they were chased and caught. “As the Australians got among them, the Turks threw down their rifles; but they were too many to capture, and they were consequently shot.” These two incidents happened in the first 60 minutes after landing so any reader should get an appreciation of what probably went on for the remainder of the first day—let alone the whole war. Hate in war is normal. In fact, if you want to win the war, hate is expected. 

The Afghanistan Inquiry called by the Inspector General of the Australian Defence Force is a most un-Australian move. May I suggest that the Australian Government steps in and stops this extraordinary hearing. To me it is downright disgusting for the Australian Defence Force to be investigating battlefield actions of our soldiers years after the events supposedly took place. Are they going to go back and examine all of the WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam actions too? Yes, there were more. Remember, besides hate on the battlefield there is plenty of fear there too; combine the two and you get some pretty unpredictable soldiers. Unfortunately, the inquiry lawyers would not have experienced those battlefield emotions. Let’s hope the judges have front line experience, or at least can suggest to the government that the inquiry be abandoned because their task involves more than the written law; and they are not qualified to judge. 

A shameful episode in the governance of the Australian Defence Force. 

Peter Condon, Southport QLD 4215 (Retired RAAF Officer) 

Peter CondonU2605 / 4 Como Crescent Southport QLD 4215 

0402 073 464 

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Hi Shipmates,

Just in the ANZAC Day Parade Committee has just released its proposal for the 2021 ANZAC Day march in Brisbane.


In a nutshell, the proposal is to hold the Brisbane parade at the Brisbane Showgrounds with banners only to be marched in the 2021 Parade to limit participation outside of serving ADF personnel.   Association attendance will be limited to the banner carriers and 2 guests in the stand.


We have to respond with our participation intentions by the end of November.    I would like everyone’s thoughts.   I am a little disappointed because I thought we could be over it all by then.


William L Krause


Vendetta Veterans Association (Qld)

58 Fiona Street

Bellbird Park   Qld   4300

0417 700 531


 Worth reading.


Professor of Pharmacy at U of Toronto update on advances made to deal with COVID-19

A professor of Pharmacy at U of Toronto sent this clearly worded update to his family.For this pandemic there’s a greater chance of survival for those getting infected later than those who got infected earlier say February 2020. The reason for this is that Doctors and scientists know more about Covid-19 now and hence are able to treat patients better. I will list 5 important things that we know now that we didn’t know in February 2020 for your understanding.   1. COVID-19 was initially thought to cause deaths due to pneumonia – a lung infection and so ventilators were thought to be the best way to treat sick patients who couldn’t breathe. Now we are realizing that the virus causes blood clots in the blood vessels of the lungs and other parts of the body and this causes the reduced oxygenation. Now we know that just providing oxygen by ventilators will not help but we have to prevent and dissolve the micro clots in the lungs. This is why we are using drugs like Aspirin and Heparin (blood thinners that prevents clotting) as protocol in treatment regimens. 2. Previously patients used to drop dead on the road or even before reaching a hospital due to reduced oxygen in their blood – OXYGEN SATURATION. This was because of HAPPY HYPOXIA where even though the oxygen saturation was gradually reducing the COVID-19 patients did not have symptoms until it became critically less, like sometimes even 70%. Normally we become breathless if oxygen saturation reduces below 90%. This breathlessness is not triggered in Covid patients and so we were getting the sick patients very late to the hospitals in February 2020. Now since knowing about happy hypoxia we are monitoring oxygen saturation of all Covid patients with a simple home use pulse oximeter and getting them to hospital if their oxygen saturation drops to 93% or less. This gives more time for doctors to correct the oxygen deficiency in the blood and a better survival chance. 3. We did not have drugs to fight the corona virus in February 2020. We were only treating the complications caused by it… hypoxia. Hence most patients became severely infected. Now we have 2 important medicines FAVIPIRAVIR & REMDESIVIR … These are ANTIVIRALS that can kill the corona virus. By using these two medicines we can prevent patients from becoming severely infected and therefore cure them BEFORE THEY GO TO HYPOXIA. This knowledge we now have .. not in February 2020. 4. Many Covid-19 patients die not just because of the virus but also due the patient’s own immune system responding in an exaggerated manner called CYTOKINE STORM. This stormy strong immune response not only kills the virus but also kills the patients. In February 2020 we didn’t know how to prevent it from happening. We know that easily available medicines called Steroids, that doctors around the world have been using for almost 80 years can be used to prevent the cytokine storm in some patients. 5. Now we also know that people with hypoxia became better just by making them lie down on their belly – known as prone position. Apart from this a few days ago Israeli scientists have discovered that a chemical known as Alpha Defensin produced by the patients White blood cells can cause the micro clots in blood vessels of the lungs, and this could possibly be prevented by a drug called Colchicine used over many decades in the treatment of Gout. So now we know for sure that patients have a better chance at surviving the COVID-19 infection now than in February 2020, for sure. Going forward there’s nothing to panic about Covid-19 if we remember that a person who gets infected later has a better chance at survival than one who got infected early.  Let’s continue to follow precautions, wear masks and practice social distancing. Please distribute this message, as we all need some positive news…




Attachment to Weekly News of 25 October 2020


Happy Birthday to Nicho and Roy.  Hope both you blokes celebrate your special day with your family and friends.








Around Australia Channel who are based here in Adelaide have produced for us a very informative video depicting the Naval Association of Australia Port Adelaide Sub Section.


We at the Port Adelaide Sub Section are very proud of our club room and the memorabilia contained within and are very pleased with the end result of the video.


The video not only showcases the Port Adelaide Sub Section but the history of the Naval Association of Australia which is very fitting in the 100th year.


We have attached the link to the video so that  you too will hopefully view it and enjoy it as we have.


Our thanks go out to our Vice President Darryl Heron, his wife Sharen Heron of our Social Committee and the producer of Around Australia Channel, Eugene for organising this  video at no cost to our Sub Section.  


On checking yesterday we have already had 1.6k views which to us is very pleasing. /watch?


Richard Savage


Naval Association of Australia

Port Adelaide Sub Section




Hello Ron, 


Thank you for contacting us, this year has been problematic at ANMM with Covid 19 restrictions and holding a service. We really wanted to maintain and conduct a service there this year but were restricted for numbers when planning earlier this year so had to consider other options. 


The other thing that occurred is that we have been working on an upgrade of our Commando Memorial with a new plaque and initially were looking at unveiling and having a rededication on ANZAC day 2020 but this was delayed . 


The above two incidents have led to the decision to hold our Remembrance Day in the open spaces of the Martin Place location at the Commando Memorial. We will be rededicating our memorial unveiling the new plaque and holding the Remembrance Day ceremony . 


We are likely to return to ANMM next year. 


You and the others that usually attend the Australian National  Maritime Museum are very welcome to attend as per the attached notice. Numbers and restricted to 100 so a booking is essential to comply with the Covid 19 regulations. 


It would be great to have you there and in any case please keep in touch and we should be back at ANMM next year .



Wayne Havenaar 


Australian Commando Association NSW


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Commodore Sam Bateman died last week.  This video of his trip up the Sepik River in HMAS AITAPE in February 1969 is a real nostalgia trip for me.



see: ) visiting Angoram.



Attachment to Weekly News of 18 October 2020


Happy Birthday to Sandy, Ian, Len and John.  Hope you blokes have a wonderful day celebrating your special day with your family and friends.











Tasmania 2020 March 26-28 


We have 85 potential starters for Ulverstone.


I booked a room at the Bass and Flinders Motor Inn for Bev and myself this week.  Please be aware there is a National Rowing Regatta in Ulverstone that weekend and I was told bookings were ‘first in, best served’.  Also the rooms have been taken off all the agencies.  You need to book direct.  Telephone Number is 03 64253011.  $120 a night for 4 days or less, $110 for 5 plus.



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DFWA National E-News

Issue 7 – October 2020

Dear Members

The 2020-21 Federal Budget was tabled on Tuesday 6 October 2020. It is certainly a Budget for the interesting times the nation is presently experiencing. Money is being spread across so many programs that even the financial experts are debating among themselves as to the benefit they will give to the economy and over how many years. I will leave the detail analysis of the whole document for those of you who take such documents to bed in order to induce sleep.

The Minister for Veterans Affairs and the Secretary DVA conducted a Briefing for ESORT members and others on Wednesday 7 October 2020. Some interesting highlights that background the evolving nature of DVA, its responses to the demands of the veteran space in the 21st century  and the changes fashioned by, for example, the changed understanding of the term ‘veteran’ and the emphasis on ‘Transition’ of veteran into civilian life. Much is happening. Some salient points about DVA and its activities include:

  • There are now over 200,000 veterans and 100,000 dependents.
  • More than 19,000 ‘Welcome’ emails have been sent to newly enlisted ADF members.
  • Veteran Support Officers are located at more than 56 ADF bases across the country.
  • Over 122,000 claims have been submitted online.
  • Paper-based forms with 40+ questions reduced to a single form with only 3-7 questions online.
  • From 47,500  claims in 2015-16 there are 121,000 in 2019-20.
  • Veterans are now automatically registered with DVA upon transition.
  • Since March 2020 the new DVA website is supporting over 200,000 users per month.
  • 179 telephone lines have been reduced to just 14. 
  • Invalidity benefits are not being included in the Service Pension Income Test
  • Post transition veterans are eligible for comprehensive health check for five years.  
  • There are 19,000 known veterans in Age Care facilities.
  • The links between the DVA, Department of Health and Department of Social Services are ‘improving’ but remains a work in progress.

While the developments in DVA and its responding to the ever changing veteran space warrant our support and congratulation some concerns remain. These are:

  • The full extent of the government’s response to the Productivity Commission’s Report is yet to be revealed. On the positive side of the ledger are that the Gold Card remains unchanged, and DVA will remain as a stand-alone entity.
  • The Minister is to make Statement to Parliament in the near future and is expected (hope) to outline the governments approach to the Productivity Report. DFWA will keep you updated.

You can read about specific budget measures in the update below.

As always, if you would like an issue which affects Defence members, veterans, or their families, then please let us know at

Kel Ryan, President


Consider Donating

The Defence Force Welfare Association advocates for issues affecting current and former members of the Australian Defence Force, including:

  • Health and wellbeing
  • Compensation schemes
  • Superannuation and retirement benefits
  • Defence Force remuneration and pay cases

Please consider donating to the Association. Your donations will enable this important policy advocacy on behalf of current and former members of the Australian Defence Force, as well as their families.


Donate Now

Latest News


09 Oct 2020 

Budget 2020-21: Outcomes for Veterans and their Families 

On 6th October 2020, the Treasurer handed down the 2020-21 Federal Budget that reflects the extraordinary year in Australian history. Through unprecedented spending, the budget aims to fight off the coronavirus recession and address the economic and health challenges emerging from the pandemic. Here are the biggest measures affecting veterans and their families. 

Read more…

23 Sep 2020 

Submission to Attorney-General: Review of Bills Establishing the National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention 

The Association has presented its submission to the Attorney-General Task Force reviewing the bills to establish the National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention. 

Read more…

Connect with us


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National Office

National President – Director – Editor – –


ACT Chapter – South Wales Branch – Branch – Australia Branch – Branch – Australia Branch –

Defence Force Welfare Association – National Inc. PO Box 4166, Kingston ACT 2604 




Army sharpens focus on ethical soldiering amid war crimes allegations Special Operations Task Group soldiers at Multinational Base Tarin Kowt in Afghanistan, where some elite troops have been accused of committing acts of unsanctioned and illegal violence. Picture: Corporal Chris Moore.

BRENDAN NICHOLSON·         12:00AM OCTOBER 3, 2020 -·         72 COMMENTS

The Australian Army was focused intensely on rebuilding the cultural and ethical base of its special forces even before shocking allegations emerged that soldiers carried out multiple war crimes in Afghanistan.

NSW Supreme Court judge Paul Brereton, a major-general in the Army Reserve, has spent four years investigating claims that members of the Special Operations Task Group breached the Laws of Armed Conflict between 2005 and 2016.

Army commander Lieutenant General Rick Burr tells Inquirer he has not yet seen Justice Brereton’s report, as the inquiry is independent and ongoing. But as a special forces officer he finds the allegations deeply troubling.

“These are extremely serious allegations and not reflective of who we are, and who we must be as a professional institution. We are all determined to establish the facts so that we can act on them.”

Burr has written today to all Australian soldiers explaining why the investigation was launched and telling them to prepare for serious findings. “This is not who we are and not what we stand for,” he says.

“I am also concerned about the impact of those findings on those of you who served in Afghanistan and other operations and who served as professionals with pride and integrity. You did the right thing. You and your families should be proud of what you did and be confident to tell that story.”

He urges soldiers to reach out if they need help and says that support will be provided by the Army.

Brereton’s initial brief from the Inspector-General of the ADF (IGADF) was to ascertain whether there was truth in widespread rumours, but the result was much worse than most imagined.

In February, the inspector-general’s annual report revealed that there were 55 separate incidents or issues under inquiry, “predominantly unlawful killings of persons who were non-combatants or were no longer combatants, but also cruel treatment of such persons.”

Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said weeks ago the investigation was nearing its conclusion and warned that Australians would be dismayed by its findings.

ADF commanders have been working to rectify what they’ve described as “catastrophic cultural and professional shortfalls” within Special Operations Command (SOCOMD) and “corrosive’’ friction between the major special forces units, the Special Air Service Regiment and the commandos. Under the pressure of 20 intense rotations in Afghanistan, the special forces had become isolated from the rest of the Army.

They say this decline has been reversed and a restructured SOCOMD is now positioned to implement the Afghanistan inquiry’s findings and to rebuild the trust of government, defence and the public.

Identifying what went wrong on the Afghanistan missions, how deep a distorted warrior ethos went within the SAS, straightening out that ethos and ensuring that what appears to have been an entrenched culture of impunity in key parts of the special forces doesn’t emerge again, is a priority for the Army.

Burr, who commanded the SASR in 2003 and 2004, said that since the Army became aware of the allegations it had focused strongly on changing elements of the culture in the special forces and had introduced strong ethics training with the help of outside specialists.

“We’re holding ourselves to account,” he says. “We asked for this inquiry when we became aware of rumours around these matters. We needed to understand exactly what had happened and an independent inquiry was the only way to gain a clear picture.”

Lieutenant General Rick Burr

Burr says the most important job now facing him and Australian Defence Force chief General Angus Campbell is managing this issue and they will consider the report’s findings in detail.

He says he is concerned about the impact the findings would have on the thousands of men and women who have served in Afghanistan and who have behaved impeccably.

“Most people in Afghanistan did the right thing. The veterans and their families need to know that. Waiting for this report is exacting a very heavy toll.”

Burr says the Army had not been sitting back waiting for the Afghanistan report to be delivered. After a continuous operational effort for the Army and the ADF since East Timor in 1999, the need to consolidate lessons from operations and to implement reforms to be prepared for future challenges has been the focus of Army’s leadership.

Over the past five years, SOCOMD had been integrated within the broader Army structure and the command had embraced significant organisational, cultural and capability reforms.

“The leadership, structures and plans are now in place to assure the momentum of this substantial cultural and professional transformation,” Burr says. “Today our special forces are ready and deployable. They are a critical capability and there are many challenges on the horizon that we will need them for.”

Along with comprehensive reforms, the natural flow of new personnel through the ADF means 80 per cent of those serving in the SAS Regiment now had not deployed to Afghanistan in a special operations task group, Burr says.

“That reflects how quickly we can refresh and regenerate capability, and that gives us a strong platform to make sure we are embracing and inculcating these new initiatives and making sure that we are living these expectations every day.”

In 2015, the then special forces commander, Major General Jeff Sengelman, was concerned about the persistent allegations of special forces atrocities and raised them with Campbell, who was then chief of the army. Campbell, now chief of the ADF, is also a former special forces commander.

They commissioned sociologist Samantha Crompvoets to interview soldiers from the special forces and other ADF units and members of agencies who worked with them.

Crompvoets confirmed that there appeared to be serious problems with the behaviour of some members of the Special Operations Task Group in Afghanistan that may have extended to unsanctioned and illegal violence.

In 2018, Burr asked former ASIO chief David Irvine to review the comprehensive reforms that had been put in place in SOCOMD and gave him unfettered access to all aspects of the command.

Irvine found that after a decade of constant combat in Afghanistan and the Middle East, coupled with its other responsibilities, SOCOMD was “worn out and run down”. He warned that in an elite unit, esprit de corps could quickly turn into arrogance. In a closely-knit, inward-looking unit, “can do” could become “only we can do”. Australia’s special forces had to be well-grounded and humble, he said.

Irvine stressed the importance of a “redemption initiative” introduced by Sengelman which provided SOCOMD members with the opportunity to confess to transgressions and hold themselves to account. That enabled personnel who had conducted themselves in ways inconsistent with Army values to be “managed out”. He noted that the culture among some soldiers was such that they did not report serious crimes to senior officers, “sometimes for fear of ostracisation — or worse — within the unit.” Others did take the risk and spoke up enabling the IGADF to investigate.

Burr says the Army’s approach to bystander behaviour is very clear. “It’s critical to our profession that people call out bad behaviour when they see it. Concealing misconduct is not acceptable and does not align with our values. We want our people to call it out so it can be acted on quickly.

Burr says any bad behaviour in the armed forces should be called out.

“Moral courage and integrity are critical to our profession, and especially so for the sensitive capabilities held in our special forces. Army must be a safe environment where people feel empowered to come forward, confident that Army will take action against reports of misconduct.

“This culture is essential to being a trusted, respected, safe and high performing organisation at every level.”

Asked if the fact that the special forces operate in small groups, outside the immediate view of commanders, played a role in what has happened and meant that the model was no longer sustainable, Burr says that model did work and needed to be sustained.

“It has delivered us enormous success over many years and it’s a model that is used in many armies and, in particular, in special forces.

“The Australian Army relies on small teams. They have to be well led and they can make a big difference on the ground, whether that is supporting bushfire or counter-COVID operations, or warfighting. That is our command and control philosophy. In special forces it is an imperative.

“They need to be able to act with autonomy, to take advantage of a local situation to achieve their mission. For this operating model to continue to remain strong, trust in our junior leaders is critical. We must continue to invest in leadership and accountability and culture — which are my three key themes — and we will make our army as effective as it can be.”

One of Irvine’s recommendations was the appointment of a senior officer with considerable command experience from outside SOCOMD as an independent special forces adviser.

Major General Shane Caughey was appointed to that role in 2019 and he supports and monitors the implementation of reforms. “As a mentor, he’s lending his insight to SOCOMD and he’s an independent sounding board for me on special forces matters.” Burr says.

In any future operation, the adviser would ensure SOCOMD maintained good governance and oversight. A former warrant officer of the army has been appointed to ensure clear communications between the adviser and SOCOMD’s other ranks.

In March this year, to again assure himself that the necessary reforms were being implemented, Burr asked Irvine to re-examine the progress of the cultural and professional reforms within SOCOMD. Irvine concluded that the command was on target to meet its targets of major renewal and regeneration but the challenge remained substantial.

The three main goals were to deal with the most serious issues from Afghanistan, to reset the command to meet Australia’s special operations requirements and to prepare it for the changing strategic environment to come.

In terms of cultural change, there remained some pockets of resistance among old hands in the units, and these had been described as “pockets of permafrost”. And while pleasing progress had been made to restore the unit’s ethical base, more work could be done.

“Mr Irvine gave me independent assurance that we are indeed doing all of the right things but never to be complacent, to absolutely stay focused on the further implementation and consolidation of these initiatives, which I’m determined to do,” Burr says.

“And what I see every day in our Army is truly inspiring — selfless service, good people helping others, soldiers doing exactly what our nation expects. But if people do misstep there are structures in place to take action quickly. It is understood that behaviour inconsistent with our values is not tolerated.”

The Army is focussed on rebuilding the culture of its special forces.

As the Army prepares for the release of Brereton’s report, the existence emerged of an Instagram account tagged “State Sanctioned Violence” which the ABC reported was run by one former and one serving special forces soldier. The site reportedly had thousands of followers and carried a photograph of a bumper sticker declaring: “Make Diggers Violent Again”.

Burr says the Army is investigating. “I want to make it clear, this behaviour, this attitude, is not tolerated and does not align with Army’s values. Individuals who act contrary to our values compromise the respect and trust of their mates, their chain of command and the Australian public.

“If these allegations are substantiated, those at fault will be held accountable.” He says regardless of these challenges, the whole Army is focused on strengthening the individual character of all soldiers and ensuring they have a values-based approach to everything they do.

“A Good Soldiering framework has been designed to ensure that Army builds leaders of character who make good decisions, who always expect the best of themselves and of their teammates and collectively build high performing teams, teams based on trust and always operating in a legal, ethical and responsible way in everything that we do,” Burr says. “I want all Australians to be confident in their Army. We remain resolute in our commitment to serve the nation.”

Brendan Nicholson is the executive editor of The Strategist at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute


Attachment to Weekly News of 11 October 2020


Happy Birthday to Fred, Grant, Tom and John.   Hope all you blokes celebrate your special day with your family and friends.  Haven’t heard from Fred for a long time, has anybody else.












 Ulverstone TASMANIA 26-28 March 2021

Please email me to let us know:

  1. if you are a potential starter or,
  2. will not attend

There are 86 Potential starters to date.  


Russ and Georgina Nelson, Marty and Lyn Edwards, Doug and Trish Wilson, Nifty and Dianne Thomas, Rass and Ada Rasmussen, Knocker (Steve) White, Doug and Nyree Brown, Sandy and Rhonda Michels, Grant and Basia Dernedde, Kev and Larraine Uttley, Gordon and Nita Stringer, Mike and Jill Hogan, Schubes and Marian Schubert, Bryan and Kay Stapley, Max and Ann Lampo, Kim Dawe, Mick Gallagher, Rocky and Linda Freier, John and Lyn Hatchman, Stan and Margaret Church, Tom and Val Houldsworth, Darby Ashton, Bob and Pat Stupple, Rod and Karin Hazell, Rick and Lea Avery, Bongo and Jo Di Betta, Dave and Louie Borgo, Mal and Rob Chatfield, Ron and Bev Giveen, Fred Howes, Surfie and Joy Richards, Dave Scarce, Ian and Val Smith, Roger and Dee Collins, Butts and Margaret Butterfield, Jock McGregor and his wife, Jim Harris, Terry and Helen Dack, Narra and Tracy Narramore, Russ and Joy Dale, James Carroll, Wally and Robyn Gawne and Ted and Fiona Hase and Bristles and Lou Lassau.


Spike and Jean Jones, Errol Delaney, Knobby and Rhonda Clarke, Irish O’Leary, Barry and Kayemarie Andrews, Ron Pope, Greg Williams, Terry Coulthard, Ross Muller, Vic Dzodz, Dave Hanlon, Roy Rigg, Chris and Angela Jamieson, Davo and Faye Davison, Darkie and Shirley Rowland, Trevor Elias, Pooley and Janis Poole, Lew and Jo Smith, Tom Kinross, Boong Bartlett, Sandy Powell, Ross Gowers, Kev Bock, Spook Cairns, Les Barclay, Stevan Coll, Nick and Lynda Bryant, Barry and Margaret Parker, John and Luba Miscamble, George and Carol Pike, Jeff and Jenny Wake, Garry and Helen McGrath, Stewie Dewar, Gil Larsson, Rob Cavanagh, Jim Bush and Mal Ritchie.

 There is a Rowing Club Regatta at Ulverstone on the same weekend.  This group will compete for accommodation.


RAN Uniforms

Have a look at this.  This may take you back a few years.





From: Jacqui Lambie < Sunday, 11 October 2020 12:27 PMTo: Rick Avey <>Subject: Onya mate, our veterans thank you


Hey Rick Avey, thanks for getting on board! I’ll keep you in the loop about ways to help push this campaign all the way to a Royal Commission. We’ve got heaps coming, and I’m going to need all the help I can get.

While I’ve got you, have you seen our little contact your MP tool?

It’s a chance to actually directly lobby your local MP via email. We give you some facts about the need for a Royal Commission, we give you their contact details and help find them for you too. Plus, if you send it through this form and if they don’t respond, we can help chase them up with you. It’s pretty cool! Check it out here.

There’s other ways you can turbocharge this push for a Royal Commission. We need people to come on board in numbers I’ve never seen before.

I know it’s possible. Julie-Ann Finney’s petition has more than 300,000 signatures already. The public is on our side. We just need to show them that we have a chance to get a Royal Commission, but it’s a chance that closes soon.

Can you help us get the word out? You can pick which part of our outreach campaign to support on the page here.

Thanks again. Let’s push on.



Copied from Maccas Blog


“Continued support but nothing new for veterans in budget“! This is the direct link:  “Re-commitment to growth but nothing new in Defence budget”! This is the direct link: Heston Russell. He has put together a good yarn. His story relating to DVA chimes with a lot of peoples experiences. Not a good experience. Combative & so on is DVA. Over the seventeen years I had to deal with DVA I had three startling experiences. A DVA lady  found my  three   psyche reports in a stack of sheets a foot and a half high. She rang me and told me how to find them when I inspected my Documents in Newcastle. A Doctor working for DVA wrote a report that shocked me, The  AAT Judge & the DVA legal beagle.  The Gold Card arrived within the week. Dont give up. If you give up DVA  WIN.Did you know a KIWI was KIA in East Timor? WARSHIPS of the RAN photos. Bruce Abbott (two tours to VIETNAM on the good ship HOBART) has taken over our South Lake Macquarie Sub Branch and wants more RAN memorabilia than our RANCDA framed Flag Alpha. The photos dont have to be framed as the Sub Branch has plenty thank you. South Lake Macquarie RSL sub-Branch. 7 Yambo St, Morisset NSW 2264. Office: 02 49735680Aged Care. ALLITY is an aged care provider in forty four areas across Australia. My wife, Barb works for ALLITY locally (4 KLICKS away) & they are lucky to have her. She cares does our Barb. She caters to 140 Residents a shift.                       ALLITY have requested staff to forsake Clubs & Pubs (crowded venues) to help protect the aged residents. I attend DCWC for two hours on a Thursday arvo when the club is not crowded to assist that objective.                      Because of the COVID outbreak in Macarthur LGA I wont be attending Harrys function. Fourteen days isolated doesn’t appeal at all.                      I had withdrawn from a motor bike ride and a caravan trip so I could attend the INGLEBURN RSL function.                     Very disappointing outcome. 


Attachment to Weekly News of 4 October 2020

 Happy Birthday to Krackers, Russ, Davo, Robin and Jim.   Hope all you blokes celebrate your special day with your family and friendsl



















 Today at Westmar QLD

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Please find attached the October 2020 edition of Call The Hands, the Naval Historical Society’s monthly newsletter. 

Attached also are Occasional Papers 91 to 93.


Back copies of this newsletter and Occasional Papers are available on the Society’s website Research page.

Call the Hands

Occasional Paper 91

Occasional Paper 92

Occasional Paper 93


If you are receiving Call the Hands for the first time, unsolicited, it is because you are a new member or have come to our attention as a person who may find it of interest.


As always, feedback is welcome as are contributions in the form of factual stories and anecdotes which may not have been previously published.




David Michael



Attachment to Weekly News of 27 September 2020


Happy Birthday to Russ, Vic, Mick, Barry and Rick.  Hope all you blokes enjoy your special day celebrating with your family and friends.












Tasmania 2021

Please email me to let us know:

  1. if you are a potential starter or,
  2. will not attend

There are 74 Potential starters to date.  

Marty and Lyn Edwards, Doug and Trish Wilson, Nifty and Dianne Thomas, Rass and Ada Rasmussen, Knocker (Steve) White, Doug and Nyree Brown, Sandy and Rhonda Michels, Grant and Basia Dernedde, Kev and Larraine Uttley, Gordon and Nita Stringer, Mike and Jill Hogan, Schubes and Marian Schubert, Bryan and Kay Stapley, Mike and Jean Shephard, Max and Ann Lampo, Kim Dawe, Mick Gallagher, Rocky and Linda Freier, John and Lyn Hatchman, Stan and Margaret Church, Tom and Val Houldsworth, Darby Ashton, Bob and Pat Stupple, Rod and Karin Hazell, Rick and Lea Avery, Bongo and Jo Di Betta, Dave and Louie Borgo, Mal and Rob Chatfield, Ron and Bev Giveen, Fred Howes, Surfie and Joy Richards, Dave Scarce, Ian and Val Smith, Roger and Dee Collins, Butts and Margaret Butterfield, Jock McGregor and his wife, Jim Harris, Terry and Helen Dack, Narra and Tracy Narramore, Russ and Joy Dale, James Carroll, Wally and Robyn Gawne and Ted and Fiona Hase and Bristles and Lou Lassau.

Terry Coulthard, Ross Muller, Vic Dzodz, Dave Hanlon, Roy Rigg, Chris and Angela Jamieson, Davo and Faye Davison, Darkie and Shirley Rowland, Trevor Elias, Pooley and Janis Poole, Lew and Jo Smith, Tom Kinross, Boong Bartlett, Sandy Powell, Ross Gowers, Kev Bock, Spook Cairns, Les Barclay, Stevan Coll, Nick and Lynda Bryant, Barry and Margaret Parker, John and Luba Miscamble, George and Carol Pike, Jeff and Jenny Wake, Garry and Helen McGrath, Stewie Dewar, Gil Larsson, Rob Cavanagh, Jim Bush and Mal Ritchie have indicated they are non starters.    Thanks Blokes.


Ben Roberts-Smith VC


This is the case against Ben Roberts-Smith VC


This is part of an email trail (comments are not mine but I agree with them)

Life and death, no-one will want to become a copper or join military




This was on a navy website…pretty damn awful.…/NSD1485of2018…





Battle for FSB Andersen

FSB Anderson was a major battle, a forerunner to Coral and Balmoral, yet few know about it.Good readClick on the link


A wonderful bit of history as to where the name Choules comes from and after which the RAN ship is named. 

Although this video goes for over 29 minutes I found it extremely interesting and well worth watching – particularly those with a Defence Service / Naval background. 

It very easy to watch.   ESP if your working from home. <img role=” /><img role=” />



 This is a part autobiography of Guy Griffiths.

An interesting article by Rear Admiral Guy Griffiths – he was still playing competitive squash while still serving as an Admiral.




An Email trail…..



 G’Day Pat, anything positive to report from the Federations Virtual Congress on 16th/17th Sept?? Also the piece below is interesting re Tune Review, and why are rank and file TPI’s not told this?” What are these 29 recommendations affecting TPI’s??. And are TPI’s affected by the ‘Participant Service Guarantee’ and NDIS legislation??. Has the Federations give serious consideration to Jock O’Neill’s suggestion the Federation engage a professional lobbyist to advocate the TPI case 

for compensation parity  and justice and perhaps legal moves to hold the Morrison Govt accountable in High Court??…. regards, Allen

 The Governments response to the Tune report was (read excuses)

“The Government supports or supports in principle all 29 recommendations made in the Report.

While the Australian Government had previously committed to legislate the Participant Service Guarantee by 1 July 2020, 

this was delayed by the need to focus on the COVID-19 response and subsequent changes to 

Parliamentary and other processes. Draft amendments to the NDIS legislation to bring in the Guarantee and other 

improvements recommended by Mr Tune are in development.

Con Sappelli <


Attachment to Weekly News of 20 September 2020

Happy Birthday to Mick (current 63 JR of the year), Bungy, Ken (2010 co-ordinator of 50 year bash at LEEUWIN), Jeff (host of our Darwin wake in 2019). Irish, Harold, Ron and Selywn.  Hope all you blokes enjoy your special day celebrating with your family and friends.




















Tasmania 2021

Please email me to let us know:

  1. if you are a potential starter or,
  2. will not attend

There are 74 Potential starters to date.  

Marty and Lyn Edwards, Doug and Trish Wilson, Nifty and Dianne Thomas, Rass and Ada Rasmussen, Knocker (Steve) White, Doug and Nyree Brown, Sandy and Rhonda Michels, Grant and Basia Dernedde, Kev and Larraine Uttley, Gordon and Nita Stringer, Mike and Jill Hogan, Schubes and Marian Schubert, Bryan and Kay Stapley, Mike and Jean Shephard, Max and Ann Lampo, Kim Dawe, Mick Gallagher, Rocky and Linda Freier, John and Lyn Hatchman, Stan and Margaret Church, Tom and Val Houldsworth, Darby Ashton, Bob and Pat Stupple, Rod and Karin Hazell, Rick and Lea Avery, Bongo and Jo Di Betta, Dave and Louie Borgo, Mal and Rob Chatfield, Ron and Bev Giveen, Fred Howes, Surfie and Joy Richards, Dave Scarce, Ian and Val Smith, Roger and Dee Collins, Butts and Margaret Butterfield, Jock McGregor and his wife, Jim Harris, Terry and Helen Dack, Narra and Tracy Narramore, Russ and Joy Dale, James Carroll, Wally and Robyn Gawne and Ted and Fiona Hase and Bristles and Lou Lassau.

Vic Dzodz, Dave Hanlon, Roy Rigg, Chris and Angela Jamieson, Davo and Faye Davison, Darkie and Shirley Rowland, Trevor Elias, Pooley and Janis Poole, Lew and Jo Smith, Tom Kinross, Boong Bartlett, Sandy Powell, Ross Gowers, Kev Bock, Spook Cairns, Les Barclay, Stevan Coll, Nick and Lynda Bryant, Barry and Margaret Parker, John and Luba Miscamble, George and Carol Pike, Jeff and Jenny Wake, Garry and Helen McGrath, Stewie Dewar, Gil Larsson, Rob Cavanagh, Jim Bush and Mal Ritchie have indicated they are non starters.    Thanks Blokes.


CAUSES OF MENTAL CONFUSION  By the Professor Laurette of good books.


Mate I have been dealing with Mental illness in RAN Veterans for 17 years  as a volunteer by providing support to the veteran and his/her family  before they even get to Open Arms.


The problem in the West is we do not have enough people putting their hands up for volunteer duties.


I am 73 years young and I can last for approx. 1 year from now.  So who is going to relieve me.  No one.  And I do not have a problem with that.  All I hope is some of the Afghan and Iraq blokes will put up their hand.   If they do not do this will mean NO volunteer advocates at all in WA.   Regardless of what he RSLHQ WA says they will not be able to cope as the Vietnam Vets Volunteers withdraw.


This applies to across the board for every state.  Although I believe that RSL VIC has a problem in balancing the books.


So what is new?


Take care.


Jeff Wake OAM, RFD

2 ½ Pusser RAN Retd


100 years of Service






Hi Shipmates,


Sorry about the glitch on the Vendetta web site it turned out to be a server/cache issue that has now been resolved.   Be assured your good looks have not been lost into the cyber black hole and you are all now back on display in all your glory for all to see.


As for the planned All Darings Reunion in 2021 please don’t send your expressions of interest back to me.   I am not organising the reunion.   


Please send your expressions of interest to Bowie at any of the following contact points:


  HMAS Duchess Association                  2A Vince Place, MALUA BAY, NSW, 2536 


     Landline.                                                  +61 2 4471 2936                                                                 

     Mobile.                                                     +61 4 0324 3795                                                                 



Bill K.


Attachment to Weekly News of 13 September 2020


Happy Birthday to Spook, Bill, Roger, Bob, Terry Bruce, Bob, Don, Jim and Darryl.  Hope you all have a fabulous time celebrating your special day with family and friends.











no address



no address















Tasmania 2021

Please email me to let us know:

  1. if you are a potential starter or,
  2. will not attend

There are 74 Potential starters to date.  

Marty and Lyn Edwards, Doug and Trish Wilson, Nifty and Dianne Thomas, Rass and Ada Rasmussen, Knocker (Steve) White, Doug and Nyree Brown, Sandy and Rhonda Michels, Grant and Basia Dernedde, Kev and Larraine Uttley, Gordon and Nita Stringer, Mike and Jill Hogan, Schubes and Marian Schubert, Bryan and Kay Stapley, Mike and Jean Shephard, Max and Ann Lampo, Kim Dawe, Mick Gallagher, Rocky and Linda Freier, John and Lyn Hatchman, Stan and Margaret Church, Tom and Val Houldsworth, Darby Ashton, Bob and Pat Stupple, Rod and Karin Hazell, Rick and Lea Avery, Bongo and Jo Di Betta, Dave and Louie Borgo, Mal and Rob Chatfield, Ron and Bev Giveen, Fred Howes, Surfie and Joy Richards, Dave Scarce, Ian and Val Smith, Roger and Dee Collins, Butts and Margaret Butterfield, Jock McGregor and his wife, Jim Harris, Terry and Helen Dack, Narra and Tracy Narramore, Russ and Joy Dale, James Carroll, Wally and Robyn Gawne and Ted and Fiona Hase.   Bristles and Lou Lassau attendance is conditional on circumstances.

Vic Dzodz, Dave Hanlon, Roy Rigg, Chris and Angela Jamieson, Davo and Faye Davison, Darkie and Shirley Rowland, Trevor Elias, Pooley and Janis Poole, Lew and Jo Smith, Tom Kinross, Boong Bartlett, Sandy Powell, Ross Gowers, Kev Bock, Spook Cairns, Les Barclay, Stevan Coll, Nick and Lynda Bryant, Barry and Margaret Parker, John and Luba Miscamble, George and Carol Pike, Jeff and Jenny Wake, Garry and Helen McGrath, Stewie Dewar, Gil Larsson, Rob Cavanagh, Jim Bush and Mal Ritchie have indicated they are non starters.    Thanks Blokes.

Does anybody remember Peter Dahlstrom


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Deceased 1995 (circa) buried at Daylesford





I’m writing to advise you that DVA’s new number 1800 VETERAN (1800 838 372) will become DVA’s primary access number for veterans and their families.


This change is part of DVA’s Veteran Centric Reform Program which includes improvements to our telephone channel to make it easier for veterans and their families to speak to the right person at the first point of contact.


You will start to see 1800 VETERAN (1800 838 372) rather than the previous general enquiry number 1800 555 254 in our publications and correspondence and on our website and other online portals. This is a gradual process and 1800 555 254 will remain active for some time yet until 1800 VETERAN (1800 838 372) is well embedded. Some other external-facing numbers will remain for specific needs, including the transport bookings and Ex-service Organisation lines.


Phone numbers for other non-DVA services will stay the same. For example, the current phone numbers for Open Arms and the Veterans’ Review Board, will stay the same.


I appreciate your support when communicating with your members to please start referring them to 1800 VETERAN (1800 838 372) as the primary contact number for DVA.





The Vendetta Veterans Association has upgraded our web site and it is now available at .  The old web site was hijacked by a Chinese casino and now has dropped off the horizon.


The information on the web site has been updated but all the history and old photos have been retained.


There are a number of pages containing information but keep an eye on the “Coming Events & News” page which is updated on a regular basis.


Please take an opportunity to visit the web site and enjoy the content.



By: Arnaldo Liechtenstein, physician.


Whenever I teach clinical medicine to students in the fourth year of medicine, I ask  the following question:

What are the causes of mental confusion in the elderly?

Some offer: “Tumors in the head”.  I answer: No!

Others suggest: “Early symptoms of Alzheimer’s”.  I answer again: No!

With each rejection of their answers, their responses dry up. And they are even more  open-mouthed when I list the three most common causes:

– uncontrolled diabetes;

– urinary infection;

– dehydration

 It may sound like a joke, but it isn’t.  People over 60 constantly stop feeling thirsty  and consequently stop drinking fluids. When no one is around to remind them to drink fluids, they quickly dehydrate.  Dehydration is severe and affects the entire body.  It may cause abrupt mental confusion, a drop in blood pressure, increased heart palpitations,  angina (chest pain), coma and even death. *This habit of forgetting to drink fluids begins at age 60, when we have just over 50% of the water we should have in our bodies.  People over 60 have a lower water reserve. This is part of the natural aging process.*


 But there are more complications. Although they are dehydrated, they don’t feel like  drinking water, because their internal balance mechanisms don’t work very well. 


 *Conclusion:* People over 60 years old dehydrate easily, not only because they have a  smaller water supply, but also because they do not feel the lack of water in the body. Although people over 60 may look healthy, the performance of reactions and chemical functions can damage their entire body. 


So here are two alerts:

 1) *Get into the habit of drinking liquids*. Liquids include water, juices, teas, coconut water,  milk, soups, and water-rich fruits, such as watermelon, melon, peaches and pineapple; Orange and tangerine also work, as well as cucumbers.


 *The important thing is that, every two hours, you must drink some liquid.  Remember  this!*


2) Alert for family members: constantly offer fluids to people over 60.  At the same  time, observe them. If you realize that they are rejecting liquids and, from one day to the next, they are irritable, breathless or display a lack of attention, these are almost certainly recurrent symptoms of dehydration. 


Arnaldo Liechtenstein (46), physician, is a general practitioner at Hospital das Clínicas and  a collaborating professor in the Department of Clinical Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of São Paulo (USP).

 Your friends and family need to know for themselves and help you to be healthier and happier.


It’s good to share!  


*For people over 60* (Note, he doesn’t include Whisky or Beer!)