Funeral of Major General Sir William Throsby Bridges, KCB, CMG – 3rd September, 1915.

On the morning of 15 May 1915 Maj Gen Bridges had been shot by a sniper in Monash Valley, Gallipoli. He was evacuated to the hospital ship Gascon but died en route to hospital in Egypt on 18 May. He had been appointed KCB the previous day.

His remains were interred at Alexandria but in June it was decided to return the body to Australia for burial. After a memorial service in St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne, on 2 September, and a funeral procession through the city, his body was transferred to Canberra and reburied on the slopes of Mount Pleasant, overlooking the Royal Military College Duntroon.

As the coffin is being lowered into the grave, cadets from Duntroon are moving around to take up their positions. The cadet marked with a cross is Gerald Robert Lloyd Adams, who went on to serve as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Second World War.

She Kicks Like a Mule!

The guys from Knight Rifles “Americas Muzzleloader” head out to the range with Dave Fricke of Millennium Manufacturing to shoot the largest center fire rifle ever made.

 

Only 12 people have ever shot the .950 JDJ as a rifle.  This is a phenomenal rifle, the calibre is just astounding.

 

 

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On This Day 2010 – Afghanistan

On this day in 2010 a platoon from D coy 6 RAR, mentors and their ANA counterparts set off for patrol into the village of Derapet.

 

Three and a half hours later it became one of the defining battles of our deployment. In it we lost one of finest, LCPL  Jared “Crash” MacKinney. A true Aussie digger always good for a laugh but got stuck into any work when it was needed. A really great friend who will be missed by all.

Love you mate, catch you later….

David Deitz

“Lest We Forget”

Computer Attacks – State Sponsored or Hacktivism

Hactivism or Technojacks, the phenonemon of distributed denial of service DDoS is becoming more evident today in the spheres of both anti-government activism and anti-corporate anarchists but the message is clear…. If “hackers” can attack both the established government or economics powerhouses in the corporate world, WHAT is the potential for State sponsored attacks on nations, corporate espionage, or groups that they are targeting?  The “conventional” war is still a part of todays way of thinking but how far away is it from reality to destroy another nation without setting foot on the battlefield?

Recently the website of Reed Financial management was shut down with a DDoS attack and but for the saving grace of their Facebook page they would have been incommunicado with their customers,  The story below published in the SMH is about “Anonymous” who have published private data on AAPT customers to protest and highlight their concerns about the privacy issues surrounding storage of web data legislation.  What this really highlights for me however is the ease with which back-door entry into any aspect of society is possible……

For the full story in the Sydney Morning Herald click here

An image Anonymous Australia uses in a YouTube video explaining why it did the AAPT hack.

Hackers from the world’s most notorious hacking group Anonymous have begun publishing customer information they stole from Australian ISP AAPT last week – which in some cases includes client mobile phone numbers – to highlight the dangers of a proposal to force telcos to store every Australian’s web history for up to two years.

Some of the customer records posted online include the desk telephone and mobile telephone numbers of AAPT business customers, potentially giving away enough information to someone who wanted to steal a person’s identity.

Although most of the data published so far, which the hackers began putting online over the weekend, has been redacted, it shows federal, state and local government departments (among other business clients) as customers of AAPT.

Government customers include the Australian Federal Police, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Australian Communications and Media Authority, Department Of Health, Civil Aviation Safety Authority and Bureau of Meteorology. The embassies of Switzerland, Iran, Thailand and Singapore in Australia are also listed, as well as other clients such as Energy Australia and the ABC.

No Foe Shall Gather Our Harvest

 

 

Mary Gilmore 1940

Sons of the mountains of Scotland,
Welshmen of coomb and defile,
Breed of the moors of England,
Children of Erin’s green isle,
We stand four square to the tempest,
Whatever the battering hail-
No foe shall gather our harvest,
Or sit on our stockyard rail.

Our women shall walk in honour,
Our children shall know no chain,
This land, that is ours forever,
The invader shall strike at in vain.
Anzac!…Tobruk!…and Kokoda!…
Could ever the old blood fail?
No foe shall gather our harvest,
Or sit on our stockyard rail.

So hail-fellow-met we muster,
And hail-fellow-met fall in,
Wherever the guns may thunder,
Or the rocketing air-mail spin!
Born of the soil and the whirlwind,
Though death itself be the gale-
No foe shall gather our harvest
Or sit on our stockyard rail.


We are the sons of Australia,
of the men who fashioned the land;
We are the sons of the women
Who walked with them hand in hand;
And we swear by the dead who bore us,
By the heroes who blazed the trail,
No foe shall gather our harvest,
Or sit on our stockyard rail.

A Measure of Greatness – General Sir John Monash

Greatness is not measured in what we do, nor indeed in how we do it, to inspire soldiers on the battlefield and command great respect is all about knowing why we do the things we do.  John Monash believed he had to challenge what didn’t work and find a better way of doing it and save the lives of so many of his soldiers.

 

There is a truism in the TV series Blackadder Goes Forth starring comedian Rowan Atkinson.  Set in the First World War, General Melchett orders the troops to “Go over the top, advance directly into the German positions straight past their machine guns and artillery and take them completely by surprise.”  When asked isn’t that exactly the same plan as the last seventeen times when everyone got killed, the General responds, “Well done, that’s precisely the sort of thinking we need, they’ll never expect us to do it again!”

 

Unfortunately the killing fields of the Somme, Verdun and the entire Western Front were far too real to the men who fought in those trenches.  The perception of the way the “Top Brass” was thinking ranges from incompetence through to imbecile in the minds of many people looking back at the appalling casualties sustained in this conflict.  To be fair, prior to WWI there had never before been a war fought in the history of mankind between nations with the capabilities that developed industrial economies bring to the battlefield.  The advent of both the machine gun and modern artillery necessitated a complete revolutionizing of the tactics and conduct of warfare.

 

It was into the madness of the Western Front that Monash rose to command the Australian Corp at the Battle of Amiens in 1918.  A citizen soldier before the war, he fought as a Brigade Commander at Gallipoli, commanded the Australian 3rd Division in 1917 on the Western Front and whether it was his background as a civil engineer or simply a measure of the man, he certainly brought a different way of thinking about war that set him aside from his peers.

 

Australian success on the Battlefield was in no small way due to the dogged fighting capability of the Aussie Digger and the incredible planning and co-ordination implemented by Monash to harness the power and security of a creeping barrage, at times support from tanks and aircraft, and the system of fire and movement, of mutual support and flanking attacks on the ground, conducted by his troops.

 

On Anzac Day this year, we pause to thank all who have served, think of those serving today in war zones and to remember the fallen.

 

“Lest We Forget”

Shoot for the Stars …

…and you never know just quite what you might achieve in life. That is exactly what Adolph Hitler had in mind when he sent his most trusted commander General Erwin Rommel to North Africa. The fortunes of his Axis partners Italy had been disastrous, Rommel however would soon become known as “The Desert Fox” a mark of the respect that Allied troops held for his abilities. It looked like Hitler’s plan would succeed!

General Rommel rolled back the British, losing all of the ground they had achieved against the Italians, pushing them back across the desert so far that they poured back into their bases in Egypt from where they had started the campaign against the Italians. At a point in the war where Germany and Italy controlled Europe and were seeking to dominate the Mediterranean Sea, Egypt was the prize, as it controlled the Suez Canal and Britain’s lifeline for resupply. Without the Suez all merchant shipping would be forced to take the long and more dangerous route around the Cape of Good Hope and the British base in Malta would be isolated.

On the cusp of achieving that goal, invading Cairo and siezing the shipping lanes, Rommel was at the limit of his own supply lines and needed to take the port of Tobruk in order to re-supply his army before he could continue any further. Hours before encircling the city and closing it off from any reinforcement by land, vital British artillery arrived to join the Australian 9th Division and British tank units under the command of Lieutenant General Sir Leslie James Morshead.

A schoolteacher, Morshead like many Australians answered the call to arms when their Nation needed them. As a young Lieutenant he landed at Gallipoli on ANZAC day 1915, and fought as a Major at the Battle of Lone Pine before becoming a Lieutenant Colonel on the Western front in Europe. An experienced commander he re-joined the AIF in WWII and found himself in charge of the defense of Tobruk.

Told that he had to delay Rommel for eight weeks so that the defenses of Egypt could be prepared, Tobruk not only held out it was finally relieved 240 days later and Rommel was now on the retreat. “The Rats of Tobruk” as Morshead troops had been named, were now part of Australian folklore and show that careful planning and preparation for success, principles that Leslie Morshead demonstrated, were far more important than wishful thinking and optimism alone.

“Lest We Forget”

Standing by Your Mates

Specific engagements or events often come to symbolise and connect us to the “character” of a particluar war.  Breaker Morant in the Boer War, the Gallipoli landings in the Dardanelles through to the Somme on the Western Front in WWI.  The Kokoda track and Battle of Coral Sea in WWII, the Battle of Kapyong in Korea, these are the amongst some of the most well known battles that as Aussies we associate the devotion to duty of our servicemen.


In Vietnam the Battle of Long Tan fought in 1966 is undoubtedly a signature event and it is on the anniversary of that battle, fought in a rubber plantation in South Vietnam during monsoonal rain, when the 108 men of D Company 6RAR stood fast against an enemy vastly superior in numbers (estimated to be as high as 2,500), that Australia commemorates Vietnam Veterans day each year on the 18th August.

Aussies resolutely sticking by their mates is witnessed at the Battle of Long Tan not only by the men of D Company but also through the combined arms support of Artillery fire which covered them, Armour support from 1 APC squadron bringing the ready reaction force and war planes delivering close air support during the afternoon.  9 Squadron RAAF, flying well outside the operational restrictions in force at the time flew their helicopters into the battle delivering an ammunition resupply to an almost depleted D Company on the ground.

In recognition of their achievements, US President Lyndon B Johnson awarded the Presidential Unit Citation to the men of D Company 6RAR, an honour received only once before by an Australian unit when 3RAR were awarded the citation for their accomplishments at the Battle of Kapyong in Korea.

18 young Aussie diggers lost their lives killed-in-action at the Battle of Long Tan and a continual flow of casualties was a constant reminder of the high cost of war at that time in our history.  Greater Australian battlefield casualties resulting from any single engagement in Vietnam occurred only one other time.  Fought over a period of three weeks in 1968, 1 Australian Task Force was inserted to block infiltration routes into Saigon during the expected TET offensive.  Whilst successful in achieving their aim, sadly 25 diggers were killed at the Battle of Coral/Balmoral.

On Thursday 18th August please pause to remember Vietnam, and all Veterans who continue to serve our Nation.

“Lest We Forget”

“The Digger” – Our Anzac Hero

Viscount Lord Nelson at the “Battle of Trafalgar”, Wolfe of Quebec or the Duke of Wellington at “Waterloo”, Washington crossing the Delaware, or Generals’ Lee and Grant at the “Battle of Gettysburg”, from Hector and Lysander to Alexander and Napoleon, all are names that resonate as greats in the pages recording the history of warfare in mankind.

Be it in America, Great Britain or indeed almost any nation on earth, it seems to be the Generals who more oft than not, are foremost in the annuls of recorded history.  Founded as a colony in 1788, becoming a Federation and independent in 1901, it is widely held that it was on the battlefields of Gallipoli that Australia became a nation and cemented the fabric which is our Aussie culture.

Australia is a remarkably different society, if you ask an Aussie on the street who do they think of as the greatest figure in our military history, a few might mention Sir John Monash.  In truth, more of us would be more likely to know of the University named after him rather than the man himself.  Some may answer Simpson and his donkey, but most of us would probably be hard pressed to come up with the name of any individual.

No, the reality is that our culture is quite different and thankfully unique from almost any other, our belief in a fair go for all is not some quintessential throw away, it’s actually the way we see ourselves in the geo-political mix which constitutes today’s world.  Indeed it is because of this that we see an everyday man, one who we know as our father, grandfather, brother or son and today, even our grandson, a man who has lain down his life and stood shoulder to shoulder with his mates, this is the man who we all think of.   As Aussies it is “The Digger” who we see as the true hero in our feats of arms.

War is abhorrent to almost every soldier, sailor or airman and it is not to celebrate their feats and it is most certainly not to celebrate war itself, that on April 25th every year we commemorate Anzac Day.  It is a time of remembrance, a day to remember those who have fallen, to say thank you for the sacrifices of those who have served and to think of the men and women on todays battlefields who are doing the job our Nation asks of them, preserving the freedoms we enjoy each and every day.

Obituary-Ben O’Dowd

I cannot let the passing of Benny O’Dowd go without making a few remarks on this remarkable soldier. He served with 67Aust Inf Battalion from its inception in Moratia and with it in BCOF in the occupation of Japan. He was on the strength of 3AR and 3RAR and thus was a father of the Regiment. I should also note that earlier he had, during the Island campaign, been awarded an MBE as a WO2 platoon commander- this was a gallantry award as WO2 could not get an MC.

I first met him when I joined the 67 Bn in Feb 1948. Benny was the senior subaltern. He was a mild master and a good friend, as he guided the newly joined subbies in performing their duties. Each Saturday night, after dinner, we went to the Officers Club in Cure for drinks and a singsong around the piano played by Darcy Laughlin – another father of the Regiment.

Benny was promoted Captain and had several trips to Tokyo as Commander of the Guard we placed on the Imperial Palace. Bennie had many US contacts in Tokyo and we all had a slice of his, sometimes hilarious, hospitality.

In Korea he played a significant role during the splendid advance Of the Battalion towards the Yalu River where for some time he was held in Battalion HQ as an adviser and what we would now call an executive officer.

When I rejoined the battalion just before Kapyong I was posted to A Coy with, to my delight, Ben O’Dowd as OC. The story of the battle is enshrined in the history of the Regiment. What is not clear that Ben actually commanded the Battalion from the first enemy onset to the end of a terrific well planned but hotly contested fighting withdrawal. There were many Heroes in this battle but in the minds of the soldiers there was no doubt that O’Dowd had fought the Battle and brought the battalion to safe haven. The lack of recognition for Ben has always rankled with Kapyong Veterans. This soldier goes with the thanks, love and admiration of his old soldiers.

Lou Brumfield
Brigadier IRW Brumfield CBE, DSO.