1RAR family prepares for changing of colours

THERE are few more important occasions in the life of a military unit than the presentation of new colours. For infantry battalions particularly colours are a proud tradition, the richly embroidered silk banners once a rallying point amid battle’s tumult.

Off the battlefield they were a pocket history of the unit’s traditions and achievements.

Victoria Crosses have been awarded to ensigns – the specific rank given to officers carrying unit colours – who died defending those colours or who saved them at great personal risk.

Now their value is purely symbolic but they remain powerful symbols in regimental affairs.

In a customary ceremony next Wednesday <16 May> the First Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment will receive new colours from the Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove.


The Government’s Rebuttal of RCB’s Claim

Our letter to all Parliamentarians dated 2 February 2018 has finally resulted in this formal decision reply from Vice Admiral Ray Griggs AO CSC  Vice Chief of the Defence Force  (VCDF), on behalf of the Government.

“…These successive reviews have determined that ADF service at Butterworth during the period 1970 to 1989, including that of the RCB, does not meet the criteria for classification as warlike service. Therefore, consistent with the findings of these independent reviews, and with the position of successive Coalition and Labor Governments, I consider that all ADF service at Butterworth, including RCB service, is appropriately classified as peacetime service. Further, as RCB service has already been examined by several independent reviews, I am satisfied that further consideration of the classification of ADF service in Malaysia is not warranted…”

LETTER – 180417 – VCDF – Response letter to Mr Robert Cross regarding Rifle Company Butterworth – UNCLASSIFIED

The RCB Review Group does not accept the decision and intends to rebut it and its reasons publicly with evidence that will  expose both the truth of the deployment as warlike service and the deception perpetrated by Australian governments on the troops and their families and the Australian public.


Vietnam Veterans’ Bravery Recognised on Eve of 50th Anniversary – Coral-Balmoral Battle

It’s taken almost half a century but Australian forces who fought in one of the bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War are finally to be recognised for their bravery.

Soldiers who resisted attack at the Battle of Coral-Balmoral,  which claimed 26 Australian lives, learnt on Thursday they were to be honoured with a Unit Citation for Bravery. The recommendation comes ahead of the 50th anniversary of the battle on the weekend of May 12-13.

The Defence Honours and Awards Tribunal posted the decision on its website on Thursday morning, stating that members had arrived at the recommendations unanimously.

It said: ‘Throughout the submissions the theme of teamwork and collective gallantry is readily apparent and consistently referenced.

The message to the Tribunal from all of the veterans of the battles was that, regardless of corps and parent unit, they had fought as a coordinated group and that everybody who was there deserve recognition.’


Read the DHAAT Report and its five recommendations here

Read the Sydney Morning Herald’s article here

ANZAC Gallipoli Archaeology Database

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester today announced the Anzac Gallipoli Archaeological Database, which was created by the University of Melbourne.
“This remarkable database will add new layers of insight into our understanding of the Gallipoli battlefields,” Mr Chester said.
I commend the work of the University of Melbourne in creating this database. In particular I acknowledge the Joint Historical Archaeological Survey team who worked for many years to precisely record the details of the some 2,000 objects and features they located in their study.”
The database will be an important legacy of the work of the tri-nation Joint Historical Archaeological Survey, the Australian component of which was funded by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
“I have no doubt the Anzac Gallipoli Archaeological Database will be of great value to researchers and the broader community,” Mr Chester said
“The Joint Historical Archaeological Survey was a significant project in the Anzac Centenary, and this database will ensure the findings of the extensive fieldwork are easily accessible to all Australian, New Zealand and Turkish people.
“I encourage all Australians to take the time to browse the database and gain a deeper understanding of the Gallipoli campaign through a unique and fascinating resource.”

The Anzac Gallipoli Archaeological Database can be accessed on the University of Melbourne website.

The Anzac Gallipoli Archaeological Database (AGAD) is a unique digital archive of the results of five seasons of archaeological survey of the World War 1 battlefield at Anzac on the Gallipoli peninsular, Turkey. It includes over 2000 records of precisely documented artefacts and features from both Turkish and Allied (Anzac) areas of the battlefield and provides a unique perspective on both sides of the conflict. AGAD aims to contribute to the study of World War I through its emphasis on landscape and artefacts.


Exhibition – The Battle of Coral and Balmoral – 12 May – 6 June 1968

The Exhibition will be held at the National Vietnam Veterans Museum, Phillip Island Victoria from 5th May – 25 October 2018



TPI Victoria Inc. – ‘The Victoria Cross, Australia Remembers’ Queensland Presentations

“The Victoria Cross Australia Remembers” written by Award Winning Author, Michael C. Madden. Queensland Presentations.

The work that has gone into the book “The Victoria Cross Australia Remembers” is mind-boggling.

It took nearly four years to write and go to print. It contains over 150,000 words and 1000 photographs. Sixty families of Victoria Cross recipients were interviewed.

Michael Madden and photographer Gordon Traill were invited to Windsor Castle to view the proto type Victoria Cross medal for approval by Queen Victoria  in 1856. They were also invited to Shropshire Department of Defence facility to view the metal that is used to produce the Victoria Cross medals.

The presentations dates/times and locations are

Friday 27th April, Queensland Book Signing and Presentation will be at the Currumbin RSL – Morning Tea Presentation – 10:00am – 3:00pm.

‘The Victoria Cross Australia Remembers’ – Currumbin RSL Flyer

Saturday 28th April, Book Signing and Presentation will be at the Kedron-Wavell Services Club 11:00am – 3:00pm.
(21 Kittyhawk Drive, Chermside South, Qld, 4032.

‘The Victoria Cross Australia Remembers’ – Kedron-Wavell Services Club F…


Names on casualty list shattered families in every community

From the first action in German New Guinea in September 1914, through the eight months of the Dardanelles campaign, the bloody battles in Western Europe and the Middle East, the names on the constant casualty lists impacted every Australian community.
For too many families their loss was permanent, a husband, father, child or sibling who would not be returning and would lie forever in foreign soil too far and too difficult to visit.
For too many families there was the telegram informing them their next-of-kin was simply missing in action, bringing even less closure.

DVA Minister – Kapyong Day Commemorates Landmark Battle of Korean War

KNOWN as Kapyong Day, today recognises the anniversary of a turning point in the Korean War when Australians helped prevent Communist forces from occupying the South Korean capital, Seoul, for the third time in less than a year.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said on this day 67 years ago near the ruined village of Kapyong, United Nations forces fought a successful defensive action that prevented a Chinese breakthrough on a crucial part of the front.

“Kapyong is among the most significant battles that Australian troops fought in Korea, as they conducted a difficult defence and carried out a series of fighting withdrawals while containing the Chinese advance towards Seoul.

“United Nations forces were confronted with a major Chinese offensive in late April 1951. The Chinese attacks through the Kapyong Valley on 23 April threatened to overwhelm the defences, in that area held by Commonwealth and United States forces including the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR).

“Fighting continued throughout the night and following day until the Australians were forced to withdraw to new positions in the rear, a difficult task for units still in contact with the enemy.  Having failed to break through the Commonwealth and United States line, the Chinese abandoned their attacks.”

As well as being remembered as a major victory for United Nations forces, the Battle of Kapyong was one of Australia’s most hard fought battles of the Korean War.

“The Battle of Kapyong was a close fought action in which 32 Australians were killed and 59 were wounded and three taken prisoner. For its part in the battle, 3RAR was awarded a United States Presidential Citation,” Mr Chester said.

“The service and sacrifice of Australians involved in the Korean War and the Battle of Kapyong must never be forgotten.

“We recognise and honour those who have defended our freedoms and values, and their memory will live on.”  

Veterans of the Korean War will be honoured at a national commemoration in Canberra on 27 July 2018 to mark the 65th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice. For more details visit www.dva.gov.au.

Video – Spirit of the Anzacs






Opinion – ANZAC Message 2018 for Students – You are Them and They are You

100 years ago today, Australian troops played a major role in defeating the final German offensive of World War One. Against all odds, they achieved their victory by stubborn defence and aggressive counter attacks in the surrounds of a French village called Villers Bretonneux where even to this very day, the local community displays signs revering the Australian soldiers. 



One of the battalions was the 51st; your very own battalion which is still on the order of battle and is located here in Cairns. A member of the 51st Battalion, Lieutenant Sadlier was awarded the Victoria Cross for valour during the battle.

Before Gallipoli and the terrible years of war that followed, our soldiers had once been in schools not as expansive as yours and in a time when they wrote with slates and chalk.  Later, long before our space age, they learnt copy book writing with pen nibs dipped into ink wells.

Throughout our beloved land “Down Under” their footprints were seen and laughter heard in many a schoolyard.

They too questioned right from wrong.

They too tried every trick in the book to avoid or delay homework.

They too had their cowards and bullies lurking in the shadows.

They too were tempted to dare by what is now known as peer pressure.

As you can see, the challenges you confront, like theirs, are more than a few

Believe me, whatever your secret dreams, they too are not new.

When all seems to go wrong, just remember each and every one of those we honour had doubts of success and fear of failure, yet rolled up their sleeves and reached for the stars.

I knew some of the aging soldiers who had served in Gallipoli and subsequent campaigns in the deserts of the Middle East or muddy fields of France and Belgium. My stepfather was one of them. As an infant I watched many of their sons and daughters march through the streets on their way to another World War and then came a third generation who served in Korea, Malaya, Borneo and Vietnam. Since then many more have followed in bloody conflicts from Somalia to Afghanistan.

From Gallipoli to this very day, within our people has always been a sense of purpose, mateship, mischief, dry wit, humour and love of country. No matter where you were born, clearly the genes of national character are strong and contagious, for they are you and you are them.

Thus today there is a huge gathering of spirits who watch with pride as you young mortals confront life with its many challenges. The personal qualities of life which they demonstrated are precious gifts you can unwrap and use to pursue your tomorrow with much vision and hope.

In time it will be your turn to teach those yet to be born and pass on the same gifts as given to you, such as discipline, respect for each other, love of country, unity, sharing, caring and to keep going forward no matter the challenges being confronted.

You must never ignore such beautiful qualities of life that the ANZACs left as a legacy for you. They are not there to be prostituted but used wisely. Wherever you go and whatever you do, they too can be your strengths.

The following message has been printed for you, our leaders of tomorrow. Read and remember it well and then go forward with pride in who you are and confidence in what you can become.

God bless all of you, our nation, the ANZACs and all who have followed to protect our precious way of life beneath the Southern Cross.

GM April 2018



A Message from the ANZACs for Tomorrow’s Leaders

They watch with love as you, our youth pass by

They sigh with pride as at school, our flag flies high

They nod in understanding when you question right from wrong

They smile at your love of life, and why homework takes so long

They hear laughter in the schoolyard where they once did play

They too heard the bell and like you, a stampede to be on their way

They know too well of your dreams, for theirs were much the same 

They became ANZACs, and for you gave flesh, blood and pain

Their deeds and sacrifices are etched in history for ever and a day

At campfires mid the stars, in a message to you, they would say

“You are us; we are you and Down Under will always be our home

A special rugged land of rich beauty where true blues are grown

There are challenges to face, and many will be as a team together

Flood, drought or whatever; all as one from City to Never- Never 

Respect for each other; always going forward and never say die 

These are just some of the rules that were part of our battle cry”

Such are the wise words of ANZACs learnt from time gone by

Who left our shores to fight in foreign lands and where many now lie

They swore a sacred oath; believed in themselves and their nation.

The qualities they left us are not of war but from God’s creation

To share, care, love, master hope, courage and understanding

Going forward as one with purpose as they did at the historic landing

Read their message well to help arm for life in in your tomorrow

Stand tall; be confident of what you can do; now GO make it so


George Mansford © February 2018