QSO the World

The aim of this page is to pass on articles of interest to serving & ex-serving Communicators and interested parties.  I am sure that many of the names listed below will be familiar to many other Communicator shipmates.  We are now in contact via the Internet and email on a global basis, so we are truly QSO the World

Please send me an email if you would like something published on this page.

Follow the links below for previous QSO pages:

1998/99    2000    2001    2002 (Jan to Jun)   2002 (Jul to Dec)
   2003   2004   2005   2006  2007

Terry 'Red' Ryder sends:

Tis the season to be jolly and also the time to welcome Douglas Michael Conn in to the exclusive 60 plus club. Doug celebrated his 60th birthday on Saturday 20th December in fine style at his and Barbs beautiful new home at Coolum on the Sunshine Coast. Most of Doug's family were there as well as a number of ex communicators and others. A good time was had by all and Barb organised a beautiful spread of food which we did our best to make a dent in as well as the well stocked esky on the verandah!

As a group that gets together regularly, Bill Blinkhorn, Arthur Rowley and myself are hopeful that now Doug has turned 60, he will begin to display the same maturity, common sense and responsibility that the rest of us do! We have also decided that he is now old enough to have a drink at our get togethers!

Attached is a photo of the ex comms people who were there.

From left to right:
Doug Conn, Pedro Franklin, John Balcombe, Terry Ryder, Bill Blinkhorn, Arthur Rowley, Ian Broadsmith, Wayne Roots, Bob Cody.

Congratulations Doug, may there be many more.

Mick Kenny  (R95899 LSROS) sends:

Hi fellow comms,

It's been a while since I visited the website, due to relocating from Canberra back to Perth (home base) with the company.

While cleaning out old **** I found this great pic of the "Fluffy Duck" about to cheer ship as we approached the RY Brittania as we enter Thai waters.

We were in transit from an escort duty with the Vung Tau Ferrier, and from memory had to approach from a bearing that could not link the RY with our recent trip to VT.

Needless to say only the starboard side had been "sprussed up."

We were all Swan's commissioning crew and some name from memory were: (My apologies to fellow shipmates whom I cannot recall. Maybe someone can fill in the gaps?)

Peter Figg CRSS, Mick Street RS, ?? O'Connor CY, Skoops Cooper, Terry Gleeson, Peter (Skeet) Dowling, Shane Doyle, Tuddy Muldoon, Mark & Peter Johnson ?,

Tony ?? Canobie, Marty Hornibrook, Don Searle, "Bluey" Kilpatrick, (All AB or LS RO / ROS types), "Bomber" Brown TO, plus others .....

Look forward to connecting with WA branch soon.

My new contact details are:

Email: kenny_51@aapt.net.au
Phone: 08 9562 4287 or 0419 952 683
Suburb: Butler WA 6036
Wife: Robyn (nee Wellings WROM W107476)

Cheers and Best Wishes for the coming Festive Season.


Photo of the Week - Bonshaw Cup 1967

Here's a blast from the past - the Bonshaw Cup winning team of 1967.  Some names are known, others are required.  Sorry about the quality of the photo.

Back Row L to R:
Unknown, CRS(S) George Bell, LEUT Reg Forwood, CRS Ron Reavely, LCDR Mike Earlam, Unknown, Geoff Haines.

Front Row L to R:

ROS Stan Hare, TO Peter Gooch, TO Ken Eynon, LTO Daryl Cross, ROS Adrian Welbourne (winner Bonshaw Cup), ROS Terry 'Nugget' Nugent.

Fm Nugget Nugent 12/12:
This is the first time I have ever seen this pic. Geoff Haines is top right behind me. I remember the race well. Adrian was so superior in that event, he took off halfway back along the road from Bonshaw and disappeared over the hill towards 1RS. Geoff Haines was a great sportsman in his own right, Aussie Rules, hockey, cricket etc. a great mate. Stan Hare was a fixture at Bonshaw West. George Bell was a great mentor to us young ROS. Shortly after this he gave me 2 hours notice to join HMAS Hobart, the next day it sailed for Vietnam.

Sandy McNab sends:

There are many now retired ex-navy Communicators who after DEE commenced a civilian employment career path with DCA/CAA in Communications, Flight Service and ATC, that would remember John Crisford during their Aviation term transfers here in W.A. He joined the Department 17/09/1952 and retired 12/01/1980 and passed away a few weeks short of his 94th, a magnificent innings.

John was based here in Fremantle during WWII on the R.N. Submarines, and was a veteran member of the Submarine Association, and the oldest member of our local DCA/CAA Quarter Century club. A cheerful chirpy dapper gentleman, and an avid follower of most things sporting be it International cycling, athletics and football. I believe the Submarine Association are planning a memorial service at the Maritime Museum at Fremantle before his ashes are returned to the sea. Steve Aiberti is enquiring of the future memorial service date and time. If perchance in due course one has the fortune or misfortune of being personally addressed by a Judge Jane Crisford, yes John is her very proud father.

I have included a few lines which Bob Bergin from S.A. has forwarded me including the HMS/M Unbroken crew photo.
Vale John Crisford

Thank you for informing me of the death of John Crisford. He was one of life's great gentlemen and the world is the poorer for his passing. We last served together on Cocos in 1968, he was the SFSC but became acting OIC when ATC was pulled out following Qantas no longer having to track via Cocos to Mauritius but able to fly direct from Perth. Some years later (after I had re-located to Adelaide) I caught up with John at a Cocos Island Golf Club reunion in Perth (he was in his 80's then and was still as chirpy as ever).

Regarding his naval career. He had served in the submarine, HMS/M UNBROKEN, in the Mediterranean (I think it was 1942). You might like to track down a book written by its C.O. Alistair Mars DSO,DSC and Bar, entitled UNBROKEN. It contains the attached photo of John as a L/Tel, only his surname was then 'Crutch'. He later was drafted to another class of submarine operating out of Fremantle. He was awarded the DSM for his service in submarines, but I don't know whether it was for his time in UNBROKEN or later. Regards, Bob.

John is second from right front row.
Lest we forget.  11/12/08.

Following message from Don Fairs was forwarded by Sandy McNab 14 Feb 09:

I was advised by Jane Crisford (John’s daughter) that the Memorial Service for the late John Crisford will be held at HMAS Stirling, Garden Island Chapel, at 1030 on Friday the 27 February 2009. Please mark your calendar as a reminder.

If you plan to attend John’s Memorial Service would you please email to me the following data :

(1) The name of the driver of the vehicle,
(2) The name of each passenger in that vehicle,
(3) The Registration Number of that vehicle.

I will make a list of the above data and pass it on to the Stirling RAN Base Security at more than 1week or say 17/02/09 or 18/02/09 to give them time to check the data and then when you arrive at the Garden Island Causeway Security Gate the driver will not have to identify themselves with their drivers license to the Security Pass Officers, the driver will be given direction to the Chapel if that is asked for.

If your name and Vehicle Registration Number is not on my list:

The person driving the vehicle is to present themselves with their drivers license ID to the Garden Island causeway Security ‘Pass’ authority people in their booth on the left hand side of the entrance and advise them that they are there to attend the late John Crisfords Memorial Service at the Chapel at 1030, the number of people in their vehicle, and would you please direct me to the Chapel. The attendees as far as I know will be issued with a ‘day pass’ to HMAS Stirling Chapel only and not any other location on the Base (as far as I know).

Would you please arrive at the Causeway Security Gate if possible before or at about 1000 to allow time to drive to the Chapel, park and be ready to attend John’s Memorial Service.

If you are aware of any of the older ex DCA employees, especially FSO’s who may not be on email, could you please contact them concerning the Memorial Service, invite them to attend and if possible provide or arrange transport for them to HMAS Stirling. Would you also please advise me of the numbers of these people who you know intend to attend.

After the Service, Jane Crisford will be providing ‘finger food and a cuppa or drink’ to those attending so she too is interested in the Memorial Service attendance numbers.

Best Wishes,
Don & Merle Fairs

Follow this link for some of John Crisford's eulogy, extracted by Sandy McNab from the local DCA/CAA/DYK monthly newsletter 0409.

Charlie Back sends:

Hi there all you communicators who are still left - the ranks are thinning a bit - like our hairlines. Are there any Junior Recruit communicators from the 1961 July intake - Got you Stretch and Sam and Max and Pete. Anyone know the whereabouts of Rocky Gannon or Alan McCoy?

See you all in Adelaide.
Regards, Charlie

Photo of the Week - Raymond John 'Toby' Milner R94254

Here's a great photo of RO Toby Milner (deceased 23/10/08) and other 'young' Sparkers.  I joined the RAN with Toby and was saddened by his passing.  What better way to perpetuate his memory than to add this photo to the website.  I could name a couple of the others, but that will spoil it for other readers.  Anyone care to have a go?


Fm David 'Doc' Watson 05/12:
This photo was very early 1969 at Bonshaw. Tank Evans is standing behind Toby and I am the young sparker on the right looking on in awe at the Old salts??. I've got a bit of a seniors moment, can't recall the others.

Fm Dusty Millar 05/12:
I played some Rugby with Toby at Cerberus but didn't know him all that well. His daughter did work here at Redland Hospital (she might still, just have not seen her around). The big boof directly behind trying to look intelligent is Gareth 'Tank' Evans.

Fm Trevor Dickinson 05/12:
I reckon the bloke in the darker 8's shirt is ORDCO Wayne Bradshaw. I could be wrong?

Tks fellas, it looks to me like Frank Hoy on the left, so perhaps we have them all.

VALE – Ex LRO Phil Carmichael

I regret to advise that I have just received an email forwarded to me by Geoff TYE and it is from Phil’s son Aaron. “There will be a memorial service for Philip Carmichael on Wednesday 26th November at 4PM at his residence 35 Gunn Crescent, Gunn, in Darwin.  There won’t be any formalities as per Philip’s request, regards Aaron”.

To my knowledge Phil joined around the late sixties and served mainly on Patrol Boats and Mine Sweepers. Phil lived in Darwin and I believe from his good mates Bear Linton and Geoff Tye, both whom visited him this year, that he underwent major surgery for cancer in about June. It was believed to be in remission. On Melbourne Cup day he phoned Bear to advise he was entering a hospice in Darwin. He passed away on Saturday evening (22 November) with his family in attendance.

Whilst Phil’s wishes were for no formalities I am sure there would be ex sailors in Darwin who would wish to honour him by their presence.

Lest we Forget

Nugget Nugent

Fm Graham Linton:
I was lucky enough to see Phil in June this year where he was still in remission, looking and feeling well. I have attached a photo of him and I at that time.

HMAS SYDNEY II Memorial Website

A new website has been commissioned to honour the men of HMAS SYDNEY II.  Site link is www.sydneymemorial.com  This is a joint venture between the Finding Sydney Foundation and the Naval Association of Australia.  The website was commissioned on Wednesday 19 November and is well worth a look.


Photo of the Week - Civic Hotel Canberra, early 70's

Here's a good one from the early 70's - can anyone identify all those pictured??


Fm Wayne Le Page:
Bear Linton, Dolly Dalton ? ? ? Tex Sherriff (at a very young age)?.

Fm Royce Tandy:
Can only add one name and that is the rose between two thorns, Kel Meseke ABRO and bloody good footballer.

Fm Geoff Broomhall:
Re the photo identification in QSO. Apart from the 3 already identified, the gorgeous young thing next to Tex is Kathy Callender, now my dear wife.

Fm Tex Sherriff:
Seems some of the memories are starting to fade with age.  I believe this to be the correct names in the photo.
Graham Bear Linton
Peter Dolly Dalton
Kel Meske
Jerry Lewis

Dave Jeffrey sends sad news - Vale Barbara Bromilow

Grateful if you could put the following info on the web site.

Garry Kingdon advised me this afternoon that Barbara Bromilow (wife of ex CRS Tony Bromilow) passed away in hospital late last week. They had recently returned from an overseas trip and Barbara apparently suffered a fatal blood clot that travelled to her brain.

Her funeral will be in the Mornington area on Monday 24 November, but I do not know the actual details. A call to White Lady Funerals at Mornington should provide the actual details for any friends and ex mates of Tony & Barbara. Sad news.

Our thoughts are with Tony during this difficult time.  Lest we forget.

Dick Treasure sends:

I have just received from the UK the new book Daring Class Destroyers. Lists all Darings ever built with their own unique story, including ours.  Hardback, costs 25 quid, + postage, available on the net from www.navybooks.com  delivery time about 2 weeks.

Very good value
Dick Treasure

Vale Mark Clearihan ex PORS

Mark passed away surrounded by his loving family in Canberra on 19 November 2008, aged 57.

The funeral service for Mark will be held in the Bluegum Chapel of William Cole Funerals, 60 Nettlefold Street, Belconnen, ACT, on Saturday 22 November, commencing at 2pm.

Lest we forget

Jim Anderson sends:

Many thanks for the continued good work on the site. It is a very valuable asset, particularly for those of us living out in the "boonies."

I've attached a foto taken up at Cooktown on Long Tan Day. In the foto, from L to R is Mike Patterson, an ex CPO Hydrographer, Billy, an ex USN Chief Electrician, Dennis a Vietnam Tunnel Rat with the Army Engineers and myself. We were in Cooktown for an Amateur Radio Lighthouse Weekend.

Cheers Mate
Jim Anderson

Thanks for your kind words Jim, all the best for the festive season.

Junior Recruits Golden Anniversary - July 2010

A new page has been created on the website www.jrsreunion.org  'Newsletters'

Please look on that page and follow the Newsletters link to read the latest newsletter

We intend distributing a newsletter on a monthly basis from now on to allow you to know as
much as we do.

Alan Rodgers

Frank Brown sends:

Greetings to all communicators. I have taken the liberty of passing the attached newspaper clipping for information. Down here in Tasmania a swamp dwelling council is causing great harm to one of your own.

Richard Bridge and his wife are in their eighties, and the story from the council's view does not tell the story. Richard served as a signaller with the Royal Navy from 1943 till 1954 when he transferred to the RAN, completing 23 years continuous service under the White Ensign, retiring as a Chief Yeoman.

Massive and relentless effort has been brought to bear on the Local, State, Federal and agencies of Government including from the Federation of Air Traffic Controllers, of whom a great number are veterans. Hundreds of thousands of veterans across Australia and now overseas are becoming aware of this inhumanity to the elderly couple.

Should you see fit to inform your members of this, it would be greatly appreciated. If any interested person wishes to know more, they may contact:

Warrant Officer Writer (Rtd) Frank Brown OAM
0364252227 or
Thank you for any assistance.

Some of our older members who remember Richard may wish to pass on messages of support.  We wish them every success in their battle, our older veterans should be treated much better than this. 16/11/08.

Brian 'Dobbo' Dobson was pleased to attend a recent Graduation Parade:

Today, 13 November 2008 I had the pleasure to represent RANCBA at the Graduation parade of Communications and Information Systems (CIS) Class 252. It was held at the Defence Force School of Signals Maritime CIS Wing, (Comm School for the oldies) HMAS Cerberus. I was made very welcome and speaking to staff it is quite clear that they want RANCBA to be part of the CIS Branch continually combining the "OLD" with the "NEW".

For the young graduates and their families it really is something for them to remember. The parade is very impressive with the band playing, XO HMAS Cerberus Reviewing Officer, LCDR Ian Broadsmith, Officer Commanding DFSS M-CIS-W and Dobbo. As a RANCBA representative it was an honour to be part of the parade and present the CIS Category Coin to the "NEW" communicators of the Navy.

For those oldies, RO's/TO's, who continue to try and outdo each other the following subjects are studied.
Radio Theory, Portable Radio Equipment, Message Processing, Visual Signalling, Flag Ceremonial, Voice Procedure, Cryptographic Equipment, Tactical Data Systems, Computer Applications and the ever reliable Typing.  Like it or not, and hopefully without causing a riot, it looks a true combination of the "OLD" categories.

To Stumpy, Lt Kerry Martin, WOCIS Nitschke and LSCIS Craig Bloom and many others who came forward to introduce themselves thank you for making it such a memorable day.

To those communicators who get the letter or email requesting your attendance as the representative of RANCBA I recommend it.


Here are several photos, I hope they are suitable.
1.  CIS class 252 with LCDR Ian Broadsmith and XO HMAS Cerberus CMDR Scott Craig.
2.  Dobbo and Divisional LS, LSCIS Craig Bloom.
3.  Dobbo and Stumpy.

The flag is made by the graduating class. All class flags are different and this is quite impressive. This one has the flag of the state, territory or country they are from with their names below. The class had a sailor from England and South Africa. The flag also has the date of graduation at the top and below the map of Australia is the CIS category badge in gold that is a bit hard to see.



The Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, the Hon. Warren Snowdon MP, today (Tuesday 11 November) announced the commissioning of a bereavement pin for family members of Navy personnel who lost their lives while in the service of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), and the nation.

Minister Snowdon said many families who lost a relative while they served in the Navy have expressed a wish to have a tangible, yet discreet, memento of the service of their loved one.

“The Navy Bereavement Pin represents their relative’s commitment to Navy and the family’s sacrifice and loss,” he said.

“It is hoped that the families, to whom we owe a huge debt of gratitude, will find some comfort in the recognition of their loss through the Navy Bereavement Pin.”

The distinctive 20mm gold-plated lapel pin is emblazoned with the RAN crest and encompassed by a wreath to symbolise families’ support of their relative in life and death.

HMAS Sydney II family members attending memorial services in Canberra, Geraldton and at sea in HMAS Manoora on November 19 will be the first invited to receive a Navy Bereavement Pin.

“On the 19th of November, the nation will commemorate the life, the service and the sacrifice of the 645 men who were lost with the sinking of HMAS Sydney II. It is right that the families of those brave servicemen will be the first to wear this symbol of both sorrow and deeply valued service.

“The Navy Bereavement Pin should be worn with pride, and as a reminder that they too, are part of the broader Navy family,” said Mr Snowdon.

Family members of Navy personnel who died while serving in the RAN since Federation, during war or peace time, on active service or off duty, are invited to apply for a pin by calling Navy on 02 6266 2285 or emailing NAVY.BereavementPin@defence.gov.au

Media contacts:
Kate Sieper (Warren Snowdon): 02 6277 7620 or 0488 484 689
Defence Media Liaison: 02 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664

Photo of the Week - sent by Lofty Lane:

This photo was taken at the 3 Swallows pub in Bankstown Sydney of communicators who were shiftworking at RAAF Bankstown during Operation Sealanes in 1959. From memory sailors are myself, Ron Morris, Don 'Spoof' Spencer, Kerry Lusk and Laurie Dripps, please correct me if I'm wrong.
Lofty Lane

How is Lofty's memory?  It was, after all, a long time ago.

Streamlined Administration Arrangements for Australian Government Superannuation Schemes

On 1 July 2010, the boards of Australian Reward Investment Alliance (ARIA), the Military Superannuation and Benefits Scheme (MSBS) and the Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits Scheme (DFRDB) will merge to form a single trustee board. The new board will be trustee of the main civilian and military super schemes and will have the requisite skills to govern in the best interests of all members. Importantly, civilian and military interests will continue to be represented on the new board.

Follow this link to read the full press release from the Minister for Superannuation & Corporate Law (Senator the Hon Nick Sherry).

Hmm, yes.  I had much the same thought.

Christmas Barbecue - Canberra - Sunday 7 December 2008

As was foreshadowed at the ACT AGM on 10 October, our annual Christmas barbecue will be held on Sunday 7th December 2008, details as follows:

Date: Sunday 7th December 2008 - start time 1000.

Where: Diddams Close Park - Lake Ginninderra

The Association will provide sausages, bacon, eggs, bread, chips and a limited supply of beer and wine.

As usual a raffle will be held.

Members relatives and friends very welcome.

For catering purposes, please advise me if you are joining us.

Peter Guy

Terry Feltham sends:

I recently helped out Rob Ray - Captain (O) RAN Ret'd at the RAN Helicopter Flight Vietnam (RANHFV) reunion - held at Albatross. A fantastic event with Macca doing his thing there on the Sunday. On sale during the event was a book, entitled *A Bloody Job Well Done* [and it most certainly was] on the activities of RANHV. The book, produced and edited by Rob Ray and friend Max Speedy (Helo Pilot), describes for 'us' how it was for that hardy group of RAN Airmen and support staff. The book makes excellent reading (learning) - even for a non birdie. RANCCF is a major sponsor of the book and makes copies of the book available through their website. The book is also on sale at the Air Museum at Albatross.

On leaving Albatross I met up (for a millisecond) with Beth Dowdeswell [WRAN RO (T) from the 60s] and her hubby. We had no real chance to catch up before other activities got in the way. SO - if anyone out there knows the whereabouts of, or is in regular contact with, Beth - you might please pass to her and her family my best wishes for the upcoming festive season.

Many thanks
Terry Feltham

WOCIS Mark Tandy - Warrant Officer of the Navy effective 19 December.

Our congratulations go to WOCIS Mark Tandy who has been selected as the next WO Navy (see signal below).

R 210200Z OCT 08









Will be on the 28th November at the Port Jackson Club. We're still working on quotes and payment options. It will be around $10 a head for the BBQ, and everyone will be able to purchase their own drinks at the PJC bar.   I'll pass on more info when I know.

Ken Street
Fleet Headquarters
(02) 9359 4976
0413 182 950

Fm Ken 17 November:
The function will be at The Old Fitzroy, Potts Point. Food & Drinks are at individual expense.
Platters of finger food can be purchased for $80, and this is enough for 20 people,
but they do like 2 days notice to buy the food for the platters.

Barbara Rae sends:

Whilst recently researching some history on the WRANS, I was directed to your website RANCBA. Looked up Class Photos and was very pleasantly surprised to see myself in Class 73 of 1964.

I have a small request please. My surname is spelt incorrectly, is it possible to have it corrected? It is printed as BARBARA SCHEMILT, it should be BARBARA SHEMILT (no C). I am in the Centre row.

You have a great website and it is a credit to the Communications Branch. After Recruit Training, I went into the Sick Berth Branch 1964 – 1966, with most of my time spent at Balmoral Naval Hospital, HMAS PENGUIN. I left the WRANS to be married. I was asked to stay on by the Medical Director General, as the RAN was just beginning to allow WRANS to stay in the service as married personnel. I didn’t take up the option. Still happily married 42 years later to ex POSBA John Rae.

We are researching to see if we can find a list of the WRANS who served post war to 1985, when the WRANS were disbanded. We have the book “SHIPS BELLES”, but it only lists those WRANS who served in WW11. My husband spoke with the author of the above mentioned book, who said that she did see during her research, a full list of all WRANS, but it was not made available to her.

Thanks for your website,
Kind regards
Many thanks Barbara, I have included this in QSO as someone may remember you and John. If anyone knows whether further research has been undertaken into a full list of WRANS please share this information with us.  27/10/08.

Bill Lowe passes on the following sad news:

George Bracken (ex WORS) passed away in Nambour Hospital approx 11.30pm Saturday 18th October 2008.  Funeral arrangements have not been worked out as yet, sorry about sad news,

Bill Lowe
Sad news indeed, I will post funeral details when known.
Lest we forget.

Fm Bill Lowe 22/10:
A celebration of George's life is to be held at the Stella Maris Catholic Church, Baden Powel Street, MAROOCHYDORE, QLD, on Monday 27th October, 2008, at 12 noon.  No flowers by request donations to legacy would be appreciated.

Fm Jim Berridge 20/10:
George was my first CRS at Harman. He was the most easy going bloke, the very best CRS I ever served under, and he organised part time jobs for us outside the watchkeeping duties in CTRC by working for Brownbuilt erecting Dexion type shelving for warehouses etc to ensure we always had enough money to have a drink with. I have enclosed a photo taken at Cerberus earlier this year at the Melbourne reunion of him and his wife (Dawn, also a communicator) and myself. He is one of the last of the old school and we should all be desperately sorry that this era is all but gone.
Best Regards
Jim Berridge

Jim, Dawn & George, Comms School 2008

Fm Alan Murgatroyd 21/10:
Not sure if anyone has passed on the following.... George Bracken passed away last weekend aged 80 years. Funeral at Maroochydore on Monday 27th October. George was my instructor at Flinders in 58/59 and gave me lots of good advice through my career in Pussers , a top bloke always. Thanks.... Alan Murgatroyd

Fm Jim Anderson 21/10:
Vale George Bracken - another of Nature's Gentlemen gone Silent Key.

Fm Shorty Moffatt 28/10:
This is a real blow, I have known George for so long and he was one of the best CRS's going. I don't think he knew how to give you a bollocking. I do apologise for delay in responding, just arrived back from a drive from Adelaide about 2 hours ago where I attended the ANZAC/TOBRUK Reunion etc. Another person has gone to the big BWO.  LEST WE FORGET.

Allan 'Shorty' Moffatt sends:

I received an invitation for four Members and myself for the RANCBA to tour the following ships. USS HASLEY -DDG 97 and the USS PELELIU LHA5 on Saturday 11th at FBE, Garden Island. The ships were not open to the public and it was by invite only. What a great tour and well worth the effort by Ken Street, Laurie Scutts, Don Ferguson, Frank Lawton and myself to front up. From the entrance to GI where we were met by Lieut. J. Jones SC, USN to the finish it was so great till we departed the base.

The RANCBA has been invited to participate in the HMAS PARRAMATTA II Memorial Service to be held on the 23rd November commencing at 1350 , Queens Park Wharf Reserve, Parramatta . We shall be Laying a Wreath on behalf of all Communicators, and this function will be carried out by Ex RO John "Blue" Short who served onboard HMAS PARRAMATTA III. All serving and ex serving Communicators are invited. Dress is as for Anzac Day with Medals where applicable. Hoping to see as many as possible.

Allan 'Shorty" Moffatt

Earnest Frank  Rambo Moffatt


The following signal was released Monday and a picture of the venue at Taronga Park is attached.

The intent of the ball is to build the community interaction with current and ex-serving members. I realise the difficulty with the distance and cost for the chapters outside of Sydney, but I hope as many as possible can make it.

The venue is fantastic, spectacular views, I have been informed the food is excellent and the RAN band is providing the entertainment, so I anticipate a great night.

Getting there is not difficult by public transport, with a bus from the QVB dropping off 50 metres up from the function centre. The ferry is about a 500 metre walk (up a hill) for the more adventurous, or a taxi from North Sydney train station.

Could you forward on the email to all concerned.

Thanks and I hope to see you there.

WOCIS Tim Holliday
Communications Information Systems Category Manager

R 132300Z OCT 08 ZOJ1
TO AIG 3602
AIG 3600
COB 29JAN09.
TIM.HOLLIDAY(AT)DEFENCE.GOV.AU, PH: 02 99262649, MOB: 0407552202.


Terry 'Red' Ryder sends:

We had another of our regular "get togethers" up here last week. Speed Rowley, Doug Conn, Bill Blinkhorn and myself catch up about every six weeks in various locations in SE Queensland. This time it was at the Kurrawa Surf Club at Broadbeach on the Gold Coast. We scored a very nice table on the veranda overlooking the beach and ocean. Beautiful day weather wise and about 300 metres offshore there were about 3 whales putting on a show as they headed south.

Joining us this time were Jimmy Dee an ex dibbie who has worked with many communicators and Frank Hoy who with his wife, is doing the "Grey Nomad" thing around Australia. I hadn't seen Frank since I had my farewell smokie at his place in the patch at Harman in 1969 when I was off to Darwin. We did our RO's course together in 1966.

In true military fashion the group has been divided equally in to two ranks of three. Follicly challenged and greying on the left and those with hair and natural colour on the right!

Starting on the left: Frank Hoy, Jimmy Dee, Bill Blinkhorn, Red Ryder, Arthur Francis Clyde Rowley and Doug Conn. Those wet marks you can see on the tray in front of Doug are actually teardrops that he is still shedding following the defeat of his beloved Geelong in the AFL Grand Final!  All in all another great day and get together!

Terry Ryder
Tks Red, great photo, good to see gruff old Jimmy with the group.  13/10/08.

Hubert 'Dusty' Millar sends:

Did the Kokoda Trail (again) in July. Even turned 60 on track. Was a magnificent experience. My best mate and partner, Bev, came with me and if ever you want to confirm and/or forge a relationship, do Kokoda! Of course it might go the other way as well. Attached photo of Bev and I plus Ethking, Bev's porter, at Brigade Hill.

Also of interest (perhaps) is that last year Rod McLaurin, Dennis Mills (brother of Dick Mills), Tubby Davis (ex-PTI) and yours truly did he Kokoda Challenge (a very exacting 96 km trek through the Gold Coast hinterland). We called ourselves the Ancient Mariners and we did the 'course' in 24hrs and 3 mins. We finished equal 30th out of 167 teams. What's more, we all finished (a lot of teams could not all finish due to 'injuries'. We 'burned off' a few younger teams in the closing stages which gave us gerries a real buzz. It was, without doubt, the hardest thing that any of us have ever done.

BZ Dusty, but at age 60 you should be retiring disgracefully!  10/10/08.

Photo of the week - 07 October 2008

Please identify the Sparker to the left of Sandy McNab (front 3) and advise what he may have been smuggling under his 6's.  A RANCBA pen will be awarded for the best answer.


From Neil Douglas:
Perhaps the combination of baked beans and train-smash for brekky and a tight fitting six’s top.

From Alan Rodgers:
That has to be a "Darwin Stubby" - or two.

From Billy Bacon:
Tis "Horse" and he is obviously in foal or his corset has snapped.

Fm Blue Higgins:
Its "BigHorse" (Darwin) and it was before he started playing WestHead rules behind the Wets , trying to get fit.

From Anonymous:
Me thinks the website manager could be in very 'big hosse' trouble from the 'michelin man' !

Fm Les Church:
Its Dave Jeffrey, I think its all the grog that I bought for him when we were on the Sydney.

Fm Nullarbor Baker:
It is definitely “Big Horse”, and the bulge is probably a pusser’s money belt with every dollar (pound?) he had earned since recruit school…..’cos the bastard never shouted!

Thanks for the input above, I'll leave it at that.  Dave will be impressed that so many people think kindly of him. The prize goes to Billy Bacon for the link between horse and foal.  19/10/08.

Sandy McNab sends:

Amended are the ships names and callsigns worksheets with new inclusions from a 1925 copy of SLOBs. It now shows the then current signal letters allocated to the Adelaide, Anzac, Brisbane, Huon, Mallow, Marguerite, Melbourne, Moresby, Parramatta, Platypus, Stalwart, Success, Swan, Swordsman, Sydney, Tasmania, Tattoo, Torrens, Warrego, Yarra, Waterhen, Stuart, Vampire, Vendetta and Voyager. Some original names noted there.

I haven't been able to list AE1 or AE2 nor the J1 J2 J3 J4 J5 and J7 submarines signal letters yet. An ex-R.N. contact is looking out for me. Still re-searching the signal letters of WWII Parramatta, the AMS corvettes HMAS Armidale, Wallaroo and Whyalla (if)should any of the lads sight them in their reading(s). Also seeking the hull number of the WWI Brisbane, the sister ship to the original Sydney and Melbourne. Also more recently still seeking the signal letters for the Attack Class PB's Archer and Samarai, the two minehunters Rushcutter/M80 and the Shoalwater/M81 from 1980's, also the Jervis Bay (II) the InCat Fastcat vessel chartered by the Navy (the Dili Express) with hull number 45. I'm told the Duchess at some time changed it callsign from GKYT to VKYT, may have been with its last commission as a training ship 1974-1977 with its hull number 154 painted on the bow. Similarly the Yarra changed from VJZJ to VKYJ and have possibly been between 1977 to 1985 before finally paying off. This would also tie in with the Vampire changing from VJZC to VKMC (the ex-MSL HMAS Paluma's callsign) before it paid off in 1985.

Appreciate any confirmation, from any lads that may have been on those last three ships during those years, when their callsigns actually were re-allocated. It would, I assume, be at about the same time that the VJ callsign block was withdrawn, leaving just the VK VL and VM series for RAN current usage. Otherwise it is progressing nicely. Cheers
Sandy McNab

Follow this link for the updated lists.

Allan 'Shorty' Moffatt, Honorary Secretary RANCBA NSW, sends:

To let you know what has been happening here in the NSW Chapter over the last few months, it has been a rather busy period and at all times we have representatives who have volunteered to attend where invited.
Even though all these Memorial Services, Functions, Dedications have happened mostly here in Sydney, in all cases where regardless, when Wreaths, a single Rose are to be laid, they have shown on the card "on behalf of all Communications" regardless of which Chapter they belong.  Herewith some of these Services.

FESR PLAQUE DEDICATION at Woy Woy on behalf of all those that served in the FESR.
VP DAY held at the Cenotaph, Martin Place, The Guest Speaker was the Governor of NSW, Professor Marie Bashir AO.

HANDS ACROSS THE SEA. This was to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Great White Fleet arrival in Sydney in 1908, which was 16 USN ships painted white on a peace voyage around the world, 26 countries and 32 ports of visit. The full RAN Band and the USN Pacific Fleet Band gave a briliant concert at Angel Place, Sydney

VISIT TO USS JOHN S McCAIN. Even though the ship was not opened to the public, the RANCBA was invited for a tour of this ship, Awesome.

BLUE MOUNTAINS VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL SERVICE held at Springwood. Here the RANCBA marched in their own right and displayed our Mini Banner

PLAQUE DEDICATION SERVICE at the Chapel of Remembrance, GI. We attended on behalf of the late President of the FNSA, Percival "Ned" Kelly OAM, but also for the late Wran Tel, Joan Pugh and Ex WORS(S) Michael Kelly.

This was held on the 3rd September, at the Cenotaph, Martin Place. The Guest Speaker was General Peter Cosgrove, AO, MC and Rear Admiral Nigel Coates, Fleet Commander represented the RAN as one of the 3 ADF heads of the Tri Services

KOREAN and SE ASIAN FORCES MEMORIAL SERVICE held at the 113th AGH Chapel, Concord Hospital
BAND CALL. The RAN Band gave a great musical perfromance at St. Andrews Cathedral, Town Hall Square Sydney.

Should any Member be visiting Sydney and would like to attend a Service etc, please contact me and if possible shall be able to inform of forthcoming functions

Allan 'Shorty" Moffatt

John Rowe (Senior) sends:

Trog Keenan and I went down to Ocean Grove to see (ex CCY) Bill Huggins yesterday, and I'm pleased to report that he's fit and well. Now 86 years old, Bill is the Pres of the Ocean Grove RSL, and still loves a red or three. He's well known in the town, and I reckon would love to hear from old mates. Bill served in the RAN from 1940 to 1976, and tells me that he served on 30 warships in his time.

CCY Bill Huggins with RADM Bill Dovers, Fleetwork Trainer 1971/72.  CCY Bill Huggins with FOCAF (RADM Bill Dovers), Fleetwork Trainer 1971/72.

Many thanks John, Bill was a Fleetwork legend and had a great influence on many careers, mine included.  It is great to hear he is alive and well, if anyone is passing through Ocean Grove I'm sure Bill would love to catch up, if not I'm sure John or Trog will be happy to pass on messages.  25/09/08.

Michael Robertson (ex-LSSIG) sends:

I read with interest the QSO article by Frank Aldred about Prostrate Cancer.  I have also been diagnosed with this complaint, having found out via a routine blood test where I casually asked to "why don't you throw in the prostate test" for me. When I got the results back from the blood test and finding that I had a PSA level that needed further investigation, I had numerous tests, scans, biopsy's. Luckily enough I think they have found it early. I told my surgeon to remove the thing. It was then I read Frank's story about DVA, well it's a good thing, they are coming to the party. If you are a white card holder its easier although as far as I can tell they will assist any ex-serviceman.

The main reason I decided to compose this little ditty was to urge all of you to get the PSA test done, its only a simple blood test and if the problem is found early enough it is much more successful to cure. SO BOYS GO AND GET IT DONE.

My operation is scheduled for Friday 26SEP08, I will keep you all informed.

Michael Robertson
Ships Configuration Inspector
Directorate of Maritime Sustainment Support (DMARSS) - EAST
Bldg 99, GI
Ph. (02) 9359 6007
Fx. (02) 9359 6016
Mob. 0402 444709
Email. michael.robertson9@defence.gov.au

Thanks Michael, our thoughts and best wishes will be with you for the operation on Friday, and for a speedy recovery on completion.  Thank you for taking the time to pass the message on.  23/09/08.

Fm Michael 27/10:
Returned to work today, all ok, they got it early so that's a good thing, I think we should periodically remind all the guys to get check up via blood tests, thanks for the support, I received an email from Frank Aldred and have replied to him of my experiences. Cheers Michael Robertson.

Jackie Southorn sends:

I am trying to locate old Navy pals from back in the early 70's. I would love to hear from anyone who knows how to contact them. Their names are Kady Mohr (nee Howgate), Joan Pankhurst, Lorrie Miller (nee Nolan), Dianne Snodgrass and Heather Rice.

My name is Jackie (nee Jackson) Southorn and I have a personal email address of swrjackie@hotmail.com

Many thanks for your help.
Regards Jackie.

Dallas Graetz sends:

Here is a link to a song on Youtube. It is called Seemann deine heimat ist das meer or Sailor Sailor.

It was one of the most popular songs on the Video Jukebox in Rockers in the 1960’s and early 70’s and the Rockers ladies, eg Nuff Nuff and Choice Joyce, used to play it all the time.


Was it that long ago, it seems like yesterday.  Memories! 23/09/08.

Fm Terry 'Red' Ryder 25/09:  Referring to Dallas's entry on 23 September. I have found another couple of "sailor" songs from way back in the 60's too.  Around 1965 there was a singer called Dianne Renay who had a couple of songs "Blue Navy Blue" and "Kiss me Sailor" that were popular on the juke boxes of the time. They have been resurrected on my MP3 player.  Cheers Red.

From Ollie Lewis 13/10:
One for the old salts matey - Sink the Bismarck by Johnny Horton

Bob Hughes advises how he and Pam were affected by Hurricane Ike.

(This was sent in an email to Sandy McNab, kindly copied to QSO)

Fondest regards to everyone down your way. Ike was not a tight storm, but it was a huge storm and delivered a very strong punch to the Houston area. Fortunately, loss of life was very low; and we all know how much more we value loved ones over property.

Actually, Pam and I found a near perfect way to ride out a hurricane. We departed for Italy on 31 August leaving our daughter, Melia, to tend our home and a collection of dogs with no indication that Ike would reach Houston or still exist by our return on 13 September. When we left Rome on the 13th, we knew Ike would hit the Gulf coast before we did. David and Thelma Marsh who were with us in Brisbane were also with us in Rome and were deeply concerned about their beach house on a coastal island west of Galveston. Ultimately, it was unscathed; but it drove their actions until they could return to Houston.

Melia and the dogs rode out the storm in our home with virtually no damage other than loss of electricity and near total loss of communications. Bless her, she tried to maintain a normal life under hot and miserable conditions until we returned so she could meet our flight at Bush Intercontinental.

As you may remember, Sandy, we live in a virtual forest of mature pine and oak trees. The storm took a great toll on the trees with uprooted trees across every street leading from our home and several trees atop homes like giant antlers. Our eucalyptus tree came through with flying colors. One oak lost a large limb, one pine is leaning, and one palm tree was topped and may not recover; but overall, we are very fortunate to have escaped further damage from the storm.

When we reached Newark on the 13th to clear customs and reboard for Houston, our flight was cancelled. We were issued coupons for three meals each and were told Houston airports were closed indefinitely. David and Thelma managed space available to Dallas on the 14th and joined other passengers to drive to Houston arriving Thursday evening. They still do not have electric power at their home, but are very pleased that their home and their beach home both survived relatively intact. Unfortunately, Thelma's daughter's home had two bedrooms crushed by a falling tree, and water damage there is extensive.

After having our rescheduled flight on the 14th cancelled, we were assigned seats on a flight leaving at 5:30 am for Houston. Our first night in Newark had been miserable so we decided to forgo efforts to get to Dallas or Austin and rented a room in a Marriott hotel near the airport where we could get a decent meal and some sleep. Rising at 3 am, we boarded a flight to Houston which arrived right on time. David met our flight and took us home. After assessing the situation and checking on damage at one of our rent houses, we left for Austin to join Melia who had departed Houston on Sunday morning for an arduous drive to Austin. Our drive was totally uneventful although we had to drive for two hours to find fuel without a long line which would have wasted hours of time.

On Thursday, we completed some business in Austin and returned to Houston where our home had regained electric power. Many people in this area will be without electricity for a month or more, but life has almost returned to normal for us. Well, except for having to deal with fence, roof, etc. problems at some of our rental properties; and we gladly accept those as minor problems compared to what could have been.

As the photos which I sent you indicate, many areas along the Texas Gulf coast saw an almost complete eradication of all buildings. Many people will not be allowed to rebuild their homes because the shoreline has moved and their land is now part of the Gulf of Mexico while others will be years reestablishing their homes in a more storm-resistant state. We simply pray for their speedy recovery from the losses which nature has brought.

Not much of a hurricane story, and we are glad we were not here. Some areas look like Darwin after Tracy. Like Darwin, Houston will recover and move forward past where it was before Ike struck. It will just take time and a good effort by everyone concerned.

God bless,
Bob Hughes

Click here: The short - but eventful - life of Ike - The Big Picture - Boston.com

Jim Eagles passes on the following food for thought:

CAPTAIN Cook and Lord Nelson seem unlikely figureheads in the fight against climate change alarmists. The two heroes have been dead for more than 200 years.  But their ships’ logs, and thousands more like them, have revealed that recent global warming is not so unusual after all.

The new evidence was uncovered by the UK Meteorological Office and other experts, The Sun newspaper reports. They scoured more than 6,000 Royal Navy logs dating from the 1600s.

Maritime historian Dr Sam Willis says: “Ships’ officers recorded air pressure, wind strength, air and sea temperatures and other weather conditions.

“From these records, scientists can build a detailed picture of past weather and climate.”

The findings are startling. They show we went through a similar period of global warming in the 1730s that could not have been man-made.

And freak storms like the ones experienced recently also occurred in the 1680s and 1690s.

They were the coldest decades in what is known as the Little Ice Age - so could not have been caused by global warming.

Many doom-mongers have pointed to freakish patterns in modern hurricanes as more “evidence” of the effects of man’s environmental damage.

Hurricanes that form in the eastern Atlantic normally track westwards.

So weathermen were shocked in 2005 when Hurricane Vince headed north east and hit Spain and Portugal.

But we now know exactly the same thing happened with a hurricane in 1842, thanks to logs left by our seafaring ancestors.

Cook mapped much of the Pacific before he was killed in Hawaii in a clash with the natives in 1779.

Nelson, who maintained his ships’ logs himself, covered the Arctic, West Indies, south east Asia and Mediterranean before his death at the Battle Of Trafalgar off the coast of Spain in 1805.

Other valuable records include those of the East India Company, which controlled much of the trade between Britain and Asia with its ships.

Evidence from the many logs, which are still being studied, will be published in respected science journal Climatic Change.

Geographer Dr Dennis Wheeler, of Sunderland University, said: “British archives contain more than 100,000 Royal Navy logbooks from around 1670 to 1850 alone. They are a stunning resource.

“Global warming is a reality, but our data show climate science is complex. It is wrong to take particular events and link them to carbon dioxide emissions.

“These records will give us a much clearer picture of what is really happening.”


Dennis Preece passes on the following he received from ex CR(S) Bob Webb:

Sydney Morning Herald
By Les Kennedy
September 3, 2008

IN THE Esplanade Hotel in Geraldton, Western Australia, where servicemen were billeted in World War II, a radio suddenly crackled to life on the evening of November 19, 1941.

"Sydney calling, Sydney calling ." a handful of airmen would recall after the prime minister, John Curtin, announced the devastating news that the cruiser HMAS Sydney had disappeared, sunk in a battle with a German raider, and all 645 crew had been lost.

It was a faint broadcast that tapered away. Was it a mayday from the sinking ship trying to summon help?

In Sydney yesterday it fell to a retired naval officer and radio telegraphist, Alfred Gordon Johnson, 84, of Canberra, to scuttle yet another myth that has surrounded the sinking of the ship and questions as to why a search for it was delayed that could have saved some of the crew.

Mr Johnson told a commission of inquiry into the sinking of the HMAS Sydney by the German raider HSK Kormoran, which had been disguised as a Dutch merchant ship, that no Royal Australian Navy vessel at that time had a radio voice transmitter and all messages were sent in code via morse wireless telegraphy.

Nor did signal operators on board the HMAS Sydney or its sister cruisers the HMAS Perth and HMAS Hobart listen to morse code transmissions by merchant ships during the day, he told the inquiry headed by Commissioner Terence Cole QC.

"Absolutely, there is no possibility whatsoever for the Sydney to be able to transmit by voice or radio telegraphy. The myth makers who are saying that are absolutely barking up the wrong tree," said Mr Johnson, who was a key communications officer on board the HMAS Hobart at the time.

"We didn't have radio telegraphy (R/T) in the ships at that stage," he said.

Mr Johnson said he had come forward to give evidence at the inquiry because of his expertise with naval land and ship communication equipment during WWII and also because three sailors he trained with at the RAN telegraphist facility at Flinders, Michael Hogan, Russell Windham and Allan King, were lost on the HMAS Sydney.

Mr Johnson told the inquiry, which is trying to determine why the HMAS Sydney's commander, Joseph Burnett, came to be lured so close to the German raider when his guns outranged the vessel, that RAN vessels also never listened for morse transmissions from enemy shipping.

The inquiry has adjourned to a date yet to be set.

Fm Sandy McNab 23/09:  You may wish to advise readers that full transcripts of evidence by whom and when are progressively being made available to the public at the website http://defence.gov.au/sydneyii/transcripts.htm  We will all be able to read it verbatim without any press headline sensationalism and correspondent interpretations. It is an interesting read of the line of questioning, the replies and cross examining of witnesses with their name rank and serial number, warts and all, as the enquiry 'picture is attempted to be painted' (my terminology). Cheers, Sandy.


A reminder that our AGM is being held on Friday 10th October 2008 at 1900 for a 1930 start, at The Weston Club, Liardet St. Weston, ACT (Formerly Royals Rugby Club).

For catering purposes, please advise me by email, or phone 6288 0828, if you intend to attend, or to send in your apologies. Finger food will be provided.

Please feel free to pass this email on to any prospective/lapsed members.

All positions on the committee will be declared vacant, so please consider nominating for a position on the committee to keep our association alive and kicking.

Please do not forget your name badge if attending. (This helps the old salts remember your name).

Our association needs and values your membership.

Peter Guy

Garry Pyke sends:

My Grandaughter has just been selected to represent Victoria in the All Schools Panpac games to be held in Canberra from 29 November to 7 December this year.  As there are around 30 countries competing we are finding it impossible to find accommodation. I was wondering if anybody in the association knows of or can provide accommodation for my daughter, her husband and grandaughter (11years) and also my wife and myself (seperately if necessary for my wife and I) during this period it would be greatly appreciated. I can be contacted as below.

Garry Pyke
Home 03 98005961
Bus 03 95686533
Mobile 0425 703 445
email garry@superfreighters.com.au

Thank You

Jim Eagles sends:

For those that suffer from heart problems, perhaps this will help. I take an asprin every day as recommended by my doctor, but I have been buying the normal supermarket type for several years now. At over five dollars a packet for about 20 tablets, it works out a bit dearer than the proper pharmacy medicine I have just found out about. This is called ASTRIX and the dose is specifically for heart problems - not for pain relief. At just over three dollars for 112 tablets its a big difference in price. Consult your doctor first, of course before changing your medication.

Jim Eagles

Allan 'Shorty' Moffatt passes on the following:

I am doing a VEA Claim for a Veteran in QLD. He served onboard HMAS CURLEW and had been allotted for operational service from 17 April to 2 November 1966. Unfortunately he slipped and fell in heavy seas injuring his back. This problem has now become very serious and he has left the workforce. If anyone had any service on CURLEW during the period in question, could they send me an email. Jeff Wake at email address jeffwake@bigpond.net.au.  DVA QLD have knocked back his claim for back and knees due to NO medical evidence on his MHDs. As you may or may not be aware, Sweepers did not carry a Medic. However, DVA will not entertain the idea at this point of time, so we are going to the VRB.
Jeff, Combat Scribes

Also if anyone has contact details Pete Gallon ex LEMWR, could they please contact Bob Berg on email robert_berg39@hotmail.com

Allan"Shorty" Moffatt

Bill Aylott sends:  Re Shorty Moffatt's item (QSO 18.9.08) regarding a compo claim by a member of HMAS Curlews ships company. I clearly remember that a LSBA was carried on HMAS Hawk when I served there. The CO LTCDR BG Dunn nicknamed him Dr Death. If there was a reported injury, it would or should have been reported to the squadron LSBA.

Ned Jones sends:

My name is Ned Jones Ex LSETW (83-95) I am sending this email in the hope that you could post a note on your blog/website in regards to my father Harry “Spike” Jones who passed away on Saturday 6 Sep at home in Canberra.

Harry was an ABRO, serving 55-61 at Harman and on Tobruk. Although he only did 6 years he spent the rest of his life telling all who would listen, about the excellent time he had and the wonderful people he served with.

A funeral will be held at St Brigid's Catholic Church, Dickson, Canberra on Thursday September 11 September 2008 at 1000am.

Ned Jones
Lest we forget.  09/09/08.

Frank Aldred sends:

I advised recently that I had prostate cancer. Fortunately, medicos caught it early and I had all of the treatment options available to me. Had the op on 29 July to remove the thing and I am now well on the road to recovery. I was back at work after 4 weeks, and everything else is going as predicted by the surgeon.

One thing I wasn't aware of until just before the operation was the provision in the Veterans' Entitlements Act for assistance to former servicemen/women with cancer, whether or not operational service was undertaken. I am not sure of the full rules but on the advice of Ray Meaker, Sonja Hellier was contacted and she provided me with the forms, which I duly submitted. Claim took about 3 weeks to process but DVA has approved my claim , backdating it 3 months from the time of receipt of the submission. This allows me to claim out of pocket medical expenses plus treatment going forward for the specific condition. As my claim ran into quite a few thousand dollars, this outcome was significant.

I am wondering how well known (or advertised) is this support from DVA.

Many thanks Frank, it is great to see a positive result and perhaps timely to let others know that this disease is curable if it is caught in the early stages.  We should all be having PSA blood tests along with digital examinations on a regular basis.  It is also timely to reissue advice to veterans about cancer treatment as you have indicated above.  08/09/08.

PM Announces Membership of Veterans Advisory Council

The Australian veteran and ex-service community will have their views represented by the fourteen Australians appointed today to the Prime Ministerial Advisory Council on Ex-service Matters, the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, and Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Alan Griffin announced today.

The members of the Council are different to any other current veteran representative group. Members are drawn from every part of the veteran community, including servicemen, partners of veterans, war widows and veteran advocates. The Council reflects and brings together the diverse groups in the veteran and ex-service community.

The Chair of the Council will be Dr Allan Hawke, former Secretary of the Departments of Veterans’ Affairs and Defence and the current Chancellor of the Australian National University.

Dr Hawke will be assisted by Frank Benfield, Dr Robert Black AM RFD, the Hon Graham Edwards, June Healy OAM, Commodore Nick Helyer MBE RANR, Warrant Officer Peter Hind OAM, Ken Kipping AM, Gail MacDonell, Anne Pahl, Philip Pyke, Donna Reggett, Brigadier Keith Rossi AM OBE RFD ED (Rtd) and Brigadier Neil Weekes AM MC (Rtd).

“As a group, these people have personal and professional experience spanning the three services, in advocacy, rehabilitation and parliamentary processes, and have an understanding of the impact of service on families. I look forward to hearing their input on ex-service issues,” said Mr Rudd.

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs sought the views of the ex-service community about how they wanted their issues communicated to government. More than 100 submissions to a discussion paper were received, and the Minister met in excess of 800 people at consultation meetings held throughout Australia during the Parliamentary recess.

“As you’d expect, I’ve heard a variety of views, but veterans themselves were very supportive of the concept of the Council,” said Mr Griffin.

The Council will advise the Government on veteran and ex-service issues, and identify problems and priorities to improve the Government’s provision of services.

The Council will meet for the first time in October 2008. At its first meeting it will confirm its terms of reference and advise on a review of current consultation mechanisms between DVA and the ex-service community. The Government will also seek the Council’s advice on major issues facing the portfolio in coming months, including the study of suicide in the ex-service community and the reconsideration of the Clarke Review recommendations not accepted by the previous Government. Further information on the Advisory Council is available at http://www.minister.dva.gov.au.

The establishment of the Council delivers on another of the Rudd Government’s election commitments.

Follow this link for biographies of the members of the Advisory Council.


Fm Rohan Jennings:
Not sure whether you are aware but the Anne Pahl mentioned in your Veterans Advisory Council article is a Communicator who does weekly reserve work down at Comms School (Defence Force School of Signals – Maritime Wing). She has been around for a while now and has helped out numerous serving and ex serving members with their problems and claims, anyone seeking advice would do well to contact her.


The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Alan Griffin, encouraged Australians to attend Battle for Australia Day services this Wednesday to commemorate the service and sacrifice of those who defended the nation during the Second World War.

Mr Griffin said he was pleased to deliver on an election promise to officially observe Battle for Australia Day.

“Battle for Australia Day pays tribute to the men and women who served in defence of Australia in 1942 and 1943 when we faced the gravest threat to our nation,” Mr Griffin said.

Proclaimed by the Governor-General in June 2008, Battle for Australia Day will be observed on the first Wednesday in September each year – marking the first defeat of Japanese forces on land in the Battle of Milne Bay.

Mainland Australia had come under direct attack four days after the fall of Singapore in February 1942. Two air raids were launched against Darwin on 19 February.

In May 1942 the battle of the Coral Sea was fought. From July to September 1942, the Japanese advanced towards Port Moresby until they were held and then defeated at Milne Bay and on the Kokoda Track.

If these crucial battles had not been won, the progress of the war could have been very different. Meanwhile, Japanese submarines continued to operate along Australian eastern waters until June 1943 and air raids continued against northern Australia until November 1943.

“Debate continues about what were the intentions of the Japanese at that time. However, we must not let this debate overshadow the service of those who fought so bravely to defend our nation,” Mr Griffin said.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to our Second World War servicemen and women. On Battle for Australia Day, we reflect on the wartime events that helped shape our nation and remember those who lost their lives to protect our freedoms and way of life.”

Battle for Australia Day Ceremonies
Events commemorating Battle for Australia Day will be held in the following locations:

New South Wales
3 September 2008
Cenotaph, Martin Place, Sydney

3 September 2008
Shrine of Remembrance, St Kilda Road, Melbourne

3 September 2008
Battle for Australia Memorial, 80 George Street, Brisbane


3 September 2008
Cenotaph, Hobart

Western Australia
3 September 2008
State War Memorial, Kings Park, Perth

Australian Capital Territory
3 September 2008
Western Courtyard, Australian War Memorial, Canberra


Eddie Pearson sends this 'blast from the past' - Recruit class of August 1961.

1st Photo L to R:  Eddie Pearson, Bob Bloffwitch, Peter Mcgurk, Alan McCoy, Bob Starling

2nd Photo:  Eddie Pearson (sitting), Bob Bloffwitch, Greg Rouse (in doorway) Peter Mcgurk, Alan McCoy

Eddie asks "Does anyone know the whereabouts of TO Bob Starling - a former West Aussie?"



Pension Review Background Paper

The Government has released a background paper on its review of pensions. The Pension Review will investigate levels of income support and allowances, frequency of payments and the structure and payment of concessions and entitlements for age pension, disability support pension and carer payment recipients.

Public consultations will be held between 19 August and 23 September in all capital cities, and in Newcastle, Rockhampton and Wangaratta. The closing date for written submissions is 26 September 2008.

Please follow this link for more information.


Allan 'Shorty' Moffatt sends:

VP Memorial Service

The photo below was taken at VP Memorial Service, Cenotaph, Martin Place on Friday 15 August.  Pictured are Ken Swain, President of FNSA, Ken Street, Secretary of FNSA, and self (Shorty) Vice President of FNSA.  Also the 3 on the RANCBA Committee (NSW).  Very good Service, and Guest was Professor Marie Bashir AC, CVO, Governor NSW and attended by many Federal, State Parliamentary Representatives, 3 Senior Officers of the ADF , NSW Police Commissioner, etc and many Associations and groups.

Allan Moffatt, Ken Swain & Ken Street.

Blue Mountains Vietnam Vets Memorial Service

The RANCBA was well represented at the Blue Mountains Vietnam Veterans Memorial Service, this year we marched in our own right using our Mini Banner which was carried by 2 Sea Cadets from TS NEPEAN. We were joined by Lieutenant Deborah Davis-Reid USN who is here on detached duty with the RAN and asked if she could join us. It was a pleasure.  The photo was taken at the Memorial on completion of the Service. Unfortunately some had already gone to partake of refreshments etc.

Back row: Ken Street, Laurie Scutts, Ric Easom, Frank Lawton, Ron Rigney (Queensland)
Front row: Shorty, Lieut. Deborah Davis-Reid USN, Jan Easom.

Blue Mountains Vietnam Vets Memorial Service 2008


I had the pleasure of being invited to Garden Island today, for the departure and deployment of HMAS PARRAMATTA, 18th August for 6 month service in the Gulf.  Photos shown below are:
1. Crew going aboard.
2. Soloist from the RAN Band singing "We are Australians"
3. HMAS PARRAMATTA underway, all lines taken aboard and on the way to the Gulf.


Bon Voyage and a Safe Return.
Shorty 19/08/08.

Dennis 'DJ' Preece sends:

The following naval oriented links might derive interest from the RANCB Membership. The first of these links references former Phot Bevan Stringer's home page, and deals largely with - among others topics - snaps of HMA Ships Duchess, Hobart and Melbourne. The second self-explanatory link 'Exclusive Memories - Service Memorabilia' provides an access point to purchase naval associated items. This particular site advises it supports the R.A.N. Central Canteen Fund by way of donation from the sale of various service memorabilia.

Forwarded for info only.
Yours aye, DJ



Tks DJ, some good photos there. 18/08/08.

Terry 'Red' Ryder sends:

Bill Blinkhorn, Arthur "Speed" Rowley, Doug Conn and myself got together for lunch last week and a few more pictures have surfaced.

First picture:  Speed Rowley, Red Ryder, Doug Conn and Bill Blinkhorn at Redcliffe RSL. Picture is taken under a board which is appropriately headed "Lest we forget" Rather apt because Bill tends to forget things these days but Bill we are happy to remind you that you have agreed to buy every second round of drinks at our next get together on the 4th October. Or was it the 5th? Maybe it was the 6th?

Second picture: taken at HMAS Perth Silver Anniversary reunion in Sydney in 1990.
L to R - Speed Rowley, Tug Wilson, Ron Tuckwell, Stomp Forward, Doug Conn and Red Ryder.

Third picture: Red Ryder Doug Conn and Bill Blinkhorn ready to step ashore in Hong Kong 1969.

Fourth picture: Bill Blinkhorn, Doug Conn and Gary Burns.


Thanks Red, none of you look a day older!  I'm not sure that the fourth picture should be on open display! 15/08/08.

Sonja Hellier advises the following sad news:

Raymond John Wells, (ex CRS) late of Maroochydore passed away on 10th August aged 77 years.

Funeral service will commence 0900 on Thursday 14th August 2008 at George Hartnett
Funerals, 42 Gaza Road, Holland Park 4121

Alan will be doing the Naval Ode and Poppy service at the service tomorrow.

Ex CRS Raymond John Wells R36739
Joined 7th October 1948 Perth WA
Discharged 12th August 1971

During his long and distinguished career in communications, he served on many ships and shore establishments ie HMAS CERBERUS, SYDNEY, ALBATROSS, PENGUIN, LEEUWIN, MELVILLE, COONAWARRA, HARMAN, TOBRUK, WARRAMUNGA, QUIBERON, VAMPIRE, KUTTABUL and VENDETTA. He also spent some time at HMS Karangi and HMS Terror.

His Honours and Awards were:
NGSM with clasp MALAYA
Vietnam Medal
ASM 1945-75 with clasp FESR
Vietnamese Campaign Medal
Pingat Jasa Malaysia Medal
RAS Badge.

Condolences can be forwarded to one of his next of kin, sister


Lest we forget

Allan 'Shorty' Moffatt sends:

CIS Class 248 Graduation Ceremony & 16th Minesweepers Reunion

On the 7th August, I had the very great honour and privilege of being invited by the OC , DFSS , CIS-Maritime Wing, HMAS CERBERUS, LCDR Ian Broadsmith and WO CIS Tim Holliday to attend the Graduation Ceremony of CIS Class 248 and present them at the Service with their Medallions. It was extremely well presented, and all parents and friends in attendance were so proud of their sons and daughters passing out. The quadrangle was in Dress Ship and a Signal Hoist at the command of WOCIS James Nischke was unfurled. On completion of the presentation, a March Past was held, and they would have made the Coldstream Guards envious, very well executed and they were accompanied by part of the RAN Band. Refreshments were then available for those graduating, family, friends and Staff of DFSS. I was then invited that night, accompanied by CPOCIS SM Darren Thompson, to attend a informal dinner with all the graduates and family.

BZ to the OC, LCDR Ian Broadsmith, to LCDR Bob Cody XO of Signal School who gave me a very good tour of the school nowadays and explained what they are teaching and techniques, WO CIS Tim Holliday, WO CIS James Nischke, LS CIS Craig Bloom and to all others who I was introduced to but unfortunately I didn't note their names.  It was a most memorable day and something that I am glad to have been a part of.

Just 7 days prior, I attended the the 16th Minesweeper Squadron Reunion in Noosa QLD, and due to the hospitalisation of Ex LCDR Terry Feltham, I was asked would I be the MC for the 3 days, "The Meet & Greet , "The Formal Dinner", "The Memorial Service" and the "The Final Luncheon". I somehow survived. One lady present told me, the only thing I didn't do was sing!! It was so pleasing to meet with people I had served with, especially from my old ship, HMAS SNIPE in 1965-66. Pleasing to see so many Ex Communicators there , Ken Swain, Ian Pfennigwerth, and Squizzy Taylor who were part of the 6 crews to bring the Ton Class back from the UK in 1962. But there were others from far away, Kerry & Kevin Gregory, Arthur Large all from WA. Ian & Marian Schubert ACT, Len 'Buck" Rodgers, Batemans Bay area to name just a few and along with Brian Gray, we had a great time and it was overwhelming that we have another one. I think they will be surprised where this may take place!!!  Anyway till we meet again and spin our warries.  Dont forget our Motto. " Wooden Ships and Men of Iron ".

Allan "Shorty" Moffatt

Fm Jim Anderson 12/08:
What a great dit Shorty. Bravo Zulu.

Fm Trevor Percival 14/08:
Thanks Shorty for the great article and the time you spent putting it together which I really appreciated. When I saw LT CDR Ian Broadsmith's name I made contact and it was the same Ian Broadsmith I had instructed on W/T procedure at Cerberus in 1967. Great to see how he had progressed in his career. Also I noted LT CDR Terry Feltham's name and if I can find out where he is hospitalised in SE Qld, I may be able to get up to see him as I am pretty sure it was at Harman that I served with him back in the 60's.
Best Wishes.

Alan Rodgers sends:

JUNIOR RECRUITS REUNION 13TH JULY 2010 - http://www.jrsreunion.org

A group of like-minded men have taken up the challenge and formed a committee to ensure that a reunion is held at Leeuwin Barracks (HMAS Leeuwin) in the West, to recognise this major occasion –  the 50th Anniversary of the commencement of the Junior Recruits Training Scheme (13th July 1960).

This invitation is extended to all JR’s of all Intakes, from HMAS LEEUWIN AND HMAS CERBERUS, Divisional Staff, Academic Instructors and Office Staff.

Since the Junior Recruit Training Scheme started, in excess of 13,000 JR’s took up the challenge and were trained both at Leeuwin and Cerberus.   Many continued on and were promoted through the system to Petty Officers, Chief Petty Officers, Warrant Officers, General and Special Duties List Officers.  Of those 12,074 graduated.

A separate committee has commenced with design of a memorial, as a tribute to all Junior Recruits, which is scheduled to be unveiled at Leeuwin Barracks on 13th July 2010 – the exact 50th Anniversary.  This memorial project is being co-coordinated by a separate committee headed by Ken Dobbie.

Thanks very much.
Alan Rodgers.

Fm Terry Crane 07 Aug:
In relation to the JR Reunion – indeed many of them have continued on in the Navy. One of them, Vice-Admiral Russ Crane, is now Chief of Navy. Russ was a member of Collins Division, 32nd Intake. Hard to imagine – JR to CN.

Steve Power sends:

We here at Forster Gardens Holiday Centre are feeling a little lonely as we haven’t seen to many ex-communicators or sailors in general taking advantage of our great facilities up here. Have a look at our website www.forstergardens.com.au and consider visiting the Great Lakes area on your next holiday. Want to know more give Steve Power (ex CPORS) a call on 02 6554 6027 and I will be more than happy to tailor a package to suit your needs.

Steve Power
Tks Steve, a good spot for a holiday that's for sure. 03/08/08.

Dick Cantwell sends:

This shot may be of interest for the rogues gallery.  DO4 comms crew luncheon - 1960, in Hong Kong.
L to R: Brian Claxton, Doug Manners, Alan 'Murgy' Murgatroyd, Rod Melville (dec), Owen 'Bluey' Rogers,
Bill McMah (dec), Dick Cantwell, 'Dixie' Lee, Peter Brand, 'Dad' Cremer and  Bill Aylott.

Thanks Dick, I have put this on the QSO page as well as it is such a good photo showing the late Bill McMah and some very well known Communicators who are oh so young!  03/08/08.

Fm Bill Aylott 11/08:
Just had a good look at the D04 "luncheon" as Dick Cantwell calls it, God we all looked good and so youngish.  Regards to all of you that are still here.

Allan 'Shorty' Moffatt sends:

It is my very sad duty to inform you of the passing of Ex LRO Peter "Dizzy" Dean. Many would remember him as a LRO onboard HMAS MELBOURNE 1956-58 and then one of the first Leading Hands out at BONSHAW. He was a great hand, and was a very stalwart Committee person of the NSW Chapter of the RANCBA from about 1975 till 1990 when his health was starting to deteriorate and he could no longer attend meetings..

The Funeral Service will be held at the Cammellia Chapel, Macquarie Park Cemetery, Sydney, Friday 1st August commencing at 0930am.

He will be sadly missed and our thoughts go to his wife Laurel and family


Allan 'Shorty" Moffatt

Dave Jeffrey adds to his 'sick bay' entry of January this year:

You will all be 'pleased' to read that my recent second attempt at repairing the electrics in my heart was completed last monday (21 July) and we are home and I am feeling well and my ticker is behaving itself so far!!

The procedure was conducted between 1430 - 2100 - 6.5 hrs under General Anaesthetic, and the Professor said that the previous work had failed because I had a 'grisley, tough old heart!!!!!'  He is however quietly confident this time. Because of the complication I had the first time, I actually had two nights in the private hospital this time, but even then I was back in the public hospital for Wednesday & Thursday night with what was initially diagnosed with aspirational pneumonia, but was probably just some fluid on my lungs caused by the long aggravation within my heart. Anyway, it felt pretty bad when I could hardly breathe on Wednesday night!!

Now taking it a day at a time and this is the seventh day, and so far all is well!!

Thanks to you all for your thoughts and prayers over the period, and hopefully this is the end of it!!

Let's hope so Dave, all the best to you and Maureen.  27/07/08.

Marty Grogan (WOWTR) is seeking Communicators who joined with him:

I have been conned to try and gather those who joined Moran Division in November 1963 to attend a 45 year reunion in November this year.

I am still missing the following KNOWN Communicators from the Morons of November 1963:

LTO J.W. BELL R62609

Can you be of any help please?

I have already made contact with the following Communicators:


If anyone is able to assist Marty with his search, please contact him direct and let me know if those found have an email address.  25/07/08.

Gary Johnson sends:

I wonder if you could place a note in ``QSO the world`` thanking Stumpy Broadsmith and Peter Bonser for their efforts in forwarding a painting I won in the raffle at Club Cerberus over the Reunion weekend.  Through their efforts and the expense of RANCBA VIC I received the prize in top order, a gesture that should be noted as it was delivered to me at my home in Penang, Malaysia and sits pride of place in my condo.
VMT.....Gary Johnson.

Tony 'Tackers' Miles posts an update on Bob Argent:

Bob Argent, as you know has been battling cancer for a little while now. Bob has been admitted to hospital as the cancer has now appeared on his brain. Bob will undergo an intensive 5 day course of radiation in an endeavour to kill the rotten thing.  Should anybody wish to send him their best wishes or cards, they can be sent to 11 Noela Crt, Carseldine or via email to the address on the contact list of the RANCB website.

Many thanks for keeping us informed Tackers, our thoughts are with Bob and his family and we hope for a successful outcome.  13/07/08.

Dick Bishop & Bob Argent - Comms Reunion 2008

Update from Tackers 23/7:
The radiation treatment has been completed and we now have to wait for about 6 weeks to know the successful the treatment has been. Bob remains in hospital undergoing Phsio etc before he is allowed to go home. The treatment he has been having is for the cancer to his brain only and the treatment for his lungs continues.  Bob has received numerous cards and E mails and his family wants to say thanks to all those who have been in contact.  I will keep you posted as to the progress.

Fm Tackers 25/07:
It is with great sadness I inform you of the passing of RS R J Argent.
Bob's condition deteriorated very suddenly on Wednesday evening and he passed away in the company of his Family and some close friends at 8:15 am today 25th July 2008.

Bob's funeral will be held on Tuesday 29th July at 1300 at St Flannans Catholic Church, Cnr of Handford and Beams Rd, Zillmere.  No flowers by request.

Fm Dave Jeffrey 31/07:
I have attached a photo of the front cover of the Order of Service of Bob's funeral. He was indeed larger than life and although only stayed in for nine years, he is still remembered fondly by those that dealt with him, within & without of the Navy. A good number of ex comms and other pussers attended his funeral making a solid block in the 350 - 400 mourners.

Lest we forget.

Vale Noel Bowe:

Laurie Pegler has advised that Noel Bowe (ex-PORS) died on Monday 7 July from pancreatic cancer.  Laurie adds; "Noel's been crook since Christmas and apparently when they finally did some tests they found spots on his liver and he had pancreatic cancer. From what I've been told he was in a fair bit of pain."

Noel's funeral will be at 1030 Monday 14 July at Tobins Brothers Barkly St Sunbury Vic.

Lest We Forget

Sad news. 

Fm Laurie 14/07:
Just got back from Noel's funeral. Four members of the HMAS Sydney & VLSVA attended and we were given a very warm welcome. I met his wife Yvonne who is a very lovely person. Very much in the same mould as Noel - genuine & unpretentious.  Noel paid off a PORS. He was 64. Too young.

Bazza 'Bones' Lehmann sends:

In April this year myself, my two brothers and a friend decided (with the approval of our wives) to visit the Western Front in Northern France and Belgium. It was a fantastic visit and we attended the ANZAC Day Dawn Service at Villers-Bretonneux which was followed by a march through the village. We also visited many WW1 sites including Amiens, Poziers, Mouquet Farm, Bulle-Court, Fromelle, Hamel, Menin Gate, just to mention a few. To walk in the battlefields of Flanders and the Somme, where Australians are still revered as liberators is an experience that I will never forget and I thoroughly recommend anyone contemplating making the trip, to do so. I have attached a photo of myself (on the left) my two brothers, Morris and David and a friend, Leigh Eldredge, wine maker extraordinaire, of Eldredge Wines in the Clare Valley, South Australia at the ANZAC Day Dawn Service, Villers-Bretonneux.
P.S. It was nearly as cold as Canberra.

Tks Bones, a great photo, but it does look a bit brisk there!  13/07/08.

Allan 'Shorty' Moffatt sends:

Blue Mountains Vietnams Veterans and Associated Forces Memorial Day.

Once again the RANCBA has been invited to participate in this Service which will be held at Springwood, Blue Mtns on the 17th August 2008 commencing at 11.30hrs, but if attending be there by 11 am as we have a small march. We shall be taking our Assn Mini Banner and I have requested 2 Sea Cadets to be Banner Bearers. Fall-in area is just near the railway station opposite the Fire Station. The March is not very long and the Guest at both the Parade and Speaker at the Wreath Laying Service shall be the Air Commander of Australia. We will be Laying a Wreath on behalf of all Communicators. Normally the Federation Guard provide all Flag Orderlies etc. Dress is as for Anzac Day with Medals where applicable and all are invited to attend. I would assume as in previous years, NSW SRA grant free rail travel to all attending to those wearing Medals.

Allan "Shorty" Moffatt OAM

Review of Pension Indexation Arrangements in Australian Government Civilian and Military Superannuation Schemes

On 26 June 2008 the Minister for Superannuation and Corporate Law, Senator the Hon Nick Sherry, announced a review of the pension indexation arrangements in Australian Government civilian and military superannuation schemes

Submissions which address these matters are invited from interested parties by 19 July 2008 and should be forwarded to either of the following addresses:

Pension Indexation Review Secretariat
Department of Finance and Deregulation
John Gorton Building
King Edward Terrace

or indexationreview@finance.gov.au

There will be hearings held by Mr Matthews on 24 and 25 July 2008.  Further information on these hearings can be obtained from the above addresses.

Follow this link for the Indexation Review Submission from RSL, DFWA, NAA and RAAFA.

This review will examine those schemes indexed to increases in the CPI.  Sorry about the late posting, I only found out yesterday that yet another review was underway.  Those wishing to make submissions have only until 19 July 2008 to do so.  10.07.08.

Sandy McNab has made further updates to his ships callsign list:

I have been in contact with a Godfrey 'Jeff" Dykes in the U.K. and he was able to post me a page of 25 Aussie ships from the 1920's which filled in a few more blanks, including the two 1927-1931 RAN submarines I was after.

He has two magnificent website(s) http://www.godfreydykes.info/  and
http://www.rnmuseumradarandcommunications2006.org.uk/ .

I have also been in contact with a Jerry Proc who runs a website for all things R.C.N at http://jproc.ca/  and some of the technical and visual pages and pages of reading is amazing. I am sure Jeff would not mind you adding his website(s) addresses along with Jerry's to your link page.


Keith 'Gympie' Inall advises that Checkers Aldridge is in Sick Bay:

Just a short note to let you know that Checkers Aldridge (ex LRO) was admitted to St George Public Hospital yesterday 6 July 2008 for diabetes related problems. It would appear that he will lose at least some part of his left leg to gangrene.  Surgeons will make an assessment tomorrow morning (Tuesday 8 July) and after that will operate as needed.

He is not travelling that well at present as you can well imagine.  He can be contacted on his mobile number (0407 939 585) but I would not advise calling tomorrow.

Please pass on to all in the Comms world.

Gympie Inall
Many thanks Gympie, our thoughts are with Checkers and we hope for a good outcome.  08/07/08.

Fm Gympie 10/07:
Follow up on Checkers -- He was operated on yesterday 9 July 2008. He has lost his left leg about 4 inches above the knee. He is resting comfortably at present. The next few days will determine if things have been successful. The gangrene had poisoned the blood and doctors are keeping a close eye on things to ensure that there are no other complications. Will keep you posted.

Fm Peter Guy 13/07:
I phoned Checkers on Saturday night. He is in good spirits and would appreciate a call from any of his old shipmates.
Cheers, Peter.

Update from Gympie 23/07:
Just to let you all know that I visited Checkers yesterday 21/7/2008. If you have not already become aware, checkers lost his left leg above his knee, due to gangrene, brought on by diabetes related problems. He is resting comfortably at present. He has had some other problems associated with infection caused by the gangrene. Large doses of antibiotics seem to have these problems in control at present .  He still has a long road ahead of him before things start to improve. He is keeping a positive attitude at present.  Will keep you updated.

Fm Rohan Jennings 12/08:
Found this old photo of Checkers Aldridge which I thought you could attach to the QSO section on him. He is pictured mopping the deck of 3-51 mess during a family’s day in 1985, shortly after his son had lunch but didn’t find the food or the roughers to his liking. That is his wife (whose name I can’t recall) in the background.

Update from Gympie 18/08:
Visited him again today and supprised to see he is progressing well. Has a positive attitude to leg loss and is right into rehab.  I have not seen him looking this well in a long time. Obviously the stay in hospital and the care he has received is doing him good. Still a cantankerous old sod. Has to do everything himself which I suppose is a positive.

He is looking to go into respite at Roselands (don't have the address at this stage) in the next week or so. He will still have to return to the hospital each day for rehab as the place he is going to does not have the facilities required.

Will keep you informed as to his progress on a regular basis.

Tony Froome passes the following for information:


Allan 'Shorty' Moffatt sends:

Along with a friend from way back , Ex Ch EM (WR) Paddy & Beryl Neill, Helen and I attended the FESR Plaque Dedication which was held at Memorial Park, Woy Woy on 2nd July at 11 am.. It was indeed a good Service, the only problem it was blowing a gale and I mean a gale.

The 2 Guests were Captain Luke Charles-Jones AM RAN , representing the Fleet Commander and Colonel Abdullah Karim, Defence Adviser, Malayasian High Commission, Canberra. The Federal Member for Veterans Affairs, at the last moment tended his apologies.

Captain Charles-Jones AM gave the Address and he was very good. In fact it worked out well, as HMAS WARRAMUNGA and ARUNTA were the first 2 ships allotted there (1955) for Service and he has just been posted off as Commanding Officer of the the new ARUNTA, but also his father had been seconded to the Malayan Police Force during the Malayan Emergency, so his knowledge was quite good on this particular military service during those times. Cmdr Ken Swain AM RAN Rtd Laid a Wreath on behalf of the FNSA.  Also in attendance Bob 'Blue" Bergin from SA, he had been aboard HMAS WARRAMUNGA in 1955 when first allotted for service there, and another ex Communicator Bob Casserly.

The monument is very good and it shows the names of all names of the 26 ships of the RAN deployed there at different times.  All in all a good day and I believe that more attended than they thought would.

Allan Moffatt OAM
HMAS ANZAC -Malayan Emergency 1957 - 58
HMAS SNIPE - Borneo - Indonesian Confrontation 1965 - 66

Jim Eagles asks:

Could you see if anyone can ID this thing? Cerberus c.1960 tied up just off the Castlemaine at that time.


Fm Jim 4/7/08:
Thanks for that and the boat has been cleared up for me from several sources. If anyone is interested I have had a lot of old 35mm slides put on disc so if you or anyone else are interested in more pics let me know. they are of some ships, Cerberus, Coonawarra - all 1960's

Fm Sandy McNab:
Re the SAR 0214 craft photo enquiry. Doesn't that bring back a few memories. My time as Staff at Signal School in late 61 and most of 1962, along with Mike 'Shorty' Connor did include some FND sea-time. From memory the Navy tug and the SAR craft both had an MTR1 transceiver for HF RTF and at the FND MSO if the likes of watchkeepers in Ben Engeman, Lance Sutherland, Doug Bain, Dusty Miller did maintain a good listening watch we were able to communicate. I think the callsign(s) may have been VHJ and VHJ1 VHJ2 etc for the MSO, Sig School, and West Head but not sure what was allocated for the boat(s). The SAR craft was a no no for smokers, fitted with petrol engines a pair of or maybe 3 Chrysler Royal straight 8 cylinder side valve engines, and I recall several times limping home back to the Hann inlet minus a serviceable engine. We departed quite early if there was a forenoon Serial, and arrived home quite late if it was an afternoon Serial, get out to West Head and secure alongside and we'd monitor the civil VHF frequency (on an 86M or something similar) that the West Head gunnery control officer was communicating with the target towing aircraft, flown by Brown and Bain and were based at Avalon. We were the standby rescue craft if the aircraft was to come to grief to seaward. I think it was a Lt Cdr Asker along with a Sub Lt 'Blue' Macrae that later designed, engineered and built a rather large twin hulled catamaran type 'splash target' which we used to tow out to West Head behind the tug, and then head out for several miles into / onto / and sometimes under the Bass Strait, streaming the target tow line out quite a distance behind, whilst the trainee QMG's ashore were doing there darndest to hit and sink it with live 4.5" shells. Did hear a story of 'check check check we're towing this bloody target NOT pushing it' as shells began falling up the tow line". It was not me. Behind the Sig School training typing huts you may recall the Shipwrights workshop and a slipway where the workboats, tug and Sar craft were slipped for maintenance. I think the aircraft were ex-RAN Firefly's and they also use to do 'hedge-hopping' target flights at the West Gate (now the new entrance) at FND as we manned a VHF transceiver on a trailer to talk to the aircraft when the QMG's were firing their Bofors with practice ammunition. I may have a couple of black and white photo's taken in 1958 at FND and see if there are any other SAR craft of that era in them.

Trevor Percival asks:

I wonder if you could help me out and show this on the site asking if anyone knows the story behind it. It happened while on the Melbourne either in 60 or 61 up top. It appeared one morning down on the wharf and all I can remember is that it was stolen from one of the Pommie bases. How they managed to do it and get away with it being such a large item has me baffled.
Thanks vm
Trevor Percival


Fm Kay Herold 09/07:
I am an EX-WRAN ACT and also RANCBA ACT member and I noticed a QSO yesterday from Trevor Percival requesting identification of a photo of an unusual large cartoon character on the wharf when HMAS MELBOURNE was up top in 1960-61. My husband Jim was an EM(AIR) on Melbourne in 1960. He recognised the photo and said it was souvenired from the RN PO’s Mess by a small group of PO’s from Melbourne. The photo was taken at the RN Naval Dockyard Singapore during Melbourne’s first visit in 1960. It was placed on the forrard brow (gangway) and to his knowledge disappeared over the side at sea.
Regards, Kay Herold.

RANCBA Discussion Board (Forum).

I have reestablished the Comms Forum discussion board at http://www.rancba.org.au/commsbb/

The forum will be moderated by Gary Swanton (ex POSY), many thanks to Gary for offering his services.  Please register for the board and add your comments or suggest forum categories or topics so that Gary is able to expand the forum in accordance with your wishes.  This is a discussion board for all Communicators and should further enhance the RANCBA website, please make good use of it.

John Curbishley
Web Manager

Reminder 03 August 08:
Just a reminder about the RANCBA Forum - the discussion board now has over 50 members but things have been a little slow of late.  Please keep the postings coming, If you want additional topics please suggest them, Gary is happy to assist.

Ollie Lewis sends:

I read with interest last week Gary Swanton's article, a top idea, I agree with you though that the QSO pages would be more than adequate.

Anyway to kick start things, here's a blast from the past.  On Saturday I was in Collingullie NSW picking up a truckload of hay, I noticed a portly looking individual in front of the local store, it turned out to be Col Stewart (ex TO). I decided to bribe Col with the lure of a few schooners to help us load, he didn't even think about it and virtually loaded the truck himself. Col invited us to stay the night at his place at The Rock, he is still happily married to Penny (ex POWRRST). Their hospitality is second to none. We had a top night at the local bowlo of which Col is Secretary, he still demolishes schooners at a frightening rate and cost me a bloody fortune. He is also Secretary of the Golf Club, he'll probably be the mayor in the not too distant future!! Penny is right into her golf and travels quite a bit in search of some worthy competition. If any members are down that way, Col and Penny would love to see anyone who remembers them, you shouldn't have any trouble finding him, most people in town know him, or call into the bowlo in the main street. If anyone wants to contact him, I can put you in touch. And just to show you what we look like now, have enclosed a happy snap of a happy threesome.

Kind regards to all.
Ollie Lewis

Ollie Lewis, Penny & Col Stewart
Many thanks Ollie, great to hear about Penny & Col, good to see you all looking so well.  19/06/08.

Fm Laurie Scutts 19/06:
Ollie you don't look a day older than you did when we were in Singas together and attending the Bugenstrassa from time to time.

Fm Red Ryder 20/06:
I read with interest Ollie Lewis meeting up with Col Stewart in Collingullie NSW. He mentions the local store. Would you believe my family ran that store for about 9 months back in the early 60's!
I went back there for the first time since leaving early last year and took a couple of pics. It has expanded inside since we had it but still looks pretty much the same from the outside.
It was only a two bedroom place out the back so my Mum and Dad slept in the main bedroom, my grandmother had the other one and my room was in what doubled as the office through the door where the "Fresh Baked Pizza" sign is. Small world eh?
Terry Red Ryder

Gullie General Store  Gullie store interior

Ted Cummins sends:

I know that many RANCBA members would have liked to attend Christine Wootton's farewell in Cairns. Those that did make will attest that a good night was had by all. I am attaching a few photos of the event for those who could not make it, including one with Alan Murgatroyd and Don Stevens, an old and dear friend of Christine's who flew over from WA for the farewell. The good news is that Christine will be maintaining her ties through the Naval Reserves.

Ted Cummins

Christine, Tracey & Ted Cummins  Murgy & Christine  Don Stevens & Christine
Tks Ted.  A lovely lady, we wish Christine well.  15/06/08.

Faye Carr sends:

I joined at Cerberus 24th May 1960 and am looking for photos of our class and possible contact with my friends I joined up with.  My maiden name was Glenda Faye Watts but known as Faye Watts - Wran Steward W85124. Can you assist - thank you ?  I was transferred to Penguin and married an English submariner by the name of Terry Carr and went to live in England after marrying Terry in June 1962.

Faye Carr
If anyone can assist Faye, or better still provide a photo of the Class it would be great.  15/06/08.

Allan "Shorty" Moffatt sends:

Just a couple of photos taken on Friday 13 June aboard HMAS PARRAMATTA (VKMN). Group photo is of all the Communicators aboard and they have an affiliation with Parramatta Rugby League, so that is the Clubs flag. I was also given the honour of hauling down the V/S callsign when we came alongside. Long time between doing that!!! Great day and they are leaving soon for their 3rd deployment in the Gulf.

Allan "Shorty" Moffatt

Tks Shorty, great photos of the old and the new. Go eels!  15/06/08.

Graham Linton sends:

Could you advise members that there is a large selection of reunion photos, particularly from the collections of Sandy Bennett and Graham Cooper, now available for perusal on our web site at http://www.rancbavic.com/. Delay in uploading them was due to a problem with my computer.

Many thanks Bear, I will also put Scoops' photos on the RANCBA site in due course.

Gary Swanton sends:

Whilst on the site recently I spent some time checking out the photos that members have posted through the years. It made me think, “I wonder where they are now?” Is it possible to ask the members of the whereabouts of the following people these days? Maybe set up a page just for this purpose where members could ask the question and members could respond.

Sam Chamberlain (pictured with Ray Powell http://www.rancba.org.au/images/samandray.jpg) I was at sea with both of these guys and have fond memories of my time with them both.

Ron and Kev Griffin – Spent some time with both of these guys too

George Podmore – An interesting bloke I got on very well with by the end of our Advanced course in the late 80’s.

Peter Harper – Spent quite a few years with Pete who last I heard worked with Ansett Airlines before its collapse.

Thanks again and keep up the great work with the site.

Thanks Gary, I have been giving your suggestion some thought and could easily set up a 'Where are they now?" page on the website, perhaps with a form type input where people could advise who they were searching for.  However, it may be better to set up a forum for this and other questions, but I would not have the time to run it myself and would need someone experienced in forum work to volunteer as a moderator for this project.  Of course, if these requests are only received from time to time, then this (QSO) page is more than adequate.  If you have any thoughts on the matter please let me know at admin@rancba.org.au

John Curbishley

Vale Robert Leslie 'Bob' Richards R63683.

I received advice last Wednesday from Daniel Sloan, Hon Secretary of South Lake Macquarie RSL sub-Branch, that Robert Leslie Richards (ex A/LTO) R63683 had recently passed away from a cancer related illness.  Unfortunately, I was away from Canberra and was only able to post a message to the guestbook at the time.

Bob and I were crew members of HMAS SYDNEY on her first run to Vung Tau between the dates of 27/05/1965 and 26/06/1965.  He served from 22 Aug 1964 until 27 Sep 1968.

Bob's funeral was held at Bonnells Bay Salvation Army at 1000 on Friday 6 June. 

Red Lipscombe has been kind enough to send the following photo, and adds:

"Bob was good bloke who was a TO on Duchess in 66-68 and the attached photograph of some of Duchess’ communicators was taken at the Brittania Club in Singapore in February 1967 on the occasion of his 21st birthday. My recollection is that Bob was involved in a car accident when at Kuttabul in ’68 and discharged shortly thereafter."

Duchess Communicators 1967 - Bob Richard's 21st.

Back: L to R.
RO Red Lipscombe, LTO John Rowe, RO Lurch Davison, TO Ken Dickson, LRO Eric Tonks

Centre: L to R.
TO Denis Thompson, OCO (Unk), RO Les Allen, RO Bubbles Ritchie

Front: L to R.
LRO(T) Frank Cullen (RN Loan), TO Bob Richards (the usual glass in hand), TO Des Kerley, RO Shorty Kennedy

A great photo, many thanks Red.  What better way to remember Bob than to post a photo taken on his 21st birthday.  He was a lovable rogue and was certainly a party animal.  May he rest in peace.  Lest we forget.  09/06/08.

Alan Rodgers (President WA Chapter) sends:

The RANCBA WA held the May meeting Sunday 25th May, well attended with some 35 in attendance. 
We were pleased to welcome back to WA Kevin [Ruwey] and Anne Ruwoldt for their current stay in WA looking up his family tree?
Kev has also advised he will be at the City of Perth RSL on Friday afternoon 27th June and invites all with 
partners to come up and have a drink and something to eat with him.  Anne, unfortunately, will not be with Kev.

These guys appear to be having fun.
Left to Right: 
Kevin Ruwoldt, Jack Caine, Graham [scoops] Cooper Arthur Large
Eddie Pearson, Steve Aiberti, Vic Ford and Ben Franklin.

Sandy McNab sends:

Have internet located at the Memorial University of Newfoundland a digitised copy of the 1919 annual edition of Signal Letters of British Ships (SLOBs), and the attached page xviii depicts the RAN ships and their allocated signal letters of those early years. Still awaiting delivery of an ordered 1959 edition of SLOBs to update the 1960's callsigns of the R.N. Submarines on the Australia Station. I have their WWII callsigns but not all their post war re-allocations after they refitted, recommissioned and redeployed.

Per medium of the QSO Forum if any of the lads in their local used-book shop visits sight any early copies of SLOBs, I would be quite interested in learning of the availability, whereabouts and how much.


Thanks Sandy, I have updated both the names and callsign lists as requested. 02/06/08.

Gary Swanton sends:

I came across the attached couple of pics on FaceBook (www.facebook.com) where an RAN Group has been created that you may like to add to your MSO Photos page. Past and current serving members of the RAN have posted many photographs to this group and the 2 that I have attached particularly resonated with me. If any other members are interested in looking at the group and its photos, then go here http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=4859267127  there is a couple of videos on the site as well.

All the best,
Gary Swanton


Thanks Gary, will also put them on the MSO page.  31/05/08.

Timba Mills sends:

One of our ex WRAAF'ies Joy Hutchinson (nee McAuley) has asked if I would help her out by broadcasting the attached Presentation Notice for the Nambucca Valley Ex-Service Women's Association for their 30th anniversary luncheon.  See below:



David Graham has forwarded the following News Corp release:

Study looks at health of Vietnam veterans, families

The Federal Government has launched its most comprehensive survey of veterans' health.

Up to 200,000 Vietnam veterans and their families are needed for the $11.5 million study.

The Vietnam Veterans Family Study will focus on the health and relationship problems the veterans suffer, but will also canvas the issues facing those who served but were not deployed.

Veteran Affairs Minister Alan Griffin says Australians who fought in the Vietnam War have a higher risk of developing skin and lung cancer, mental health issues, back problems and alcoholism.

The family members of veterans are also relevant to the study.

Mr Griffin says children of Vietnam servicemen have a three times higher suicide rate than the general population.

The study is expected to take eight years and volunteers are needed.


Ray & Sharon Munday send:

Sharon found this article in the SMH(24th May 2008) this morning and thought it may be of interest to RANCBA members.

Regards, Ray & Sharon

Flags Signal Harbour Revival for Semaphore
Richard Macey, May 24, 2008

For much of the 19th century the arrival of ships in Sydney Harbour was announced by flags fluttering from Observatory Hill.

Colonists anxious for news from Britain watched for flags signalling that mail was aboard. The port used semaphore to communicate with the approaching vessels and send weather reports to ship captains and townsfolk.

More than 70 years after the signal station closed, flags will soon return to Sydney, flying on a new pole raised this week on Observatory Hill.

Yesterday workers carefully completed the construction of the 30-metre flagstaff. A gift from a charitable foundation, it will officially begin flying flags on June 7 to mark Sydney Observatory's 150th birthday.

Although the signals will no longer announce the arrival of ships or the mail, they will alert Sydneysiders to which planets and constellations are overhead, and the moon's phases. They will also report the temperature, said the observatory's astronomer, Nick Lomb, adding that they should be visible across much of the harbour, as well as from the Harbour Bridge.The temperature will be displayed in numerical codes.

Building the flagstaff was the job of George Oxenbridge, a carpenter who made the lower part from a red ironbark tree that grew at Piccaninny Creek, east of Grafton.

"The tree was kept for a special job because it was so straight," Mr Oxenbridge said. "It was 33 metres, to the top of its branches."

He predicted that the pole, with a top finished from coastal grey box, would become a Sydney landmark. "We are cracking the skyline. It could stand for a century," he said.

For 20 years there had been talk of returning a flagstaff to Observatory Hill but the project became a reality only when David Reid, son of the late Bruce Reid, a former owner of the replica ship the Bounty, told the Powerhouse Museum that he would fund it from his parents' charity, the Bruce & Joy Reid Foundation.

"My father had a life-long association with the sea and he had been pressing the government to do it for years," Mr Reid said.

He said his father, who died in 2005, "would be delighted".

Mr Reid, the treasurer of his parents' foundation, said the pole was expected to cost between $100,000 and $200,000.

Proposed Survey of Ex Comms and Tech Personnel

Russ Walker has put together the following paper and has asked for its wide distribution to all concerned.  Please pass it on to anyone you think could have been, or maybe still is, involved.

There have been many surveys started by different members in the past but unfortunately, they passed away before their work could be completed. Let's see what we can come up with here.

Please follow this link for Russ' paper.

Ernie Gimm
If anyone worked with turco baths (commonly used to clean autoheads and reperferators) in the 1960's and 1970's, this could be important reading.  25/05/08.

Dave Thomas sends:

Dug this photo out for the RANCBA site. It’s the Seamanship Rivers team that the Comms School put together for the Cerberus open day in 1984 (or was it 1985??- no, it has to be 84 as I still have a birdie rate badge in this photo). Some familiar faces, some not – its seems so long ago now. We won the comp on the day and actually went on TV on the Ossie Ostrich video show later on as I recall… I'm the one with the birdie rate badge right in the middle.

Just to help out where I can, and I'm damn shocking with names….Bruce Horniblow has the Z on his helmet – top right of photo, Chris Forrester is to my right (in front on the chap who turned away), Shorty Heal is the chick!! I don’t think the 2 ringer, the CRS and RS need any re- introductions.

Dave advises that it is LEUT Dave Barnes, CPORS Glen Stanley & PORS Graham McIntyre.

Suzi Jennings (who is the 'chick' in the photo sends:  If my memory serves me – the PO far right was Graeme McIntyre the CPO is Glen Stanley. The two ringer is Dave Barnes and at his side is Gavin Barry. Behind me is Garry Morris and the guy with the beard I think is Jeff Butters. Back row 2nd from the left I think is Tim Holliday and in front between the Leut and CPO is Pete Mulquinney. That’s all I can remember.

Link to Navy News:

For those who are not aware, you can register to have Navy News sent to you on-line by going to http://digital.realviewtechnologies.com/?xml=defencenews_navy.xml

If you register they send you an email alert with a link to the latest copy each fortnight.

Many thanks to Frank Hicks for providing the above information.14/05/08.

Lindsay Lake (ex CPOWTR) sends:

Nullabor Baker & Scoops Cooper were my neighbours on Southbar Road Queanbeyan. It was hard to go outside the home without having a beer over the back fence with them. Thankfully they lived in the same house next to mine on different occasions, that's what saved for my kidneys!!

Don't ever let Nullabor tell you that he can play Rugby!!

Lindsay P. LAKE
I'm sure Nullarbor and Scoops will send an appropriate reply!  14/05/08.

Ron 'Nullarbor' Baker sends:

Have attached a photo that I came across while sorting out some correspondence at our NAA SubSection office. No idea where it came from, but the date stamp on the back is June 1976. There are also some signatures. Perhaps some of your avid readers can identify the Class number for your website gallery.

I have also posted this photo to the WRANS photographs page.  I'm tipping it will be Class 166 of 1976.  Please forward the names if you have them.  14/05/08.

10th JRTE HMAS LEEUWIN January 1965 Intake.

Seeking members of the Communications Branch from the above Intake with the view to building up a contact list, and, having an informal get together in Sydney later this year.

Dave Sutherland
R94737/Howden 2

NB. Stand Fast those whom I e-mailed on 5/5/08.

Denny Gorton is seeking an old shipmate:

Could you help me locate Jimmy 'Shorty' Andrews via the RANCBA website please.  He had a rotten cancer some years ago and survived, but I'm wondering whether the thing came back. He always used to attend the VIC's reunion in November, but not for the last couple.

Thanks for your help.
Denny G
Please contact Denny direct if you know the whereabouts of Jimmy, ZFH2 me for the website.

Update 07 May 2008:
Jack Cleary advised Denny of Jimmy's address - many thanks Jack.

David Graham sends the following information and requests that any active reserves/standby reserves who have not updated their details to please send them to him.
2008 Reserve Census and Attitude Survey

In June this year all Reserve members will be mailed The Reserve Census and Attitude Survey (Survey). The purpose of this survey is to establish the thoughts and attitude of Reserve personnel to Reserve service, thus giving an opportunity to provide input to the future direction that members feel the Reserve organisation should take.

This survey is carried out every 4 years, and provides valuable information to Defence in the development of future policy. The survey consists of a general section to be answered by Reserve members of all three services,, and a Navy specific service section for NR members.

All Reserve members are strongly encouraged to complete the survey and return it in the pre-paid envelope as soon as possible after it is received, and before 31 Jul 08..This is your opportunity to have your say, and your input is important to the future direction of the Naval Reserve.

Watch out for the hard copy in your mailbox during June 2008– however, if you don’t receive it, go to the Naval Reserve Web page, https://www.navy.gov.au/reserves/ or the Defence Reserve page, http://defencereserves.deadline.net.au/aspx/home.aspx for a link to the Survey.

The office of Chief Staff Officer (Reserves) is coordinating the survey for Navy. The point of contact is LEUT David Graham 02 6265 7297 or david.graham14@defence.gov.au

Eddie Pearson sends sad news - Vale Ted Ingram

I have just heard some sad news, Ted Ingram, formally of DCA, DOT Perth airport and most importantly ex Navy has passed away, age 60, in Perth, WA.

I don’t know Ted's current address or details but he was well known at Perth airport.  His work mates were myself, Sandy McNab, Sandy Meeres, Ben Franklin.

Would you kindly broadcast this on the RANCBA website please.


Eddie Pearson
This is sad news -  I joined the Navy with Ted (Humphrey).  He was probably a LSRO when he paid off after 12 years but could have been a PORS. We run an Intake website at http://www.leeuwinclassof64.org and I have passed Ted's last known address to Eddie.  I will update this article if and when funeral details are provided.
Lest we Forget

By John Curbishley 06 May:
I talked to Ted's wife Cheryl this morning - he had a tumour on the kidney a few years ago which was successfully removed. When he had tests last November they found other tumours in his brain and other areas. Ted went downhill quickly from there and passed away on Monday 14 April this year. He retired from Perth airport in 1999 after being made redundant and was active in community work after that. He was a diabetic for 30 years and was a smoker up until the end.  May he rest in peace.

Jeff Angel sends:

Myself and a few others guys are trying to get a reunion up and running next year for those in the 50th JRTE intake in 1975. We all turn 50 years of age in the next 12-18 months and our current list of contacts is limited. I have searched the RANCBA website and only hit on two names that were or could have been in that intake.

This is what I believe to be a complete list of communicators from thE 50TH intake. If possible can you publish it on the website in an effort to contact a few more of them.


R116973 ANGEL J P LSSIG 11.05.59 Jeffa973@virginbroadband.com.au
R116976 BECKMAN D J LSROEW 10.02.59
R117285 COCKS A W ABSIG 22.03.59
R117768 CROME T M ABROS 18.04.59
R117288 DALTON A G ABSIG 12.11.58
R116298 ECCLES M S R CPORS 31.10.58 mickeccles013@yahoo.com.au
R116524 HALL D A G LSRO 01.03.59
F116998 HUXHOLL W LSRO 06.09.58
R117851 KLEMENT L B ABROEW 22.05.59
R117522 LATHAM G G ABSIG 11.09.58
R117852 LEAHY M F ABSIG 23.11.58
R118104 LEE S J LSSIG 30.03.59
R117526 LINES P E PORS 09.08.58
R117786 MARSH P A M ABROS 06.12.58
R117529 MARSH N G LSSIG 29.03.59
R117532 MCINNES C ABSIG 21.05.59
R117535 MILLER F R ABSIG 14.05.59
R118112 REID P G ABSIG 05.05.59
R117809 WHITE G P ABROEW 07.08.58 kaynok56@optusnet.com.au

Jeff Angel
No problems Jeff, good luck with your search and the reunion.  06/05/08.

Ted Beare sends:

G'day John, The attached photo is forwarded for your consideration for the website.  Baz Cleary and Ted Beare at the Noosa Anzac Day service.  The photo was taken by the Channel 7 camera crew, who then interviewed us for a segment on the 6pm news that day!

Many regards,

Two fine looking gentlemen.  02/05/08.

Frank Hicks is in Sick Bay:

Frank Hicks (ex WORS) has been recently diagnosed with a non Hodgkins lymphoma of the right eye and in the bone marrow.  He starts a six cycle course of R-CVP chemotherapy on Friday 2 May at the Taree oncology unit.  Frank is a very good mate of mine and I talked to him by phone today.  He remains positive and is very much aware that non Hodgkins is curable.  He is working towards that outcome.

I am sure Frank would love to hear from old shipmates while he fights and beats this disease.  I will keep in touch with him and post updates from time to time during the 18 weeks of treatment.

John Curbishley
Web Manager

Update 14 May 2008:
I spoke to Frank on Tuesday night and he sounded good, although he says he gets tired quickly in the evenings.  He is midway through the first cycle of chemo (5 to go) and remains positive about things.  He knows the hard yards will come through the latter cycles.  It was good to hear that many of his old shipmates had been in touch to wish him well, please keep it up.
John Curbishley

Update 20 June 2008:
Frank is just over one third of the way through his treatment (2 cycles) and travelling pretty well.  He has had a couple of overnight stays in hospital when his temperature was unacceptably high (a precautionary measure as he is prone to infection due to the chemo killing off white blood cells).  He sounds good on the phone and reckons he hasn't lost any hair yet, just a few kilos off the Hixy frame, which is probably not a bad thing as we tend to put it on far too easily as we get older.  I will keep you up to date as the weeks progress, hang in there Hixy, roll on recovery.
John Curbs

RANCBA 5th National Reunion - Melbourne 24-27 April 2008

The Melbourne reunion has come and gone, from our aspect it was a great 4 days of well organised and well attended events, starting from a smooth registration at the Melbourne Convention and Entertainment Centre on Thursday 24th April where we started catching up with old friends.  The reception that evening was great, we had plenty of room to move around and the caterers kept the food and drink up to the crowd for the full 3 hours.

It was an early start to Anzac Day with many attending the Dawn Service.  In the main parade at 0900 the Communications Contingent was a sea of blue hats and I'm sure that the group looked spectacular during the march to the Shrine of Remembrance.  On completion, the Anzac Day lunch was impressive with a full program for the 3 hour duration.  We again caught up with a lot of people but also remembered those shipmates no longer with us. 

The Gala Dinner on Saturday night lived up to all expectations with the RAN Band again doing themselves proud.  We didn't hang around after the dinner as it was an early start on Sunday to catch the bus to Cerberus, but I'm sure many headed across the road (as we did on Anzac Day) to the Crown Casino, a vast and very impressive complex.

Cerberus lived up to her reputation with a cold wind blowing, but the Communications School was well manned and well prepared for our visit.  It was great to see the sailors of today in action and the impressive facilities they have to train in.  Well done to Ian Broadsmith and his staff for a very enjoyable couple of hours.  On completion of our visit we moved on to Club Cerberus for a bbq lunch and a final chance to catch up with people we had missed at other events.  The reunion drew to a close around 1600 when we joined the buses for the trip back to Melbourne.

All in all, an action packed, well organised 4 days which we enjoyed very much.  I'm sure there will be other reports published during the next few weeks, either on this website or the reunion site at http://www.rancbavic.com.  If you haven't already done so, please post your thoughts on the reunion to the Reunion Guestbook.

Roll on Adelaide in 2011.

John & Sarah Curbishley


Update by John Curbishley 08 May:

At the final function of the 2008 reunion (the bbq at Club Cerberus), Rod Withers called for a gold coin donation collection to support the RANCBA website for the next 3 years.  This collection raised the not insignificant sum of $635.45 which was handed to me and subsequently passed on to the Treasurer of the RANCBA ACT for banking.  The money is now in a RANCBA ACT sub-account and will be drawn on as required to keep the website up and running.  I thank all Communicators who donated for your generosity on the day and for the kind words of thanks many of you gave me for running the website.  I think it brings us closer together as a group and your donation has ensured our continued presence on the Internet.  Many thanks to you all, it is very much appreciated.

John Curbishley
Web Manager

John Kirkland sends:

After all these years I have just discovered this site, it was lots of fun scrolling through all the old familiar names, I even found an un named photo of myself with Reg Heaney in the MSO section. The un named two in the photo are myself and ex ROS Alan Phillips. Al was discharged along with Chook McDermid for an indiscretion back in 73/74. I believe Chook got made up to Kellick while he was in the slammer, which wouldnt have been much consolation. If Maxie or Billy McDermid are out there, how's Chook theses days?


Ian Miller sends:

From “Three Corvettes” by Nicholas Monsarrat (author of The Cruel Sea).

In order of his service:
First – he joined as a RNVR Lieutenant.
Second – he joined as First Lieutenant.
Third – he joined as Captain.

This book was originally written as a diary/notes which he later used to write The Cruel Sea.

“If you want an example of alert intelligence in the Navy, a young signalman, interested in his job and keen to get ahead, is probably the best specimen. From the very nature of his work, he knows more about the ship and her movements than any other rating: and he has the opportunity of learning much more besides. He sees almost every signal that comes in, on a very wide variety of subjects ranging from the First Lord’s anniversary greetings to the provision of tropical underwear for Wrens. He spends long hours up on the bridge, in the centre of things, where he has to best opportunity of talking to his officers and of picking up fresh ideas. He learns flotilla routines, the types and names and movements of other ships. The job of signalling itself enlarges his vocabulary – he deals in words, and they are the currency of intelligence. He can often acquire, too, a formidable knowledge of navigation: the charts are always there for him to study, and if, as is usual, he has an inquiring mind, he makes food use of the chance, aided by an officer who is probably only to glad to find someone interested – someone, moreover, who can often be most helpful in supplying information quickly and accurately at an awkward moment.

Watch keeping is a boring job. Signalmen are usually talkers, retailing (among other things) the cream of the crop of rumours put out by the galley-wireless: their talk makes the time pass a bit quicker, and that, God knows, is something on the credit side at sea. When I was in a corvette doing Atlantic escort duty, burdened with a standing middle watch for nearly eighteen months on end, their companionship often made all the difference between a spell of rank boredom and a tolerable watch. I have had something of an affection for the Signal Branch ever since.

Ian Miller

Ken Street sends:

Without hesitation I disclose to all how important FNSA NSW (Federation of Naval Ship Associations NSW) is to the Organization and success of Naval Ship Associations within NSW and the ANZAC DAY March in SYDNEY CBD This 2008. Particularly Naval contingents.

FNSA Executive committee....

Ken Swain RANCBA and President FNSA NSW, Shorty Moffatt RANCBA and Vice President FNSA NSW, Ken Street RANCBA and Secretary FNSA NSW...

This year 25th April 2008 the Sydney NSW ANZAC DAY March (Navy Contingents) are as follows....

WWII Navy Associations consist of:-

HMAS Australia, Canberra, Shropshire, Warrego, Gascoyne, Scrap Iron Flotilla, N Class Destroyers, Q Class Destroyers, WRANS, Armed Merchant Ships, Anti Submarine, Corvettes, Fairmiles and US Small ships..

To be followed by POST WWII RAN.... Naval Assn, RANCBA NSW, WRANS, Submarines,WRENS, Perth, Vendetta, Voyager, Arunta, Bataan, Warramunga, Murchison, Culgoa, Shoalhaven, Condamine, HMAS SYDNEY (current), Descendants of HMAS SYDNEY II, HMAS SYDNEY ASSN and VUNGTAU FERRY... followed by

Naval Warfare Officers, Hobart, Brisbane, Anzac, (current ships HMAS Melbourne, Darwin, Parramatta, Newcastle, Kanimbla, Manoora, Success, Huon, Watson, Waterhen, Kuttabul,).. followed by Assn’s Yarra, Hospital Ships, Merchant Navy, Clearance Divers, Mine Warfare, Melbourne, Fleet Air Arm, Vietnam Convoy Escorts, Tankermen, Far East Strategic Reserve, RN Assn, Royal Marines, Indafatigable, RAN Reserves.............

Ken, Shorty and Ken wish RANCBA Vic all success for the 2008 RANCBA Re-union and as you can understand by the above overwhelming participation it would be rather more relaxing to be in Melbourne. Anyway we promote our cause, RANCBA.....

Ken Street

Ray Knights asks " Where's BLUEY GRAY ???"

I have been trying to track down BLUEY GRAY name of David Ronald Gray R93204 Tactical Operator served in Queenborough, Duchess and Vampire during Confrontation and Vietnam he was my Groomsman in 1967. I heard he went back to UK in approximately 1970 divorced and nobody I know have heard from him. Arch and I are going O/S and if possible like to opportunity to catch up and Bring him into the Fold...As I feel Medals would be owing etc....If any PI's out there your assistance is greatly appreciated...............

Ray (Bogey) Knights

Dave Sutherland sends:

I am seeking information as to the background (year of manufacture, person(s) involved in the design and manufacture, etc.) of this sign, which, would be familiar to those who served on VKLP. Having taken the item into protective custody in 1982 (last PO Communicator on VKLP), it is my intention to donate it to the COMMS School during the reunion. Accordingly, I would like to prepare a brief history of it. If you have any info, please place it onto the RANCBA Guestbook as I will be in transit to Melbourne (eg Y&J's, Hosies, the London, Barbette's, the George at St Kilda, Screamers, etc.) as of tomorrow (18th), and, I will picked up any replies off the Guestbook.

Thanks. Dave Sutherland.

I recall it being on the Mess door in 1971 Dave, but can't help you with its origins.

Fm Dave Sutherland 01 May:
In further reference to above, I was able to ascertain that Bronte "Donkey" Daniel (ex-WOSY) was the person responsible for design/manufacture of the sign circa 1968/69 whilst he was a CY on VKLP. During the Melbourne Reunion, at our final function at Club Cerberus, the handover took place as pictured. Ian Broadsmith is currently OC DFSS CIS M (aka the COMMS School), where the sign will go on display.

LCDR Ian Broadsmith accepting 4K Mess sign.

Ian 'Mouse' Barrons sends:

For the Grey Nomads among us, if you are looking for a spot to relax I can highly recommend the Ramon Deed Veterans' Retreat, it is situated just off the Silver City Highway, in Scout Road, Dareton NSW, 17kms from Mildura and 16 kms from Wentworth. All Veterans, Peacekeepers, Peacemakers, Serving and Ex-Service Personnel and their families are most welcome. $10 per night - $70 per week including power.  Bookings are preferred, contact between 9am to 4pm daily on: (03) 5027 4447. I spent a week there, met a lot of like minded people and had a ball.

See u at the Reunion:- Mouse
Thanks Mouse, cu next week.  17/04/08.

Norm 'Ollie Lewis sends:

Vale Bryan McInnes

I have just received rather sadly, an email from Noddy Nothdurft advising that Bryan Mcinnes (former TO) passed away overnight in the UK. His email reads in part that ''Bryan died of lung cancer, he had been fighting it for almost two years but the cancer started to spread and with no treatment the end came pretty quickly''.

In pussers I served with Bryan at Harman, in those days he had the nickname of ''Cookie'', he was always an easy going sort of bloke, in later years I worked with him in Dept Foreign Affairs and Trade communications branch. While working for DFAT Bryan contracted cancer in the early 90's, he had treatment for it and a course of chemotherapy and the end result was very positive, we all thought that he had beaten it. Unfortunately this wasn't to be.

Regards to all,
Norm (Ollie) Lewis
Thanks Ollie, I knew Bryan well - may he rest in peace.  I'm pretty sure Bryan got his nickname because he wore his hair similar to that of Ed 'Cookie' Byrnes of 77 Sunset Strip fame.  Lest we forget. 11/04/08.

Dave Jeffrey sends:

A recent internet article accredited to the Minister for Veterans Affairs, Mr Alan Griffin, and The Australian newspaper has been circulating, stating that due to the financial cuts of the new government, all DVA pensions would now be paid by Centrelink. This would require veterans to have face to face meetings with Centrelink Officers, and join the madding throngs in their shopfronts.

The minister has now personally repudiated the article as a hoax. He categorically stated that he did not authorise any such statement nor did he talk to its alleged author. Therefore we can all sigh with relief and continue with DVA providing its normal high standard of service.

Thanks Dave, I have seen the so called 'press release' and will not give it any further publication on this website.  These articles may be humorous to some, but they cause a lot of distress in the ex-service community. 



Follow this link for the latest information on the RANCBA 5th National Reunion in Melbourne from 24-27 April 2008.  The reunion website at http://www.rancbavic.com also carries this information.


Advice has been received from WOCIS Tim 'Doc' Holliday that the inaugural 'Communications Category Birthday' will be celebrated on or about 9 April this year and will thereafter be an annual event.

For more detail on this celebration, and the rationale behind it, please follow this link  for Tim's paper accompanied by the promulgation signal.

Further advice (along with function details) was received from WOCIS Holliday on Friday 04 April.  As this is the most up to date advice, I have replaced other entries with it:

Ladies and Gentlemen;

I hope in the majority of cases you have been contacted by serving communicators in your local area. However, I thought I would take this opportunity to ensure everyone is informed on all the functions occuring around the country.

An occasion has been identified where the Communications Information Systems (CIS) community can celebrate a category birthday, which will be utilised to invigorate the esprit de corps within the category. The inauguration of this occasion will allow both serving and ex-serving communicator the opportunity to assemble to further develop category ethos, pride and strengthen the link to the RAN Communications Branch Association (RANCBA) and the outside community at large.

The date chosen to celebrate the category is 9 April. This date is historically relevant to the RAN and the Communications category as Australian Navy unit Gayundah in company with Paluma embarked on the first successful ship-to-shore radio transmission in the world on the 9th April 1903 with Vice Admiral William Rooke Creswell KCMG KBE CMG pioneering the event who is also recognised as the "Father of the RAN".

Whilst the short notice for these functions is regretted, it unfortunately has been unavoidable. To ensure that this occasion is celebrated by the majority of both serving and ex-serving communicators it is intended the following activities will occur:

A function (details below) providing food and drink including cake cutting in all major areas where communications sailors are employed, inviting all ex-Communicators to attend has been arranged:

HMAS Cairns

The function will be held at HMAS Cairns on Friday 11 April 2008, commencing at 1200. All serving and ex-serving members of the Communications Category who reside in the area are cordially invited to attend. Point of contact is CPOCIS Brian Bidgood who can be contacted on 0439 023 718.

HMAS Harman

The function will be held at HMAS Harman on Wednesday 9 Apr 2008, commencing at 1200. All serving and ex-serving members of the Communications Category who reside in the area are cordially invited to attend. Point of contact is CPO Bert Abel who can be contacted on 02 626 66780.

Comms Birthday BBQ Harman April 2008  Comms Birthday BBQ Harman April 2008  LCDR Steve Nixon - Comms Birthday BBQ Harman April 2008  President RANCBA ACT - Ray Powell - Comms Birthday BBQ Harman April 2008  Cake Cutting Ceremony - Comms Birthday BBQ Harman April 2008  Birthday Cake - Comms Birthday BBQ Harman April 2008

HMAS Kuttabul

The function will be held at "Port Jackson Club" on Friday 11 Apr 2008, commencing at 1300. All serving and ex-serving members of the Communications Category who reside in the area are cordially invited to attend. Point of contact is CPOCIS Kym Viant who can be contacted on 02 93594214.

HMAS Cerberus

The function will be held at HMAS Cerberus on Friday 11 Apr 2008, commencing at 0915. All serving and ex-serving members of the Communications Category who reside in the area are cordially invited to attend. Point of contact is WOCIS Jim Nitschke who can be contacted on 03 59507724.

RANCBA function will be also held at HMAS Cerberus on the 27 Apr 2008, commencing at 1000. All serving and ex-serving members of the Communications Category who reside in the area are cordially invited to attend.

HMAS Stirling

The function will be held at the Naval Association (outside the gates at HMAS Stirling) on Friday 11 April 2008, commencing at 1200. All serving and ex-serving members of the Communications Category who reside in the area are cordially invited to attend. Point of contact is ABCIS Kirsten Beveridge who can be contacted on 08 9553 3969.

HMAS Coonawarra

The function will be held at HMAS Coonawarra at the Arrow Bar on Wednesday 9 Apr 2008, commencing at 1230. All serving and ex-serving members of the Communications Category who reside in the area are cordially invited to attend. Point of contact is LSCIS Asha Thomason who can be contacted on 08 89358436.

A communication exercise will also occur on the day which will involve a number of fleet units sending a message using a variety of communication mediums. Commencing with HMAS Paluma and concluded with the Senior CTG unit HMAS Sydney sending the final message via DEFCOMMSTA Australia which will be collected and presented to CN.

Later this year a CIS Officer, Warrant Officer and Senior Sailor mess dinner will occur in Sydney inviting RANCBA members. Timings and locations will be advised as soon as they are known, and you will get more notice this time.

I again apologise for the short notice, but I hope as many of you that can attend the BBQ's will. I would like to thanks all involved, in a very short time frame you have organised the functions, and have ensured that the inaugural birthday of the category is being celebrated around the country.



WOCIS Tim Holliday
Communications Information Systems Category Manager

Ph: 02 99262649
Mobile: 0407552202

I will post further items if more advice comes to hand.

Les Sheehan (Webmaster of HMAS VOYAGER All Crews website) sends:

Here are a couple of photos you can use on your Website. They should certainly jog the grey matter of the older guys in your group. Let me know if you want them in a larger size. I do have a couple of others here of the Main Gate of FND and the Parade Ground with the March Past. 

Recruit School Hammocks - FND  Pay Day - Flinders Naval Depot

Thanks Les, good memories there, especially the pay day gauntlet.  The Crushers used to have a field day. I will post the other photos when Les sends them to me. 31/03/08.

Ray Powell (President RANCBA ACT) sends:

Attached is a letter from the Dept. Vet Affairs inviting us to a Forum for Ex-Service Organisations. It is being held at the Hellenic Club, Canberra, on Thursday10 April from 1330 until 1530.

If any Communicators would like to attend please advise me asap at  Raymond.Powell@dfat.gov.au - I have to RSVP by close of business Friday  4 April 2008.

DVA letter of 25 March 2008



Given the outstanding recent success of the Finding Sydney Foundation in locating both the wrecks of HSK Kormoran and HMAS SYDNEY II, I think that RANCBA members should be made aware that two Canberra members have been involved (both directly and indirectly) in the search for the HMAS SYDNEY.

LEUT John Perryman RANR (ex WOSY) has been actively involved with the search and is onboard the SV Geosounder during the current operations. John is the Senior Naval Historical Officer at the Sea Power Centre in Canberra, and has spent 60 per cent of his time since he started in the job in late 2004 dealing with the search for the Sydney.  John was also involved in the recent search for, and exhumation of, the grave of the unknown sailor (presumed to be from the Sydney) on Christmas Island.

The other member involved is Sam Hughes (LCDR RAN Rtd and ex-CPOSY) who as a SAR Coordinator with AMSA wrote two papers (1991 and 2001) which gave an area of origin for items recovered in the 1941 search (a carley float, 2 lifebelts and a dog's kennel). Sam was pleased to learn that both the Kormoran and the Sydney were located within the radius of his probability area.

Jim Eagles has also been indirectly involved as information officer of the relatives' support group, the Association of Families and Friends of the Sydney.  Jim has kept the flow of information on the search, along with associated issues, up to interested parties and has recently directed us to the Press Room blog at http://presspass.findingsydney.com/ which provides more information for those interested in proceedings.

I'm sure that those mentioned above, like all of us, are eagerly awaiting video footage of the wrecks in the hope that this might provide more information on the events of 19 November 1941.


Allan 'Shorty' Moffatt sends:

Plaque Dedication 30th March 2008:

This unique Service was held at the Chapel at Garden Island Base on Sunday 30th March 2008. Amongst those 8 names listed, included 3 Ex Communicators. L/Tel Merv May, L/WRRO(M) Sandra Patricia Shephard and WORS(S) Max Stokoe.

It was a full Congregation from many, and Merv May's nephew spoke about his grandfather, Ex LWWRO Tina Russell (Canberra) arrived and spoke about her friendship with Sandra, and Ken Swain AM spoke about his long association with Max Stokoe.

Ken was accompanied by his wife June, Rear Admiral Tony Horton & Margaret, "Blue" Orr and his wife, Peter Dobson, Bob Scott, Allan 'Shorty" Moffatt & Helen.

It was also pleasing to see Mrs Barbara Sykes wife of the late Lieutenant John Sykes SD (C) accompanied by her daughter Diane as this was the 10th Anniversary of John's Plaque Dedication. Also there was the son of Ex CRS Terry Morris representing his father, who due to health reasons could not travel from Queensland.

A very successful service and full details will be in the next (July) edition of the RANCBA Newsletter.
Allan 'Shorty" Moffatt

Barry Sherriff sends:

My wife works for a financial planner and stock broking company, and organises a lot of travel arrangements.
she received the attached travel alert from one of the travel companies that the company uses.

Travel Alert

Approximately 9,000 delegates will be arriving in Melbourne for an AMWAY conference beginning the 7th April. Those delegates will be staying across all areas of Melbourne occupying many hotel rooms up to at least April 25th.

Many hotels advised us that they will be busy during that period; however, most have not yet closed out all their Contracted Corporate rates. Many properties still have some rooms available. But, we recommend you book your accommodation well in advance, otherwise you might not secure accommodation.

Transport across Melbourne will also be congested by this group - including Melbourne's airports, trams, buses and taxis. Be prepared for some delays.

Please make your travel plans early or consider deferring your travel.

This is posted for information only - I'm sure all RANCBA members attending the Melbourne reunion have locked in their accommodation arrangements.  Some allowance may have to be made to travelling times, depending on where you are staying.  If you haven't yet booked for Melbourne don't let it deter you, there are plenty of hotel rooms available, just check out the reunion website at http://www.rancbavic.com/

Terry Gleeson sends:

A piece of memorabilia that ex-Comms might be interested in. The following is a short ditty penned by James Douglas (Steve) McQueen, ex-Sparker and later Linguist, circa 1977, recounting the not so memorable fishing trip exploits a couple of fellow communicators. Tragically, Steve was lost at sea 1986, near Ashmore Cartier Islands, whilst working for NT fisheries. The short ditty needs no further elaboration, it was put together in a short time in true Steve McQueen style – the original version was written on thermo fax paper, and now barely readable – I would like to share it with everyone as tribute to Steve’s memory, Good fishing Steve, wherever.


Murgy and Gleeson sailed from Narooma one day,
To do a spot of big game fishing out in the bay,
Huge kingfish, tuna and marlin were around in score,
But instead of these, they met a big white “Jaws”.

Get out the rifle, stammered Murgs to Terry,
But ‘tho it was Xmas, he was far from merry,
Get him in the head, make it a good shot,
Oh’ why in the hell did we stop at this spot!

Neither brave fisherman would venture astern,
For the safety of the caravan they started to yearn,
“You Drive, No, I will!” they had a small row,
Whilst standing on tiptoe up in the bow!

They got the donk started and legged it ashore,
Both vowed to leave sharks alone forever more,
We know these brave sailors displayed no fear,
For now they fish for flathead from Narooma pier.

Ah, Mr McQueen.  I wonder if they still have characters like him in Pussers? 11/03/08.

Fm Nugget Nugent 14/03:

I can’t but reply to the ditty from Terry Gleeson as I had 2 stuck encounters with Steve, one in Darwin Barra fishing and one on the lakes near BEGA.

A few of us including Al Conway went down the track hunting barra, the weather had been typical and the Adelaide River was running high so little bit hopeful of catching anything as the lagoons were in flood.

Trouble 1. On the way we were bailed up by a buffalo and it calf who decided to attack front on with us in quick reverse.

Trouble 2. We all pile into the tinny and set sail down stream, no luck fishing and as we fought the tide coming back we ran out of petrol and looked likely to spend the night in the mangroves. Luckily the Commanding Officer of Coonawarra at the time sailed past (god bless him) and gave us a top up so we could reach the landing point where I was to go and collect the 4 x 4. As we approached the landing point I jumped off expecting to hit the bottom but went straight to the bottom. 3 crocs were in the vicinity and the rest of the crew swear that I no sooner went under but was JC walking on water in 2 seconds, followed my many expletives.

Trouble 3. Finally defeated, we towed the boat back to camp where I discovered dingoes had torn my tent to pieces and ate most of the vittles. Had to sleep on the floor of Al Conway’s combi van. Great trip. Promised to do it again – like never.

Some two weeks later it all appeared in the NT Newpaper with only one suspect as the snitch. He didn’t even try to disguise my name.

Bega: Once again a few of us hit the old navy holiday cottages for a fishing trip on the lake. Set out with high hopes and soon decided to anchor near the mouth of the lake.

Just as I yelled out to Steve to make sure the anchor was tied to the boat, he heaved it over the side. 4 very embarrassed navy guys had to motor back to the hire shop and buy a new anchor. If I recall Spike Jones was on the boat with us.

I had the honour of reading the eulogy at Steve memorial service at Cerberus when I was stationed at DSD after leaving the Navy. He was one unique guy and I think the only one out of a special mould.

Nugget Nugent

Mike Allen sends:

I have been asked by Les Anstee's daughter to see if I could find him for her as she has not heard of him since 1960 she is trying to locate him as he has not seen her or his grandchildren and great grandchildren. I was in Kuttabul I think in 1960 when he deserted and no one can seem to find him or know where he went. She did say that she heard after she put an Ad in the paper that he had worked on the rigs. I have a few mates that worked on the rigs one said the name sounded familiar but I have got no further so far.

I realise that it has been a long time ago and is a real long shot but it would be pretty good if we could bring them together.  If anyone can help please contact me as follows:

allenz1@bigpond.com - home phone (08) 9309 2808 mobile 0409 108 944

Address 11B Hydra Place....Kingsley ...6026 ...Western Australia

Yours Mike Allen
Ex buntin tosser

HMAS SYDNEY Commemoration Booklet

Sandy McNab sends the following for general interest:

My daughter Karen is doing genealogical research of her married surname Coates, whilst recently visiting an elderly member of the Coates family tree still living in their 1930's South Fremantle home, and photo's of two other Coates siblings William Roy Coates and Andrew Coates R.A.N. were produced. Appears Bill and Andy both did time on the Sydney II prior to it loss in 1941 and photo's were shown of them in their matelot uniform, thus that W.A. families continued interest in the fate of the Sydney II.

Karen has brought home on loan this Commemorative booklet to read and copy as she knows of my general interest in all things Sydney II.

Apparently the lady she was visiting use to work for W.A. Newspapers and this was her very own copy.

With all the Sydney Search P/L activity now underway co-incidentally this week, to go searching for the both the Kormoran and the Sydney I thought it may be an item of QSO Forum interest to the Communicator fraternity, to read about and peruse some of the photo's of those bleak WWII yester-years being experienced on the home front. As printed in one of the pages "In many hearts, the SYDNEY still lives".

Please follow the link above for a slide-show of the booklet.  There are many of us who will be following the search results with much interest.  05/03/08.

Navy Day Canberra - 10 March 2008 - 0950 to 1700

For those of you wishing to attend the Navy Day celebrations at Commonwealth Place, Lakeside, in front of Old Parliament House on Monday 10 March, please follow the link below for the program.  It will be a big day with Navy Divers, Helicopters, Navy Big Band and Firefighting at Sea.

Navy Day ACT Program


Sandy McNab sends:

A further update of the Ships Names and Callsigns, as follows:

Sheet 5 callsigns still chasing up some WWI signal letters.

Expanded sheet 4 to include the WWII "Air Series" ASR '63 foot boats' redesignated SAR after WWII.

Expanded sheet 4 to include some RN subs attached to the Australian station.

Expanded sheet 4 to include all the 1948 - 1960 years callsigns of the RNZN ships on the Australian station plus some more recent ships whose callsigns are sought e.g. the current Anzac class Frigate HMNZS Te Mana.

I've tracked down a 1959 edition of SLOB's and am negotiating delivery ex U.K. but it may not be available before we move off to ML as I wish to confirm a couple of the signal letters that I have learnt of, but not personally sighted as yet.

Also attached a new file "Shore Establishment Address Indicators" as a new page to be added along with the Ships Callsign and Ships Names pages on the website. I guess it will bring back a few memories for many, they did me.

I would like to QSO Forum acknowledge those that have responded with signal letter(s) information, and in particular Bob 'Blue' Bergin who has provided me with a copy of his 'signal letter' doodlings of his service years1948-1960. It sure has filled in many blanks in the work sheet(s).

Apparently Bob kept a personal written record in his own 'W/T Operators log book', in which he recorded hull numbers and signal letters of the RAN ships of the day, RNZN ships, many of the "Air Class" ASR's, Tugs, GPV's and some of the RN submarines on the Australia station and most of the Shore Establishment address indicators. It must have been real handy for his ready use when on T/T from one SOP craft to another or whatever.

Bob picked up his OBE last month (over bloody eighty) and I have requested a CV from him of his RAN service/career which I would like to promulgate, and let others of his vintage (Bill Lowe, George Bracken, Bill Joyce) know that he is indeed alive and well. He will be marching with and heading up the FESR contingent with Jim Griggs in the Adelaide Anzac day march this April.

Many thanks Sandy, there is a lot of hard work in those lists and I know Communicators appreciate the ready reference you have provided.

Sharon Mundy sends:

LCDR Christine Wootton, OAM, RAN will be transferring to the Naval Reserve after a distinguished career with the WRANS and RAN of more than 35 years. A farewell function has been arranged at HMAS Cairns, where Christine is currently XO, this Friday, 7th March. Anyone who would like to send a message of farewell is invited to email Ms Anne Adams at Anne.Adams@defence.gov.au by Tuesday 4th March.

I know that many RANCBA members would have served with Christine over the years, and like me wish her the best in the next stage of her life. The relieving XO at HMAS Cairns is LCDR Ted Cummins who also would be well known to many members as he too is an RANCBA member.

Sharon Mundy
Thanks Sharon, we wish Chrissy all the best.

Fm Alan Murgatroyd 10/03:  Just a small message to let you know that I attended Chris's farewell at the wardroom of HMAS Cairns last Friday evening. She was farewelled in good style and I was amazed at the awards etc that she had managed to gain in her 37 years service. She had also done really well on the civvy side of things too, earning an MBA and a few other impressive degrees . But she is still the same lovely girl who we knew so many years ago, completely unaffected and gracious. Lots of messages were read out from a large array of friends. It was a great night.

Java Sea Memorial Service

Allan 'Shorty' Moffatt sends:

The Java Sea Memorial Service was held at the Cenotaph, Martin Place on Friday, 29th February commencing at 11.00am. After all the heavy rain the day before and overnight, the skies cleared, but there was a brief shower just prior to the Service commencing. The MC was Ex Communicator, Cmdr Ken Swain AM RAN Rtd, Chaplain Ian McKendrick RAN the Blessing and Naval Hymn etc, Rear Admiral Nigel Coates AM RAN, Fleet Commander Australia representing the Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Rus Shalders AO, CSC RAN was the Guest Speaker and gave the Address.

The full Sydney Detachment of the RAN under Bandmaster Lieutenant Andrew Stokes RAN carried out all the Ceremonial music, and the RAN provided the Cataflaque Party and Flag Orderlies,
Rear Admiral Guy Griffiths, AO, DSO, DSC Laid a Wreath as Patron of the HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse Survivors Assn and Patron of the Java Sea Commemoration Committee, as a survivor of the sinking when as a Midshipman.

There were many other notable Serving personnel in attendance and this included Commander Michele Miller, RAN Commanding Officer of HMAS PERTH III, Commander Alex Hawes RAN, Commanding Officer of HMAS SIRIUS.  It was pleasing to see many serving RAN personnel in attendance also.  RANCBA Committeeman (NSW) Don Ferguson, WW II Convoy Signalman Laid a Wreath on behalf of all Communicators of the RANCBA.  All in all a very well conducted Service.

Plaque Dedication. A Plaque Dedication Service will take place at the Chapel of Remembrance, Garden Island, Sydney commencing at 10.00am on Sunday 30th March for the late departed shipmate, Ex WOCRS (S) Max Stokoe. This will also be in conjunction with other departed Naval personnel. All Serving and Ex Communicators are invited, especially those of the (S), EW Branch, and those that knew Max and had served with him. For those that have never attended or seen this unique service, please make the effort to attend. It is indeed a very nice Service and is only available to Ex RAN & WRAN personnel.

Now, for coordination and entry to Garden Island, all those who are attending or thinking that they may attend, could you please send me your names, and car rego so that I can pass on to the authorities.  I can be contacted via e-mail shortym@mpx.com.au or phone (02) 9631 8068, in not in attendance leave a message on recorder and I will confirm later.

Allan 'Shorty" Moffatt OAM

Royce Tandy in Sick Bay:

Royce Tandy is in Selangor hospital in Nambour after pneumonia which led to heart failure. He was admitted to hospital last Wednesday after an ECG and x-rays found he had a lung full of fluid which lead to the heart failure. He will come good but at this time he doesn't look flash. He is expected to stay in hospital till at least next Wednesday. In discussions with him I believe he is re evaluating his working position and the amount of load he takes. Good idea in the advancing years, Poor old bloke is 60 after all.

Diana Norman and Tim Mills
Tzani Griffons
0429 444 499

Update from Timba 14/03:

Royce Tandy is still in hospital and it is estimated that he will be there for another week or so. A long convalescent period will follow, about 3 months and then I believe he is taking the right approach, Mary has a successful real estate organisation in Mooloolaba and Royce is going to retire, or so he says. Offered to lend him my motor home and get away from it but he believes he would be embarrassed driving it.

(I can't see why Timba!).

Update from Timba 19/03: 

Spoke to Mary Tandy tonight and whilst Royce is still breathing, which is a definite plus, he will be in hospital for another 2 to 3 weeks. He has a lung infection now which is causing problems with his breathing, he requires oxygen constantly.

Update from Timba 26/03:

Things were not good on Friday and it looked like the black suits were required, plus the gym, for whom ever were the coffin bearers, (as we know in his present state Royce is a bit large). He was taken to intensive care with a nurse sitting at the end of his bed, (just like the pre Mary days, but this time she was serious about his health), he lost the oxygen mask yesterday (Sunday) and is back to the things up his nose which may seem uncomfortable to most (my nose could take it). I believe that in intensive care the standard issue is the oxy mask. (Makes them look important, and you know, like carrying a clip board when you have nothing to do) His son, Ryan flew up from Melbourne on the week-end to be with him and Larry, his daughter is returning from Canada on Thursday.  Mary, myself and most importantly Royce's doctor, Rosemary, think he will live around loose weight. I honestly think that Ryan travelling up from Melbourne and Larry from Canada as both areas share that horrid thing called cold weather, have used the excuse only to come to the Sunshine Coast for the thaw.

Update from TImba 27/03:

Today Royce was good and is being moved out of the ICU into the general ward. His oxygen level is still a bit down but he no longer looks like death warmed up. I believe that he has turned the corner and he will gradually improve to be home in a couple of weeks.

Update from Timba 14/04:

Royce is still in hospital and has been taken off the heavy medication. Today (Monday) they are removing the IV and he will now have his medicine orally. He has lost about 1/4 of his body weight and is down to 95 Kgs. Having been hospitalised for such a long period of time he has to learn to walk again and build up strength in his legs. His visitations are still restricted to family until his strength improves, he is sleeping a lot. Will keep you informed of his progress.

Update from Timba 01/05:

Royce was at 94 Kgs today and the probe was removed from his arm, a psychological step towards going home. He is walking, very slowly with the aid of a walking frame. Because he has been bed bound for over 9 weeks he has to learn to walk again. Hopefully when he is able to take himself to the dunny they will release him, guess he'll miss the nurses washing him.

Update from Timba 12/05:

He has been discharged from the hospital, although he now holds the record for the longest stay, (the closest ones to him all died) he didn't get a gold watch. Disappointing I'm sure.

Update from Royce 20/06:
I would just like to send a thank you to all those who telephoned, sent me well wishes or visited me in person during my recent sojourn in hospital. Pretty scary 10 weeks in all but my doctor reckons I will make a full recovery and although it is a long term thing, I am making progress and am finally starting to build some muscle as the drugs I am taking just tear the muscle tissue down. Sorry I missed the reunion in Melbourne, by all accounts it was a ripper. Looks like I have to set Adelaide 2011 as a goal.
Royce Tandy

Update from Timba 15/08:
Royce Tandy is back in hospital with heart and lung problems, I went to see him today (15.8.08) and he is not looking as bad as the last time he was admitted. He is sharing a ward with George Bracken same heart problem but 22 years older. Royce is having a few tests and hopes to be released over the week end.

Update from Royce 16/08:
Had to spend a couple of days in Selangor Private Hospital, in fact only got home a couple of hours ago. There is an acute shortage of beds and I had to go into a shared ward with 3 other blokes. In the bed next to me was ex WORS George Bracken, who according to his specialist (also mine), says he can go home on Monday. George is 82, still charming all the women, and despite his health problems has a fantastic outlook on life. He recently told his kids that not to worry about him dying as he wants to live long enough to give them the s...s! All in all his prognosis is pretty good, just has to give up the fast women and slow drinks. Unfortunately he is not connected to the net so anyone wanting any further contact info on George can email me and I will make sure he gets it. Regards, Royce.

VALE PORST Jenne Howlett

Kerry Holmes sends the following sad news:

It is with great sadness that I advise you that PORST Jenne Howlett (nee Washington and previously Paul) passed away today (Friday 29 February). Jenne lost her five year fight with cancer. She is survived by her husband Les, son Aiden and her brother Bill and his family. Jenne served for over 20 years mainly in Canberra, Sydney and Townsville Recruiting where she was working as a civilian until a few weeks ago.

Lest we forget


Dave Thomas has passed on the following for your interest:

Morse code is entering the 21st century -- or at least the late 20th.

The 160-year-old communication system now has a new character to denote the "@" symbol used in e-mail addresses.

In December, the International Telecommunications Union, which oversees the entire frequency spectrum, from amateur radio to satellites, voted to add the new character.

The new sign, which will be known as a "commat," consists of the signals for "A" (dot-dash) and "C" (dash-dot-dash-dot), with no space between them.  (.--.-.)

The new sign is the first in at least several decades, and possibly much longer. Among ITU officials and Morse code aficionados, no one could remember any other addition.

"It's a pretty big deal," said Paul Rinaldo, chief technical officer for the American Radio Relay League, the national association for amateur radio operators. "There certainly hasn't been any change since before World War II."

The change will allow ham radio operators to exchange e-mails more easily. That is because -- in an irony of the digital age -- they often use Morse to initiate conversations over the Internet.

"People trade their e-mail addresses a lot," said Nick Yocanovich, a Morse code enthusiast who lives in Arnold, Md.

Morse code uses two audible electrical signals -- short "dots" and slightly longer "dashes" -- to form letters, numbers and punctuation marks. Created in the 1830s by Samuel F.B. Morse, who invented the telegraph, the electronic signaling system spread across the world, and until the past few decades, it was used widely by the public, industry and government.

"It was the beginning of the Information Age," said Gary Fowlie, Chief of Media Relations and Public Information for the ITU, which has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

When Morse died in 1872, more than 650,000 miles of telegraph wire circled the globe. By the early 20th century, Morse messages were being sent wirelessly, via radio.

Perhaps the most famous Morse communication is the international distress signal S-O-S. It consists of three dots, three dashes, and three more dots.

But with the proliferation of digital communications technologies such as cell phones, satellites and the Internet, Morse code has lost its pre-eminent place in global communications. "There's really no reason to use it anymore," said Robert Colburn, research coordinator for the History Center of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Today it's largely the province of ham radio operators, including 700,000 in the United States. While not all of them communicate regularly in Morse, almost all are familiar with it.

Some ham operators wouldn't mind more changes to spice up the language. While Morse code has a period, a question mark, and even a semicolon, it offers no simple way to articulate excitement.

"I was hoping they'd add a character for the exclamation point," said Yocanovich, who is active in the International Morse Preservation Society. "It expresses an emotion that's difficult to get across any other way."


Last Port of Call for HMAS STALWART

Fred Lloyd sends:

Received this email from Bob McNeill (ex CMDR SU) – do with it what you like but I found it interesting because I did my ORDCO time on the Stalwart. Didn’t go anywhere – it virtually became the base at the bottom of the hill where you could get your head down after a night at the Chevron, Texas Tavern, Venus Room and/or Frisco’s or any combination thereof.

On 3 May 1990, in a ceremony held onboard, the ex-HMAS STALWART was handed over to her new owners, Sea Royal Ferries of Nicosia, at a sale price of $A5.25 million. In a first for the RAN, STALWART was sold in a fully operational "as is, where is" condition, with the proceeds of the sale being returned to the Navy for future use. STALWART, now renamed Her Majesty M, was used by her new owners, mainly in Mediterranean waters.

On 19 February 2003 a ship named TARA II (formerly Her Majesty M) arrived at the shipbreakers at Alang in India. This last voyage ended the life of an escort maintenance ship launched at Cockatoo Island in Sydney on 7 October 1966, and commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy as HMAS STALWART on 9 February 1968.

A much maligned old lady of the sea, but those who served in her have a certain affection for her.

Gus Dodds in Canberra 1 March

Tug Wilson advises that Gus Dodds will be in Canberra this coming weekend.  Anyone wishing to have a drink with Gus and a chat about old times please catch up with him at the bar of the Southern Cross Club at 1800 on Saturday 01 March.



To begin the process of ordering memorabilia, providing numbers to the venue, etc, the number currently registered to attend the National Reunion will be used for that purpose from today.

Late Registrations will however continue to be accepted but no guarantee can be given for the supply of items of memorabilia or other clothing because the ‘lead times to order’ have now been reached.

If you are a late registrant then consult with Graham Linton via email (ilin9269@bigpond.net.au) to ascertain whether you can place an order for any items you may wish to order. Late registrants will be able to nominate attendance at one of the functions but may not be able to acquire items of clothing.

Rod Withers
For further information, visit the reunion website at http://www.rancbavic.com/

Allan 'Shorty' Moffatt sends:

Could you put the following on the QSO Website in case anyone shall be in Sydney on this date.

The Java Sea Commemoration Service will be held at the Sydney Cenotaph at 11.00 AM on Friday 29 Feb. Guest Speaker is Rear Admiral Nigel Coates AM RAN, Fleet Commander. All those living in or visiting Sydney are welcome to attend etc.  Dress as per Anzac Day etc, Jacket, tie and Medals where applicable. Be there by 10.30am if possible.


Anzac Day – Brisbane - Friday 25/04/2008:

The main march will step off at 10 am.  RAAF will be leading this year followed by ARMY then NAVY.  There will be the usual warm up march from The Old Fig Tree in Eagle Street for those still able, stepping off 9.15 am, so don’t be late. Should have a better time with the banner this year, as we are getting a new one made which will be simpler to erect and will also have the new CIS rate included. A very generous member has donated the cost of the new banner which will be same colour and format as the old one except for the addition of the new badge.

We will be Unit No 70 in the main march this year and will be gathering top end of Elizabeth Street and back into William Street ( Nth. Quay).  Reunion following the march will be at the Bookies Club for those who will not be going to Melbourne. The usual bar and eating facilities will be available.  Look forward to seeing as many of you as possible on the day.

Due to falling numbers at night gatherings, it is anticipated that October AGM will be held on last Saturday in October.  Details of any changes will be advised.

Any queries, ring Alan or Sonja on 07 3397 2663

Jim 'Rossco' Anderson sends:

Could you put something on QSO the World to the extent that I am keen to buy a set of bones if someone has a set lurking away gathering dust in a cupboard. Preferably the ones with bone on bamboo please. I'm hopeful of getting into a regular game at the Cairns RSL on Tuesday mornings.

Jim vk4aq@bigpond.net.au

'Playing Bones the Pussers Way' gets a good airing on 'The Gunplot' at http://www.gunplot.net/mahjongg/mahjongg3.html and http://www.gunplot.net/mahjongg/mahjongg2.html  if anyone else is keen to revisit the game.

Fm Doug 'Swampy' Marsh 11/02/08:   Ref Jim "Rossco" Anderson request for a set of bones. I play regularly every Friday morning with a group of 60-ish ladies. I had to learn a new way of playing and new terminology to the Pusser's version of Mahjong.

Eternal Patrol - Dennis Money R59920

WA Member Dennis Money (CPORSSM) died on Monday, 4th February after losing his long fight with Pulmonary
Hypertension. Dennis served on HMS Orpheus, HMS Trump and HMAS Oxley over the period 1966 -1974. Our thoughts go out to his wife Karen and family.

This notice was extracted from the Submariners website at http://www.submarinesaustralia.com/ 

Fm Dick Treasure 09/02/08:
My wife and I have just returned from Geraldton after attending Dennis Money's funeral. I joined up with Dennis as a Cerberus JR, we served on Diamantina, Comms course and later on at Platypus together where we shared a flat. I hadn't seen him for years and finally met his wife Karen, son Brett and daughter Tanya and families. It was a very emotional funeral as he thought so much of his wife and family. A quiet, private man, he will be sadly missed by all who knew him. Laurie Shirley , another ex JR in our intake and lives in Geraldton, also attended.

Dave Jeffrey has been in Sick Bay for the last 6 weeks:

Dave underwent a PVI for atrial fibrillation on 21 December and has more or less been in Sick Bay since the operation.  As I suffer from the same problem I have kept in touch with Dave and it has been a real saga of events - who better to tell the story but the man himself.  Read on.....

Sitrep 30 December 2007

Had the procedure between 0800 - 1400 21 Dec. All ok. Left hospital at abt 1030 22nd and retired to local motel for remainder of day and then return home next morning. BANG!! abt 1730 chest started to crackle and got really short of breath. Felt like I had been hit by a bus!! Had Maureen ring 000 and ambulance arrived, thort was having a heart attack. Back to public hospital, and abt 8 hrs in Casualty before admission to Coronory Care Ward. Turns out i had a lung infection from aspirating some anaesthetic. High temp and shortness of breath. Just getting ready to think abt leaving pm Xmas Eve when heart went out of synch. Within 30 minutes it got to 260 beats per minute, then they calmed it down to just 120 -160 bpm.  So in hospital over Xmas, until yesterday when I had the paddles on my chest and my heart went back into synch. Still ok and now home.

Bit puffed still as these things take it out of u, but shud improve over the next few days. Heart still in sinus rhythm at 1000 30/12. One day at a time at present. Will keep u up to date with sitreps, but thanks for thoughts.

The procedure was long - 6 hrs on table - but although knocked abt a bit, wasnt too bad at all. Had a bit of problem with the groin puncture and blood thinners. Quite a lot of bleeding!! Have lost a lot of aerobic fitness due to infection and still taking horse tablet antibiotics to keep it at bay or kill it completely!! Will keep u up to date on progress but seems as though it is proceeding well at this time

Sitrep 31 January 2008

Last Monday week (21/1) started feeling pretty awful and light headed. Advised by GP to ring ambulance. Taken to hospital, BP 99/47 & Heart Rate 35!! Given shot of Atropin (nerve gas antidote!!!). Everything eventually returned to normal. Taken off drug regime and sent home.

Tuesday jumping out of my skin - million dollars!

Wednesday started as for Tuesday but went downhill rapidly - drugs draining out of system. Back to TCH. High BP heart in AF and running very rapidly, with occasional pauses up to 15 seconds!!! Admitted CCU Acute.  Temporary pacemaker inserted which fixed up pauses and heart settled down with some Metropolol.

Thursday heart ok and pacemaker doing its job if it went below 60 bpm.

Friday installed permanent pacemaker. 2 hours later heart decided to up the ante, went out of rhythm and up to around 150 bpm. Drug regime increased.

Saturday still no change. Flecainite reintoduced to drug regime.|

Sunday informed that suffered bouts of VT during the night - dangerous - side effect of Flecainite. Flecainite discontinued! New (old) drug Verapamil commenced. Immediate change in heart rhythm. Back to normal rhythm and abt 75 bpm.

Monday - no change all seems much better.

Tuesday - still same and discharged from hospital. Great Australia Day LWE!!!

All seems ok still but taking very large dose of Metropolol. Hope to see cardiologist next week and discuss whole six weeks!!!!

Have appointment with Prof in Sydney day after Easter break. He may wish to do PVI again - will take some convincing!!!!

How's that for adventures - eh!!! Rides in Ambulances all sorts of things.

Well I couldn't agree more - 'how's that for adventures'.  I sincerely hope that things have settled down after all Dave has been through, perhaps next week all will be well after seeing the cardiologist.  I've told Dave that he has talked me out of having a PVI myself, but he is of the opinion it was more one of circumstance in his case - don't go into hospital in late December!  After all he has been through I'm sure he would appreciate hearing from old shipmates - he did not have a great Christmas and it hasn't improved much since then.  31/01/08.

From Lofty & Terri Lane 04/02/08:  Dave, sorry to hear that you have been going through a rough patch. Barry and I wish you a speedy recovery and hope to see you at the reunion in Melbourne.

Vale Ross Morris (ex RO Quickmatch)

Wish to inform you of passing of Ross Morris ex RO (Quickmatch) - he served with Kev Ruwoldt in 60-61. Ross didn't stay long in the navy but a few of us remember him, he passed away on 27 Dec 07 in Launceston, complications of a blood clot to the leg.

Buster Crabbe

Melbourne Reunion 2008 - Free AFL Tickets

Graham 'Bear' Linton advises:

Could you please advise those attending the Melbourne Reunion that the AFL will make available free tickets to the Carlton versus Adelaide game at the MCG on Saturday 26/4 and the twilight game between Hawthorn and Richmond on Sunday 27/4.  Expressions of interest to the Secretary at ilin9269@bigpond.net.au

There is a ceiling on the number of tickets so first in, best dressed.


Stephen 'Porky' O'Rourke sends:

Recently surfed net for some of the old radio equipment I used in the RAN after nearly naming all them in the Diamantina Commcen on display at the Brisbane Maritime Museum.

It was amazing what I came across and thought I would other sparkers who visit the website might like doing a bit of reminiscing.  Have attached 2 documents (links below) one with Radios and the other with crypto.

Stephen (Porky) O’Rourke

Military Radio Nomenclature

Many thanks Porky, this should keep the old Sparkers happy!  I will also post the documents to a more permanent home in the website. 31/01/08.

Bill Swanwick (ex LTO) sends:

I have a favour to ask of you.  I have an action against the Australian Government in regards to the HMAS Melbourne/HMAS Voyager collision.  I would like people who served with me and knew me to contact me. I served in the following ships/establishments; Melbourne, Cerberus, Yarra, Sydney, Teal, Kuttabul, Stuart, Tarangau and Duchess.  I joined the RAN on the 26th Aug 1963 and was discharged on 25th Aug 1975.  My home phone number is (03) 98015762 and my email address is wandd@bigpond.net.au
Would you please post this on the web page.
Kind regards
Bill Swanwick.
If anyone can assist pse contact Bill direct.  28/01/08.

Ron 'Nullarbor' Baker sends:

Some people think that my annual trips to the States are purely for my own pleasure. I have attached a photo of myself presenting a "Pride of Ipswich" pin to Senior Community Relations Representative, Rhonda Hedtke (at Disneyland) on behalf of the Mayor of Ipswich. So you see, I am really fostering relations and not merely enjoying myself with good-looking young blondes, who just happen to provide me with free Disneyland passes. It's rough, but it needs to be done.

Sounds like a real tough gig Nullarbor.  24/01/08.

Terry Wilson sends:

I am organising a reunion for ex JCC staff (Joint Communication Centre) who were based at Defence HQ and 135 Sig Sqn personnel (also AHQ -Canberra) for sometime this year or next.

My request for contact emails, telephone numbers or contact details has gone out on the RA Sigs network but if you could advertise it on your network for me I might catch of few of the RAN, RAAFY chappies and RA Sigs personnel I don't have contacts for.

You can use my email for any purpose of obtaining those contact details.

Kind regards
Any ex-JCC staff who would like to know more please contact Terry direct.  23/01/08.

Kev Ruwoldt sends:

Had a recent phone call from a gentleman called Hub Davis who served on the Air Safety Vessels 1944-1946. An interesting conversation followed after he offered me a photo of Air Sprite which had I been looking for a few years ago. He asked me what did I do on the vessel and I told him that I was the ‘RO’, i.e. Telegraphist in his day. He then informed that he was an ex ‘Sparker’ and we then swapped info on the equipment carried on the boats in our different times. He said they had an AT5/AR Transceiver and an VHF set (which I didn’t know). Told him that the ‘Bomber’ (AT5/AR8) was still used in my day and that we had upgraded to a UHF set (696 if I remember rightly). The vessels were obtained from the Americans and Air Save was one he remembers as well as Air Faith and Air Nymph. Air Sprite was Australian built after the war.

The conversation then got around to the RANCBA and Herb advised he had heard something about Communications but was not aware of our organization. Told him about the Web –Site and the Newsletter published 3 times per year, previous National Reunions.

I gave him the www.rancba.org.au site and told him about the content, particularly the Reunion in Melbourne this year, the availability of the forthcoming programme and attendance form. Being a Melbourne native I hope to see him on Anzac Day marching with the RANCB contingent.

I then told him to contact Allan Moffatt (Phone nr) and for $10 per year membership, he would receive a Newsletter 3 times per year covering different aspects of past and todays Communications, contact friends, Anzac Day attendances, also there sometimes includes a ‘Personality’ story of past members and that Hub’s experience serving on an AIR Safety vessel during WWII would make interesting reading.

Hub told me that Air Faith (name unchanged) was still alive and still operates on Sydney Harbour today. Of course the Petrol Hall Scott V12 Defender donks from the old days have been replaced by diesels today. So any of you Sydney Natives want the experience of an old SAR vessel there’s your chance. Details can be obtained from Hub.

Hub rang me last year while I was up north and my daughter wrote his phone number down on our whiteboard, which has become a bit smudged. It looks like (03) 9597 1807 if the 2008 Committee wish to contact him. Should be able to find the correct number in the Melb phone book if the third digit is wrong.

VALE Shorty 'Terry' Ward

I was just reading the RAAF communications web site and see that Shorty (Terry) Ward, ex LTO and ex CPL RAAF Telsopc, has passed on. No indication of when or where.

Diana Norman and Tim Mills
Tzani Griffons
0429 444 499

Tks Timba, great web site. 21/01/08.

Morse Code Ring Tones

Laurie Pegler sends:  Just thought I'd pass on a bit of info for the long distance communicators who want morse code for a ring tone on their mobile. The web site is http://www.planetofnoise.com/midi/morse2mid.php  All you have to do is type in whatever you like, it converts it to morse, giving you a choice of speed & tone, and then you download it to your mobile.

Thanks Pegs for the info on the morse code ring tones. Cant wait for people to call me on my mobile now......Bones Lehmann

David Wescombe-Down sends:

Remember BL Broadcast, side-wanker keys and ship-shore?

Who misses Morse Code & would like to become active with it again? The Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) has created a new Foundation Licence class for amateur operators (ham radio) which does not require a high level of radio theory or technical expertise. It does however, open the door for ex-RAN/RN communicators to pick up a fun, diverse, absorbing and economical hobby for their ‘greying years”. In sharing “things Morse” with Sandy McNab, Ron “Nullabor” Baker, Terry Feltham, Jim “Rosco” Anderson et al recently, I received some observations from “Keghead” Weaver on Christmas Eve:

“I don’t think I’ll ever get over the ‘demise of morse’…..Sad really, when you think about it, but when you loved morse as much as SOME of us did, I don’t really think it is!!”

“Rossco” is very active as a member of a high speed, early morning net for electronic keyer users, and yours truly has logged over 12 000 low power CW contacts with stations all over the world during the past 40 years.

We share the same love of morse that Keghead had/has, and perhaps some of our RANCBA colleagues do likewise. Interested??? Here are some URLs worth checking out, including keys, keying characteristics & audible keying samples:









The WIA website has links to amateur radio clubs all over Australia, and if anyone wants more details about the new Foundation Licence (or anything else to do with amateur radio) please give your local WIA contact person a call. If you wish, I will be pleased to help you make the local connections and provide any encouragement or advice on getting started in ‘revisiting Morse’.

Happy New Year to all members & their families

de VK5BUG aka David Wescombe-Down (ex-RS R62846: Anzac, Attack, Ibis, Melbourne, Platypus, Stuart, VHK, VHM)

Fm Gareth 'Tank' Evans 22 Jan:

Further to the info on morse keys and users above:-

It was good to see the link for sideswipers - it was also sent to me by one of my ex OTC and present Ham mates and if you follow the links on the website below you can get some good info on the side wankers. I still use mine (although not too often) and am now having someone in Sydney (George at www.morsekeys.com) to make me one in Brass or whatever in the style seen on the website. I am up early every morning and listen to Jim Anderson (Rossco) and his mates but weak signals and sometimes morse at speeds my brain can't read make it a bit difficult..

I am travelling around Australia in our caravan as of 20th Feb for 4 months, a relatively short trip, and have a rig set up in the caravan and in the Pajero and will be making a lot of noise to upset Phyllis. Unfortunately we will miss the reunion in Melbourne as we will be in Perth for the 1963 JR's 45th reunion. We will of course be keeping in touch via the radios and computer with wireless laptop.

"Very good Gareth. Now here's something for you to play with! SIDE SWIPERS!!

Cheers, Peter VK4QC"


Let's see if some of the old "dit happy sparkers" can get a buzz out of this info.

Tank Evans VK4EGE

Review of Military Superannuation - press release 24/12/07

The Hon Warren Snowdon MP
Minister for Defence Science and Personnel


The Hon Alan Griffin MP
Minister for Veterans Affairs'


Minister for Defence Science and Personnel Warren Snowdon today released the Report of the Review into Military Superannuation Arrangements, commissioned by the Howard Government and presented to them in July 2007.

Although the report was commissioned by the previous government who refused to release it, Labor had committed to publicly releasing the document within four weeks of forming government. Today's release meets that commitment.

"The Rudd Government will provide further opportunity for public comment about the review's findings and recommendations and will consider its attitude to the report after the consultation period, which concludes on 31 March," Mr Snowdon said.

The review report may be viewed on the Defence website at: www.defence.gov.au/militarysuperreview

Interested parties may comment on the report and its recommendations. Details of how to comment can be found on the website.

Media inquiries:
Minister Snowdon - Peter Reece 0414 677441
Minister Griffin - Kym Connolly 0420 962 102

Ed (Pricky) Reid sends:

Maybe the ships have gotten smaller and the waves bigger but I hope my drawing of the old Barcoo brings back some memories for Tubby, Bodgie, Ugly and the Sparrow. Merry Xmas everyone.

Ed (Pricky) Reid.

Graham 'Barney' Barnett sends:

Many thanks for your website....although I am a Greenie, I pop in everyday. It was through your site that I caught up with Ruwie, and also read his Harman Story.  I am supposed to be on my "last draft", but I'll keep popping in as long as I can.

Many thanks, and take care,
Graham (Barney) Barnett

RADM 'Arch' Harrington & Beaton Spinks

Sandy McNab has forwarded two great photographs from Trevor Percival's collection which show TO Beaton Spinks impersonating RADM Wilfred Hastings 'Arch' Harrington when Arch was FOCAF in 1960/61.

Sandy sends:
TO 'Beaton' Spinks hamming it up with FOCAF (RADM Arch Harrington RAN), dressed in his 'rig and all'. From memory they were part of Melbourne's crossing the Equator festivities or was it a 'concert' of sorts in the hangar before the ship returned from the Far East in 1960?

Beaton was still on the ML 5DeltaPort when I was on it in late 1960 and most of 1961 for the FES and thence the NZ trip after the mandatory couple of weeks at Hervey Bay for Admiral Arch's inspection. Can recall Beaton as FOCAF's Signalman and he used to wet Arch's brews in the BWO managed at that time by CRS Bryce Diggle. Not sure if it was CCY Chris Keune or perhaps Dinny O'Brian were also FOCAF's staff at that time. CRS Zuggy Craise was the ships VKLP CRS, relieving Bill Lowe in late 1960.

I'll bet that Arch's son does NOT have a copy of this photo of his old man !

When Beaton paid off I met him again working as a civvy at the GIMSO in 1962 or 1964. Goodness know where he may be today.


Many thanks Sandy, I will find a way to pass these photos on to RADM Simon Harrington AM RAN Rtd.  If anyone can shed light on Beaton's whereabouts it would be appreciated.  14/01/08.

The Last Shanty
by Tom Lewis

M' father often told me, when I was just a lad,
A sailor's life was very hard, the food was always bad,
But now I've joined the navy, I'm on board a man-o-war,
And now I find a sailor ain't a sailor any more!

Don't haul on the rope, don't climb up the mast,
If you see a sailing-ship it might be your last,
Get your civvies ready for another run ashore,
A sailor ain't a sailor ain't a sailor any more!

The 'killick' of our mess, he says we've had it soft,
It wasn't like this in his day, when he was up aloft,
We like our bunks and sleeping bags but what's a hammock for?
Swinging from the deckhead or lying on the floor?

They gave us an engine that first went up and down,
Then with more technology the engine went around,
We're good with steam and diesel but what's a mainyard for?
A stoker ain't a stoker with a shovel any more!

They gave us an Aldis Lamp, we can do it right,
They gave us a radio, we signal day and night,
We know our codes and ciphers but what's a 'sema' for?
A 'bunting-tosser' doesn't toss the bunting any more!

They gave us a radar set to pierce the fog and gloom,
So now the lookout's sitting in a tiny darkened room,
Loran does navigation the Sonar says how deep,
The Jimmy's 3 sheets to the wind, the Skipper's fast asleep.

Two cans of beer a day, that's your bleeding lot!
But now we gets an extra one because they stopped The Tot,
So, we'll put on our civvy-clothes and find a pub ashore,
A sailor's still a sailor, just like he was before!

Follow this link to hear it put to music...