2/14 Battalion Association INC. No. A0035822D
Print Post Approved PP3394340023
President’s Report
Welcome to our second addition of Comradeship for 2011. I am
sure you will again enjoy the contents so aptly put together by our
new Editor, Jill Bear.
It has been a busy few months for the Association in Victoria, and
the reunion and ANZAC day march are now memories. I must say I
was concerned about numbers attending these events, as they fell
over the traditional 5 day holiday period of Easter. My concerns
were unfounded as we had over 82 people at the reunion and a
strong attendance at the march.
Thank you all for your support. After the wreath laying function at
the Shrine of Remembrance on Saturday 23rd April, we all trooped
off to The Celtic Club in Queen Street for another great reunion.
Great to see so many people from other, far away States coming
to see how we do it in Victoria. Whilst The Celtic Club was a fine venue, we still hope to make The
Victoria Barracks in St Kilda Road our permanent future home.
Despite all the “hoo haa” and the rumours, the ANZAC day march on the following Monday went
without a hitch. We marched behind our Banner, the Vets on foot, in cars and wheelchairs (thank
you, Alex Hack, for supplying them), the weather held, and it all went off without incident.
Shortly before the last Victorian election, Premier Brumby announced that a Grant of $1million had
been approved over the next 2 years to upgrade the Kokoda Walkway in the Ferntree Gully National
Park. History now sees a new Premier and a new party firmly in control, so together with our latest
Life Member, Marg Briggs (our 2/14 rep on the committee), and other reps from the 39th and
2/16th we recently met with the new Minister of Veteran Affairs, Hugh Delahunty. The Minister, a
Kokoda trekker himself, agreed that the Kokoda history was not that well known and the proposed
upgrade would go a long way to get the Kokoda story across to those hundreds of people who use
the walkway each year. I am pleased to advise that the Grant will still go ahead, as it was approved
in the latest Liberal budget.
I believe things are bubbling along well within the Association. We still have 95 Veterans registered
on the books Australia wide as of a few weeks ago, and they will remain our main focus. Trips to
Puckapunyal and Sydney later this year are on the agenda. Elaine and I will be, again, attending
the Queensland Reunion in late July. Close relations with our sister Battalions the 39th and the
2/16th continue. Lets keep up the good work and enjoy what the Association has to offer.
Till the next time,
Michael Ralston, President.
Ferntree Gully Schools Service
As Easter and the school holidays coincided with
ANZAC Day this year, the annual Yarra Valley
Legacy Schools Commemoration Service was
not held until 4 May. This year was a special
event, as it incorporated the dedication of a new
plaque, to the 2/27th Battalion, to join those
of the the 39th Battalion, and the other two
battalions, the 2/14th and 2/16th, that made
up the 21st Brigade. The plaques stand near
the beginning of the Kokoda Track Memorial
Walk, also known as the 1000 Steps, and
commemorate the battalions who were the first
to face the Japanese onslaught in the Kokoda
campaign of July – September, 1942.
The plaque was unveiled by 2/27th veteran,
Norman Mattila, and Peter McMahon, son of
another 2/27th veteran, Basil John McMahon,
gave an address on the history of the 2/27th,
which closely follows that of the 2/14th.
While piper, Iain McKenzie played ‘Flowers of
the Forest’, the students from the local schools
laid wreaths, as did Cam Thompson, on behalf of
the 2/14th Battalion.
The work of Trevor Ingram (2/16th Battalion
Association), in organizing the plaque and its
installation, must be acknowledged.
Norman Mattila unveils the plaque
to 2/27th Battalion
June 2011
- Life Member At the recent Reunion in Melbourne, Marg
Briggs was made a Life Member of the
Association, following her 25 years of
dedicated service.
Marg made contact with the Association
in Sept 1982, the 40th Anniversary of her
brother, Claude Nye’s death at Brigade Hill
on the Kokoda Track. She had seen an ‘In
Memoriam’ notice in The Sun to “Capt.
Nye and his men who died on this day”. It
was signed ‘Dagwood’. A phone call to the
RSL put her in touch with John Stirling who
happened to have Jim McAllester with him
at the time. They, too, were trying to work
out who ‘Dagwood’ was. It turned out to
be Ken Garwood from Tas. who was with
Claude when he was killed, and Ken was
wounded. John and Jim invited Marg to
the annual commemorative church service
at St George’s, and signed her up to the
A couple of years later, following the death
of her husband, Marg started going to some
of the Association meetings, and was soon
helping by typing the newsletter for (possibly)
Bill Laing. This was followed by typing the
minutes for John Stirling, for many years,
which continued when Ross Wilkinson
became secretary. In her words, “I’ve just
kept doing them”. Eventually, someone
suggested that she should have a title, and
while it didn’t bother her, ‘they’ insisted, and
she became Assistant Secretary; a role she
continues to fulfil.
In 1995, Marg was a prime mover in
the ‘plaques’ project at Ferntree Gully
National Park, that resulted in the ‘1000
Steps’ Memorial Walk, and is the Battalion
representative in current discussions about
upgrading the Walk.
The final word goes to Marg: “I love every bit
of it. I know, had Claude survived, he would
have been right in there with “the boys” and
I feel I am helping to keep his memory alive.”
Thank you, Marg.
Page 2
Once again, the weather held good for the annual wreath laying
ceremony at the Shrine of Remembrance. President Michael Ralston
this year read the poem by NX82038 Pte Colin J Newsome of D
Company, The 2/14th Battalion Flag (which can be found on p 175
of Russell’s History of the 2/14th Battalion). The “heroes staunch
and true” who were in attendance to salute their departed comrades
included Cam Thompson, Max Caldwell, Bob Iskov, Norm Stringer, Matt
Power, and Phil Kemp, who travelled from Western Australia to honour
his former colleagues. As always, the support of the Shrine Governors
and their team is very much appreciated, along with the bugle playing
of Howard Cornish.
She, too, is now part of the school’s leadership program, and
appreciates the increase in confidence that has come as a result of the
Trustees selecting her for the award.
In a timely reminder that this year is the 70th anniversary of the Syrian
Campaign, Lionel Smith shared some of his experiences trying to get
a square meal while on campaign. Having B Coy 2 I/C, Bill Langdale,
ropable that his troops had nicked someone else’s property when
they’d found and cooked some farm animals (or was he just upset they
hadn’t invited him to the feast), and the disappointment at seeing the
mules that were bringing up a hot meal at Mt Kharrat, near Jezzine,
take off into the scrub when the French opened fire, were reminders
that when an army marches on its stomach, sometimes bully beef is
not enough.
Finally, in a fitting gesture, Margaret Briggs, sister of Claude Nye
who was killed at Brigade Hill, was awarded Life Membership of
the Association (see associated article). In her “thank you”, Marg
reminded us that we need to ensure that future generations know of
the sacrifices that have been made to preserve our way of life, “lest
those in the future, forget”.
Front Row: Phil Kemp, Marg Briggs, Chris Ingram, Cam
Thompson, Max Caldwell, Bob Iskov, Norm Stringer and
Matt Power
Rob Eden, was a most capable Master of Ceremonies, Darryl Thomson
provided a display of memorabilia and Bob Nichols, with the help of
a video of Stan Bisset from The Last Parade, led the company in the
Battalion Song. Sincere thanks go to the staff at the Celtic Club for
their help in making the day such a success.
As there is still a mess at the Victoria Barracks Mess after the flood
last year, the Annual Reunion was held, most successfully, at the Celtic
Club. Jim Coy, Bob Nichols, Lionel Smith, Gordon McLean, Ted Hearn,
Col Blume, Peter Forster and Doug Watkins joined those who were at
the Shrine, for a delicious meal and entertaining program.
Cam Thompson reminded us of what it was like to be detailed to
collect the supplies dropped by DC3s flying over ‘Lake’ Myola during
the Kokoda Track campaign. After waiting under cover, he would rush
out to gather up as much as he could find, being extra careful with the
hand grenades.
Two Kingsbury scholarship winners charmed the audience. First,
2003 primary school winner, Laura Nichols described some of the
experiences that opened up to her following the award, including a
young leaders’ conference in Washington, DC. In 2010, Laura spent
a gap year with the Royal Australian Navy where, as well as spending
some time at sea, she worked with the Navy band for 3 months. This
experience has inspired her to study voice and jazz improvisation at
Current secondary school scholarship holder, Margaret Bannan
described her desire to do justice to our veterans in writing the winning
essay. Margaret shared her hope to study social work at university
in order to be able to help other students like her, who struggle with
the difficult circumstance of continuing their secondary school studies
while living away from home.
Standing: Marg Briggs, Col Blume, Margaret Bannan, Bob Iskov,
Max Caldwell, Lionel Smith, Matt Power,Gordon McLean.
Seated: Ted Hearn, Jim Coy, Doug Watkins, Cam Thompson, Phil
Kemp, Bob Nichols, Norm Stringer.
Don’t forget our usual commemorative services held throughout
August. See the Event Calender for details of the St George’s Church
service in memory of the 14th Battalions, the Kingsbury services at
Reservoir and Heidelberg and the Kokoda service at Geelong.
Following our successful campaign to ensure our veterans were able to march behind their
banner, 13 veterans, along with carers and kinfolk, formed up behind the 2/14th Battalion
banner to complete the ANZAC Day March. In a firm display of respect for the wishes of those for
whom the day has long been a form of pilgrimage, each was able to choose his preferred mode of
transport. Peter Forster, Gordon McLean and Phil Kemp travelled by car; Ted Hearn, Max Curtain,
Cam Thompson, Bob Nichols, and Doug Watkins, with Jim Coy in the lead, took advantage of the
wheel chairs on offer; while Matt Power, Bob Iskov, Max Caldwell, and Norm Stringer showed that
there are still veterans who are well able to complete the march under their own steam.
Melbourne March: Norm Stringer, Matt Power, Bob
Iskov and Max Caldwell step out while Ted Hearn,
Max Curtain, Cam Thompson, Doug Watkins and Bob
Nichols appreciate some assistance.
Page 3
Dudley Warhurst led a contingent of 17
through the streets of Brisbane in front
of a slightly smaller crowd than usual,
but one which was just as enthusiastic
as in recent years. No doubt the Easter
break was a contributing factor. We
were thankful that we were also joined
by veterans, George Priestly (who
caught an earlier train this year,) and
Arthur Toombs whose crisp “eyes left”
and “eyes front” ensured the 2/14th
not only looked like a smart unit, but
performed like one.
Vice-President Rob Eden recently
received a letter from Isobell Tunzi,
widow of William James Tunzi. Isobell
wanted to share the news with her
husband’s battalion, that her grandson,
Corporal James Tunzi, was awarded the
“3rd Brigade Junior Leaders Award”, in
recognition of his leadership and military
ethos, in October last year.
James is a member of the 1st Battalion
(1 RAR), and has undertaken two tours of
East Timor, one of Tonga, one of Iraq and
one of Afghanistan since he enlisted in
2001. He now works in the newly formed
Rehabilitation Platoon which has been
established within the Battalion to assist
the many soldiers returning from active
service who have sustained physical and
non-physical injuries. He assists with
administering these soldiers; training and
mentoring and helping them find new
lives inside and outside the Army.
Isobell, who is 94 and has been a widow
since Bill died in 1966, is justifiably
proud of James and and always sends
Comradeship on to him.
We even accommodated a 2/9 Battalion vet who wasn’t able to find his unit and was happy to
join us.
Dudley was accompanied in the lead by Fredrick Soka, a headman and Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel from
Poppendetta, who attracted a great deal of attention in his traditional headdress. Fredrick
was about 12 years old when he “enlisted” as a carrier. He assisted as a guide, and carrier of
wounded troops, supplies and arms. He fetched coconuts to quench the thirst of troops and
cut sticks for the soldiers’ tents. He was also able to inform allied troops of enemy movements.
As usual, it was a privilege to march with our veterans behind the banner in honour of deceased
relatives. But may I add that it is a source of great pride to march with our group of supporters
in Brisbane. They did the unit proud and why the ‘powers that be’ want to limit their participation
is mystifying.
Following the March, the group met at the Roma Street Parkland to enjoy some time of fellowship
and refreshment. Here we were joined by other family members and supporters. Special thanks
go to Fran Ralston for preparing the “eats”.
Another successful ANZAC
Day in Brisbane.
Portrait of Corporal James Long, worthy
recipient of the 3rd Brigade Junior Leader
Artist: Captain Conway Bown,
reprinted with permission.
Trevor Pryor
Brisbane: Rear: Terry Twine, Jim Bisset, John Hay, Bruce Lees,
Trevor Pryor.
Front: Ken Boyne Dudley and Megan Jesser, Michael Webster,
Arthur Toombs, George Priestly, Fredrick Soka, Dudley Warhurst.
Absent from Photo: Kylie Toombs and David Butler (Arthur’s
grandchildren), Robert Warhurst, Fran Ralston
The Association is very grateful for the efforts made by Alex Hack
(2/16 Battalion Association) in organising and delivering five
wheelchairs for our use for the march in Melbourne. Alex negotiated
the loan with Nick Collins and Aaron Browne from AIDACARE and
has advised that they will be happy to lend them again next year.
Thanks again Alex – this certainly helped with some of the veterans,
who otherwise would have gone in cars. It meant they, too, could
“march” behind their 2/14 banner.
Page 4
Robert William
Robert (Bob) was born in Ivanhoe on
2 December 1918 and enlisted in the
Army on 4 June 1940. He marched
into the Battalion on 24 September
1940 and was posted to the AntiAircraft Platoon where he saw active
service in Egypt, Palestine and Syria.
Bob Iskov on Tour
2/14th veteran, Bob Iskov, recently travelled from Wangaratta to Brisbane to take part in the
‘Kokoda Kids ‘ fund raising luncheon organised by trekking company, Executive Excellence. Bob
was a panel member, accompanied by George Palmer of the 39th, and recent Victoria Cross
Winner, Cpl Ben Robert-Smith VC, MG of SASR. The Veterans were piped in by the Queensland
Police Pipe band, who then played a number of items. The panel was interviewed by Bill James,
author of ‘Field Guide to the Kokoda Track’. The several hundred paying guests were all people
who had walked the Kokoda Track with Executive Excellence.
Initially trained with Lewis guns and
then with Bren guns, the role of the
platoon was to protect troops against
low-flying enemy aircraft attacks at
the base, and on vehicle convoys.
The platoon rendered great service
against Vichy French aircraft attacks
during the Syrian Campaign.
Bob marched out of the Battalion
on 16 January 1942 whilst still in
the Middle-East and, on returning
to Australia, was attached to Land
Headquarters until he was discharged
on 19 October 1943.
Bob had been a teacher, but retrained
as a pharmacist after the war. He is
survived by his wife, Judy.
The Association was represented at
his memorial service by the Secretary,
Chris Ingram, and her father, Cam
Thompson, who served with Bob and
has been a life-long friend.
VX76097 SCOBLE, Private Harold
Harold was born in Frankston on 26
March 1918, and enlisted in the Army
on 19 February 1942. He initially
saw service with 17 Infantry Training
Battalion and marched into the
2/14 Battalion on 21 October 1944
in Cairns, where the Battalion was
training for the Borneo landing.
Harold saw active service in Borneo
and marched out of the Battalion on
19 October 1945, whilst the Battalion
was on Peace-Keeping duties in the
Celebes. He returned to Australia
and was discharged from the Army on
6 December 1945. Little is known of
his service and later life as he was not
a member of the Association.
Bob Iskov on the big screen during the panel discussion with
The event was hosted
by Channel 7’s Andrew
O’Keefe, and raised
over $63,000 to be paid
to the Kokoda Track
Foundation to fund the
construction of the First
Aid Post at Nauro village,
as well as first aid
training for the villagers.
The ‘Kokoda Kids’
fund also purchases
ancillary items including
mosquito nets to help
Bob was amazed that three signed photos of himself, George and Ben sold at auction for $4500
each, so don’t ask him for an autograph; it will probably cost you a quid!
The lunch was held in the Legends Room
at “The Gabba”, and later in the day, the
backdrop for afternoon drinks was the
Melbourne Demons training on the ground.
Bob was very thrilled to catch up with the
group from the Commonwealth Bank that he
had addressed before they walked the track
in August 2010.
Bob also toured Kokoda Barracks at Canungra
Army Base. Following the battles at Gona
in 1942, Bob was promoted to lieutenant
and served at Canungra as an instructor in
jungle warfare between 1943 and 1945, until
he was reposted to the 2/23 Battalion on George Palmer, Cpl Ben Robert-Smith, VC
and Bob Iskov
Craig Iskov
Our records indicate that a number of subscriptions have not yet been paid so we would ask for
you to give this your earliest consideration and forward your cheque or money order accompanied
with the remittance form which is enclosed with this copy of Comradeship.
Please send your subscription by no later than 1st July 2010. Unfortunately, due the cost of
production and postage, non-financial members will no longer receive subsequent issues of
NOTE 1: If you have already paid your subs for 2011, please ignore this notice.
NOTE 2: Payment of the membership subs by Veterans and Widows is not obligatory, but please
keep us up-to-date if you change your address.
Page 5
Challen Sword
Recently, Briagolong RSL branch president, John
Larkin, received a surprising phone call from
police at Ballina, New South Wales.
They had recovered a sword matching the
description of a Japanese ceremonial sword
stolen from the Briagalong RSL ‘Log Cabin’ in
the 1980’s. In the course of their interviews
into the background of the item, the Police
ascertained that it was, indeed, the sword taken
from Briagalong many years ago.
The sword had been given to the RSL branch
by the late Lt. Col. Hugh Challen, of Mountview,
Briagolong. It had been in his possession since
his service as Commanding Officer, 2/14th
Battalion, at Gona in late 1942, and was a
cherished addition to the Briagolong RSL
The following program has been organised by our NSW Representative, Ron Inglis:
Company Sergeant Major Maurie Taafe had
presented the sword to Challen after the battle
at Gona on 1 December, 1942. Having taken
it from the dead Japanese commander, Taafe
acknowledged Challen’s right to claim the sword
of his opponent.
Col. Challen’s daughter, Jane Mosley, was asked
to formally re-present the sword to the RSL during
this year’s Anzac Day service. She was delighted
that the sword is to be reunited with the RSL
branch’s historical collection and honoured to
be asked to make the presentation during the
John Larkin extends a warm invitation to any
2/14th Association member travelling to
Briagalong (north of Maffra) who would like to
view the sword.
His phone number is 03 5145 5461
10.00am Ralph Honnor Education Centre, Kokoda Memorial Walkway, Rhodes.
Welcome and video presentation then the Central Area of Remembrance
Morning tea at the Walkway cafe.
11.00am Walk along the Bruce Kingsbury path to the Memorial Rose Garden,
Concord Hospital end of the Walkway.
11.15am Commemorative ceremony. Unveil plaque for 2/14th battalion, Memorial
Rose Garden.
Opportunity for members to visit the Centaur memorial and the Nurses Museum,
both in Concord Hospital (formerly Concord Repatriation Hospital, established 1941
to receive wounded of the Second World War).
Lunch at the Walkway picnic area.
Walk to Brays Bay end of the Walkway and visit the Second World War Small Ships
launch site (formerly Tullochs Engineering, now a waterside park).
2.00pm Guided tour of several inner west memorials starting with Australia’s largest
military cemetery (Strathfield side in Rookwood cemetery).
3.00pm Burwood Park. Great War memorial arch, National Servicemen’s memorial,
Sandakan Death March memorial. An information pack on these and other local war
memorials will be distributed to visitors courtesy of Auburn RSL.
4.00pm At leisure: shop in Burwood, return to hotels for a rest or enjoy the excellent
facilities of the Burwood RSL Club, Shaftesbury Road, Burwood.
6.30 for 7pm 2/14th Association dinner at Burwood RSL. Cost: $45
10.00am Inspection of ANZAC MEMORIAL Hyde Park, Sydney Central Business
11.00am Optional walk for the able bodied! History Walk via Macquarie Street
Historic Precinct to Cenotaph in Martin Place (main commemoration place in Sydney).
Rest of day at leisure in the city. A number of activities will be recommended.
Accommodation in Sydney. We recommend to visitors that the most convenient hotels/
motels are along the Hume Highway from Chullora to Ashfield (at least 6) or visitors may
prefer the Olympic site at Homebush Bay. Maps and a detailed list of motel/hotels in
these areas will be forwarded to interested members if requested.
Transport/wheelchairs. Will be provided as required.
Please indicate your interest by mailing the separate Expression of Interest sheet to the
Secretary, Chris Ingram, 36 Finch Street, Notting Hill Vic 3160, or emailing
[email protected]
A Recent Letter
to our President
Jane Mosely and John Larkin with the Japanese
ceremonial sword now back in Briagolong
Photo courtesy of Anna Larkin.
Thank you and 2/14th for always
sending Comradeship news to me.
I read it from front to back page
every time it arrives. Sometimes I
do remember some things my late
husband Ken used to tell me or laugh
about with his mates, etc. He would
enjoy this news as well as me, if he
were here today.
Thanks again. Happy Easter everyone.
Thelma Turner
Bomaderry, NSW
When Thlema has finished reading
Comradeship she takes it to the local
RSL in Bomaderry for any of the
members there to read. Her husband
Kenneth George TURNER (NX105248)
served with the Battalion in Papua.
Page 6
4th Committee Meeting
Sunday, 5th June, 11.30 am
East Malvern RSL
Reunion – Queensland
Thursday, 28th July, 10am - 4pm at
Riverside Receptions, Oxlade Dr, New
St Georges Church Service
Sunday, 21st August, 10.30 am
4 Chapel St, East St Kilda
Kingsbury Services
In Their Footsteps
Most of our members will have seen a new
program advertised on Channel Nine, or have
already commenced watching the first of the
ten episodes. The shows are about ordinary
Australian people tracing details of the wartime
activities of family members who served in
various wars. The show has been created from
an idea by one of our good friends, journalist/
author, Patrick Lindsay, and was produced by
Shine Productions.
One of the episodes, to be shown, on the
evening of Sunday 29 May at 6.30pm, is about
Major Albert Moore, the Salvation Army officer
attached to 2/14 Battalion during the Syrian
and Kokoda Campaigns. Bob Nichols was
involved in making the program and shares
more of the background below.
Albert’s memory is perpetuated by a
photograph of him lighting a cigarette for
the 2/14 Battalion’s Lieutenant Valentine
Gardner who was wounded during the Kokoda
Campaign. This photograph forms an integral
part of several memorials around Australia and
is a central plank of the program.
Friday, 26th August
The Association was approached and pleased
to provide information on Albert’s service and
experiences with the battalion and to assist the
producers arrange meetings between Nathan
11.00 am Austin/Repat Hospital
and 2/14 veterans who knew Albert. Val
Gardner is still living in Melbourne and Nathan
was able to meet him as he embarked on his
journey of discovery. Val is not travelling too
Kokoda Campaign Memorial
well at the moment and, whilst happy to meet
Nathan, was not up to the rigours of a recorded
Sunday, 28th August, 11.00 am
Osborne House, Geelong
For those of you who haven’t seen the show
yet, be prepared and have a box of tissues
handy. The episodes are well crafted and
AGM & 1st Committee Meeting
contain general information that is of interest
to everybody as well as to the immediate family
Sunday, 18th September, 11.00 am,
of the episode subject. Channel Nine has
Shrine of Remembrance
provided a website where people can record
details about their own family’s experiences
and this is shown below:
9.30 am Reservoir District Secondary
Annual Pilgrimage
Sunday, 18th September, 1.30 pm
Shrine of Remembrance
Sydney Pilgrimage
Friday 4th- Saturday 5th November
(see article)
2nd Committee Meeting
Sunday, 4th December, 11.30 am
East Malvern RSL also asked to come with me as my “minder”!
On the Friday night of our weekend trip, we had
dinner and a wonderful few hours with Brenda
Inglis-Powell and Ron Inglis, the daughter and
son of Albert’s faithful friend, Jock Inglis. Albert
was their adopted uncle. It was a wonderful
evening because we heard so much about
both Albert and Jock and their courageous
expeditions to obtain ‘comforts’ for the troops,
going beyond the call of duty. Especially, we
learnt about Jock and his accident during the
war which badly affected his health until his
death in 1975, another quiet hero.
When Saturday morning came, we were
taken to the Kokoda Memorial Walkway in
Rhodes near the Concord Repatriation General
This fantastic Kokoda Memorial Walkway was
established with community support and built
on old industrial and waste land in 1996. It
begins at a Rose Garden and commemorates
the Herculean efforts in the 1942-43 Papuan
Campaign of the Australians who, with the
support of the Papuans (Fuzzy Wuzzies) kept
Australia secure from invasion. On the walls
are plaques dedicated to the memory of
individuals who served in the war. The Bruce
Kingsbury VC Path links the Rose Garden to
the Walkway. Along the Walkway there are
information and audio presentations at 22
‘stations’, detailing where important battles
were fought or events occurred.
Around the walls of the central area of
Remembrance are five images taken from
some of the classic photographs that capture
the spirit of those who fought on the Kokoda
Ross Wilkinson
“In Their Footsteps.”
Bob Nichols was invited to take part in the
program. He shares his experience below.
Towards the end of last year, I was approached
by Catherine Mundy, senior researcher for
a program being produced for channel 9, to
see if I would go to Sydney and meet Nathan
Folkes, a great-great-nephew of Albert Moore.
This was to be a small part of an episode of
a fascinating series focusing on the lives of
individual Australians during the wars, entitled
“In Their Footsteps”. My daughter, Maree, was
Also close to the Walkway is an Information
Resources and Audio-Visual Presentation of
the Kokoda Campaign in the ‘Ralph Honnor
Education Centre’.
The Walkway is in a wonderful rain forest
setting with a tropical feeling surrounded by
palms, trees, and thick undergrowth. To make
it even more real, the day we were there for
filming was very humid and reminiscent of New
Guinea. >>>
Page 7
In Their Footsteps - Continued
<<< This whole trip came about because
Nathan Folkes, a 21 year old Uni student,
wanting to find out about his great- great-uncle
Albert Moore, replied to an advertisement for
people interested in having the program cover
their ancestor’s wartime experiences. Out of
600 applicants his was one of the 10 to be
accepted. From then on he didn’t know what
was going to happen. Nathan was told he
would be going to Sydney and to be ready to
go at short notice.
The filming was taken in a section of the
Kokoda Memorial Walkway where there are
some massive copies of famous photographs
from the Kokoda campaign sand blasted on
the walls.
somewhere along the track and would be
meeting up with a surviving Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel.
The story of Albert Moore has been extremely
well researched and great attention has been
given to his diaries and life story as shared by
his grandchildren and those who knew him
well. I am sure it will be an exciting program
not to be missed, especially by the men
who were well served and blessed by Albert
Moore’s contribution to the 2/14th Battalion.
Photo of Albert Moore and V Gardner on
the wall of the Concord Kokoda Memorial
Among the images is a big copy of the photo
of Albert lighting the cigarette of a wounded
soldier, a member of the 2/14th Battalion, Val
G Gardner, 18 Platoon, who was on a stretcher
being taken down the track by Fuzzy Wuzzy
spent quite some time together talking about
Albert. It was here that I presented him with
a ‘Battalion tie and clasp’ on behalf of the
2/14th Battalion Association. He was very
surprised and grateful to receive these tokens
from his great- great-uncle’s battalion. I must
say that I felt quite honoured to be presenting
these gifts to Nathan, a relative of Albert’s.
Nathan was being escorted around this area
by Michael McKernan, a war historian from the
‘War Memorial’ in Canberra. When they came
to the end of the images, Michael introduced
Nathan to me as a member of the 2/14th
Battalion who knew his uncle very well. We
It wasn’t until after this presentation that
Nathan was then told he was being taken to
New Guinea on the Monday, just two days
later. He wasn’t going to walk the whole track.
I believe he walked to the start of the Golden
stairs and was later taken by helicopter to
After a hasty departure we arrived home safely
in Carngham (near Ballarat, Vic.), having spent
a most memorable 24 hours with delightful
company and in grateful appreciation of
Catherine Mundy’s excellent arrangements.
Thanks also go to film Director, Will Minchin,
and his very happy and helpful camera crew.
To conclude, I quote from Jim McAllister’s book
“Men of the 2/14th Battalion”
“It is doubtful whether any other man made
such a personal impact on the men of the
2/14th Battalion as did Albert Moore between
April 1941 and his departure in October 1942.
It could be added that until his death in 1989,
he was a revered and respected figure at
Battalion reunions.”
Bob Nichols
70 Years Ago
70 years ago, on the night of the 7-8
June, 1941, the rarely talked about Syrian
Campaign began. Some of the reticence
about discussing this campaign in the
wider community stems from the fact that
the enemy, on this occasion, was our
World War I allies, the French. By this
stage in the war in Europe, France had
capitulated to Germany, and a puppet
French government had been set up in
Vichy, to administer the southern half of
the country. The French troops supporting
the French Mandate in Syria, which then
included Lebanon, had thus come under
German influence.
In May 1941, an anti-British junta had
come to power in Mesopotamia (Iraq)
and diverted the crucial oil pipeline,
which had formerly run through British
Mandated Palestine, into Vichy French
controlled Syria. At the same time, Free
French commander General De Gaulle had
convinced British Prime Minister Winston
Churchill that if the Allies invaded Syria,
they would be met with little resistance
from the French forces there.
As the major component of an invasion
force, that included British, Indian and Free
French forces, the 7th Australian Division
less the 18th Brigade, which included
2/14th Battalion, underwent its first
experience of battle. Despite the optimism
of the British High Command, it quickly
became clear that, far from capitulating
at the first attack, the Vichy forces would
not cede their position until five weeks
of bloody and determined fighting forced
them to accept an Armistice.
Uren; James W ‘Jim’ Forrest (B Coy); 10
Platoon: Lieut Robert K ‘Bob’ Whittaker,
Cpl Edward R ‘Ted’ Staley, Ptes Kenneth
C ‘Ken’ Von Bibra, Christopher M ‘Chris’
Walker; 11 Platoon: Pte Walter ‘Wally’
Paynter, 13 Platoon: Ptes David D C
Edington, William J ‘Bill’ Fletcher; 14
Platoon: Sgt Oliver R C Dossetor, L/Cpl
Russell D L McConnell MID, Pte William
P ‘Bill’ Reilly
2/14th troops were involved in the initial
push up the coast road to Sidon; the bitter
fighting around Jezzine on 24 June; and
the attack on Damour on 8 July that finally
convinced the French to surrender.
At Damour on 8 July: L/Cpl Rupert S
‘Rupe’ White (Intelligence Section), Ptes
Stanley E P ‘Stan’ Barry (13 Platoon),
William J ‘Bill’ Healy (C Coy), Alan R
Middlecoat (17 Platoon)
During the campaign 21 members of the
Battalion made the ultimate sacrifice, each
one with their own story, and family left to
mourn their loss:
Near Ithe frontier on 8 June: Sgt Raymond
H Lawley (18 Platoon), Cpl Hugh A
Buckler MID (9 Platoon)
At the Zahrani River on 12 June: 12 Platoon:
Ptes Noel W Smallman, Lindsay ‘Bill’
Sanger and John D ‘Jack’ McDonald.
At Jezzine on 24 June: 9 Platoon: J W ‘Jim’
The editor, in February this year, visiting
the graves of those members of 2/14th
Battalion buried at Beirut War Cemetery
Page 8
Kokoda Journey
like Kokoda, but I did, and I am so glad I
decided to do it because it was worth every
minute of training and preparation. It was
the most amazing experience and definitely
the best thing I have ever done. It’s kind of
sad it’s all over now, all that leading up to it
and now it’s done and in the past. I hope I
get the opportunity to walk the Track again
in the future because I would love to do it a
second time.
President - Michael Ralston
1/35 York Street, Eltham, 3095
Tel 9439 4990
Vice President - Robert Eden
326 Nicholson Street, Fitzroy, 3065 Tel 9419 4393
Secretary - Chris Ingram
36 Finch Street, Notting Hill Vic 3168 Tel 9561 5790
[email protected]
Asst. Secretary - Margaret Briggs
17 Wendy Court, Wheeler Hill, 3150 Tel 9561 2247
Treasurer - Karen Brkic
18 Khartoum Street, West Footscray, 3012 Tel 9318 5394
Editor - Jill Bear
Tel 9889 3466
[email protected]
Welfare Trustees - Robert Eden,
Ian Hopley, Michael Ralston
Memorabilia OffICER - Darryl Thompson
22-24 Jarrah Drive, Braeside, 3195 Tel 9588 1444
Brin (centre) and friends celebrate their
journey’s end at Ower’s Corner
Last month’s edition included an article about
a group of students preparing to walk the
Kokoda Track in April. This was successfully
completed in time to attend the Dawn Service
at Bomana War Cemetery on ANZAC Day.
The article indicated that the trek would be
more than just completing the walk, but a
broader experience, that included touching
on the role of our troops, especially the
2/14th and associated units, including of
course, the 39th.
Tel 5344 9434
Trevor Pryor received the following letter
from one of the girls who participated. Brin’s
letter shows that the experience was more
than just a physical test and that she has
obviously derived many extra benefits. It is
also confirmation that the program helps to
pass on the story of the troops and obviously
has generated great respect for their role.
Bruce Rogers - South West Victoria Dear Trevor,
Web Master - Ben Edwards
[email protected]
Area representatives
Bob Nichols - Western Victoria
Tel 5562 7078
Bill Vandenberg - Mallee
Tel 5026 4535
Gavon Armstrong - CNE & Riverina [email protected]
Gary McCulloch - Gippsland
Tel 5144 4435
Eric Jones - Tasmania, North
Tel (03) 6433 3418
John Vandenberg - Tasmania, South Tel (03) 6265 8071
[email protected]
Ian Hopley - South Australia Mobile 0433 019 441
Trevor Pryor - Queensland
Tel (07) 3482 4768
[email protected]
TBA - Western Australia
Jan Erskine - Mildura
[email protected]
Thank you so much for your letter and card,
it really meant a lot and it was lovely to
know that you were thinking of me. I never
honestly thought that I would do something
They say you don’t remember pain, but I
don’t think that’s entirely true. I remember
how hard it was and how much it hurt coming
up those hills, but that’s what makes it the
experience it is. That’s what makes it so
special, the endurance. I can’t imagine what
it would have been like during the war, walking
along the Track, so much fear instilled. It was
difficult enough to concentrate on where I
was going to put my foot next.
On the second day of walking, we came
across Butch Bisset’s memorial rock and
plaque. Grant told us the story of Butch and
Stan and we all sat around the rock and sang
Danny Boy. Well, we tried to, even though
none of us really knew the tune at all, it was
still really moving. Grant recorded it so I’m
sure you will hear the recording from him.
The villages were amazing! The children were
so beautiful and they sang to us at a few of
the villages we stayed at. Words can’t explain
how beautiful it was. They have so little in
their lives yet they are so happy all the time.
It really makes you appreciate what you have.
Thank you again for your warm wishes before
I walked the track, I really appreciated it.
Love Brin
Around The Traps
Stan Dillon had a fall a few weeks back
and ended up in hospital. Nothing broken,
but he’s not walking too well. He has
heart problems, but is as well as can
be expected. His wife Trish is doing a
marvellous job caring for him.
Val Gardner, who was severely injured at
Isurava on 29 Aug, 1942 and spent many
months in hospital recovering, recently
lost his dear wife and is finding it hard
to adjust, as he is misses her very badly.
Originally from Mildura, Val was a keen
footballer before the war. (A younger Val
appears in the photo with Albert Moore,
elsewhere in this edition.)
John Rennie - PNGMax Curtain still attends the ANZAC
[email protected]
Day march with his daughter and
granddaughter. He reckons that if they’re
Ron Inglis - NSW
not able to march behind the banner then
Tel (02) 9642 3563
they lose their identity.
[email protected]
Tim Moriarty has moved into a nursing
home, following the loss of an eye last
year. Tim has never missed a March, even
allowing himself to be pushed in a wheel
chair, so he wouldn’t have to miss it.
If you have any old copies of
Comradeship (pre April 2008) and
would like to donate these to the
State Library of Victoria, please let
the Secretary, Chris Ingram, know by
phoning or emailing the details of the
back copies you have. Also state their
condition. Please do not send the
copies, as Chris will be coordinating the
responses and will be in touch again,
once she has heard from you. Tel: 03
9561 5790 or email:
[email protected]