End of the Boer War

On the 31st May 1902 – The Boer War ended between the Boers of South Africa and Great Britain with the Treaty of Vereeniging.

howseactionDuring the Second Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902, the Victoria Cross was awarded to Major General Sir Neville Reginald Howse VC, KCB, KCMG, the very first Australian to receive our highest award “For Valour”. At the time a Doctor and Captain in the Medical Corps, on the 24 July 1900 during the action at Vredefort he went out under a heavy cross fire and picked up a wounded man, and carried him to a place of shelter from the battlefield.

Also, as a consequence of the executions of Harry “Breaker” Morant and Peter Joseph Handcock, the Boer War was the last time that Australian Troops have been placed under the jurisdiction of another nations military justice system. In the First World War, 121 Australians were sentenced to death primarily for desertion, none were carried out with all being commuted to prison sentences and soldiers generally being paroled back to their units almost immediately. and,Breaker_Morant

Gandhi_Boer_WarMahamta Gandhi who was a lawyer working for Muslim Indian Traders in Natal at the time, formed a volunteer Ambulance Corps for the British Army. The British commander General Buller mentioned the Corp in despatches and Gandhi and 34 of his men were awarded the Queen’s South Africa campaign medal.

The peace settlement entailed the end of hostilities and the surrender of all Boer forces and their arms to the British, with the promise of eventual self-government to the Transvaal (South African Republic) and the Orange Free State as colonies of the British Empire. The Boer Republics agreed to come under the sovereignty of the British Crown and the British government agreed on various details including the following:Treaty of Vereeniging

All Boer fighters of both republics had to give themselves up
All combatants would be disarmed
Everyone had to swear allegiance to the Crown
No death penalties would be dealt out
A general amnesty would apply
The use of Dutch would be allowed in the schools and law courts.
To eventually give the Transvaal and the Orange Free State self-government (civil government was granted in 1906 and 1907, respectively).
To avoid discussing the native (Black) enfranchisement issue until self-government had been given.
To pay the Afrikaners £3,000,000 in reconstruction aid.
Property rights of Boers would be respected
No land taxes would be introduced
Registered private guns would be allowed

Subsequent to the British government giving the Boer colonies self-government, the Union of South Africa was created on 31 May 1910. The Union gained relative independence under the 1926 Imperial Conference and the 1931 Statute of Westminster. The country became a republic in 1961 therefore severing all connections with Great Britain. The country rejoined the Commonwealth in 1994.

Although the treaty is named after the town of Vereeniging in Transvaal, where the peace negotiations took place, the document was actually signed at Melrose House in Pretoria.

In her father’s footsteps – WWII Gunner Cynthia Cadd

This Saturday we reflect as a nation on the 100 years since Australian and New Zealand servicemen landed at Gallipoli during the First World War.

RSL Care is commemorating this significant milestone with celebrations honouring the contribution of Veterans who have served during all wars, conflicts, peacekeeping activities as well as current and past Reservists.

“We are honoured that so many Veterans choose to live in our RSL Care communities,” stated Acting RSL Care CEO Luke Greive.

Untitled“It is both humbling and inspiring to talk with these senior Australians as they share their reflections of their Service years, like Mrs Clifford who was a Gunner in World War II.”

Mrs Cynthia Clifford (nee Cadd), lives in RSL Care’s Fairview Community at Pinjarra Hills.

Cynthia’s father and four uncles all served in World War I, and following their legacy of service Cynthia joined the Australian Women’s Army Service (AWAS) in October 1943 during World War II. Cynthia was in Western Australia at the time.  She spent four months at ‘Rookie School’ and then another six weeks training in Air Craft Identification and Predictor Operation for 3.7 Anti-Aircraft guns.

“I’ll never forget my first shoot; the four guns were fixed at once. I thought the noise was so horrific that I ran out of the predictor pit so fast heading up to the mess hut, but was brought back even faster to continue with my job,” Cynthia told us.

When the war in Germany was over, the gun sites were closed and Cynthia was sent to Melbourne aboard a troop train.  While in Melbourne at Camp Pell, Cynthia completed a clerical course and held many interesting jobs including assisting with processing prisoners of war.

Cynthia 2Cynthia eventually was posted back to Western Australian where she worked with the Army until September 1946, assisting with preparing Discharge Certificates for returned servicemen.  “It was great to reconnect with a lot of old mates I had not seen in years,” she said.

Even after her discharge from the AWAS, Cynthia continued to work as a civilian with the Army until moving to the eastern states with friends, travelling aboard on the ‘Duntroon’ which had been a hospital ship during the war.  “I had a wonderful time in the AWAS.”

RSL Care respects the contribution of all Australian ex-servicemen and women and most particularly wishes this week to remember – honour – celebrate the contribution of our Veteran residents and clients.

G for George – Australian’s most Famous Lancaster Bomber

G for George is one of Australia’s most famous Lancaster Bombers. Part of the squadron of 500 Lancaster’s that flew over Berlin and bombed it during WWII. The assault didn’t go so well between the horrible stormy weather and enemy fighter planes  (Messerschmitt’s being the most common) G for George was one of only two Lancaster bombers to return safely to allied airspace (the other being S for Sugar), and G for George came back with all of its crew members alive. Making a total of 89 bombing runs over its career G for George defiantly earned its wings and is probably Australia’s most well-known plane.

G for George

The Bomber was left to decay after its run during WWII and was forgotten at the Fairbairn Royal Australian Air Force base until 1954 upon which it was taken to the Australian war memorial and had been on display until 1999 where it went into restoration. The intent of the restoration was to keep it as authentic to its original form as possible. The Bomber is now fully restored and on display at the Australian war memorial for all to see.

A few people who were the crew of the plane consisted of Flying Officer Critchley: Pilot, Flying officer Samson: Wireless Operator, Flight Sergeant Armstrong: Navigator, Flight Sergeant Brown: Bomb Aimer, Shaw: Rear Gunner, G. Knott: Flight Engineer, and W.Starkey: Mid Upper Gunner. Though the crew may have rotated some members between runs.

Duty Done – BRIG Lou Brumfield

The late Brigadier Ivan `Lou’ Brumfield and wife Dulcie.

Today I pass on some very sad news … At approximately 3:00pm on Wednesday, 23rd of September, Brigadier Ivan (Lou) Brumfield CBE, DSO (Rtd) passed away peacefully. As Commanding Officer of the 1RAR Group in Vietnam 1965 he was highly respected as a leader of men in combat. That respect continued right up to now and will remain forever. Lou involved himself in the happening of the ‘old and bold’ and maintained a strong and genuine interest in the activities of the men of his 1RAR Group. With his death it brings about the end of an era, he will be greatly missed from within our ranks.

 

2507 Brigadier Ivan (Lou) Brumfield CBE, DSO (Rtd)

23rd Sept 1927 – 26th Sept 2013

May he rest in eternal peace.

Lest We Forget

 Farewell 'Lou' Brumfield

 

 

Independent tribunal’s findings accepted: No VCs to be awarded posthumously

Reproduced from Navy Victoria Network – 1 March 2013

 

The Australian Government has today announced that no Victoria Cross (VC) will be awarded posthumously for any of the 13 individuals who were the subject of the recent Inquiry into Unresolved Recognition for Past Acts of Naval and Military Gallantry and Valour (the Inquiry).

Following intense community interest into whether these heroes of Australia’s military past should be awarded a VC for acts of gallantry and valour, in February 2011 the Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, Senator the Hon David Feeney, directed the Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal (the Tribunal) to inquire into the matter.

These individuals are:

–     Gunner Albert Neil (Neale) Cleary

–     Midshipman Robert Ian Davies

–     Leading Cook Francis Bassett Emms

–     Lieutenant (later Captain, later Senator) David John Hamer AM, DSC

–     Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick

–     Lieutenant Commander Robert William Rankin

–     Able Seaman Dalmorton Joseph Owendale Rudd DSM

–     Ordinary Seaman Edward Sheean

–     Leading Aircrewman Noel Ervin Shipp

–     Lieutenant Commander Francis Edward Smith

–     Lieutenant Commander (later Commander) Henry Hugh Gordon Dacre Stoker DSO (Royal Navy)

–     Leading Seaman Ronald Taylor

–     Captain Hector Macdonald Laws Waller, DSO and Bar

A VC is only awarded for the most conspicuous bravery or some daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy.

The Inquiry’s report was handed to Government on 6 February 2013.
Senator Feeney has accepted the recommendations.

“Their gallantry and valour is beyond question. What this Inquiry was about was whether Australia should award a VC decades after the decision-maker at the time came to an alternate conclusion,” Senator Feeney said.
“I do agree with the Tribunal’s findings. A VC must only be awarded in the most convincing of cases. It should only occur when there is clear evidence that maladministration has taken place by the decision-maker or if compelling new evidence has come to light.”

The Inquiry found no case where allegedly new evidence proved acceptable or compelling.

“This is the right decision. It will undoubtedly be a decision that will cause relief for some and anguish for others. Nevertheless, it is the only reasonable decision I could come to,” Senator Feeney said.

The decision also means the ongoing integrity of the Australian Honours and Awards system will be preserved.

“It is not my wish, nor the wish of the Defence community, to second-guess commanders who made decisions at the time. This would cause irreparable damage to the integrity of the honours and awards system,” Senator Feeney said.

Twelve of the 13 individuals who were the subjects of the Inquiry have already received some form of recognition for their actions.

Under the Imperial awards system that was operating at the time of the actions of the 13 individuals, only the VC or the Mention in Despatches (MID) could be awarded posthumously for actions in the presence of the enemy. Under Australia’s current system, all Defence honours can now be awarded posthumously.

Not only did the Tribunal consider the recognition of the 13 individuals but had also clarified a number of misconceptions and misunderstandings. The guidelines developed by the Tribunal over the course of the Inquiry can now be used in any future reviews.

Importantly, the Tribunal also decided that an alleged precedent for a VC was not a sufficient basis for recommending a retrospective honour. It came to the conclusion that no two cases were the same, and that commanders and committees which recommend honours do so solely on the merits of the individual case.

The Tribunal’s chairman, Mr Alan Rose AO, said the inquiry had been a demanding but interesting exercise that stretched almost two years.

“We received 166 submissions relating to the 13 names provided by Government and a further 174 submissions nominating an additional 140 individuals and groups,” Mr Rose said.

“We heard from witnesses at hearings in Melbourne,Sydney, Launceston, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Canberra. The witnesses included family members, historians, current and former members of Parliament, and officials from the Departments of Defence and the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

“We conducted over 4,500 hours of research and sought advice from a range of government departments, organisations and individuals. There was more than 45 hours of testimony from 72 witnesses.”

The Tribunal has provided the Government with a preliminary analysis of the additional 174 submissions for its consideration.

Recommendation four of the report will be explored further by the Australian War Memorial. Director of the Australian War Memorial, the Hon Dr Brendan Nelson, said it is something the AWM would be pleased to explore.

“Without a doubt, these men have served their nation with pride. The AWM will certainly work through some concepts in the coming weeks to show our recognition and gratitude for their deeds.”

Recommendations:
The Tribunal made six recommendations:

Recommendation 1
No action be taken by the Australian Government to award a Victoria Cross for Australia or any other form of medallic recognition for gallantry or valour to any of the 13 individuals named in the Terms of Reference.
The Government has accepted this recommendation.

Recommendation 2
That a Unit Citation for Gallantry be awarded to HMAS Yarra.
The Government has accepted this recommendation.

Recommendation 3
That the names of the ships HMAS Perth, Rankin, Sheean, Waller and Yarra be perpetuated in the Royal Australian Navy after the present named ships are decommissioned.

The Government has accepted this recommendation to the extent that it does not constrain the Chief of Navy as the lead custodian of the Royal Australian Navy’s heritage. Most notably, this includes his right to make recommendations for the naming of Australian warships. These ship names will be included in future considerations.

Recommendation 4
Other proposals to recognise the gallantry of some of the individuals, such as a permanent or rotating exhibition at the Australian War Memorial, be explored further.

The Government has accepted this recommendation.

Recommendation 5
The Australian Government continues to ensure that the memorial erected to commemorate the Sandakan death marches at Ranau,East Malaysia, is maintained in perpetuity.

The Government has accepted this recommendation.

Recommendation 6
The Department of Defence amend its Honours and Awards Manual to reflect the changes resulting from the establishment of the Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal and the advice from the Australian Government Solicitor that the Australian Parliament could pass a valid act directing the Minister for Defence to recommend particular honours.

The Government has accepted this recommendation.

Media contacts:
Office of Senator the Hon David Feeney: Jeffrey Von Drehnen 0477 348 476
Department of Defence (02) 6127 1999
Tribunal: James Cannon 0433 884238
The Tribunal’s report can be found at: http://defence-honours-tribunal.gov.au/inquiries/completed-inquiries/valour/
Imagery will be available later today at: http://images.defence.gov.au/12132870
Further information:

Gunner Albert Neil (Neale) Cleary
Albert Neil Cleary was born on 16 June 1922 at Geelong, Victoria and joined the Citizens Military Force in June 1940.  Cleary discharged in April 1941 in order to join the Second Australian Imperial Force.

Cleary was captured with other survivors of the Australian 8th Division on its surrender at Singapore in February 1942.  In July of that year, Cleary and many other prisoners were sent to Sandakan,Borneo, where they constructed an airfield.

In March 1945, after surviving a forced march from Sandakan, Cleary escaped from the prisoner of war camp at Ranau but was soon recaptured.  Cleary later died as a result of severe mistreatment inflicted by Japanese guards following his recapture.

Cleary did not receive an award at the time.  In 2011, following an inquiry by the ‘old’ Defence Honours and Awards Tribunal, Cleary, along with 19 other former Far East Prisoners of War was awarded a posthumous Commendation for Gallantry.

The Tribunal’s conclusions: The Tribunal concluded that there is no basis for Cleary being granted further recognition under the Australian honours and awards system. Further details can be found in Chapter 11 of the Tribunal’s report.

Midshipman Robert Ian Davies
Robert Ian Davies was born on 13 November 1923 at Greenwich, New South Wales and joined the Navy as a cadet midshipman in January 1937. In March 1941 Davies joined the British battle cruiser HMS Repulse as a substantive Midshipman.

Repulse, the battleship HMS Prince of Wales, and four destroyers formed Force Z, sent from Britain to the Far East in late 1941 and arrived in Singapore on 2 December.  On 10 December, Force Z came under a heavy Japanese air attack off the Malayan coast and in the ensuing engagement both Prince of Wales and Repulse were lost.

As the Repulse was sinking, Davies was seen at an Oerlikon anti-aircraft gun still engaging the Japanese aircraft that were attacking the ship.  Davies received a posthumous Mention in Despatches for his actions.

The Tribunal’s conclusions: The Tribunal found that the awards process was administered correctly and that there was no new evidence to sustain an alternative finding that Davies’s gallantry was inadequately recognised. Further details can be found in Chapter 12 of the Tribunal’s report.

Leading Cook Francis Bassett Emms
Francis Bassett Emms was born in Launceston, Tasmania on 28 November 1909 and joined the Royal Australian Navy in March 1928.

After initially qualifying as a gunnery rating, owing to failing eyesight Emms transferred to the Supply Branch and was re-rated as a cook in 1937.

Emms was aboard HMAS Kara Kara during the Japanese air raid on Darwin on 19 February 1942.  Emms manned a machine gun during the raid and although seriously wounded early in the action, he continued to fight his gun until the enemy was finally beaten off.

Emms received a posthumous Mention in Despatches and was cited in the recommendation for his award as probably saving the ship and many of the ship’s company.

The Tribunal’s conclusions: The Tribunal determined that the awards process was followed correctly and that there was no new evidence to sustain an alternative finding that Emms’s gallantry was inadequately recognised.  Further details can be found in Chapter 13 of the Tribunal’s Report.

Lieutenant (later Captain, later Senator) David John Hamer AM, DSC
David John Hamer was born in Melbourne on 5 September 1923 and joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1937 as a cadet midshipman.  Hamer served as a gunnery and air defence officer aboard HMAS Australia during the allied campaign to retake the Philippines in late 1944 and early 1945.

In January 1945, while operating in the Lingayen Gulf, Australia was subjected to repeated aerial attacks, being hit five times by suicide aircraft. Hamer was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his part in this operation, which mainly involved directing Australia’s anti-aircraft fire.  On one occasion when it appeared certain that a suicide plane would hit his position he maintained his place without flinching, the wing of the plane passing close to his head.

Hamer survived the war and went on to enjoy long and successful naval and political careers.  Hamer served in both houses of Federal Parliament.

The Tribunal’s conclusions: Having looked closely at the process followed and claims of new evidence, the Tribunal found that Hamer was appropriately honoured with the award of the Distinguished Service Cross. Further details can be found in Chapter 14 of the Tribunal’s Report.

Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick
John Simpson Kirkpatrick was born in South Shields,England on 6 July 1892.  After a brief association with the local Territory Army, Kirkpatrick joined the merchant navy and deserted to New South Wales in May 1910.
While in Perth in August 1914, he joined the Australian Imperial Force as John Simpson.  Part of the 3rd Field Ambulance, Australian Army Medical Corps, Private Simpson landed at ANZAC Cove on 25 April 1915.

Simpson came across a donkey in a hut, and with it worked up and down the dangerous valleys collecting slightly wounded servicemen and carrying them to the dressing stations.  Simpson soon became known to the men fighting in the tight confines of the Gallipoli beach head.

Simpson continued this work until 19 May 1915, when he was killed in action by Turkish machine gun fire.  Simpson was Mentioned in Despatches for his service.

The Tribunal’s conclusions: The Tribunal found that Simpson’s initiative and bravery was representative of all other stretcher bearers of 3rd Field Ambulance and that he was appropriately honoured with a Mention in Despatches.  Further details can be found in Chapter 15 of the Tribunal’s Report.

Lieutenant Commander Robert William Rankin
Robert William Rankin was born in Cobar, New South Wales on 3 June 1907.  Rankin joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1921.  In early 1942, Rankin took command of the sloop HMAS Yarra.

On 4 March 1942, Yarra was escorting a small convoy from Javanese waters to Fremantle when the convoy came under attack from a far superior Japanese force of three cruisers and two destroyers.  Some time early in the action, Rankin ordered Yarra to make smoke in order to screen the convoy and gallantly turned towards and attacked the Japanese force.  Unable to match the vastly superior firepower of the Japanese, Yarra was sunk.  The other ships of the convoy suffered the same fate or were scuttled.  Rankin was killed in the action.

Rankin did not receive any medallic recognition for his actions, but in 2001 a Collins class submarine was named in his honour and given the motto ‘Defend the Weak’ in reference to of Yarra’s last action.

The Tribunal’s conclusions: While the Tribunal was able to conclude that Rankin’s actions were clearly gallant, it was not persuaded they met the exceptionally stringent criteria for the VC for Australia.  The Tribunal also recommends that Lieutenant Commander Rankin, along with the other members of HMAS Yarra’s crew who served on either 5 February 1942 or 4 March 1942, receive the Unit Citation for Gallantry for their extraordinary gallantry during both of these actions.  Further details can be found in Chapters 21 and 22 of the Tribunal’s Report.

Able Seaman Dalmorton Joseph Owendale Rudd DSM
Dalmorton Joseph Owendale Rudd was born in Sydney on 14 June 1896 and joined the Royal Australian Navy in October 1913.

While serving in HMAS Australia at the end of February 1918, Leading Seaman Rudd volunteered for special duty with the Royal Navy and on 22/23 April 1918 Rudd took part in the shore raid of the German fortifications at Zeebrugge.  The gallantry of Rudd and those serving with him led to their participation in one of a number of ballots to select a sailor for the award of the Victoria Cross.  For his part in the raid, Rudd was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.

On 12 May 1919, as a punishment for committing a breach of discipline, Rudd was deprived of his second Good Conduct Badge and was demoted to Able Seaman.  Rudd was subsequently involved in a mutiny on HMAS Australia and on pleading guilty was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment.  He was granted an early release and discharged from the Navy on 20 December 1919.  Rudd died in 1969 aged 73.

The Tribunal’s conclusions: The Tribunal concluded that the process by which Rudd was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) was fair and appropriate recognition. Further, and contrary to some accounts, Rudd did not forfeit his DSM as a result of a court martial for mutiny in 1919. Further details can be found in Chapter 16 of the Tribunal’s Report.

Ordinary Seaman Edward Sheean
Edward Sheean was born at Lower Barrington, Tasmania on 28 December 1923.  Sheean joined the Royal Australian Navy Reserve in April 1941 and in June 1942 was posted to the corvette HMAS Armidale.

On 1 December 1942 while in the Timor Sea, Armidale came under air attack from a Japanese force including nine bombers and three fighters.  The Japanese hit Armidale with two air launched torpedoes, which resulted in the crew being ordered to abandon ship.  After this order to abandon ship was given, the crew leapt into the sea and swam away from Armidale, attempting to avoid the Japanese aircraft.  Already injured, Sheean, the loader of a three man Oerlikon gun, disregarded the order to abandon ship and shot down at least one Japanese aircraft until he died at his weapon.

Sheean was awarded a posthumous Mention in Despatches for his bravery and devotion during this action.  In 1999, the Collins class submarine HMAS Sheean was launched with the motto ‘Fight On’ in honour of Sheean’s final act.  Sheean is the only Australian naval vessel ever to be named after a sailor.

The Tribunal’s conclusions: The Tribunal concluded that Sheean’s actions displayed conspicuous gallantry but did not reach the particularly high standard required for recommendation for a VC.  The Tribunal concluded that it could not recommend that Ordinary Seaman Sheean be awarded the VC for Australia.  Further details can be found in Chapter 17 of the Tribunal’s Report.

Leading Aircrewman Noel Ervin Shipp
Noel Ervin Shipp was born at Brisbane on 24 December 1944.  Shipp joined the Royal Australian Navy in January 1963 as an underwater control rating and in July 1967 transferred to the air crewman category.  The following year, Shipp was posted to the Royal Australian Navy Helicopter Flight Vietnam (RANHFV) which was integrated with the US135th Assault Helicopter Company.  Shipp’s role was door gunner in UH1-C helicopter gunships.

On 31 May 1969 the 135th was supporting the extraction of South Vietnamese infantry in DinhTuong Province when they came under intense ground fire from the enemy.  Two gunships, one of which carried Shipp as the door gunner were directed to the source of ground fire and commenced attacking runs with rockets and machine guns.  Shipp’s helicopter itself came under fire and crashed, killing all on board.

Prior to the crash, Shipp was reported as hanging outside the aircraft, exposing himself to intense fire.  After the aircraft was hit and as it was going down Shipp was reported to have continued delivering devastating fire into the enemy positions. While Shipp did not receive any medallic recognition for his actions on 31 May 1969, a division at the Navy’s recruit school has recently been named in his honour.

The Tribunal’s conclusions: The Tribunal found that Shipp’s commander submitted no recommendation for an Australian honour for him. This was a valid decision and due process was followed. The Tribunal concluded that the judgements made by the appropriate authorities at the time were valid. Further details can be found in Chapter 18 of the Tribunal’s Report.

Lieutenant Commander Francis Edward Smith
Francis Edward Smith was born at Lismore on 8 October 1908 and joined the Royal Australian Navy Reserve in 1926.  In April 1940 he joined HMAS Yarra.

In February 1942, Smith and his gun crew were praised by their then Captain, Commander W.H. Harrington RAN for good work in shooting down an aircraft while Yarra rescued over 1800 British troops from the burning British Transport Empress of Asia.

Smith was killed with Lieutenant Commander Rankin and Leading Seaman Taylor when Yarra was sunk on 4 March 1942.  Yarra was escorting a small convoy from Javanese waters to Fremantle when the convoy came under attack from a far superior Japanese force of three cruisers and two destroyers.  Some time early in the action, Yarra gallantly turned towards and attacked the Japanese force.  Unable to match the vastly superior firepower of the Japanese, Yarra was sunk.  The other ships of the convoy suffered the same fate.

Smith did not receive any medallic recognition for his service on Yarra for either the February or March actions.

The Tribunal’s conclusions: The Tribunal concluded that there was insufficient evidence to recommend an individual gallantry honour to Smith. The Tribunal recommends that Lieutenant Commander Smith, along with the other members of Yarra’s ship’s company who served in Yarra on either 5 February 1942 or 4 March 1942 receive the Unit Citation for Gallantry for their extraordinary gallantry on both of these dates.  Further details can be found in Chapters 21 and 23 of the Tribunal’s Report.

Lieutenant Commander (later Commander) Henry Hugh Gordon Dacre Stoker DSO (Royal Navy)
Henry Hugh Gordon Dacre Stoker was born at Dublin, Ireland on 22 February 1885.  Stoker joined the Royal Navy in 1900 and in late 1913 assumed command of the Royal Australian Navy submarine AE2.

After service in the Pacific soon after the outbreak of war, Stoker brought AE2 into the Mediterranean to support the Gallipoli campaign.  Against considerable Turkish resistance and an unfavourable current, over 25-26 April 1915 AE2 was the first Allied vessel to pass through the Dardanelles into the Sea of Marmara.  For the next four days AE2 executed torpedo attacks without success, but actively made her presence known to the Turks.

On 30 April, while attempting to rendezvous with the British submarine E14, AE2 was attacked by a Turkish torpedo boat.  Stoker attempted to dive, but the submarine lost trim and went out of control.  After being hit, Stoker ordered the submarine to be scuttled.  Stoker and the crew spent the rest of the war in a Turkish prison camp.  Stoker was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and Mentioned in Despatches following his release from captivity.  Stoker died in February 1966.

The Tribunal’s conclusions: The Tribunal concluded that the process was conducted fairly and in accordance with the rules.  Stoker was appropriately awarded the Distinguished Service Order and an MID.  Further details can be found in Chapter 19 of the Tribunal’s Report.

Leading Seaman Ronald Taylor
Ronald Taylor was born at Melbourne on 29 April 1918 and joined the Royal Australian Navy in June 1935.  After training as a gunnery rating in 1938, Taylor served in the destroyer HMAS Vampire and the cruiser HMAS Adelaide before transferring to the sloop HMAS Yarra in August 1939.

In February 1942, Taylor earned the praise of his Captain, Commander W.H. Harrington RAN for good work at his gun while Yarra rescued over 1800 British troops from the burning British Transport Empress of Asia.

Taylor was killed with Lieutenant Commander Rankin and Lieutenant Commander Smith when Yarra was sunk on 4 March 1942.  Yarra was escorting a small convoy from Javanese waters to Fremantle when the convoy came under attack from a far superior Japanese force of three cruisers and two destroyers.  Some time early in the action, Yarra gallantly turned towards and attacked the Japanese force.  Unable to match the vastly superior firepower of the Japanese, Yarra was sunk.  The other ships of the convoy suffered the same fate.

Taylor was reported to have stayed at his gun after the order to abandon ship had been given, continuing to fire as the ship went down.

While Taylor did not receive medallic recognition for his service in either action, a division at the Navy’s recruit school has recently been named in his honour.

The Tribunal’s conclusions: The Tribunal concluded that there was insufficient evidence to recommend an individual gallantry honour to Taylor. The Tribunal recommends that Leading Seaman Taylor, along with the other members of Yarra’s crew who served on either 5 February 1942 or 4 March 1942, receive the Unit Citation for Gallantry for their extraordinary gallantry on both of these dates. Further details can be found in Chapters 21 and 24 of the Tribunal’s Report.

Captain Hector Macdonald Laws Waller, DSO and Bar
Hector Macdonald Laws Waller was born at Benalla, Victoria on 4 April 1900 and joined the Royal Australian Navy as a cadet midshipman in December 1913.  While he was in training for the majority of World War I,
Waller served in the battleship HMS Agincourt in the British Grand Fleet during 1918.

Following the outbreak of World War II Waller was sent to the Mediterranean to command the destroyer HMAS Stuart and the 19th Destroyer Division.  During this time Waller was awarded the Distinguished Service Order, Bar to the Distinguished Service Order and Mentioned in Despatches twice.

In September 1941, Waller returned to Australia to command the cruiser HMAS Perth.  In late January 1942 Perth was sent to join the American-British-Dutch-Australian (ABDA) force, hurriedly set up in an attempt to curb the Japanese advance into South East Asia.  While Perth escaped the resounding Allied defeat at the Battle of the Java Sea, she was sunk in the subsequent Battle of the Sunda Strait on 1 March 1942.

Waller received a posthumous third Mention in Despatches for this action.  In 1997, the submarine HMAS Waller was named in his honour and given the motto ‘tenacity’.

The Tribunal’s conclusions:  The Tribunal concluded that, conspicuous though Waller’s personal bravery was and his devotion to duty including to his crew to the very end extraordinary, these actions did not reach the particularly high standard required for recommendation for the VC. The Tribunal concluded that it could not recommend that Captain Waller be awarded the VC for Australia.  Further details can be found in Chapter 20 of the Tribunal’s Report.

Poem

A Soldier

There is discipline in A Soldier
you can see it when he walks,
There is honor in A Soldier
you hear it when he talks.

WO1 Wally Thompson RSM-A

There is courage in A Soldier
you can see it in his eyes,
There is loyalty in A Soldier
that he will not compromise.

There is something in A Soldier
that makes him stand apart,
There is strength in A Soldier
that beats from his heart.

A Soldier

A Soldier isn’t a title any man
can be hired to do,
A Soldier is the soul of that man

buried deep inside of you.

A Soldier’s job isn’t finished after
an 8 hour day or a 40 hour week,
A Soldier is always A Soldier
even while he sleeps.

Sandy Pearson

Vale MAJ GEN Sandy Pearson’s funeral service

A Soldier serves his country first
and his life is left behind,
A Soldier has to sacrifice what
comes first in a civilian’s mind.

If you are civilian –
I am saying this to you…..
next time you see A Soldier
remember what they do.

Dedication of the Long Tan Cross

A Soldier is the reason our land
is ‘Home of the free’,
A Soldier is the one that is brave
protecting you and me.

If you are A Soldier –
I am saying this to you…..
Thank God for EVERY SOLDIER
Thank God for what YOU do!

“Lest We Forget”

The Royal Australian Regiment Salutes Corporal Daniel Keighran VC

When Governor-General Quentin Bryce awarded Corporal Daniel Keighran with the Victoria Cross he earned a unique distinction in the history of The Royal Australian Regiment, he became the RAR’s first soldier to be awarded our nations highest award while on active service with a Battalion of the Regiment.  Since the Second World War and the formation of the RAR, there have been four Imperial Victoria Cross and two Victoria Cross for Australia Recipients.  The four Imperial awards were all members of the AATTV serving in the Vietnam War, three of them; Kevin Wheatley, Keith Payne and Ray Simpson were all WO2’s who had previously served in Battalions of the Regiment while the fourth, MAJ Peter Badcoe was an artillery officer.  In Afghanistan, two Victoria Cross of Australia awards have been made to special forces members, Mark Donaldson and  Ben Roberts-Smith of SASR, again both former RAR members.

Today at the United Service Club in Brisbane, The Royal Australian Regiment Association (Queensland Branch) while celebrating the 64th birthday of the Regiment toasted the achievements of Corporal Daniel Keighran VC, the third recipient of the Victoria Cross for Australia.

The award was for service in circumstances of great peril at Derapet, Uruzgan Province in Afghanistan.  In August 2010, Corporal Keighran was involved in coordinated enemy attack from multiple firing points.  According to his official citation, he “with complete disregard for his own safety, broke cover on multiple occasions to draw intense and accurate enemy fire to identify enemy locations and direct return fire from Australian and Afghan fire support elements.”  The 29-year-old’s actions were instrumental in permitting the withdrawal of the combined Australian and Afghan patrol with no further casualties.

Speaking at the Investiture Ceremony at Government House in Canberra, CDF  General David Hurley said Corporal Keighran’s selfless actions were of the highest level of bravery.  “Corporal Keighran acted with exceptional clarity and composure that spread to those soldiers around him, giving them confidence to operate effectively in an extremely stressful and dangerous situation.”

Corporal Keighran himself said he was surprised and honoured to receive the award.  “This is a very unexpected and humbling experience and I don’t think it has really sunk in yet.  I am very proud of the boys from Delta Company, 6 RAR and how they performed that day. This award is as much for their efforts as it is for mine.  I would also like to acknowledge my family, friends and especially my wife Kathryn. They have been very supportive throughout my service and deployments and I would like to recognise and thank them.”

Corporal Keighran enlisted in the Australian Army in 2000, prior to Afghanistan, he had served in East Timor and Iraq, was promoted to Lance Corporal in 2005 whilst within Mortar Platoon Support Company, 6RAR and subsequently Corporal in 2009.

CPL Keighran was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions while serving with 6th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment.

Test Firing Goryunov SG43 after Battle of Long Tan

Checking out a capture VC Machine gun – circa 1966.

 

2/7758 Warrant Officer 2 John William ‘Jack’ Kirby, Company Sergeant Major (CSM) D Company, 6th Battalion The Royal Australian Regiment (RAR) of Windsor, Brisbane, Qld, (left), and Major Harry Smith of Ashgrove, Brisbane, Qld, Officer Commanding D Company 6RAR, test firing the Goryunov SG43 7.62 x 54mmR Soviet made Chinese communist heavy machine gun captured at the battle of Long Tan.

Smith and Kirby distinguished themselves at the Battle of Long Tan on 18 August 1966. Smith was awarded the Military Cross (MC) and Kirby the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM). On 6 February 1967, whilst participating in Operation Tamborine, Kirby was fatally wounded by artillery fire from the 161st Battery, Royal New Zealand Artillery (RNZA), when 12 105mm rounds accidentally fell on and around the D Coy Headquarters. This friendly fire incident killed four Australians (including Kirby) and wounded 13 others.

Inside the UK Navy’s Supersub

Deadly Hunter Killer submarine is capable of hearing a ship leaving port in New York… while sat underwater in the English channel

One of the world’s most sophisticated and powerful nuclear submarines

  • Carries dozens of cruise missiles capable of hitting targets 1,200 miles away
  • Her sonar can detect vessels moving on the other side of the ocean
  • Powerful nuclear reactor allows her to cruise non-stop for 25 years
  • HMS Ambush is so hi-tech the giant submarine doesn’t even need a periscope

By SAM ADAMS

PUBLISHED: 08:59 GMT, 14 September 2012 | UPDATED: 12:59 GMT, 14 September 2012

She cost around £1billion to build, has sonar so sensitive it can hear other vessels 3,000 miles away and carries a giant payload of 38 deadly Tomahawk cruise missiles.

HMS Ambush, the Royal Navy’s newest nuclear attack submarine, is one of the most sophisticated and powerful vessels of her type ever built.

The giant Astute-class sub, which was launched today, is so hi-tech she doesn’t even need a periscope.

Scroll down to watch the submarine’s weapons being tested…

Awesome: HMS Ambush, which was built by BAE Systems, is believed to be the world's most powerful nuclear attack submarine. Her huge weapons payload includes super-accurate Tomahawk cruise missiles and Spearfish torpedoes for fighting other vesselsAwesome: HMS Ambush, which was built by BAE Systems, is believed to be the world’s most powerful nuclear attack submarine. Her huge weapons payload includes super-accurate Tomahawk cruise missiles and Spearfish torpedoes for fighting other vessels
Success: The super hi-tech vessel has undergone rigorous testing ahead of today's launch. Despite her size the sub's 103 crew will be tightly packed, with some sleeping up to eight to a room in bunk bedsSuccess: The super hi-tech vessel has undergone rigorous testing ahead of today’s launch. Despite her size the sub’s 103 crew will be tightly packed, with some sleeping up to eight to a room in bunk beds

Enlarge Super sophisticated: A cross-section of the sub shows the complexity of her design and the need to fit as much technology in as possible 

Super sophisticated: A cross-section of the sub shows the complexity of her design and the need to fit as much technology in as possible

HMS Ambush graphic

Her crew instead using a digital camera system to see above the surface when she is submerged.

Built by BAE Systems, she has enough nuclear fuel to carry on cruising for up to 25 years non-stop – giving her huge tactical flexibility.

Her nuclear reactor is so powerful her range is only really limited by the need for maintenance and resupply.

 

 

Astute-class submarines are the largest, most advanced and most powerful in the history of the Navy, boasting world-class design, weaponry and versatility.

HMS Ambush can travel over 500 miles in a day, allowing them to be deployed anywhere in the world within two weeks.

The vessel is also one of the quietest sea-going vessels built, capable of sneaking along an enemy coastline to drop off special forces or tracking a boat for weeks.

Detailed: HMS Ambush was fitted out with her sophisticated technology at Devonshire dock hall in Barrow-in-Furness Cumbria. She contains some of the most hi-tech weapons and sonar systems ever created Detailed: HMS Ambush was fitted out with her sophisticated technology at Devonshire dock hall in Barrow-in-Furness Cumbria. She contains some of the most hi-tech weapons and sonar systems ever created
HMS Ambush: Her powerful nuclear reactor allows her to travel around the world without stopping. She can cruise for up to 500 miles in a dayHMS Ambush: Her powerful nuclear reactor allows her to travel around the world without stopping. She can cruise for up to 500 miles in a day

Foreign forces will find it almost impossible to sneak up undetected by her incredibly powerful sonar equipment that can hear halfway around the world.

Her Tomahawk missiles are capable of hitting targets up to 1,200 miles away – making her a vital weapon for Britain’s armed forces.

The sub’s commander Peter Green, 47, said the vessel’s capabilities are ‘unparalleled.’

 

‘This sub is a huge step forward in underwater operations,’ he told the Daily Mirror.

‘Her listening ability is quite awesome. She has a sonar system with the processing power of 2,000 laptop computers.

Inside: The weapons room of the £1billion sub. Many details of her weapons system remain top secretInside: The weapons room of the £1billion sub. Many details of her weapons system remain top secret

 

Feeding the crew: The submarine's kitchen will be staffed by five chefs providing food 24-hours a day for her officers and crewFeeding the crew: The submarine’s kitchen will be staffed by five chefs providing food 24-hours a day for her officers and crew
Technology: Leading engineering technician Andrew Gee tests out the sub's steering system in the control roomTechnology: Leading engineering technician Andrew Gee tests out the sub’s steering system in the control room

‘It is possible this class of submarine is the most advanced in the world.’

Another Astute Class sub is currently undergoing sea trials – and could be operational within a year.

Many details of HMS Ambush’s weapons systems cannot be revealed for security reasons.

Most of her 103-strong crew live in bunk-beds measuring two metres by one metre, with up to 18 submariners sharing one room.

After today’s launch HMS Ambush will begin sea trials before eventually beginning operations.

Temporary Lieutenant W T Dartnell VC, 3/9/1915

Today in Australian military history – 3/9/1915 – Temporary Lieutenant W T Dartnell, 25th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, originally from Melbourne, Victoria Cross action at Maktau, British East Africa. It was a posthumous award.

William Dartnell, born at Collingwood, Melbourne, was only 15 years old when he enlisted for service in South Africa with the Victorian Mounted Rifles in 1901. He returned to South Africa in 1913 and was working there when war was declared. Using the name Wilbur Taylor Dartnell, he joined the 25th Battalion, the Royal Fusiliers, as a temporary lieutenant, and in April 1915 sailed for service in British East Africa.

Dartnell’s Victoria Cross was awarded posthumously for his actions on 3 September 1915, near Maktau, East Africa. Wounded in the leg during an ambush, he insisted on being left behind to allow other wounded companions to be carried away. Though he was twice asked to leave, he refused and began firing at the Germans around him. When his body was found, seven enemy dead were lying nearby.

Dartnell was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously, he also received the Queen’s South Africa Medal and service medals for the First World War.