Poem – Reflections from the Fallen

War can never be divorced from the terrible misery it brings, not only to combatants but their loved ones as well in far distant places, always wondering, praying and waiting. An address to Saint Mary’s College  –  Anzac 2020

WW1 was certainly such an example when Australia committed a high percentage of its small population to fight in foreign fields. History has recorded a very significant ratio in regards casualties to population and which was higher than most of her allies. The terrible hidden consequences became slowly but surely unmasked in early post war years. 

The nation had been bled so much of its potential for the future. Young men and women who had stepped forward as volunteer to serve their country were lost in the maelstrom of war. So many others who thought they had survived the horrors never could adjust back to what had been. They were the hidden casualties of war long after the last shot had been fired. 

Our history has captured the immense courage, love of country and devotion to duty in unbelievable trials of hardship and danger.  Not surprisingly, the most evident and very powerful armour our troops had was mateship. It embraced sharing, caring, even when rolling the dice of death to determine who lived or died. Each and every day in a living bloody hell known as the front line, and yet they never did falter, lose their faith, and always the familiar constant smiles and wry humour in the face of terrible adversity. 

Their fears, dreams and devotion to duty were identical with those of the nurses who tended the wounded in dangerous and Spartan conditions behind the front line.  Soldier and nurse were as one, in what was and always will be the military family. 

There were so many next of kin who received more than one visit from the official messengers of wounds and death. The tortuous grief was repeated for some luckless families more than once, even three times or more.

So many sad houses with empty bedrooms and cupboards cluttered with dusty footballs, racquets and cricket bats. On walls and tables are smiling young faces in wooden frames. Among them are brothers from the same families we now read of.

I do hope you will reflect deeply on this journey back to the last century to the genesis of the ANZACs and their subsequent deeds. No matter what family tree, race, religion or colour, the most beautiful treasure to emerge from the agonies of war were the qualities the ANZACs had demonstrated. Such strengths bonded them together and the torch they lit has been carried by subsequent generations, and is brighter and ever for all to see.

Such lessons from the past are of immense value to us in these difficult times. It needs no war to capture their wonderful qualities such as resilience, humour, mateship, courage, acceptance of responsibility, respect, discipline and faith in self and country.  They would urge you to use such qualities to master each and every challenge which confronts you in life. If you stand together you will win.

There will come a time when you can not only tell the proud story of the ANZACS to your children’s children; you can also tell them of your own Gallipolis and how you too persevered and won with an armoury of faith and seeking always tomorrow as one people.

Keep the faith and always stand tall   George Mansford March2020

Reflections from the Fallen

In this foreign land, our spirits watch as you pass by

A peaceful forest where we now lie

Bright coloured birds sweetly sing and gone forever is misery and pain

Soft damp green grass has replaced sandbags, slurping mud and drenching rain

Your laughter comforts us, for we are weary of grief and tears

You are drunk with vibrant youth, which we only sipped in angry years

Absent are screaming shells and whispering fluttering flares by day and night

No more the fear stirred when roused from restless sleep with dawn’s light

Faded are the ugly scars from hate, constant doubt and broken dreams

While in great national halls of pride, our names etched on walls are to be seen

Deeds of sharing, caring, seeking cheer, and so often risking all for each other

In the furnace of war where we were forged to be sisters and brothers

When you return to our beloved land

Mid concrete towers where once bark huts did stand

Guard well the torch you hold, glowing with its precious way of life

Fueled with yesterday dreams, blood, sweat, tears and terrible strife

We are you, and you are us, now and forever after

In a land down under, where abound free spirit, many smiles and laughter

George Mansford©February 2020

Hidden Casualties of War

I am of the view that our troops returning home from active service find it a huge challenge to adjust as they pursue their dreams from countless, restless and seemingly endless periods in hostile surrounds. For many, such visions would become reality and for some, they will always remain a dream.  

In jungle where hand signals and whispers are part of a highly disciplined routine, and where even the slightest noise such a cracking twig, the clink of a spoon or mug can identify danger or betrayal of location. Such faint sounds jolt even the weariest of nerves. Imagine the contrast of disciplined silence in such a hostile environment with the first breakfast at home and a radio blaring, squabbling children and suburban din just days later? How about circumstances where a conscript who a just a week before was on a battlefield surrounded and supported by mates he trusted with his life, is suddenly living in a very lonely one- bedroom apartment. Even more challenging are the hidden consequences of arriving home after operational service then quickly transported by a time machine to the very same office desk where the veteran once worked and is surrounded by once familiar work mates who are now total strangers.  

Clearly, re-adjusting is the key to survival.  Understandably loved ones in the beginning are in most cases not familiar with the need for adjustment and learn by trial and error. Yet neglect of such needs by a government bureaucracy is unforgivable, more so given its long learning experience during the frequent deployments of our military in past decades.  

I do know from personal observation, numerous examples of the immense value of partners and families in helping neutralise the impact of PSTD. Yet families of today are learning the hard way the old lessons of yesterday, in how to manage the changing moods of a loved one. Some do not, and the consequences often add innocent families to the hidden casualty lists of war. Perhaps part of the problem is that military families are not assisted to understand and how to cope with an uninvited guest called PSTD?

One thing is certain. Demands of war are constant. If we are to send troops into harm’s way, they must, regardless of their role, be prepared for active service in a tough and demanding training arena involving battle inoculation which tests not only military skills and teamwork but physical and mental stamina so essential in war.  Failing that, we should stop grandstanding in questionable wars, many of which by the way, are not winnable.  

                          A Good Reason to Live

Gidday  Cobbers, it’s early hours and I can’t sleep, thus just a quick note

I see dripping taps transform into empty canteens and parched throats
Hear pattering rain and I’m am back in another place, shivering in an icy coat
Gasping and stumbling in smothering darkness, seeking a switch for light
Dreams of flying in metal chariots mid whirring ceiling fans wocking at night

The comforting laughter and wry humour at chopper pads as we prepared to fly
Masking fear from the madness of it all, and with forced grin, wondering why?
All as one, searching, listening, waiting in a dense green arena of heat and rain
Dreaming of when it will all end, and to be home with loved ones again.

How proud it was, as always we stepped forward as one  
To share punishment for barracks sin, or risk all in a battle that must be won
Now, I see their ghosts, lightly laden, smiling as they pass by on an endless way
Oh, to join them and leave the doubts and pain of all those yesterdays 

As I write, there are clear signs in OZ of more turmoil and strife. 
Discipline faltering and rabid brown shirts trying to destroy our way of life
Danger looms as we keep ignoring costly lessons from times gone by
Our sleepy mute politicians stumbling into tomorrow with no battle cry

Tonight, the column will as always return; singing, laughing, happy as can be
Marching in step, all together, and oh so free
Such a strong temptation to go and join them all
I can’t, there’s a way of life to protect, and “stay and fight” is our column’s call.

George Mansford © February 2020

RARA Qld E News – 5/2019 December 2019

President’s Message

President Photo

We have had a busy period since the last ENews, some good and some sad.
Remembrance Day at The Walk and Contemplation Building for the last eleven years has been one of the highlights on our calendar. We host the Year 6 Class from McDowall State School (136 pupils) for a Remembrance Day Service. I say it is a highlight because since I have been involved with The Walk over the last seven years I have been involved with Ted in hosting the teachers and students.

Part of their curriculum is the study of Australian History which includes our involvement in all wars. Their enthusiasm and knowledge is amazing and they appreciate the chance to be able to visit The Walk and understand the meaning of Service and Sacrifice.

Conversely, only a few people turned up for the 1100 hour service. Other units within the Barracks are now conducting their own service. As a consequence, one of my targets for 2020 is to encourage greater attendance at both the Remembrance Day and the ANZAC Dawn Service at the Walk.

We are well advanced with transitioning from RARA Old to The Royal Australian Regiment National Memorial Walk Association by 1st January 2020. My Management Team of Greg Decker, Phil Challands, Peter Brennan, Trevor Pond and Ted Chitham will implement the transition until the end of the 2019-2020 financial years. At that time the RAR Corporation Board will decide from the applications received, appoint the Manager of the NMW entity.

On a personal note this year I have written a Concept Paper on the History of Infantry in Australia from our first deployment in Sudan to the present time. It covers our Colonial Forces, our Militia and the formation of The Royal Australian Regiment.  The paper is aimed at teaching the soldier/junior officer our proud history and achievements and lays a platform for all NCO/Offr to gain information to pass on to the soldier.  Our Head of Infantry has approved its distribution.

The sad news is that we lost a soldier and a proud member of the Regimental. Many of our comrades have passed on but this bloke had a special place in my heart – Alan Norcott aka Corncob. My appreciation of him is recorded later in this News.

At this Christmas/New Year holiday season I wish you and your families the compliments of the season. And remember to ask your mates RUOK

The National Memorial Walk

Remembrance Day Service – McDowall State School

Appreciation from David Pedwell, Deputy Principal McDowall State School.

“The staff and student of McDowall State School thank the Royal Australian Regiment Association for hosting their visit to the National Memorial Walk. This is a valuable experience for the students. They learn a lot as you can see from some of their reflections that I have included in the attached letter of thanks.”

McDowall State School – National Memorial Walk – Remembrance Day 2019

Thank you for spending your own time showing us the
amazing people who die protecting our beautiful
country that we are lucky to be living in now. Looking
through the gardens makes me feel grateful of what
those men and women have done. In the future on
Remembrance Day I would take a walk through our
country, be silent, and then say we will remember
you. Bailee

The Walk of Remembrance was a great excursion but a serious one as well. I really enjoyed hearing about what happens at the army barracks and looking at all the memorials of fallen soldiers. I think planting a tree for every man and woman that died in a war is a very respectful and nice action for the families of those soldiers. 6C3 is very thankful for having such a pleasant opportunity to learn about the wars and mottoes of the army barracks. Braedon

The walk of remembrance was a very touching excursion, showing us the amount of lives lost in certain battles. My favourite area we went to, it would have to be just the overall commemoration of the soldiers that meet their demise away from home. I learnt that the soldiers died not in vane as they sacrificed being with their loved ones to protect what was important to them. Having known they protected their country and the future generations meant our country could thrive and live on in peace. Thank you for your service. River W

Thank you for letting the whole of Year 6 come to this special commemoration. I felt sad looking through the gardens of soldiers who have passed helping our country. My favourite part was walking up and down and seeing some of the soldier’s favourite things lying against their post. I hope Remembrance Day is a special day forever. Thank you for making it possible for us to come to your wonderful place. Sincerely Indiana

Thank you so much RSL for organising for McDowall to go to the memorial. I learnt so much at the barracks. Without you, this would not be possible. When I walk through the gardens, I felt really sad for all the people that fought for our country. Thank you so much again for making this possible. Max

It is my pleasure to thank you welcoming us to the Enoggera barracks to learn and commemorate Remembrance Day. Seeing the names still being commemorated to this day, really touched my heart. Preston

Thank you to the people who gave us a trip to the barracks and thank you for the service you gave at the start. Benjamin When I was walking through the garden, what I felt was a deep, sad feeling that would never be forgotten. Brynley I think planting a tree for every soldier that died in battles is a very respectful and nice action for the families of those soldiers. Tanish

Dads’ Army

Dads’ Army continues to keep the Walk in good shape while Margaret Devereux continues to provide her gourmet cakes and biscuits and the lads go about their tasks without supervision. Ken Cupples is so well programmed that he still appears to assist us

Getting ready for the transition is well underway in the documentation field with the assets register and projects schedules being updated. There will be no change to the operations of Dads’ Army with necessary approved support from the designated RAR resident Battalion. Our sincere thanks for their support.

During the “official” Christmas break there will be some stalwarts who will continue to closely maintain watch over the Walk, essentially to keep it watered.

The Walk is a showpiece included on the itinerary of visiting military dignitaries and in 7 Brigade’s Orientation Program for senior school students considering a military career. We provide an Escort from one of our team (Dave McDonald, Ted Chitham, Glenn Willman and Alan Price) for these “show and tell” visits.  The visit has been extended by the students working on NMW maintenance tasks.

Weekly Event. Every Monday 6.00 – 9.00 am Dad’s Army at the NMW. All welcome

30 Dec 19 – Kilcoy Racing

04 Jan 20 – Kilcoy Races

17-19 Jan 20 – 8/9 RAR Association Camp Out

20 Jan 20 – NMW Commences

28 Jan 20 Kilcoy Races – Australia Day

03 Feb 20 – Flag Pole Service NMW

07 Feb 20 – Rifleman’s Lunch Mooloolaba

10 Feb 20 – NMW Orientation Day

27 Feb 20 – Long Hai Day visit to NMW and 8/9 RAR

28 Feb 20 – Long Hai Day Service at Tweed Heads

02 Mar 20 – Flag Pole Service NMW

06 Mar 20 – Rifleman’s Lunch Mooloolaba

THE PASSING PARADE OF WARRIORS – THEIR DUTY DONE

Our Country is in mourning, for
A SOLDIER DIED TODAY

August- November 2019

Alan Norcott – 6 RAR, 8 RAR & 8/9 RAR

Peter Madden – 6 RAR

Robert “Bob” Powell – 3 RAR

Bill McDonald – 2 RAR, 4 RAR & 9 RAR

Brian “Father” Bourke – 6 RAR

Lyndon Bolton – 9 RAR

James Saxton – 4 RAR

Harry Brayley – 2/19 INF, 1 RAR

Geoff Thomas – 6 RAR & 7 RAR

Phillip Gould – 2/4 RAR, 9 RAR, SASR & 1CDO REGT

Wally Buckland – 6 RAR

Tim Fischer AC – 1 RAR

Clifford Bruce Cornish –   RAR

Jim Townley – RAA

A Warrior’s Farewell

Go now and travel beyond the void
Seek the green column and when you meet
See once more those smiling faces
Hear again laughter and sounds of marching feet

No more the visions of the bloody past
Gone are the nightmares and lingering pain 
Soon you will be home at long, long last 
United with fallen comrades once again 

And when the final roll is called
Another page of history complete 
You will rest with brave spirits such as they
In a camp where you will find restful sleep

Go swiftly now and seek your past 
Your duty done for all to tell 
With pride of who and what you were 
And now we bid you a fond farewell

George Mansford – December 2007

RARA Qld – End of an ERA

As we close this chapter of the RARA’s history we look back to recognise and appreciate the contribution of those men and women who made the RARA Qld the leader and custodian in the formation of the RARA National Memorial Walk, the National Secretariat of the combined RAR National Associations (State/Territory and Battalion Associations) and ultimately today’s RAR Corporation

In 1968 the GOC Northern Command Maj Gen F G Hassett called a meeting of all serving and past serving RAR members living in South East Qld to be held at the United Services Institute building in Victoria Barracks Brisbane. The purpose of this meeting was to establish the amount of interest there was in forming a “Royal Australian Regiment “Association.

He spoke of the associations formed by Infantry units after WW1 & WW2 and stressed that the time was right for the RAR to do the same, and to be able to march behind our own banner on occasions such as ANZAC Day. Those present agreed.

Maj Gen Hassett appointed a steering committee (Maj David Kayler-Thompson, Maj Bill Chitts and WO1 “Tiny” Dugan) to ascertain the feasibility of forming such an organization.

The steering committee reported that it was feasible and desirable.

An implementation committee was appointed whose initial members were Maj Kayler-Thompson President, Maj Bill Chitts, WO1 “Tiny” Dugan & WO1 Sammy Beam   Fees were set at $5.00 per annum for ordinary members or a “Life Membership”for $15.00.

The roles of the Association developed over the years are:

  • to provide camaraderie with social activities for the members and their families;
  • to commemorate RAR unit battle honours and preserve the memories of those who died on overseas service;
  • to provide an advisory and delivery pensions and welfare support service; and
  • to protect our members/families service entitlements by representation where necessary to the Government and relevant authorities.

Highlights of RARAQ history include:

  1. The construction of The RAR National Memorial Walk in 1996 and from that the volunteer maintenance group known as Dads’ Army.
  2. The establishment and operation of a Federal Secretariat in 2007 for the combined RAR State/Territory and RAR Battalion Associations, specifically to advocate as the RAR united voice of our RAR Family to the Government for their well-being and protection of their service entitlements.
  3. In 2009, the establishment from the RARA National body to the Royal Australian Regiment Corporation with the same roles.
  4. The establishment of ADSO in 2010 with other major ESOs to advocate with one voice to Government for the Defence Community’s well-being and protection of their service entitlements.
  5. In 2017 the unveiling of the RAR Memorial in Ferguson Park Samford Rd Enoggera. BCC approved the Park to be jointly named The Royal Australian Regiment Place

The success of RARAQ  is the result of the dedication of many people (men, women and their families), too many to name in this brief article, who selflessly volunteered themselves to fill many of the roles on management committees, maintenance groups such as Dads’ Army, special projects and our representatives on Government Committees.  But here are some named:

Presidents: David Drabsch, David Kayler-Thompson,“Tiny” Dugan, Scruffy McGovern, Ray Towie, Neil Eiby, Alf Handley, Ted Chitham, Kel Ryan, Alf Vockler, Neil Weekes and Dave McDonald

Secretaries: Sammy Beam, Ron Organ, Ken Dunn, Neil Bremner, Allan Whelan, Rick Hollingdrake and Greg Decker.

Treasurers: Sammy Beam, Kiwi Gibbons, John Stevens, Ron Goodall, Phil Challands and Trevor Pond

NMW: Mick Servos, Murray Blake and his Committee (Laurie Hall and John Carauna), Kiwi and Margaret Gibbons, Paul Gallagher, Peter Brennan and Theresa Muggeridge

Other Notables: Darcy Dugan, Rod Slater, Ken Cupples, Padre Gary Stone, Ron and Jerry Woodrow, Barry Stalder, Arthur Willemse just to name a few

Women: Margaret Gibbons, Barbara Handley, Patricia Eiby, Gail Dugan, Margaret Devereux, Selma Cupples to name a few.

The Regiment: The RAR Council (all Battalion COs and RSMs) and particularly the  resident Battalions in Gallipoli Barracks 6 RAR and 8/9 RAR

We thank all those named and un-named who have contributed to the success of our RARAQ Association and for their dedication to service and sacrifice for The Regiment, Australia and our people and to Keeping the Regimental Spirit Alive. You are true exemplars of the Regiment’s motto DUTY FIRST

We ask for your contribution to continue with our new entity dedicated to the promotion and maintenance of The Royal Australian Regiment’s National Memorial Walk.

This brief article will be expanded on and become registered with the RAR Bibliography to be part of the Regiment’s recorded history.

A tribute to the volunteers of The Royal Australian Regiment Association – Still Soldiering On in Mufti

“Soldiering is a life experience and for most never to be forgotten. From the very moment that the oath is sworn, you are for the time being, just another unfortunate creature whose mother sold you to the military for a silver coin. 

What the recruiting sergeant conveniently did not mention is that a total and rigid obedience to military regulations was obligatory.

          Incredibly as each uncoordinated group experienced the wrath of instructors at varying level of rank, slowly and surely the rabble became a team with instinctive obedience to all commands

          Military history records the deeds of units in both peace and war yet often fails to recognize those who made it so and the powerful spirit of unit pride and mateship which old soldiers carry to the grave and perhaps beyond.  Such spirit and loyalty to unit did not just happen, but began with the very first shrill bark of command by a non- commissioned officer.

          In time, with hard and demanding training, strangers became friends and then comrades. Individual views and uncoordinated action were transformed into a team with clear purpose and action.

          No one can determine exactly when the precious brother and sister hood arrived to embrace both unit and regiment. However, there is no evidence whatsoever it came to be with a wave of a General’s baton or a space age politician making promises.
 

          What we do know is that the military family gathered strength with each demanding challenge and recognition of achievements in peace or war. We do know the demands of high standards were met, and with it came even more confidence, battle discipline, individual and collective pride. With all of these assets was the most valuable legacy of the ANZAC spirit.

          It is not surprising that as each column converts to mufti, there are many volunteers who continue to shepherd the thinning ranks with sharing and caring and reminding society of who and what they still are.
 

          Thus my compliments to all volunteers of all military associations and in particular those I have seen at first hand being The Royal Australian Regiment Association (RARA), The Australian Training Team Vietnam Association (AATTV) and 51st Battalion , Far North Queensland Regiment Association”

Old Soldiers Never Die

Time has aged those who once wore the proud badge of the Roo

The gaps in the ranks of old warriors are more than a few

Gone the spritely step and strong pulse beat

No more the singing round campfires on readymade seats

Yet still the memories of roll calls for so many brothers

Still young soldiers at heart, so ready to help each other

Beat the drums and sound the bugle call

All for one and one for all

Soldiers grow old yet always a powerful regimental spirit is there
 Thanks to volunteers who are seen to be everywhere

They’ve traded rifle for names and addresses of mates in strife

No need of compass to find the home of a widow, once an army wife

Work parties maintain walls with proud names of fallen to be seen

Reunions, charity, funerals and telling school kids what ANZAC means

Beat the drums and sound the bugle call

All for one and one for all

In turn, each generation of the Regiment marches on and on

Until at last it blurs and fades on distant horizons and is gone

In each passing column, volunteers step forward to seize the flame

Dressed in mufti, armed with pen and phone, are on duty again

Old and new sentries have changed and the relief is complete

With mateship, sharing, caring, and despite weary shuffling feet

Beat the drums and sound the bugle call

All for one and one for all

George Mansford © December 2019

Check your Mates

Please check your mates as a standard procedure. There are some who find it difficult to cope due to a number of factors, mainly they are alone so reach out to a mate and ask RUOK:  one phone call can make a huge difference.

The Operation Compass program has proven to be very effective, Check it out and see their videos here

Note that the RARA supports Trojans TrekVeterans Care,Overwatch Australia and Survive to Thrive

DVA – Men’s Health Peer Education (MHPE) Magazine — Vol. 18 No. 2 2019 — Mental Health Edition

Overview: Inside this issue: PT with the Governor-General of Australia, Gardens, great for the soul and body

Insomnia – There’s a reason why you can’t switch your brain off at night

Do you ever wake at night and find yourself worrying about life and trying to problem-solve issues, unable to get back to sleep? We now know what’s happening in your brain to cause it.

RAAF’s secret drone selection criteria

It has been revealed [to me in a vision] that the Royal Australian Air Force’s selection criteria for its new armed drones included…

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Former Army officer appointed AWM Director

Former Army officer and diplomat Matthew Anderson will replace Brendan Nelson as Director of the Australian War Memorial.

Read more

READ RSL NEWS ONLINE

Edition 4 of Queensland RSL News can now be read online:

  • 20 years of peace in Timor
  • Meet our refreshed Executive

Explore the Barracks – gates thrown open for family fun day

READ MORE

FINDING VETERANS A PLACE TO CALL HOME

Safe, permanent housing is one of our most basic needs but sadly, some veterans are lacking just that.

Whether couch surfing, living in your car or living rough, we can help you find a place to call home.

Since launching in late 2017, our Homelessness program has helped 130 veterans find secure, stable accommodation.

LEARN MORE

NATIONAL ADVOCACY NEWS

The RAR Corporation (RAR Association National), advocates to Government to protect the service entitlements and well-being of the Defence Family (current and past serving military persons and their families). It does this directly in its own right as well as through the Alliance of Defence Service Organisations (ADSO). By being represented on the PM’s Advisory Council on Mental Health PMAC (Mike von Berg), DVA’s ESO Round Table (ESORT) (Mike von Berg), the Younger Veterans Forum (YVF) (Phil Thompson) and the Operations Working Party (OWP)(Clem Russell) we have direct input into DVA.

Visit the ADSO website here

SIMPLER ACCESS TO MEDICAL TREATMENT FOR VETERANS

https://rarnational.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/DVA-62.jpg

VETERANS who currently have to pay for their medical treatment upfront and wait to be reimbursed will only need to present their Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) health card to pay for their treatment under changes to the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA) passed through Parliament yesterday.

Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel Darren Chester said around 4000 MRCA veterans and their families would benefit from the change, which is part of DVA’s transformation program to make processes faster and easier for veterans and their families to gain access to the support they need.

OMBUDSMAN’S INQUIRY INTO DFRDB COMMUTATION DECISION – APOLOGY BUT NO COMPENSATION

The Ombudsman’s office (11th December) released a Media Statement on the outcome of his inquiry into DFRDB Commutation. A copy of that Statement and the Ombudsman’s Report is here.

Ministerial Statement

The Government acknowledges the release of the Commonwealth   Ombudsman’s independent investigation into the Defence Force   Retirement and Death Benefits (DFRDB) scheme. The Government   listened to the concerns of the ex-service community in initiating an independent review of the DFRDB scheme, which focused on the accuracy of information provided about commutation by the Department of Defence (Defence), the Australian Defence Force (ADF) or the scheme administrators, such as the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC).

While the investigation found that some information provided by Defence in the 1980s and 1990s regarding commutation was incorrect, the Ombudsman concluded that the decision to commute was, and still is, the more financially beneficial option.

READ THE APOLOGY

ADFRA’s DFRDB UPDATE – September 2019

The Australian Defence Force Retirees Association (ADFRA) acts on behalf of Defence Force retirees and their military superannuation grievances. DFRDB […]

RCB Recognition – Update 5/2019: From Deception to Exposure – 2020 Action

This month we saw the 30th Anniversary of the end of The Malaysian Counter Insurgency War (1968-1989) and early next year the 50th anniversary of the initial deployment of a combat infantry rifle company to protect the RAAF assets at Air Base Butterworth against the communist insurgent threat.

It’s almost 14 years since the RCB Review Group formally exercised it’s  fundamental right to the truth and contested the Government’s decision that RCB service was unwarlike  similar to peacetime garrison duty in Australia . It that time despite the overwhelming evidence discovered under FOI which revealed a deception and that the RCB RG has been denied a fair and just process that has been well documented and begs the question of a breach of the PM’s Ministerial standards.

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Kilcoy Diggers

Thus far, it’s been another successful and satisfying year, providing support to Kilcoy Race Club. The Xmas Cup meeting on Saturday 30 November was a great success with the new ($1M) facilities completed that will be envied by all other Tier 2 SEQ race tracks.

At this latest meeting we again saw three grass track trotting/pacing races, the only place in Queensland where this occurs.


As well as the major race days on a weekend, Kilcoy Diggers also provides limited support to mid-week meetings when entry is free.

These events are also a great social picnic day opportunity to experience. So in the New Year get your social group together and come enjoy the experience

Here is the KilDigs dressed for their support activities

Back R L to R : Arthur Willemse, Phil Wolfenden, Glen Willmann, Terry Dex, Rod Slater, Lou Kucks, Barry Shipway,  Uncle Noel  Des Prien
Front Row L to R: Michael Van Brough, Ross Wyatt, Kim Morgan, Julie Slater, Ron Wyatt

YULETIDE FESTIVAL OF RACING AND PACING

From Con Searle, President                                                         
“Kilcoy racing officials have introduced exciting new concepts for the Yuletide Festival of Racing and Pacing. Following the unveiling of a brand new cafeteria and attractive improvements to the betting ring and surrounds late last month, the Kilcoy Race Club will stage its first standalone harness meeting on Monday December 30.

Also, Athletics officials have embraced the inaugural running of the $5000 Kilcoy Gift, a professional sprint over 120 metres to be staged on Australia Day. There will be four heats early in the day with the final to be run late afternoon. Bookies will bet on all events.
“We hope this event will become the Stawell Gift of Queensland,” “This first running will be a highlight of what we hope will be a family

day. It’s a Sunday and it will be free entry for kids who no doubt will be interested in the mini-trot races which are run between the gallop races.”

The Yuletide Kilcoy racing gets under way on Friday 20TH December with free entry for a seven event TAB meeting followed by the all trots meeting ten days later.

The New Year gallop meeting of eight events will be held on Saturday January 4. National and international television coverage of this meeting will no doubt attract favourable comments on the lush state of the turf track. “We are blessed to be allocated 140,000 litres of treated water daily and even through the drought of recent months the Kilcoy track has been bright green,”
“I’m really excited by the package of racing and entertainment we have programmed over the Festive season and on to Australia Day. The Somerset Regional Council have been wonderfully supportive of all the events staged at the Kilcoy racecourse including the annual Show and polocrosse matches.”

Note that Con is a great supporter and benefactor of the RAR National Memorial Walk

Honorary Life Member – Ken Cupples

For his outstanding service over a long period of time to the RARAQ and particularly the National Memorial Walk, Ken has been granted this honour. Congratulations from all to our senior active 92 years young Ken Cupples


Westfield’s North Lakes Qld Local Heroes 2019 – Glenn Willmann

Westfield announce its 120 Westfield Local Heroes for 2019. In March, their communities across Australia and New Zealand told them […]

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Christmas Blessings and a Happy New Year

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Duty First

24 December 2019

Comment/Poem – Let’s Roll up Our Sleeves

It is 35 years since the last major dam was built, yet our population has been  increasing at an alarming rate since that time. Despite a history of droughts and flooding rain, our blinkered politicians are most reluctant to spend money on major water infrastructure.  They further reinforce public doubts on their competence when they commit eighty billions dollars plus to procure conventional submarines not ready for service before at least 25 years and given the rapid advances of science and technology it will be as comparing a tank to a three legged horse with lancer.  

Drought stricken farmers are still waiting for financial aid while we spend so much on foreign aid and give to an ever- hungry bulging treasury of the United Nations and Climate Change pirates.  

We have surrendered our intent for the future, time and time again, to minority groups who worship lizards and lung fish.  Two examples where politicians sacrificed our future needs to appease a noisy few were both the proposed Tully-Millstream hydro-electric and the Mary River projects. Both of which by now in times of need, would have been fully operational with abundance of water for irrigation, and providing significant clean energy for power and more effective flood mitigation in both regions.

Be there climate change or not, we need to be more positive and seek common and achievable goals which will enhance our ability to live with nature. We can harvest much more water. We can mitigate flooding.  We can reduce the severity of bush fires. We can provide more protection and refuge from cyclones, We can live with Mother Nature and use its tantrums to our benefit. We can set the example, and provide confidence, not fear, for those generations who will follow us.  

With more water infrastructures we will reduce the impact of nature’s tantrums as well as enhancing our natural environment. All of this and more can be achieved if our governments, both State and Federal remove the heavy blinkers, stop procrastinating and set a true course for our people to follow.  

One lesson from history is clear. Our treasured way of life is worth defending, no matter what the cost.  The failure to harness the products of nature’s wrath as well as its generosity could well result in poverty, discontent, disunity and empty pockets within our nation plus a third world category signpost just around the corner. The consequences could well contribute to the demise of our way of life, long before the arrival of very expensive ghost obsolete submarines to defend what used to be.

So stop the procrastination, roll up our sleeves, seize the steel, pour the cement, and toil for a bright and prosperous future.    GM December 2019

Poem – To Be or Not to Be

Mother Nature’s tantrums have always been part of our scene
Dry creeks, thirsty rivers and parched soil often seen
Cruel fires burning life, leaf, bark and dreams to ash are not new
Heavy rains turn dust to mud; rivers flood towns and pastures too 

Each disaster tests our nation’s strength, resilience, spirit and unity 
Mid danger, pain and stress, are brave and caring deeds for all to see
“She’ll be right mate;” “It could be worse;” “I’m OK, check next door”
“Can I help;” “Pass the hat around;” ‘‘Chip into help” and many more  

We must travel with nature’s flow and use its temper to survive the test Never dither or relent to a noisy idle few who claim to know best 
Create plans laced with bags of common sense, more than a few
Fear not obstacles; for unity, confidence and purpose will see us through

We want a Caesar of Caesars with positive intent and clear mission   
No more broken or distorted promises which sour our vision
To ensure resources needed to master rivers, should we dare
A leader to give our nation purpose, be it city, bush or anywhere

Ignore a teenage prophet casting spells from old playhouses far away
For survival, throw aside the UN’s heavy sly cloak and do it our way
Rid ourselves of the unknown, doubts and fears which burden all 
Gather our scattered visions and weld them together, once and for all

To create food for the table from what was barren land to see
Provide oases where past generations never dreamed could be
Tasks will not be easy and the final goal must never alter  
So roll up sleeves, seize the steel, pour the cement, and never falter  
              

     Let future generations prosper from our blood, sweat and tears 
To live with and benefit from tantrums of Nature, each and every year
No more doom and gloom, deeps sighs and shrugs of shoulders
We must be as one, seeking tomorrow, becoming wiser, stronger and bolder
   

                      Hail Caesar

George Mansford © November 2019                            

After A Day at War (South Vietnam, 1969)

In the gloom of each day when it’s dying
Standing to is the normal routine.
A time which I use for reflecting
On what we have done or we’ve seen.

It’s the time, when my view blends with darkness;
And as daytime gives way to the night,
I review the way that we’re working.
Are we doing this wrong or right?

Did Jim keep his distance from Stan at the creek?
Why Rod was stung by those bees.
And Frank, who found that crossing point
Despite its concealment by trees.

And the cache that we found on the high ground.
The call of a barking deer.
Searching that corpse before burying.
And asking – why am I here?

Mick Shave

Immediate Action and Life’s Handicap

When tracer snarls about your ears
Because the bastard knows your there.
When so much noise explodes the fears
And drills take over what you do;
Run, crawl to cover, get your breath.
There he is, he’s in your sight,
Take satisfaction from his death
Let loose that round to end the fight.

Mick Shave

Warrior Poet : Lest We Forget – For our youth – A time to reflect – A time to learn – A time to stand tall.

 

   At the beginning of World One, a very young Australia was still struggling for identity with an old world which possessed a long and rich history, culture, traditions and influence. Europe still yawned when there was mention of that remote and far distant continent of no significance.

   Yet, despite being isolated from the old world, (apart from slow steamers and sailing ships plus a newly laid under-sea cable,) our nation was maturing and growing tall at a rapid rate.

The harsh isolation of the outback and the cruel tantrums of mother nature became a good breeding ground for toughness and strong resilience. There was an accepted and established code of mateship, independence, egalitarianism and an unwritten law of a “fair go for all.” All of which had been conceived with the arrival of the First Fleet, and nurtured mid the pain of the lash, clanking chains, the Eureka Stockade, the Great Depression and other trials until this very day.    

   Such characteristics became the signature of our nation.  Long held dreams became alive in every region; from crowded cities to towns, big and small; on dirt tracks in the outback via swagman, horse, dray and puffing train.

These powerful strengths breathed life and confidence into the crowded cities, country towns, shearing sheds, drover’s camps, goldfields, farms and beyond the loneliest of barked huts with dirt floors and dim flickering lanterns. 

   In 1914, after an uninvited God of War knocked on our nation’s door, the qualities I have mentioned and more were carried to Gallipoli and beyond in every kitbag and haversack of those men and women who had stepped forward to serve. These assets remain a very powerful weapon in our armoury which can be used to master the unknown challenges that will face us.   

   The qualities of the ANZAC, bred from generations before them are there in our history books to read, understand and pursue. Page after page of proud deeds tells of their courage, love of country, and the price they paid willingly so that you, me, and future generations can enjoy such a precious way of life.

   To ensure such freedom, you must continue to emulate their example. Above all, never falter. You must maintain self- discipline and endure when all seems lost. If you fail; learn from your mistakes, get up and try again. The ANZACS did.                             

      You have been gifted with a freedom forged in times of peace and war with blood, sweat and tears. The ANZAC legacy is so precious and must be protected at any cost. Carry the torch high and in time, pass it on to those who will take your place. Always stand tall, and shout with loud voice for the world to hear “I am, you are, we are Australian.”      GM

            Strong Genes in a Country Town

Inspired by an old soldier, Richard Barry from  Narrabri and his fellow citizens from all those yesterdays’:
 
When you awake to see a new dawn so clear
Picture our many heroes who once lived here
A small sleepy town blessed with love, laughter and fun
Youth with so many wild dreams to pursue in years to come
Then came the news of an angry God of Mars
Poisoning peace with hate and misery in an old world afar

Listen and you will hear the sound of bugles and drum beats
Cheering crowds and the rhythmic tramp of marching feet
Mid a sea of waving flags, see kin and sweethearts holding back tears
As the column leaves to fight a war for months or even years
Imagine special dreams now stored in lonely cupboards next to empty beds
Footballs, racquets and bats swapped for rifles with bullets of lead

Long bitter years passed by, and many black dresses to be seen
Empty chairs where loved ones had once been
Yet always the hope and faith that peace would reign
Then soon or late, long absent smiling faces would be seen again
A terrible price to protect a precious free way of life
An unpayable bill of misery and strife  

Since such angry times, white doves returned to roost once more
The District still well known for its hospitality and an open door
The old school has been expanded again and again 
Tears of grief have dried while proud memories remain
In our space age, regional pride with an ever-burning flame is the same
Fresh flowers guarding the town’s stone tribute etched with names

We can best honour the fallen who gave all, for us to stay free
If we remain alert to greed, ignorance, apathy and disunity
To understand our past and learn the lessons from what has been
To carry the torch and teach those yet to be born what freedom means
The flame will be yours to keep, to pass to those who will know what to do 
Go now; live a life to make past and future generations proud of you

George Mansford © October 2019

NOTE. The above could be your town, your district, your school, no matter where. Be rest assured the spirits of the ANZACS and those who followed them are with you, and very much alive. Keep it so—-.

An Observation (make of it what you will):

I once overheard some colleagues bemoaning the introduction of a new rifle, not because of its small caliber but because of its cumbersome appearance:

I was once a soldier smart,
Learned to stamp my feet, the art
Of calling out ‘The Time’, the thrill
Of perfect, synchronising drill.

We did it in the Sunshine glare
On what was called parade ground square.
It’s something that I’ll always miss.
Those halcyon days, what perfect bliss

To march along in line abreast,
Our arms swung well up to our chest.
Rhythmic, gravelled, crunching feet,
With Pipes and Drums, and pagan beat.

When marking time we’d raise our knees,
Oh what a jape, oh what a wheeze.
We’d point the toe, dig in the heel,
Stay with the marker on the wheel.

Saluting dais comes in sight
So make your dressing by the right.
Neck to collar and chest out,
This is what it’s all about.

Look at us, performing fleas:
Shoulder, order, stand at ease;
Perfect creases, looking good,
Just like all good soldiers should.

Mick Shave

My Toast to The Regiment

The well aimed shot, the instinctive kill,
Return the same intrinsic thrill.
To see it twitch then lie quite still,
Was once the measure of our skill.
So, being alive and because we can,
Let’s raise our glass to the fighting man
Of The Royal Australian Regiment.

(all stand and with raucous voice)
Tip your glass e’n when your old and roar back down the table.
Boast and glare, give back the stare, for you, sir, have been able
To cut and thrust, to fire and move, to prove yourself in might,
To show that you enjoyed the gore and carnage of the fight.
So, being alive and because we can,
Let’s raise our glass to the fighting man
Of The Royal Australian Regiment.

(pass the beer from hand to hand while this is said)
Ah! Here’s the horn of plenty. Drink from it deep without a fuss,
Then bone the bard – but not too hard – would you believe he’s one of us?
That Viking fought at Maldon which, ’tis said, was quite a brawl.
And be careful with that legionnaire he’s just got back from Gaul.
So, being alive and because we can,
Let’s raise our glass to the fighting man
Of The Royal Australian Regiment.

A toast to those who enjoyed their war,
But never dwell on “things” they saw,
Who gain a quiet satisfaction
When thinking of themselves in action.
So, being alive and because we can,
Let’s raise our glass to the fighting man
Of The Royal Australian Regiment.

Mick Shave

Champion Company – a tragic comedy that really happened

One morning safe in barracks while sitting on the loo,
Our Colonel, who’d put duty first, was wondering what to do.
Now, he’d sounded out the adjutant and the R.S. M.
He’d asked that pair what did they think would occupy the men.
They had answered ‘drill, sir. Men love parade ground stuff’.
But the Colonel, after consultation, thought they’d had enough.
Their morale it should be lifted, satisfaction thus enjoyed.
‘We must not have the men abused, but gainfully employed’.

Thus, next morning doing block jobs, the diggers were astonished
When told by sergeant of platoon that toilets must be polished.
”Tis for honour and the Company’s pride’ he’d said to busy soldier
‘And pleased it is you’ll be my boy before you’re too much older.
That instead of stamping feet on square or theory of the gun,
Or concealment from an enemy, or stalking (which is fun),
You will spend your time with elbow grease each morning here with me,
Polishing taps and porcelain and cleaning lavatory’.

So that every week when CO. comes to look at WC.,
Accompanied by the Major and all the powers that be,
And they poke round toilet ledges, check louvred slats for dust,
These expert, fighting officers smelling drains because they must
Ensure their Colonels wish, and we to quench our Major’s thirst,
So that of Battalion’s toilets it’s his that comes in first.
And young, fit, soldier volunteers, now feeling damned annoyed,
Are to be denied all training to be gainfully employed.

But enough of silly moralising, holier than thee,
Who was it beat up all the rest for champion company?
Well, that was Sergeant Kusba, who were a devious swine.
He’d doctored water closets so they smelled like table wine.
Well, ‘twer lemon essence really, after which one could not flush.
And a secret guard on toilet bowls to ward off morning rush.
Which was borne by me and Sergeant Glen ’til trickery did we smell,
After which we cornered Kusba in the Mess and gave him Hell.

So we as well began to use the lemon essence trick.
We all professed to satisfy but thought our Colonel thick,
As he stood at water closet breathing deeply, satisfied,
The diggers standing by their beds all laughed until they cried.
And the CSM., cognisant, fed-up as much as we,
Served the Colonel and his minions a scrumptious morning tea,
Whilst they stood relaxed and at their ease upon our polished floor,
Between urine trough on one side, on the other, closet door.

Mick Shave