Attachments to Weekly News

Attachment to Weekly News of 20 June 2021


Happy Birthday to Dolly, Bill, Chris, Lindsay, John, Spook and Moose.   Hope all you blokes have a memorable day celebrating with your family and friends.















Ron (Moose)



Judy Potter


Judy was rummaging through Hoss’ memorabilia.  Have a look at what she found.  A lot of names you will identify with.  Were you in the mix and remember this. I do.  I watched from the sidelines.  Never forget Pete Mc Vee running the distance race, his performance was just pure guts.  Bet you there were other memorable performances also.  Have a look at the attachment, its great reading.


June 14 issue of The Daily Telegraph Digital Edition

While our soldiers on the ground act with honour, the top brass have a lot to answer for 

WOULD you honestly let your son or daughter join the Australian Defence Force today? How can an organisation that actually contains some of the finest, best-trained and professional people in the country have such an appalling public image? 

It is certainly not the fault of the dedicated men and women who serve in the Australian army, navy and air force. They remain a credit to the uniform they proudly wear and continue to have the support of the Australian people. 

The problem lies with the military top brass who have disgracefully abandoned those beneath them and run for cover once the criticism starts. 

This is the same bunch of so-called leaders who ran the operation in Afghanistan from the comfort and safety of a completely different country — the Joint Taskforce headquarters at the Al Minhad Airbase in the United Arab Emirates. 

Like First World War generals, they sat back while those under their command were fighting in the dirt. 

For years, the bungling military leadership has suppressed the stories of heroism and sacrifice our warriors have made on our behalf. 

Difficult word that, warriors, but I will come back to it. 

When media organisations requested access to embed with our troops in Afghanistan, the top brass refused, denying Australians the chance to hear and see just what our soldiers were doing there. 

In Britain, the media ran regular reports of soldiers fighting in the desert . It is hard to believe Prince Harry managed to blow the enormous public love and support he won from the coverage of his exploits with the British Army in Afghanistan. 

When the coffins came home with the British flag draped over them, they were welcomed back by proud Brits literally lining the streets to thank them for their sacrifice. 

In Australia, the politicians were worried that flag-draped coffins would cost them votes. Particularly in a war where the nervous generals would not allow any details of the heroic actions our soldiers were taking part in to be told. 

The answer was to send the SAS back on high rotation, many of them flying out to Tarin Kowt with a psychiatric waiver in their kit bag for the trauma they suffered and had not dealt with from the last tour. 

Barrister Bruce McClintock, in the opening address of his client Ben Roberts-Smith’s defamation case against Nine and three of its journalists last week, said the Victoria Cross winner and his colleagues were sent to Afghanistan to kill insurgents. 

“If people have a quarrel with that, it should be with the government that sent the soldiers to war and not the soldiers themselves,” he said. 

This was a war, like Vietnam, where the enemy blended seamlessly with the general population. And they were killers. 

In its latest annual report, Amnesty International said: “In May, a maternity hospital in the Dasht-e-Barchi neighbourhood in the west of the capital, Kabul, was attacked by gunmen. They killed 24 people, including newborn babies, pregnant women and health workers.” 

That is the calibre of people our Australian soldiers were fighting. 

But that is not the story our military top brass chose to tell the Australian people. When they finally allowed a journalist access, they chose Gold Walkley winner Chris Masters, who was writing a book. He latched onto the gripes of envy and bitching in an exhausted cohort and produced an expose. The military leaders then hired “feminist civilian” sociologist Dr Samantha Crompvoets, who they have so far paid more than $6.5m, to look at cultural change. 

Last week she doubled down on her woke agenda without understanding that she is actually alienating the majority of the rank-and-file in the military. 

She was given access to the SAS and after a short time with them came out with uncorroborated stories of war crimes, which, if true, would be terrible. But where was her evidence? 

Next, we got the Brereton inquiry, which was “not bound by the rules of evidence” and came up with 25 elite soldiers who were involved in unlawfully killing 39 Afghan men and adolescent males. No one has been charged but careers have been ruined without trial as Defence issues soldiers with “show cause” notices as to why they should not be sacked. 

What a shemozzle. 

New Defence Minister Peter Dutton took the correct decision in staring down the baying mob and reinstating the medal for all those who served in Afghanistan. Retrospective history is ugly. Those soldiers cannot go back in history and decide not to put their lives on the line for their country. 

It takes months and years for Defence to break a civilian down and turn them into a soldier. 

But at the other end, for far too long our veterans have been spat out with no effort put into preparing and rebuilding them for civilian life. Thank you for your service. 

When The Daily Telegraph joined the mothers of veterans who had taken their own lives in calling for a royal commission into veteran suicide , the response from the military top brass was a deafening silence. They wanted it to go away. 

Fortunately, there are some with greater fortitude and a stronger moral compass than those sitting behind big desks in Defence and jostling for a crack at being the next governor-general . 

In April, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a long overdue royal commission into the issue. 

So, we return to the word warrior. It seems we ask our soldiers to be warriors and then complain when they are. The split-second , life-or-death decision made in the dust of Afghanistan is easily judged from the couch of a lounge room in Sydney. 

No one is endorsing war crimes, and if there is evidence it should be brought forward. But the majority of our brave men and women in the Australian armed forces are good moral people making a far greater sacrifice than the rest of us in standing up for our country. 

They deserve our support and that of their commanders. 

Unfortunately, Defence leadership is a disgrace, its self-serving leaders have betrayed the men and women they are supposed to lead. Mr Dutton has a huge job on his hands to change the insipid rainbow culture that has been foisted on our armed forces. 

He needs to take a broom through the place and the best place to start is at the top. 

Copyright © 2021 News Pty Limited



Naval Legends: Bofors






For those that have experienced lengthy periods at sea know how it affects morale and the condition of the ship.  Have a look at this attachment:



Military Flight Deck 1960″



View Online


National Newsletter
June 2021






Greetings members and friends,


The veteran space has certainly been active over the past few months. Here is a run down of the important issues.

Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide

Since the last time I wrote to you, there has been a significant change in the Government’s approach to the issue of veteran suicide. On 19 April 2021, the Prime Minister announced the establishment of a Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide.


The Royal Commission is expected to examine the systemic issues and any common themes and past deaths by suicide of Australian Defence Force members and veterans and the experience of members and veterans who may continue to be at risk of suicide.


This includes all aspects of service in the Australian Defence Force and the experience of those transitioning; the availability and quality of health and support services; pre-service and post-service issues for members and veterans; members’ and veterans’ social and family contexts, such as family breakdown, as well as housing and employment issues for members and veterans.


DFWA welcomes this announcement. As a key veteran organisation, we will work with and assist the Royal Commission where we are able to, so that just, positive, and enduring outcomes are achieved through the process.


DFWA made a submission to the terms of reference public consultation process, which you can read, here.


We will be providing regular updates as the Royal Commission is established and proceeds.

Productivity Commission Report Recommendations

In the past, we had expressed a concern that a Royal Commission may delay the implementation of the Productivity Commission’s recommendations. Unfortunately, this concern has materialised.


Of the 69 recommendations in the report:

  • 2 were rejected.
  • 12 have been implemented.
  • 21 are progressing.
  • 34 are pending further consideration.


DVA highlights that the 34 recommendations pending further consideration primarily related to structural and legislative reform. These outstanding matters will now be finalised at the completion of the Royal Commission.


While we understand that general rationale, many of those recommendations—if implemented—would improve the lives of many veterans and their families. We will continue to press government to implement those recommendations which are unlikely to be substantially modified by the Royal Commission.


DVA and Defence will continue to progress the 21 administrative recommendations. We will continue to monitor and keep you informed. View our recommendation tracker, here.


Senate Inquiry Into Accuracy of Information Provided to DFRDB Members

Recently, the Senate established an Inquiry into the accuracy of information provided to DFRDB members. The inquiry was initiated by the ALP and independents in the Senate, and is being conducted by the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee, which is due to report by 24 June 2021.


DFWA—after detailed consideration—focused its submission on what we believe to be achievable in the present political and bureaucratic environment: that the majority of DFRDB pensioners will live well beyond the life expectancy legislated for in 1973. The act reflects the 1960-62 Bureau of Statistics life tables. In the intervening years, life expectancy has risen by over ten years!


The reduction in their super pension because they commuted, was based on the lower life expectancies of 1962. In simple terms, this results in a bigger reduction in pension than if the longer life expectancies of more recent years were used, and this effect of this continues as life expectancies increase.


The reduction in pension was supposed to be based on the life expectancy of the member at date of discharge. We object strongly to the use of out-of-date life tables in super pension calculations. This is at the centre of the DFWA case.


You can read our written submission, here.


Hearing Aids

Many of you will have read Bert Hoebee’s excellent article about the dissatisfaction of veterans dealing with compensable hearing loss, published in the November 2020 edition of Camaraderie. If you haven’t, you can read it, here.


Since the article was published, we have received feedback from members and other veterans that improving access to hearing services is an issue worthy of advancing. Hearing loss is a significant occupational hazard for ADF members, and given the nature of service, that is unlikely to change.


We are seeking your feedback about your experience accessing hearing services, and your thoughts on the direction we should take. Let us know via our feedback form, here.


Be sure to check out the follow up article, in the next issue of Camaraderie.



DFWA advocates to government on a range of issues that affect all cohorts of veterans. We do this on a on a very tight budget. While we do get some small grants for pensions and welfare support, this is mainly at the branch level. Our main sources of income are through annual membership fees and donations.


Please consider donating to DFWA, so we can continue to advocate on behalf of veterans. All donations greater than $2 are tax deductible.


You can donate by credit/debit card on our website, here.


Your help is appreciated!


DFRDB and Military Super Invalidity Benefits

During the May 2021 National Executive meeting, the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC) ADF liaison officer briefed us on how they are implementing the taxation changes, following the Federal Court decision in Commissioner of Taxation v Douglas. You can read about the brief to the National Executive, and the questions we asked, here.


The Douglas decision relates to how invalidity benefits are treated for tax purposes and it affects around 16,000 veterans. You can read more about it, here. 


Medicare Benefits Schedule Changes

I recently wrote to the Secretary of DVA about the upcoming changes to the Medicare Benefits Schedule, due to come into effect on 1 July 2021. 


Many will know that DVA Gold and White card funding arrangements mirror the funding under Medicare. Members have expressed their concern that the changes may have a negative impact on DVA funded medical treatment.


DVA have issued some advice on this matter, which you can access here. DVA are advising there will be no reduction in treatment funding, although they do note that the changes will flow through.


If your medical treatment is negatively impacted by the changes, please get in touch and let us know through our feedback form, here.


Take care,

Kel Ryan, President DFWA










Defence Force Welfare Association – National Inc.

Bldg D2 Bruche Road
Royal Military College of Australia
Duntroon, ACT 2600








Attachment to Weekly News of 13 June 2021


Happy Birthday to Pete, Geoff, Buck (spoke to Buck today), Mal, Missy, Ron, Dave, Gordon and Dolly.  Hope you blokes have a marvellous time celebrating your special day with your family and mates.























Unexploded Ordnance Port Lincoln


Call the Hands




US, Japan, Australia Navy back to Subic Bay After China wants to control the western Philippine 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…




Attachment to Weekly News of 6 June 2021


Happy Birthday to Tony, Surfie, Nick, Sid and Geoff.  Hope you blokes have a sensational day enjoying yourselves with your family and mates













no address


Jeff Wake reports (tongue in cheek


We have only had 1 reunion in WA.  Now from a Sandgropers point of view, you guys get cheaper airfares from the Eastern seaboard than we do in WA.


We used to go to Bali for 2 weeks including airfares much cheaper that doing a return airfare to the Eastern States.


So what is the incentive for us to go east.   Leeuwin is in WA and it might be sold [currently Defence have stuffed up the Contract again] or they are waiting for Chinese interest in a prime real estate.  So by all means go to Tassie next year but not many of you eastern stateres want to come to WA.  So we are wasting our money going east.  As simple as that.


I am trying to get to the bottom of the Leeuwin BarrACKS SALE AND IT IS A NIGHT MARE.  My broken little finger cause during volleyball on the Vung Tau Ferry always presses the caps lock.


Now that is another claim I can put into DVA.  Spastic Fingers cause due to war service… Oh well..


So I guess we are all getting old and frail OR our partner, spouse is getting frail and we really cant travel all that far.  Plus the expensive airfares out of Perth.


Anyway enough of my winge.


Currently looking after 2 widows and one is an ex JR, Dee Hart the wife of Maxy Hart ex Nakina bloke who joined up with me.   10JUL63.


Rugby take care mate and enjoy life.


Kind regards


Combat Scribbler



Flight-Lieutenant Freddie Nicoll, Hurricane pilot who attacked enemy shipping in the Adriatic – obituary

After reconnaissance sorties in Africa, he was based on the island of Vis, targeting re-supply ships and flying low-level night missions

ByTelegraph Obituaries1 June 2021 • 4:49pm


Freddie Nicoll, centre, prepares to lay a wreath in 2011 at the RAF Memorial on the Croatian island of Vis, where he served during the Second World War CREDIT: Heathcliff O’Malley

Flight Lieutenant Freddie Nicoll, who has died aged 100, flew Hurricanes during the desert war in North Africa and from bases in Italy against targets in the Adriatic and Yugoslavia.

He joined 6 Squadron in late 1943. It was equipped with a later model of the Hurricane modified to carry rockets in place of two of its cannons. The squadron had gained fame during the desert campaign as a “tank-busting” squadron but its new role was to be anti-shipping operations. Early in 1944 it moved to southern Italy.

Nicoll flew his first operation with 6 Squadron on April 5 1944, when he attacked targets in Corfu harbour. Over the next few weeks he attacked armed schooners, barges and ferries carrying supplies to coastal areas. On May 3, his leader’s aircraft was hit by flak during an attack on a schooner. He was eventually forced to bale out and Nicoll, who had escorted him, searched the sea area for him, but in vain.

Desperately short of fuel, Nicoll made a forced landing on the rudimentary forward airstrip on the island of Vis off the Croatian coast. Refuelling from jerry cans, he returned to his squadron the following day.

Targets in Albania and along the Dalmatian coast were attacked with rockets but the primary objective was to destroy the enemy’s re-supply vessels. Nicoll attacked patrol boats, and on May 23 his rockets blew a hole in the side of a 5,000-ton cargo ship, which caught fire.


By the end of May, Nicoll was flying many of his sorties from Vis, which allowed the Hurricanes and their Spitfire escorts to cover most of the Adriatic. Many vessels were hit so the enemy shipping started to sail at night. Nicoll led attacks against them flying at very low level and firing his rockets in level flight.

In August, the squadron’s commanding officer was shot down, resulting in Nicoll’s promotion to flight commander. He led many sorties from Vis and others from Brindisi. By early October he had completed 55 operations, many against fierce anti-aircraft fire, and he had witnessed the loss of several pilots flying in his formations. He was awarded the DFC for his “courage and devotion to duty”.

In later years he modestly commented: “Whilst with 6 Squadron, a number of small ships, and a few bigger ones, got in the way of my rockets, which happened to be carrying 60lb high-explosive heads. In appreciation of this, I was issued with a piece of blue and white ribbon!”

The son of a bricklayer, John Frederick Nicoll was born in Walthamstow on November 5 1920 and educated at the local Sir George Monoux Grammar School. He enlisted in the RAF in November 1940 and six months later started his flying training.


Peter Bickmore, Reg Ellis and Freddie Nicoll after throwing commemorative wreaths into the sea at Vis CREDIT: Heathcliff O’Malley

He sailed for South Africa before travelling to Salisbury in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), where he spent the next eight months completing his pilot training. He was commissioned and left for Egypt, and on to Syria to train on Hurricanes in the tactical reconnaissance role. In September 1942 he joined 208 Squadron at Burg-el-Arab, 40 miles behind the front line in the Western Desert.

The Eighth Army was established at El Alamein and the squadron flew reconnaissance sorties to identify enemy positions and ground movements. Nicoll flew his first sortie on October 3, when he acted as the “weaver” (escort) to a colleague who concentrated on taking photographs and making visual observations.

Over the next few days, Nicoll flew further sorties when large concentrations of enemy vehicles and tanks were noted. On the 12th, on a sortie to the edge of the Qattara Depression, he reported over 600 motor transports dispersed and heavy movements of road traffic in the region. On later sorties he photographed the enemy’s forward defence positions.

When the Battle of Alamein commenced, Nicoll’s flight had been withdrawn to the Canal Zone, with the squadron’s other two flights seeing most of the action.


Comrades reunited. l-r: Nicoll, John Rivett, Ellis and Bickmore CREDIT: Heathcliff O’Malley

At the beginning of 1943 the squadron moved to Kirkuk in Iraq for intensive training and to provide support for the Army’s 21 Corps and the Polish Brigade Group. After six months it moved to Rayak in Syria, and in October Nicoll was posted to 6 Squadron.

On his return to England after three and a half years, Nicoll joined a ferry flight delivering aircraft throughout the United Kingdom. His final posting was to 631 Squadron based in West Wales, equipped with the Griffon-engined Spitfire and the Vengeance, towing target drogues for visiting squadrons to practice air-to-air firing. He was finally demobilised in May 1946.

Taking advantage of a government training scheme, Nicoll attended Brixton School of Building and became a quantity surveyor before working in Wrexham, and Stevenage, where he later established his own company.

A man with a keen sense of humour and fun, he was an enthusiastic actor with the Lytton Players in Stevenage. He was also a self-taught musician, playing the piano, clarinet and accordion to a high standard. During his time in the desert he had found an abandoned accordion, which he kept. Many years later when he had it serviced, one pound of North African sand was recovered from its workings.


Bickmore, Nicoll, Rivett and Ellis arriving for the memorial service in 2011 CREDIT: Heathcliff O’Malley

During his time in Stevenage he became a justice of the peace and was president of the local Rotary Club. When he retired in the early 1990s he moved to Cumbria, where he played the organ in the Eden churches, and he was active on the golf course into his nineties.

He made several visits to the island of Vis, where the locals treated him as a hero. His last visit was in May 2011, when he joined other veterans and laid a wreath on the RAF memorial.

Nicoll was a devoted member of the 6 and 208 Squadron Associations and rarely missed an annual reunion, travelling from Carlisle to London to attend until a few years ago. On his 100th birthday he was given an honour guard by members of the current 6 Squadron as a Spitfire and a Mustang flew over his home.

Freddie Nicoll married Doreen, a WAAF flight mechanic, in 1944; she died in 1997. Their son and two daughters, and Ruth, his companion of 21 years, survive him.

Freddie Nicoll, born November 5 1920, died May 14 2021  




Australian Defence Force Retirees Association Inc. No. A0108026R We represent the interests of Defence Force Retirees regarding their Superannuation www: Email:



Senate Inquiry into DFRDB

On 20 May 2021, the FADT Reference Committee held its open hearing into DFRDB.

The hearing can still be viewed by clicking on this link:

Foreign Affairs Defence & Trade – 20/05/2021 08:50:00 – Parliament of Australia (

Testimony of each witness commences at:

09:07:15 – Ken Stone, Independent Advocate

09:41:30 – Herb Ellerbock, ADFRA

10:39:46 – Kel Ryan and Wyn Fowles, DFWA

11:05:48 – Defence and Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation

12:00:04 – The Commonwealth Ombudsman

Only 50% participation by the Committee members was a disappointment, as was the level of preparedness of the Senators who did participate.

The proposal put forward by DFWA is a real concern. It would provide the least benefit for the majority who have been retired the longest and the most benefit, albeit still only small, for the 900 odd members who have not yet retired and the relative few most recently retired.

If you support the DFWA proposal, please let us know. If not, let Kel Ryan know by emailing him at

Predictably, D_e_f_e_n_c_e_ _h_i_d_ _b_e_h_i_n_d_ _t_h_e_ _O_m_b_u_d_s_m_a_n_’s_

_R_e_p_o_r_t_,_ _a_n_d_ _C_S_C_ _h_i_d_ _b_e_h_i_n_d_ _t_h_e_ _DFRDB Act. Their view was,_ _“the Act_ _i_s_ _w_h_a_t_ _i_t_ _i_s_”._ _

The Ombudsman went to lengths to defend the criticism of his Report.

Supplementary Submissions

We put two Supplementary Submissions to the Committee which have been accepted. They can be viewed by clicking on these links:

Supplementary submission 1

Supplementary submission 2

N_o_w_ _w_e_ _a_w_a_i_t_ _t_h_e_ _C_o_m_m_i_t_t_e_e_’s_ _R_e_p_o_r_t_._ _

Jim Hislop OAM




Attachment to Weekly News of 30 May 2021


Happy Birthday to Dave, Doug, JT, Ron, Lindon, Bongo and Sandy.  Hope you blokes have a fabulous time celebrating your special day with your family and friends.















Di Betta





The AFP should ‘walk a mile’ in the shoes of the soldiers they’re investigating: McGregor

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…



Ross Gowers on Ben Roberts-Smith


If I am and it is correct enough, in order  say so and you feel comfortable in doing so, then pass this on to everyone.

Channel 9 just lost its witch hunt on taking VC recipient Ben Roberts-Smith to court on counts of murder.


How sad it is that we allow such shallow media fill our news hours on behalf of their single minded agenda of pretending to be the real voice of the real news.

So now they have once again shown themselves to be as shallow as the out-going tide and only ever care about being pretend legends of the truth.


I merely ask, if correctly to do so, for all and everyone of similar vein to me, to send an email to CH9 News (as I have already done) and express your thoughts.

Mind you, we can always simply sit back, say nothing, do nothing and nothing will change.

Ross Gowers


History of the Supply Officer




Attachment to Weekly News of 23 May 2021


Happy Birthday to Jim, Garry, Jack and Bob.  Hope you blokes enjoy your special day celebrating it with your family and friends.











no address




Excellent! Well done.


John Miscamble


Having read the final ‘put together report’ and answers to questions  posed about time at Leeuwin in the early 60’s  in all manner of what went on there. The overall responses from us JR’s  came as no surprise to me.

What was, was and in the simplicity of such, that was what it was. Put up with the shit and move on. For there was hopefully light at the end of the tunnel and a mere year there  was worth putting up with in order to ‘drag us into line’ and be prepared for moving on and  what the Navy really meant when we joined the fleet.

Thanks for what must have been many an hour and many a day, to bring this Survey  and submissions together.

Most interesting readings indeed.




Ken Railton was my Divvie officer in Kaiber 1 and he was a true white man. One of the best blokes I ever had the pleasure to meet. He actually saved my bacon from being  discharged when CPO Walton, who was our training CPO hit me over the knuckles with the back side of a bayonet because , according to him, my fingers were not straight down. I dropped my rifle and then proceeded to drop him. Of  course that was really instant discharge but Ken went into bat for me at the Commodores hearing stating that at no time was a recruit to be ever assaulted by anyone, let alone a weapon. This action changed the course of bastardization in the ranks. I was later promoted to LJR. Oh, by the way, Walton was pissed off back to sea. At no time in my 12 months at Leeuwin did I ever find the discipline too hard. At times I laughed at CHOOKS realizing that it made me fitter and more prone to toughen me up. But then again I spent my entire schooling life in boarding schools which I found to be a long way ahead of naval discipline. Anyway Ron, we are still alive and I spend my days in the gym and walking with my wife and dog. Cheers. Pooley.




Attachment above


Dutton bans dress-up events in Defence department in war against ‘woke agenda’

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…


Defence declares war on political correctness, bans morning teas aimed at promoting inclusion and diversity

By defence correspondent Andrew Greene, and staff

The message came days after Defence celebrated the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT).(

Defence: Nicci Freeman


The military has been ordered to stop holding morning teas which celebrate diversity and inclusion, as Defence chiefs remind personnel their “primary mission” is to protect Australia.

Key points:

  • A directive sent out today said changing language protocols and morning teas was “not required”
  • It said nothing should distract from Defence’s mission to protect Australia’s national security interest
  • The message came just days after Defence celebrated its LGBTI members at morning teas

In a directive issued on Friday, the Defence Chief and Defence Secretary told ADF members that “Defence represents the people of Australia” and that it “must at all times be focused on our primary mission to protect Australia’s national security interests”.

“We must not be putting effort into matters that distract from this,” General Angus Campbell and Defence Secretary Greg Moriarty wrote.

“To meet these important aims, changing language protocols and those events such as morning teas where personnel are encouraged to wear particular clothes in celebration are not required and should cease.”

The order is in stark contrast to a message issued to ADF members earlier this month, encouraging them to support their LGBTI colleagues on International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) on May 17.

In the advice issued by Defence People Group, ADF members were encouraged to take part in activities such as “hosting morning teas” and “wearing visible rainbow clothing or ally pins”.

The Defence bosses said morning teas where staff are asked to wear certain clothes in celebration “should cease”.(

Defence: Damian Pawlenko

The advice noted Defence’s current strategy to improve its culture, which it argued underlined “Defence’s commitment to building capability through inclusion”.

“By recognising IDAHOBIT, Defence is demonstrating its support for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) colleagues, friends and family by standing against prejudice and discrimination, and demonstrating inclusion,” the May 3 advice said.

“Defence’s ability to deliver on government’s strategic objectives hinges on how our people choose to interact and conduct themselves, both individually and collectively.”

Chief of Defence Force General Angus Campbell (pictured), and the Secretary of Defence issued the directive.(

Defence: Lauren Larking


Friday’s directive to “cease” holding LGBTI events, as well as reversing politically correct language changes, came just days after ADF members took part in IDAHOBIT morning teas across the country.

General Campbell and Mr Moriarty said they had “made it clear to all Service Chiefs and Group Heads that combat and organisational capability is to be delivered through our well-developed training and education programs, exercises and operational experience, with respectful behaviours, underpinned by Defence values”.

Hastie says military’s core business is ‘lethal violence’

Assistant Defence Minister Andrew Hastie tells military personnel their “core business” will always be the “application of lethal violence”.

Read more


Last month the ABC revealed new Assistant Defence Minister Andrew Hastie had told military personnel their “core business” was always the “application of lethal violence” and warned that “mission clarity” was vital to their work.

At the time, Liberal backbencher Phillip Thompson, also a former soldier, said Mr Hastie and new Defence Minister Peter Dutton were making sure the ADF was focused on its main tasks.

“Having Minister Dutton at the helm and leading our Australian Defence Force, we’re bringing back our core values — we’ve gone a little bit woke over the past few years and we can’t afford to be doing that,” he said.

Defence has been contacted for comment.

‘A slap in the face’

Australian Catholic University historian Noah Riseman, who has written two books on Defence Force culture, said he was saddened for LGBTQI military personnel.

“This is a slap in their face, and I worry about what’s going to come for them next,” he said.

Professor Riseman said General Campbell and Mr Moriarty had to follow the government’s orders, and blamed the sudden shift on “right-wing culture warriors and their allies in the right-wing media”.

Former defence ministers Marise Payne and Christopher Pyne were described as LGBTQI “allies”.(

ABC News: Matt Roberts


He said the change contradicted more than a decade of Defence staffing policy.

“Multiple chiefs, vice-chiefs, the chief of army have all been saying that having a diverse and inclusive Defence Force — whether it be LGBTQI people, Indigenous Australians, women, more people from multicultural backgrounds, Muslims — makes it stronger,” he said.

“It increases the knowledge base, it increases their thinking capacity.”

Professor Riseman said Mr Dutton’s approach was entirely unlike that of his Liberal predecessors.

“In the past, we’ve been very fortunate to have allies in the role of defence minister, be that Christopher Pyne or Marise Payne or even Linda Reynolds,” he said.

“We don’t have an ally as defence minister any more.”

The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), which represents some Defence Department staff, said the organisation should reflect the community it served.

“If having a morning tea for Reconciliation Week, International Women’s Day or International Day Against Homophobia is stopping our national security efforts, then we have a real problem,” CPSU deputy president Brooke Muscat said.


Attachment above



Hunter Class Frigate


Russian Marines retake the MV Moscow University | May 2010



Always plenty on, but I want to take this first sentence to check in with you, wherever you are, and thank you for taking the time to open this email and read through our update. Please take this time to think about how you can use any of the information here to take action, even simply through conversation, to achieve positive impact.

Thank you to those of you that have contributed to the Royal Commission Terms of Reference Consultation. So far we have received over 650 submissions and will be forwarding each and everyone to the Attorney General’s Department before the May 21st cut off. There is still time to contribute if you have not, click here.

We have received so many great recommendations and insights from lived experience. The Terms of Reference need to be broad and all encompassing, covering off on every aspect and organisation that impacts Veterans, our Families and support networks. It needs to also look into all aspects contributing to Mental Health, not just the finality of suicide, conducting investigation to determine successful preventative experiences as well as those that have resulted in ultimate tragedy. If you have something to contribute during this initial stage, please do so and do not be left wondering. The time is now to take action and be a part of the process towards solutions, each and every person can contribute directly or even on behalf of someone else. 

This week we conducted a National Ex-Service Organisation (ESO) Consultation and Planning Conference in Brisbane. This saw attendees representing over 80 different ESOs attend, either in person or online, and participate in a full day of planning and discussions. We will be completing a comprehensive follow up report and recommendations including combined suggestions for immediate action opportunities to set the conditions to better support our communities during the conduct of the upcoming Royal Commission, and ensure that the opportunities presented by this once in a lifetime event and maximised for the positive systemic and cultural change that is so badly needed. 

One key opportunity arising from the conference was the desire for more collaboration between ESOs – specifically towards the Royal Commission opportunities and objectives. Should you be a part of or know any Ex-Service Organisation or Veteran Support Group that may also be interested to join in this community collaboration, please do not hesitate to forward this to them or direct them to our website for more information updates as we send them out.   

If you have a Facebook or Instagram account, you can also follow us for more regular updates and information released during the week. 



Post the National ESO Consultation & Planning Conference on Friday – Kris Milne & Heston Russell spoke with Sky News about the event and the positive shift moving forward.






With everything going on in the Veteran community, our team moves fast. We receive a lot of messages and emails so we decided to dedicate a section of the podcast to have your questions answered. In the last episode Heston and Sam share the highs and lows of VOAV.

They discuss:

·         Barriers, Blocks & The Definition of Community

·         Testing the Layers of Resilience for Selection Course

·         Listeners Q&A

·         Exposing the weakness of VOAV

·         What’s been happening this week

·         Where to from here

·         Unlocking True Potential for generations to come

·         Bringing hard topics to the surface

·         The Royal Commission Focus in the Veteran Community

If you have any burning questions, please send us a message so we can bring them to the show.

Please let us know your thoughts and insights from this very real, raw, open conversation – reminding Heston he too is human 😉 






Attachment to Weekly News of 16 May 2021


Happy Birthday to Mal, Max, Doug, Lindsay, Michael and Terry.  Hope you blokes have a fabulous time celebrating your special day with your family and friends.




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Gladys Eva, plotted aircraft movements for the RAF during the Battle of Britain – obituary


She spoke movingly about talking over the radio to bomber pilots heading back to base, some of whom did not make it

ByTelegraph Obituaries9 May 2021 • 12:07pm

Gladys Eva: rose rapidly through the ranks

Gladys Eva, who has died aged 100, was the last surviving WAAF plotter who served in Fighter Command’s operations centre during the Battle of Britain and the Blitz that followed.

She was not yet 20 when she joined the RAF as a special duties clerk in March 1940 and, after a few weeks training, she was sent to Bentley Priory, the headquarters of Fighter Command. “I arrived after only a month’s training to prepare us for the vital work in the Filter Centre,”she recalled. “Little did we realise that in a few months we would be engaged in battles for national survival.”

Using inputs and observations from radar units, Royal Observer Corps sightings and signals intelligence, an air situation picture was produced at the Filter Centre and it was by using this that the battle was controlled and fought. Gladys recalled that plotting was exhausting work but also exciting, “and the accuracy and speed of the plotters was vitally important.”

The plotters were, in fact, the first part of a complex analytical process, which hinged on their accuracy. Gladys had some four months to hone her skills before the Battle of Britain commenced in July and she was at the very centre of the action over the whole period of the battle. She was a passionate bridge player and always claimed that this helped her in her work.

She rose rapidly through the ranks and, by the time she was 21, she had been promoted to flight sergeant and became a Filter Centre supervisor. In April 1941 she moved to the operations centre of No 12 (Fighter) Group based near Nottingham. She was involved in the Thousand Bomber raids of 1942 and spoke movingly about talking over the radio to pilots heading back to base, some of whom did not make it.

The daughter of a Boer War veteran, Gladys May Taborn was born in Wimbledon on December 6 1920 and educated at Kingsley School where she was a keen tennis player.

Throughout the war, she served in the United Kingdom at various operations rooms in Fighter Command before leaving the service at the end of the war.

She worked in the family business in Wimbledon selling musical instruments. In 1959 she sailed aboard the Queen Mary where she met Fred Woolham. They were married shortly after and lived in Staffordshire. After his death in 1979 she became the housekeeper to the industrialist Victor Eva, who lived at Prestbury Hall, Cheshire, and they were married in 1982.

Gladys Eva, far left, meeting the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall 

After his death in 1986 she bought a large property in Macclesfield, which she converted and ran as a hotel until she was 73 when she retired to Dorset.

After the closure of RAF Bentley Priory, a museum commemorating the Battle of Britain was established. Gladys Eva helped in the recreation of the filter room and she was honoured for this work with one of the bronze figures in the Filter Centre being modelled on her as she appeared in 1941.

A bronze of Gladys Eva at the Bentley Priory Museum

During the opening of the museum by the Prince of Wales on September 12 2013, she and a small number of her former colleagues were presented to the Prince and the Duchess of Cornwall and later had lunch with them.

She also features in the interactive display at the Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel-le-Ferne, overlooking the white cliffs of Dover.

In recent years she had been a guest of honour at Battle of Britain and RAF events, ranging from the annual Westminster Abbey memorial services to a film premiere, and music concerts. Last year the BBC filmed her for the Festival of Remembrance from the Royal Albert Hall, which was screened in November 2020.

She had no children.

Gladys Eva, born December 6 1920, died April 23 2021



Ross (Rosco) MacDonald,

To all my mates of the RAN Radar Branch, and to others in the general Royal Australian Navy family that knew him.  

Sadly, more very bad news. Another of our great mates, and one of closest and dearest friends and my mentor over many years, Ross (Rosco) MacDonald, is within days of passing.  I spoke to Fran last night, and she has asked that I inform all his mates in the Radar family that they have given him only days to live.  He is heavily sedated on morphine to keep him out of pain, as the bastard dementia takes its final toll on his body.  Fran is staying with him.  Bev and my intention was to obviously be there for his final departure, but Fran has advised that when he passes, a private cremation will be held and his ashes will be retained until such time as Fran herself passes, at which time both of their ashes will be scattered together at a place called Dolphin Point, Burrill Lake – a place I know to be of immense significance to them both.  I will keep you all advised …..Nicho


From the RN Deputy Fleet Logistics Officer, who offers these points on Project UNIFY:

  • Proj UNIFY will see the amalgamation of Stds and chefs into a single catering services branch

That CS branch will possess a skill-set that allows members to be both proficient in the galley and to undertake Defence Engagement activity (ie everything from small scale CO lunches up to larger scale cocktail party events etc). Competence in the latter area is considered extremely important and significant training is still being provided to ensure front of house remains a priority.

  • There are no redundancies as part of this process: legacy chefs and stds will continue to serve alongside CS ratings until they eventually all leave the RN

All ratings were offered the opportunity to transfer to the new CS branch – for legacy Stds that involved residential culinary training at Worthy Down

  • All new catering ratings joining off the street are now joining as CS ratings
  • Proj UNIFY hits FOC in Oct 21. Whilst we will still have Stds and chefs at that point (and are likely to have them until around 2026) CS ratings will increasingly begin to predominate as time goes on.





Attachment to Weekly News of 9 May 2021


Happy Birthday to Geoff, Dave, Hatch and John. Hope you bloke all are in a position to celebrate and enjoy your special day with your family and mates.  Thanks to all for your emails on my birthday last week.







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Surfie Richards

Hope and know you will have a great day.

Now on another subject, I am an advocate at Ringwood RSL and I am thankfully seeing ex navy guys coming in.  
During a conversation with one (ExJR) I asked if they had a website or email communications network, the answer was No.
My response was we have one and we are extremely lucky to have a tireless member of our group who keeps not only our intakes informed, but keeps our connection alive.
Without this vital thankless task we would all be adrift.

Thank you Ron, you are certainly one of a kind and have to be commended on your efforts BZ.


I have included this not for personal self gratification but rather, if you have any mates that we can share our experiences with and would like to be on our distribution list and part of our group.  Please invite them.  If we can help in any way, I am happy with that.


BZ DUTTON…..Playing it frank: Is Dutton in Defence for the long haul? 


Is this bloke a breath of fresh air!! 



 The Navy’s Zumwalt Destroyers Are the First to Rock Mach 17 Missiles



Ben Roberts-Smith and Brereton Report


Let’s start at the beginning.

Here is 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, 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

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, to
achieve that soldier’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 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 undergo 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 a 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 is broken. Fortunately, the National Library’s
Trove service provides a snapshot of his citations
al_events/Roberts-Smith/index.htm> as of 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 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
position 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 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 gunfire. 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
ever 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


Justin Huggett on defence (see attachment)








Proposal of Gold Card Entitlement Partners of TPI/SRs


G’day all,


A while back I sent out an email about the proposal of the Gold Card being issued to partners of TPIs when the TPI partner had reached the age of 65 years.  This in effect was that the partner may get the Gold Card before the TPI had passed on.  A reward, if you like for looking after the TPI for many years and not having to wait until the TPI passes on before receiving the Gold Card.


I had a face-to-face meeting with Minister Chester on Sunday, 2nd May 2021 here in WA when he was visiting with Andrew Hastie MP – Assistant Minister for Defence.   We discussed the subject proposal and Minister Chester acknowledged that it was a well thought out and reasonable proposal and that the cost of implementing such a proposal for TPIs would not be prohibitive.  He added that the cost of Medicare would come off the Gold Card costs.


The Minister is going to ask for costings to be provided by his department on his return to Canberra.


In addition, to my meeting with the Minister, I had sent the proposal to the TPI Victorian Branch which has broken away from the TPI Federation and they have included it in the upcoming Senate Inquiry into the TPI Special Rate Disability Pension.

I also put a Notice of Motion to TPI WA as I want the TPI Federation to accept it as one of their policies for improved benefits of TPIs.  After I informed  TPI WA that I had spoken directly to the Minister at the Sunday meeting, they emailed me back to say that they are having a Committee meeting today and that they should get the proposal accepted.  They can then send it to TPI Federation Canberra who can then ask all State Branches of TPI to accept the proposal as a policy of the Federation.


So it appears there is support for the proposal coming from several sources now and hopefully that will aid in pushing the Minister for Veterans Affairs to take the proposal to cabinet for approval.



Take care and Persevere,


Rick Ryan



Ray Payne OAM

Veteranweb Network

The Veteranweb Network provides information to Australian veterans, ex-service, and service personnel. Reaching more than 13,430 readers daily and growing.

All service and ex-service personnel may subscribe to the Veteranweb Network cost-free, simply provide your service number and unit. All information is provided via email from various reliable sources. Veteranweb is an information service, while it is not a forum you are welcome to contribute.


Future officers need to ‘correct’ the direction the military is heading: Army Vet

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…

Sent from Mail for Windows 10




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