31st Battalion Association Reunion Lunch

The 31st Battalion Association Reunion Lunch was held at the Sherwood Services Club  at Corinda on Thursday 24th October. The Secretary of the Brisbane Branch of our Association, Tony Wadeson, briefly covers the meeting: 

This year we were honoured to have a special guest, Alf Cumberland who, at 102 years old, is one of the few surviving members of the wartime 2/31st Battalion. A number of the descendants of  members of the 2/31st Battalion were also present.

The photos (below) were taken at the lunch meeting by our one & only 51st Battalion member Wendy Seymour. Wendy is of Papua Newguinea Heritage but was living in Cairns when she was with 51st Battalion. She now lives in Brisbane. She is pictured below with Alf Cumberland. The Lunch was very successful with 42 Attending – Biggest we have ever had. The Townsville based President of the Association, Greg Stokie was in attendance.

Guest Speaker – WO1 Peter Thatcher provided an excellent talk on the Kokoda Track & the battles that took place – His DVD display – Illustration was brilliant, best I’ve seen. There’s a good photo of him with Alf Cumberland.   Great day & we have moved a step closer in working together with 2/31st descendants to ensure the 2/31st Bn History will be forever preserved.  


Alf Cumberland with Wendy Seymour 
WO1 Peter Thatcher with Alf Cumberland
Tribute to Alf Cumberland
During the meeting a report on the Battle For Australia Commemoration was delivered  by association member Mick James:

Report on Battle for Australia Commemoration on Wed 4th Sept 2019

For those who don’t know, The Battle for Australia Commemoration is for all those who served between 1942-45 in the north of Australia and to our north/ it includes the Fall of Singapore, Bombing of Darwin, Battles of Milne Bay & Coral Sea, 2 Campaigns in New Guinea and Borneo. We honour & remember all those who fought and especially those who died.

It is dedicated by the Australian Govt as the 1st Wednesday in Sept each year and ranks 3rd in Commemorations after ANZAC Day & Remembrance Day.

This year we held the 3rd Commemoration at our new home at the Chermside Historical Precinct at 61 Kittyhawk Dr Chermside, just north of KWRSL Club car park with the Qld Governor & his wife again in attendance. The Official Address was by Commander Gerald Savvakis RAN ADC on behalf of the Chief of Navy Vice Admiral MJ Noonan AO.

This year we also had a student presentation from Aspley High School on Cpl JA French VC. This student presentation will be an annual one and part of our commitment to involve young people in learning and remembering about our Battle for Australia history and those who participated.

Morning tea was provided after the Commemoration and those present were invited to enter the Milne Bay Library & Research Centre adjacent and peruse the exhibits.

Our Assoc continues to be represented on the Battle for Aust Committee with Merv Hazell re elected as Sec and myself as Vice President at our AGM on 30th Sept.

I urge all Members & Guests to consider attending next year (Wed 2nd Sept) and I have a number of this year’s programmes that you can take. They explain the Battle for Australia in more detail. There are also 2 photos of this year’s Commemoration in the montage on the screen.

Finally I have a limited number of “Battle for Australia New Guinea” pins available for sale at $5 each. If you’d like one please see me after the meeting. If I haven’t enough, you may be able to buy one in the lead up to Remembrance Day.

Video of 2019 Commem – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDeWrfQEjp8



“Mick also gave a report on our Brisbane Branch of the Association’s Commemoration of the 103rd Anniversary of the Battle of Fromelles. This was held at the grave of Lt Athur Adams DCM at Ipswich General Cemetery with the assistance of both the Ipswich & Rosewood RSLs, with both Presidents attending and supplying the Padre, Bugler & PA system. Arthur Adams reverted from CQMS to Private so he could be part of the Battle. On returning to Rosewood after the War Arthur was the original President of the Rosewood RSL. Sadly he died in 1925 from War induced illness.”
The full story of the Commemoration of the 103rd Anniversary of the Battle of Fromelles was covered in a post on this website in July2019.
31st Battalion Association President Greg Stokie and
Brisbane Branch President Ray Fogg
2/31st Battalion Banner
31/51st Battalion Banner