2/18th  BATTALION  (A.I.F.)  ASSOCIATION

 

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#136, AG '07

President
M.M. Blyth,
43 Hazlemead St.,
Asquith 2078
Treasurer
Diane  Humphries,
31/10 McKye St.,
Waverton. 2060
Secretary
Colleen Czarnik
PO Box 108
Pennant Hills 2120
(02) 9875-3497
Welfare Officer
J. McGrory
30 Holland Cres
Frenchs Forest 2086

 

NEWSLETTER NO 136

August 2007

                 Presidents Report

      It has been a very interesting period since our last newsletter.
     Sales of our book have been good. Many thanks to Larry and Colleen Czarnik for their great efforts in getting the books out.
     We have quite a number left. They would make an ideal gift for birthdays and Christmas. We have given a good number away to schools and libraries, but would like to see members nominate institutions of their choice. Please notify Colleen Czarnik,
 
Box 108 Pennant Hills. 2120

     The picnics in Lane Cove National Park have been well attended – several new faces.
     I was very saddened to hear of one of our Presidents, Reg Piper passed away this month. With his and Frank Adams, our numbers are reduced to 35
     I attended a P.O.W, exhibition at Macquarie University and had the pleasure of presenting our book to the deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor Elizabeth Moore. Major Tom Johnstone’s son, Ian presented a book to the New England University, Armidale. Joan Okey, whose father Major Doug Okey was a house master at Knox College, presented a book, together with myself to Knox.
     Social member Rod White who is Treasurer of the state R.S.L. intends to review our book in “Reveille” and mention it in the Hornsby R.S.L. newsletter “The Sentinal
Hornsby R.S.L. have purchased 10 books.
     John McGrory continues to do a great job as Welfare Officer, keeping in touch with members.
 Remember our picnic is still held at the western side of the Lane Cove River.

 Treasurer Diane Humphries has notified me that we have a very healthy balance of
$20,000.

               LAST POST

     NX 30436  Sgt Frank Adams
     NX 40224  Pte Reg Piper

     Frank Adams was one of the last three survivors in Inverell. He was a brave soldier and was well respected by members of 2/18th

     Reg Piper was President of the Association for a number of years and one of the last members of the band He was a tireless worker for Legacy as well  as the Association. A good soldier who will be sadly missed.

               2/18 Bn (A.I.F.) Assn.  `Welfare and Liason Report

Gwynne Amy :-  Keeping well and getting closer to the century which  happens on March 6th 2008., not that far away now. Amy has moved into a retirement unit at Weston ACT.  There you are Amy, we have given the whole thing away. You will be happy among friends. All the very best, my dear friend.
Davey Betty :-Keeping well except for skin cancer on her arm. I think she is seeing her doctor on Thursday 2nd to have something done about it. Her sister has problems and her husband is in hospital with a broken foot. Makes things difficult for Betty who tries to look after them.
Pearson “Ginty” & Eileen :- Spoke to “Ginty’s” grandson, Stuart, who told me that both “Ginty” and Eileen are in hospital. Eileen has pneumonia and is recovering. “Ginty” has an infection in his leg and is also making a good recovery, expects to be home by the weekend. Our thoughts and prayers are with you both.
Spratt Doug & Olga :- Keeping well, hope to be at the picnic on Tuesday (Bank holiday, Monday) Keep at it, we hope to see you both. Thanks to Cliff and Kath Olsen.
Richardson Gordon :- Up at Airlie Beach with one of his daughters. Enjoying the warm weather. Will be back next weekend. Hope to catch up with him then. He spent two weeks at Airlie Beach, said the weather was excellent, however they do need more rain up there.
Devenish Connie :- Keeping well, busy looking after grandchildren during school holidays-, it keeps her young (also worn out ?!!) Might even get her daughter to bring her to the picnic. Connie has been in touch with Nancy Stokes who is now at home and keeping well.  Sends her regards to all.
Auld George & Jean :-Still playing golf and having fun. Have been in Sydney ecently. Caught up with Nancy Stokes who is keeping well now. Sends her regards to all.
Ford Bob :- Not as good as he would like to be in general. Has to see heart specialist next  week. Hope everything turns out well Bobby. Take care old mate.
Coleman Pauline :- Keeping well and feeling the cold very much, looking forward to spring and some warmth. Council has got rid of most of the cafes etc.,has nowhere to go now for some R & R. Still has ;problems with arthritis etc. Keep smiling.
Veitch Helen. Has passed her 100th birthday. Congratulations from all of us. She was very
appreciative of the flowers we sent her.
Masling Caroline & Ray :- Both keeping well, working hard and enjoying life. Was kind enough to ask after Clarice and sends her best wishes. Told her I had written to their local chemist to thank him for his generosity. Stay well and keep smiling.
Flint Bob :- Keeping well, the big ulcer on his leg has healed up. Said he is feeling like a 2 year old, which is great .Keeping busy with RSL and other local activities. He is a real community fellow, never idle. Good on you Bob.
Marshall Joan :- Was able to contact Joan on Sunday evening, she is keeping well physically, able to get about still and feels quite well overall. She is in a nursing home where she is happy and the food is good. Will keep in touch on Sundays.
Stokes Nancy :- Feeling a new woman, spent some time in Central  Coast with daughter, good to be home. Feeling well, able to get about. Takes more precautions now. Keep smiling.
O’Grady Stan :- Keeping well & in good humour as usual. Keeping himself busy helping other people. Keep up the good work Stanley.
Gemmell Lea :- Has a touch of the flu at present so not feeling too good, but is on the mend. Very kindly still makes a great coleslaw for our picnics. She looks in good shape and is positive about things.
Okey Joan :-Keeping well and very busy. Was good to see her at the picnic on August 7th. She always has her finger on the pulse. Does a great job with the newsletter.
Chapman Faith :- Keeping well, not keen on this extra cold winter, praying for spring to arrive. Had her seventh great grandchild arrive a couple of weeks ago. That makes 4 girls and 3 boys. All of the family are keeping well, looking forward to spring.
Keep smiling.
Hoyle Judith :- Unable to contact during the day. Will try this evening. Made contact Monday am. Great to speak to her, family all keeping well. Attended a service at Adamstown RSL on Sunday. Keeping in touch through friends and RSL.
Blyth Merv & Heather :- Keeping reasonable. Having a little trouble with balance, will attend Mt Wilga Rehabilitation for this. Heather had problem with one eye, has now had it treated, hopefully on the mend .Merv has been in touch with Ian Johnstone  from Armidale with old photos etc. Well received .Merv has had some dental trouble recently, now on the mend Heather is in good health and keeps Merv on the hop. He likes to be kept busy and enjoys his black beer even more.
McGrory Clarice (“Mac”) :- Lots of problems with her legs, her right foot has “dropped”. Her left leg and toes are very painful She has to put up with me looking after  her. Her fingers have little feeling has to wear little cotton gloves all the time. Battling on.
Hawkins Beattie :- Keeping well. Was kind enough to phone me to advise of the passing of Frank Adams. Also sent a copy of the funeral service. This lady is one good girl, so involved in community affairs.
Horley Daphne :- Wishes to be remembered to all her friends. Is keeping healthy. Had her 80th birthday party last week, 60 guests had a great day. Feeling the cold this winter but says it IS WINTER, and is able to keep warm. Regards to all.
Atkinson Norma :- Keeping well, has felt the cold through winter like everyone else.. More enjoying the warmer mornings. Keep warding off the flu which is running rampant in Ballina. Looking forward to the summer heat to enjoy further.
Forsyth Keith  & Heather :- Keith says he is still able to do a bit in the
garden which helps him in the very cold winter. Looking forward to spring and summer with sunny days and warm evenings. Heather continues well, with great interest in her overseas daughters who have been particularly clever over the years. Heaps of congratulations.
Forsyth Joe :- Joe is in a nursing home and is not the best. He has reached the ripe old age of 92.
Czarnik Larry & Colleen :- Both keeping very well and doing a splendid job keeping things running on the rails with our Association., especially in relation to the reprint of our History. Sales are going along reasonably. Thanks Larry and Colleen.
Endacott Nancy :- Nancy was very kind, she phoned me back in the evening. She is keeping very well and has relatives who live reasonably close who keep in touch with her. She finds she has plenty to keep her busy which is great for her and keeps her in touch with her community. Sends regards to all her friends.
Endacott Ted & Klara :- Unable to raise Ted or Klara. Will try again this evening. Ted phoned back, both have been on the sick list with a bad dose of the flu , starting to come good now that the good weather is with us.
Richardson Eric :- Keeping amazingly well. Not taking ANY medication, enjoying life in Cairns. Information about the passing of Reg Piper last month gave him a big shock, also Frank Adams passing. He is a big supporter of rum, not from Bundaberg but from the West Indies. It would be good to get with a few of our old mates, have a session to sort out which is the better, West Indian Rum or Bundy. That would be an interesting weekend, would it not ? It was great to spend some time conversing old mate, keep well and keep smiling. Cheerio.
Devenish Connie :- It was great to see Connie at our August picnic Her daughter was kind enough to bring her and they both enjoyed their lunch, sausages and salad which our chef does a great job with. Both look a million dollars and would compete with many of the younger fillies one sees around and in the newspapers. Keep it going girls, it does wonders for us old blokes.
Johnson George  & Mary:- Both keeping well although George was out walking in the fresh air & tried to relieve his migraine attack .Hope it fixed it up old friend. They have recently been blessed with another granddaughter, making two of them to their son & daughter in law. Very happy. Attended services for VP Day and one other not advertised in the newspapers, therefore few attendees.. Sends best wishes to everyone.
Ford Bob & Pam :- Pam has had a dose of the flu, hopes she is coming good now. Bob has his ups and downs, but keeps positive about everything. Says he is in quite good shape at present. Hang in there old mate & make the best of everything. Your old mates send greetings and kind regards.
Cottee Mac & Linda :- Keeping very well except for his legs. Is enjoying the very good weather these last few weeks. Won’t be sorry to welcome spring. Linda is keeping very well and looks after the garden and it is looking good. Keep smiling old mate.
Ferris Joe :- Keeping very well. Has had some good rain recently. The last few weeks have been glorious weather, has not had to rug up most of winter months. Has been reported to have low blood pressure, he won’t believe it. Told him to watch out & keep a check on it.


                     The Church of St Andrew Canberra  

     The foundation stone for this church was laid in 1929 but due to the Great Depression promises of financial support could not be honoured with the result that only half of the church could be built and the Warriors’ Chapel could not be furnished.
The church was officially opened in 1934 by the Governor General Sir Isaac Isaacs.
     The Warriors’ Chapel was eventually furnished during 1948 and in 1948 the Service of Dedication sermon was preached by the Moderator General of the Presbyterian Church, the Rt. Rev. J.R. Blanchard .B. A. With the creation of the Uniting Church in 1977, the church of St Andrew was the only Presbyterian Congregation in the ACT to remain in the Presbyterian Church of Australia.
     The outstanding feature of the church is the Warriors’ Chapel which occupies the northern transept of the Church and its principal feature is the memorial window with the theme of victory through sacrifice.
     The Communion Table in the Warriors’ Chapel is in memory of Presbyterian Ministers who gave their lives in service of their country. Two Communion Chalices are used alternately in Chapel services. The silver chalice was used in France from April 1917 until January 1918 by Chaplain Captain Percival Hope who was attached to the 20th Infantry Battalion .A.I.F. He presented this chalice and a paten for use in the chapel. The small brass chalice was used by Chaplain A. Rowan MacNeil while a prisoner of war at Changi, Singapore from1942 to 1945. Chaplain MacNeil served on Gallipoli and in France with the 24th Infantry Battalion, A.I.F. with the rank of Captain. He won his decorations in France. He served as Chaplain with the 2/29th Infantry Battalion A.I.F .in World War 2 and presented the chalice for use in the chapel.
     Information copied from “Acts of Faith”, The Story of the Church of St Andrew, Canberra by Barbara Peterson states that “ The chalice’s story began when Rev A. Rowan  MacNeil was chaplain to the 2/29th Bn. In Malaya, before he was captured by the Japanese. He had lost his communion vessels, but noticed some of his fellow prisoners at Changi using an ashtray in the shape of a cup, that had been made from the brass base of a skull. He persuaded the owners to part with the cup, which he cleaned and polished before putting it to use as a communion chalice.”
This information also came from footnotes from the above book as under “Jennifer Cairns, Warrior’s Chalice finds a Warrior’s Home “ reproduced in the NSW Presbyterian, September 10th 1947, from the Presbyterian Herald (the newspaper of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.


Can anyone help us by putting names to the faces in the following photo.??

(Apologies for the poor quality of the reprint.)

Identified to date :- Front Row :_2nd from left:-..Phil Neilson
                                                    5th from left :- David Wilson
                                                    6th from left :- Major Tom Johnstone
                               Middle Row :6th from left :- Laurie Smith

Please notify Wendy Wilcocks, our archivist [use Feedback] if you can help.-??                      

[Webmaster note of 26 Apr 2008: We have obtained a copy of the photo separate from the article.  The photo now appears as part of History - 1940s Battalion Photo.  However since the text of the newspaper article seeks the names and we have provided same, we won't replicate the article.  The article however WAS from a newspaper article from Armidale Express dated 6/8/07 entitled "Search for names of World War II servicemen".  The newspaper article references some names to faces that in fact have changed from within that article and above.  Our names listed in the web site article are assumed to be correct since the source are some notes of Joe Ferris apparently taken at the time of the photo.]


[Webmaster note: Article from web site
Prisoners Of War of the Japanese 1942-1945
entitled
"The Medical Orderlies of Songkurai No 2 Camp"
As told by Reg Jarman
inserted in printed copy, taken from web page www.pows-of-japan.net/articles/83.htm]


[Webmaster note: Copy of letter of thanks for a copy of 2/18th book for The Armidale School, from Grant Harris, Deputy Headmaster and Commanding Officer inserted in printed copy.  To be transcribed here in due course.]


     A letter (dated June 25th 2007) from one of our  new members who now regularly attends the picnics at Lane Cove:-

 “Becoming involved, though in a small way with the 2/18th “mob” has been very important to me, as it is one of the few ways I have of learning more about my father, Jack McLennan who died while I was very young .I knew he had served in the 2/18th and been a POW with “G” Force at Osaka and then Akenobi Japan, but not much more.
Through the reunion lunch late last year and attending recent picnics in the park, I have already made many new friends and learnt so much, particularly of the comradeship which for so long bound the battalions. members and their families together. A casual comment to Joe Ferris, visiting from Dubbo with his son Steve last Monday, prompted Joe to ask who my father was. “Oh, I knew Jack McLennan!” he exclaimed. It must have been almost 65 years since Joe and my father would have last seen each other, but suddenly we both had a link neither of us would have expected earlier that day. I’m looking forward to keeping in touch with Joe and coming to more picnics in the future to continue getting to know a very remarkable group of people. Thanks to everyone for making me and my wife Lesley feel so welcome”
Stewart and Lesley MacLennan


     A warm welcome was also given to Wayne and Susan Moore who attended the July picnic.
Wayne has a collection of bugles and he had purchased a bugle which was in a terrible condition. He has restored it to immaculate condition and presented  it to the Association at the picnic, gratefully received by President Merv.
It is suggested to keep it in a safe and secure place in the chapel at St Johns, Gordon.
     This presentation immediately posed questions being asked re the mystery of the bugle.
Our conscientious archivist, Wendy Willcocks, came up with the following information, extracts from various newsletters, reproduced on the following pages.


                News from Lynette Silver, her update from Borneo.

 The Quailey Memorial
     “Following the May trek along the route of the death march, I raised the possibility of having a sign erected on the hill where Private Allan Quailey was murdered by the Japanese on February 16th 1945., while on the first march. You might recall that Allan (Sticky) was the mate of Richie Murray and Keith Botterill. He was killed when he lost the will to go on, after the starving POWs discovered the pork stew they had cooked was inedible, owing to the inclusion of toxic melon. (His story was told to me by Keith, leading ultimately to my being able to identify his ‘unknown’ grave in Labuan War Cemetery).
The owners of the land, Sabah Tea Plantation, embraced the idea with enthusiasm, so much so that not only is the hill now named after Quailey and TWO signs erected, but there is a beautiful polished granite plaque on a great rugged boulder, inscribed in gold, in his honour, and in honour of all those who passed that way (Copy of photo follows)
A most moving ceremony  was held on July 14th, the day on which we reached Quailey’s Hill with a trek party organised by Senator Anne  McEwan. The story was widely reported in
Borneo’s three leading newspapers, with front page items and double page photo spread. For pictures see www.sandakan-deathmarch.com   (galleries/July 2007, pages 5 onwards) and www.thamyaukong.com  (Senator’s trek, press releases).
     The treks and Anzac Day tour mentioned in the previous newsletter went off very well, apart from the fact that Neil tested Sabah’s medical services by slipping on wet clay and smashing his wrist. He had two operations in Sabah and another in Sydney, but is now progressing well, despite the 11 screws and plate ! And he wasn’t even trekking ! Press coverage in Borneo was excellent for the Anzac Day tour, the May treks and the trek in July. For the text trek starting August 23rd, we have 16 members of the RAN (first naval personnel to do trek), 5 Duke of Edinburgh candidates (first ever) and 9 civilians- 3 of them POW relatives (first rellies).
VISIT TO BARKER COLLEGE.
     As you may know ,the Cadet Corps at Barker College, a private school in Hornsby, has been supporting two students on our Scholarship Scheme. The School has donated a very large sum of money to the Friendship Windows, in memory of three old boys who died in Borneo. Neil and I had the pleasure of attending the Cadet Passing Out Parade, reviewed by Barker old boy, Philip Ruddock, on the school oval recently. It was a most impressive turnout, and at the gathering after the parade we took the opportunity to present a copy of the 2/18th Battalion’s unit history to the headmaster, Dr Rod Kefford. As the 2/18th had old Barker boys among its ranks, the book is a welcome addition to the school library. We are also pleased to report that the Cadets have decided to increase the number of Sandakan Scholarships they are supporting to three, and a contingent from the school, including Dr Kefford and the Cadet C.O., will be attending the Dedication of the Friendship Windows next year.”


          Merv Mullins “Birth of a Battalion” (from Archivist Wendy Willcocks)

     Merv Mullins  was one of the original members of the 2/18th Battalion’s A Company. He left Sydney aboard the Queen Mary and trained with the Battalion in Malaya during 1941. He used to write stories about the battalion’s experiences in Malaya, at least one of which was published. Just before the “balloon went up” he was sent home because of a medical condition.. Col Spence, who was severely wounded in the battle on the Nithsdale Estate  near Mersing on the night of January 26/27, was shipped out of Singapore aboard a hospital trawler a day or two before the surrender. The trawler stopped in Ceylon and Merv was there. Col said the tears were running down Merv’s face as he asked for what little news Col might have about the mates he had left behind.
     Back in Sydney, Merv Mullins began to put the story of the 2/18th Bn together. It is the story of his and A Company’s experiences particularly but also of the battalion as a whole. It includes newspaper articles and extracts from “Men May Smoke”. After his departure from Malaya, most of his information came from those sources. In between September 1980 and February 1983 he published the story in a serialised form in “The Field” which is the journal of the Fairfield RSL. It is not indexed and it was never published as a single book.
     Alex Dandie who has always looked after the records pf his own battalion, the 2/30th, collected the parts and gave them to Mac Cottee. Mac cut and pasted the parts into a self-made book. When I asked if we could borrow it to have a copy made for the archives, Mac said he had given it to his son Angus but that he would borrow it back. When I went to collect it, Angus had already copied it for us. It is at present being bound, but, thanks to Alex Dandie and Mac, Linda and Angus Cottee, we will soon have our own copy of Merv Mullins’ book in the 2/18th Battalion Archives

[Webmaster note: Scanned copies of 2 photos, Mac & Linda Cottee and the Quailey Memorial to be inserted here when available.]


[Webmaster note: Printed copy contains two pages of information by Wendy Willcocks taken from the Association archives extracted from Newsletters 18 (July 1953), 19 (March 1954), 22 (July 1954), 22 [Webmaster note: yes # appears duplicated] (August 1955), 26 (August 1957), 27 (date not provided) about the history of the abovementioned bugle and inserted as a separate article - "Extracts from early newsletters solve some of the mystery of the Bugle".]


                     The Request for Information Section.

      Jim McCorry doing research on his uncle Patrick Harrington who was born in Ireland in 1902 and died in Australia in 1948. He served in the 2/18th during the war and was a POW.
Also trying to get information on Jonathan Dixon, born in 1901 in Ireland, served in the 2/18th  but died while a POW
Archivist Wendy has again been very busy researching information for Jim and forwarding it to him.
President Merv remembers Dixon as the greatest Sgt.Major with the troops and he did a wonderful job as a POW in Borneo.

     Cpl Brad De Friskom, currently on active service in Baghdad Iraq with the 2/14 light horse regiment,( 4th generation of soldiers and airmen). seeking information on his grandfather Sgt Eric De Friskbom
President Merv also remembers him. Wendy to research on her return from Malaysia

     David Boughton seeking information on his uncle Dudley Boughton, captured in Malaya and interned No 1 camp, Adam Rd Singapore. Later transferred to Japan and subsequently died in 1944. He has the Dudley Diary, full of some wonderful poems written by Geo Harding, Jonell, G Gaffney, Sid Sutton, G Allen, Ray Colenso, T Edmonds.
Wendy into her research  yet again and success ; has contacted Stewart MacLennan  who has had contact with David and able to assist with information.

     Brad Smith researching his grandfather William (Bill) James Smith, killed while a POW at Ranau in 1945
Wendy has been able to send some information on to Brad and has also referred him to Lynette Silver and to various web sites with relevant information..
     Pat Jones researching his uncle Ronald Duncan Jones killed in action 1942
Wendy is also assisting with this research.
     How fortunate we are to have such a knowledgeable and conscientious archivist in our midst.
Anyone wanting information from the archives or wishing to donate material relating to the 2/18th Bn., contact Wendy [via Feedback page].


                                          Dates to remember.

September 3rd (Monday) Picnic at Lane Cove
October 1st (Monday) Picnic at Lane Cove- possibly at Haynes Flat, check with Merv
[Webmaster note: This in fact is INCORRECT, since proposed date is Labour Day public holiday, so picnic WILL be on October 2nd (TUESDAY!!!)]
November 5th( Monday) Lane Cove picnic
December 3rd (Monday) Christmas Picnic at Lane Cove.

Sunday November 11th Remembrance Day ; laying of wreath at the Cenotaph.

                                                                         Until next time
                                                                                              Merv


[Webmaster note: Printed copy had 4 pages of

Time For Some Humour

  • The Computer Swallowed Grandma

  • Why God made moms.

  • My Resume

and transcriptions will be inserted in due course.]


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