SERVICE AT THE MEMORIAL TANK NORTH BANDIANA

Thirty members and friends of the Regimental Association gathered at the Colonel John Neale Centurion Tank on Tuesday 30 April 2019. John Baines was MC, Gordon Cole spoke on the career of Colonel John Neale, Graham Garvie gave a history of tank No 169073 and Ian Docking recited the Ode.

Major Gordon Cole RFD (Ret’d) speaking about the career of Colonel John Neale OAM RFD ED

Major Gordon Cole RFD (Ret’d) speaking about the career of Colonel John Neale OAM RFD ED

Among the members from outlying districts were Kelvin Robertson, Craig Aughtie, Paul Burchatt, Peter Branagan and Robert Morrison.

Centurion 169073 served the nation well as a training vehicle and on active service in South Vietnam. It was a great improvement on the General Grant tank with a bigger gun and the ability to fire accurately while moving.

Serving soldiers of regiments such as 8th/13th Victorian Mounted Rifles were converted to the new tank and National Servicemen received full-time training while at Puckapunyal.

In February 1968, C Squadron, 1st Armoured Regiment, equipped with Centurion tanks was sent to Vietnam. Our tank was one of the twenty which served in Vietnam.

There were many doubters about the likely usefulness of the Centurion in the jungle and paddy field environment of South Vietnam. How would this very large tank perform?

No one needed to have worried. The tanks performed magnificently and were treasured by the infantry with whom they operated. ‘Tanks save lives’ was the catchcry.

Several Reserve officers were attached to the Squadron in Vietnam including Colonel John Neale and Major Gordon Cole.

Members of the Association standing in front of the Memorial Tank following the Service.

Members of the Association standing in front of the Memorial Tank following the Service.

In 1989, when most of the Centurion fleet was sold off, No 169073 was allocated to 8th/13th Victorian Mounted Rifles as a heritage vehicle. It was first displayed at Buna Barracks Albury and in 2000 moved to its current location at North Bandiana.

A lunch at the Blazing Stump Hotel, Thomas Mitchell Drive Wodonga, followed the service.

ASSOCIATION CHRISTMAS LUNCH 2018

Twenty-nine Association members and partners gathered at the SS&A for our end-of-year get-together, Tuesday 11 December. Graham and Judi Garvie had decorated the tables with 8th/13th VMR table runners and red and yellow serviettes. It looked good and the meal served from the Club’s new kitchen was enjoyable.

Trevor & Pat Spokes, Pauline & Maurice Greene, Graham & Judi Garvie, Sue Russell, Marlene & Brian Gibson.

Lyn Larkin, Shirley & Kevin Monte, Rob Dawe, Don (obscured) & Mrs Ross, Kozzie & Elizabeth Carey, Jan Hunter.

Lyn Larkin, Shirley & Kevin Monte, Rob Dawe, Don (obscured) & Mrs Ross, Kozzie & Elizabeth Carey, Jan Hunter.

Lesley (just out of shot, sorry) & Rob Parkinson, John Warren (obscured) John Baines, Ian & Pat Docking, Steve Earles, Gordon Cole. (We need a better photographer!)

Lesley (just out of shot, sorry) & Rob Parkinson, John Warren (obscured) John Baines, Ian & Pat Docking, Steve Earles, Gordon Cole. (We need a better photographer!)

President, John Baines welcomed everyone; Doug Hunter gave a short resume of what goes on at the Museum each Tuesday; Graham Garvie gave the toast to absent friends noting the passing of Jim Allard and John Clay. John Baines led the Ode.

John concluded the luncheon by wishing everyone an enjoyable Christmas and the best for the forthcoming year.

NEK COMMEMORATION 2018

The high light of this years Nek Commemoration was a visit to Puckapunyal where the Regiment was training. Following a substantial lunch at the RAAC Officers Mess we were bussed to the unit HQ on the Range. A briefing, then an introduction to the Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle (PMV) and a drive round the range.

Driving technique developed in Afghanistan where following in the tracks of the vehicle in front is the best way to avoid mines does not translate well to the wet spongy soil of Pucka. The downside was we were bogged, but the upside was a recovery demonstration. Unfortunately, the visit to the cavalry scouts practising tracking was abandoned when the heavens opened and rain and hail bucketed down.

Bogged and not going anywhere on Pucka Range.

Bogged and not going anywhere on Pucka Range.

Recovery in progress. This was very familiar to old 8/13 VMR soldiers.

Recovery in progress. This was very familiar to old 8/13 VMR soldiers.

The Bushmaster is an Australian-built four wheeled, all-wheel drive armoured vehicle. In addition to the Australian Army it is in service with the Japan Ground Self Defence Force, Fiji Infantry Regiment, Jamaica Defence Force and the New Zealand Army. It is the first armoured vehicle to be designed and completely manufactured in Australia since the Sentinel tank during World War II.

The Bushmaster is fitted with a forward gun ring for a 5.56mm or 7.62mm machine gun. The vehicle's armour provides protection against small arms fire, mortar fragments, Claymore mines, but most importantly it provides excellent protection against land mines. The v-hull monocoque deflects the blast away from the vehicle and its occupants.

The role of the Bushmaster is to provide protected mobility transport for infantry, or in the case of 4/19 PWLH, cavalry scouts. It is not an armoured personal carrier designed to carry infantry to a dismount point just short of, or on the objective.

Currently 4/19 PWLH has 17 Bushmasters and this number will increase leading up to next year when the Regiment will provide the Cav Scout capability to 1st Armoured Regiment at Exercise ‘Talisman Sabre’, the bi-annual joint exercise with USA and NZ units.

The soldiers have not lost the skill to live well in the field. This is a hoochi with a swag. Incidentally they are not allowed to dig shell scrapes or trenches on the Range!

The soldiers have not lost the skill to live well in the field. This is a hoochi with a swag. Incidentally they are not allowed to dig shell scrapes or trenches on the Range!

This is the hammock model hoochi. Both models would have been well tested with the overnight rain.

This is the hammock model hoochi. Both models would have been well tested with the overnight rain.

 

 

 

AWARD NOMINATION

We have received news that 8th/13th Victorian Mounted Rifles Regimental Collection has been nominated for the Victorian Collections Award for Excellence in Museum Cataloguing (War Heritage Collection).

The award will be judged on the number of artifacts cataloged, the proportion of items catalogued with accompanying photos, the quality of the records, the depth of historical research involved and the percentage of records made public.

The winner of the award will be announced at the Victorian Museum Awards night, Wednesday 29 August 2018.

Post Awards Night

We were not judged the winner for the award, but it was good to be listed among the five nominees. Look out next year!

Annual General Meeting Report

There were eighteen members in attendance at the AGM held at Anzac House Albury on Tuesday 15 May 2018.

Election of office bearers for 2018-19:

The following were elected as office bearers and committee for the 2018-19 year:

President John Baines; Vice-president Adrian Younger: Minute Secretary Andrew Frazer; Newsletter distributor Michael Prestianni; Treasurer Doug Hunter; and Committee members: Graham Garvie, Ian Docking, Maurice Greene, Shane Walch, Gordon Cole, Robert Dawe, and subject to their acceptance, Jim Begley and Clive Faul.

The notional Social calendar includes:

Latchford Troop visit to be arranged in June/July; Nek Dinner this year to be with the regiment on a training exercise in the field; RAACA Cambrai Dinner; Xmas luncheons to be arranged in Albury and Wangaratta; Regimental birthday to be arranged for May 2019. Further information on these activities is to be distributed as it becomes available.

Merchandise:

Association ties still available; Name badges can be provided on order; VMR hat badges are in very limited supply and are to be sold only to ex-VMR members.

Museum Curator:

Graham Garvie was appointed to the position of Museum Curator which fell vacant upon the death of John Bauerle.

Life member:

Lieutenant Colonel Jim Allard was made a life member of the 8/13 VMR Regimental Association. Lt Col Allard is the last surviving Commanding Officer of the regiment.

VALE JOHN BAUERLE

John Bauerle passed away on 28 March at the Cancer Centre Albury after a long struggle with the disease. John began his career with 8/13th as a regimental cadet in 1952 at the age of 15. He did his National Service training at Puckapunyal in 1957 and returned to VMR as a Centurion gunner. He served a further six years attaining the rank of sergeant before his civil employment brought his service to an end.

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John maintained a close contact with the regiment and in 1988 joined the museum volunteers, a connection he maintained till two weeks prior to his hospitalisation and subsequent death. His last task was an installation at SS&A Club Albury on 13 February. John took a leading role in the formation of the Albury-Wodonga branch of the National Servicemen’s’ Association serving 15 years as president.

John's funeral is to take place at St David's Church Albury at 2.00 pm Thursday 5 April.

OBJECT IN WEEK FOUR IN THE COLLECTION

This pair of brown leather officer's dress boots with strap-on spurs and leather instep patch and under sole chain come complete with matching left and right wooden stretchers and spreader wedges.They were owned by well known Australian soldier and politician tragically killed at commencement of Second World War.

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Brigadier Geoffrey Austin Street MC served in WWI at Gallipoli and on the Western Front. Following the war he was placed on the Reserve of Officers. He returned to military service in 1931 as a Squadron Commander in the 4th Light Horse and after only 18 months was promoted to the command of the regiment. He went on to take command of the Third Cavalry Brigade which included the 8th, 13th and 20th Light Horse Regiments. Brigadier Street had entered Federal Parliament in 1934 and in November 1938 was seconded from military duties to serve as Minister for Defence in the Lyons Government . He was serving in this capacity in the Menzies government when he was killed in an air crash near Canberra on 13 August 1940.

OBJECT IN WEEK THREE IN THE COLLECTION

Captain Lyle Jackel of Wangaratta marked his 25 years service in 8/13 VMR, 1965-1990, by presenting an Officers Shooting Trophy. The trophy, a handsome decorative silver tray with raised edge is engraved giving details of the purpose and donor and the winners for each year of competition. It is also engraved on the underside.

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The trophy was for the officer with the best aggregate small arms score at the annual range shoot. Captain John McLean was successful in 1990, 91 and 92. Captain Lyle Jackel prevailed in 1993 and Lieutenant Howard Burvill in 1994. There are no further winners details engraved on trophy following 1994 so it is possible the competition lapsed.

On the base of the tray the engraving says: “Those who beat their swords into ploughshares usually end up ploughing for those who kept their swords"

See more of our collection on <https://victoriancollections.net.au/organisations/8th13th-victorian-mounted-rifles-regimental-collection#collection-records>

OBJECT OF WEEK TWO IN THE COLLECTION

This week’s object is a rare, historic and artistic example of how one family sought to come to terms with the loss of their only child in the Great War 1914-1918.

The leather bound album, with its faded maroon cover, contains photographs taken by Signaller JC Campbell and typescripts of two letters written by Captain Mervin Higgins 8th Australian Light Horse AIF during WWI.

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Captain Higgins survived Gallipoli and went on to serve in the Sinai desert. He was killed in action at Magdhaba on 23 December 1916. His father Mr Justice Higgins first attempted to have a headstone erected over his son's grave but this failed when it became apparent that the location of the grave site was uncertain and in fact lost. Justice Higgins then has a small number, possibly as few as six, memorial books made. It seems likely that this copy was given to the 8th Light Horse Association after the war and presented to 8th/13th Victorian Mounted Rifles when the 8th Association closed.

OBJECT OF THE WEEK IN THE COLLECTION

This unusual flag is one of many objects in the local 8th/13th Victorian Mounted Rifles Regimental Collection. It is a red ensign with a union flag canton and an emblem in the centre of the fly.

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The emblem is a five pointed star surrounded by a motto “Heavens Light Our Guide” and set in a sunburst. Prior to 1947, it was the flag of British India at international events. It was superseded by the current Indian tricolour when India became independent.

The emblem and motto is that of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India established by Queen Victoria in 1861 shortly after the Indian Mutiny to honour Indian princes and chiefs, presumably those who had remained loyal to the crown, and British officers and administrators.

The use of English in the motto perhaps indicated English was the language of the British Empire superseding the Roman Empire with its Latin. The wording is sufficiently vague to include other faiths to which many Indian princes belonged.

How did it come into the Collection? That’s a good question. We are working on it.

ASSOCIATION CHRISTMAS LUNCHEON

Twenty-three members and partners enjoyed lunch at the Albury SS&A Club on Tuesday 12 December to mark the end of the year's work at the Regimental Collection Museum and to remember those of our number who have passed away in 2017. Association president John Baines spoke briefly on the contribution of Jack Larkin and Niel Russell. Work at the Museum resumes on Tuesday 16 January with the installation of a new exhibition at the SS&A Club and improvements to the display at 4th/19th PWLH depot at Latchford Barracks.. 

In picture: Trevor &amp; Pat Spokes, Pauline Greene, Rob Dawe, Maurice Greene

In picture: Trevor & Pat Spokes, Pauline Greene, Rob Dawe, Maurice Greene

In picture: Kevin Monte, Dianne &amp; John Baines, Kozzie Carey, Brian Rowley &amp; wife, John Warren and John Bauerle

In picture: Kevin Monte, Dianne & John Baines, Kozzie Carey, Brian Rowley & wife, John Warren and John Bauerle

In picture: Rob Dawe, Russ Johnston, Graham &amp; Judi Garvie and Sue Russell

In picture: Rob Dawe, Russ Johnston, Graham & Judi Garvie and Sue Russell

VALE GEORGE WAITE

One hundred and twenty family and friends gathered at the Dederang community hall on Friday 8 December for a memorial service for the late Alastair George Waite who passed away at his home in Burnie, Tasmania on 18 November.

George Waite served with the 8th/13th Victorian Mounted Rifles for 16 years following national service training at Puckapunyal in 1957. The Regiment was represented at the memorial service by John Warren and Doug Hunter.

Lieut George Waite (right of photo) directing troops from 8/13 VMR on a night exercise near Albury, 1964. Photo from 8/13 VMR Collection

Lieut George Waite (right of photo) directing troops from 8/13 VMR on a night exercise near Albury, 1964. Photo from 8/13 VMR Collection