RANCBANEWS September 2020




A. R. HORTON, A.O. (Retired)

President: B. GRAY OAM

28 Cliff Road,

Collaroy, NSW 2097

Telephone (02) 9949 4914 E.mail brian@mycollaroy.com


VOL34.No 2



Well, after a very long break, due mainly to COVID19 and with restrictions in place, and all Services/functions being cancelled which included the most important date on the Ex Service Organisation (ESO) calendar, ANZAC Day, there was not much happening or to write about.

In the last 9 months, I cannot believe what has happened, horrific bushfires , drought and then this world wide pandemic - and as I was starting on typing this edition, Victoria had been hit with severe damage from winds-,on behalf of the RANCBA Committee here in Sydney, our thoughts and wishes are with all that have been affected..

 Normally in the edition after this important day ANZAC Day  I would be putting in articles not only from the NSW Chapter but from other State Chapters., but this pandemic was Nationwide so it was all quiet..

 Like many others that I know, along with my wife Helen, we stood with our neighbours (social distancing) and observed the  ANZAC spirit by standing in our driveways and listening to the Service at the Australian War Memorial Canberra via radio , and it was very well done. Someone in our  neighbour did a letterbox drop , telling people to observe ANZAC Day with a "Light Up" style of remembrance

Since last year, I have only been permitted to attend one Memorial Service (Vietnam Memorial) and the report of this greatly reduced Service is shown in this edition later

 I changed the style somewhat which I have written now for many years, when doing this Newsletter, it is the 75th Anniversary of WWII, so I have asked those that I knew who had served in this period to write an item, and I do hope you enjoy this edition.

 I have over a long period, along with other, have put our names to many petitions to have a Victoria Cross Awarded for the bravery and courage shown by Ord Seaman Teddy Sheean, whilst serving aboard HMAS Armidale- this has now happened

 But to let others that the NSW Chapter of the RANCBA are still very much alive it made doing this Newsletter much more important, so spread the word and get serving and ex serving Communicators to come onboard - keep the Association alive and one of the best.

we are all very much part of the Navy family' -

Normally the reports from the President/Secretary and Treasurer would be first, but this year as it the 75th Anniversary of WWII, and the people who sent me items served in this era and for my thinking should be recognised by being placed first

 As normal, ALL items with out a name given at the end, have been written and inserted by me, I take full responsibility for any errors.

Allan "Shorty" Moffatt OAM


When typing in these next 4 items, it

makes you feel proud to have been part of the Navy Family


World War II Veterans

I am privileged to be among the "communicator" Veterans being honoured by the Government on this 75th Anniversary of the end of World War II

 I was but a young boy or a "snotty" Midshipman under training at the time, but nevertheless was given a "Man's" job to do in both ships in which I served, namely HMAS Shropshire and HMAS Arunta.

 Joining the Naval College at the age of 13 years in January 1940, where I spent four years being educated to University entry standard and being converted from "boyhood" to "manhood" through rigorous physical training including boxing and compulsory sport, cross country runs, rugby, hockey, tennis etc.

 In October 1943 I joined HMAS Shropshire for training , and it turned out "training under fire" in both HMAS Shropshire and HMAS Arunta, while they supported landing in New Guinea and later in the Phillipines in 1944 and 1945 in the battles of Leyte Gulf and Lingayen

Gulf. During these battles HMAS Shropshire withstood 150 air attacks          0

by Japanese aircraft including kamikaze aircraft. While the ship did sustain any serious damage there were numerous very near misses - too close for comfort - I can assure you!!!

 In 1946 I was the Navigator in HMS Octavia while it was employed sweeping mines in the Mediterranean - a hazardous occupation. Towards the end of 1946, the ship was employed as part of Border control off Palestine, preventing ships from transporting Jews from Europe - again not a relaxing occupation.

 On return to Australia I spent time in Command of Motor Refrigerator Lighter (MRL) taking it from Sydney to Dredger Harbour in New Guinea and HDML 1328 sweeping mines in Kavieng harbour.

This was to be the first of my five Commands - from the smallest ships to the largest HMAS Melbourne.

 While the Korean War was being fought, I qualified as a Communicator at the Royal Navy Signal School HMS Mercury where I upheld the tradition of Alec Black and Ted Lesh by topping the course and being Awarded the .Jackson Everett Prize..

Then served as the Assistant Fleet Communicator in HMS Indomitable - the Flagship of the Home Fleet. I also served as the head of the Technical Section of HMS Mercury,, and later trained in Electronic Warfare when it was in its infancy, before returning to Australia.

 Some of my other contributions as a "Communicator" have included Fleet Communications Officer (FCO) , Staff Officer Special Projects in the Department of Defence responsibilities for the building and commissioning of the USN VLF Station at North West Cape in Western Australia and the initial planning for the Satellite Station Pine Gap - Director of

Communications (DNC) in Navy Office, and last but not least . Director Joint Services Communications in the Department of Defence.

 Rear Admiral Rothesay Swan AO CBE RANRtd


Footnote - RADM Swan was selected

to be the overall March Leader of the Navy in the ANZAC Day March in Sydney - but sadly this was cancelled due to COVID19

 Margaret Swan

Margaret was born on 30th December i 926 in a small village in Essex . She had vivid memories of life during the 1939-45 War, spending many a night in an air raid shelter in the garden of their home

 After the War, she studied economics at the London School of Economics before becoming a Civil Servant and spending two years in the famous GCHQ

 In 1949 she joined the Womens Royal Navy Service (WRENS) as a Cadet Officer. After a few postings as a Third Officer in administrative roles, she then in 1953 qualified in Communications at the Royal Navy Signals School HMS Mercury, at the same time, that one Lieutenant Rothesay Swan RAN was qualifying as a Communications Officer.

 Before being married in 1953, and thus having to resign her Commission,        · Margaret served as Assistant Communications Officer on the Staffs of the Commander in Chief, in Plymouth and Flag Officer, Home Air in Lee on Solent

She qualified for a United Kingdom Veterans Badge which she proudly wears on appropriate occasions Cheers

Margaret                                                             8

Woman's Emergency Signalling Corps

I joined the Navy in June 1942 as one of the group of seven telegraphists trained by Mrs Mac. Stationed at Molonglo, Canberra and here we handled all the communications between the Admiralty, Whitehall and Royal Navy ships. The sub-station near the Molonglo River, manned entirely by thirty WRANS and this was supplemented by a small number of RN sailors to help us cope with the enormous increase in traffic , and Warrant Officer Stan Dow RN took over from Petty Officer Sue Rogers who had been in charge since Chief Petty Officer Marion Stevens left to OTC course at HMAS Cerberus . Our new boss was a very popular figure , Third Officer Patrica Byrne from HMAS Harman.

 We were the first WRANS to be given and press publicity , although by this time there was about eighty girls serving in the Navy and it was decided at last to acknowledge their existence.

 Several months later, a large War Loan Rally was held in Sydney and as a special feature during Navy Week (must have been in October), Admiral Muirhead Gould asked the Commanding Officer at HMAS Harman ,to send as many WRANS as could be spared to take part in the March down Martin Place with the RAN Platoon, and to line up in front of the dias where the VIP's were seated with their wives, elegantly dressed.

The Admiral welcomed the large crowd and announced proudly 'we have our first  batch  of  WRANS here today - (actually it sounded more like a batch of scones)

 He then said "I shall now go down and welcome the Minister for the Navy, Mr Makin" and walked down the steps with his Aide-de -Camp and disappeared around the left hand side of the dais. A few minutes later was a disturbance in the crowd on the right­ hand side, and a small well-dressed man pushed his way through to the front and crawled under the barrier.

When he stood up, shook himself and looked around, we then realised it was Mr Makin.

 The VIPs pointed to the other side, where they explained that the Admiral was waiting for him and he scurried around to surprise the "welcoming committee" from behind.

The next thing we see is the Official Party, arriving back with great dignity while the Navy Band played, and the Navy War Loan Rally was launched with the usual aplomb.

"but it's always such more entertaining when things go


Mrs Jean Nysen


Thank you Jean and it was a pleasure

again to see you at the HMAS Perth Memoria_l Service earlier this year.


Convoy Signalmen

My name is Eric Tweedale, and I have been asked by Shorty Moffatt, the Editor of your newsletter.to write a short history on the role and the activities of Convoy Signalmen during WW IL As far as I know there are only three surviving members of approximately 70-80 signalmen of the 1940 period, namely Don Ferguson, Bill Walshe and myself. I am the oldest, and God willing," I will be 100 next May.                                                       

The convoy system of protection to merchant shipping commenced on the European front within a few days of the start of the war when it became very evident that the German U Boats were to cause huge losses of ships, cargo and personnel in the Atlantic and Russian theatres of war. The story of the Battle of the Atlantic is a miraculous one, which I cannot elaborate on at this moment. Here in Australia at the commencement of the war, about 20 experienced RAN General Service signalmen were transferred to the Convoy Pool to serve on the big ships which had been commandeered as troopships carrying troops from Australia and NZ to the Middle East and European destinations. Others spent time on merchant ships in the European theatre of war. -Things changed when the Japanese entered the war at the end of 1941, and our signalmen were returned to the Pacific area.

 History of Japan's entry into the war, and the speed of their advance southwards is well known to you all. The bombing of Darwin, the invasion of Rabaul, and the Battle of the Coral Sea are just a few well remembered. Would mainland Australia be the next target, and are we prepared?? - Lets stick to our story about convoy Sigs.

 At a meeting of the Dept of the Navy on the 9th February 1942, the following Minute was Tabled" The Extension of the War in the Far East is likely to greatly increase the demand for Convoy Signalmen. Under the present conditions it would be difficult to provide a large number of signal ratings for convoy duties without creating an acute shortage of ratings available for Fleet work"

 The Minute must have had immediate response - before the end of February 1942, 30 new volunteers had been recruited from NSW and Victoria to commence the :first Convoy Sig course at Flinders Naval Depot on the 6th March - it was to be a "crash" 12 week course, limited to an acceptable knowledge of morse code, semaphore and flags, and International code books. This was under the capable tuition of Yeoman Tom Mascall and "Blubber: Mitchell - all the new recruits survived the intense course and were given the rank of Ordinary Convoy Signalman or Ordinary Signalman (C) .

 Toward the end of May all these newly ordained convoy sigs were packed off from FND to HMAS Rushcutter on the shores of Sydney Harbour to await draft- to where?? nobody had a clue, but they didnt have long to wait- On the following Sunday night, May 31st, all hell broke loose on Sydney Harbour as three Japanese midget submarines forced their way into the Harbour. Two were successful, and the other got tangled up in the boom net and was sunk by depth charges. The story is well known, and need no further explanation except to mention that some ofus were detailed as

The raid heralded the presence of Japanese submarines along he Australian East coast with tragic and unexpected results. On the 3rd June the BHP bulk ore carrier the Iron Chieftain was torpedoed and sunk off Nora Head north of Sydney, the following day another BHP carrier Iron Crown was torpedoed and sunk off Gabo Island, south of Twofold Bay with heavy loss of life.The Huddart Parker freighter Barwon, had a narrow escape from a torpedo in the same area, whilst another freighter Echunga was torpedo and sunk off Wollongong and other freighters suffered some damage. All these events occurred whilst the ships were sailing 

independently- within one or two days, all shipping was prohibited from leaving port until the convoy system was introduced.

 There must have been a great deal of forward planning already done because within four days, the plan was introduced and put into effect. Convoy Pools were established in Melbourne, Sydney, Newcastle and B1isbane.

Convoy routes were to operate between Newcastle and Melbourne with pickups and departures from Sydney and Port Kembla included. Convoys were also to operate between Sydney and Brisbane to Gladstone if required. The convoys were to be escorted by any available Commissioned warships but mainly Australian built Corvettes and selected smaller type vessels which had been commandeered for escort duties. There was always a shortage of escort vessels, but they performed most admirably.

Each Convoy was controlled by a Commodore OF Convoy, who was responsible for the conduct of the convoy at sea. The Commodore was generally a highly ranked retired Naval Officer, and he was supported by a signal staff of a Yeoman or Leading Signalman, 3 watchkeeping sigs and a telegraphist. At sea the Commodore and his staff generally sailed on the centre ship of the front line where he could easily survey all his "chickens"

 The coastal convoys went into action of the 4th June 1942 and continued for the next eighteen months. The Jap submarines raided our coast continually and inflicted some tragic losses. The greatest loss on the East Coast was the sinking of the Hospital Ship Centaur off the coast of Moreton Bay on the 14th May 1943 with a loss of 268 lives. Though the Centaur was sailing independently at the time, an escorted convoy had passed through the same area only a few hours before with no trouble.

 At the time a further class of 30 Convoy Signalmen had passed through Flinders and these were dispersed to various Convoy Pools through the South Pacific area. During the term when the convoys operated on the coast, we lost 19 ships whilst many others were torpedoed but did not sink I haven't got the number of lives lost in the campaign but there were some heavy casualties on the iron ore carriers which were sunk - they went to the bottom within second 

The presence of Japanese submarines on the south coast ceased by the end of June 1943 although the convoys continued for a further 3- 4 months just to be on the safe side. Tis stoppage released a good number of convoy sigs for service in northern area such as Darwin and Milne Bay. The focus now switches to north where Townsville became the largest haven for ships arriving with supplies from the USA and bound for New Guinea. 

Convoy pools were established at Townsville, Port Moresby and Milne Bay and later on at Langemak Bay (Finschaffen) - convoys operated from Langemak Bay to Manus Island in the Admiralty Group and along the north New Guinea coast to Bial and beyond. At this stage the Japanese troops were thoroughly routed and the danger to convoys operating in advanced areas was minimal - the New Guinea campaign could be declared over.

There was no further need for escorted convoys as the American and Australian troops "island hopped" their way Borneo and the East Indies.

 The various Convoys Pools became redundant and ratings involved in convoy duties were transferred to other duties, Some transferred to New

Guinea Signal Stations, some stayed in  Darwin for duties in Royal Navy Fleet ships , some were fortunate to be transferred to Sydney or Melbourne postings Most were discharged by early 1946, all hale and hearty, all thankful for the experiences gained, yet happy to return to civilian life with family and friends.

 The Convoy Signalmen, as a group, established an extraordinarily strong affiliation. Every year they met at ANZAC Day ceremonies throughout Australia until time took its toll and we had to call it a day

'It bas been a wonderful experience"

Eric Tweedale

 Footnote Eric after the War, captained the first Rugby Union tour to England

 Also. One of the other Convoy Sig, Don Ferguson was on the RANCBA NSW Committee for as long as I can remember till sadly ill health forced his retirement


Veteran's Luncheon

Ken Swain after a meeting by Jean Nysen's knowledge of the RAN and her 98 years of age, that he mentioned this to Guy Griffiths saying " I met a lady who is older than you and knows so much ,if not more, about the RAN that even you do"

Guy immediately stated "In that case, I must meet her"

So, I arranged a luncheon for all.

 For once in my life, I kept my mouth shut and just listened to history (from both of them)

 Jean was the daughter of either the 3rd or 5th OIC Signal School (LCDR McKenzie) - her father tried to join the RAN on its formation in 1911, but was told to come back when they had built the accommodation and gained a few warships.

Prior to WWII, Jean had attended Cocktail & Dinner parties at HMAS Cerberus and also played with Captain Hee Waller's children, who at the time was the OIC Signal School

 Talk about history - as many would know, RADM Guy Griffiths AO DSO DSC RAN Rtd joined the RAN in 1937. After completing his courses at the RAN College, FND (as it was known then) he sailed to the UK for more Naval training.

In 1940 as a Midshipman, Guy was posted to the Battle Cruiser HMS Repulse and sailed for Singapore shortly after

In late 1940 HMS Repulse was sunk by Japanese aircraft and Midn Griffiths found himself swimming in the South China sea - thank goodness HMS Electra was nearby and picked him up

 On his many luncheon highlight, I'm sure he was proud to have been the Captain of the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne - also his Command of HMAS Hobart & Parramatta and he reflected he was the Commissioning Captain of both prior to becoming Commanding Officer HMAS Melbourne

 For June and I, it was an honour to share a Luncheon with 2 elderly and distinguished persons whose life making was almost the life of the Royal Australian Navy

Ken Swain AM


Patron's Report

I am very conscious of the difficult situation with Trevor Pike - and his wife Joan. In December 1989 when I was about to complete my RAN Service, the Hon Secretary of the Association , Syd Bartlett, on behalf of the President Trevor Pike and Members of the Committee, invited me accept the office of Patron to the Association .That I did with much pleasure, an honour that I still hold many years later.

 I was conscious that I was not a qualified RAN Communication specialist, but as I said then, and subsequently at  Communication Branch Memorial Services and National Reunion in Perth, Brisbane and Sydney, I felt that I had some eligibility - if I may use the expression­ having been an Observer in the Fleet Air Arm and having been the Communication Officer in HMS Frigates Verulam and Loch Ruthven.

 HMS Ruthven was Commissioned and crewed on an eighteen month to two year basis, the initial period being refit or maintenance, followed by a major work up and then a deployment to the Persian Gulf and surrounding areas, before returning to the UK some 12 months later

 I joined in Bahrain in mid 1962 as the Navigating and Communication Officer - and Divisional Officer of about 25 Somalies being employed by the RN. The ships complement was about 150, including 20 Royal Marines, plus the Somalies

Not everyone accepted the  loneliness of a year in the Persian Gulf and East African environment, and I to include a few of the Communications Branch in that comment. A couple spent some time with medical injuries or in detention in Aden, and on Christmas Day 1962 in Mombassa, the duty telegraphist showed his frustration by taking it out on some of the Wireless Office equipment.

Referring back to Trevor Pike ,in July 2001 at a time when the RAN was planning a major International Naval Review to mark the 100th Anniversary of the establishment of the Commonwealth Naval Forces (the Review did not take place because of the attack on the World Trade Centre in New York) - I suggested to President Trevor Pike that it may be the time for me to step aside to allow the NSW Chapter to consider a suitable "specialist communicator" for the position of Patron. I did so reluctantly \, having enjoyed my association with "the communicators" and having been honoured to serve as the Patron

 I will not bore you with the response from Trevor, but I was delighted and honoured to continue in the role - as the Executive Committee has unanimously decided to maintain the "status quo". An informal observation from Trevor was along the lines

"we will tell you when to go"

I am honoured to be the Patron of such an efficient and important Association. May I wish you all the very best and I would appreciate my thanks being passed to Trevor for his invitation all those years ago, and my very best wishes to him and Joan


Rear Admiral Tony Horton AO RAN Rtd


President's Report

Greetings fellow Communicators, and I hope this finds you well and comfortable, either self isolating or roaming free, whatever. I think in this day and age , its a shame that one cannot attend the Service to celebrate the life of a fellow shipmate, who has

"Crossed the Bar" and similarly not being able to visit those old mates

who now find themselves in sick bay.   

It must be terribly trying and sad time for the families of these people as well.

 For all yo "cruisers" and "grey nomads" , you must feel as though you've been handed down a dose of 2' & 2"s. On reading QR and AI (1 hope you remember what that is ??) it says Offences for which awarded - Reduction to the second class for conduct is an appropriate punishment for men whose continual slackness or misconduct the repeated award of a lesser punishments has proved ineffective.

Restoration Should the Captain be satisfied with the behaviour of a man in the second class for conduct, and have reason to believe thats he wishes to reform, he may now restore the man to the first class at any time after one calendar month

There you go, much better off in the Navy! When is Gladys going to restore us to 1st class citizens?

 It was not until Shorty asked me to tape out a few groups for the next newsletter that had me thinking , time of the year and our governance responsibilities as an un incorporated Association. Well, it is time for our AGM, which also means the election of Office bearers and Committee.

 Last year, we convened our AGM aboard the Sydney Showboat prior to embarking on our Christmas Luncheon Cruise. As things stand, with the restrictions placed on us as in social distancing, we could have a repeat of last year.

 All the vessels of the Australian Cruise Group have been laid up since March and the ban on International Tourists. However, it is their intention to commence operations again in the summer months commencing 3rd October. It will certainly be different without those International arrivals.

A.C.C. have offered the RANCBA (NSW) the same rate for our Lunch Cruise which has been the same for the last three years. This year, we are also asking Members of the Federation of Naval Ships Association (FNSA) to join with us. So,who knows, you may also meet up with old ship mates from other Branches of ships you may have served in.

 Rest assured, ALL compliance measures published for COVID19 will be met. I am sure you also have your own.

 RANCBA NSW Chapter Annual Xmas Lunch Cruise - Sydney Harbour Cruise is aboard MV MAGISTIC - Boarding 1200 - King Street Wharfs - Friday 11th December

Please note, our AGM will be held onboard Sydney Showboat commencing 1000.

 Details for booking this cruise will be sent to Members via email and will also be published on www.rancbansw.org. under "events"


Hope to see you all aboard at Xmas


Brian (Dolly) Gray OAM President/Secretary RANCBA NSW


Women's Royal Australian Naval Services - W.R.A.N.S

On Friday 18th April 1941 the Australian War Cabinet approved the creation of a Woman's Branch in the Royal Australian Navy. Mrs Florence Violet McKenzie (usually called Mrs Mac) was mainly responsible. She started the Women's Emergency Signalling Corp in May 1939 as she had realised that war was approaching and that communications would be very important.

Many women and men had been trained in her classes and went on to join all three Services.

Fourteen young women were picked to be the first members of the RAN, Judy Alley, Joan Code, Elsie Colless, Shirley Drew, Joan Furley, Joan Hodges, Jess Prain, June McLeod, Denise Owen, Frances Provan, Pat Ross, Marion Stevens, Sylvia Thompson and Daphne Wright,

 So on the morning of 28th April 1941, these young women set off from Central Station, Sydney on their way to HMAS Harman Canberra. Twelve were to be telegraphists and two were to look after their fellow WRANS.

they settled in very well and soon were a very important part of the RAN. More women followed these pioneers and served as Cooks, Sick Berth Attendants, Drivers, Stores etc. and soon proved to be indispensable. Some became Code Breakers and learnt different styles ofmorse code serving in several States.

 Two WRANS were selected to be visual signallers from the Degaussing range at Bradley's Head and quite enjoyed their time, being more independent from the land depots and skimming across to HMAS Watson on a work boat. WRANS served all over Australia in different positions ad rates during the course of  WW II  this was in spite of the initial reluctance of the Admirals - they served well and proudly. The last WRAN paid off in 1948, but they reformed in 1950.

 In 1985 the WRANS became part of the RAN and thus were able to serve in rates, including submarines and clearance diving.

 The Ex WRANS Association was formed in 1963 and proved to be a success as many women missed the company of their fellow shipmates and like to get together for lunches and meetings etc. They formed a Committee to make and decide on a stained glass window for the Garden

Island Chapel - Jess Scott Doyle (nee Prain) led the charge to raise the  money . Arthur Phillips and Pearce of Celtic Studios , made it in time for the 45th Anniversary in 1986 - The WRAN in winter uniform was for WW II , in the summer uniform for Peace - the ribbons beneath the Navy Crown showed the years the WRANS served and the coiled ropes showed every rate that were served in and then the WRANS crest/badge - It was unveiled by Lady Stephens , wife of the then Governor- General Sir  Ninian Stephens in 1986.


Sydney Ex WRANS have lately changed their name to WRANS Naval Women's Association NSW to attract serving and other post war ladies­ They are all over Australia and still enjoy catching up with mates and renewing friendships and it doesnt matter how long ago they were - Reunions are very popular

 Ms Liz Watts OAM

Vice President RANCBA NSW


Hunter WRANS and Naval

Womens Association

Our group of vibrant ladies from the Hunter and surrounds , got together for a lunch and catch-up, after meeting at the WRANS-RAN Womens Reunion in Adelaide in 2010. By mid January 2011, we had formed into a formal group and a sub-branch of the NSW Ex WRANS Association (Sydney).

 Fast forward to November 2013 and still under the guidance of the Sydney ladies, saw us change our name to WRANS Naval Womens Association (NSW) - Hunter Region

 Whilst numbers have fluctuated over time, we remain an active group who enjoy ourselves and all our region has to offer. We shared our great region with the rest of our "sisters" and their significant others, when we successfully held the WRAN -RAN Women's Reunion in Shoal Bay in 2018

 Our recent AGM was held via Zoom and telephone. After a few teething problems we successfully elected a new Committee to carry on the great work. This year's Committee consists of President - Sharon Mundy CSM, Vice President Robyn Pollack, Treasurer Lesley Lalor (all ex Communication Branch) and Margaret Durie (ex Writer)

 Our group is ever evolving, and we hope to return to our initial arrangements, which were more social than formal. This will be made possible once we can safely and comfortably move about in the community

 Whatever we do, wherever we go, there will always be room for more matelots.

Anyone interested in finding our more about group, can do so via email ex.wrans.hunter@hotmail.com or by telephoning our Secretary

on 0418 489 260

Cheers Lesley Lalor



Robert Drury WW II Signalman Robert Scales Signalman Korean War Veteran HMAS Bataan & Sydney


Lest WeForget"


Vietnam Veterans Memorial Service

-previously called Battle Long Tan Service

This smaller than normal Service was held at the Cenotaph, Martin Place on 18th August 2020,commencing at 11.00am

Due to the COVID19 pandemic, there

(I!)   was restrictions in force and this also

the numbers permitted to attend was limited - some of the restrictions included.

  • a)   by invitation only - no additional guests may accompany you
  • b)  if unwell, do not attend - if you cannot attend - no one can substitute for you on this occasion
  • c)   entry by Pitt Street only - your name will be checked on the Invite list, and here you will be given a temperature check and hand sanitizer- on completion you will be escorted/shown your chair which has been allocated to you, your name shown etc, and you were asked to re1nain in your seat till the end of the Service
  • d)   no singing by attendees - no shaking hands when greeting friends etc
  • e)   strongly recommended and encouraged to wear a mask -

Here I was accompanied by Ms Liz Watts OAM, Vice President FNSA & RANCBA - we were seated very far apart , 2 lines in fact - . all seating was the recormnended social distancing.

Also seated in that area, Mrs Margaret (Meg) Green, National President, War Widows Guild.

Others outside the barrier fencing and with no Invite, could not enter, Mr Ron Smith OAM Castle Hills RSL, Mr Brian Yeo Secretary Sydney Association, Ms  Angie Flint, Secretary, CSC RSL Sub Branch

.Entry was very  well adhered to.


The Welcome and Acknowledgment of Country was given by Mr Gareth McCray OAM and on completion for all to stand for the arrival of the Vice Regal Party, this included HE, The Governor ofNSW, The Hon. Margaret Beazley AC , QC and Mr Ray James OAM, Vice President RSL NSW

All were asked to remain standing for the mounting of the Catafalque Party and Flag Orderlies to take post, this was carried out by serving personnel of the Australian Army

The Opening Prayer was given by Chaplain Ivan Grant, Australian Army    (I)

The Commemorative Address by HE, Margaret Beazley who gave a very good and outstanding speech. She spoke so proud of what all Australian Defence personnel of the 3 Services had done during the Vietnam War, but continue to do so now.

She also reflected on the sad and very bad times when they returned to Australia and some of the problems they encountered .and confronted .

 Wreath Laying Ceremony was then held and this included the following HE The Governor ofNSW Margaret Beazley -Mr Ray James OAM, Vice President RSLNSW- Mrs Diane Vogt representing War Widows Guild NSW

Mr Greg Wrate President Sydney Legacy -The Hon. Geoff Lee MP representing the Premier ofNSW but also Acting Minister for Veterans in the NSW Government- Mr Greg Warren MP representing the Leader of the Opposition NSW, Councillor Jess Scully representing the Lord Mayor of the City of Sydney Council

 Rear Admiral Jonathon Mead AM RAN , Commander Australian Fleet - Major-General Matthew Pearse AM, Commander Land Forces Command - Mr Andrew Forsdike representing Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia (NSW Chapter) - Mr Paul O'Sullivan representing the Royal Australian Regiment - Mr Frank Cole representing Vietnam Peacekeepers & Peacekeepers Association - M Doug Tear representing Australian Army Training Team Veterans Association - Mr Ron Glew representing Royal Australian Air Force Association (NSW) - Mr Keith Grimley representing NAA (NSW) - Ms Dinah Lee representing The Forces Entertainment Association - Mrs Eileen Henderson representing Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps Association

Ms Sharon Hudson-Dean, Consul­ General of the United States America -

Mr Trevor Carles representing Deputy Commissioner NSW/ACT Department of Veterans Affairs

To all to others that I may have missed, I do apologise -

 The Ode was Recited by Mr Ray JamesOAM

The Last Post played by Lance Corporal Justin Williams Australian Army Band

One Minutes Silence observed

Rouse by Bugler Lance Corporal Justin Williams Australian Army Band Benediction by Chaplain Ivan Grant Australian Army

All were asked to remain standing for the Australian Nation Anthem, BUT as no singing by all attendees was one of the restrictions , this was sung by herself and I also might add very beautiful and made you feel proud by Lance Corporal Amelia Johnson Australian Army Band

 This brought to an end of this very well organised Service and this was more so with all the current restrictions due to COVID19 - For mine and I would say for most that in attendance, this caused no problems in abiding with these in doing so.


Messdeck Notice Board

Welcome Aboard

Peter Baker Ex RO and some may have known him, he is the brother of the late and very well known, Ex CRS Ron "Nullabor" Baker

.Glad you are back mate.

SubsNow subs/fees were due to be paid at the ANZAC period, but due to all the problems, this was not done They are still $12.00 per year , so please, could you contact the Treasurer Mr Andy Mills on the following rancba@mail.com

postal- 411/71 Glendower Street, GILEAD NSW 2560

Ph (m) 0407 282 902


Now this is very hard to say and it is with their or their partners permission. Trevor Pike - former President RANCBA NS\V .

When Trevor contacted me last year about this medical condition, I just could not come to terms with. He was always fit and a real gym fanatic.

Unfortunately cancer does not take that into consideration and it progressed.

After many months in hospital in Canberra he was transported to Mount Wilga Rehab, but a few set backs also arrived . He was then sent to Hornsby General Hospital and at the time of my typing he is still there .

Frank Lawton - former RANCBA Committeeman . Frank has also been admitted to sick bay, but is home now and hopefully on the mend, ,when I was advised, I did not broadcast...

I am sure Frank (who loves to talk) would be happy to have a yam with you -go for it

Knowing both - they are fighters and will keep fighting

 To all others that may not be Cat A at present, our best wishes for a speedy recovery

 Note - you will find enclosed within the envelope or the end of the electronic version, notice of the AGM & Nomination Form

Read -& Action - acknowledge I say again READ -its your Association

 Old signal

From destroyer flotilla to destroyer about to go to sea

How long do you expect to be after leaving harbour?


310 feet - same length as we commissioned with.

 Dah <lit <lit <lit dah Dit dah         <lit dah <lit





RANCBA NSW will hold their AGM aboard Sydney Showboat No. 5 King Street Wharf at 10am Thursday 11 th December 2020.

In accordance with our constitution we are now calling for volunteers/nominations for our committee.

The committee is to consist of:


  • (a)    the office-bearers of the association, and
  • (b)    at least 3 ordinary committee members, each of whom is to be elected at the annual general meeting of the association under clause 15.

The total number of committee members is to be 7.


The office-bearers ofthe association are as follows:


  •           the president,
  •           the treasurer,
  •           the secretary.
  •           minutes secretary,
  •           editor & publisher of the RANCBA Newsletter; and
  •           3 ordinary committee members.


If insufficient nominations are received to fill all vacancies on the committee, the candidates nominated are taken to be elected and further nominations are to be received at the annual general meeting.


If the number of nominations received is equal to the number of vacancies to be filled, the persons nominated are taken to be elected.


The committee must meet at least 3 times in each period of 12 months plus the AGM (if possible) at the place and time that the committee may determine.


Those meetings can be held electronically i.e. using your mobile phone. Office bearers would need to attend the AGM. All members regardless of where domiciled can now participate.



Please forward all nominations to secretaryrancbansw@gmail.com


Nomination form on page 2 see over


Election of Office Bearers and Committee Members

!,                                                                                                                   _

[must be a current RANCBA NSW member]



wish to nominate


[name of candidate] for the position of [please tick desired position]


Vice President



Member of Committee

Member of Committee

Member of Committee

Signature of Proposer 1:                                                                       _ Consent of Candidate

1,                                                                                            am willing to

take on this role if I am elected to this position at the Annual General Meeting of the Association.

Signature of candidate:                                                                    _ Date:                                                  


Constitution item no 11.4         There is no maximum number of consecutive terms for which a committee member may hold office

Treasurer, RAN Communications Branch

Association NSW

Address: 411/72 Glendower Street, Gilead, NSW. 2560

0407 282 902  email rancba@mail.com

President/Secretary RAN Communications Branch Association NSW

28 Cliff Rd, Collaroy. NSW. 2097

0419 203 400 email secretaryrancba@bigpond.com

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