'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 contributor names listed below will be familiar to other Communicator shipmates.

We are now in direct contact around the globe via the Internet and email, so we are truly QSO the World”

This is not an on-line forum, if you would like something published on this page please send me an email.

I update regularly and will publish your article (with accompanying photo/s if you wish) as soon as I am able.

The views expressed below are not necessarily those of the Web Manager.

this link for previous years QSO.

John Curbishley
Web Manager

December 2014 Entries

Christmas Greetings

All the very best to you all for Christmas and the New Year
We thank you for your support during 2014
John & Sarah Curbishley


Ex-CPORS Ray Pennell R94289 in Sick Bay

Today I received a Xmas card from Ray's sister Pat Sharp.

Quote Ray has suffered a long struggle with cancer but the cancer is beating him and he has only days to live Unquote

Ray lives in Toowoomba QLD and no other information available.

Vic Ford

Thanks Vic, sad news, Ray is a member of the 8th Intake JRTE.  We wish him well.

Further advice from Vic Ford 23 Dec:

Following extract taken from Toowoomba Newspaper

PENNELL, Raymond John "Ray"
Passed away peacefully surrounded by family on 19th December 2014, aged 67 years.
Dearly loved Father of Luke. Loved Poppy of Amelia and Ella-May. Loved Brother to Judy, Larry and Pat. Loving Uncle to their respective families and a Great Mate to many.

Family and friends are respectfully invited to attend Ray's funeral, to be held at T.S. Burstow Chapel, 1020 Ruthven Street (south), Toowoomba, service commencing at 10.00am, Wednesday, 24th December 2014.
"At Peace"


Christmas Greetings

A very Merry Christmas and a Health & Happy New Year to all who follow this page. Will have a toast to absent friends at our family's Christmas lunch.

Bruce Spender

Christmas Greetings

We wish all comms and others a very merry Xmas God bless for a happy 2015.

Ciao from
Bob and Kate Vonarx


Improving access to information in an easy to navigate format has guided the re-development and improvement of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) website which was launched today by the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson.

Through a single online entry point, DVA clients of all ages can access all the information they need about compensation, health care and financial support in just a few simple clicks. Information about commemoration, educational resources, grants and other services is also available online.

As the importance of communicating through online channels continues to grow, DVA has developed a website that improves the way veterans and their families can access the information, support and services they need.

The website re-development follows consultation with veterans, current serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) members and the ex-service community.

The website is a valuable means of communication, with over one million page views per month. It is a valuable way for veterans and the general public to find information and is for many veterans their first contact with DVA. The new-look website will improve access to information.

The redeveloped website continues the Department’s mission of being responsive to the needs of veterans and their families.

You can visit the new-look website at

Media inquiries: Minister Ronaldson: Jordi Procel 02 6277 7820 or 0448 232 908 Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) and Veterans Line can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 4546)


HMAS ARROW - Cyclone Tracy

I noticed a few mentions regarding HMAS Arrow, and Les Catton. As one of the 2 greenies on board her during Tracy, I would just like to make mention of a couple of things.

I consider Les Catton as one of my greatest ever mates, a man of integrity beyond reproach, and in my books, a hero on the night of 24/25 Dec 1974. I owe this man my life. No more need be said about that.

I also find it rather confusing, some of the official propaganda the navy has written regarding that night. Yes, we did eventually try to escape to the open sea, as did Attack, but this was not the initial situation. Arrow had been ordered to one of the 2 cyclone buoys in the harbour, and Attack secured to the other. The reason Attack ended up grounded was because she dragged the buoy, and Arrow made an attempt to gain open water, only when it became apparent the jerking of the cable attached to the buoy was causing serious damage to the bow of the boat, and we released from the buoy only because further damage could cause a danger to the boat and crew. We made this attempt against winds in excess of 300Kph, and waves that were keeping the deck continually awash.

I hope this clears some issues up.

Thank you
Kevin Rainbow
HMAS Arrow


Christmas Greetings

Maybe some ex-sparkers will find this video clip amusing, particularly any ''Banana Benders''!

Best wishes to all readers for the Festive Season & 2015

Dave (Wescombe-) Down

aka "Doc" VK5BUG QTHR

"Beethoven of the Cootie Key!"

From Jim Anderson

Bravo Zulu old mate.

“beethoven of the cootie key”??? hmmmm

Jim A hi hi

From Dave Down

Des Mearns ex-CRSS, for whom I used to babysit quite a bit with my WRAN girlfriend, plus a few of the Coonawarra lads were fascinated/amused by my trying out a metronome & also chunks of music to practice rhythmic sending on the sidewanker. Des had previously run my sending against an undulator on a number of occasions at my request.

I used straight or Vibroplex keys @ sea but needed the sidewanker for very rough weather when I used to sit on Ibis' wireless office floor & brace my feet against a wall & the crypto safe. That way, I could still send OK in spite of any conditions.

So, during a 7-week detached duty (see service record) to VHM from Ibis in 67, I was trying to eliminate the buzzing from the hacksaw blade when sending over 20wpm, & also trying to make my keying as good as possible anyway, given the amount of crappy sidewanker sending that abounded in pussers @ the time. The metronome worked well but when I went back to sea I had to use off air music to replace it.

So Des christened me ''Beethoven of the Sidewanker" & after I paid off, I altered sidewanker to Cootie Key as it fitted into ham radio then.

I hope that makes you would not believe how obsessed I was/am with Morse!!!

Cheers Jim & all the best for Chrissy & 2015 mate. Thanks for staying in touch.

regards de Dave


Christmas Greetings

All the best to our friends and fellow/female Communicators a joyous Christmas with your loved ones and a New Year of peace, goodwill and happiness.

Follow this link for an e-card from Trevor and Jo.

Trevor and Jo Percival

Christmas Greetings

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all Comms and their families.

Fred Harper
Bribie Island


On Sunday, 23rd November as it was the closest Sunday to the actual sinking of HMAS PARRAMATTA II on the 27th November 1941 by the German submarine U559 with the loss of 134 of the crew, a Memorial Service was held at Parramatta to pay tribute and homage to those men.
The Service was held at the Queens Wharf Reserve, along the Parramatta River where there is a Memorial and also the stern section of HMAS PARRAMATTA I. By the time the Service was due to commence with a small march, the weather at 11.00am was already 38 degs C, but this did not stop the numbers who arrived.

The Cataflaque Party and Flag Orderlies where from Serving Members of the RAN under the direction of CPO Stuart Dollimore who is Command Ceremonial - Navy from HMAS KUTTABUL. Music was by a Detachment from the RAN Band Sydney. Both the Flag Orderlies and Cataflaque Party deserve full credit, all dressed in full 6's uniform and with no shade and the weather rising, did not falter throughout the Service.
Mr Rus Jardine, President of the Parramatta Memorial Sub Section NAA and Chaplain S Estherby RAN Officiating.

Guests included Commander Simon Cannell, Staff Officer Maritime Warfare Centre and who had just relinquished Command of HMAS PARRAMATTA IV, Councillor S. Lloyd, Lord Mayor of Parramatta, Ms, Julie Owens, Federal Member for Parramatta, Dr. Geoff Lee State Member for Parramatta, relatives and friends of HMAS PARRAMATTA II crew.

In this Service the RANCBA Laid a Book in lieu of a Wreath, and many more Associations do the same. Here ex RO John "Blue" Short who was Commissioning Crew of HMAS PARRAMATTA III carried out this duty. It was pleasing also to see RADM Guy Griffiths AO DSO DSC RAN Rtd who had been the Commanding Officer HMAS PARRAMATTA III at the time in attendance.

The Naval Ode and Ode was Recited by Mr. Ron Smith OAM, Castle Hill RSL Sub Branch with a Bugler from the RAN Band Playing The Last Post and Reveille after a Minutes Silence.

On completion of the Hymn , Eternal Father, the Australian National Anthem the Service was completed, but all were invited back to the Parramatta RSL Club for Luncheon and refreshments - The weather had now starting to touch 40 degs C so this was very much appreciated.

Communicators in attendance, Ms Liz Watts, John & Pam Short, Don Ferguson, Shorty & Helen Moffatt. Ron Smith OAM who recited both Ode's is a ex CPO EM who many may know or served with.

As I stated above, the RANCBA at this particular Service Lay a Book, and I retrieved the Book and presented to a local High School and I received this letter in appreciation. Herewith an extract:
Quote. Royal Australian Navy Communications Branch Association
2015 will not only see the 100 year Anniversary of ANZAC, but also the 50 year Anniversary of the opening our School

Our School proudly supports the Remembrance of the ANZAC tradition each year. We try to link this with our own focus on Responsibility, Respect, Right's and Learning as a meaningful reminder to our Students that the opportunities and freedoms we enjoy today came at a great costs to families just like theirs.

Kindest Regards
Mrs Judy Simms. Principal
Pendle Hill High School


On the 6th December, commencing about midday, Members starting mustering at Parramatta RSL Club for this annual event. There is no time set and you can call it "stumps" when ever you wish.

Our venue was the verandah over looking Parramatta Park and this included , RADM Tony Horton (Patron NSW), Owen Perkins, Barry Stringer, Steve Bridge, Ray & Sharon Mundy, Andy Mills, Michelle Powell, Max Miller, John & Pam Short, Frank Lawton, Ric & Jan Easom, Dave Turnbull, Dave Sutherland, Shorty & Helen Moffatt, Don Ferguson, Laurie Scutts, Doug & Lesley Mortimer with apologies being received from Liz Watts, Harry Firth, Ken Swain and Trevor Pike.

At this particular function, our out going Treasurer Max Miller was presented with his Life Membership Badge for his years of work and membership of the RANCBA.

Also some of the Members were lucky in the RSL Club raffle that was drawn that afternoon and I believe one person won 2 prizes!!!  Another good get together and some of the stories that were told, you just wouldn't believe.  Not long after some of us had left, but the "stayers" remained, a massive storm hit Sydney and some damage was sustained by the Club.


My name came out in the second ballot for those attending the Service at Gallipoli and it didn't give me much time to delay, and as it was a once in a lifetime to attend this Service, I quickly did all the requirements that DVA had requested, ie, Flight & accommodation bookings, passport number, and all now confirmed, so along with my wife Helen, we will be in Gallipoli for the the 2015 Service.

Also for those that may not know, NSW Chapter Committee person, Frank Lawton and his wife Larraine shall also be there . He was one of the lucky recipients in the first ballot. So our both our presences will be "sadly" missed here in Sydney on ANZAC Day 2015 !!!!!


On behalf of the Committee of the NSW Chapter, we would like to take this opportunity to wish all Communicators regardless of which Chapter, you, your family and many friends all the very best for the Festive Season and in 2015

Allan "Shorty" Moffatt OAM
President RANCBA NSW

November 2014 Entries

RANCBA Website Updates

With the exception of the Guestbook, this website will not be updated from 20 November to 13 December 2014, while Sarah and I take a trip overseas.  If you have important news to pass on during this period please use the Guestbook or the RANCBA group on Facebook.

Please hold all QSO and other non-urgent articles until services resume in mid December.

John Curbishley
Web Manager


I would like to share with shipmates a memorable experience for me that was a focal point of a recent cruise I undertook to Cape York. This was to locate and then dive the wreck of the Bathurst class corvette, HMAS Warnambool.

The sinking of Warnambool occurred on 13 September, 1947, while she was clearing mines in the vicinity of Cockburn Reef, in company with sister ship Swan. During the operation, Warnambool made contact with a mine, suffered extensive damage and sank, despite desperate attempts to save her. Four ratings were killed in the sinking, one being a signalman (N.L Lott, 28608). The four sailors had become the last naval casualties of WW II. The monument dedicating the loss of Warnambool can be found in the Coral Sea Monument Park, Cardwell.

This Monday 17th November, in good weather, I located the Warnambool and carried out two solo dives on the wreck, which is lying on her starboard side in approximately 25m water depth. The mortal damage caused by the contact mine (port side aft) is clearly evident. Some other notable features, from forward to aft were - the bow, with port anchor still in it's hawse, focsle bollards, single open gun turret, small open bridge (missing helm and binnacle), single funnel lying on the seabed, winch/sweeping gear on the quaterdeck, davit on the stern, messdeck portholes, rudder approx midship position, unable to locate propellor (probably salvaged).

I should add that life in the wreck was prolific, near the stern I had a near brown stain moment when I encountered a huge groper, but he showed only slight interest in the strange intruder, and swam off. He is probably a long term resident.

Although visibility was not that good, have attached a few photographs of the dives,

Cheers and Merry Christmas to All,
Terry Gleeson
M.V Accalia

    Warnambool Messdeck Porthole  Warnambool Focsle Bollards

Further to my original post, would like to pass on to readers that a joint submission (prepared with great assistance from buddy and shipmate Skeet Dowling ), requesting historic wreck consideration for Warnambool, has been submitted to the Minister for Environment.

Hoping for a positive outcome,


Follow this link for the submission to the Minister for Environment.

Vale Reginald G Withers R25989

Sandy McNab sends….

In learning of ex W.A. Senator Reg Withers passing I guess his earlier parliamentary ‘toe cutter’ career will be well documented in the press, and similarly as an ex Lord Mayor of Perth.

Quite possibly a lesser known fact is that he was also ex-RAN and a Coder in the Communications Branch.

We had Reg on our books for the 1999 National Reunion but unfortunately I think he was overseas holidaying and could not attend. I learnt that it was the late Ted Pretty of the ACT that way laid and pestered Reg so much in the corridors of the old Parliament House to join the RANCB, that he finally relented and offered up a $100 for 10 years membership (and some peace!).

From the Archives
Reg born 26.10.1924 here at Bunbury joined 11.6.1942 for 2 years or period of hostilities plus 6 months as an ORD Coder II.

Transfers included Cerberus, Torrens/Lanka/Nile (HMAS Gawler), Leeuwin, Torrens, Melville, Leeuwin/Shore and demobilised 4.4.1946.

Reg was also a member of the Corvettes Association of Australia, and speaking to him many years back of their ever diminishing numbers he commented ‘Sandy we could not even get half a bus load (from Perth) to the east for their last National reunion. A grand innings Reg. RIP

Lord Mayor of Perth


This Service was held at Bradleys Head on Sunday, 9th November commencing at 11.00am to remember the Anniversary of the Battle which took place on 9 November 1914 near the Cocos Island group. The ensuring Battle was with a loss of 4 sailors from HMAS SYDNEY but with the loss of 134 men killed in action or died from wounds from the SMS EMDEN.

Prior to arriving at Bradleys Head, I noted this lady near Central Station wearing a Red Poppy but with a Medal on the right side as a descendant. I had a fair idea what the Medal was, but, I spoke with her, and she was very proud of her late father, it was the GEORGE CROSS Awarded to her father for his Service on the island of Malta during WW II.

It was a ferry trip across the harbour, then we were met by a coach by the NPWS and driven to the Memorial. Sydney harbour once again looked a picture, beautiful weather and the harbour busy with yachts, dinghys etc.
When I was shown to my seating, i was to meet 3 generations of descendants of Surgeon Arthur Todd who was aboard HMAS SYDNEY I, then to a Ms Isabell Leon nee Schidmt - Harms a descendant of one of the crew of EMDEN.

The Introduction was given by Chaplain Bob Durbin, MC who is Chaplain of the HMAS SYDNEY Association and we were all asked stand for the arrival of the Official Guests which included, His Excellency, General, The Hon. David Hurley AC DSC Rtd -Governor of NSW. He has just recently retired as Chief of Defence, Australia.
The Hon. Browyn Bishop MP, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Representing the Prime Minister, The Hon. Tony Abbott. Commodore Geoff Geraghty AM RAN Representing the Chief of Navy and the Australian Fleet Commander, Peter Abelson, Mayor of Mosman.

The Welcome by Mr. James Glossop, son of the Captain John Glossop RN who had been Commanding Officer HMAS SYDNEY I 1913-17.

The Detachment of the RAN Band preformed the music," Royal Australian Navy" and this was followed by the Battle Prayer.

The Address was given by Mr. Mike Colless, son of AB Seaman Colless who served on HMAS SYDNEY I between 1914 -17.

Once again with modern communications a message was received from Commander Karl. Brinckman RAN , Commanding Officer HMAS SYDNEY IV which was presently in New Zealand waters. Very well executed and shows how far communications have come.

The Dedication of ANF's for the loss of sailors from HMAS SYDNEY I . This was carried out by TV/Media person Mike Carlton where he gave a resume of the person who had lost his life, then a ANC from TS SIRIUS would march with a ANF and the Banner placed in a stand.
Wreath Laying was by Members of the Official Party with Tributes Laid by Family Members.  The Naval Ode was Recited by Commodore Geoff Geraghty RAN . Followed by the Last Post - One Minutes Silence - Reveille.

The Naval Hymn sung by all, followed by the Blessing by Chaplain Bob Durbin and the Australian National Anthem
This concluded the very well organised Service.

Pleasing to see many there which included ex LSig Howard Halsted OAM, ex LSig Dick Thompson, Philip & Mary Bell FNSA.

As my Official seating was behind the Governor of NSW I had a full sight of this. One of the ANC from TS SIRIUS began to stagger a little with the heat and standing for a long period, but the Governor had noted this, quickly leap out of his seat, a quick movement and he caught the ANC and assisted him to a place in the shade. It was a credit to him. BZ.

Allan 'Shorty" Moffatt OAM
President RANCBA NSW

Communication Suite for NUSHIP CANBERRA

With the biggest ship in the fleet comes the largest computer network and communications suite onboard a Royal Australian Navy vessel.

The way ships communicate these days may be of interest to former comms personnel (see link below).

Incidentally, the ship has three internet cafes that provide space for the crew to conduct personal administration. Wonder if you get a coffee at the same time?

(With acknowledgement and thanks to


JR Reunion 2015 - Sydney

November 9-13th Sydney 2015 - Check out the website which is now live for bookings.

Thank you.

Mark Lee


Ray Davis sends:

Check the hoists on this one - Bunting Tossers will never be out of work !!


What Happened to Frank Bennie?

Graham Bence sends:

I finally found the Bennie family and asked them what had happened to Frank.  His wife, daughter and son would like the following to be posted for all of Frank's friends know what happened to him.

Francis John Bennie (Frank) joined the navy in 1958. He served on six different ships, including the HMAS Moresby, during his service - in Communications and as Leading Radio Officer. He saw active service in the Malayan War and in Borneo.

Frank and his wife Jill gave birth to a Baby girl, Lyndal in 1966.

After leaving the navy in 1967, Frank worked at Tidbinbilla Tracking Station. And for Ansett Airlines and Ansett Pioneer as an Operations Manager in Canberra and A manager in Alice Springs. Frank and Jill became the first tenants in Belconnen Valley, Aranda, ACT. There they had their second child, Scott in 1969.

In 1972 Frank left Ansett and became the proprietor of "Centre Photographics" following his passion of Photography. He took various photos including Tourist photos for the local Camel Farm. He then opened the first Colour Lab in Alice Springs.

Frank once had the opportunity to cook a BBQ for Prince Phillip in Alice Springs. He was also asked to fly to Darwin after the Tragedy of the 1974 Cyclone ,to get photos of the destruction.
In 1977 Frank became ill with a Brain Tumour. He spent time in Adelaide during his operation and follow up Treatment. He and the family then moved to the Gold Coast to be closer to a major hospital for him. Unfortunately Frank died aged 44yrs on the 2nd of October 1978, at Gold Coast Hospital, after being nursed at home by his wife Jill. He left his children 12yrs and 9 yrs. Jill proceeded to look after them alone.

Jill now resides in Yamba NSW. having never remarried. Their Daughter had three children and is living in Townsville, Qld and their Son had three boys of his own and resides in Boonah, Qld.


Sandy McNab sends.....

In noting Graham Bence's write-up on the late Frank Bennie, whose earlier passing l learnt of at the 1999 National Reunion but not of the circumstance, prompted me to dig out and scan a couple of photos of yesteryear. The occasion being the completion of some new Admiralty Pattern RAN double brick and tile double cabins with inbuilt cupboards and real beds, behind what I recall as the old I and J blocks opposite the indoor swimming pool, with their 'open plan' donga's with wooden bench seats and tables, hammock rails, storage bin and wooden lockers.

These photos are endorsed on the back Herald & Weekly Times Ltd, Press photo Service, so I am guessing we four were seconded for an official press photo promoting the RAN's upgrading of recruit school accommodation at FND, circa possibly late 1958 or early 1959, but I stand corrected on that.

In the 'out with the old' hammocks photo on the left is the late Laurie Dripps and on the right the late Frank Bennie. In the 'in with the new' beds photo L to R is Laurie Dripps, Kerry 'Rocky' Lusk, Frank Bennie and myself. Noting my 'short back and sides' it may have been pay week.

We are all similarly shown in our R2 Class photo 2nd March to 26th August 1959 and after a short stint at Watson, working at Kuttabul MSO and thence to MHQ Bankstown for the annual Merchant Shipping Reporting exercise(s) it was off to our first sea drafts as very Ordinary RO's.

The late Martin McGurgan to the Gascoyne, Rocky Lusk to the Queenborough along with JCO Gray, Don Spencer to the Quiberon, Frank Bennie to the Vendetta, Kev Ruwoldt along with Laurie Dripps to the Quickmatch, and myself to join the then recently re-commissioned Diamantina back here at Fremantle.


The late Laurie Dripps and the late Frank Bennie ..  The late Laurie Dripps, Kerry 'Rocky' Lusk, Frank Bennie and Sandy McNab ..

RANCBA QLD Meet & Greet

Twelve ex Communicators fronted up at the Grand Central Hotel yesterday 3rd November. It was pleasing to see so many after having three dropping out and two more missing in action.

Attendees were...Roger Garrett Esq, John Horton, Jim Eagles, Bob ‘Shorty’ Turner, Bob Simpson, Jim Finnegan (DCA), DCA Dave (Surname not known), Erroll ‘Hajji’ Barber, Bas Cleary, Tony ‘Tackers’ Miles, Peter Davey and Kev Ruwoldt.

Apologies...Gus Dodds, David ‘Doc’ Watson and Trev Percival.

Absentees...Noel Chidgey and Greg ‘Pedlar’ Palmer.

Looking forward to seeing a great bunch of ex Comms blokes next month.

Same old story once again no one had a Camera to record this occasion...ah well – next time. Any Brissie ex Comms type please come and join on the us on the first Monday in December.


October 2014 Entries

RANCBA ACT Get Together

This fine body of former communicators was recently seen at a lunch time gathering in Canberra.

Back row left to right:
John Scanlan, Pat Tierney, Bill Wilson.

Front row left to right:
Des McKee, Lance Sutherland and Greg Rouse.

Lance (suds) Sutherland

Thanks Suds, a fine looking body of men!

From Fred Harper:  And not a beer in sight !!

RANCBA WA Get Together

A few photos from the RANCBA WA branch get together in October at the Riverton RSL.

Photos include:

Denny Gordon, Peter Evans and Ron Wright in front of the banner.
Jack Shave Dave Mclean Ben Franklin and Doug Marsh standing.
Vic Ford Spud Murphy Geoff Hickling and Terry Frankland sitting.
Anita Large Lyn Cooper and Norma Dix.

Could you put these on the website thanks.

Scoops Cooper


Thanks Scoops, good to see everyone looking fit and well.

Battle of Leyte Gulf & Battle of Lingayen Gulf Memorial Service.

This Service was held at the Cenotaph, Martin Place by the HMAS AUSTRALIA Veterans Association to mark the 70th Anniversary of this battle.

It was a small and simple and very sincere Service, but, sadly due to health and age, numbers were down, with late apologies being received yesterday evening or early this morning.

It commenced at 11.30am, and the Opening Address was given by Ms Christine Roberts, President of the HMAS AUSTRALIA Veterans Association, and who is also the daughter of the late President, Mr. Keith Roberts.

The Wreath Laying was a single Wreath by Mr. Bryce Downs, Treasurer of the Association, and single red roses by relatives of departed shipmates.

Following this was the Naval Prayer (said by all) and then the Last Post by a Bugler from the RAN Sydney Band Detachment.
The Ode and the Naval Ode was Recited by Allan Moffatt, due to the unavailability of both Mr Wayne Wilson and Mr Keith Thompson-Burke, followed by Reveille.

The Closing Address was given by Ms Roberts.

So ends this simple but sincere Memorial Service in memory of our lost Shipmates in the Battle of Leyte Gulf in the Philippines 70 years ago and the Battle of Lingayen Gulf.  People of Australia should be grateful to our lost shipmates of HMAS AUSTRALIA who helped save our Nation.
But we must remember, peace came at a price.  May they rest in the peaceful haven of the sea

Benediction followed to conclude this Service.

Allan "Shorty" Moffatt OAM
President RANCBA (NSW)

RAN Band Recitals

I have received the following for RAN Band performances in Australia and if I could pass onto all.

Allan "Shorty" Moffatt OAM
President RANCBA NSW

Hunt for the "Impeccable Voice Operator" Evans and Melbourne Collision

Ron Baker sends:

Returned last week from the USS Frank E Evans reunion in Seattle, Washington. Whilst there, I was introduced to an ex-USS Kearsarge radarman, who wanted to know if I could find out for him the identity of one of our voice operators. Apparently, the message was passed by voice over a seldom-used SEATO frequency, requesting immediate assistance following the collision between Evans and Melbourne, and WAS IMPECCABLE. I was wondering if any of the ex-Melbournites wanted to make claim to the transmission, or knows of the identity of this person. I'm guessing that it was probably a sparker.


Honours & Awards - Assistance Sought

In the attachments and covering letter Captain Ian Pfennigwerth RAN Rtd is seeking the assistance of the Federation of Naval Ship Associations to locate approx 300/400 ex naval personnel who have been given an award in either the old Imperial Honours List or the later Order of Australia List. Ian and others have been working for the past 6 years to complete a full list of 3,600 names and details or their award. So far they are approx 300/400 names short. These names are contained in the attachments, 1, 2 and 3.

It would be appreciated if you could, email and snail mail these lists and covering letter to ALL of our affiliated Associations. Could you also request each Ship Assn to relay these Lists and covering letter to ALL of their own members (in ALL States) with instructions for each Member to carefully peruse each List to see if he/she:
a. Recognises his own name or
b. Recognises any name, or knows the whereabouts/contact details of this person.

If any ex Naval person is recognised, then it would be further appreciated if their contact details could be provided as follows;
a. For Seamen, contact Paddy Torrens at
b. For Engineers, contact Terry Feltham at
c. For Supply/Logistics, contact Les Roberts at 
d. For all others, contact Ian Pfennigwerth at

Ian and his team would sincerely appreciate any assistance to help them complete this massive research project.

CMDR Ken Swain AM RAN Rtd
Immediate Past President
Federation of Naval Ship Assns
Tel: 02 9907 9003
Mob: 0412 115 886

Follow the link above to view the lists.  If anyone is able to provide the information requested please contact the researchers shown above.


Dedication of Memorial Plaques & Federation of Naval Ships Association Service.

Today, Sunday 12th October 2014 the latest Plaque Dedication was held at the Chapel of Remembrance, Garden Island. Now, due to the up -grading of security within Garden Island, with only a couple of days notice, well the security has now been moved from Safe Base BRAVO to Safe Base CHARLIE, which means that unless you have a current Defence Force Pass, access to GI by private vehicle is no longer available, and that those coming via car, walking etc, have to park in the RAN Car Station in Cowper Road, and a coach will be there to transport you to the Chapel .It did cause some delay, but most had no problems with this procedure. Sadly with what is happening of living with this modern world and terrorism.

The Service was Officiated by Chaplain Anthony Crook RANR, who did ask all to be a little patience whilst awaiting the arrival of all from the Car Park Station.

The Welcome was given by Chaplain Crook RANR, but also in attendance Chaplain Russell Smith RAN , with music supplied by a small detachment from the RAN Band Sydney.

Among the very packed congregation, was Rear Admiral Guy Griffiths, AO, DSO, DSC RAN Rtd, and who later joined with all for morning tea.

The Hymn Amazing Grace was sung by all with great help by a AB Muscn from the RAN.

The Lesson was Read by Ken Swain AM , followed by the Sermon by Chaplain Crook and then all the singing of the Naval Hymn.

Family Reflections was then for those whose Plaques were being Dedicated, NOK, friends, old shipmates are asked to come forward to speak on behalf of that person, and my only regret is that it is not recorded for archival purpose.

Plaques were dedicated to the following

CMDR Anthony John Bennett OAM RFD, RANR
Signalman Don Bowe
PO Walter Coombes
Lieutenant Peter Handel
PO SBA William Humphries
Mate Ron Mac Gee
PO WRAN Lorna Irene Mill
Signalman Robert David Moffatt
AB Dennis Pecover OAM
PO Roy Somerville
Sub-Lieutenant David Watson

The Naval Ode & Ode was Recited by Allan David Moffatt OAM.
The Last Post - One Minutes Silence - Reveille.
Followed by a Prayer for Our Navy and Benediction.

Chaplain Crook thanked all for their attendance and to take the time and look around the Chapel and also down in the Chapel of Remembrance, which many took the opportunity. Also that the FNSA & RANCBA had supplied morning tea for all and at no cost and is available at the Historical Bldg.

Here I would like to take this opportunity to thank the following, in no particular order for the morning tea and who put in a great effort to make this a success.  Ray & Sharon Mundy, Philip & Mary Bell, Diana Avent, Liz Watts, Rick & Jan Easom, Ken & June Swain, Andy & Jan Mills, John & Pam Short, Dave & Vi Kelleher, Allan & Helen Moffatt. Without their great help, this would not be as good.

Once again , I was asked by some of those in attendance, they wanted know more about this very unique Service in Memory of those who served this Nation, and to pass on to all concerned their best wishes for all that was been given to them today .

Then it was time for get aboard the coach for the drive from Garden Island, as stated, no one is allowed to walk through the Island in this Security State.

Allan David Moffatt OAM
President FNSA & RANCBA

Vale Beth Joyce - ex WRRO

It is with deep regret to inform you that Beth Joyce passed away this morning in intensive care at the Ipswich General Hospital. Beth was admitted with a massive blood clot in the lung and when she got to the hospital had a massive cardiac arrest. She was on life support in intensive care. Will post funeral details when known. (Beth was a former WRAN RO in the early 50’s and met her husband Bill on a leave train).

Bill Joyce crossed the bar in May this year.

Beth’s funeral will be held on Thursday 16th Oct at 10am at the Len Russell Chapel, West Ipswich.

Kev Ruwoldt
Thanks Kev, sad news, may they both rest in peace.

From Kev 16/10:
Tony “Tackers” Miles and myself, attended the funeral service of Beth Joyce (wife of CFRS Bill Joyce) on the 16th of October at the Les Russell Funeral Parlour, Brisbane Street, West Ipswich. Besides family members there were over 100 people in attendance, one of which was Margaret Barr from Sydney, (wife of RS Lionel Barr).

Beth was born Beth Ivy Woods in Ipswich on the 28 July 1931. She attended the Silkstone State School continuing her Secondary Schooling at Ipswich Girls Grammar. In April 1951 Beth was one of the many women who were to invade what was once a strictly male dominated arena and joined the RAN. This was where Beth met her close friend Margaret Barr. In 1952 when she thought life couldn’t get any better she met Bill Joyce and they were to marry a year later. As with many institutions of the day married women were not accepted in the Navy and her time was over. Their three girls were born in Ipswich whilst Bill was at sea.

Beth struggled every day after Bill passed away, her grief, loneliness and loss engulfed her. She was lost without her soul mate, the love of her life, now together again forever.

Sitting next to Tackers at the service was a very nice lady who introduced herself as Irma Deas. Talking to Tackers, Irma indicated she had a brother who served in the navy years ago. Tackers asked what his name was. Graham Linning was her reply. His reply was “Tiny” Linning I knew him well.  in fact Kevin was on his watch in Darwin in 1965. Irma was quite surprised and told us that Tiny is suffering with Dementia today, has good and bad days and still lives in Dwellingup WA. Irma said all the males in her family were tall like Tiny and the girls short like her.


Vale Earl Thomas 'Tom' Lane R53524

Tom's loving wife Margaret advises that Tom passed away this morning (11 October 2014) at 12.36 am. He is now pain free.

The funeral will  be held at the Leslie Ross chapel in Hervey Bay on Thursday at 12.30pm with a wake to follow at the RSL.

Rest in Peace.
Sad news, our thoughts are with Margaret and family.

Tom Lane - RANCBA Reunion 2008
CERBERUS Sportsman's Club

Tom Lane - Cocos West Island

From Shorty Moffatt:

Another sad day.
Tom was one hell of a nice person., and my memories of him, will always remain.
I am so glad that I had the opportunity to have a ale or two with him at the Brisbane Reunion.
Lest We Forget

From David MacLean:
A bloody good hand Shorty and a very funny person, a good mate in Pussers & DCA
Lest We Forget

From Bob Day:
One of natures gentlemen resting in Peace.
An all round great bloke that always put a smile on your face whenever you enjoyed his company.
Cheers Tom. An innings well played

From Keghead Weaver (& Ruth):
Margaret. I knew Tom rather well during my stay in the Navy. I'm so glad the 'pain is gone', he was too nice a 'bloke' to have to put up with pain.
Our sincere condolences Margaret.
RIP Tom.

From Sonja & Alan Hellier:
Some of you may have great memories of Tom Lane. We got to know him while in Singapore for two years, then Tom left Voyager soon after Alan joined in 1962. Tom was at our son's Christening in Queanbeyan (Harman) in 1966, and we caught up with him a few times over the years. A great bloke who will be sadly missed.

It was great to see him at the Reunion here last year.

Condolences have also been sent on behalf of RANCBA (Q) to Margaret and his family at 3 Earls Court, Point Vernon Qld 4655.


Earl Thomas 'Tom' Lane is in Sick Bay

Sandy McNab advises via information received from Tom's wife Margaret that Tom Lane is still in sick bay.  Sandy is receiving regular updates on Tom's condition, but at present it doesn't look good.

This was previously reported on 26 June in this forum.

Tom is in St Stephens Private Hospital in Maryborough, QLD.  Further details will be promulgated when at  hand.

Earl Thomas Lane R53524 joined Nov 1957, DEE Nov 1963. Ex LRO.
Our thoughts and best wishes go to Margaret and family.


ANZAC Naval Commemorative Ball - 17 October 2015

Dear Fellow Communicators,

As some of your will now be aware from elsewhere it is intended to hold a ANZAC Naval Commemorative Ball in Melbourne on Saturday 17 October 2015. This event is designed to celebrate the Navy’s involvement in WW1 and in particular Gallipoli and its adjacent naval activities. It is intended to hold the Ball at the Etihad Stadium.

Please find attached details of the ball itself and a booking form for your members to return to the address indicated on the booking form.

I would request that you please pass this onto your members and any others you feel may wish to attend this prestigious event. The event will be followed the next day by a service at the Melbourne Shrine. Combined, both of these events will help re-launch Navy Week in Victoria.

The invitation is going out to a wide variety of ex navy organisations as well. If we can get a decent number of RANCBA members attending I plan to organise a ‘communicators’ event on the preceding Friday evening. I hope that some interstaters can find the time to attend this prestigious event. If you have any queries please contact me.

Ian Hogarth –T- Victorian members please
Gary Swanton – please post on our Victorian website
Curbs – Could you please post on the National website
Secretaries/Presidents –T- your state based members

Rod Withers
President RANCBA Victoria
(03) 9772 7775
0421 045 382


Crossed Juliet Lapel Pins

Earlier this year I arranged for a batch of crossed Juliet lapel pins to be manufactured. Most have been snapped up however I've got 14 left and rather than sit in my drawer was wondering if anybody at RANCBA would be interested.

If so, just reply via email & I'll advise all the details.

Thanks in advance
Grant Pilgrim

All enquiries to Grant please.

Roderick Robert Neal S6739 (ex SIG)

My name is Kate Neal, and John Perryman (Senior Naval Historical Officer, Sea Power Centre) directed me to the RANCBA website, where I found your address.

I am interviewing John Perryman, and others, in relation to a piece of work I am making on signalling and communication. My father was a signalman in the N-class destroyers (Rod Neal) 1940-45.

The project, called Semaphore, interweaves archival interviews, and is set to premiere at Arts House in North Melbourne and the Queensland Music Festival, Brisbane.

I am seeking more archival interviews, and I am especially wanting to make contact with signalman from WWII.

Can you help?

Very Best
Kate Neal
If anyone can assist Kate please contact her direct.

HMAS SYDNEY I - SMS EMDEN Engagement - 100th Anniversary Memorial Service:

I have received the following notice and Invite.

On Sunday 9th November the HMAS SYDNEY Association Inc will hold a Memorial Service to remember the 100th Anniversary and subsequent sinking of the German Cruiser SMS EMDEN by HMAS SYDNEY I near the Cocos and Keeling Islands.

While this sinking was seen as the first Naval victory by a ship of the very young RAN, it also introduced the Service to the danger and rigors of naval warfare and help establish the traditions, camaraderie and great sense of duty that remains true to this day.

We feel that this is particularly true in the case of all who have served in or now serve in HMS Ship named SYDNEY. We will also in particular remember the four sailors killed in HMAS SYDNEY I and 134 killed in SME EMDEN that morning in 1914. The Memorial Service will take place at Bradleys Head Reserve commencing at 11.00am.

This is also extended to any other of your family members, colleagues or friends who may wish to attend.  There will be a shuttle bus arrangements made and a function will be held on completion and again, all will be welcome.

Brian Yeo Secretary HMAS SYDNEY Assn

Allan 'Shorty" Moffatt OAM
President RANCBA NSW

Who is She, Where is she:

Sandy McNab sends…..

In surfing the FND collection which Graham Bence recently made reference to, the unidentified bearer of the very beaming smile with the ‘sparkers’ rate caught my eye.

So in noting it as being taken at Sig School 15.11.1955 I reckon it is worthy of a ‘who is she, where is she’.

It may prompt a couple of other very Ordinary Communicators of the day, to search their grey cells of yesteryear for a positive identification.

The answer may well already be in one of the mid 1950’s WRANs Class photos on the website. Cheers.

Re photo of WRAN Sparker I think it is Dawn Clemson Married John (Bill) Clemson lives on Sunshine Coast
Ciao from
Bob and Karen Vonarx


Vale Dawn Annette Clemson (nee Warman) W84541 (ex WRAN RO(S)

Passed away on 20th September 2014 aged 78, and was privately cremated.
"Who is she, where is she" was my Mum!
She is now at peace and pain free, but is missed every day.
"Keep smiling Dawnie".

Warm regards
Julie Walker (nee Clemson ex WOEWT)
28 October 2014


The RANCBA-ACT AGM is being held on Friday 10th October, 2014 at The Weston Club, Liardet St. Weston ACT. 1900 for a 1930 start.

No need to advise me you will be attending, but you can send in your apologies if unable to make it.

Finger food will be provided. The club has an excellent bistro if you would like to have dinner before the meeting.

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.

Also, please remember to wear a name-badge, any association/event badge will do.

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

Our association needs and values your membership.



September 2014 Entries

HMAS Cerberus - 50's and 60's

The link below will take you a whole series of photos of FND in the 50’s & 60’

Graham Bence


Catch up lunch in Perth

A number of ex communicators have organized a lunch on Tuesday 28th of October prior to the Gallipoli Anniversary in Albany the following weekend. The lunch will take place at the Queens Tavern 520 Beaufort St Highgate 6003 at 1230 for 1300 lunch.

We have good numbers to date but would like as many as possible to attend this casual catch-up. Male and Female ex Comms people plus any from other branches you would like to invite, wives and partners also.

As a number of us will be over there we thought it would be a fitting time to catch up with the locals. If you are interested please contact Black Cat Hickling on 0418 943 637 or 08 9330 4084, or Nokka White on 0418 524 067 or

Will be great to see you if you can make it.

Nokka White


Just a pickup on Dizzie's post - to add a bit of variety to the QSO before we all topple off the perch.......

Many of us would have spent some time in Darwin over the years, but what a boom town it is now, good news is that despite the pressures of increasing population and the fact that most are mad fisho's, barra fishing is still fantastic.

See attached pic of a beauty caught yesterday by yours truly within semaphore distance of the old SBRS.

Cheers to all and keep a tight grip on that perch,

Terry Gleeson


Plaque Dedication Garden Island 12 October

Here are the names of those who will have a Plaque Dedicated at the Chapel, Garden Island on 12th October commencing at 10.00am. Unfortunately they didn't send rank/rate etc.

Also Robert David Moffatt was a Signalman, killed at start of WW1 in New Guinea whilst serving on HMAS AUSTRALIA . There was a photo in Daily Telegraph on 6th September 2014 of his burial service at sea, being buried in his hammock.

If anyone will be attending, please send me your name, vehicle registration and others who maybe with you. Requirement for Security at Garden Island.  All names and car registrations etc will be required by Friday 3rd October.

Now, with the heightened Security Alert, to gain entry to Garden Island, EVERYONE must provide photo ID, even the passengers and if walking or by public transport, the same applies.

Allan David Moffatt OAM
President RANCBA NSW

Chaplain Smith has asked me to provide you with the list of plaques to be dedicated. They are for:

Anthony John Todd Bennett
Don Bowe
Walter William Coombes
Peter Henry Handel
William Wyatt Humphries
Ron MacGee
Lorna Irene Ellen Mill
Robert David Moffatt
Dennis Percival Pecover
Roy Alfred Somerville
David Robert Watson

The attendee list will be provided to security once finalised. This process has been rectified since June to ensure the full and complete list is with the gate before the event. The Chaplaincy centre will confirm this with security personally prior to the service to ensure the smooth entrance of all guests.

No ANC personnel have been arranged for the service.



Office Administrator
Command Chaplaincy Centre

Graham Bence at Glen Waverly RSL

Here are two not very good photographs from phone camera at the Glen Waverley RSL. Don’t know whether anybody remembers this but thought it might bring back some memories.



Sam & Chooma on the Move Again

Herre is a photo of two old signalmen propping up a bar in Cobh, Ireland, on a run ashore from arduous sea duty onboard the Royal Princess on passage Copenhagen to New York.

Chooma Hulme & Sam Hughes

Looks like a good run ashore, hope you are enjoying the trip.


Vale Peter W Dobson R27470 (ex CPO TEL)

Sandy McNab advises:

In perusing the August edition of the Victorian NVN newsletter Ron Tuckwell, Pete Donald and W B Hill’s entries are noted in their Valediction page along with another Communicators name which caught my eye in CRS P Dobson R27470 who ‘crosst the bar’ 3/6/2014 aged 87.

I do not know if Peter Dobson was ever an RANCBA member, however I thought his career and passing should not slip under our radar.

His service cards and address on discharge suggests he may have been a S.A. native.

From the Archives
Peter William Dobson, R27470 dob 28/8/1927 joined 24/9/1945 for 12 years, home ported Adelaide. 
O/TEL 1/6/46, TEL 24/10/46, A/L/TEL 1/4/51, L/TEL 16/5/52, A/PO TEL 1/10/54, PO TEL 1/10/55, DEE 23/9/1957, RANR 24/9/57 advanced to CPO.

Drafts and what a series of them included Harman, Warrnambool, Penguin, Lonsdale, Harman, Melville, Torrens, Harman, Cerberus, Harman, Australia, Platypus, Hawkesbury, Sydney, Barcoo, Harman, Melbourne and finally Torrens DEE. RIP

Lest We Forget


Vale Rodney James Clover R65208 (ex POSY)

Frank Lawton advises "I hope that I'm mistaken but I've just read in the Last Post section of the latest edition of Reveille (RSL Newsletter), the passing of a CLOVER RJ, and judging by his number R65208 I would hazard a guess that it is Rod Clover who went through Sig school around early 67. Made Yeoman and was CY of Swan at some stage.

Sure hope I'm wrong. Has anyone else heard anything?"

From the Archives:
Rodney James Clover R65208, DOB 23.8.1947.  Joined RAN 9.4.1966, DEE unknown.  Postings (up to 1970), CERBERUS, SYDNEY, CERBERUS, STUART, PARRAMATTA.  Rated TO2 in early 1967 and A/LTO in June 1969.

It certainly is the Rod Clover Frank remembers, can anyone provide additional information?

The following was provided by Dave Sutherland:

CLOVER. Rodney James 'Rod'. June 2, 2014 at Grafton Hospital. Loving husband of Gloria, dear son of Len and Betty (both dec.), father of Michelle, Peta, loved brother of Ray, Laurie, Jenny, Chrissie, Phillip (dec.), special to all his extended families. Aged 66 Years "Will be sadly missed by all"
Privately cremated.


More Content for the QSO Page - Des Byrne Sends:

I have followed the site for some years and enjoyed the opportunities to see what other ex Comms are doing but it seems we have devolved into a forum for Shorty's quite concise NSW Naval Ceremonial reports or death notices.

Can I suggest we solicit some humour, 'where have u been' stories, or anecdotes from then past to uplift the site. I know u do a beaut job but, having lived in a marketing arena for many years now, I'd love to visit the site and have a laugh.

Des Byrne
At the end of the day I can only publish what I receive.  If members would like to see other content all you have to do is get it to me.  To open the debate, how do others suggest we could improve the forum?

From Shorty Moffatt:
Re Des Byrnes email. Many thanks for your response to his email.  A lot of people read the QSO and not only Communicators and my thing is to let others within the ESO know how good the RANCBA is, regardless of who and what Chapter.  I could send some jokes and incidents but not too sure how they would be taken!!!

From Phil Butler:
I have some 'humour' for Diz.
How about we tell everyone about the innumerable Sunday night/Monday morning trips we used to make from the Harman patch back to our ships in Sydney and Diz decided most trips, to eat boiled eggs before we left.
It was cold enough as it was, without driving most of the way back with the windows down.

From Bogey Knights:
Am afraid I have to agree with Des……If Shorty needs exposure he may be able to put it in his quarterly bulletin……..Regards Bogey K..

Fm Keghead Weaver:
Re Des' QSO article. If what he says is right, then the site has achieved it's purpose, it has a BIG following. Jokes etc are readily available in the 'Guestbook'and some of them quite good.

Oh, by the way, the list of those who have expressed an EOI to attend the Canberra Reunion 2016 is now displayed in the Reunions column. Have a look.

From Bazza 'Bones' Lehmann:
Onya Dizzy, from my distant and vague memories you were always a shit stirrer and good to see nothing has changed. Good luck to all the stirrers out there.

From Hubert 'Dusty' Millar:

There I was in the land of nod when I was rudely awakened by none other than Bill 'Sausage Fingers' Blair who wanted to remove some of my body parts from me. Why? well apparently the four stooges (Maverick Meaker, Bear Linton, Dolly Dalton and Bronco Lane) had been having a few jars with Bill and had stirred the pot by telling Bill that I was going to 'knock his block off' at the first opportunity. So with a jar or two more, he (Bill), decided to front me. Pity I was asleep prior to a night watch. Anyway, once I got my poo in one sock I talked him out of immediate action as it would be unfair due to the fact that I was sober and he was inebriated (never mind that he was three sizes bigger), so we arranged a midday appointment at the gym where we could settle it in a gentlemanly fashion. Thank Christ he didn't front up.

Years later I was visiting Mick Cross (RO(S)) in Bungendore when I spotted Bronco wandering the streets so I drove my car at him (it had a 'Roo' bar fitted at the time) - pushed him up against a fence, reversed and drove away without a word (revenge is best served cold so they say).

As for Des, we once had a brag-off as to who was the fastest over a 100 yards. I lost and still owe him for that result!

Back to Des for the final word:

Thanks for exciting a bit of humourous chat Curbs. Most of us just go to the QSO site to get a quick update so don't do the 'full tour'. Whilst we enjoy Shorty's updates and knowing we haven't made the latest 'crossing' notice, it's always good to remember times such as when u were the CY of the watch at Harman and asked me to chase up some missing watch members - discovered them staggering up the climb and hid them in the off line office so u wouldn't charge them (Billy Blair and a now deceased member were part players!) or the exploits of Charlie Rigg who got me into more stinks than a fight promoter, Sonny O'Hara's goodbye Des poem as I left Brisbane as a WOSY 'Good Bye and Good Luck, Farewell and Get F…..d' which he made the now Pres of the RSL recite!! and a thousand more we can all remember - Phil Butler's story was unfortunately true - I always had a 'following wind!'. Anyway will try to maintain some decorum but add a story occasionally to lighten the mood. Cheers Diz


Service to Commemorate the Loss of the Submarine HMAS AE1

This Service was held at the Garden Island Chapel on 14th September 2014, as it was the 100th Anniversary of the loss of AE1 on patrol east of Cape Gazelle, Rabaul.

Due to the numbers, we were requested to park in the Navy Parking Station in Cowper Road, and then taken by coach to the Chapel. Sydney could not have turned on another beautiful day, and we witnessed the departure of one of the visiting Japanese warship leaving Fleet Base East. It looked like a Adams Class DDG, but I stand corrected on that.!!!!!

The Service commenced at 0900am and here the MC was LCDR Desmond Woods RAN, who welcomed all but all were asked to Stand for the Australian White Ensign marched in with the Colour Party from HMAS KUTTABUL. and then remain standing for the arrival of Her Excellency, Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO Governor of NSW, who was wearing the uniform of a Hon Commodore RAN which had been bestowed on her a few years ago. She was followed by His Excellency, the Governor-General of Australia Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC Rtd and accompanied by his wife., following Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer CSC RAN , Australian Fleet Commander, the Hon  Malcom Turnbull MP Federal Member for Communications and Representing the Prime Minister of Australia , the Hon. Tony Abbot. Also the Hon . David Johnson Federal Member for Defence, and a Representative of the Opposition, Representing the Hon Bill Shorten . This was only a few.

Her Excellency,the Governor of NSW, Professor Marie Bashir Read the Welcome Address

All were asked to stand for the Naval Hymn, with music by the RAN Band under the baton of LCDR Paul Cottier RAN and the singing by L/SMN Muscn Tracey Kennedy

A Roll Call of the Crew of AE1 by Captain Matthew Buckley RAN, Director of Submarine Capability and Dr. Michael White QC, President of the AE1 Inc. There was a crew of 35 , which comprised of 16 Royal Navy, 18 Royal Australian Navy and 1 New Zealand Navy. All names and their rates were read out.

Communicators aboard the AE1 were Signalman George Dance RN, and Telegraphist Cyril Leforoy Baker RAN.

The Bible Reading was carried out by His Excellency, The Governor-General of Australia, Sir Peter Cosgrove,
The Commemorative Address by the Australian Fleet Commander, Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer CSC RAN

A Poem - To the Men of AE1 Entombed but Not Forgotten which had been written by Del M'Cay many years ago was Read by Mrs Vera Ryan a Descendant of ERA 3 John Messener lost on AE1 - A very emotional poem and due to space , I am unable to print.

All then stood for the Hymn I Vow to Thee, My Country

Wreath Laying, by Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir, The Governor -General Sir Peter Cosgrove, the Australian Fleet Commander, RADM Stuart Mayer, a Descendant who had arrived from Canada on behalf of all those lost, LCDR Bannister RN Representing the Royal Navy . These were all ;placed at the AE1 Stained Window in the Chapel. All were asked if they wished to Lay a Wreath. Unfortunately we had not been informed about this.

The Naval Ode was Recited by the Governor of NSW, The Ode then by the Governor-General of Australia
This was followed by the Last Post, a Minutes Silence and Reveille

A Prayer by the Chaplain Officiating , and all the remain standing for the Australian National Anthem and the National Anthem of the United Kingdom.

The Colour Party then Marched out with the Australian White Ensign

The MC then invited all to morning tea at the Heritage Centre on Garden Island,

It was one of the most moving Services that I have had the honour and privilege to attend, and I hope I have been able to convey some of it to those unable to attend.

Communicators in attendance, Ray & Sharon Mundy CSM , John & Pam Short, Howard Halsted OAM, Dick Thompson, Rick & Jan Easom, Andy & Jan Mills, Dave & Di Kelleher (Hon Communicators) , Allan & Helen Moffatt.  I also received from Keghead & Ruth Weaver (President of the ACT Chapter) an apology that due to health problems he would be unable to attend.

In mid July this year I had a total hip replacement, but with all the Services that I have attended lately, my new part warranty has now finished.  Another one today (Monday 15th) , and then next Sunday at Government House.

But it is a privilege to represent both the RANCBA & FNSA .

Lest We Forget
Allan 'Shorty" Moffatt OAM

Memorial Service - 100th Anniversary of the first Australian Serviceman, serving in the Australian Armed Forces to Die in World War 1.

On what could only be describe as a perfect day, this Service was held at Bradley's Head, the home of the Mast of SYDNEY 1. Full praise must be given to those who have worked so hard to have this made as the "Premier" Naval Memorial, and also to the NPWS NSW.

The Service was held to Commemorate AB Willian (Billy) Williams 294 a Member of HMAS SYDNEY 1.which following the outbreak of the war on 4th August 1914, was operating in New Guinea and Pacific waters and in a brief campaign against German Pacific possessions and she carried out a series of punitive patrols. and also the capture of and the destruction of the Angaur Island Wireless Station between 9 to 11 September 1914 in Rabaul.

The MC was Mr. Maurice Green APM who gave a very good introduction and a welcome to all.
Official Guests included Cnclr Peter Abelson, Lord Mayor of Mosman, RADM Andrew Robertson AO DSC RAN Rtd (Patron of the HMAS SYDNEY Assn), Mr. Mike Colless, son of AB Alan Colless HMAS SYDNEY I 1914-18, Captain Guy Holthouse RAN Representing the Commander, Australain Fleet, RADM Stuart Mayer CSC RAN.

The MC read out two letters received, the first from the Prime Minster, The Hon. Tony Abbott and from The Hon. Tanya Plibersek MP, who both unfortunately due to other commitments could not attend but wish the Service all the best.

Mr. Mike Colless, was then asked to read out recollections as given by his late father., and on completion the RAN Band preformed the music "Royal Australian Navy" which I might add, it has a story itself.

Prayers were then given by Chaplain Bob Durbin ( HMAS SYDNEY Assn Chaplain), and on completion, there was a quick change of the Order of Service as the Commander Karl Brinckmann RAN current Commanding Officer HMAS SYDNEY IV was to speak to all . The current HMAS SYDNEY is on deployment on exercises near the Phillipines and this was extremely well done. He was speaking from HMAS SYDNEY to Mr. Brian Yeo on his mobile who then placed it near the microphone and it was heard by all from the PA system and to use the old communications terms it was loud & clear or 5 X 5.

On completion the Address was then given by Captain Guy Holthouse RAN, who had been Commanding Officer HMAS SYDNEY IV between May 2006 and December 2007.

The Wreath Laying Service was then held, It was a single Wreath, and borne by RADM Robertson, Mike Colless and Captain Holthouse RAN.

All were then asked to stand and the Naval Ode was Recited by LCDR Wendy Duffy RAN, current XO of HMAS PENGUIN.  The RAN Bugler sounded Last Post, then One Minutes Silence Observed and then Reveille.

With all remain standing the Naval Hymn was played with great help from one of the RAN musicians, AB Lee Robke, Chaplain Bob Durbin gave the Blessing .  Then all sang with the help of AB Lee Robke the National Anthem.

The MC then brought the end of proceedings and thanked all for their attendance.  It was a good and well conducted Memorial Service and to which I believe will be the start of many to follow with the 100th Anniversary of ANZAC.

Some of those that I knew and had the pleasure to speak with, Mrs Mary Bell, Secretary FNSA, Mr. Bill Ross President HOBART Assn, Mr John Byrne President & Brian Yeo Secretary SYDNEY Assn,Mr Bob Auston past President SYDNEY Assn to name just a few.

On Sunday, I will be attending the Memorial Service for AE1 at the Chapel, Garden Island where the Australian Fleet Commander, RADM Stuart Maye RAN will be Oficiating with the Governor- General of Australia, Sir Peter Cosgrove accompanied by Lady Cosgrove will be the Guest of Honour.

Allan Moffatt OAM
President FNSA & RANCBA

Time to Give the Morse Key & Flags away

On a beautiful day after weeks of lousy weather the following Memorial Service was held.  Today, wearing my other cap as President of the FNSA, I was invited to attend the Memorial Service at Bradley's Head, for the 100th Anniversary of the first Serviceman serving in the Australian Armed Forces to die in WW1 . AB William (Bill) Williams O/N 294.

Well part of the Service shows how far modern comms have come. The Commanding Officer of HMAS SYDNEY IV, CMDR Karl Brinchman RAN, currently on deployment in an exercise off the Philippines spoke into a phone, which at the end here was held by Brian Yeo Secretary of the SYDNEY Assn and he put it to the microphone and it was relayed to us all in attendance 5 X 5. It was to wish all the very best from the current Officers and Crew of HMAS SYDNEY IV.

So sadly I think I may have to commit my old morse key to the cupboard as after seeing today's communications I don't think it will be wanted.

RADM Andrew Robinson AO DSC RAN Rtd and Captain Guy Holthouse RAN both former Commanders of a ship called SYDNEY also in attendance.

A good service and the weather spot on.  Bradleys Head is near Taronga Bay Zoo and Sydney Harbour could not have looked any better today, Not a cloud in the sky and the water a beautiful blue, with ferries, and other boats and some yachts under sail passing by.

Also there was an full page article in the Daily Telegraph on Saturday, 6th September which shows a photo of a Signalman MOFFATT who was killed whilst serving in HMAS AUSTRALIA at Bita Paka in PNG, This shows Signalman Moffatt being buried at sea in his hammock . I had very early phone calls wanting to know if it was any relation and was that the reason I wanted to serve in Communications!!!

It was also spelt the same way MOFFATT etc, but as far as I know , no relation.  I may have been the first CIS rate in both V/S and W/T!!!

Allan "Shorty" Moffatt OAM


The AGM of the NSW Chapter was held on the 23rd August and with Max Miller not standing this year after 10 years of good and faithful service a vacancy occurred for the position of Treasurer.

Helen Moffatt was nominated and seconded and all in attendance voted yes.  Therefore could all subs, monies and other banking details be forwarded to her.

Mrs Helen Moffatt
Home Address 88 Bogalara Road, TOONGABBIE NSW 2146
Phone 02 9631 8068

Also after a good discussion it was agreed to raise the subs to twelve dollars ($12.00) a year. Unfortunately postage , stamps, paper , printing has now risen and we decided to do this. It was indeed a lively discussion and all agreed to do it.

For those that have paid a year or so in advance, they will not have to make up any difference. This will only start as of the AGM this year, but next year for those paying, your subs will now be $12.00 .

Hoping this will not cause any inconvenience to all.

Allan "Shorty" Moffatt OAM
President RANCBA NSW Chapter

Graham Bence is Seeking Harji Barber:

Does anyone have an address, telephone number or email address for Errol Barber (Harji).

Graham Bence
Shorty Moffatt has put Graham in touch with Errol who lives in the Hunter Valley.


Battle for Australia - 3rd September 2014

This Service to Commemorate the Battle for Australia (BFA) was held at the Cenotaph, Martin Place commencing at 11.00am. Unfortunately the weather had turned rather nasty and to put it mild, was freezing there and the wind chill factor didn't help. Even with a couple of drops, the rain held off.

The MC was Mr. David Cooper OAM, with Chaplain Rev. Tom Halls Officiating. Music by the NSW Police Band and the Flag Orderlies and Cataflaque Party by personnel from the RAN. Due to another commitment, Her Excellency, Professor Marie Bashir AC was unable to attend as she was carrying out her role with Investitures, so Wing Commander Glasson RAAF was her stand in Representative. A Fly-over was at 11.00am by a C130 Hercules, but I would suggest he check his navaids as it didn't come over the Cenotaph as in previous years. He could I suppose blame the high strong wind!!

The Address of Welcome was given by MajGeneral Warren Glenny AO RFD who is now the current President of the BFA.and on completion the Hymn (Dambusters March) was sung by all with the music supplied by the NSW Police Band. The Reading was taken from John 3 , Verses 11-18, the Prayers for both who had served in WW II and now deployed on operational and peacekeeping duties around the world.

The Address was given by The Hon. Charlie Lynn MLC, Parliamentary Secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Laying of Floral Tributes followed, and here instead of Wreaths, a sprig of our National flower, Wattle is Laid and which I think is very appropriate,

The Lament was Played by a Piper from The Scots College - His playing was supberb and a credit to his School.

The ODE to the Fallen was Recited by two students from Tempe High School.  This was followed by a Minutes Silence and Rouse

The young Choristers from St. Andrews Cathedral School sang the 23rd Psalm, and all were asked to remain standing for the National Anthem of Australia. As there were representatives of 7 other Nations there, it is customary to sing the National Anthem of the host Nation, in this case, Australia. Benediction followed.

There were Representatives from State Government, Mr Barry O'Farrell representing the Premier Mr. Mike Baird, the Leader of the Opposition Mr John Robertson, also one from the Lord Mayors Office. DVA, Legacy, War Widows, NAA, NSW Police, US Consul New Guinea Consul, British Consul, New Zealand Consul, 3 Serving Officers of the ADF, with Commander Todd Wilson RAN representing the RAN. Mr. Don Kennedy Merchant Navy Assn. Also two Fuzzie Wuzzies from New Guinea, who no doubt would have been feeling the cold weather. This is only a small section.

On completion I had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Ron Smith OAM, CHRSL, Mr Bill Ross President HOBART Assn, Mr. Mike Kay PERTH Assn, Mr Kinsea McDonald OAM, Mrs Rosemary Stockley OAM and Ms Liz Watts Ex WRANS Assn who had also Laid a Sprig of Wattle. Mr. John Byrne SYDNEY Assn and Mr Bob Auston who is on the Committee of the BFA.

A good and well conducted Service, so the Committee BZ.

Allan 'Shorty" Moffatt OAM
President FNSA & RANCBA

August 2014 Entries

Vale David John McCann R63997 - ex LRO(S)

It is with deep regret to inform all who knew Dave McCann ex-LRO(S), that this morning (31 August) he passed away at Wyong Hospital.

Further information will be passed on when funeral arrangements are known.

Ex LRO Bob (WILLY) Williamson.

Thanks Willy, very sad news.  I will update when more information is at hand.
Lest We Forget

Dave McCann, Singapore 1972 - photo sent by Gazbo Walker.

Funeral Details:
Wednesday 3rd September at 11.30am - Mackay Family Funerals 249 Pacific Highway West Palmdale on the central coast with wake to be at Ourimbah RSL following . Am advised by Willy Williamson Medals to be worn.

From the Archives:

David John McCann R63997, DOB 24/02/1945, Joined RAN 15/01/1965.  Postings CERBERUS, DUCHESS, PERTH, MELVILLE, HARMAN.  Discharge date not known - possibly early 1974.

From DJ Preece:
WRT Dave’s passing….. another great hand departs from terra firma….. save an extra hug for your loved ones tonight….. it simply reinforces the belief about how precious life is and how vulnerable we all are before ‘time’ is called. R.I.P shipmate.

From Shane Doyle and Rod Morphett:
So sad to hear the passing of Dave McCann. We have been catching up with each other the last few years. A great bloke and will be sadly missed. Farewell old mate.

From Terry Gleeson:
That is a great photo of Dave - brings back memories of a great era, and mateships, smooth seas cobber.


Wreath Laying Ceremony - Malaya and Borneo Memorial Service

As reported on 25 August, this Service was held at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra on Friday 29 August at 11am in what I can only describe as a perfect setting and the weather was absolutely great, which is unusual for the ACT!!!.

It was under the National Malaya and Borneo Veterans' Association of Australia in recognition of the Service and Sacrifice of all those who served in the Malayan Emergency and the Indonesian Confrontation 1948 -1966.

The Welcome was given by Ms Anne Bennie, Acting Director Public Relations AWM, with her speech was very well received by all. The Commemorative Address by Colonel Mhd Nazri Abd Rahman, representing the High Commissioner for Malaysia who spoke of the thanks for all those from the Countries that had served in Malaya, Borneo and surrounding areas during the period of much unrest and acts of terrorism.

Prayers were then given by Chaplain David Jackson, Army Chaplain.

The Wreath Laying Ceremony then took place. These were by the Representatives of Malaysia, Military Attaches from the British and New Zealand Commissions. The ODE was Recited by Mr. Peter Eveille, President of the RSL, ACT Branch.

Followed by the Last Post and Rouse. The Bugler was Corporal Steve Carter, Army, attached to the Royal Military College, Duntroon. Having attended many Services, his playing of the Last Post and Rouse was absolutely superb. Also I noted when he played, the public seated having refreshments at the restaurant opposite, on hearing his playing all stood up. It was so clear and precise.

All were asked to remain standing for the Playing of the National Anthem, followed by Benediction b y Chaplain Jackson

The concluded this part of the Service but a Thanks and Farewell was given by Mr. Ian Davenport, President of the National Malaya and Borneo Veterans Association advising it is hoped to hold the 50th Anniversary in 2016. For mine, should this go ahead, that more communication be given to other Associations and RSL Sub Branches so that personnel who served in these areas can attend and promulgated earlier.

Communicators in attendance, Keghead & Ruth Weaver, (Keghead is the President of the RANCBA ACT Chapter) Ken Eynon, Bruce Lovett, Shorty & Helen Moffatt and it was so pleasing to see a friend from many years back, Ex WRAN RO Kay Herold nee Hastings. We adjourned to the Restaurant called "Poppies" adjacent to the AWM for refreshments and the usual yarns.

Never been to the AWM for some time, the work that has been carried on there and surrounding areas is a credit to those responsible.

Allan 'Shorty" Moffatt OAM
President RANCBA NSW

Keghead, Shorty, High Commissioner

Follow this link to view other photos from the day - many thanks to Keghead Weaver.

Further to my few pix (link above), I'd like to add that as important an event as it was, the distribution of it's promulgation was extremely poor.

The Inaugural event in 2011 was just as poor, no worse and back then I told the President, Ian Davenport, that they had to widen their 'address list' to 'other than Army' which seemed to be the case.

Equally as guilty were Navy and the NAA, who appear to have an aversion of telling 'important' local associations such as the WRANS and RANCBA about events that were planned for 'Anzac Parade' or the AWM.

It appears I will have to advise Dr B Nelson, so that his 'Events' staff may 'spread the word' appropriately to ensure a greater attendance figure.

I'm sure you will agree that there is a large contingent 'out there' of members who all have an FESR background which is covered by this Memorial. If we want this 'War period' (the one we 'won') to be recognised, we have show our support and attend!!

Ken (Keghead) Weaver

Vale LCDR David Barnes RAN Rtd

Advice has been received from Kath Barnes (via Bill Ruse) that David passed away late July:


I am sorry to inform you that unfortunately David passed away on Friday the 25th July. He died in his sleep unexpectedly, a big shock to us all.  He was suffering a bit of a flu for a week or so but brushed it of thinking it would go away in time, it formed into acute lobar pneumonia.

The funeral was held in Victor Harbour on Tuesday 29 July 2014.

Love Kath and Family.


David Barnes 1985

David Barnes was an SD officer who transferred from the RN to the RAN around 1982.  He was SCO at ALBATROSS initially and then posted to Comms School 1984/85.  If anyone has any further information on his postings please let me know.

Lest We Forget

From Bob Cody:
Very sad to hear of the passing of Dave Barnes. I knew Dave both professionally and socially, he was OIC Navcommsta Darwin 88/89 when I took over from him. A good communicator with a great sense of humour. Commiserations to Kath and family.

Have just caught up with the QSO page and found the post on Dave (dubbed the

From Keith Wilson:
Dave was our neighbor in Monash ACT and he worked with me in ACT Police Comms in the 2003/2004 before I moved elsewhere in the organisation. We shared a few social drinks until he and Kathy moved to Victor Harbour.

To say he was a unique and interesting character would be an understatement.

Never served in pussers with him and I imagine he and I would not have seen eye to eye in that environment but enjoyed their company on the occasions we met for a drink or two. 

There are many very humorous stories about him from his tenure in the Solomon Islands and no doubt many other places.


Inaugural Malaya & Borneo Veterans Memorial Day.

This Service will be held on 29th August 2014 at the Australian War Memorial (AWM) Canberra commencing at 11.00am, but all attendees are requested to be seated by 10.45am.

Ken Eynon, Keghead Weaver (President of RANCBA ACT Chapter) and Ian Schubert are coordinating.  (See previous entry).

All Members who served in either Malaya during the Emergency or the Borneo-Indonesian Confrontation are more than welcome and let us make this day a success.  It has been a long time coming for recognition.

Also we will be having refreshments at "Poppies" Cafe at the AWM on completion of the Service.

Hoping you can make it.

Allan "Shorty" Moffatt OAM
President RANCBA NSW

VP DAY - Victory in the Pacific - 15th AUGUST 2014

On Friday being the 69th Anniversary of the Cessation of Hostilities in WW II on the 15th August 1945 was held at the Cenotaph, Martin Place at 11.00am

As newly elected President of the Federation of Naval Ships I was Invited to attend this Service and also to Lay a Wreath, and this was along with many others.

The Service was conducted by Mr. Bob Durbin and the Welcome given by Mr John Haines AM State Vice President of the NSW RSL representing Mr. Don Rowe OAM, NSW President, with Prayers being given by Chaplain Catie Inches-Ogden CSC, Australian Army.

The Australian Army also carried out the duties of Catafalque Party and Flag Orderlies and the full Army Band.

The Address was given by the new Australian Fleet Commander, Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer, CSC & Bar RAN. His speech was well received by all in attendance. On completion of the Address, the Wreath Laying commenced and there were many, including Representatives from the Federal, State and Local Government, Consuls from the USA, United Kingdom, France, Netherlands, New Zealand, Papau-New Guinea to name just a few.

The Lament was played by Pipe Major Webster and the ODE Recited by Mr. John Haines AM

This was followed by the Last Post, a Minutes Silence and Rouse.

Chaplain Inches-Ogden delivered the Benediction and all were asked to remain standing for the singing of the Australian National Anthem.

On dismounting of the Catafalque Party ,this ended the Service.

Some of those that I had the chance to talk with, Bob Batty, Jeff Obrien RSL Hdqtrs, Ms Rosemary Stockley OAM , President and Liz Watts Secretary ex WRANS Assn, Mr Don Kennedy Merchant Navy, Mr Ernie Flint US Army Small Ships, Mr John Byrnes HMAS SYDNEY Assn, Mr Kinsea McDonald ABC, Mr. Bill Ross HMAS HOBART Assn to name a few. It was a very good conducted Service in recognition of the end of WW II and more so with the advent of the 100th Anniversary of ANZAC.

On completion also Mr Bill Ross HOBART and myself were introduced to the Australian Fleet Commander where we spoke about our respective Associations. I advised him about the RANCBA .


On Sunday, 17th August this Service was held at Springwood , being the 48th Anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan on 18th August.

This Association now includes not only Vietnam but BCOF, Korea, Malaya, Indonesian Confrontation, United Nations Coalition against Terrorism, & Peace Keeping Operations. Unfortunately after 3 months of no rain, the weather changed and it was a night and day of heavy rain and gale force winds which deterred many from attending. On going out there by car, I was considering turning around, but by the time the March was due to start, the skies cleared, and sun broke through - someone must know someone!!!

The March commenced led by Mounted NSW Police and also Police Motor Bikes and all made the March through Springwood and it was so pleasing to see both sides of the road lined with the public cheering us on.. Due to many of the RANCBA Members not arriving, I made the decision not to put up our Mini Banner and also to join with HMAS SYDNEY (Vung Tau Ferry) as their numbers were very depleted.

On completion of the March, instead of the Ceremony being held at the Springwood War Memorial their Committee decided to hold this part of the Service at the Community Hall. The surrounding ground near the Memorial was now a quagmire and also should more rain arrive, it could be a safety hazard.

The MC was Mr. Jim McKinnon, and the Welcome was given by Mr Jack Lake (Jack's ADF career, Platoon Sergeant Commander 3 Platoon A Coy 3 RAR Malaya/Borneo 1963-65, AATV US Special Forces & Vietnamese Rangers ARVN 1966-67 , CSM C Coy 5 RAR SVN 1969 -70).

Mr. John Fenton Secretary read out a message from their Patron Lt.Col. Nerolie McDonald , Veteran of East Timor , Iraq, & Afghanistan and is presently OC, Australian Contingent Sinai and also 2 I/C UN Detachment stationed there. Many Communicators would remember her when she joined our table last year.

Chaplain Lt. Col. G. Aitken OAM , Senior Chaplain AACHQ Canberra, Australian Army Officiated, with the Catafalque Party & Flag Orderlies by Members of the School of Military Engineering.

The Address was given by Rear Admiral Neil Ralph AO DSC RAN Rtd, who had been CO Helicopters Forces Vietnam (HFV) where spoke of not only the war, but the observers who had been deployed there before Australia's commitment and then the Units who helped the people of Vietnam in building etc.

The Laying of Wreaths was then carried out, and here I Laid a Wreath on behalf of all RANCBA Chapters. Some of the others that I noted, Mrs Rosa Sage MP who had been our Parliamentary Host when the FNSA had a Association Luncheon at Parliament House. Mrs Mary Bell, Secretary represented the FNSA.

The Lament - Nash's Lament was played by Piper Mr John Cambridge, Lithgow Highland Pipe Band.  The ODE was Recited, The Last Post, One Minutes Silence and then Rouse.  All were invited to join in the singing of Amazing Grace, then remain standing for the Benediction and the Australian National Anthem.  The President invited all to the social part being held at the Royal Hotel, Springwood to partake of food, beverages and first class entertainment.

Some of the Communicators there. Liz Watts, Andy Mills, Tony Froome, Don Ferguson, Helen & Allan Moffatt, and even though our numbers were down, we certainly let all in attendance know that the RANCBA was represented. Here Vietnamese ladies in National dress handed out CD's of music and a stand with two flags, the ANF and Vietnamese flag.

Footnote. That evening/night the heavy rain and gale force destructive winds returned and caused many problems in the area.

Allan "Shorty" Moffatt OAM
President RANCBA (NSW) & FNSA


Media Release
Senator the Hon Michael Ronaldson

Thursday, 21 August 2014 - VA062


Current serving ADF members, including Reservists, who hold a purple ADF ID card will benefit from a new DVA and Defence move to reduce red tape in the claims application process, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Senator the Hon Michael Ronaldson announced today.

Senator Ronaldson said that from 1 September 2014, ADF members will be able use their purple ADF ID Card to prove their identity for the purposes of making a DVA claim.

“The new arrangement means a claim can commence from the point of first contact. It will streamline the current 100 point identity verification process, speeding up the process for both clients and staff.”

“This initiative recognises the unique nature of military service and demonstrates the Government’s ongoing efforts to cut red tape for veterans and their families.”

Senator Ronaldson said the new arrangement was made possible through DVA and Defence’s existing information sharing arrangement and would ensure current serving members and Reservists could get help quickly without the need for initial paperwork.

“The ability for ADF members to talk to a DVA staff member at over 35 bases across the country as part of the On Base Advisory Service, or attend a DVA office in person and lodge a claim on the spot, will ensure they get faster access to the support they need."

Senator Ronaldson said this arrangement is one of many actions the Government is taking to reduce red tape and the time taken to process claims.

“Work will continue to improve claims processing times including reviewing and improving business processes, redeveloping IT systems, and improving communication with clients.”

“DVA is making many positive steps in the right direction and I will update the defence and veteran communities as this work progresses.”

More information on new proof of identity arrangements is available in a Factsheet on the DVA website, For more information on the On Base Advisory Service visit

Media inquiries: Minister Ronaldson: Brad Rowswell 6277 7820 or 0417 917 796

Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203



Please take the time to read this link.  AVCAT Scholarships opened this Monday!

Allan "Shorty Moffatt OAM
President RANCBA NSW

RANCBA VIC - Lakes Entrance Reunion

Some notables from this weekend's get together at Lakes Entrance VIC.


From Des Byrne:
Looks like Bloggs may  have eaten Gags lunch!!


Vale Ronald Charles Tuckwell R30279 (ex CRS)

The RANCBA ACT Chapter has it on good authority that Ron crossed the bar yesterday - 14 August 2014. The funeral is expected to be sometime next week.  More details will be advised as they come to hand.

Lest We Forget
John Curbishley
Web Manager

From Doug Conn:

I rang John Tuckwell (Ron and Norah’s son) to find out about Ron’s funeral details. I thought I would pass them on to you.

Ron’s funeral will be held on Thursday 21 August 2014 at 2pm (1400) at;

Craig’s Hill Crematorium (02 4821 2122)
63 Middle Arm Road

and afterwards at the:

Goulburn Soldiers Club (02 4821 3300)
15 Market Street

If anyone would like to pass on their condolences to Norah via their son John you can ring 02 4821 0924.

I’ll be arriving at Canberra airport at 10.30am on the 21st and flying back at 7pm. I’ve hired a Camry so if anyone
is at the airport about that time and would like a lift please let me know.

Doug Conn

From Julia & John Kleinhanss:

Both Jack and I learned of Ron and Norah’s situation some days ago and are very sad to hear of Ron’s passing and of Norah’s moving. We have known them both for many years when we both served at HMAS Harman and later when they lived opposite us in the married quarters. Years later we met again in Perth – Norah and I were both members of the WA Ex-WRANS Association and we were sorry to lose Norah as a long serving member when she moved to Goulburn. I am at present on the Committee.

In the past both Jack and I have attended many social functions with Ron and Nora and will remember these happier times always.
Best Regards,

From Terry 'Red' Ryder:

In one of life's ironic twists, after I finished my shift at Queensland Performing Arts Centre last night there was a message on my phone advising me of the passing of Ron Tuckwell who was my Chief RS during my two Vietnam tours on board HMAS Perth. He passed away just as I was starting my shift. The show I worked on was "Rolling Thunder Vietnam" a tribute to the music and times of the Vietnam war. Fabulous show which brought back so many memories from the past and the news of his passing now adds a more personal memory of the show. Photo shows him on the left with other guys from the Perth comms branch at my wedding a couple of years ago. RIP Chief.

With reference to my last message, I came across this email from Ron about 6 weeks ago. He must have served with hundreds of communicators in his time but seemed to have a special affinity for his Perth sparkers during the two Vietnam trips we all did together. It is quite possibly the last email he would have sent and the guys mentioned and myself thought it might be nice to put it with the other stuff I wrote along with the picture.

Terry “Red”Ryder


Hi to MY PERTH Comms

Over a few years I have enjoyed your banter on this confounded machine.

Gone through ‘Billy” Doug Conn’s golfing prowess and his short time absence because of a ‘toe’ thing.

Billy Blinkhorn’s bicycle problems in the North and and his recent domestic problem. Have heartfelt feelings for his tragic loss of a daughter.

Speed's spouse health issues.

Bones and his “Red river valley” that dried up. (Waiting for a good drop or RED from another source.).

Enjoyed the Back to Bonshaw reunion that Westie and his dear lady organised. That deserved a BZ.

Willy’s brave face and enjoyment of life.

Red’s come from behind to set a new standard for life. Admired both for their fortitude. Enjoyed the wedding as well!

In the meantime, Norah and I have clocked up 60 years and received congratulatory cards/photos fro “Elizabeth R”, the GG, NSW Premier and the PM, amongst others. (That was as a result of registering with the local Federal MP).

Unfortunately, Norah has been assessed with early Alzheimer's disease, something which we are approaching with a positive attitude and I am attending that the effects by taking sessions for understanding the problem.

As you all probably know, I have had two hips replaced, heart attack which resulted in an angioplasty treatment. Both that and the hips are now yesterday's news and there are no problems there. However, three weeks ago it was established that I have a stomach tumour that is being a bloody nuisance and not going away. To this end, I have been placed on a list for a bit of surgery to bypass and remove the nasty piece. I say ‘placed on a list’ because the surgery will happen within the next ten days. Success rate depends on what the surgeon find when she opens me up. I will no way watch this space, although should all go well, and when things have been sorted out, I will give you an abridged update.

That my friends in enough of that subject.

I trust you and yours are well. Continue to live your lives to the full. Remember, from time to time, that ‘old’ CRS who stood to the fore on your behalf, despite the opposition placed before his by those above.

That was not meant to be melancholy!

Yours Aye
Ron Tuckwell


CRS Ron Tuckwell with some of his PERTH Sparkers.
(Red Ryder's wedding).

From Jenny (JJ) Duscher:

I was saddened to hear of Ron Tuckwell’s sad passing over the weekend whilst Norm & I were at the Lakes Entrance get together.

Ron was the CRS in the Comms regulating office in Darwin when I first posted into HMAS Coonawarra April 1970.

A lovely man who I admired and respected particularly both at work and when he undertook a gruelling 100 km walk down the track in Darwin in 70/71.

RIP Ron and sincere sympathy to Nora and John.

From Keghead Weaver:

Could you please pass on to Norah, Ron (Jnr), etc, our condolences at Ron’s passing. Unfortunately, as you are probably aware, I have not been in very good health, so we will be unable to attend the funeral service.

Would you please pass on condolences to the family on behalf of the Committee and members of the ACT Chapter of the RANCBA

Ken (Keghead) Weaver (& Ruth)

From Graham Bence:

I served with Ron at Harman when he was Chief of the Watch at CTRC.  He was a great Chief to work for but when it came to cleaning during the morning watch he was also chief of the polisher. Nobody else got a look in. That was his job. Many the times, be it Darwin or Harman.  I was invited around to his place for a beer and a meal. The great shock was that I saw him and Norma at the Brisbane reunion last year and he looked in the best of health. Will miss him.


Sick Bay Report - Ronald Charles Tuckwell R30279 (ex CRS).

Following information has been relayed from the NAA in Canberra.


I have just been advised by a close friend of Ron that he is now in a coma and deteriorating quickly.

Norah has been placed in full time respite in Goulburn.

Ron’s son John is on his way over from Perth and should get here tomorrow.

Ron has organised his funeral and it is to be in Goulburn when the time comes.

I will keep you advised of any further update.

Pat McCabe


Sad news.  Ron was born on 4.2.29 so he was 85 early this year.  He was promoted to CRS in 1960 and his record of service card shows that he signed on in 1969 for 3 years to complete 25 years service.  His main drafts as a RS/CRS were Tarangau 57-59, Harman 59-61, Melbourne 62-63, Harman 64-65, Melville 1966-67, Harman 67, Perth 67-68, Melville 69-70.


Tony Froome - DVA Claim

G'day All,

I'm doing some initial investigation for a DVA claim I intend to pursue in the near future. I'd like to hear from any Communicators who served in HMAS Perth in the late 60's early 70's before the Commcen was upgraded. I'm particularly interested in the seating arrangements in the On Line Office which, if memory serves me correctly, had a sloping deck from fwd to aft. Due to the limited space available the only seating available was cut down stools.

Would appreciate any photos if they exist. Am also looking at the types of seats in the Commcens in HMAS Stuart and HMAS Swan around the period 77-81, once again any photographs would be much appreciated.

Spinal scans and MRIs would have you believe I've been a bricklayer for 50 odd years. An earlier claim through Vietnam Vets based on the usual weight carrying (storing/ammunitioning ship etc) was rejected by DVA. The only plausible explanation I can think of is poor posture due to the seating in various Commcens.  Anyway, if anyone has information or is suffering the same problem I'd like to hear from them. My email contacts are:  or

Thanks in advance.


From Bruce Willoughby:
I would like to respond to Tony Froome’s claim about the chairs in the commcen. It was more than likely a worn out rack that caused any back problems!



Dear Fellow Communicators,

I am pleased to announce that RANCBA Victoria has established its own website for the purposes of better communicating with our membership and streamlining how our members interact with the Committee and other members. Through the website you will now be able to pay your membership, pay for an event etc without the nausea of having to send off cheques or money. The small downside is we have had to increase our fees slightly to cover the expenses of running the new site.

The fee structure, which was agreed by your Committee recently is:

Annual membership $12.00
3 year membership $33.00
5 year membership $55.00

You can pay these fees online. We the Committee would prefer that members take out the 3 or 5 year options but that is up to you. We would also like those who are not currently financial to pay as soon as possible to ensure we maintain sufficient funds in our account so that we can continue to put on those things we are currently doing and planning on doing in the future. $12.00 annual fee is a small amount and includes receiving a copy of our quarterly Basegram.

If you go onto the website and have any issues with it please either notify me ( or our web master Gary Swanton on ( .

We look forward to as many as our members as possible accessing the website regularly to keep abreast of what is going on. Keep an eye on the Longcast for future events and the Calendar for current or soon to be held events.

For those who may be interested in another cruise, early next week you will see a ‘registration of interest’ form appear on the website. Download the form, fill it in with your prioritised preferences and send it back to me.

Rod Withers



NSW will be holding their AGM on Saturday, 23rd August 2014 commencing at 10.30am for 11.00am, venue, Parramatta RSL Club.

The Club is situated in Macquarie Street, near the Parramatta Park. For those coming via private vehicle, the Club's Parking Station is opposite the Club, but don't forget to collect your parking ticket and have it validated on leaving to activate the boom gate. By public transport, approx 10 minutes walk from the Inter Rail & Bus terminal, and through the Mall to Macquarie Street.

All positions on the Executive shall be declared vacant and any financial Member of the NSW Chapter can be nominated and seconded to any position.

On completion of the AGM, we hold our Get Together, which in previous years has been very well appreciated. All are welcome here and also partners, family etc. Drinks and food at Club prices and remain as long as you wish to call it stumps.

Hoping to see as many as possible.


Allan "Shorty" Moffatt OAM;
President RANCBA NSW

Vale Wayne Bernard 'Benny/Windy' Hill - R65303 (ex RO(S))

Ollie Lewis passes on the following email received from Dallas Graetz.

Hi All,
Kathy Anderson (Hill), phoned me today from Toowoomba.  She informed me that sadly, Wayne Bernard (Windy) Hill passed away in Toowoomba on 06 August age 65, after being diagnosed with cancer only a couple of weeks ago. Kathy thinks that Agent Orange from his Vietnam days had something to do with it.

Funeral details are shown below.

Kathy is going to send me an email so I will pass on her email address if anyone wants to attend Windy's funeral. I did not get her phone number.

There was a rumour going around last year that Ganga Barclay had passed away. Kathy spoke to him recently and assures me he is as fit as a fiddle.  Apparently Marty Hicks isn't too well.


Wayne and his daughter Desiree - ANZAC Day 2013.
(Light Horse hat was his Dads).

Funeral Details:
Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend Wayne's funeral, to be held at the T.S. Burstow Chapel 1020 Ruthven Street (south), Toowoomba, service commencing at 1230pm, Tuesday 19 August 2014, followed by interment at the Drayton and Toowoomba Cemetery, cnr South Street and Anzac Avenue, Toowoomba at 3.30pm.

Sad news, Lest we Forget.

From Robert Mills:
Regarding Wayne Hill not sure if his wife has gone down the DVA track for any compensation, if not she should get in touch with an RSL advocate. As a general rule for all of us if the answer comes back in the negative an appeal should be lodged.  Mine was changed from no to yes in the space of a week, agent orange exposure does not apply to all but asbestos exposure has wider ramifications.

Vale Peter John Donald R51200 (ex LRO)

Advice has been received via Tackers Miles & Kev Ruwoldt that Peter Donald passed away in Hospital on Sunday 03 August after a fall at home.

Kevin Eastley advises that there is a notice in today's paper (Launceston Examiner?) regarding the passing of Peter John Donald.  Funeral on Monday 11 August in Kings Meadows, Launceston, at 3.PM.

R.I.P. Mate
Sad news, Lest we Forget.

From the Archives:
Peter John Donald R51200, DOB 10.04.1938, Joined RAN 8.8.55, DEE 9.4.65.  Postings - Voyager, Harman, Albatross, Vampire, Albatross for DEE 1965.

From Kev Ruwoldt:
Tackers just rang me that due to flying overseas today he has closed down his internet and asked me to sadly inform you that Peter had a fall last week and was admitted to hospital. They shifted him to a private hospital and he passed away on Sunday. Tackers is deeply in shock at the moment as they were very close shipmates. Funeral arrangements not known at this stage. Will endeavour to find out from Dorothy later today.
Kev Ruwoldt

From Gus Dodds:
I also just got off the phone from Tackers. As you say Ruwie, Tackers is definitely in shock and not the ideal start to his big trip. I've been told that Pete has not been in good health for quite some time, but, even though it may have be expected, it still comes as a shock when it actually happens.
R.I.P. Pete.

From Allan Moffatt:
Another sad day with the passing of Peter. He was a great hand, and I don't think anything worried him.  It will be hard for Dorothy as the last time I was with them, she was also not in the best of health, but I stand corrected on this. He will be sadly missed by all that knew him.
Lest We Forget.

From Keghead Weaver:
Deeply shocked at the news of Peter. We have been the greatest of mates since “we danced together at the “Woolshed” in Brisbane at the first Reunion. The “Beast” did tell us at the IFR that they were both unwell but the news is always very sad.
RIP mate we’ll all miss you.
Keghead and Ruth

From Janice Paddick-Hoover:
It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I found out today that my friend Pete Donald has passed away. Tackers had informed me that he was worried about Pete and that he was not doing so well. Pete Donald was a life saver to me as a young WRAN at Albatross. I was put on the same shift as Pete and Dick Bishop and both of them looked after me. Pete introduced me to Dorothy and both made me welcome in their house as part of their family. It was a home away from home for me. Pete advised me on "the dating game" and was like a big brother. I loved him as much as I loved my four brothers, he took their place. I was invited to visit Pete and Dorothy at their home in Tassie, and it was a thoroughly enjoyable time. Pete meant more to me than he actually realised. Family is a priority for me, and Pete filled a void at that time of my life. It was one of my dreams to march with him, and my other two highly regarded and loved friends, Dick Bishop and Tackers, at the Sydney Anzac parade. Pete said to me "Look up Jan, there's the camera, we are going on telly" but he followed it up with "I have tears in my eyes, this is very emotional" at which point we both started crying.

Pete Donald will always be family to me, another brother whom I loved.

R.I.P. Pete, until we meet again.
Janice Paddick-Hoover


Brisbane Meet & Greet - August 2014

The Brisbane Communicators 4th August meet and greet held at the Grand Central. From L to R - Noel Chidgie, Tony “Tackers” Miles, Bob Simpson, Kev Davis, Baz Cleary, Trev Percival, Roger Garret, Gus Dodds, Shorty Turner Kev Ruwoldt, Jim Eagles and David “Doc” Watson.

 We had a surprise visitor this month, Kev Davis came over from Perth to meet up with his former Vampire Commissioning mates in 1959. This time we had 3 cameras amongst us.

Who will the next surprising guest be.....

Kev Ruwoldt


Subject: The Search for HMAS Sydney- An Australian Story - book launch details

Good morning,

Please find details of the launch dates and locations in the attached Invitation.

We would be grateful if you could forward it to your members/networks please.

Best wishes

Ted Graham AM and Bob Trotter OAM

Follow this link for the launch dates.


July 2014 Entries

2014 RANCBA Regional Reunion

As previously provided via Longcast this will be at Lakes Entrance in Victoria and is open to all Communicators family and friends in which we hope to see many from NSW and Canberra together with those from far further come to participate in the weekends activities in which the previous 2 held have been a smashing success all around!

A variety of accommodation is available at both Big4 parks for Cabin and Caravan requirements. (RANCBA discount applies if not booked out) other accommodation options eg: RSL Motel and dog friendly Parks. Dates are 15th to 18th August 2014. The agenda for the weekend is as


· Friday 15th Evening Meet & Greet at Whiters Big4 Park indoor Rotunda.

· Saturday 16th Lakes Cruise and Lunch at the Metung Hotel departing 11.30 am.

· Saturday 16th Dinner at Lakes Entrance Bowls Club at Club discount prices.

· Sunday 17th Brunch at 10 am Big4 Kitchen.

· We will be catering for both the Meet & Greet and the Brunch. There will be a small fee for the Meet & Greet and Brunch set at $5 per head per event.

On Monday 18th for those staying over we will be attending the Vietnam Veterans’ service at the memorial near the RSL with times etc. TBA. We are expecting to be joining the Lakes Entrance Naval Association of Australia, approx. 40 people for some or all of the events. After the service we will be joining the NAA group for lunch at the RSL for a small cost (expected to cost about $12 each). This is shaping to be an outstanding weekend.

Could those attending please advise me via email eg names of numbers attending each event by C.O.B Tuesday 12th August 2014 to ensure suitable arrangements are put in place!

a) The Evening meet and greet at Whiters Big4 Park Lakes Entrance ($5)

b) The Saturday Lakes cruise and Lunch (own cost approx. $55 per head)

c) The Saturday Dinner at Lakes Entrance (own costs)

d) The Sunday Brunch ($5)

e) Indication if attending the Monday RSL (own cost!)

Ian Hogarth

Seeking Kenny Cox - ex CPOSY

My name is Paul Harris and I would like to enlist your help with locating an old mate of mine, Kenny Cox. He and I joined up at HMAS Leeuwin in July 1961, he went on the become a communicator whilst I, a gunnery jack.

Haven’t seen Ken since I left Cerberus, August 1961 and it is his birthday today, would like to say hello and if possible to catch up.

Yours Aye
Paul Harris

If anyone can help Paul to get in touch with Ken please do so.


Malaya and Borneo Veterans Day 2014

Don't know if you received this information. It might be worth putting up a small article, noting that so many of us were involved with this conflict.

I will probably be going with Schubes and would be happy to coordinate a RANCBA group if need be.

Can be contacted on this email address.

Ken Eynon


The National Malaya & Borneo Veterans Association Australia Inc ACT/NSW Branch is coordinating a wreath laying ceremony at the Australian War Memorial on Friday the 29th of August at 1100 hrs, to commemorate those who served and those who died during the Malayan Emergency and the Indonesian Confrontation.

All ex-service personnel, family and friends are invited to attend the ceremony at the National Servicemen's Memorial, East side of the AWM building - assembly at 1045 hrs.

To allow the AWM to plan seating please advise intention to attend to: Ian Davenport 0427 225670.

During the ceremony there will be an opportunity for individuals to place a personnel tribute alongside the formal wreaths.


Any member wishing to attend as part of an organised group, please contact Ken via email.


Blue Mountains Vietnam Veterans & Associated Forces Memorial Day - 17 August 2014

Morning all. Please read and pass on to all .
I shall have the Mini Banner and will Lay a Wreath.
Shall contact the Secretary and ask for two Banner Bearers ( Naval Cadets I hope).

Allan "Shorty" Moffatt OAM
President RANCBA NSW

Follow this link for the joining instructions for Memorial Day 17 August 2014


Subject: Home, Back on the Air and brand new hip

Morning all. Just to advise , discharged from hospital and now back on the air. With new hip, good for another 10.000ks. Got to go to Bunnings, get a can of 3 in 1 oil or WD40 , give myself a squirt every so often!!!

Appears I had 2 small hiccups whilst in hospital. The first one. After a couple hours in the operating theatre and they took me to the recovery ward, my temp kept on rising and my BP kept going low. They had to stabilise and they got their revenge. When I went to my room, was hooked up to this machine for 24 hours to take BP and pulse and temp, so every 2 hours would wake me and take readings but same time, wake to ask my name and DOB. They couldn't understand it as when I did my pre admission and check on heart. BP, Temp etc was spot on.  Things happen!

Then when I went to rehab, after couple days, started to get a excess fluid build up in my legs and skin starting to break down. All cleared up after 2 days, but bloody painful. John Short visited on one of these days and said, gee your got chubby legs!!!! As quick as it came, it left, but think I spent a fair amount of time in the toilet.

Anyway finished all physio, and can go up and down stairs with out assistance, dress, shower and get in and out of a car unassisted (not allowed to drive for 6 weeks, but now issued with a Disabled Parking Permit (temporary).  Will be going back twice a week for physio as an out patient. Doctors saw me before I left, wished me all the best as it had gone very good, but just don't hurry and let nature take charge now.

Appears one man who didn't do what he was told, fell over, fractured/dislocated his new hip so has to back on the op table and re fix and start all over again. They are not happy so he will probably get heaps.

Well that's it for now.
Allan "Shorty" Moffatt OAM
President RANCBA NSW

Pam (Booth) Hughes sends:

Sandy McNab forwarded me the QSO The World.  Please add me to your list of recipients.

Having married a Texan I am now living in Houston Texas. There is always a bed available for anyone passing across the US!!

Thank you
Pam (Booth) Hughes
WRAN RO(M) 1964-1968.

Thanks Pam, I have also updated your email address on this site.  All the best.


HMAS WATERHEN - 30th June 2014

Commemoration Service for the 73rd Anniversary of the sinking HMAS WATERHEN.

Today, there was a Service to Commemorate of the loss of HMAS WATERHEN on the 29th June 1941, whilst conducting the "Tobruk" Ferry Run and was attacked by German Stuka dive bombers off Sollum, Egypt and sank on the 30th June 1941. She was the first Royal Australian Navy warship sunk during WW II.

President Ken Swain AM who was onboard HMAS HAWK after Commissioning in the UK and arrived here at HMAS WATERHEN (Base) which was Commissioned on 5th December 1962 and myself, HMAS SNIPE (1965-66 Indonesian Confrontation) and also Attack Class Patrol Boats 1968-70 (HMAS ARROW & BARBETTE) were invited to attend this Service.

In both cases HMAS WATERHEN was our "home base" for the 16th Minesweeping Squardon, regardless of whether we were on duty/patrols in the FESR, and then on PB's off the NT or Gulf of Carpentaria as there was no such Base as HMAS CAIRNS during this period...

The Service was Officiated by Chaplain Andrew Lewis RAN, and with music from a Detachment from the RAN Band Sydney.  The Scripture Reading Pslam 107 by PO Corey Short, the Address by Commander David Jones RAN, CO HMAS WATERHEN, a Prayer for those who made the Supreme Sacrifice by AB Peter Inglis, the Naval Prayer by LS Jamie Janes, The Ode by AB Theresa Debritt, the Lowering of the Australian White Ensign, The Last Post, Minutes Silence, Reveille and the Australian National Anthem sung by all

On completion of this Service, there was a presentation of Awards by the CO HMAS WATERHEN to various RAN Members for their achievements and also the names of Officers who have been promoted.

It was a very good conducted Service, and full credit to all concerned, but we could have done without the very cold wind blowing.

All were invited to BBQ Luncheon which had been prepared and there was more than ample amount, with an invite to "go around the buoy" should you wish.

Now whilst sitting there at a table. something came up and the person opposite me , Joe Madeley, President of the Rats of Tobruk Association said something and then we both clicked, he thought he sort of recognised me. I had been onboard the PO Liner SS ORONTES on way to England for 2 years exchange with Royal Navy and people onboard did not know that the late RO Ron King and myself were Members of the RAN. After leaving Naples, I went down to my cabin and on my bunk was 2 Official looking letters, I was to attend the Service to be held at El Alamein, Tobruk the day after. A quick trip with one of the crew to locate my sea bag down in the ship's hold to get my Nr1 uniform, cap, shoes etc.. I had been living in shorts, shirts, etc since leaving Sydney 4 weeks prior. and only dressing for evening dinner.

It was one of the most moving Services that I suppose I will ever see. We were escorted into Torbuk Harbour by HMS LOCH FADA, with the Governor of Malta onboard, a Contingent and Band of the Royal Marines from St Angelo, Malta .Royal Army & Royal Air Force personnel all ready there at the huge War Cemetery . Onboard the SS ORONTES were approximately 82 Rats of Tobruk and many with their partners.

Going ashore was restricted to the Rats of Tobruk, partners and Officers from the ORONTES and Ron King and self.

Anyway we had not seen each other since 1961 , so we really enjoyed a few memories on that 6 week voyage to England. .

A very good and succesful day.

Allan "Shorty" Moffatt OAM
President RANCB NSW

Vale LCDR Frank Densten RAN Rtd

We don't have the contact info for a number of Frank's old ship mates to pass the news that he has passed away. Once we have details of his funeral service, is this the correct address to send these so that a notice could be placed on the RANCBA website.

Thank you
LCDR Mark Melvin Rtd on behalf of Clare Densten.

Simon Densten has advised he is coordinating the funeral for his father.  Please use the link to his email address to pass any condolences.

Sad news, our deepest condolences go out to Clare and family.  I will publish funeral arrangements when known.
Lest We Forget

Follow this link for a photo of Sig School Staff 1977 - LCDR Frank Densten OIC.


The Funeral of Mr Francis
Gardiner Densten will be held at
Tobin Brothers Chapel, 232
Cranbourne Rd, Frankston on
WEDNESDAY (July 16, 2014)
commencing at 2.00 p.m.
Private Cremation

FRANKSTON 03 9775 5022

Simon Densten adds:

"My Father has selected Lord Alfred Tennyson's poem 'Crossing the Bar' for the ceremony, I now understand its significance and the importance my Father placed on his RAN Service and indeed his connection with the RAN Communications Branch. The Densten Family is also fortunate to have a RAN Chaplain from HMAS CERBERUS for the Service which has given my Mother much joy and enables the connection with the RAN. Perhaps you could mention that below my Father's entry on the website."

To All of Frank Densten's shipmates
The Densten family have now laid to rest LCDR F.G DENSTEN, RAN. We can consider ourselves very fortunate to have had Chaplain Andrew Thorburn, RAN  from HMAS CERBERUS attend the funeral and ensure that in the true spirt of the RAN Frank had a good send off. We also consider ourselves tremendously privileged to have had the current Officer Commanding DFSS Maritime Communications and Information Systems Wing, LCDR Gerrard Hoctor OAM, RAN present the Australian National Flag to Clare Densten, which was something that words could not describe. To see Frank's casket adorned with the Australian White Ensign, his cherished sword and medals was surely a great sight. In conclusion Mathew Densten, the eldest grandson, recited Tennyson's poem 'Crossing the Bar' the significance of which was not lost on those who attended.
Thanks & Regards (on behalf of my Mum)
Simon Densten

From Keith 'Curley' Lenton:

So sad to read the news of Lt. Cmdr. Frank Densten's passing. I served with Frank when he was a PO Tel on HMAS Macquarie from August 1952 to February 1954.

He was a great bloke and I had a lengthy conversation with him some time ago about the old days etc. We shared the dramas of Monte Bello in 1952 and fisheries patrol out of Darwin in 1953 together with a visit to Port Moresby for the Queen's coronation also in 1953.

Comm's crew at that time was PO Tel Frank Densten, L/Tel Jim Adams, Tel's Ben Brennan and Neville Frowd, Yeoman Keith (Junior) Powell, L/Sig Dennis (Doris) Day, Sig Jim (Tubby) Hoysted and yours truly Keith (Curley) Lenton.

Tight Comm's crew with only the Sig's and Tel's keeping watches.

My sympathies to his family.
R.I.P. Frank

From Artie Wyatt:
Would like to express my sincere condolences at the passing of Frank Densten, if members look at the 1977 staff photo, it was a great bunch of people to be associated with, living on the 'patch' I enjoyed Frank and Clares hospitality many times, as well as many convivials in the respective messes, with the various members of the staff.
Artie Wyatt

From Carolyn Davey:
Just read about the passing of Frank Denston.

I used to baby-sit for the Denston children when they were at Harman - my condolences to the Denston family.

What a lot of memories this brings to me.

Kind regards


RANCBA Members (NSW)

Following is the correct details for direct payment to the Treasurer. I do apologise for my error.  Other details also.

Treasurer Max Miller
14 Dove Street, REVEBSY NSW 2212
Phone 02 9774 1974 (should you have a query about your financial status).

Direct Credit - CBA
Account Communications Branch Assn
BSB 062009
Account number 00907855

Allan 'Shorty" Moffat OAM
President RANCBA NSW

Be Off The Air - Shorty Moffatt

Due to my hospitalisation that will take place on the 9th July for a total left hip replacement, I will be off the air from the 8th July. Have I believe 5-7 days in hospital then off to a rehab hospital for about 8 days for physio and to learn to walk with crutches etc.

There fore any queries/problems for NSW Chapter please contact Ken Swain (Vice President) or Ray Mundy (Secretary)

This getting old/older is not what it is all cracked up to be!!!!

Allan :"Shorty" Moffatt OAM
President RANCBA NSW
Tks Shorty, all the best for your op and recovery.

Fm Keghead Weaver:
Sorry to hear that they are going to make it difficult for you to get through Security at the airport, but you can add it to your “Warries” when they pull you aside!!  Look after yourself mate and make sure they get the measurements right!!
Keghead and Ruth

From Ken Swain:
Allan David Moffatt OAM AKA "Shorty" or "The Short One"

Be it known to one and all that the President of the NSW Branch of the RANCBA "Shorty" Moffatt..Legend of 16th Minesweeping Squadron, Attack Class Patrol Boats and HMAS KIMBLA (all round small ships man :)) is currently in the NORWEST Private Hospital, Western Sydney. Bedside tel: 8882 8610. The Short One underwent a Hip Replacement operation last Thursday and ALL aspects have gone well. Allan is expecting to transfer to the Baulkham Hills Rehabilitation Centre for a few weeks "getting over it" care early this week.


VADM Ray Griggs Final Message as CN

P 292335Z JUN 14
TO AIG 3600
AIG 3602

VADM Griggs will be appointed Vice Chief of the Defence Force on 4 July 2014.


June 2014 Entries

Alan Hellier in Sick Bay

I will have to put a warning on my last comments in the past two newsletters.

Thursday evening 19th June, Alan slipped on wet grass on the footpath and fell - around the corner from our street; he rang me to pick him up and bring him home. One look – I was horrified at the state of his leg and foot.

Following 000 and wait on ambulance, followed by paramedic, we ended up in the Princess Alexandra hospital
emergency – he had a compound fracture of both the tibia and the fibular just above the left ankle.

Friday afternoon, plates and pins inserted, then the waiting game while constantly being drained. Tried to get him transferred to Greenslopes (just down the road from our place) but no joy.

He is now at the stage waiting for 'plastics' to do a skin graft which will be followed by more days in hospital, then rehab. It is unbelievable how many specialists take their holidays when the school holidays are on!!

Hope to know more about when plastics will do their bit after they visit him tomorrow( Monday) morning.

He is starting to get very P.... off with the whole thing, so if any of you wish to cheer him up, just ring PA on 3176 2111 and ask to speak to Alan Hellier and they will put you through.

Walking is great exercise, but can be dangerous following rain!!

Regards to all
Tks Sonja, we wish Alan all the best for a speedy recovery.

Fm Keghead Weaver:
“Shags” very sorry to hear of your problems with “the wet grass”. These medical people either need a “service for their Merc’s” or an “Holiday with their offspring” don’t they?? Hope you get that ‘draft’ to Greenslopes to make it a little easier for Sonja.

What with “Shorty”, myself and now your tumble, this President’s job is NOT an easy one, is it??? Hang in there mate, 2016 gives you plenty of time to ‘get well’ for that ‘coldie’ at the Yacht Club here in Canberra.

Keghead and Ruth

Tom Lane in Sick Bay

For those who remember Tom Lane, LRO, served 1957-1963, I want to let you know that he is at present in the Wesley Hospital in Brisbane undergoing radiation and chemotherapy for lung cancer. He's been there for the last six weeks and I'm not sure when he'll be returning home to Hervey Bay. His wife, Margaret, is staying near the hospital so that she can be with him every day. He doesn't have too many visitors as he seems to sleep most of the time.
Thank you.

Terri Lane (sister in law).
Thanks Terri, our thoughts are with Tom and Margaret.

From Keghead & Ruth Weaver:
Sorry to hear of Tom's plight. I knew Tom rather well and enjoyed the odd one or two with him at Harman. Always good for a laugh. Hope the chemo helps a little mate. Look after him Margaret.

Update from Terri Lane 5 July:
Advising that Tom was able to return home to Hervey Bay on Thursday. He's relaxing at home with Margaret until he has to return to the Wesley for further treatment. Thanks you for the kind remarks regarding Tom, he does appreciate all your thoughts. He's determined to fight this insidious disease.
Terri (Lane)


Plaque Dedication - Chapel of Remembrance, GI - 22nd June 2014

On Sunday the 22nd, the latest Plaque Dedication was held for 11 former Members of the Royal Australian Navy who have served this Nation in peace and war and their dedication to duty.

The Service was Officiated by Chaplain Anthony Crook RANR , with music by a the Detachment of the RAN Band , Sydney. Once again we had the presence of L/Musician Tracey Kennedy whose singing is wonderful.

Unfortunately due to a problem that occurred with the receipt of vehicle registrations and people attending being received by ADI Security, there was a hold up in gaining entry to Garden Island. Drivers had to show their Driver's Licence and details taking, then all were given Passes with lanyards to be worn and the normal Visitors Pass to be displayed on the vehicle dashboard. This caused a back up of traffic and which had a snowball effect and the Service was held back for 15-20 minutes.

The Service commenced with a Welcome and Opening Prayer given by Chaplain Crook, the singing of Amazing Grace which was led by L Mscn Kennedy.  After the Naval Psalm (Psalm's 107 23-71) the Family Reflections were given. This is were the family, former ship mates or others are asked to come forward and speak on behalf one particular person.

I was asked by Mrs Faye Church would I speak on behalf of the late Ex LTO Leslie Church, and I felt very privileged to do so.

Ken Swain spoke on behalf of the late Ex WOSY Robert Graham Nevell.

Ex CRS Ian Pitkethly spoke on behalf of his late uncle , ABQO Thomas Ian Pitkethly who had served from 1933 -1946 and certainly had a very interesting Naval career during WW II .

Ex CYS Ian Schubert spoke on behalf of the late LS Trevor Taylor, as they had both done their training at HMAS LEEUWIN as JR's and had remained friends ever since.

When he completed his speech a very young lady from the family came forward and spoke and gave a very touching speech and it is hoped that we can obtain a copy as I believe all should have the chance to read.  (See below, this has now been added).

This was followed by another given by the wife of ex CPO James Watson, whose speech was also very good.  My only regret that no recording is ever taken of these speeches, as some I believe should be kept for historical purpose.

On completion of Reflections, The Ode was Recited and then a Bugler from the RAN Band played the Last Post , followed by One Minutes Silence and then Reveille, The Prayer for our Navy, and Benediction and then all remained standing whilst the Australian National Anthem (led by L Mscn Kennedy was sung). 

All were invited to inspect the Chapel and then make their way to the Naval Historical Bldg where the FNSA & RANCBA had made available morning tea.

Once again the following had shown their MKR skills in preparing and bringing a great arrangement of cakes / slices, & sandwiches which they had made. this included, Sharon Mundy, Liz Watts, Pam & Kathleen Short, Jan Mills, Mary Bell, Diana Avent, Helen Moffatt. This is given to all in attendance with no cost to those attending..

Mrs Faye Church was accompanied by approx 30 of the late Les Church Family, and many had made the journey from Melbourne.  Some of the NOK of the late LS Taylor had journeyed from SA & Qld with Ian Schubert travelling from Canberra to speak on behalf of his late friend.

This Service is very unique and is available to all who have served this Nation in the RAN, both male/female.  I was also asked by 2 groups of people of how long has this beautiful Service being held and how many is held during the year etc.

Some of those in attendance. Communicators, RADM Tony Horton & wife Margaret, Ray & Sharon Mundy, Ken Swain, Andy & Jan Mills, John & wife Pam and daughter Kathleen, Dave Jeffrey (who had arrived from the ACT), Diana Avent, Ian Schubert (also from the ACT) Allan & Helen Moffatt, Ian Pitkethly and partner, FNSA Philip & Mary Bell (Secretary of the FNSA).

Allan "Shorty" Moffatt OAM
President RANCBA NSW

Plaque Dedication - 22nd June
This young lady (Kirsty) spoke on her uncle LS Trevor Taylor and I believe it was one of the most moving that I have had the pleasure to hear. It is hoped that you will all take the time to read - it says what it is all about being in the RAN regardless of what Branch or Rate.  Follow this link to read the eulogy from Kirsty.

Allan 'Shorty" Moffatt OAM
President RANCBA NSW


Vale Robert Graham 'Nifty' Nevell R46527 (ex WOSY)

It has now been confirmed by those who attended the memorial plaque dedication ceremony at Garden Island Chapel on Sunday 22 June (see report above) that Nifty passed away sometime in May 2014 age 80. 

Nifty was promoted to WOSY in 1972, shortly after the Warrant Officer rank was reintroduced to the RAN.  He followed Cocky Roach and George Davey who were also promoted to Warrant Officers in the Signals Yeoman Category.  Sadly, Cocky now stands alone at the top of the WOSY list, as George Davey, Nifty Nevell and Roger Gaydon (numbers 2, 3 and 4) have all now had their colours hoisted by the eternal Flagdeck.

I have retrieved Nifty's Record of Service cards from Archives and will add to this posting shortly.  May he rest in peace.

Lest We Forget.

John Curbishley
WOSY #12

From the Archives:
Robert Graham Nevell R46527, Born 23/08/1933, Joined RAN 14/12/51 - DEE 1975?, Rated SIG 1953, LDG SIG 1957, CY 1960, CCY 1965, WOSY 1972.  Early postings, SYDNEY, ALBATROSS, CERBERUS, PENGUIN, TARANGAU 1956-57 (promoted LDG SIG), MORETON, CERBERUS, PENGUIN, MELBOURNE (promoted CY 1960), WATSON, MELBOURNE, YARRA (1963-64) HARMAN 1964-65, MELBOURNE (as CCY) 1966-68, CERBERUS 1968-70.

From John Curbishley:
Around 2003, I put together a list of WOSY's who had served from 1972 to 2002.  From memory, Nifty (#3) was the only one of 43 WOSY's on the list I was unable to contact one way or another.  He certainly severed all ties when he left the RAN. The only photo I have of him is from 1970 when he organised the winning Curry Cup team at HMAS CERBERUS.
May he rest in peace.

From Bill Aylott:
Is this Nifty the one that had to have his cap tailor made? If so, I remember him from yesteryear as a knowledgeable & diligent V/S rating. The ranks are certainly thinning. Lest we Forget.

From Sam Hughes:
I was sad to see the passing of Nifty Nevell - sad because Nifty had chosen to distance himself from the Branch after his retirement, probably never knowing how well he was respected for his professionalism by his peers.  I served under Nifty on three ships - Yarra, Harman and Melbourne. The thing that I admired most about him was his pedantic and meticulous control of message handling that ensured sloppy message writing or delay in reply never reflected poorly on his ship. This discipline I also took pride in as a CY and CCY.

From Bruce Spender:
Sorry to hear of the passing of Graham Nevell (Nifty). Nifty was my first Yeoman in HMAS Yarra and his demands for excellence resulted in my spending lots of time reading semaphore forwards and backwards, hoisting signal flags accurately and rapidly, neatness and accuracy in recording signals, and having a neat voice log with times correctly recorded. It stood me in good stead during the rest of my naval career. I also served with Nifty when he was the Traffic Chief at 1RS and I was the Comcen Supervisor.  He tried many times to be selected for SD, but I believe his personal appearance was a factor in him not being selected. He would have certainly held his own in the commissioned ranks. This non selection did concern him, hence he virtually severed ties with the RAN on his retirement. Only Cocky to go of the original WO's and we all know how hard it is to kill a cockroach.

From Dave Jeffrey:
I have had time to think about my memories of Nifty. I was the RS on Supply when Nifty was promoted to WOSY. Yes he had a large cranium. I caught a signalman spinning his hat on his head on the flight deck one day, and it didn't touch anything bar the crown of their head. The CO of Supply at the time was Captain Vernon 'Froggy' Parker. They made a good pair. Nifty was actually taller which was a bit of a rarity for him. I wish to support everything said by Sam and to some extent Bruce Spender. He was a very efficient Yeoman (Chief & WO) while serving on Supply. He became the DO on promotion and I had the pleasure of informing the troops that he was being promoted and that now they needed to call him SIR!! Some bemused looks and a couple of comments immediately vanished and I am sure they all look back on that time with fondness and respect for a very professional communicator. I am sure he is organising a flag deck or MSO somewhere!!

From Carolyn Davey:
Just read about the passing of Graham Nevell. I was Nifty's daygirl in the Traffic Office at Harman in 1964 - he was relieved by George Davey and that is how we met. Nifty actually attended our wedding at the Way Side Chapel in 1967. He was always a gentleman who expected accurate record keeping.

What a lot of memories this brings to me.
Kind regards

Hammerhead Crane Garden Island

Not sure if this is noteworthy or not but find attached a photo of the GI hammerhead crane at sunrise just last week. The arm is now fully removed and so is the operations hut which sat at the back. Should only be a few more weeks and it will be gone completely.

Rohan Jennings

Thanks Rohan, a relic of Australia's naval heritage.  Contrast this to the link below to see the progress being made with the removal. 

Follow this link for a Sydney Morning Herald article on the crane removal.

Follow this link for more information from the Daily Telegraph.

From Sharon Mundy:
I read this article with interest as my Grandfather, Hilton Blanch, was one of the initial crane operators. He died from a heart attack in 1951, aged just 47, whilst operating the crane. Although he died before I was born, I would think of him every time I saw the crane, which was quite often whilst I was posted to MHQ for five years.


Graham Twist R96298 (former TO)

Graham's former shipmates might like to know that I have just found out from Charlie Rigg, and I've also received further info from one of Graham's and my former work colleagues at DFAT, that Graham is on his last legs, he is in hospital and doctors say that he only has days, possibly a couple of weeks to live.

I was only privy to this information late last week, that Graham has been doing it tough for some time now, he has had several tumours removed from his spine, his liver is 90 percent cancer and the tumours on his lungs are golf ball to cricket ball size.

We think that Graham lives up north, possibly around Grafton, I am endeavouring to find out contact details, though he is probably now past receiving visitors. Judy his wife, advises that he is mostly asleep, but he woke up on Thursday to have a mandarin and a coke.

I worked with Graham (as did Charlie) at DFAT for many years, he was a top bloke and well liked by all staff, his sense of humour was infectious and he also loved a punt. Lots of good memories! For what it's worth, we wish Graham well. If I hear any further info, I'll pass it on. Kind Regards to all. Ollie.

Ollie Lewis
Thanks Ollie, sad news.  Our thoughts are with Graham and Judy.

From Nifty (Rob Newell):
Very upset at hearing the news about "Hedley" (Graham Hedley Twist). Would like to know as much as possible as soon as possible. He and I served on BRISBANE (late 70's) and with cupla others drive in his FB holden on weekends back to Canberra - an education in itself. Have known the boys when they were twinkle in his eyes.

Devastating news. Bulldogs supporter and top guy.

My phone no. (02) 4297 2589

Nifty (Rob Newell )

Vale Graham Hedley Twist R96298 - ex TO

From Alan Mason:
Just following on with info on the website about Grahame Twist, sad news I am afraid, he passed away at lunchtime today (25 June) in Grafton hospital.

We found out through a friend in Canberra, Graham and Judy live up here near us, but have not been in contact for a long time.

I believe his funeral will be in Grafton next Wednesday, if you like I can keep you notified of exactly when.

Alan (Perry) Mason
66490946 0419 433035

From Rob Newell:
Wish to advise that approx 2030pm this day (25 June), got phone call from an Alan Mason in Grafton advising that Graham Hedley Twist crossed the bar at lunchtime today. Funeral is to be next Wednesday (negs details att). Advised he resided at Waterview Heights, am going to get more info when known.
Great Friend/shipmate/good guy.
Rest in Peace
(Rob Newell)

Funeral Service:
GRAHAM TWIST of Grafton, NSW, formerly of Monash, Canberra, passed away on 25 June 2014, aged 63 years. Dearly loved husband of Judy. Loved son of William (dec) and Jean, father and father-in-law of Dale, Craig, Mark and Jenna, loving Poppy to Addi, fondly remembered brother and brother-in-law of Jacki and Garry, Peter and Ivy, Stephen and Kathy and loved uncle of their children.

Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend Graham's funeral service, to be held at Grafton & District Funeral Home Chapel, 94 Victoria Street, Grafton, on WEDNESDAY, 2 July 2014, commencing at 1:00pm.

A private cremation will follow. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Melanoma Institute of Australia are welcome and may be left at the service.



Blue Mountains Vietnam Veterans Memorial Day - 17th August 2014

For those who may be attending this Service, which I might add is very well done, and also after the March and Service, great free entertainment and socialising!!!!

The Guest of Honour is Rear Admiral Neil Ralph AO DSC RAN Rtd.

We fall in opposite the Fire Station just down from the Railway Station, at 10.45am. We will be Laying a Wreath at the Service on behalf of all RANCBA Chapters.

If you are thinking about attending, could you advise me as we will be taking our Mini Banner for the March - it is not a long distance. It is not only for Vietnam Veterans, but all who have served in Korea, Malaya, Indonesian Confrontation, East Timor, The Gulf, Afghanistan, and for all who are Members of the RANCBA. Dress is as for ANZAC Day, Medals were applicable.

On completion of the Service the social function is held at the Royal Hotel Springwood - both in Macquarie Road.
As per normal in previous years, there I would be I assume for all, a free steak or sausage sandwich at the Hotel on arrival.

Herewith response to my query re Free Rail Travel
Subject: Re: Rail Travel


The Deputy Director General of Transport Services has approved free travel using the normal criteria for such occasions.

John Fenton JP
Hon Secretary

Allan "Shorty" Moffatt OAM
President RANCBA NSW

Keghead Weaver - Update June 2014

Follow this link for last update.

Just to keep you all in the loop, which I am sure you could do without, my 'little problems' have grown into 'big problems'!!

The GOUT was easy, but it appears my lymphatic system has broken down and I have LYMPHOEDEMA TARDA - old persons lymphoedema - incurable, just manageable(??). Exercises, stockings etc forever and now I'm having a colonoscopy and MRI of my small/large bowel to ascertain WHY the stomach cramps.

Isn't growing old fun???


Keghead, keep fighting, we wish you well for your recovery. 


Queen's Birthday Honours List 2014

The below Communications Officers were recognised in the 2014 Queens Birthday Honours List:

For outstanding achievement as the Deputy Director Operations for the Royal Australian Navy International Fleet Review 2013.

For exceptional service to the Royal Australian Navy as the Director International Fleet Review and in significant command and leadership positions.

BZ to both recipients for an outstanding Fleet Review last year.

Fm Rohan Jennings:

CPOCIS Sam Robson received a CSM per the below:

Chief Petty Officer Samantha Leonie ROBSON, NSW. For meritorious devotion to duty on the staff of Commander Australian Surface Force.

Congratulations to Sam for her very worthy award.


Vale Doreen Burgin - Wife of Lofty Burgin

I have the very sad news of the passing of Doreen Burgin, wife of Frederick Maxwell Burgin, known to most of us either 'Lofty' or 'Max'.

For those who did not know him, he was a member of the RANCBA ACT for many years and was instrumental in the 2002 REUNION as Transport Officer.

I served with Max on 'Quadrant' and have known the family ever since. She will be sadly missed.

The funeral will be held at the White Lady Chapel, Nettlefold St, Belconnen, Tuesday 10th June 1400.

'Keghead' Weaver

Gathering of Brisbane Communicators

The usual gathering of Brisbane Communicators held on the 1st Monday each month was held on 2nd June and 8 former ex Communicators turned up at the Grand Central. Jim Anderson in Innisfail had requested a photo be taken of the attendees and to send him a copy. Unfortunately there was not one camera or a mob fone available for a group shot.

Pity really as we were blessed with the presence of Mel Prosser from Darwin which surprised everyone. The others were Squizzy Taylor, Tackers Miles, Trev Percival, Jim Eagles, Roger Garrett, Baz Cleary and Kev Ruwoldt. Mel, Baz and Squizzy were OD’s on Vampire as part of the Commissioning Crew in 1959.

Looking forward to another surprise on the 7th July, who will it be......

Kev Ruwoldt

HMAS KUTTABUL Memorial Cruise 31st May 2014

Today, 31st May, I was invited to attend the cruise on Sydney Harbour and Service for the loss of KUTTABUL, which took place 62 years ago with the lost of 19 RAN sailors, 2 RN sailors and injured 10 sailors. KUTTABUL was a ex Sydney Ferry and was secured alongside Garden Island for sailors accommodation.

The Japanese submarine, M-24 a Ko-hyotski Class fired 2 torpedoes, with the hope of hitting the USS CHICAGO, a cruiser , but when the 1st torpedo was fired, the submarine's ballast was thrown out and this put the firing line of sight out., so it missed the CHICAGO and hit KUTTABUL. The sinking took place at approx 0030am on the 1st June 1942.

The FANTASEA Cruising line supplied the vessel with the owner, Remo diBenedetto aboard, Mr Gary Traynor (ACT) and Mr Warwick Adibee who gave a full lecture on what took place that night. Also a CD which was loaned by Mrs Mary Bell (Secretary FNSA) and it was the the voice of her late father Mr Charlie Nelson who was the RAN Petty Officer Diver at Garden Island and his duty was to locate the bodies of those down below. This was not the Clearance Divers that we know nowadays, but he had to wear the full heavy helmet, heavy boots and dragged air lines behind him for air and safety He had to go below and check hammock if any bodies still caught inside, but he found sailors who had been trapped when their lockers collapsed on them. He spent 9 hours the first day and 6 hours the next days till all sailors were accounted for. This CD had been recorded previously for a TV service.

We also had onboard this cruise the Scuba Divers who located the wreck of the Japanese Submarine which was located outside the Heads and up the coast.

We came alongside the Ferry Wharf at the Heritage Centre, GI for a tour of the Centre and then rejoined the vessel and a small distance down further and outside the Navy restricted area, a service was held just off Garden Island where the KUTTABUL had been secured and sunk, The Last Post was Sounded , the ODE and the names of all those sailors who lost their life that night read out. Several were invited to caste a red rose into the water, ( Wreaths made of plastic and other non environmental material are no longer permitted to be thrown into the water) . Bob Auston and myself (Shorty) were some selected., but also onboard 2 survivors of the KUTTABUL and some NOK's On completion, Reveille was played. We then proceeded to the Sydney Heads, for line of sight view to where the Japanese wreck lays.

Back inside we cruised , but stopping engines and further details of where the submarines had been on different tracks. It was a great few hours and sadly it came to and end, and we returned to this vessels berth.

Full credit to all concerned, but they did ask, should you know of any person or relative who may have been involved in this particular night, could they contact the Association for further information and history.

Some onboard that I knew, Bob & Jo Auston (FNSA) , Howard & Helen Halsted . (Howard is ex L/Sig Corvettes and their President ) Unfortunately Mrs Mary Bell (FNSA ) who was due to join us , who due to surgery late yesterday could not attend.

HMAS MELBOURNE & USS FRANK E EVANS - Reunion 2014, 45 Years on - 1969 - 2014

Today, 1st June I was invited to attend a Service at the Chapel GI in memory of the 74 Officers and Sailors of the USN who lost their lives between the tragic collision of HMAS Melbourne & USS Frank Evans on the morning of the 3rd June 1969 in the South China Sea.

The Service was Officiated by Rev. Dr. Principal Chaplain Gareth Clayton OAM RANR. and the Introduction by Rear Admiral Tony Horton AO RAN Rtd. Music was by the Detachment of the RAN Band Sydney and Catafalque Party by the RAN.

The Naval Psalm was Read by Sub Lieutenant Mike Breakspear RAN Rtd and the Reading of St. John 11 25-26 by Ms. Loretta McKay.

On completion of the Naval Hymn , and Benediction all remained standing whilst the Catafalque Party presented arms, and the Australian White Ensign raised for the singing of the American National Anthem and the Australian National Anthem.

Some of those in attendance, RADM Tony Horton & Margaret, Captain JP Stevenson and Family, Ms, Jan Northam, Consul Scott Simpson & Robyn, US Consulate Sydney, CMDRE Jonathon Mead AM RAN representing the Fleet Commander, CMDR Todd Wilson CO HMAS KUTTABUL, CMDR Alex Hawes RAN.

Some of the Communicators that I knew, Bob Jocumsen & Janice, Jock Donnelly, Bob O'Hara and Ron 'Nullarbor' Baker.  I was accompanied by my wife Helen

Over the next 2 days, there will be a cruise on Majistic vessel of Sydney Harbour on Monday 2nd June . Tuesday there will be a guided tour of the Australian National Maritime Museum which will also included Luncheon. The Australian Fleet Commander, Rear Admiral Tim Barrett AM RAN will be attending.

In both cases and some will tell you, I was a lousy Communicator and never carried a biro or paper to take notes!!!!!, so I have missed many names and for this, I do apologise.

Allan 'Shorty" Moffatt OAM
President RANCBA

Bill Gadd seeks Information

Firstly......I have a small enquiry about Gallipoli 2015.
I have been lucky enough to win a Government Ballot for next year to Gallipoli and I would like to know of anyone who may have been to Gallipoli/Istanbul, Athens/Greece and the Med; What can I expect? What's the best airline to use?. What's good accommodation and places to visit in Athens and Istanbul?

After flying to Athens we will join a cruise between these two cities visiting numerous ports in between. Obviously with an emphasis on Gallipoli and the 100 years anniversary. Can anyone help? We then fly home from Istanbul. I look forward to hearing from any one who may have done a similar trip to Gallipoli and surrounds who may have some good advice/tips and money saving guidelines.

Secondly.... I would like to say thank you for the Victorian Rancba Chapter in organising the Sea Cruise in March this year. Well done to Rod Withers and crew. It was most enjoyable in catching up to many old acquaintances and sharing stories, tales and drinks. I apologise to any one on the cruise I did not share some time with. Only so many hours in a day. Both my wife and I look forward to the next cruise.

Thirdly..... All my best to all communicators who I have made contact with over many, many years of service and have not seen recently. I wish you all good tidings and good health and hope to see you one day.

Kind regards,
Bill Gadd
Congratulations Bill, I hope the trip goes well for you.


May 2014 Entries

Keghead Weaver Update

For the past couple of months, Keghead has been in the wars (with a stay in hospital) in an attempt to work out what was ailing him.  His lovely wife Ruth has now provided this update - we sincerely hope this diagnosis will put Keghead on the mend.


Had consultation with vascular surgeon who said straight away that it was GOUT, and couldn't understand why all the 'experts' at the hospital did not diagnose same and treat it straight away.

Probably because there are too many 'mini-doctors' there and no one to lead them. If you must go to hospital, have a 'Plan B' ie – have your own doctor or know someone that is already there.

The vascular surgeon is treating GOUT accordingly and has ordered many other 'tests' to ascertain 'why' and take appropriate steps. Looks like we are on the 'right track', here's hoping.

Ruth Weaver




The following who have Served this Nation and the Royal Australian Navy will have a Plaque Dedicated at the Chapel.

R53751 CPO James Andrew Watson. Served 1957-65 Aged 77

19723 ABQO Thomas Ian Pitkethly. Served 1933-46 Aged 47

8082187 Lieutenant Vincent John Carroll. Served 1984-2009 Aged 42

R107061 ABSIG Peter Leslie O'Brien. Served 1970-75 Aged 59

O1003 Commander Athol LLoyd Rose. Served 1933-64 Aged 99

O106409 Lieutenant Commander William John Thorpe. Served 1969 - 2001 Aged 59

Rear Admiral Geoffrey Vernon Gladstone AO DSC. Served 43 years Aged 78

R52375 Leading Tactical Operator Leslie Church. Served 1956 - 64 Aged 72

P62268 Sergant Mervyn Ernest Hetzel. Served 1963 - 83 Aged 67

C60068 Commander Anthony John Todd Bennett OAM RFD. Served 1954 -97 Aged 71

Should you be attending , could you advise me and also the following, if coming by private vehicle I will need car rego and passengers for GI Security and also if using public transport, just your name.  I will require this no late than COB 18th June.

Note: There will be two Plaques for departed Communicators. ABSIG O'Brien and LTO Les Church.

Allan "Shorty" Moffatt OAM
President RANCBA NSW

Service for Embarkation to the Indonesian-Borneo Confrontation

On Saturday, 24th May commencing at 11.00am a Service was held at the Heritage Centre, Garden Island. The setting and weather could not have been better. Sydney Harbour was a picture and with the unseasonable weather, it made it more so.

The music was provided by the RAN Band and Catafalque Party by 145 Signals Sqdn RA Signals.

This was held for the 111 LAA Bty RAA, 7 Field Sqdn RAE, 42 TPT PL RAASC, 5 Sqdn RAAF all on board HMAS SYDNEY commanded by Captain JP Stevenson RAN Rtd, escorted by HMAS PARRAMATTA and HMAS YARRA, joined by 32 Small Ship Sqdn RAE and 16th Minesweeper Sqdn.

The Welcome and Commemoration opening was Brian Selby (Army) and Opening Prayers Chaplain Russell Smith RAN with the Commemoration Address by Captain Nick Mason-Jones RAA. The Indonesian Confrontation Address was given by Brian Selby He had certainly done his homework and made great mention of what happened in S E Asia during the undeclared wars Post WW II, the Malayan Emergency from 1948-60 and the Indonesian Confrontation 1962 - 66.

He made special mention and a welcome to Captain J P Stevenson who was the Commanding Officer of HMAS SYDNEY on the first deployment and then a few years later was unbelievably held and even though later exonerated for the HMAS MELBOURNE - USS FRANK E EVANS collision.

Some of those in attendance. CN, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs AO RAN, MajGen Michael Slater AO DSC CSC representing Chief of Army, GP Captain Carl Newman representing Chief of Air Force. Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson Minister for Veterans Affairs. Cmdr Todd Wilson CO HMAS KUTTABUL. Cmdr Darren Grogan, CO HMAS SIRIU, Cmdr Alex Hawes RAN. Dr. Jumlati Ismall Head of Post Malaysian Consulate. Colonel Mohd Hassan Loman , & Colonel Mhd Nazir Abd Rahman Defence Advisers. This is only a small list as there were many more.

Ex Communicators in attendance, Ian Schubert, Peter Davey, Glen Gilford & Leonie, Laure Scutts, John White & Rachel, and yours truly Shorty.

Many took the opportunity to speak with Captain JP Stevenson on completion at the Heritage Centre and for a person aged 92 years, he is great.  I took this opportunity as he had been my Commanding Officer HMAS ANZAC when serving during the Malayan Emergency 1957-58

Well done to both Army and Navy for combining to make this a very good Service.

The 31st August is now the Annual Day of Commemoration for all who served from Australia in the campaigns of the The Malayan Emergency and the Indonesian Confrontation as MALAYA & BORNEO VETERANS' DAY.

Allan "Shorty" Moffatt OAM
ex HMAS SNIPE 1965-66 in Confrontation
President RANCBA NSW


Vale Jeremy Bell (Son of Anne & Dinga)

Recently, Anne and Dinga Bell sadly and suddenly, lost their son, Jeremy. If any of their friends would like to add their messages to the online Book of Condolences, the site is putting Jeremy Bell in the search box. This book will be open until June 9th and then printed for the family to keep. This was such a sad shock to us all, and am sure those who know Anne and Dave will be saddened by their terrible loss.

Sue Hackett nee Halpin (Anne's Sister)

This is very sad news, I'm sure many shipmates will want to send their condolences to Anne & Dinga.  Our thoughts are with you both.

From Dinga & Anne Bell:

Although Anne and I are very conversant with email and the world wide web, I am afraid that other forms of social media such as Twitter and Facebook are still "White Man's Magic" to us.

We have been advised that a large number of RANCBA Members have expressed condolences regarding the passing of our son Jeremy, on one or both of these media.

We would like to thank you all for your support and your kind words. We are just so pleased that we also remain part of the RANCBA Family and look forward to meeting up with some of you in Albany in November 2014 and a whole lot more in Canberra 2015.

Dinga and Anne

Vale LCDR Bev Murphy RAN Rtd

It is my sad duty to inform you that another one of our ex Navy Communicator family, LCDR (and former CPOEWL) Bev Murphy passed away from cancer on Monday evening.

Bev Murphy joined the WRANS in Feb 1975 and reached the rank of CPOEWL before changing to officer in 1991. Bev was the first foreign female Naval officer to attend the Indonesian Navy Staff Course in 96/97 and paid off as a LCDR in 2001. Bev beat her first bout of cancer around 1990, but this time the cancer was unstoppable. She was a Reservist, and worked at Defence till the end. An amazing lady, a good friend, and a mentor to many of us Linguists. RIP Bev. Sorely missed, much loved. Condolences to Bev’s daughters and grandchildren.

A Service will be held at Norwood Park, Mitchell on Monday 26 May at 1030. All are welcome..

Lynn Gill

Lest We Forget


WRANS Naval Women's Association NSW

I attended the Annual Commemorative Church Service held at the Chapel, Garden Island on Sunday 18th May. I was accompanied with my wife Helen, herself an ex LWRRO.  The Service was conducted by Principal Chaplain Gareth Clayton OAM RANR, with the music by the Sydney Detachment of the Royal Australian Navy Band.

Before the Welcome, the Banner of the WRANS Assn was borne in by Ms Liz Watts, Secretary and the Australian White Ensign was paraded in by the Catafalque Party from HMAS Penguin. As Chaplain Clayton told all, having seen many Naval Chapels around the world, Garden Island's is far in front and that there is no better site than seeing the AWE being paraded.

Their President, Mrs Rosemary Stockley OAM welcomed all for their attendance, with the Naval Psalm 107 Verses 23-31 being Read by Mrs June Jorgenson OAM.

The First Lesson was Read by Commander Todd Wilson RAN, Commanding Officer HMAS Kuttabul and the Second Reading by Lieutenant Mary Rose Chapman RAN , HMAS Harman who had driven from the ACT that morning.

Some of those that I knew who were in attendance, Mrs Joan Evan President WRNS Assn, Rear Admiral Tony Hunt AO RAN Rtd who was accompanied by his wife. There was also representatives from other Ex Womens Services WRAACs and WAAFs etc.

Morning tea was made available to all at the Historical Building and courtesy of the WRANS Assn and full credit to both Rosemary and Liz for a good day.


Blue Mountains Vietnam Veteran's & Associated Forces Memorial Day

This Memorial Day with the March and open to all, not just Vietnam Veterans but others who served in Korea, Malay, Borneo Confrontation, East Timor, Iraq , Afghanistan will be held on the 17th August 2014.

The Guest of Honour will be Rear Admiral Neil Ralph AO DSC RAN Rtd who was the CO of the RAN's Helicopter Flight Vietnam (HFV) , and also the 50th Anniversary of he deployment of RAAF Caribou aircraft to Vietnam on the 8th August 1964. So therefore all RAN aand RAAF Association Members should mark their diary.

Further details will be given at a later date . Just keep the day clear !!!.

Allan 'Shorty" Moffatt OAM
President RANCBA NSW

RANCBA QLD - Invitation to Luncheon

All Members of the Naval Family are cordially invited to attend a luncheon on

Saturday 19th July 2014
11.30 for 12 noon
Rendezvous Studio Hotel,
103 George Street, Brisbane

to celebrate the Life and Times of Vice Admiral Sir William Rooke Creswell KCMG KBE RAN
20th July1852 - 20th April 1933 "Father of the Royal Australian Navy"

This Function is hosted by RAN Communications Branch Assn (Q)

Follow this link for the flyer promoting the Dinner


SITREP from Ron 'Nullarbor' Baker

Saw my Oncologist this week and discovered that a lesion on my lung has had a bit of a growth spurt. I've been off chemo since before Christmas, but now need to go back on it to try to deal with the little sucker. Good news is that the oncologist has endorsed my plan to defer chemo until the week after the Melbourne/Frank E Evans gathering in Sydney 1-3 June, and also agreed to give me a couple of weeks break at the end of September so that I can attend the reunion in Seattle.

That gives us eight 14-day cycles in which to (hopefully) eliminate the threat.. or at least slow it down. It's been great being off the chemo for so long, but I guess I always knew that there was a good possibility that I would need to go back on it at some stage.


Keep up the good fight and the positive attitude Nullarbor, you will beat the bastard!


Vale Bob Kennealy R36139  (ex CCY)

Just read in the death notices here in Melbourne about the passing of Chief Yeoman Bob Kennealy.  Doesn't say what date but he was in the Alfred Hospital.  He was 84.

I had a look at his history and he joined in 1948, my path crossed his a couple of times although I didn't actually spend any time with him in the 50's.

Thought you might like to know about it.

Keith (Curley) Lenton

Sad news Curley, thanks for keeping us informed.

From the Archives:
Wilfred Robert Kennealy, R36139, DOB 13/05/1930,  Served RAN 17/05/1948 - 16/05/65.  Re-entered 18/05/65 for a 6 year engagement with the Naval Dockyard Police (NDP). 

Early postings - Warramunga, Vengeance, Barcoo, Sydney, Tobruk.  L/Sig Dec 1957, CY Feb 1959. Voyager as CY 1960/61.  Cerberus 1962/63 as CY/CCY (rated CCY Feb 1963).  Sydney, Melbourne 1964/65.  DEE Kuttabul 16/05/65, then re-entry as NDP for 6 years.

Bob Kennealy 1963

From Bill Aylott:
Very sad to read that Wilf has passed away. First shipped with him when we both had punishment drafts to McHales Navy aka HMAS Barcoo, I for displeasing "Archie" when Sydney was flagship & I think Wilf being dipped back to kellick for some reason. We then met again when I was drafted to Voyager & he was the Yeoman. He did not like being called Wilf so "Knackers" it was. I can honestly say that if on Voyager when working with a carrier & when Wilf came on the bridge, if you didn't know 110 percent where the carrier was & what it was doing, it was a swift kick up the kyber. He was one of the best & will be sadly missed by all that knew him. Lest We Forget.

From Shorty Moffatt:
It is another sad day with the passing on Bob Kennealy. I first met him in 1957 when he was a L/Sig aboard HMAS Tobruk and I was a lowly OD sparker aboard HMAS Anzac . We were alongside HMS Tamar (Hong Kong) for 2 weeks prior to deploying to Japan and then Korea on a UN deployment. There was 5 OD sparkers onboard (all keeping watch by ourselves for the last 6- 7 months) and it was decided we now had the minimum required sea time up so we had to do our AB's rate.

At this time, Sparkers had to also read semaphore, read light and basic flags. So that we couldn't cheat, we had to go onboard HMAS Tobruk and Bob Kennealy was the person who had been detailed off to send semaphore to us . Also we were given a seaman from that ship as our "writer", someone that wouldn't be able to help us Bob I believe went easy on us, so we all managed to pass.

I met him over many, many years, mainly at the Sydney ANZAC Day March and Reunion when he would always be there with his best mate, the late Ex Chief Yeoman Ray "Lofty" Hartman, they were inseparable as they both lived at the Central Coast. Along with the late ex Chief Yeoman Roger Gaydon, (another Central coast retiree), with Ray, Lofty Hartman, they would put together a "Get Together" for RANCBA at the Gosford RSL. Wow was that a great day, pretty certain Fleetwork was the order of the day but RO's were allow to listen in!!

He was a great person and when he moved down to Melbourne, I missed seeing him and those that had served with him, would agree he was great and I don't think I ever heard a bad word spoken about him.
Rest in Peace mate
Allan "Shorty" Moffatt OAM

From Bruce Spender:
It seems that 2014 is not being a good year for old communicators – or maybe we are just getting old. I was sorry to hear that Doug Manners had finally lost his battle with the big C. He was a true gentleman. I remember him as the Assistant Naval Attache in Manila and also at HMAS Cerberus. I was also fortunate to catch up with him whilst caravanning in Stanthorpe in about 2008. My condolences to Sylvia and family. May he rest in peace.

Bob Kennealy was my Instructor in VS Procedure when I did my initial training at Cerberus in 1963. He made sure we knew our procedures off pat – under penalty of death. I'm sure he had a sense of humour, but our class never saw it. To me me he was what I expected a Chief Yeoman to be – hard but fair and a man who knew his stuff. Another good man gone. RIP.


ALAN RUST Ex Tactical Operator R65334

I have had a phone call from Alan's uncle and the family are putting together a "Family Tree" and he had been advised to contact me as I may be able to assist.

The information on Alan. He joined the RAN 7th May 1966 , served for 9 years and took his discharge 6th May 1975.  He did training at HMAS Cerberus 18th May 1966 - 27th July 1966 . He served on HMAS Sydney, Parramatta and did 3 trips to Vietnam aboard Sydney.

He did on discharge work for a Pest Control Company in NSW .

If anyone has information could you pass to me, keeping in mind the FOI rules and I will send on.

Allan "Shorty" Moffatt OAM
President RANCBA NSW

ANZAC Day Reunion - Ian & Allen McKeown

I have followed the site for many years and love it. I have admired the way this website has been going all these years through your efforts and hope they may continue through someone special.

And so my first contribution to this site is something I am very proud of and would like to share it. I would like to submit this photo of my Dad and I participating in the Hobart 2014 ANZAC day March. It is the first time my Dad and I have been in the same state around this time and marched together for the first time and we had a great day. My Dad is Allen McKeown (83yrs) and he served on the HMAS Condamine(52-55) before heading down to NAS Nowra. if any of the readers can remember him he would be thrilled.

Ian McKeown

Thanks Ian, a great photo. It looks like you both enjoyed the occasion.  BZ to you both.


Vale William Walter 'Bill' Joyce R34722 (ex CRS)

Sadly Beth Joyce advised me that Bill passed away at 0100 this morning (8 May 2014).
Will advise Funeral details when known.

Kev Ruwoldt
Lest We Forget

Funeral Details:
The service for Ex CRS Bill Joyce will be carried out at the Centenary Memorial Gardens Crematorium, 353 Wacol Station Road, Sumner, at 10am on Wednesday 14th May. Medals to be worn.

From the Archives:
William Walter Joyce R34722.  DOB 19/03/1926.  Served RAN 10.04.1947 to 09.04.1967.
DEE as CRS.  More to follow shortly.

From Kev Ruwoldt:
I first came across Bill at FND in early 1959 when beginning my R Class, he was the Instructor in charge of the Bridge Wireless Office. He was always willing to lend a hand and answer any questions, assist with demonstrating what was what and tuning the equipment.

March 1961 I arrived at HMAS Melville (Coonawarra) and Bill was then the Regulating CRS. Spent a couple of months as a Dayman under Bill and a nicer boss you would never get. Also I became very friendly with his wife Beth and their 3 girls, Anne, Lesley and Denise.

Next I ran across Bill in GI in Sydney on HMAS Vampire, he apologised for not allowing me into the MWO as my name was not on the authorised entrance list. This was the first I knew about the on-line equipment introduced while I was at HMAS Tarangau and on HMAS Kimbla.

I arrived at HMAS Harman Feb 1966 and was placed on A Watch (LHOW) at Bonshaw and Bill was in the Control Room as CRSOW. Bill paid off in Jun and I was lucky enough to get invited around for a meal and say our Goodbye’s.

On a visit to Brisbane on HMAS Derwent Bill met me at Newfarm and took me home for the weekend. Sunday Beth packed a lunch and they took me to Coolangatta and lunch was consumed on the beach grass area.

Next visit was May 69 on my way to Sydney from Darwin, when I arrived at their abode in Booval Beth advised that Bill was working at the Redbank Woollen Mill and offered to guide me to his workplace to catch up. Returning Beth home I then resumed my journey to Sydney.

In 1979 while driving around Australia I called in to see them again only to find no one home. A friendly neighbour guided me their daughter Anne’s place and we caught up once again. This time I was married with 2 children which surprised them.

Moving to Brisbane from Townsville in 1993 allowed me to catch up with both Bill & Beth regularly at Comms Reunions. Bill was a true gentleman, as Fred Harper told me “a real nice man”.

From Bill Aylott:
And now Bill Joyce. Looks like being a bad year for we communicators. I never served with Bill but I did know him from Queensland RANCBA get togethers at the Maritime Museum. Sympathy to his wife & family, I'm sure he will be greatly missed. Lest We Forget.

From Shorty Moffatt:
Sadly this has been a bad week for ex Communicators that I have served with (Doug Manners, Bob Kennealy and now Bill Joyce) who have now "Crossed the Bar". It doesn't get any easier

I first met Bill when I joined HMAS ANZAC in late '56 down at Williamstown Dockyard, Bill was the PO/Telegrahist, but he was only with us for about 2 months as he had just completed a previous deployment and he was relieved by Ex PO/Tel. Perc Hoare for the 57-58 deployment in the FESR.

Anyway in 1960 I was drafted to DarNavRadSta the old Coonawarra (and I mean the old Coonawarra, we had old WWII galvanised quonset huts, 20 to a hut and no A/C , just one fan etc) and the Reg Chief was the late CRS Sandy Beavis, but about a month later relieved by Bill who was now a CRS.

Sadly, Sandy who had now been promoted and was the SCO and one of those 84 sailors lost on board HMAS Voyager in ' 64)

We soon relived our friendship from way back and as it was strictly a watch keeping station, 24 on/24 off and not many based there, he had a set routine. He would do Colours each morning at the QM's lobby then walk up the road to 1RS. Check with the LHOW if any problems during the night, then go around to the people on duty, the 2 RO's on ship-shore, and the WRAN out in the tape room, Always happy and polite and wishing everyone a great day.

But there are 2 times I really remember him. I was on my 24 off and in the hut one Sunday evening getting dressed to hit the wets, when Bill and the LPM came in and advised me, pack a bag as I would be joining HMAS Banks that night and sailing as soon as you are onboard. The sparker (the late RO Bert Adaway) had been bitten by something down at Howard or Berry Springs and was now in ICU at Darwin Base Hospital. What ever had bitten him, had gone through his body system and big lumps were appearing all over his body

Bill drove me to Darwin, then down to Fort Hill Wharf, introduced me to the CO & XO on HMAS Banks, and a very brief instruction on the trans/receiver and where the morse key was and left me.
It was only for a few weeks, and no sooner back at Coonawarra, when I was on watch on ship/shore on a Friday afternoon when Bill came in to advise me that I had been selected by Navy Office for 2 years exchange with the Royal Navy in the England. So when I go off watch, better start packing and saying farewells as you are on the first flight out on Monday morning.

I never saw him or his delightful wife Beth till the inaugural 1st National RANCBA Reunion in Brisbane and here we once again renewed our friendship.

From then on, he would pen a small letter to me and the occasional Xmas Card and advising how everything was going.

But now it is time to say goodbye, so old friend, you are now at Peace, so smooth sailing
Allan "Shorty" Moffatt OAM

Bill Joyce in Sick Bay

Kev Ruwoldt reports that "I had a phone call from Beth Joyce last night and she told me that Bill is in hospital at St Andrews, Ipswich and has been there for over a week.  Things are not looking good at this stage, I will keep you informed." 


From Kev Ruwoldt 07/05/14:
Beth rang to advise that she does not expect Bill to last the night. She has spent all day with him and he never opened his eyes or spoke to her the whole time. Will advise further when known.


Vale Douglas Tyrone Manners R54566 (ex CPORSSM)

Doug passed away last night after a long battle with Cancer. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Sylvia, his three sons and three grandchildren. Sylvia will let me know his funeral details and I will put them on the QSO page as soon as I find out. I will also post an inadequate eulogy about him then.

Alan Murgatroyd

From the Submariners website:

Ex CPORSSM Doug Manners died in Allamanda Hospital last night. Doug has undergone several types of chemo treatment over the past 2 years.

Doug started submarine training in the RN in 1964-67 and served on HMS Cachalot and HMS Tiptoe. He transferred to the RAN and served on HMAS Oxley.

He cites the Fleet review in 2001 and submarine service as the highlights of his naval career.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Sylvia, family and friends.

Cards can be sent to:

Sylvia Manners
PO Box 3450
Helensvale Qld 4212

Lest We Forget

From Alan Murgatroyd:

A memorial service for Doug Manners will be held at 1100hrs Thursday 8th May. The address for the service is:

Parkview Chapel
Allambe Memorial Park
Nerang/Broadbeach Road
Nerang Qld.

Doug had been a mate of mine since we joined in 1958, we joined HMAS Voyager together in 1959 and remained friends throughout our lives in Pussers and continued our friendship during our retirement. Our families were and are very much entwined, Sylvia, Doug's wife and my Dot are the best of friends and have been so for over fifty years. The children of Doug and our family know each other well and enjoy each others company. I could go on about our times together but suffice to say that he will be very much missed.

Sometimes life, and death, seems so unfair.

From Shorty Moffatt:

It is indeed a very sad day with the passing of Doug. Having known him for so long and he was I believe one of natures gentleman. Sadly another one has gone to the big BWO in the sky, but I am sure his name will be remembered for many years to come. To Sylvia and his family, on behalf of the NSW Chapter, please accept out deepest sympathy.

Lest we Forget
Allan "Shorty" Moffatt OAM
President NSW Chapter

From Bill Aylott:
Having had number one mobile turned off whilst in Mt Isa, I turned on this morning on departure for Tennant Creek. I had three messages from Sylvia informing me Doug's fight with cancer was critical. I called her from Camooweal & I was shocked when she told me Doug had passed away last night. I only spoke to him on 24 April whilst we were coming up the hwy about Bowen area. It is very very sad when a good hand & gentleman leaves us, we are so much richer to have known & shipped with Doug. Good God, my damn eyes are getting misty. Unfortunately I will not be able to attend Doug's funeral but I'll have a couple for you Doug when we get to Katherine. Rest easy at last old mate
Lest We Forget

From Graham McNab:
We are way out here overnighting on the mighty Nullarbor and logged on locally to learn of Doug's unfortunate passing, and our thoughts are of Sylvia, their children and their families. Time to reflect on when we all first met in Moran 37 July 1958, our naval training and first sea drafts, of where we have been and the naval memories shared. Although our civilian career paths have not crossed it was always a pleasure to catch up with him at several of the National Communicator reunions. Speaking to Sylvia a couple of weeks ago at Hobart and learning first hand of Doug's ongoing battle and now his final demise doesn't make it any easier. RIP Doug, smooth seas and we will see you anon.

From Fred Harper:
Sincere condolences to Sylvia and family on the passing of Doug.
I remember Doug from when he joined in 1958 and served with him in Harman.
I have ran into him and Sylvia many times over the years and greatly enjoyed their company.
He was a true gentleman and a nice bloke to know.

From Bruce Spender:
It seems that 2014 is not being a good year for old communicators – or maybe we are just getting old. I was sorry to hear that Doug Manners had finally lost his battle with the big C. He was a true gentleman. I remember him as the Assistant Naval Attache in Manila and also at HMAS Cerberus. I was also fortunate to catch up with him whilst caravanning in Stanthorpe in about 2008. My condolences to Sylvia and family. May he rest in peace.

Doug Manners in Sick Bay

Alan Murgatroyd sends:

Sylvia Manners asked me if I could post on our sight that Doug is back in Hospital and not at all well. Without going into the gory details, it appears that he has not responded to the treatment offered to him. One can only hope but realistically things don't look good at all.  Sylvia has asked me to pass this on to his friends.

Alan Murgatroyd

Sad news - Doug made a posting to the Guestbook on 23 April saying "Good day to you all.  Just to let you know I'm still here. I start a session of radium this afternoon hoping to reduce a rather large tumour. I'm managing to get around although a little weak. Great support from family and friends.  Cheers Doug."

Our hopes and thoughts are with Doug and Sylvia, but it does appear this might be an opportune time for his Communicator shipmates to make contact.



April 2014 Entries

Re- Activated ASM and FESR Clasp - Shorty Mofffatt

At the end of March, I did a cruise aboard the Sun Princess to SE Asia and would have to say, well worth the money.  Arrived back in Sydney a day before ANZAC Day.

Our first port of call after leaving Sydney was to Darwin and here I did a organised tour, Darwin has certainly changed since I was drafted there (1960).  Anyway on completion, the XO of HMAS COONAWARRA, LCDR Michael Doncaster CSM RAN met me and gave me a tour of the old DarNavRadSta (Communications Centre) and now the new COONAWARRA at the Larrakeyah Army Base also the facilities for the patrol boats there.  My reason for this was as I had done the sea trials and commission and first cruise of HMAS ARROW (1968) ,which was later destroyed in Cyclone Tracey along with two sailors, one I had served with. I wished to sea the ARROW Bar at the base.  My tour was first class and full credit to the Commanding Officer, CMDR John Navin DC RAN and the XO for arranging this.

From there we sailed to Bali. Good run ashore, but also went out and also did the elephant ride.

Next port was Singapore - It is so modern now days. I did a trip on the MTR and local bus, out to my old stomping ground from many times there at Nee Soon and Sembewang. They are no longer. All high rise buildings.

We then sailed for Vietnam . Alongside at Phu My. Did a trip to Saigon and then up the Mekong River and some local villages. They make their own wine, some with snakes, Supposed to be good for you, but just settled for their local rice wine. They also have a good local beer 333.

Next port was Nha Trang ,and here did the trip to Vung Tau which many who served during the Vietnam war. would remember.

At the Veterans Get Together onboard the liner, about 54 of us who had served in Defence Forces met. No one knew each other. We all had to take the floor , tell your name, when you joined and what you did etc. We even had a Vietnamese POW who had spent 2 years in a prison camp. He made it out and came to Australia.  Anyway amongst this group was 21 ex Army who had all served in Vietnam and they organised a trip themselves to Nui Dat for a Service at Long Tan in memory of those 18 Australians who Paid the Supreme Sacrifice there. They thought my story was good so wanted to make me a Hon. Army person and accompany them to Nui Dat. I had to decline as was going to Vung Tau.

Next port was Hong Kong. Alongside at a new Cruise wharf at Kowloon, just near the Star Ferry Wharf. The ferries haven't changed, probably a new coat of paint. Anyway across the harbour and caught the local bus to Stanley Markets via Repulse Bay and Aberdeen . Then back and caught the local bus to the Peak. Make sure you use the upstairs of the bus, very, very exciting.

Nathan Road in Kowloon has changed, but all places still good for souvenirs. Don't go looking for the old TAMAR, it is reclaimed land now and building on the base.

From there we went to Xiamen , China mainland.  A good tour and there would be no way I would drive there. They don't use brakes, just the bus horn - move it!!!!

We then sailed for KockI, Japan. One of the nicest places you will see. Took in a good walk to Kocki Castle. - probably not a castle but it was the local war lord's place. Was reading one of the stories about it. In those days, the bride paid the bridegroom a dowry when they got married. Be nice to bring it back in today's time,!!!!

Next port of call was Kobe, and here we left the liner . We caught the "Bullet Train" at Shin-Kobe, They run about every 30 minutes and travel at 300 ks per hour. You don't know you are on there, they are so quiet. We got off at Shin-shimibashi and caught a local train (it only does about 150 kts to Narita Airport).  Quiet and also so fast.  From there it was a heavy security check and a flight home to Sydney via Kuala Lumpur.

Well worth it and a great break. Does this qualify me for a star on my FESR Clasp??

Allan "Shorty" Moffatt OAM
President RANCBA NSW

RANCBA VIC - Photos from Anzac Day

Please find attached a couple of images from the RANCBA Vic chapter from Anzac Day 2014 for inclusion on the website.

RANCBA Members were joined by members of the Defence Force School of Signals, Maritime CIS Wing (DFSS MCISW) and marched through the city of Melbourne after attending a cold, crisp dawn service at the Shrine of Remembrance.

Chapter President Rod Withers was particularly proud as it was an opportunity to march with his daughter Alicia Withers (LCDR RAN).



RANCBA ACT - Photos from Anzac Day

Follow this link for ACT photos.


Names for Photo - Phil Butler sends.

I found this old photo and couldn't for the life of me work out who everyone is.

It would appear to have been taken at the South Side Six Motor Hotel in Moorabbin, possibly around 1969.  I have no idea why we would all be there, other than the fact that they sold beer.

I recognise the two handsome chaps, Butler and Mesecke but can't remember the others.  Maybe someone else on the site can tell me who they all are.

Phil Butler


RANCBA ACT - Call for Volunteers RANCBA Reunion 2016


As you may be aware, the ACT Chapter of the RANCBA is hosting the next RANCBA Reunion in November 2016.

We are now seeking volunteers to serve on the Reunion Committee.

If you would like to join this committee, please email me your contact details.

Please consider joining the committee, we need a strong committee to ensure another successful Reunion.

Peter Guy

RANCBA QLD - ANZAC Day Arrangements 2014

Navy leads off this year, followed by Army and RAAF. Form up in William Street (not Queens Park) Parade commences 10 am.

Meet and greet following the parade at Rendezvous Studio Hotel 103 George Street Brisbane – meals and drinks at special prices for members, friends, and prospective members.

Many thanks
Sonja Hellier

RANCBA VIC - ANZAC Day Arrangements 2014

RANCBA Victoria members, together with serving and retired Communications Branch members, are invited to attend the Dawn Service at the Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne Friday the 25th of April 2014.

The central meeting point for RANCBA Victoria will be at the statue depicting Simpson and his Donkey (located near the Visitors Entrance) at the Shrine from at 5.30am.

Following the Dawn Service, we will find a suitable establishment to have a light breakfast in (own cost) after which RANCBA (Vic) will form up for the Anzac Day March at 0900 in Flinders Street on the West side of Swanston Street outside Flinders Street Railway Station and will be led in the march by Commander Rodney Withers R.A.N. (Ret) and his daughter LCDR Alisha Withers Commanding Officer Assail Two ( Assail Division consists of six rotational crews which share responsibility for the Armidale Class Patrol Boats (ACPBs)

Our position is between the Naval Association of Australia and behind us will be the HMAS Melbourne contingent which will be found approximately 2/3rds the way along the length of the Naval Group participating in the March.

After the March all are invited to attend the Maori Chief's Hotel 117 Moray Street (corner of Moray and York Street South Melbourne 3025 Ph 9696 5363) from 10.00am where a free sausage sizzle is available courtesy of the establishment.

*Note a limited lunch menu will also be available at own cost.

Ian Hogarth
RANCBA Vic (Sec)

The RANCBA (ACT) will be marching in Canberra on Anzac Day.

Your march leader will be our Vice President, Kevin Luke.

Members usually meet at the Navy Memorial – form up between 1000-1030 – march commences at 1040.

Look for our banner, and please remember to turn your mobile off.

We are holding an after-march function at the Canberra Bowling Club, Hobart Ave, Forrest. Kick off at 1230 approx.

Please pass this email onto other communicators/ex-communicators, they will be very welcome at the after-march function.

Peter Guy

Graham Bence OBE (Over Bloody Eighty)

Don’t know whether this is of interest but here we are celebrating my 80th birthday.
Never thought I would see the day, in fact, I thought I would not make 2000.

Pictures are courtesy of Sandy.

From Left, Pat McNabb, Eva Bence, Margaret Boydle and Kate Gray.

From Left John Gray, Doug Boydle, Graham Bence and Graham McNab

Saturday night at Niddrie, North Essendon.

Fm Bob Cody:
Congratulations Graham on achieving your OBE! makes our posting to Woomera seem such a long time ago, cheers Bob Cody.

Graham Bence & Bob Cody - Woomera March 1974.

Manus Island 1973

With Manus in the news lately here is one sent by Geoff Worth:

This is taken at Manus in 1973. Ross Arklay, Geoff Bridger, Rocky Freier and Charlie Wheeler.

Geoff Worth


Subject:  Ex-Member of the Defence Forces Pass NSW

The following information has been passed on from ESO - HMAS SYDNEY, Escorts & VLSVA (ACT).


In early March 2014, as a consequence of informal discussions held after the February 2014 General Meeting, the President of the VV&VF ACT was approached, to ascertain what his association knew about ACT veterans no longer being eligible to be issued with a NSW Government rail pass. He was also advised, at that time, of this association wishing to support the VV&VF ACT in any submissions they were making in relation to the reinstatement of eligibility.

On 14th March 2014, the following reply was received, together with a copy of the NSW Government decision given to the president of the National VV&VF (attached).

These and in particular the reply from Jim Wain, would seem to indicate that passes will not be renewed for ACT veterans. Other than that, it looks like a "wait and see" situation.

Tiger Lyons


Our involvement was in response to one of our members alerting us to the NSW Government refusing to renew an ACT member's rail pass. I asked the National President to intervene, which he did but the answer was any passes issued for people outside NSW were issued in error. Any existing passes would be honoured but no new passes would be issued.

I don't think the NSW Government is going to change their mind. Thank you for your offer of support but I believe it is a done deal. We are not going to take any further action.


Jim Wain


Follow this link for more detail on Ex-Member of the Defence Forces Pass NSW


Subject: Victorian Regional Reunion at Lakes Entrance 15-17 August 2014

Dear Members,

As previously advised it is intended to hold our next Regional Reunion at Lakes Entrance over the weekend 15-17 August 2014.  This will be the third in our series of Regional Reunions and hopefully it will be as successful as the previous two.  Vietnam Veteran’s day falls on Monday 18th August 2014 and the Lakes Entrance RSL have welcomed us to join them for their commemorative service.  Some of us are planning on staying over for this event and you are very welcome to do the same.  Large medals will be required for those staying over for the Vietnam Veteran’s commemorative service.

The programme for the weekend is essentially the same format at the previous reunions, being: 

Friday 15th           –             Meet and Greet at the Whiters Big 4 in their Rotunda. This will be a self catered (by RANCBA) function at which members can bring their own booze.  RANCBA will provide the food for this event with help from the $5.00 donation from each member attending. 

Saturday 16th     –             Lakes cruise on Peel Boats to Meetung Pub for Lunch, departing from and returning  to Lakes Entrance.  The cost of this is $55 per head and includes a two course lunch at the Meetung pub.  There will be a cash bar on the boat.  The boat will leave Lakes Entrance at approximately 1100 and return about 1500. 

Lunch at the Meetung Pub has a set menu for the cruise and consists of a choice of 6 mains and 2 desserts.  Drinks from the bar.  We will have to be at the boat about 15 minutes earlier and there is plenty of parking in the vicinity.  The distance for the boat from Whiters Big 4 is approximately a 45 minute walk through the strip shops. 

That evening we are planning on having dinner at the Lakes Entrance Bowls club (just down the road from Whiters Big 4).  With both of these functions (boat trip and dinner) it will be pay as you go.   The Bowls club is about a 10 minute walk from Whiters as well. 

Sunday 17th – Brunch at Whiters Big 4.  This will start at approximately 1000 and after that people are free to make their own way home and for those that are staying on for Vietnam Veterans Day they have the rest of the day to themselves.  RANCBA will provide the food for this event. 

Monday 18th – RANCBA members join with the Lakes Entrance RSL for their Vietnam Veteran’s Day commemorative service.  Please advise me if you intend staying over for the Vietnam Veteran’s commemorative service so I can advise the RSL of our likely numbers.  I have been advised by the RSL that there is no march but a stand up service at their Shrine and then return to the RSL for a BBQ/Sausage Sizzle that will cost us about $10 each. 

For the Friday night event and the Sunday brunch I intend collecting $5.00 from our members to help offset the cost for the food.  The Saturday events will be paid for by our members individually depending on what they want to do. 

John White has negotiated some discounts at both the Big 4 Holiday Parks in Lakes Entrance.  Both parks are located very close to each other.  Whiters Big 4 has very few caravan/camping sites but a large amount of cabins of varying size and cost, whereas the Water’s Edge Big 4 has plenty of caravan/camping sites and very few cabins.  Costs are shown below.  Please make your own bookings and advise them you are with the RANCBA group to get a discount.  Of course there are also plenty of motels and other forms of accommodation throughout Lakes Entrance.  The RSL has its own attached motel as well. 

Lakes Entrance is approximately at 3.5 hour drive from Melbourne.  I think there is a train service to Bairnsdale, which is about 30 minutes from Lakes Entrance.  If you are stuck for a lift let me know but I cannot guarantee being able to organise one, but will try. 

Whiters BIG 4 Holiday Park  quoted costs and discounts; 

These prices represent 20% off the standard rate and are available with a minimum 2 nights stay. 

Garden Cottage 2 persons $120.00 p/n

Garden Cottage 3 persons $132.00 p/n

Garden Cottage 4 persons $144.00 p/n 

Villa 2 Bed Unit 2 persons $100.00 p/n

Villa 2 Bed Unit 3 persons $112.00 p/n

Villa 2 Bed Unit 4 persons $124.00 p/n 

Villa 1 Bed Unit 2 person $92.00 p/n 

Hibiscus Cabin 2 persons $80.00 p/n

Hibiscus Cabin 3 persons $88.00 p/n

Hibiscus Cabin 4 persons $96.00 p/n 

Banksia Cabin 2 persons $64.00 p/n 

Waters Edge Big 4 Holiday Park quoted costs are: 

We can offer the following rates to your members (no other discounts will apply); 

Based upon 2 people

2 bedroom holiday unit (2 nights)          $280.00 – 15% discount  =$238.00

studio unit                      (2 nights)           $240.00 – 15% discount = $204.00       

cabin                             (2 nights)            $174.00 -  15% discount =$147.90 

powered site                                            $30.00 – 15% discount = $25.50



Rod Withers
(03) 9772 7775
0421 045 382

Dear Fellow Communicators,

 Please find details of additional accommodation discounts for the RANCBA Vic Regional Reunion at Lakes Entrance 15-17 August 2014.  Anyone taking up the 5 day discounts can extend their stay to cover the Vietnam Veterans Day commemoration service on Monday 18th August.  These are additions to what was previously advised. 


Rod Withers
(03) 9772 7775
0421 045 382

From: John White []
Sent: Wednesday, 2 April 2014 4:16 PM
To: Rod Withers
Subject: Lakes Entrance


 1.  This is an update to advise all those booked or contemplating joining us in Lakes Entrance in August 14th to 18th or part thereof for our Annual Vietnam Vets day regional get together.

2.  The Big4 Whiters Holiday Park have advised re two specials they have during this period for units which will be a big saving for those who wish to make it a five day get together which a number of you have done so.

3.  A.  A 1 bedroom Hibiscus unit (very nice) for 5 nights $295 total – that’s $59 per night.

     B.  A 2 bedroom garden cottage - both bedrooms have their own bathroom for 5 nights $475 total – that’s $95 per night for 2, 3 or 4 people.  These are more like a house with carport, very roomy and fully fitted out.

4.  If you have already booked, Whiters will allow to change over to these specials. There are 5 Hibiscus units remaining and plenty of cottages.

5.  We have some excellent events planned even from thursday night.  Any further enquiries please contact Rod Withers or John White.



Subject: Australia Post - Stamp Pricing Increase

The basic postage rate with Australia Post increased from 60 to 70 cents on 31 March 2014.  There are a number of other pricing increases.  Veterans with a DVA card or a concession card will be eligible for 'concession stamps' which will cost 60 cents (free stamp booklet also available).  Check out the website links below for more details.!3788!3!34564941266!p!!g!!mypost&ef_id=UqUbtAAAAYpQjLid:20140326064547:s


Subject: RANCBA Vanuatu Laptop Project

Dear Fellow Communicators,

Recently members of RANCBA, and others, enjoyed a cruise to the South Pacific visiting Noumea, Lufou and Vila (Vanuatu). During our visit to Vila it was brought to our attention a need to establish an “Internet Classroom’ at a school located on the Island of Ambryn. The material requirement to establish the internet classroom is a suite of computers and printers so that the kids can continue their computer studies as well as accessing the internet for educational purposes.

We considered the project to be worthy of support, particularly given the geographical location of Vanuatu to Australia. Where possible we should assist those in our immediate region.

The requirement is for computer equipment in working order comprising:

· Laptop computers (used is OK). Must also include power cables and carrying cases if possible but not important.

· Desktop computers including the processor, keyboard. mouse and monitors (used is OK)

· Printers including cables

· Software – operating system with licence string if possible, including CDs if operating software is stored on the CD. Include the password if the laptop/computer remains password protected. You can write it on a piece of tape fixed to the computer somewhere.

We will accept as many computers and peripherals as possible for onforwarding to Vanuatu. In order to do this we will be establishing local collection points. But firstly, I will request that you advise me directly if you have any of the computing needs available for donation to the Project. You can do this by sending me an email with the type and number of devices you have on offer. I will correlate the responses and then work out the collection details thereafter.

Our support for this project is truly appreciated by those who are attempting to improve the educational outcomes in Vanuatu, and in particular the island of Ambryn. If we are successful in getting a large number of devices then the programme can be extended to other schools in other locations in Vanuatu.

Later on I may be asking the State organisations if they can donate money to the project. This money will help facilitate the installation of the computing equipment in the classroom. I am not sure of the monetary requirement but we will help out where possible.

We will be seeking feedback from the Project once the installation and set to work of the devices is completed. This feedback will feature in newspaper articles and branch newsletters.

Can I ask that the state representatives included in the address block above to pass this message on to your membership giving it the widest distribution as possible. I will also be forwarding a slightly reworded version to other ex Navy organisations seeking their support as well.

Thank you in anticipation of your support.


Rod Withers
President RANCBA Victoria
(03) 9772 7775
0421 045 382

March 2014 Entries

Parramatta Hoist 'Port Yankee'

Can we ask around for this please - Any clue as to these flags/meanings?
Ray Davis

The hoist appears to be 'Port Yankee'.  I have no idea what it represents.  Perhaps it is a marker for a ship coming alongside.

Fm Royce Bell:
Only guessing but could it be “Port” flag on the outer, and Romeo Yankee on the inner ( with the Port flag obscuring the Romeo). That is “Ship out of routine” and “you may feel your way slowly past me”. Makes sense with the barge alongside. The ANF would still be flown while out of routine so long as the ship was not in dockyard hands for refit or modernisation.

Supposition I know but as good a guess as any.

Fm Ray Powell:
regarding Ray's query about the hoist in Parramatta, Port Yankee, If no one else has suggested I think it may be two hoists The Port flag on the outer and Romeo Yankee on the centre (with the romeo covered by the port flag). However that doesn't explain there being no code pennant!!!

Fm Royce Bell:
Since the last time I opened ATP 1 (ANSB) it was Edition B and it now appears we are up to Edition Echo
my memory could be a bit faded. The following is from Edition Delta and I cannot remember seeing the
wording of para 117 (2) before.

Seeing as how GI is no longer strictly a naval port and the number of merchant ships that now use the
area, has the use of the Code (ANS) pennant lapsed?

Perhaps a current CIS member would like to comment?

By the way, I pulled this off the internet.

MTP 1(D), Vol. II

Groups from the International Code of Signals may be used alone or in conjunction with signal groups
from this book. Whenever international groups are used alone in a flaghoist, international procedure is to
be used in answering.

(1) Whenever military use is made of the International Code of Signals, groups will be preceded by CODE
when transmitted by flaghoist, or INTERCO by Morse, voice, or semaphore.

(a) Whenever international signals are used alone, CODE or INTERCO followed by TACK shall be used as
the first group to indicate that all groups following are taken from the International Code of Signals.
When the signal consists of only one group, TACK may be omitted.

(b) Whenever signals from this book are supplemented by a group from the International Code of
Signals, CODE or INTERCO shall immediately precede the signal group to indicate that only that group is
taken from the International Code of Signals.

(c) For flaghoist signaling, a call sign preceding CODE indicates Allied procedure will be used in
answering, repeating, questioning, and canceling the display. For multiple signals, a call sign preceding
CODE may be hoisted in a superior position and left flying during several succeed- ing hoists of
international code groups. In either case, hauling down the call sign and CODE indicates the end of the

(2) When communicating with non-military ships or stations or non-Allied warships, refer to the
International Code of Signals.


And then a follow up email from Royce:

I have solved the problem with the Code pennant. The signal you may proceed past me at slow speed
have been incorporated into Edition E so it has the same meaning in both the allied and international
codes. Therefore the use of CODE pennant preceding is not necessary.


Quote from
Vol 2




RV You should proceed (to place indicated if necessary).

RV 1 You should proceed to destination.

RV 2 You should proceed into port.

RV 3 You should proceed to sea.

RW You should proceed to anchorage in position indicated (lat… long…).

RX You should proceed at time indicated.

RY You should proceed at slow speed when passing me (or vessels making this signal).


Fm Bill Aylott:
If the ship is in harbour, why doesn’t someone ring them up & ask them?

Fm Sam Hughes:
sailed past Parramatta on Wednesday last week and she was flying three hoists - the Port flag on the outer, Romeo Yankee in the middle and flag Kilo on the inner.


If anyone is interested in the links to MTP1 & 2 here they are:


Ray Davis has shared a video!

Hi mate, have you seen this before - can it be posted on the website?
Ray [Davo] Davis

Thanks Ray, early 60's on the Flagship - a few recognisable Signalmen. (Harry James, Kevin Duffy, Greg Fullerton, Shorty, Blue Kavanagh, CCY Yogi Barker.)  Thanks to Barry Appleby for the names.  Don't be put off by the time display, it only runs for about 10 minutes!


Just Cruisin'

Hi John,

Here is a photo of some signalmen you might know and would like to share on the web.

Phil Roy
And there never was a finer looking bunch of Signalmen! 

Steve Bridge Jacinda Sharp Frank Lawton
John Neilson Glenn Gilford Reg Robbins Rod McLaurin Terry Frankland Bruce Willoughby Barry Sherriff
Grant Gale Mick Delaney Ian Schubert Greg Palmer Ian Sturtevant
Geoff Wasley Owen Perkins Phil Roy Peter Bird Nev Kruck Geoff Hickling David Kerr Graeme Stout
Peter Durran Gary Swanton Barry Kane Wayne Graham Rod Withers Ray Powell Kel Nagle Mick Burton


Graham Linton & Co

Hi John, I am currently having a big clean out pending down sizing towards the end of this year and amongst my photo's I came across this one of the late Graham (bear) Linton, myself (Geoff Worth) Steve (Loupy) Guerin and Ray Meaker that was taken around about 1970 I would think. Maybe this can go into QSO.

Regards and best wishes
Geoff Worth
Thanks Geoff, a great photo.  Brings back fond memories of Graham Linton.


All Serving & Ex Serving Communicators.
The following Services and Reunion will be held on ANZAC Day, 25th April 2014 - Sydney.

Wreath Laying Service.
This will be held at the Cenotaph, Martin Place at 0740am . A serving sailor, LS CIS Cindi Correa will be our Wreath Layer. For all those wishing to participate, please be at the southern end of Martin Place, cnr of Pitt Street at 0730am so that we can "march on" at our given time.

After this Service, most normally go to the Combined Services Club, in Barrack Street, off George Street at Martin Place and partake of a breakfast at a very reasonable cost or other refreshments.

The RANCBA will be participating in the ANZAC Day March and our "fall in" area is in Castlereagh Street south. We will be setting off later than in previous years, but if you could be there by 0900am. Our Banner will be displayed so that all should have no problem locating us. If you do have a problem finding us, there will be RSL March Marshalls who will direct you to our area.

There will be two eyes right during the March.
First, when passing the Cenotaph.
Second. When we enter George Street on the right hand side there will be seating arranged for former Veterans who are unable to March.
For those in civilian attire and wearing caps/hats, at the order "eyes right" , please remove head gear and place over the right breast on both occasions., and on the order, "eyes front", replace. ..

Now, the RSL has asked, when we come to the finish, and the order, turning right, dismiss, please leave the roadway to allow following contingents to finish their march.

Once again, the Reunion will be held at the Royal Exhibition Hotel, and we have the exclusive use of the 2nd floor. Please come along and also partners, and families are very welcome. Renew and make new friendships.  Royal Exbibition Hotel is on the cnr of Chalmers & Devonshire Streets, opposite Central Station (suburban trains entrance) and very close to Eddy Avenue for buses etc.

Smart dress for both male & female. Full Medals where applicable.

Also our Patron, Rear Admiral Tony Horton AO RAN Rtd, will be the March Leader for Post WW II Navy Contingents, so it would be nice for a big turn out.  Rear Admiral Guy Griffiths AO DSO DSC RAN Rtd will be the March Leader for WW II Navy Contingents

Allan 'Shorty" Moffatt OAM
President RANCBA NSW

Vale John Stephen Saywell OAM - R31203 (ex TEL)

Sandy McNab sends:

This gentleman John Saywell was the chap who was able to point me in the right direction in chasing down some of the missing names with that mystery WWII 1942 recruit class photo of Telegraphists. John completed a Sig School W Class and then reverted / transferred to an Electrical career in the Navy, and through his Association still had a couple of the mystery lads on his books. We have a couple of pages write up from him on the QSO Forum

He has been the immediate past National President of the Radio Mechanic's Association and maybe nearly the last of his era.

Advice of John's passing came from John Bolton:


Not sure if you know, but John Saywell passed away last Monday (17th March).
I saw your old post on the RANCBA website and thought you would like to know.

John Bolton
1965 - 1974
SA Convenor Pussers Greenies


From the Archives:
John Stephen Saywell R31203, DOB 02/04/1929, Joined RAN 29/05/1946.  DEE 01/04/1959.  Initially a TEL but changed to Radio Electrician (W/T) in 1948, then changed to Radio Electrician (Air) in 1950. Major sea postings - HMAS TORRENS 1946-47, HMAS SYDNEY 1952/53, London Depot 1954-56 - commissioning crew HMAS MELBOURNE 1955.

Follow the link above to read about the amazing detective work by Sandy McNab and John Saywell (and others).  There are links from this page to the QSO articles in 2009/10 which give the full story.


Allan 'Shorty' Moffatt BOTA


To all. Please hold all emails, queries etc from midday Saturday 29th March until 23rd April. Taking a cruise to SE Asia to re-activate my ASM and FESR Clasp.

Allan 'Shorty' Moffatt OAM
President RANCBA NSW

Subject: Plaque Dedication & Battle of the Java & Coral Sea

This unique Service which is available to all ex RAN personnel, both male and female, regardless of Rank or Rate was held at the Chapel, Garden Island on Sunday 9th March 2014.  It was Officiated by Chaplain Anthony Crook RANR and once again ably assisted by LS Lindsay Russell.  The numbers were slightly down on the previous Service but in the vicinity of 80 in attendance in the congregation for the 12 Plaques to be Dedicated.

The first one was for Petty Officer William Aylott lost onboard HMAS Sydney with the engagement with the German Raider Kormoran . A speech was given by his son Ex L/Sig Bill "Salty" Aylott who many would have known or served with him. He had also been a previous stalwart person on the NSW Chapter till he decided to move to Queensland !!!! .

Another one was for Commander Archibald McLachlan MBE who was the OIC, HMAS Harman during WW II and was greatly admired for his helping of the first females into the RAN on 25th April 1941. This speech was given by his daughter Mary Snell from Brisbane.

There were many more and as previously stated, some of the speeches of these people should be recorded. Two Australian Naval Cadets, from TS Sirius, Read the Naval Psalm, (Psalm 107 , 23-31) and then the Reciting of the Naval Ode and the Ode. They were both a credit to their Unit.

My only regret is that when some Plaques are Dedicated, no one from the family/relative have advised they would speak on that person. I am sure that if the Chaplain was to ask if anyone in the Congregation would like to say a few words, they would no doubt have some one putting their hand up as they may have served with that person. This would have been the case of the late Lieutenant Ces Wiliams OAM, as there were a few who have served with this person.

It was a good Service and once again the FNSA and RANCBA put on morning tea on completion. This included ex Communicators, Sharon Mundy, Liz Watts, Diana Avent, Helen Moffatt and the Secretary of the FNSA Mary Bell, all showing their MKR expertise.

Communicators in attendance, Ray & Sharon Mundy, Andy & Jan Mills, Bill & Val Aylott, Ken & June Swain, Don Ferguson, Diana Avent, our Patron RADM Tony & Margaret Horton, Dave & Di Kelleher, Shorty & Helen Moffatt.
FNSA Philip & Mary Bell, Bob Auston.

Note. The late Les Church has attended several of these Services and it was one of his final wishes that a Plaque be Dedicated in the Chapel in his name . As Les was a very stalwart Member of the RANCBA, it will be a privilege to arrange this.


A combined Service and this was also a inaugural Service which took place at the Cenotaph, Martin Place on Friday 21st March. Due to a couple of factors and the age now of Veterans of both these battles, the FNSA was asked if they would be able to assist and take it over. After a small discussion we advised that we would and a Committee was elected. This being Chairman Allan "Shorty" Moffatt, Secretary, Ken Swain, Treasurer Rosemary Stockley, Committee Jan Cunningham, Didi Von Wiederhold. Both Jan and Didi had been involved for some 30 years and after giving such sterling service to both Associations, they decided it was time to ask someone else to take over but they would stay on as Committee persons and give/help/assistance where ever required..

The Service commenced at 11.00am and was Officiated by Chaplain Russell Smith RAN, and the duty of the MC by CMDR Ken Swain AM RAN Rtd. Catafalque Party was provided by personnel from HMAS Waterhen, and music by the Sydney Detachment of the RAN Band under the Bandmaster, Lieutenant Stephen Stanke RAN. Full credit must also go to CPO Stuart Dollimore, Ceremonial from HMAS Kuttabul.

Here, accompanied by Ms Rosemary Stockley we both had the very great privilege of meeting and escorting Her Excellency, Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO and Sir Nicholas Shehaddie on their arrival at Martin Place.

History. Java Sea . This was a decisive naval battle of the Pacific campaign of WWII and here Allied navies suffered a disastrous defeat at the hand of the Imperial Japanese Navy on 27th February 1942 and in secondary actions over successive days . This battle was the largest surface ship engagement since the Battle of Jutland in 1916
Here the RAN lost the cruiser HMAS Perth and the sloop HMAS Yarra.

History - Coral Sea . Fought during the 4 - 8 May 1942 was a major naval battle in the Pacific theatre of WW II between the Imperial Japanese Navy and naval and air forces from the United States of America and Australia . The battle was the first action in which aircraft carriers engaged each other, as well as the first in which neither side's ships sighted or fired directly upon each other. Here HMAS Australia and HMAS Hobart were part of Task Group 17.3 under the Command of RADM J. G Grace RN.

It was a very full Service with the Commemoration given by Chaplain Smith to be followed by the Address by Her Excellency, Professor Marie Bashir, Governor of NSW.  This was then followed by the Wreath Laying by Official Guests, Ships Association and friends. It included Her Excellency the Governor of NSW, RADM Guy Griffiths AO DSO DSC RAN who is Patron the Java & Coral Sea Commemorative Committee, Mr David Elliott MP , Representing the NSW Premier, Mr. John Robertson MP Leader of the NSW Opposition, Mr David Coleman MP representing the Minsiter for Veterans Affairs, the NSW Police, the Netherlands Consul General , the US Consul General, DVA, RSL State Vice President, Captain Brett Sampson RAN, Brig. Paul Blood ARA, Group Captain Geoff Shambrook RAAF, the British Defence Advisor & Naval Attache, Netherlands Defence Attache, Commander Todd Wilson, Commanding Officer HMAS Kuttabul, Mr Bill Ross President HMAS Hobart Assn, Mr. Keith Roberts HMAS Australian Assn , Mr Peter Ashpole Naval Assn NSW, Mr Howard Halsted Corvettes Assn, Mr Dick Thompson Fairmiles Assn, Cmdr John King President HMAS Perth Assn, Mrs Mary Bell Secretary FNSA, , Mr. Ernie Flint US Army small ships Assn, Mr. John Satchwell Royal Marines Assn, Mrs Angie Flint Secretary Combined Services Club, Mrs Joan Evans WRNS, Mrs Rosemary Stockley OAM, President WRANS Naval Womens Assn , and definitely not the last, yours truly Shorty. This is only some and there were many more.
On completion of the Wreath Laying, the Last Post was Sounded, One Minutes Silence, the ODE, and Reveille , followed by the Naval Hymn, the Naval Prayer and Benediction.

Then the National Anthems of Australia, Great Britain , the United States of America and the Netherlands,
The first 3 Anthems were sung by LS MSCN Tracey Kennedy and once again her singing brings people to a halt walking through Martin Place as she is a pleasure to listen to.  Then is was the dismounting of the Catafalque Partty and the departure of the Official Guests.

Here I had to escort Her Excellency to meet and speak with Veterans and those of Ships Associations. This included, Mr John Withers OAM Secretary Hobart Assn, Mr Bill Ross Hobart Assn, PO Tony Mills Perth Assn, Mr. Michael Kaye Secretary Perth Assn. to name just a few.

Then it was to her car and here she wished to pass on and thank all those for today and what it means to Australia.
To quote her last words to me , they are three of her most favourite 'LEST WE FORGET"

I do hope that I have been able to convey how good this first inaugural Commemoration Service was, and to all concerned - BZ.

Allan 'Shorty" Moffatt OAM
President RANCBA NSW &
Chairman Battle of the Java & Coral Sea Committee

Vale Les Church R52375 (ex LTO)

Following sad news just received…..Keghead

It is with great sadness I advise Les Church passed away this morning (Friday 21 March) peacefully at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney.

There will be a memorial service held in Sydney next week. I will let you know dates and times as soon as they are available.

Previously received from Allan Moffatt:

Morning all.  Faye, who is Les Church's wife rang me last night for my help/assistance.

Things don't look good for Les as different parts of his body have or now in the process of winding down and it is only a matter of time /days etc.  He is heavily sedated so he is in no pain, but he doesn't know that you are there should you call in.

Now Les has asked for no Funeral as such when the time comes, but to have a Service at his RSL, and then could I send all relevant papers for a Plaque to be Dedicated at the GI Chapel as he is very taken as to what takes place there.  Along with Ken Swain, this will be done.

Also he has one last request to have his Ashes scattered at sea. Ken and myself will give all details and assistance to Faye with this.

Please feel free to pass on to anyone who may like to know what is happening. I know many of his ex workers at DCA would like to know.

I shall keep you informed

Allan Moffatt
Lest We Forget

Service for Les Friday 28th March 2014:

It is with deep regret that I have to inform you of the sad passing of Les Church, but I just had a phone call from Faye Church and this is how Les wanted it.  It will be no big Service, but , it will be.

The Service will take place at the Randwick-Coogee RSL Diggers Club at 3pm on Friday 28th March. Partners are more than welcome.  Dress will as for ANZAC Day. It will be a small Service and on completion, those that served/worked with Les both in the Navy and at Tullamarine and Mascot Airport will be  asked if they wish to come forward and say a few words

Those that knew Les would agree this is probably the way he wished to be remembered by all.

Hoping that as many as possible can make the trip to say farewell to a great person, who love him or not, will be sadly missed.

Lest we Forget

Allan "Shorty" Moffatt OAM
President RANCBA NSW

Service for the late ex L/Signalman Les Church 28th March 2014

Well done for the those that attended the Service yesterday. To use the old English phrase, I THINK WE GAVE LES A RIGHT ROYAL SEND OFF. HE WOULD HAVE BEEN PROUD. There were over a 100 plus there from, family, friends, Vampire Assn, RANCBA, Randwick Rugby Union and Civil Aviation.

There were RANCBA Members who I hadn't seen for years and it was very pleasing to catch up with Tackers and Ruwie who flew down from Qld to be there yesterday.

When I was asked would I do the RSL/Service Tribute I felt very honoured, so I hope that I gave the full and correct meaning to this part of the Service.

I also received many apologies and on completion of the RSL Tribute I told all in attendance and then signed the Condolence Book on your behalf.

He was a character and we go back a long way, having know him in the Navy from 1958, and then when he became Manager of Flight Service and Communications at Mascot Airport, he will be one person that I will always remember

Lest We Forget
Allan 'Shorty": Moffatt OAM
President RANCBA NSW

Fm the Archives:
Leslie Church R52375, DOB 04 May 1941, Joined RAN 24 September 1956, initially as a Junior Musician.  Changed category to SIG in 1958.  Sea postings - VAMPIRE 1959-61, SUPPLY 1962 (short posting to IBIS Oct/Nov 62), VOYAGER Jan to Dec 1963, SYDNEY Jan 1964 until DEE in September 1964.

Fm Tony (Tackers) Miles:

Was very saddened to hear of the passing of Les Church.  We did the same sigs course in 1958 and commissioned Vampire in 59.  That was the only time that I served with Les for when my eyesight went south I changed to a sparker.

Even though we only served a short time together we have always been great mates. Whilst I knew that his health was failing I was shocked to hear of his passing.

He will be missed by those who knew him. A great bloke, great friend and we will all be poorer for his passing.

Vale my good friend
Tony (Tackers) Miles

Fm Ron 'Nullarbor' Baker:

I was saddened to hear of Les' passing. My most vivid memory of him is when he, Big Horse, Gazbo O'Keefe and I travelled down to Wollongong (c 1964) for the wedding of AB Max Leonard, who was a shipmate of ours on HMAS Sydney. I remember we all chipped in and bought an electric fry-pan from Red Anchor for a wedding gift. At the reception, after the wedding, Max got into a verbal stoush with his brand-new in-laws and stormed out, bride in one hand and electric fry-pan in the other, closely followed by the four of us. We went to one of the local pubs for some amber refreshment, then all crashed in the room that Max and his bride had previously booked. We knew how to have fun in those days!

Rest in peace, Les...Lest we Forget..

Fm Bob Simpson:

Very shocked and saddened to hear about Les Church.

I have known Les since I first went to FND as a Recruit Sig. Les was invited to join us from the RAN Band, where his main instrument I understand, was the French Horn. I don't know the circumstances under which he was asked to switch – he had joined as a boy Bandy a couple of years prior.

After completing our TOs course together in 1958/9, our first three sea drafts were to the same ships – Vendetta (only for a couple of months waiting for Vampire), then Vampire's first commission, and then off to UK to commission Tide Austral/Supply. Les was one of the 'professionals' I lost to the 'sweepers on the return from UK as the 'Rocky' TOs were drafted from the sweepers to Supply on exchange, due to acute sea sickness.

As we were both LTOs by the time we went to UK, I was drafted from Supply to Voyager to leave only one LTO iaw the complement list. Our Captain (Geoffrey Vernon Gladstone, whom some of you would know by one of two well-known nick-names), would have none of that and had his Director of Manning mate in Canberra swap the drafts before they took place. Capt Gladstone (along with our Nav Div Officer) was one of the few people I knew who didn't appreciate Les's happy-go-lucky 'attitude'.

Thus Les went to the Voyager and I stayed on Supply. He was subsequently drafted off Voyager before that collision, under circumstances which would not have arisen had I been the one on that ship as originally planned. Fate moves in mysterious ways!

I served in Essendon and Tullamarine with Les in DCA after the Navy as both CO and FSO, losing track of Les when I was transferred to Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and finally to Brisbane. Les went to Darwin and then to Sydney, where he stayed until he retired. I lost close contact with him but did see him occasionally and was kept abreast of his movements and sadly, his failing health, by Tackers, one the original comms staff on the batship and with whom I originally enlisted.

I didn't see Les as often as I would have liked after I moved to Brisbane and he moved to Sydney, but we enjoyed many good times together in earlier years and he will be sadly missed. The first commission of Vampire I remember as one of the most enjoyable parts of my life and Les was a big part of that.

Rest in Peace, mate.

Fm Bogey Knights:

Some times when we open the Rancba site it is full of magical and sad memories.

For me today it was the latter seeing the passing of Les.....Had the opportunity to ship with Les on the Sydney 1964 and I must say he was a Larrikin but with it a very Funny Man. Funny how I seem to gravitate to those sort of people (LIFE IS FOR THE LIVING SORT OF PEOPLE).  I will certainly miss him giving me backchat during a few Reunions.

Our thoughts are with Faye and Family and members of the Rancba NSW

Regards Bogey and Sandy Knights

Fm Kev Ruwoldt:

A big shock to read Keghead's e-mail with the bad news of Les Church. I knew he hadn’t been well but was at a total loss to read of his passing.

I first met Les at the sig school in 1959 and was amused at his antics trying to attract the Wrans at the sig school. Later that year I drafted to HMAS Quickmatch and run into Les up the Cross at the “Chew and Spew” (Hasty Tastie). Four of us ended up in Penny Lane which was an out of bounds area in those days. Les and I were sitting in the gutter knocking off a couple of tallies while the other blokes were further up the lane with a limp wristed type gentleman. Next thing the Coppers turned up and grabbed Les and I and were in the process of taking us to the cop shop when suddenly the Shore Patrol appeared and said “they’re ours, we’ll take them”. We were tossed in the back of the F100, Les was taken back to Vampire and I was taken to Watson. Later on Les was upset when I told him I had been let off with a warning and he ended up with 14 days chooks, he always reckoned it was not fair. The other blokes escaped unseen

I also worked with Les in Darwin in DCA and he was a keen sportsman playing cricket and footy with the Parap Wanderers.

His wife Pauline worked at the prawn factory in Frances Bay and for 5 bucks she supplied a 5lb pack of headless green prawns packed for the American market for those people who ordered through Les each week.

Les was great company at the National Reunions and I always enjoyed his stirring!!!

Smooth sailing mate....


Fm Bill Aylott:

Hell Shorty, I didn’t even know Les was ill. It came as a shock when I opened QSO this evening. Don’t think I ever served with him but knew him well through our meetings & functions. It just reinforces the fact that we of the old Navy are just living on borrowed time, we must surely be moving up the ladder.

When you attend his funeral, will you place both my & Vals name in the mourners book (if there is one) as Val remembers Les from meetings at Bardwell Park

Bill Aylott

Fm Dave Jeffrey:

My memories of Les always bring a smile to my face. Along with Nullarbor and Bogey and many others, I enjoyed Les' company on the Sydney back in 1964. He was a great mate and I will miss him. He left the navy and went to Antarctica and on return, the RSQ course in January 1967 often enjoyed his hospitality in Essendon. I remember one night when Pauline (his first wife) was sitting on my knee in their lounge room, when Les at a suitable volume for all to hear, offered me his bills as well!!!!

We will all miss him.


Fm Andy Mills:

So sad to hear of Les's passing.
Although I never served with him, he was one of the older experienced
TOs/LTO's I looked up to as a young ORDCO and TO, but got to know him better,
like most of you, through the association and its meetings, functions and reunions.
Will try to rearrange my diary for next Friday so that I can attend his memorial service.


Fm David MacLean:

Deeply saddened to read of the death of Les Church, he was a great bloke. Knew him in pussers & DCA, gone far too soon. Deepest sympathy to his family.


Fm Trevor Pike:

Very sad to hear of Les's passing, regret won't be able to make the service next Friday as we are away with a couple in Port Macquarie, my thoughts are with Faye and Les's family.
Lest We Forget.
Regards Trevor & Joan

Trevor Pike

Fm Keghead Weaver:

I have know 'Churchie' (which is what I have always called him) since he was on O/D on the 'Vampire'. Unfortunately, I did not get to go 'up top' on her for that first trip. I have seen him at all of our RANCBA Reunions as well as all the Vampire get-togethers and as President of that Association, he did a wonderful job until it became too much for him.

He looked after my wife (Ruth) and I when we went to Vanuatu, as he was in charge of the Sydney FSC at the time and allowed us to put our car in the DCA car park, drove us back and forth to the terminal and even took us into the 'nerve centre' and bought us a cup of coffee.

He will be sadly missed by one and all. It was a pleasure and an honour to have had him as a friend.
Rest in Peace mate.

Keghead and Ruth Weaver


Keghead Weaver in Sick Bay

For information. I have been 'off the air' and what's worse 'off the booze' for a month now.

I have been suffering from PANCREATITIS, which is usually caused by 'too much alcohol' (didn't know that was possible) or gall stones. Neither of these scenarios fitted my good self, so my GP, through a process of elimination, deduced it was from the recent change to my medication for COPD. So, medication given to you to 'fix you up' can sometimes have the reverse effect. My blood pressure went down to 60/40, which, according to my GP was at the 'dangerous' level. I am now on the mend (I hope), but according to the 'experts' it's a long road, so here's hoping!

Oh, whilst all this was happening, my P/C 'died' so I was only on SOP's through mobile phone. Back on air again now.

Looking forward to Anzac Day and our Royal visitors.

Keghead Weaver


The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson, today announced the establishment of a new Prime Ministerial Advisory Council (PMAC) with a renewed focus on veteran mental health.

Senator Ronaldson said that one of the four pillars of the Abbott Government’s plans for Veterans’ Affairs was to tackle mental health challenges facing veterans and their families, especially following the draw down of troops from Afghanistan.

“In reviewing existing consultative arrangements, I have taken the opportunity to evolve PMAC’s role to specifically focus on veteran mental health issues, particularly those relating to former service personnel with service after 1975,” Senator Ronaldson said.

“The Prime Minister and I are delighted that former Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Russ Crane AO, CSM, RAN (Ret’d), will Chair the new PMAC and that he will be supported by Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith VC, MG, as the Deputy Chair. Mr Ryan Stokes will also be a member of the new PMAC.

“The new PMAC membership will also comprise of experts in mental health matters, representatives of the Australian Defence Force, the veteran community and industry leaders.”

“The Government is determined to prioritise the mental health care of veterans and their families now and into the future. The new PMAC has the Prime Minister’s unequivocal support in ensuring the Government can provide the very best support to veterans and their families facing the challenges of service-related mental illness. We must never stop looking for ways to improve the support we provide to those who have served our nation.”

“The Prime Minister and I welcome the new membership and wish them well in the important task ahead of them,” Senator Ronaldson said.

Senator Ronaldson thanked the outgoing PMAC membership for their invaluable contribution to ex-service matters including enhancing the focus on contemporary veterans and their families; supporting new research into blast injuries and the impact on longer-term health; and ongoing research into the mental health impacts of military service in both combat and training roles.

PMAC was first established in 2008 to advise the Prime Minister and Government on matters affecting the ex-service and defence communities.

Media inquiries: Minister Ronaldson: Brad Rowswell 6277 7820 or 0417 917 796

Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) and Veterans Line can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 4546)

Thursday, 13 March 2014             VA016

HARMAN Rugby Union Club

Attached is a 'directive' from 1967 that you may find worthy of a place on the RANCBA website. Note that Ron Reavley is a selector and reserve. At the time, I recall that we had the heaviest front row in the competition. I guess that's what you get when you train on beer.

Ron 'Nullarbor' Baker

Tks Nullarbor, some very well known personnel shown in the directive. 

NuShip Canberra - VKCN/L02 - Underway this week

An interesting very current page should you wish to provide a link to it from the QSO forum, next update.

I can only assume there may be CIS staff on-board to work-up their Operational systems as well, prior to its final Commissioning into the Fleet.

Reckon it would be an exciting and proud time for all to actually be underway and feel the ship come to life underfoot so to speak.

Sandy McNab

RANCBA VIC Longcast 2014-2016

Could you please post this in the RANCBA Vic Section on the website - and put a note that this updates the previously notified events and activities that the Victorian Committee have currently scheduled - which I might add are open to all Communicators - with a link to that in the QSO section for us!

Ian Hogarth
Honorary Secretary

Please go to the link above for the Longcast.


February 2014 Entries

Seeking Paluma LRO

Have been asked by an ex ABUC for the name of the LRO on Paluma (3) in 1971.  I was on Paluma (3) in 1972 but cannot remember who the LRO was - he had left before I got there so had no official handover.  I asked Tex Daley (when I was in Cairns last year for a White Ships get together) if it was him but he said no.  I actually thought it was he at one stage. Skipper at the time was LCDR Pullar and the Nav was a Leut Cook. - officers had changed too when I joined her. My contact says the LRO knew his Pussers poetry and regularly quoted it at the bar!

Les Thurgood
Les has since advised that the LRO in question is Terry Doran.


Z and Q Codes

In a distant galaxy far, far away [1971 ?] I was on duty in the M.S.O. at the Tape Relay at Harman when the Yanks sent through a copy of "The Story of Little Red Riding Hood" consisting of Z and Q codes [as they liked to call them] from the ACP 131. Very clever and must have taken a long time to compile. Has anyone ever come across anything like this, or, better still, have a copy??

Ray [Davo] Davis

HMAS ANZAC (United we Stand) & HMAS TOBRUK (Faithful and Strong) Association

Both these Ships have an impressive Service and Battle honour, but sadly the ranks are diminishing and to allow us to continue to March under the ANZAC/TOBRUK Banner that displays both ship's proud Battle Honours we need the support of all former or current Service personnel who served have served in either ship to participate in the 2014 ANZAC Day March in Sydney.

The March will be followed by FREE DRINKS at a local pub.

If you know of anyone who served on either ship's at any time bearing these proud names, could you ask them to contact John Mansell Jnr NSW Delegate ANZAC/TOBRUK Association
Phone 02 42964876 Mobile 0408 297 806
Postal address 160 Landy Drive Mt. Warrigal NSW 2528

Service History and Battle Honours.

HMAS ANZAC I G90 Marksman Class Destroyer
Royal Navy 1919 - 1920
Royal Australian Navy 1920 - 1931
Escorted Edward, Prince of Wales (who became HRH King Edward VIII in 1936) on a visit to Melbourjne. She stood off the Queensland coast in 1928 as Sir Charles Kingsford Smith approached Brisbane on his historic flight across the Pacific in the Southern Cross. Again in attendance off the NSW coast on the first non - stop trans Tasman flight. In the 1930's ANZAC visited New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

HMAS TOBRUK I Battle Class Destroyer
Royal Australian Navy 1950 - 1960
Served as Unit of the Far East Strategic Reserve (FESR) 1955 - 1958
Battle Honours Korea 1950 - 1953
Malayan Emegency 1955- 1960

HMAS ANZAC II D59 Battle Class Destroyer
Royal Australian Navy 1951 - 1974
Sister ship of HMAS TOBRUK Served FESR, Borneo , Vietnam
Battle Honours Korea 1951 -1953
Malayan Emergency 1955 -1960

HMAS TOBRUK II L50 Landing Ship
Royal Australian Navy 1981 - Current
Served Somalia , Solomon Islands Iraq, Middle East
Battle Honours East Timor

HMAS ANZAC III FFH150 Frigate - Helicopter
Royal Australian Navy 1996 - Current
Served Middle East
Battle Honours East Timor, Persian Gulf, Iraq

Please if you could distribute and keep this Association going.

Allan "Shorty" Moffatt OAM
HMAS ANZAC II 1956 - 58
President RANCBA NSW

RAN Band - Up and Coming Performances

Following received today .
Please check the attachment

Allan "Shorty" Moffatt OAM
President RANCBA NSW

----- Original Message -----

From: Zyla, Ellen AB

Subject: RAN Band Up and Coming Performances [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]


Welcome to 2014!

I am Able Seaman Ellen Zyla and it is with much pleasure that I take over as the National Public Relations Manager for the Royal Australian Navy Band from Leading Seaman Cathy Wainwright, who has moved on to focus on the next stage of her life and fulfil other dreams and aspirations.

This is just a quick email to introduce myself, say hello and inform you of the public performances that will be happing around the country over the next few months. I have attached a word document that takes us up to the 4th April and over the coming week or so this will be updated to include the rest of April and into May. As always, there will be some performances that are not on this list as we always seem to get some last minute gigs thrown in. In my next email I will endeavour to have an updated list for you.

On behalf of the Director of Music - Navy, I would like to thank you for your continued support of the Royal Australian Navy Band and we hope to see you at as many of our public performances as possible throughout 2014.

Until next time, may fair winds and following seas always carry a tune from us to you.


Ellen Zyla
Able Seaman Musician
National Public Relations Manager
Royal Australian Navy Band

ph - (02) 9359 2618
fax - (02) 9359 2609
email -

Follow this link for Up and Coming RAN Band Performances

50th Anniversary of Deployment to the Borneo-Indonesion Confrontation.

The following is the information for those who wish to attend the Anniversary of HMAS Sydney, HMAS Parramatta , HMAS Yarra and the 16th Minesweeping Squadron being deployed to the Borneo-Indonesian Confrontation.

Allan 'Shorty" Moffatt OAM
Ex Snipe
President RANCBA (NSW)

Follow this link for the 50th Anniversary Package.


Rustic Tin Signs for RAN Ships

I am in the process of making rustic tin signs for some of our old ships/boats.  Currently I have various categories including Holden, Ford, Oils/Fuels, Australiana etc.

These can be seen at the following link so as you can get an idea of how they look.

The first will be the Attack class patrol boats, the etched picture will be the same for all, but the name, number and info can be added for any boat. 

We are also looking at the River Class and Daring Class ships to be available in 3-4 months time.  I have attached a picture to give an idea of the design only, it will be etched and made rustic as per those on my site.

The prices will be the same as those quoted for all existing signs with the sizes being Large 60 x 40cm, Medium 40 x 30cm or Small 30 x 20cm.

If anyone is interested and would like a particular ship could they please contact me on the following email address  giving me the name of the vessel(s) they would most like see made and what size they think best.  From this I can work on the most desired first.

Signs for Coonawarra, Harman, Kuttabul and Cerberus are also being designed with relevant info on them.

Don "Trippers" Tripptree


2014 Australia Day Awards

Meg Haensel-Fuss sends:

The Cummins-Yeelanna RSL Sub-branch was awarded at the 2014 Australia Day Awards for the District Council of Lower Eyre Peninsula, the 'Organisation of the Year'.

The Sub-branch, of which I am Secretary/Treasurer (and Commemoration Services 'planner/organiser' etc.), is only a small branch, having 18 Service members and 6 Affiliate members, most of whom are over 50 - (at 55 I am one of the younger ones).

Each year we provide a ANZAC Day Dawn Service, March and Breakfast and a Remembrance Day Service for the Community, and throughout the year we also hold Badge Appeal days for ANZAC Appeal, Legacy and Poppy Day, raising on average $800-1100 each time for a few hours sitting outside of the local bakery and IGA Shop. We are very proud of the support given to us by the mostly farming Community of our District.

Last year, after several years of contemplating, we finally got our act together and during 2013 built an RSL Garden of Remembrance with a Monument, this is the first such Memorial for the area (and indeed our Council area).

The project cost us roughly $145,000 of which only $8,000 (one Federal and one State Govt. grant of $4,000 each) came from "outside", the rest was raised by our local Communities/businesses/families/individuals of Cummins, Yeelanna & Districts.

The project involved negotiation with Council for the road-reserve land, removal of six Aleppo pines, levelling of site, landscaping, paving, seating/shelter etc, and the Monument itself, a 2 metre high 4 sided polished black Adelaide granite plinth, which has the names of those who made the supreme sacrifice engraved in gold letters; 33 from WW1 on the north face, 23 WWII on the south face, one on the east face from Vietnam and on the western face is a dedication to all who served with the Navy, Army & RAAF badges. An 1.8 m 'Digger' dressed in WWII Pacific theatre battle dress, carrying an Owen machine gun and carved from Italian Carrara marble stands upon top of the plinth, (photos do not do justice to the plinth & 'Digger' - we are still getting complements).

The project was completed, except for 'Digger' on 24 April 2013 just in time for our ANZAC Dawn Service, and after some hiccups 'Digger' finally arrived on 29AUG13 and an unofficial unveiling ceremony was held on 07SEP13, when our four remaining WWII Veterans watch over by two of our three 'new' Afghanistan Veterans pulled off the calico sheeting covering 'Digger'.

We are having a "proper" Dedication for the Memorial on ANZAC Day in a combined Dawn - Dedication Service, (with many thanks to Sonja Hellier for emailing me copies from the Ceremonial manual of formats for Memorial dedications).

Our local RSL Hall, (about 600 metre 'march' away), is also used by various groups within the District, including the local school and one of our footy & netball teams who use it as their Clubrooms as well - our Memorabilia down one end & side, theirs at the other end & side, it works well and ensures the building is being utilised other than monthly RSL meetings and gatherings.

Photo attachments: As well as a photo from Australia Day, (myself with our Vice-Pres. Michael 'Geck' Doudle and Pres. Geoff 'Fox' Holman, both Vietnam Veterans), I've included some of the Memorial and Garden taken 18NOV13 and the final one after Remembrance Day Service. Mid morning (before our '11am' service) Students from our Yr 4 class at Cummins Area School come down and "plant" crosses, one for each of those who made the supreme sacrifice, we use to do this at the school, but now at the Garden of Remembrance.

Meg Haensel-Fuss
PO Box 91
0428 365 470


Thanks Meg, a very impressive memorial. 


PLAQUE DEDICATION - 9th March 2014

I had a phone call on Tuesday and I asked this lady who I have know for many years if she would write it down.
It concerns the next Plaque Dedication.

Dear Shorty
As requested - a few words on Commander Mclachlan. His daughter, Mary Snell will be coming down from Brisbane for the Service on the 9th March and say a few words about him

One of the Plaques to be Dedicated at the Garden Island Chapel on that day, is to Commemorate the Service of Commander A.D McLachlan MBE who was one of the early telegraphists who joined the RAN in 1912 and sailed into Sydney Harbour with Fleet in 1913 on board HMAS SYDNEY.

He is best known as the Officer in Charge of HMAS HARMAN during World War II and remained in Command there until 1953.

He is fondly remembered by the hundreds of WRANS who served there under his Command and greatly admired for the way he managed so smoothly to cope with the introduction of the first females into the RAN on 25th April 1941.

Jean Nysen

It would be nice if as many of us that served in the Communications Branch could attend on the 9th March and show our appreciation of those that went before us and set the guidelines that we followed. .

Allan Moffatt OAM
President RANCBA NSW

Herewith list of those ex RAN personnel who will be having a Plaque Dedicated.

PLAQUE Dedication. 9th March 2014 Garden Island Chapel.

19508 Petty Officer William Lewis Aylott. Served 1930-1941
Died 19/11/1941 Aged 32.

Commodore Bryan Louis Cleary Served 1942- 1984
Died 7/12/2013 Aged 89.

S8868 Stoker Francis Keith Edwards Served 1943-1946
Died 14/11/2013 Aged 88.

Commodore Thomas Reed Fisher Served 1943-1984
Died 26/11/2013 Aged 84.

R53427 CPOETP John Patrick Larkin Served 1957 - 1980
Died 17/10/2013 Aged 73.

Commander Archibald Duncan McLachlan MBE Served 1912- 1953
Died 5/8/1970 Aged 77.

Leading Seaman Robert George McNamara Served 1942 -1946
Died 5/12/2013 Aged 89.

S3597 Steward Francis O'Reilly Served 1939 - 1942
Died 4/3/1942 Aged 23.

S6460 Leading Supply Assistant Ernest George Pask
Served 1942 - 1946 Died 5/12/2013 Aged 89.

32229 Able Seaman Raymond Jeffrey Bayers Served 1946-48
Died 20/9/2013 Aged 86.

A25979 CH AF (E) Kenneth Hendley Spragg
Served 1942 -1954 Died 8/2/2011 Aged 86.

O2187 Lieutenant Ces Williams OAM Served 1945-1975
Died 11/10/2013 Aged 85.

The Service will be held in the Garden Island Chapel commencing at 10.00am. Dress is for ANZAC Day. Should you be attending, I will need your vehicle registration and number of passengers for Security.  Also if coming via public transport means, and taxi to the Main Gate.

Light refreshment will be available after the Service courtesy of the FNSA & RANCBA

Allan "Shorty" Moffatt OAM
President RANCBA NSW

50th Anniversary of the loss of HMAS VOYAGER - Jervis Bay , HMAS CRESWELL and at sea on HMAS CHOULES

The 50th Anniversary of the loss of HMAS VOYAGER Memorial Service and Reunion.

HMAS VOYAGER was lost at 8.50pm, on the 10th February 1964.with a loss of 81 Officers and Sailors and 1 Civilian Technical Officer and this Memorial was held at Jervis Bay this weekend.

This weekend would be one of the most inspiring that I have been part of, or witnessed, and I will probably say, never witness again and see in my life time.

On the Friday it was Meet & Greet and I knew many of those who had been in my time in the RAN.
Saturday was the Formal Dinner for the VOYAGER's Survivors Association and I had been asked to be the MC., but was a bit hesitant.  I never served on VOYAGER, but one of my best friends ex RO Bob Denham, we went through Recruit School and Sig School together and I would sometimes stay at his parents place in Sydney. He Commissioned VOYAGER, then crew, and this was his second draft back there. Sadly he was lost.  Also LRO Don McPharlin, Yeo kev Cullen who I would go to his place for a BBQ. S/Lieut Sandy Beavis who had been one of my first Chiefs and had just arrived back from the UK as was SCO aboard. Paddy Conlin an EM but great mate.  They were some that lost their lives and when ever, I would give full support to the VOYAGER's Survivors Association.

As I was in Sydney for the Commissioning of HMAS MORESBY I had gone with Bob Denham for a drink the week before that fatal collision.  When we Commissioned MORESBY we got 10 young ords various who were survivors and we all lived in the same mess so I got know them very well. Alex Hegarty was the one and only person to escape from the wheelhouse. Blue Ducker who is their President of the Survivors Assn, and we became great friends.

This was not so good. Sadly there was no such thing as post stress or trauma, so they were given new uniforms, 7 days survival leave and drafted to other ships, no counseling etc. I used to have a good yarn/talk with them and most had problems from that night. Fortunately I think things and we have now changed??

About 200 plus sat down for the Dinner with Guest of Honour the Commander of Australia Fleet, Rear Admiral Tim Barrett AM CSC RAN , his very charming wife Jenny, his Flag Lieutenant Claire Dempsey, RAN.  This was held Saturday night. and be it good or bad, I was on the Top Table with them.

When I introduced RADM Tim Barrett, he gave a great and very well received Speech, he had been a local Nowra boy growing up, so had known about the VOYAGER and that fatal night. He spent a fair amount of the time being invited to meet and talk, which he did without any hesitation.  Another person who happened to be the oldest survivor, and had his birthday of 90 years old this weekend, he spoke of that night, and it is a great pity it was not recorded. He was brilliant., and his memory is so good. Dress for the Dinner was smart casual which everyone did so.

Sunday it was out to the Chapel at HMAS CRESWELL at 0830am for a Memorial Service. They had to use the new hall, Vice Admiral, Sir Richard Peek building. The Chapel had no hope of holding all. This Service became very moving as many of the NOK of those lost with families were now in attendance. Ex Commodore Toz Dadsell AM RAN Rtd who was the OIC of the Squadron conducting flying work up's prior to MELBOURNE's deployment gave a very moving speech .  It was Dress as for ANZAC Day with Medals

Then back to the Husky and quick change and then to the Husky Bowling Club for a organised Luncheon. Dress casual

That evening at the approx time when VOYAGER & MELBOURNE collided, a service was held at the VOYAGER Memorial at the back of the Club on the waterfront. Very moving as 82 electric candles in memory of the 82 who lost their lives was lit. a Small Service and then Wreath Laid. I took down a Wreath on behalf of all Communicators who lost their lives and got Ex Sig Gary Evans the only person to get off the bridge to lay it. In attendance 6 ex Communicators. We marched in line, with Gary in the centre.

Monday had to be at HMAS CRESWELL AT 0700 for a Safety at Sea talk - putting on life jacket, then bused down to the old SAR section and taken out by boats to HMAS CHOULES. Went alongside to a pontoon, and a good climb up the side. The crew of HMAS CHOULES both m/f were in attendance should anyone require assistance. Also directing along the many passage ways through the ship to the upper deck.

HMAS CHOULES got underway on time, and seas outside, good and we transited to about 26 nm where VOYAGER lies. On that night, HMAS MELBOURNE was conducting aircraft training with HMAS VOYAGER to carry out the duty of RESDES, on a SE course approx 20 nm from Jervis Bay. A very and I mean a very fitting service on the stern, full Catafalque Party, Part of the Sydney RAN Band, 3 Chaplains Etc
One of the biggest meals then I have every had was for all.
On the way back to JB, afternoon more food again (loved the cream buns) The crew of HMAS CHOULES couldn't do enough for us. A credit to the Navy.

On arrival bused to the Senior Sailors Mess for more afternoon tea. Only tea/coffee/ biscuits etc this time. Here I met POCIS Karl Williams who is on Staff there, He came up to me and said you would have to be the Shorty Moffatt who is President of the RANCBA , so along with this PO Engineer earlier I was in good hands.

Then walk down to the Dinner. Beautifully set out and drinks. More food . It was unbelievable.

After the Dinner and an Address by the Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, we had to walk across the Quarter deck to watch. If anyone had any problems there was a Classes of new Cadet Midshipman to assist in any way. They were so polite and couldn't do enough for anyone. The Ceremonial Sunset and Beat to Quarters and the striking of the Bell 82 times and their names read out of those lost on VOYAGER that night. was so moving and looking around, there were many wet eyes. Full and I mean full RAN Band, and Ceremonial Guard from HMAS ALBATROSS, they were faultless .

One of the most moving ceremonies I have seen.

In both cases at sea also, Dress as for ANZAC Day with Medals.

It was worth accepting to go as previously stated I was a bit hesitant as I thought it would have been more appropriate for a VOYAGER Survivors to be the MC at the Dinner, but it is something I don't think I will ever forget. The whole 4 days. were so moving and emotional.

Communicators in attendance. John Withers Survivor, Rob Jocumsen Survivor, Gary Evans Survivor, Les Thurgood Crew of one of the SAR vessels which rescued 70 plus Survivors, Ian Schubert, MELBOURNE, and myself.

I hope that I have been able to convey to all that this was a part of Australia's Naval History and should never be forgotten


Allan "Shorty Moffatt OAM
President RANCBA NSW


Herewith details of the POST 1975 participants in the ANZAC March in Sydney.








On Friday 31st January Ken Swain and myself attended the ANZAC Day March Committee Meeting along with many others.  Here in Sydney there will be some big changes, so please read and the reason for sending now is that are you are forewarned.

Also I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Mrs Rosemary Stockley , President of the Ex WRANS Association in NSW on being Awarded the Order of Australia in the Australia Day Honours List . BZ

Allan "Shorty" Moffatt OAM
President RANCBA (NSW)

Follow this link for more information.

January 2014 Entries

Commissioning of HMAS SWAN - 20 January 1970

Many thanks to Mick Storrs (then MIDN GLEX and a member of the commissioning crew) for providing this photograph of LTO Lance O'Connor hoisting the AWE during the commissioning ceremony on 20 Jan 1970.

Other members of the Comms crew were:

CRS(S) Peter Figg, CY Charlie Della-Sale, RS Bill Fiora, LTO Bob Cook, LTO John Curbishley, LTO Lance O'Conner, LRO(S) Peter Launder, LRO (S) Bob Stupple, LRO Charlie Peterson, LRO Mick Street, LRO Ed 'Shorty' Whitehouse, TO Geoff Canobie, TO Laurie Hayes, TO S.J. McDougal, RO Pete Cousins, RO L. 'Killer' Kilpatrick, RO2 Mick Hornibrook, RO(S) Peter Dowling, RO(S) Shane Doyle, RO(S) Terry Gleeson, RO(S) B. Mackie, RO(S) Gary Muldoon, RO(S) Don Searle.

Thanks Mick, it brings back memories - doesn't seem like 44 years ago!

I have not visited the website for a while but it was nice to see the article on Commissioning of Swan so have forwarded some pics...Swan procedure A and commissioning crew Hong Kong. Sad to see Don Searle's passing he was a great
Shane Doyle..ex WORSES


Interesting to see Jenny's side party (on the bridge wing) in the colour photo of the Swan in HK, guess that is long lost tradition now.

I did a pilgrimage of sorts to the good old "fluffy duck" last December and managed four dives on the wreck (located off Bussleton WA). She is well set up for wreck penetration, swim throughs etc. Paid a visit to my old messdeck 3FZ - surprised at how small it seemed, even with all the furnishings and fittings removed. Bridge also, with more than two divers in there, it was crowded! Skipper's chair was still in place which I thought was a nice touch.

The Swan is a popular dive site, well visited by the local dive clubs. It was good to see her again, so long after joining as commissioning crew those 44 years ago,

Terry Gleeson

Message for John Curbishley and Communication Colleagues from Adrian Welbourne

John I'm sure I speak for all old communicators in saying that in true yeoman like fashion you have done us all proud with the management of the RANCBA organisation and anecdotes from the past and the present.

I have been very slack over the past years in that I have not given any input but occasionally have looked at the web page. However, as I have moved through life I well remember my old colleagues and hold them all in high regard. Navy communicators are a unique bunch and not many days go by that I don't recall one incident or another that when retold to others they look to me as if I had told a tall story (mostly civilians).

These days I am a long way from being a navy communicator having commenced a second career as an environmental scientist (not a greenie) some 25 years ago specialising in contaminated land. These days I live on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland and have been married for the second time for the past 21 years and have a 13 year old daughter (very high maintenance and 2014 Australia day junior citizen for the Sunshine Coast). I am an active member of the Mooloolaba Surf Life Saving Club and this was instrumental in keeping me fit so that I recognised a potential heart problem when doing my proficiency test in late October. The resulting visit to the doctor had me in hospital within a day or so for bypass surgery. I'm better now and swimming again but I urge all old communicators to have a check up.

Any colleagues passing through the Sunshine Coast are welcome to call in.

All the very best

Many thanks Adrian, great to hear from you.  I'm sure there are many shipmates who would like to make contact.


Gallipoli 2015 Cruise

Rod Withers has ask that the following be posted on the national website for wider distribution. Rod is aware that there are some in RANCBA who are interested and some who have already booked for this event.

Through the association of RANCBA (Vic) and Jetset Travel Rowville, the following information is posted to RANCBA members who may be interested in participating in the Centenary of Anzac celebrations in 2015. All enquiries should be directed to the contact detailed in the attached document.

Follow this link for more information on the cruise.


Vale Garry Raymond Rickwood R95027 - (ex LSROS)

I am trying to send an email to former CRS(S) Pete Launder (later CMDR) regarding the passing of Garry Rickwood (ex LSROS who is listed in the 'Last Post' section of a recent RSL QLD magazine).

Pete's email address has bounced, are you able to assist please.

Mick Storrs
CMDR RAN (Ret'd)

Is anyone able to help please - I need an up to date email address for Peter Launder.

Update 27/01/14:  Mick is now in touch with Peter via email - VMT to Scoops Cooper & Sandy McNab.  I have also updated the email contact list.

From the Archives (up to 1970):
Garry Raymond Rickwood, R95027, DOB 1.9.49, Joined RAN 10.7.65.  Postings - Leeuwin 65/66, Melbourne 66/67, Cerberus 67, Harman 67/68, Yarra 68/69, Harman 69/70.

Further from Mick Storrs:
I see from the recent RSL QLD magazine under "Last Post" the passing of Garry Rickwood R95027 is recorded. I think he was a LRO(S) in TORRENS 1971 when I was an ASLT getting my watchkeeping certificate.  He was a fine young man as I recall & distinguished himself when we were visiting Lahaina, Maui late '71 - first RAN ship to go there & he went skydiving with one of my term - Bob Cason. They misjudged the wind but as Garry opened his chute last he landed in close proximity to the beach but Cason who opened his at higher altitude landed well out to sea & we didn't find him till late that night, he was very lucky. The ship had been crash-sailed by then &, as I was A/OOD I was despatched in the LUB to find him. A steward on the beach paddled out on a lilo to save Garry & while he was there a helo arrived but the crewman on the skids tried to haul Garry in, upset the helo & it crashed!! Luckily no one was killed but the pilot was badly injured & the steward was quite a hero for saving then three people in the water for which he got no recognition. Luckily both skydivers at the last minute decided to wear lifejackets!!

Update from Mick Storrs - Feb 2014:
I managed to get a lot more info on Garry which started with a trip to the Electoral Office on Fri to do some database searches for my old school, something I've been doing for a number of years. Decided to look up "Rickwood" & as you'd expect, Garry didn't feature but I found a "Leanne" around the Gold Coast area who I thought may have been related as there was no other Rickwood in that area. Unfortunately she didn't feature in White Pages. Decided to google Garry on Sat & found two You tube videos, the first was made by his Canberra skydiving friends around mid-'13 as a bit of a "cheer up, get well soon" message. Many of the messages mentioned Lee so I put two & two together & gathered that the one I found was his partner. Then tried to track down the lady Lee Corrigan who made the video but had no joy but then found the Peter (Pedro) Corrigan PH: (02) 62302501 at Bell ACT who's the second person interviewed in the video, quite a character & a wealth of information about Garry & he gave me some further contacts amongst the skydiving community, a couple of whom I subsequently spoke to as well as Lee (2nd wife) who still monitors Garry's mobile 0412 871071. I asked her if she could put something together about him to which she agreed. I emailed her with a couple of our own memories too She was quite happy for these contact details to be passed along to any of his old friends. On Sun morn I also spoke to a Bob Peak 0413 933343, one of his oldest friends of over 40 years who's a fellow skydiver who lives on a yacht at Tin Can Bay & he visited Garry regularly at the Gold Coast during his fight with bowel cancer. He also volunteered to put together something about Garry too so between him & Lee, you could probably get a good obit together for the RANCBA. The second youtube video is of Garry's ashes being scattered by his skydiving friends including wife Lee & two of his three sons Aidan & Travis. Third son is Casey. Quite a moving tribute with the broken circle as they free-fall.

Garry was diagnosed with bowel cancer Jan last year & given a max of 18 months but passed away 28 Aug aged 63 after complications with the chemo. Had a huge funeral apparently but no Navy as his friends recall & as I suspected, he cut his ties after leaving the outfit if only for the sake of making a new start. Bob said he always wanted to better himself hence him becoming a commercial pilot somewhat late in life. All spoke of his fearless love of life, his womanising, antics when based at HARMAN, being a non-handler on the booze, sense of humour & the list goes on! He was obviously much loved & respected amongst his civvy friends as he was in pussers.

I've still to receive the info from Lee but will forward it when it arrives. Bob Peak's will take longer as he was away on his motorbike visiting family in the ACT so won't be home for a week or so.

Mick Storrs

Follow this link for Garry's obituary - courtesy Mick Storrs.

Fm Rod Steedman - Feb 2014:
So sad to hear of the passing of Garry Rickwood (ex LSROS). I served with Garry on HMAS Derwent in 1973. Garry was persuasive enough to talk me into going sky diving with him.  He trained me before my first jump and took me to Wilton near Sydney where I made the jump. Not sure who posted off first but that is the last I remember of him. I also went flying with him as pilot at Bankstown. We were in a Cessna 150 and it was a real experience. I could be wrong but I think he went on to get his helicopter pilots licence also. Such a great bloke and full of life.

Fm Terry Gleeson - Feb 2014:
Re Garry Rickwood - it's always sad to hear of the passing of a shipmate. We are all getting a bit longer in the tooth, but to hear of someone you knew so long ago and haven't seen since, it's hard to imagine them aging, more so their passing I didn't know Garry all that well, but we crossed paths on two occasions and they were both very, very memorable......

First time was at Cerberus, some time in 68, Gaz said to a couple of us at comms school 'do you want a trip up to Frankston?' - "Yeah, why not," thinking it was a run ashore to the Dennis pub ?? Anyway turned out to be a flight in his chartered plane, maybe out of Tyabb, with Gaz the pilot, flew down the coast over Cerberus etc, passengers were flabbergasted, remembered him saying, "Now wouldn't it be great to jump from here?" - No thanks!! At that time we were all probably 18 - 19.

Second occasion was at Harman in 69 I think... Gaz said to me one day.. what are you doing after lunch ?- can you help me pack my parachute in the gym? Mates, I had no idea, Gaz wasn't fussed at all, after a 5 minute instruction he said "you'll be right" I had the job of threading the parachute cords and folding the main chute!! - he was an individual who had absolutely no fear.

If I can recount another side story - once a sky diving trip with another S rate Mick Cross, he and Gaz were into freefall, when Gaz caught up with Mick and grabbed him in a freefall bear hug, "I've got you now". What a character he was.

I watched the youtube with the scattering of Garry's ashes during the parachute jump, just a brilliant, fitting tribute, brought an unashamed tear to the eye.

I hope these short recollections bring fond memories to those that knew Garry.


Reporting of accountability of personnel on Border Protection Operations

There have been assertions that Australian sailors are no longer personally liable for their actions under Operation Sovereign Borders. Any such assertion is misleading and takes out of context previous statements made by me, the Chief of the Defence Force and the Chief of Navy.

The Declaration made by the Chief of the Defence Force under sub-section 12D(2) of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) has not stripped Defence Force personnel carrying out border protection operations of their workplace safety protections and obligations under the WHS Act. The Declaration does not alter the fact that ADF personnel remain subject to the normal requirements of the criminal and general law, as well as the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982.

The purpose of the Declaration is to ensure that ADF personnel undertaking Border Protection Operations are protected from the application of elements of the WHS Act in inappropriate circumstances.

The Declaration acknowledges that these operations are conducted in a hazardous, uncertain and high-tempo operational environment. This was made clear in my public statement of 15 January which has been made available.

With respect to specific reports of mistreatment made today, I have every confidence in the dedication of our people and their ethical approach to the conduct of operations in difficult and often dangerous conditions. I reiterate the statement made by the Chief of the Defence Force on 9 January where he stated that our Navy, Army and Air Force personnel conduct themselves in a humane and considerate manner that is a credit to them and to the Australian Defence Force.

As I stated on 15 January 2014, the safety of life at sea of all people, not just Defence members, is and will remain, Defence’s paramount consideration in the conduct of border protection operations. We are committed to safely executing the lawful direction of government and will always strive to operate within the obligations set out by the WHS Act.

A/CDF 22 January 2014

Subject: Reporting of Conduct of Royal Australian Navy Members on Border Protection Operations

It is important that I place on the record my deep concern regarding the reporting over the last few weeks in both new and old media that discredits the conduct of members of the Royal Australian Navy in Border Protection Operations.

There are few organisations in this land that are subjected to such relentless public scrutiny in almost every aspect of its business; this is a fact of life that Navy readily accepts as a national institution.

Similarly, there are few organisations that hold its people to such a high standard of personal conduct. Today’s Navy actively holds its people to account when they do not live up to the professional or personal standards that are required in serving this nation and its people. Our people are overwhelmingly supportive of this approach.

Ours is not a perfect organization, nor are our people infallible, but Navy is prepared to acknowledge its faults, take action and fix them.

An important component of our system of Government is civil control of the military. Navy’s role as part of the Australian Defence Force is to safely execute the lawful direction of Government, our people know this. Our people also know that by serving as members of the ADF they forgo some of the freedoms that the rest of the nation enjoys. It is clear there are those who exploit this.

I am exceptionally proud of the men and women of our Navy, particularly the way they serve on operations. They serve at sea and ashore, at home and around the world, each and every day with great dignity and often with considerable courage. They have 113 years of heritage and tradition to uphold, over a century of unbroken and honourable service to the nation protecting our ability to trade and contributing to our prosperity and security.

This generation of men and women who wear the uniform are worthy of more respect than has been shown to them in the past few weeks.

Vice Admiral
Chief of Navy

Vale Donald James Searle R62696 (ex LSROS)

Marty Grogan has advised that ex LSROS Don Searle R62696 lost his battle with illness on 8 January 2014. His funeral was held on Saturday 11 January 2014. No further information is available.

Fm the Archives (up to 1970):
Donald James Searle, DOB 28.11.1945, Joined RAN 24.11.1963.  Served in Cerberus (1963-64), Diamantina (1964), Cerberus (65-66), Harman (66), Duchess (66-68), Harman (69), Swan (Commissioning Crew 1970).

Lest We Forget

Fm Terry Gleeson:

Sad to hear of Don Searle's passing - served with Don at Harman and Swan commissioning. He was a great shipmate, would like to share a memorable story as a happy reminder of times gone by......

Don and I while working at Bonshaw west, we were lucky enough to share the company of a couple of young ladies from Alexandria house in a night ashore - in the spirit of the times, the boys from Bonshaw east got wind of it and went to considerable lengths to find out where we had stayed etc.. etc..

Anyway next night shift, doorbell rang at the west end and the boys from the east end presented a summons for "conduct unbecoming" for Messrs Searle and Gleeson to appear before a summary court hearing in the east end. It was hilarious, there was prosecutor, I think Len Jones, our defence counsel was Bob Stupple, east watch included Charlie Wheeler, west end probably Bernie Brooks, and others but the grey matter too foggy to remember,,

Evidence presented was ingenious, e.g. a photo of a donkey (with huge member) with Don's head superimposed, a franger supposedly found at the scene etc.. the court scribe had the appropriate wig made from a teletype roll of carbon paper.. the speeches by both prosecution and defence were brilliant - but our situation was no win, we were both found guilty, Don sentenced to have 12" cut off the old fella (I would be proud of that one) - I was let off with stern warning as the young accomplice. Great memories of a fantastic era.

If anyone can remember this story would be great to hear from you.

Farewell Don old buddy, RIP and see you one day,

Terry Gleeson

Vale Norman Graham Hutchings R93380 (ex LTO)

3rd Intake Junior Recruits HMAS Leeuwin 1961.

Passed away at 2000 Tuesday evening 14th January after suffering for such a long time with Liver Cancer. (See previous QSO entry).

So long mate.

May you have smooth seas and following breezes.

Alan [Buck] Rodgers
Perth 0416096841

Norm Hutchings Funeral arrangements

A Funeral service will be conducted at the chapel of Oakwood Funerals - 506 Marmion Street Booragoon WA 6154, for Norman Hutchings on Monday 20th January 2014.

The service will commence at 1400 [2.00PM] and will be followed by a private cremation at the Fremantle Cemetery.

All in attendance are most welcome to stay for refreshments following the service, at the Oakwood Funerals, Funeral Chapel.

Those attending please wear your medals.

Regards Alan Rodgers

Young & Old Norm - Courtesy FESR website

From the Archives:
Norman Graham Hutchings R93380 - ex LTO.  DOB 26/07/1945.  Joined RAN 12/07/1961.  Postings up to 1970 - Leeuwin, Cerberus, Supply (1963), Vampire (1963-65), Leeuwin (1965-67), Brisbane (1967-68), Leeuwin (1969 as A/LTO).

Fm Max Hasson
Saddened by the news of Norms death, I joined up with Norm and served with him on HMAS Diamantina in 1970/71.

The attached photo was taken in 2011 at our 50th JRs Reunion and I would like it to be posted on this site if it is possible.

3rd Intake 50th Reunion - sent by Max Hasson.  Norm is second from right, between Max & Charlie Rigg.

Fm Geoff Broomhall:
Extremely saddened to hear about Norm. He & I were part of the commissioning crew of HMAS Brisbane in the late 60's along with the likes of Len Moriarty, Doug Bain, Wolf Collie and Mongrel Mander to name a few. Great bunch of guys, great memories.
So long buddy...

Fm Charlie Rigg:
Norm was one of my closest friends, we joined the Navy in 1961 as JR's. On our weekends off during our TO training at HMAS Cerberus he spent most weekends at my place in Reservoir Vic, my mother and father thought the world of Norm and would often say he was their other son.

I was a member of the commissioning crew of HMAS Brisbane with Norm, we had many wild runs in the States and Mexico together, along with Woof Collie and a few others. Such a lovely sincere friend taken too soon, he's at peace now and I'll always have the memories.

Farewell old buddie.

Fm Terry Reid:
Farewell old Mate, will miss spinning those warries about our days on the Vamps over lunch at Sharkys in the Mandurah Marina.

Fm Alan Rodgers:
A service was held for Norm in the chapel of the Oakwood Funerals yesterday (20 Jan) at which more than 100 ex sailors, workers, bowlers & mates from school attended what was a great farewell to a great mate.

Typical of Norm, always had to have the last word, he even wrote some words of his own towards his Eulogy.

We said “Smooth seas and gentle Breezes” and on taking him outside for the hearse – you guessed it – there was the gentle breeze.

Farewell mate.

Royal Naval Amateur Radio Society

My name is Robert Dew and I have been delegated the Australian manager of the Royal Naval Amateur Radio Society,  Australian branch.

As a service to the few remaining members in Australia, age reducing membership numbers each year, we produce a newsletter on an ad hoc basis as and when interesting news or events occur.  Most members were either signal men within the Australian Navy or radio operators on merchant ships during the second world war. Several members worked at Harman receiving station or the transmitting station 'Bells' during the war.

If you can include me on your Email list for passing on any relevant news it would be appreciated.

If any of your members, Australia wide, wish to join the Australian branch there is no joining or membership fee but there is a charge of $25 for a hard copy of the RNARS issued thrice each year or $20 for an Email copy.

We have no connection with the navy other than a relation whom is a midshipman at ADFA.

Yours sincerely,
Robert Dew
RNARS Australian manager (amateur radio call signs VK1DE and on behalf of the society VK1RAN.)

Ham operators are probably aware of this, but if anyone is interested in the above (Tank, Jim, Dave) please contact Robert direct.


Ex CRS Bill Joyce - Progress Report

Further to my report on 16 December, I rang Beth tonight and Bill is not travelling well, still very weak but is eating a little better. Beth advises the visits to the Doctors asking the question “What is wrong with him” gets a blank look with a reply of “Why do you want to know that for”. Still a waiting game but they do appreciate the enquiries and caring about Bill. Will keep you posted.

Kev Ruwoldt

Norm Hutchings in Sickbay (ex LTO R93380)

Don’t know if anyone has informed you that Norm is in Hollywood hospital in Perth and is in a bad way, Yvonne his wife was saying that it will be touch and go if he survives another 24-48hrs, Norm has cancer thru the liver and bowels and has been crook for some time.

Will keep you up to date as we are informed.

Take care
Terry Reid

QSO the World 2014

Welcome to "QSO" for 2014.  During the break I decided that after 16 years as web manager, this will be my last year publishing the RANCBA website.

Many of you will be aware that I was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in early 2013.  This illness has progressed slowly but steadily since then and although I am managing reasonably well with a regime of drugs, exercise and diet, I am under no illusion that things will get better or that a cure is just around the corner.

But back to the website.  Perhaps there is a feeling that it has outlived its purpose because social media provides a better facility.  Be that as it may, my personal view is that there can be a happy co-existence between the two due to the nature of the information provided.  Since it was first published (with the possible exception of the QSO page and the Guestbook) the website has given us a repository for long term information.  Social media outlets (such as Facebook) deal with more perishable information, and also provide the instant communication we now demand to keep in touch with families or friends, or to provide comment on a range of subjects.  Who knows where the next 16 years will take us, but I'm pretty sure that developers will be keen to ensure that social platforms continue to grow.  I would also like to think that the website will continue to provide a service to those who follow it.

If you would like to provide some feedback on the above (website or social media), or you are keen to help, please contact me on  I will publish your comments on this page or you can mark them as 'not for publication' if you wish.

Best regards to you all, the website is now open for the year ahead.

John Curbishley
Web Manager

VMT to you all for the following comments .....

Congratulations on a great 16 years in your role as 'web manager'. I recall when all this began 20 years ago how keen you were to help with the organisation or the working group and eventually the inaugural committee. You were the first to put your hand up if I recall correctly. Many said that it "could not be done", or that it "wouldn't last 2 years". It was through the efforts of people such as yourself that the RANCBA has continued to grow. You have done a fantastic job in bringing our members memories together and displaying them in stories and photographs. It is always interesting to read the weekly updates.

I certainly hope the site can continue. You are right in saying that social media has a greater focus. The website however retains lasting memories that are there for all, not just 'friends'. I hope the committee are able to find a replacement with the dedication required to maintain the website for all. You deserve a rest old mate and the past 16 years of web updates have bought back many memories for us all.

Good luck with your health and retirement.
Frank Hicks

John, as one who is not into social media, I find the RANCBA website invaluable for keeping up with the goings on of old mates and the latest events....Be very sad to see it lost...

All the best to you mate...hang in there...
Ben Franklin (Perth)

With the QSO, I think this has been the greatest contact to keep both serving and ex serving Communicators in touch, what's happening, what is about to happen.  Not only do Communicators read this very informative website, but I have over the years met others from different Naval Associations and they take the time to log on and read, and have told me it would be one of the best going. .

For mine, I would like to see it continue, not only for this 2014 and as you have stated your last year (but health comes first), but someone will take on the challenge and keep it going.

There has to be someone, preferably now retired, but who has the skills and expertise to follow in John's footsteps -
Give this a lot of thought

Regards and all the best for 2014
Allan "Shorty" Moffatt OAM
President RANCBA (NSW)

Thank you for 16 years of dedicated and very professional service in developing and maintaining the RANCB Website. I have always enjoyed the regular updates.  Not being a social media user, I hope someone with your dedication is available to pick up the reins to ensure the longevity of the RANCB Website.

Best wishes and Bravo Zulu
Jim Anderson

Although not a great contributor to QSO, mainly due to my foot in mouth problems, I really enjoy reading it and catching up with all the news. It's always interesting to keep abreast of old shipmates, and their stories. Sorry to hear about your Parkinson's disease mate, but I'm sure with proper medical supervision there's no reason you can't continue to enjoy a long and interesting life. All the best with your future treatment, and well done for all your efforts with RANCBA over the years.

Charlie Rigg

Thank you for your good work over many years. Since returning to the fold, I have found the site a wealth of knowledge and it has helped me to catch up with some old faces.

I have had a go at facebook but I am not comfortable with it and can't see that improving with age. Hopefully, there will be a place for this site for some years yet.

All the very best,
Frank Hoy

John thank you for all your hard work and dedication the RANCB Site. Things don’t get any easier as you get older, bloody shame it gets so painful as well. I wish you and Sarah all the best and hope everything works out in the future. You have done a great job over the years and I am sure all Communicators appreciate the dedication you have shown. BRAVO ZULU mate, put your feet up, you deserve it.

Kev Ruwoldt

Not being a 'Social Media' supporter, I, along with many others, hope that 'our QSO' doesn't resort to same. As most have said, QSO is not 'Facebook' type website, but one where 'friends' can communicate with the known and unknown, quite often with some wonderful surprises. My friend, you have done us all proud over the years and I can only hope that the dreaded PD treats you as kind as a disease can. I feel quite sure that your 'band of followers' World Wide will agree with me in hoping you enjoy whatever you do' post QSO'.

Your Friend
Keghead Weaver

John I do not know what I can say that hasn’t been said in the wonderful comments about QSO.  Since I found the site many years back I have diligently follow the comings and goings of all our comrades in the RAN (Retired). I just want to wish you the very best and hope that PD gives you quite a few more years with us, your friends. 16 years went fast, but lets hope that the next 16 goes much slower.

Best wishes to you and your wife.
Graham Bence

In regards to the RANCBA Website, I for one would not like to see it disappear from my life. It is, and should remain a part of our lives as communicators. It is quite separate to facebook or twitter as it allows each of us to remain in touch through highs and lows.

In 2008, i was struggling with my health both physical and mental. i was not aware I was suffering from PTSD and acute depression. If it was not for friends on this site who rallied around me and got me help, I may not have survived.

The site is a lasting and honoured tribute to your dedication these past 16 years. It has held us all together.

I am retired to the Fraser Coast these days and enjoy the freedom away from the traumas of Sydney. If i can be of any help in maintaining this site please call on me.

I wish you well and God bless.
Nugget Nugent

John I too like the many previous to me on the QSO bit, would seriously miss the huge amount of information which you deal with on a daily basis.

You have provided a very professional service to Communicators and probably many more sailors from all branches of naval life with your readily availability to do what we ask.

16 years seem to have come and gone without a hitch.

But mate, as you can see from what you have communicated on this site, your health comes first and you do absolutely need a rest and have time with your family.

There must be someone out there in Communications Land who could, under your control, take over the keyboard and keep us all informed on the goings on.

Take care John, god speed and to you and your lovely wife Sarah all the very best for the future.

Kind regards
Alan [Buck] Rodgers

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your good work and contribution managing this web site.

I would also like to wish you well for the future.

Kind regards
Ian and Di Dougall

John, I am very sorry to hear about the PD. I wish you well down that path. I would like to thank you very much for the RANCBA site, the great job you have done with it, I visit it every day to keep in touch with our organisation, its great to keep in touch with each other even if it is at a keyboard. Travel well my friend.
Garry Evans

Not approved.

Sam Hughes

Thank you for providing us with a great place to visit on-line and read about our fellow communicators. The effort and time you have put in for a number of years has been greatly appreciated. All the best to you.
Norm & JJ Duscher.