The Serviceman's Ode! . . . . . .They shall grow not old, as we who are left grow old . . . .age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn . . . .at the going down of the sun, and in the morning . . . .we will remember them. . . . .LEST WE FORGET! . . . . . . . .
   
   
   
   

This site was updated on the 28th August 2010
"I have tried to make this site as interesting and informative as possible, I hope you enjoy your visit!"
























Amateur Radio!


  


G'day! My Amateur Radio Callsign is VK2GKX. The VK means I am
an Australian Amateur Radio Operator, the 2 shows I am in NSW,
and the GKX is the bit that identifies me to other Amateurs AND
the Australian Communications and Media Authority, because
they are the ones who are responsible for issuing my licence!

I've always had an interest in electronics and radio, so after my
mid-life crisis, I decided to sit for the Government exams that
would allow me to become a Amateur Radio Operator.

It is an interesting hobby, not only do I get to talk to people
from all over the world, there is a feeling of belonging to a
great big family that shares the same interests as me.

Now that the licencing authorities have had a rethink, young people
can have access to Amateur Radio by sitting for a simple, and much
easier exam, to get them in at a grass roots level.

Information may be found at your own area Amateur Radio Club,
but for the Newcastle NSW area, More information can be found
at the Westlakes Amateur Radio Club in Teralba.

This would be a good staring point for anyone interested.

I've been an Amateur Radio Operator since 1988,
my callsign then was VK2MHO. I sat for a further
Government exam and upgraded to VK2KOX,
and since then have upgraded again to VK2GKX!

My hobby came in very handy during the 1989 earthquake!
During that time, as most people would know,
nearly all emergency services two-way radio
communication via repeater stations was virtually non-existant.

All available Amateur Radio operators were called into Fort Scratchley,
in the East end of Newcastle, and by being positioned around the area,
we were able, by use of our handheld and mobile transceivers, to lay down
a reasonable communications network.

I was assigned to an S.E.S. crew to go with a huge mobile crane around
the Newcastle area, and clean-up anything that would prove hazardous
to the residents, mostly chimneys that were dislodged on houses, etc!

As things progressed, I took a turn in the welfare room, answering phones,
and giving out address's and phone numbers for residents seeking help.
I also did hospital visits with the Police and Emergency Services,
getting statements from people that had been injured during the quake.

One dear lady had been in the Newcastle Workers Club, as it was called
in those days. She found herself lying in the rubble of the underground
carpark, with a Poker Machine handle buried in her thigh.

The ironic fact was, that she meant to walk to the Club, but as a bus came
along, she caught it and arrived at the Club early. Had she continued her walk,
she wouldn't have reached the club by the time the earthquake struck!

After all the victims had been transported to hospital, the clean-up of the
Workers Club began. No member of the public knows to this day,
but thousands of dollars in coins from the damaged poker machines were
taken away with the rubble and buried at an undisclosed site.

A little later on, I was sent to the Stockton area to help assess damage to
houses in that district and report my findings by radio, back to the
Communications Centre that had been set up at Fort Scratchely.

As time went by, and things started to normalise, the need for our help
started to grew less as each day passed, and the services of the
Amateur Radio fraternity weren't called upon again,
until the horrific bushfires on the Central Coast and
the Gosford area in particular, in early 1994.

But that's another story!







Receiving my certificate of appreciation from the
Lord Mayor of Newcastle, John McNaughton AM







































1994 Bushfires!


The start of 1994 saw the worst bushfire season in NSW memory.
While the Hunter region faired reasonably well, that was not
to be the case on the Central Coast, and the City of Gosford in particular!

Gosford was almost completely surrounded by fires, and in the mountains,
the Emergency Services communication towers had all but been destroyed.
The bushfires surrounding Gosford were declared a 41F emergency
under Section 41F of the Bushfire Legislation (1949).

The word quickly spread on the Amateur radio system, and Amateur radio
operators from WICEN, the Wireless Institute Civil Emergency Network,
and other Amateur radio volunteers, swung into action and converged on
Gosford City, to set up a vast communications network!

One of our main tasks, was to travel with SES teams in their vehicles
and provide them with radio coverage back to the base that had been
set up just outside of Gosford.

Other operators went on to provide assistance with the firefighting helicopters.
If you can just picture a small parkland being used by helicopters taking off
and landing on a regular basis, then you can see just how important a
role these Ham operators played.

Not a job for the faint hearted, I can assure you!

A lot of hard work, not much sleep, but the job got done and a grateful
Gosford was saved. This is just a sketchy picture of our time there
and there are many, many more stories one could tell about that episode,
but for now, this will surfice!

All Amateur radio operators were awarded certificates
as a way of saying thank you, and here are some of my awards!


































Malayan Emergency


  

As I see it, the Malayan Emergency was the only war that
the West won against Communism. Loads of people remember
failures like Korea, (the silent war), and Vietnam,
but few recall our victory in Malaya!

It was a 12 year jungle war fought by the British,
Commonwealth and Malay Forces against the army of
the Malayan Communist Party, and their fanatical leader,
Chin Peng!

The violence started about June of 1948, when Chinese
Communists murdered three British rubber planters.
The Communist Terrorists, or, CT's as they came to be known,
continued their terror campaign, murdering, maiming and
torturing British and native men, women and children.

Many of you may recall the movie called, "The Planter's Wife",
starring Jack Hawkins, which depicted Malaya as it was in those days.
The CT's would sabotage power, phone and water installations,
derail trains, burn buses and create civil unrest, deliberately
to cause fear in the civilian populace.

The military strikes against the British, Commonwealth and
Malay Forces took the form of ambushes. The CT military force
numbered some 10,000 strong and were mainly jungle based.
They relied on a large network of Chinese spies, and relied
on supplies from fringe jungle dwellers.

They were a highly experienced jungle fighting force and
had originally helped the British against the Japanese
during WW2. Their main aim was to make Malaya
a Chinese Communist State.

The British organised a massive re-settlement of almost
500,000 fringe jungle dwellers into new villages specially built
in other areas of the country. This in turn cut off supplies
and contacts to the CT's.

By the middle of 1960, the CT jungle army was militarily
defeated, and all that remained was a pocket of a few
hundred men near the Malay-Thai border. An overview
of the situation was that now the Chinese Communists lacked
the support of the population. The huge Chinese population
in Malaya tended to sit quietly, especially now that the war
had turned against the CT's. The Muslim Malays didn't
like the idea of Communism and were very wary of
being dominated by the Chinese.

Another major factor was the honest and dignified manner
in which the British and Commonwealth forces conducted
themselves during the war.They were often ruthless in combat
with the Communists, but had a good friendly relationship
with the general population, based on mutual respect.

It is not clear why the British called the war an "Emergency".
Some say it was done to hide the seriousness of the situation
politically. Others say it was done so that insurance could be
collected on damaged or destroyed property and goods,
because insurance policies would not cover wartime activities.

Lasting almost 13 years, the Malayan Emergency was the
longest continuous military commitment in Australia's history.
Thirty-nine Australian servicemen were killed in Malaya,
although only 15 of these deaths occurred as a result
of operations, and 27 were wounded, most of whom were in the army!

And, Chin Peng! What of him? The notorious CT leader
eventually escaped from Malaya and fled to China.
He is now living free and safe in Bangkok, Thailand
- uncaptured and unpunished, yet publically admitting
responsibility for all the death and misery he caused.

I hope you are more enlightened than you were before you
read this far. But the fight for the freedom of the
peoples of the Far East doesn't end there!

But, that's another tale.....called the Konfrontasi!





















Indonesian Confrontation


Australian units which fought during the Konfrontasi, as it was
better known, did so as part of a larger British and Commonwealth
force under British command. Australia's commitment to operations
against Indonesia in Borneo and West Malaysia fell within the context
of it's membership in the Far East Strategic Reserve.

At first, the Australian government kept its troops from becoming
involved in the Confrontation, not least because of fears that
the conflict would spread to the long and difficult to defend,
border between Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.

Requests from both the British and Malaysian governments in
1963-64 for the deployment of Australian troops in Borneo
met with refusal, though the Australian government did agree
that its troops could be used for the defence of the
Malay peninsula against external attack.

Such attacks occurred twice, in September and October 1964,
when Indonesia launched paratroop and amphibious raids
against Labis and Pontain, on the south-western side
of the peninsula. Members of the 3rd Battalion,
Royal Australian Regiment, (3RAR), were used in
clean-up operations against invading troops.

Although these attacks were easily repelled, they did
pose a serious risk of escalating the fighting.
The Australian government relented in January 1965
and agreed to the deployment of a battalion in Borneo.

The military situation in Borneo thus far had consisted of
company bases located along the border between
Indonesia and Malaysia to protect centres of
population from enemy incursions.

By 1965, the British government had given permission for
more aggressive action to be taken, and the security forces
now mounted cross-border operations with the purpose of
obtaining intelligence, and forcing the Indonesians to
remain on the defencive on their own side of the border.

Uncertain where the Commonwealth forces might strike next,
the Indonesians increasingly devoted their resources to
protecting their own positions and correspondingly less on
offensive operations, although, these continued on a much reduced scale.

The first Australian battalion, 3RAR, arrived in Borneo in
March 1965 and served in Sarawak until the end of July.
During this time, the battalion conducted extensive
operations on both sides of the border, were engaged in four
major contacts with Indonesian units, and twice suffered
casualties from land mines.

Its replacement, the 28th Brigade, 4RAR, also
served in Sarawak, from April until August 1966.
Although it had a less active tour of duty,
the 28th Brigade also operated on the Indonesian side of
the border and was involved in clashes with
Indonesian regular forces.

Altogether, two squadrons of the Special Air Service,
a troop of the Royal Australian Signals, one battery
and parties of the Royal Australian Engineers were
involved in Borneo, in addition to the two infantry battalions.

Ships of the Royal Australian Navy served in the
surrounding waters and several RAAF squadrons
were also involved in the Confrontation, Continuing
negotiations between Indonesia and Malaysia
ended in conflict, and the two sides signed
a peace treaty in Bankok in August 1966.

Twenty three Australians were killed during the Confrontation,
7 of them on operations, and 8 were wounded. Because of
the sensitivity of the cross border operations, which remained
secret at the time, the Confrontation received very
little coverage in the Australian press.

Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial
and Mr. B.L. Nyman LVO MBE

































Lest we forget...

Let us all remember with pride and gratitude,

those who fell in the service of their country,

and in the cause of freedom for the peoples of South East Asia...

Lest we forget...






Kenanglah dengan penuh kebanggaan dan kesyukuran kepada

mereka yang gugur semasa berkhidmat untuk negara

dalam memperjuangkan kebebasan rakyat di Asia Tenggara.

Andai nya kita terlupa...
























Nashos


     


This is my rifle, this is my gun!
(Or, there's a Red under every bed syndrome)


3rd January 1952! The day the dreaded marble game kicked in!
AND MY NUMBER CAME UP.
The only bloody lottery prize I have ever won!
And I didn't even have a ticket.


Anyhow, to shorten the tale, I was shipped off to Ingleburn,
D Company, 13 Battalion, can't remember the Platoon. I didn't
much care for the attitude of the Sergeant we were given,
in fact, I didn't much care for having to be there,
let alone being in the Army! I had better things to do with
my life, or so I thought.

There I was, a bit of a rebel, in a place where they don't
abide rebels very much. ALL of our instructing NCO's had just
returned from a trip to Korea, and they were determined to make
a soldier out of me.

One, Sergeant Puttifoot, took me behind a tree, not long after
I called him, "pussyfoot", and, I might add, it was right after
that incident, I vowed I was going to be the best soldier in
the country!

It is absolutely amazing the change in attitude that occurs after
having your head ringbark a tree.  After that episode, not only did
I call him Sergeant, I even called him "Sir"!   We got on so well
after that, and I am sure he liked me, because every time an
important job came up, like guard duty or Dixie bashin', I was picked.

Needless to say, I made it through basic training OK!
I actually made it to Lance Corporal before I left Ingleburn.
I completed my full time Nashos military training on 9th April 1952
and was assigned to 34 Infantry Battalion in Wollongong.

I struggled on, the brave little trooper that I was,
and finally finished my full time military commitment
on the 21st August 1954!

There is a bit of a black hole around about this point in time.
I know my old mate Harry had a hand in it, but I'm sure it
will all be revealed on Judgement Day!
























A Veteran Died Today

He was getting old and paunchy and his hair was falling fast,
and he sat around the Legion telling stories of the past.
Of the war he had fought in and the deeds that he had done.
In his exploits with his buddies they were heroes, everyone.
And 'tho sometimes, to his neighbors, his tales became a joke,
all his buddies listened, for they knew whereof he spoke.
But we'll hear his tales no longer, for ol' Bob has passed away,
and the world's a little poorer for a veteran died today.
No, he won't be mourned by many, just his children and his wife.
For he lived an ordinary, very quiet sort of life.
He held a job and raised a family, quietly going on his way;
and the world won't note his passing, 'tho a veteran died today.
When politicians leave this earth, their bodies lie in state,
while thousands note their passing and proclaim they were great.
Papers tell their life stories, from the time they were young,
but the passing of a veteran goes unnoticed and unsung.
Is the greatest contribution to the welfare of our land
some jerk who breaks his promise and cons his fellow man?
Or the ordinary fellow, who in times of war and strife,
goes off to serve his country and offers up his life?
The politician's stipend and the style in which he lives
are sometimes disproportionate to the service that he gives.
While the ordinary veteran, who has offered up his all,
is paid off with a medal and perhaps a pension, small.
It's so easy to forget them, for it is so long ago,
that our Bobs and Jims and Johnnys went to battle, but we know.
It was not the politicians and their compromises and ploys,
who won for us the freedom that our country now enjoys.
Should you find yourself in danger, with your enemies at hand,
would you really want some cop-out, with his ever-waffling stand?
Or, would you want a veteran, who has sworn to defend his home,
his kin and country, and would fight until the end?
He was just a common veteran and his ranks are growing thin,
but his presence should remind us we may need his likes again.
For when countries are in conflict, then we find the military's part
is to clean up all the troubles that the politicians start.
If we cannot do him honor while he's here to hear the praise,
then at least let's give him homage, at the ending of his days.
Perhaps just a simple headline in the paper that might say
Our country is in mourning, for a veteran died today.

Author Unknown









The Most Popular Bloke In The Pub

The abattoir was closing, the management went broke
So redundancies were handed out to each and every bloke
So we chucked this massive party at the old top end hotel
We all went there to get blind drunk and bloody would as well

By nine o'clock the shelves were scant, we'd drank most everything
The beer was gone, the scotch, the stout, we'd even drunk the gin!
And every bloke in town was there, all sozzled, good and proper
The only bloke who wasn't there was the local bloody Copper

He was down the road, the cagey sod, his breatherliser set
The word spread quickly through the pub about this nasty threat
Hell, we could hardly walk, let alone drive, and we couldn't catch a cab
'Cause the local Taxi drivers were now on their sixteenth slab

What a dastardly dilemma, what a fearsome fix of fate
Our missuses would kill us if we staggered home too late
Then Jonesy said, "Hey see that bloke at the far end of the bar?
I haven't seen him have a beer at all, tonight, so far!"

So instantly the surge was on to meet this 'real top bloke'
He was suddenly everyone's 'old mate' and we bought him pots of coke
The most popular bloke in the pub he became, no longer drinking alone
Then at closing time, we slipped it in, "Ahh, could you drive us buggers home?"

"Sure," he said, "no problem." Hell, we carried him out of the pub
Wondering why, for the whole of the night we'd given this stranger the snub
We cheered him out to the carpark, twenty eight drunks, at a guess
Then all stuffed into his flash four-wheel-drive, and it was pretty bloody compressed!

There were faces pressed up against windows, we were centimeters apart
Simmo's nose was up Bluey's bum, and he prayed he did not fart
Like a can of sardines, we headed off, home would be our next stop
We were all gonna give the one finger salute to that mongrel bloody Cop

But he charged on out of the carpark, like a wounded wild bush boar
With a shirk and a screech and a great bloody wheelie, he dropped his foot flat to the floor
In ten seconds he'd reached a hundred clicks and was swerving all over the road
Our ruddy drunk faces turned ghostly white and our stomachs began to unload

"Bloody Slow Down!" I shouted out, "Don't you know how to drive!"
"Na," said the bloke, "I ain't got a license," then he chucked it to overdrive
"Then watch your bloody car," I screamed, "The way you're driving you'll roll it"
"Doesn't matter" our driver said, "It's not my car, I stole it!"

Well, us poor old drunks, we near on choked, Satan was driving the car
But you can't jump out at a hundred and ten, or you'll splatter all over the tar
"At least he's not drunk!" whispered Jonesy, "I s'pose that's one small blessing!"
But of all the shocks we'd had so far, there was one far more distressing

"And how come you don't drink grog?" I asked, he replied "I have no need.
I'm more than content with L.S.D., heroin, pot and speed!"
Well, the screams from the back were awful, as we all tried to fight for the door
'Cause the fear of hitting the asphalt road didn't seem so bad anymore!

He was driving all over the bloody road, north then east then south
Playing a Jimi Hendrix cassette, with a joint hanging out of his mouth
He was sprouting some deranged theory, how we evolved from the albatross
While us poor old bastards squashed up in the back, tried making the sign of the cross!

Then he started to fill his nostrils, with a handful of fine white powder
And screamed "I am invincible, I cannot die, for I am...Nicky Lauder!"
"Oh no, you're bloody not!" I roared "and you will die, by heck!
As soon as I get an inch to move, I'm gonna ring your bloody neck!"

And then in the distance, we saw the town cop; help was here at last!
But he yelled out "I'm glad you drunks got a ride home," then waved us poor buggers on past
We were screaming and thumping the windows, our hopes of salvation were gone
As this unlicensed, drug-crazed car-thief, went madly motoring on

Then he veered from the tar of the highway, and headed through gullies and hills
And as Lover's Leap loomed in the distance, he ate fifty Ecstasy Pills!
Well, we all found God within seconds, for we knew we were going to die
As this drug-crazed fool flew towards Lover's Leap, screaming "Man, I think I can fly!!!"

I realised then how it must have felt as a passenger on the Titanic
When the doors of the car burst open, under weight of sheer bloody panic
Then as the last drunk spilt from the cabin, the car shot off Lover's Leap
And for a moment we thought that the mongrel could fly ,'till he fell to a fiery heap.

So, thinking the worst was over, we staggered home at 3 A.M.
Where our wives were waiting in ambush, to try killing us buggers again
And they wondered why we were laughing, as they thrashed us and stuck in the boot
For they did not know of our death drive to hell with that drug-crazed maniac coot

So now when we drink at the local; it's not the town Copper we fear
Nor excessive consumption, of whisky or rum or beer
We fear not the threat of a punch-up, or spending the night in the clink
For the thing that we fear most greatly, is a Bastard who does not drink!!!!

Copyright; Neil McArthur
from the book 'Tragic Tales from the Thong Factory'









I'm Fine, Thank YOU

There is nothing the matter with me.
I'm as healthy as I can be.
I have arthritis in both my knees
And when I talk, I talk with a wheeze.

My pulse is weak, and my blood is thin
But I'm awfully well for the shape I'm in.
Arch supports I have for my feet
Or I wouldn't be able to be on the street.

Sleep is denied me night after night,
But every morning I find I'm all right.
My memory is failing, my head's in a spin
But I'm awfully well for the shape I'm in.

The moral is this, as my tale I unfold,
That for you and me who are growing old,
It's better to say "I'm fine" with a grin
Than to let folks know the shape we are in.

How do I know that my youth is all spent?
Well, my "get up and go" just got up and went.
But I really don't mind when I think with a grin
Of all the grand places my "get up" has been.

Old age is golden, I've heard it said;
But sometimes I wonder as I get into bed
With my ears in the drawer my teeth in a cup,
My eyes on the table until I wake up.

Ere sleep overtakes me, I say to myself,
"Is there anything else I could lay on the shelf?"
When I was young my slippers were red,
I could kick my heels over my head

When I was older my slippers were blue,
But I still could dance the whole night through.
Now I am old, my slippers are black,
I walk to the store and puff my way back.

I get up each morning and dust off my wits
And pick up the paper and read the obits.
If my name is still missing, I know I'm not dead
So I fix me some breakfast and go back to bed.


(Author Unknown)








THE GAY FARMHAND

I rang the C.E.S. and said, Slap me up an ad
I can't run this farm myself, I need some help real bad!
So rustle me up a farmhand, one who's good at fencin'
Oh, and he must not drink or smoke or swear, I s'pose I'd better mention

Well I waited home all morning, pacing up and down the floor
And just as I had given up, a fist rapped on my door
I thought, you bloody beauty, they've dug me up a bloke
But when I threw the door back, well I bloody nearly choked

He stood there in a floral shirt, hands upon his hips
Permed hair past his collar, and lipstick on his lips
He carried a paisley saddle and a little embroidered bag
I thought to myself, Oh my gawd, this bloke's a flamin' f....
funny looking farmhand

He said, Hi, my name is Toni, I’ve come here for the job
I stood there flabbergasted, then foolishly opened my gob
I said, Only Poofs and Movie Stars wear earrings in their ear....
And I can't remember seeing a bloody movie of yours this year!

Oh, that's discrimination! he squealed, This is the Land of the Free!
And nobody else applied for the job, so it looks like you're stuck with me.
Well, he had me over a barrel (....not literally of course!)
I said I hope you can fix bloody fences, and know how to ride a horse

Ohh, I can do lots and lots of things! Toni said to me
I mumbled If you could act like a bloke, then I'd go to buggery!
Yeah, well I shouldn't have said that either, but my head was kind of reeling
Out here in the bush mate, men are men,
except a few sheep farmers from New Zealand

So I slapped myself around the dial to bring myself to my senses
I said Grab your saddle and get on a horse and I'll show you these broken fences
So off on the flint hard track we rode at a casual loping pace
Toni sat up top the dapple grey with a smile plastered over his face

I kept right away from the neighbour's fence and down the middle I went
'Cause if anyone saw my new farmhand, I'd die through embarrassment
Then to pick up the pace, I grabbed the reins, slapped leather against the flank
OHH, luck horse! yelled Toni, You certainly know how to spank!

Now, it's a shock for a bush bred bloke like meself to encounter a fella like Toni
So I turned my head around backwards, to keep an eye on this poonce on his pony
If he had any 'Funny Business' in mind then I would not give him the chance
But because my head was turned backwards, I never saw the branch!

It hit me in the back of the scone with a fearsome bloody force
Knocked me backwards, bum over head and straight off the back of my horse
I rolled towards a steep incline, then down the side I fell
And Murphy’s Law came into play as I fell down the old farm well

I lay there battered and broken, a bruised and bloodied wreck
I thought, 'my day started off by breaking my pride,
now it's finished by breaking my neck!'
Then I looked to the sunlit lip of the well, only to bloody see
Toni's ugly, pooncy mug staring down at me

Ohh, are you alright you poor old dear! he shouted out to me
Here, grab these leather undies. I screamed, Go to Buggery!
No, I'm trying to pull you out, he said, then gaily winked his eye
I said, You ain't pulling me nowhere, mate! I'm staying down here 'til I die!

Well, he lassoed me out with his panty hose, and saved me from my fate
Threw me over the rump of his horse, headed home at a casual gait
But by this time the neighbours had gathered, to cast ridicule at my pains
Hey look, a horse's arse on a horse's arse with a horse's hoof at the reins!

So he took me home, and on my bed, he laid my battered hide
He said, You just rest, dear, I'll do the chores, and then flitted on outside
And that's the last I saw of Toni, 'cause next day when I awoke
There on my bedside cupboard was a little floral note

Hi, wrote Toni, I've gone away, I know you don't like me!
I've fixed your fences and done your chores and made you a pot of tea
I've gone to greener pastures, now, for I'm not your idea of a man
I'm going to where I'm appreciated for WHO not WHAT I am!

Hell, I'd never felt so guilty, I wanted to crawl away and hide
Until I pulled my boots on and bloody walked outside
He'd strung my flamin' fences up like a fancy macraméd noodle
And me poor old faithful cattle dog was clipped like a pooncy poodle

He'd painted the dunny nipple pink, and painted the farm ute beige
He'd shampooed and blow dried all my sheep, I flew into a rage
My tractor had turned to a Mardi Gras float, so I headed inside in a huff
To find that pot of tea he'd made was that chamomile bloody stuff!

So, again I rang the C.E.S. and said Send me out a BLOKE!
One who drinks and swears and farts and loves to have a smoke
So they sent another farmhand who was rough and tough and mean
And stood at the door and said to me.
G'day, me name's ....Eileen!

Copyright; Neil McArthur
from the book 'Tragic Tales from the Thong Factory'










Desiderata



Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, for they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, for they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble, it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let not this blind you to what virtue there is, many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of your youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars, you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore, be at peace with G-d, whatever you perceive G-d to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Take care!

Strive to be happy.

Author Unknown!

























Some of my favorite sites!

 Britains small wars     Info on what wars the Poms were in!
 Royal Oz Navy site    Very enlightening site!
 All about Penang        Have a look at an absolute paradise island!
 Lonestar webpage!      A truly beautiful site, please pay a visit!
 Some good stuff        If you like your poetry with humour!
 The Wall                58,000 names on a wall. A truly awesome site!
 Nashos Photos!          You can add your own, or look for your mates!
 103 Field Battery      A site dedicated to 103 Field Battery RAA!
 NSW,Qld,TAS (Inc)   NMBVAA of Incorporated Australian States.
 Mesothelioma!           Brings you up-to-date information on Asbestos, Mesothelioma, and   Mesothelioma clinical trials!



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In memory of...
      

They shall grow not old, as we who are left grow old,
age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
We will remember them.
Lest we forget.

2/7271 Sgt Anderson Charles C  M.I.D.
A Coy  2nd Battalion  RAR
KIA 4th March 1956
Buried at the Christian Cemetery
Taiping PERAK
Malaysia

(The Aboriginal flag is flown as a mark of respect for
Sgt Charles C Anderson's Aboriginal Heritage!)


Sgt Charlie Anderson was one of our Indigenous brothers who
served with 2 Battalion, RAR during the Malayan Emergency.
It was on 4th March 1956, while on patrol during 'Operation Deuce',
his platoon made contact with the CT's and Charlie was hit
by a burst of fire from a CT ambush, and was badly wounded.

He died before he could be taken out and was buried in the
Christian Cemetery in Taiping Perak, Malaya.
Charlie Anderson was Mentioned In Dispatches (MID),
for leading his Platoon during this fierce fire fight.

Not many people in Australia are aware that many of our
Indigenous brothers fought and died for this country,
and so, it is by telling this story, soldiers like
Charlie Anderson will be remembered for the role they
played in the defence forces of Australia.

"In early January 1956 the Battalion was committed to anti terrorists patrol
operations on the main land. We moved to South Kedah Reserve, where on
the 11th January 1956 we captured our first C.T (communist terrorist).
Regrettably our first casualties occurred on the 24th January, three of
our members accidentally shot."

"Our first fatal casualty was our Platoon Sergeant, Charlie Anderson."

"We were carrying out a one day patrol on the 4th March 1956
on a search and destroy, when three C.T's laying in ambush,
opened fire with there old Thomson sub machine guns."

"Charlie received the full barrage of this ferocious gunfire;
he died before we could get him out for help."

"An Infantry Sergeant is one of the toughest jobs
in the world, and I still maintain to this day,
that Australia lost a first class soldier and a fine gentleman
on the 4th March 1956."

R.G.E.Betts, Pte
4 section 2 pltn
A Coy 2nd Bn RAR
From the Biography of R.G.E.Betts


Some of the people and events that have had an effect
on my life in some small way!





















Some of the people and events that have had an effect
on my life in some small way!






































































































Private Paul Zygmund (Ziggy) Trzecinski!

Coming soon, a work in progress!






























NMBVAA (NSW Inc)!

Coming soon, a work in progress!











































































Disclaimer




The material on this site was produced solely for enjoyment, review and information or educational purposes only, not for any commercial gain.
It's sole purpose is for my own enjoyment, and the enhancement of my pages. All the graphics, images, stories, poems etc.,
on this site are either free, used with permission of the owner, or credit has been given.
If there is anything on this site that belongs to someone, where credit has not been given, please notify me by email.


EMAIL ADDRESS: andyg@tadaust.org.au

A link will then be provided, or the material promptly removed!. 


































Sandakan!

The Sandakan Death Marches were a series of forced marches from Sandakan to Ranau which resulted in the
deaths of more than 3,600 Indonesian civilian slave labourers and 2,400 Allied prisoners of war held captive
by the Empire of Japan during the Pacific campaign of World War II at prison camps in North Borneo.

By the end of the war, of all the prisoners who had been incarcerated at Sandakan and Ranau, only 6
Australians survived, all of whom had escaped. It is widely considered to be the single worst atrocity
suffered by Australian servicemen during the Second World War.


It is May 1945. Clad only in ragged loin-cloths, over 500 skeletal creatures, barely recognisable as human,
struggle to their feet at the Sandakan POW Compound, on Sabah's north-east coast. Three long years in
captivity, half of them on starvation rations and with little or no medical attention, have taken their toll.
The grimy, wasted bodies of these once fit and strapping Australian and British servicemen are covered
in sores and scabies, their filthy hair and beards matted and lice-infested.

Many are suffering from tropical ulcers, some so large that shin bones are clearly visible. Others,
bloated from beriberi, lumber along on sausage-like legs. They are bound for Ranau, a small village
on the flanks of Mt Kinabalu, South East Asia's highest peak, situated 250 kilometres away to the west,
in the rugged Borneo jungle interior.

All were members of a 2700-strong Allied contingent transferred to Sandakan by the Japanese in 1942-43,
following Singapore's fall. Their task? To construct a military airfield, using not much more than their
bare hands. For the first twelve months or so, conditions at Sandakan were tolerable. However, in mid
1943 the Japanese discovered that the POWs not only had a radio but were in league with a local
resistance organisation. The kempei-tai, or secret police, swooped. Arrests and transfers followed.
Discipline at Sandakan was tightened considerably and life became much more difficult for the
remaining 2,434 prisoners.

As the war ground on, conditions deteriorated. In late January 1945 the Japanese decided to
move 455 of the fittest prisoners to Jesselton (Kota Kinabalu) to act as coolie labourers -
only to halt them at Ranau, owing to Allied air activity on the west coast. At the end of May,
there was a second march from Sandakan and in mid-June a third, comprised of only 75 men.

As both sea and air were under the complete control of the Allies, a track had been cut through
the mountains, linking existing bridle-trails. Unaware that it was to be used by POWs, the local
headmen given the task of creating this track had deliberately routed it away from any habitation,
across the most inhospitable and difficult terrain possible.

There was no medical assistance and little food. Anyone who could not keep up was ‘disposed of'.
Despite this, about half the prisoners completed the march, only to die at Ranau from illness,
malnutrition and ill-treatment by their captors. Two Australians managed to escape in the early
stages of the second march with the help of villagers, and four more successfully escaped from
Ranau into the jungle, where they were cared for by local people.

Back at Sandakan, 200 prisoners unable undertake the second and third marches also died, bringing
the death toll there to about 1400. Of the 1000-odd prisoners who left on the death marches,
about half died in the attempt. The rest died at their destination.

The story of Sandakan and the death marches is one of the most tragic of World War Two.
It is also one of the most heroic. Despite appalling conditions, the prisoners never gave up.
Their heroism, their determination and their indomitable spirit are testimony to the strength
of the human spirit and an inspiration to all. Of the 2434 prisoners incarcerated at Sandakan,
1787 were Australian. The remaining 641 were British. The six Australians who escaped
were the sole survivors.


Acknowledgement is given to Tham Yan Kong for this brief overview of the Sandakan Death marches.
Thanks also to Lynette Silver, author of "Sandakan - A conspiracy of silence".



The Newcastle Sub-Branch of the National Malaya and Borneo Veterans Association held it's first
Sandakan memorial service on Sunday 31st May 2009, at the Sandakan Memorial located in
Maitland Park adjacent to the Maitland Railway Station.

The service was conducted by our State Chaplain, Eric Bell, with an address by the Maitland Mayor,
Cr Peter Blackmore. Tributes were laid at the Memorial, the 'Last Post' was sounded, and the service
concluded with the Odes of the RSL and NMBVAA being recited, followed by prays by our Chaplain.

We were joined for the morning by our members from the Central Coast Sub-Branches,
and after the service, we retired to partake of a most wonderful BBQ,
cooked up by Frank and Renata.

We are all looking forward to an even bigger and better service next year.

















































Dungog township as viewed from Hospital Hill




Dungog Nashos plaque...
Situated on the RSL wall adjacent to the Cenotaph!
(The small plate on the bottom right-hand corner,
is to the memory of John Garland, our founding Secretary!)


HELPING THE VETERAN COMMUNITY



Dungog welfare officer Garth Wheat with his wife Barbara (right)
and Narelle Digby. Barbara and Narelle have also trained as
welfare officers and are actively involved in Legacy in the local area.


Vietnam veteran, Garth Wheat, is making a big difference in his local
veteran community in regional New South wales through his work as a
volunteer welfare officer. He credits his father for inspiring him to
volunteer for the role.

"My father was a medic with the 2/5 Australian General hospital,"
Mr wheat said. He volunteered to stay with the wounded in Greece
and was then interned in Poland for three years.

"After the war he became an ambulance officer and for years
I saw him suffering badly from his POW injuries while still
lending a helping hand to others," he said.

Garth Wheat was also injured in war, but remained in the army
for 30 years to train young infantry soldiers and officers.
He sees volunteering as part of a natural transition.

"In the army, the welfare of the troops was a key part of our training.
Now I’m concerned with the welfare of our old warhorses," he said.

Garth wheat has been a welfare officer in Dungog in the New South Wales
Hunter Valley for seven years. He is also the pension officer for the
Dungog RSL, chairman of Dungog Legacy, Training and information Program
(TIP) trainer and member of the TIP national welfare committee.

He says helping the needy and socially disadvantaged in the ex- service
community is the most rewarding aspect of the welfare officer’s job.
"I can do something for a cause that is important to me."

If you are interested in becoming a welfare officer or pension officer,
contact your local ex- service organisation. Training is available for
people who can volunteer their time to help members of
the veteran community.


Vetaffairs September Newsletter Page 8.
dva.gov.au








Stroud remembers its National servicemen

A large piece of history was preserved on Saturday 17th February, when a plaque naming
25 men conscripted to the armed forces between 1951 and 1972 was unveiled at Stroud Cenotaph.

Driven by Stroud locals John Bowen and Jim Bratfield, the plaque has been many years in the planning.

"I had just turned 20 when I received a letter that I had to be at Stroud Road railway station
at 12.40am on April 28, 1953," John said.

"My father had died five years earlier and I had to look after my widowed mother and I tried to get out of it,
but couldn't. Jim and I were two of the initial blokes from the Stroud district to be called up."

"I had never really been to Sydney so it was a real eye-opener. We were on the train overnight
to Marrickville Barracks then a bus to Ingleburn where we became members of the 13th Battalion."
"We did 14 weeks initial training and then we could come back home to our employment."

"But we did yearly camps for another two years and then two years on the Reserve Army a total of five years."
"We could then be called up to go to war at anytime."
"Had there been fighting in the Solomon Islands or Fiji we definitely would have gone."

According to both Jim and John, the government of the day didn't recognise these fellows.
"Not in military terms anyway," Jim said.

"We were sworn in to defend Queen and country we were the fodder to be sent if needed."
"But we have now been recognised and received our medals."

The men did their best to get all the names of Stroud area people to be included on the plaque.

"If we have missed anyone it is not intentional and the names can go on at a later date," John said.

A grant from the Federal Government through Member for Paterson Bob Baldwin has enabled the plaque to be made.

The march commenced at 10.30am from Bowens town clock, down to the cenotaph
where the unveiling ceremony by Bob Baldwin took place.

Some pictures of the day









Eddie Grills was killed in action in Vietnam.

Others that have since passed away are,
Ron Ince, Wally Isaac, Brian Tull, Bob Lyall and Ron Reinhard.




This page is still a work in progress!


















Newcastle and Districts Sub-Branch!



  

The National Malaya and Borneo Veterans Association of Australia
consists of a group of serving and ex-service persons who have
served in the Malayan Emergency, Indonesian Konfrontasi,
Borneo and the peacekeepers in East Timor.

The NMBVA was started by Veterans in the U.K. and has spread
to include many countries, Australia and New Zealand being just two.

Newcastle's Sub-Branch is a small portion of the much larger group,
with other sub-branches spread across our country.
The State Committee produce a newsletter called, "Merdeka",
a Malay word meaning "Freedom".

Our sub-branch in Newcastle meets bi-monthly at the
Mayfield RSL in Hanbury Street, Mayfield.
The meeting dates for 2009 will be:

Wednesday 28th January at 5.30pm.
Wednesday 25th March at 5:30pm.
Wednesday 27th May at 5:30pm.
Wednesday 29th July at 5:30pm.
Wednesday 30th September at 5:30pm.
Wednesday 25th November at 5:30pm.


So, if you served in Malaya, Singapore, Malaysia, Borneo
or East Timor, come along and meet with our group
and make new friends who share a common interest. .


President          Secretary
  

Correspondence to:

The Secretary
3 Christie Road Tarro NSW 2322
Tel: (02) 49665987/0427 349 751
or email: renhen@austarnet.com.au


NMBVAA Newcastle Sub-Branch Banner Dedication
13th September 2008


On Saturday 13th September, the Newcastle Sub-Branch of the
NMBVAA held a Banner Dedication Service at the Salvation Army
Citadel in Rutherford. The service was conducted by Chaplain Eric Bell,
and the Maitland Salvation Army Band.

The Colours were marched on by the Rutherford Cadet Unit,
and what a wonderfully professional job they did.
The guest of honour was the Rt Honourable Joel Fitzgibbon,
Minister for Defence and Member for Hunter.
The Minister thanked the veterans for their service and praised
the role of all of our armed forces in all conflicts.

Veterans present served during the Malayan Emergency and
the later Indonesian Konfrontasi. The Malayan Emergency
was the longest commitment by Australia to any conflict,
running from 1948 until 1960, and saw the defeat of
Communism in the region.

The Indonesian Konfrontasi ran a few short years from early
in the ‘60s until 1967. This period saw Indonesia disapproving
of Malaya becoming a Federation which would include Sabah
and Sarawak within their control. The Indonesians were of
the mind that the Federation of Malaysia would have to much
of a control in the region.

The Australian services that served during both conflicts, suffered losses,
but were proud in victory. The Malaysian Government has since awarded
all who served, a medal, called the Pingat Jasa Malaysia,
and it is worn proudly by all returned personel.

The service was a light, but solemn affair which lasted approximately
one hour. NMBVAA members from the Central Coast travelled by bus
for the occasion, and were warmly welcomed by us all!

After the service, tea and coffee were provided in true Salvation
Army style, with guests sharing the comradeship of fellow members.
It was then decided to go to the East Maitland Bowling Club for lunch
and a few drinks, which put a cap on a wonderful day for us all.

Please browse through the photos of the occasion below...



    NMBVAA State Secretary Henry Buba, Minister for Defence, Joel Fitzgibbon
    and Myself flanked by the boys and girls of the Rutherford Cadet Unit.

    The cadets marched in the colours, both Banner and flags of Australia and
    Malaysia. They were very professional and are a credit to their instructors.


    


Right Honorable Joel Fitzgibbon, Minister for Defence and Member for Hunter
and our Newcastle Sub-Branch and NSW State Secretary, Henrik Buba JP.



Our State President, Tony Farina, Minister for Defence, Joel Fitzgibbon,
Myself and Henrik Buba, with some of the cadets who helped on the day!




NSW State President Tony Farina and Joel Fitzgibbon



The Minister wearing our Association Cap!




























We are Australian!


 Please allow the music to fully download 

     


I came from the dreamtime
from the dusty red soil plains
I am the ancient heart
the keeper of the flame.
I stood upon the rocky shore
I watched the tall ships come
for forty thousand years I've been
the first Australian.



I came upon the prison ship
bowed down by iron chains
I fought the land, endured the lash
and waited for the rains.
I'm a settler, I'm a farmers wife
on a dry and barren run
a convict, then a free man
I became Australian.



I'm the daughter of a digger
who sought the mother lode,
the girl became a woman
on a long and dusty road.
I'm a child of the depression,
I saw the good times come.
I'm a bushy
I'm a battler,
I am Australian.



We are one, but we are many,
and from all the lands on earth we come.
We'll share a dream, and sing with one voice,
I am
You are
We are Australian.



I'm a teller of stories
I'm a singer of songs.
I am Albert Namatjera
and I paint the ghostly gums.
I'm Clancy on his horse,
I'm Ned Kelly on the run,
I'm the one who waltzed Matilda,
I am Australian.



I'm the hot winds from the desert,
I'm the black soil of the plains,
I'm the mountains and the valleys
I'm the drought and flooding rains.
I am the rock, I am the sky,
the rivers when they run,
the spirit of this great land
I am Australian.



We are one, but we are many
and from all the lands on earth we come,
we'll share a dream, and sing with one voice,



I am
you are
we are Australian.


Based on an idea from "Tibbo's Bunker".






































As little about me as possible...



G'day, My name is Andy Gallagher, and
I guess you want to know a about me.
Well, to start, I'm aged between 45 and death,
but erring more towards death than the 45years.

As you can tell by the opening page,
I belong to a few different organisations.
The National Servicemens Association and
the National Malaya and Borneo Veterans
Association of Australia are the two main ones.

As you will know from other pages within this site
I have outlined my experiences during National Service,
so I won't bore you by repeating it all again.

I also served with the Australian Defence Forces
during the Malayan Emergency, and my tour of duty
lasted from May 1958 until I returned
to Australia by ship in December 1960.

I am retired since 1989, and reside with my wife,
my three siblings having grow up and
moved away from home.

We have eight grandchildren, two living in Queensland,
two in Sydney, and four living not far
from where we reside.



These are my military service medals and they are from left to right...
(1) Australian Active Service Medal 1945-1975
(2) British General Service Medal 1919-1962
(3) Australian Defence Medal
(4) Anniversary of National Service Medal
(5) Pingat Jasa Malaysia
Granted by the King and Government of Malaysia.
The medal is in recognition of the "distinguished chivalry,
gallantry, sacrifice and loyalty" in contributing to the
freedom of Independence of Malaysia!




And this is a scene from our front verandah!








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