Vale – Brian Jones

 Associate Member Ross Konowalenko has passed on the sad news of the passing of fellow member Brian Jones on 24/5/2021:

It is with sadness that I inform you that our fellow 31st Battalion Association member (and RSL Life Member) Brian Jones of Beachmere, Qld, passed away peacefully with his family by his side at 0730hrs this morning in Townsville, after a long and courageous fight with cancer.

Brian was a very active RSL and community member for many years and as you may recall, when in better health he volunteered his time to help others through Legacy. His father’s plaque is on his local Beachmere RSL sub branch memorial and Brian was a very proud ‘sapper’, graduate from the Army Apprentices School and saw ‘local service’ during his time in PNG.

As more information comes to hand and with the permission of his family, I will keep you informed accordingly.

My prayers are with his family and each of you at this time.

Yours in service,

Ross Konowalenko

Note from Martin O’Sullivan

Brian and I served together both in Papua New Guinea in PNGVR in the 60s and again in 31RQR in the 70s and 80’s. Brian had started as at the Army Apprentice Centre at Balcombe Vic and subsequently served as a Sapper prior to moving back to civilian  life and heading for PNG in the early 1960s.

He joined up with PNGVR shortly afterward. Like many of us who had prior service in the Army in Australia, we were issued with new service numbers upon joining PNGVR. It was only later when we were both serving with 31RQR that I discovered that our service numbers were not that far apart meaning that we both joined around the same time.

I arrived back in Australia and took up a position in Townsville in 1971 and Brian was subsequently transferred to Charters Towers. Both of us were then posted to 31RQR Brian as a WO2 and I as a Lt. Brian subsequently applied for and was granted a Commission.

After the damaging Miller report reduced the Battalion to 31 Indep Rifle Coy in 1976 we spent 10 years in various staff postings and postings with other units. With a huge effort on the part of many of us at the time, we managed to boost our numbers back to Battalion level.

By 1986 with the unit back to a Battalion again I was appointed as OC Admin Coy with Brian, who by that time was a Captain as 2IC Admin. We held those positions until we both retired in 1989

Some years later Brian and I met up again when we both retired, he to Beechmere and I to the Sunshine Coast.

In more recent times Brian had courageously battled against Cancer over a period of years. He moved to Townsville after his wife Nancy’s tragic death, to be close to his son Richard, who is serving at Lavarack Barracks.

Brian was a fine soldier, a good practical hand and a great mate. My thoughts and prayers are for him and his family.

Well done mate, RIP.

Martin O’Sullivan 

 

Vale – John Gardner MBE

Members, It is my sad duty to advise you of the passing of Association Life Member, – John Gardner MBE. –  John passed away last Saturday night – 8th May after a long illness.

John Gardner was born in Ingham in 1932, educated at Ingham State Primary School & then as a boarder at Toowoomba Grammar School. John’s father was the well established local Pharmacist. John, following his Fathers footsteps studied Pharmacy at The Central Technical College Brisbane, graduating in 1954. Prior to Graduation, John was selected as the Central Technical College’s Student Representative to attend “The Royal Ball” at the Brisbane City Hall. His partner that Night was Patricia Gent, who later became his wife of 62 years.

John then had to complete his deferred National Service Training. His introduction to Military Life showed his future potential as he was chosen as the Servicemen’s OC  at the 11th National Service Training Battalion’s Leadership Parade.

John then returned  to Ingham, to take over the Family Pharmacy formerly owned by his late father, & became very involved in local activities, Apex, Jaycees, Ingham Little Theatre, Archery, & Golf Clubs to name just a few. Invited onto the Ingham Ambulance Committee, he served in various Positions & finally Chairman, he was the longest serving Committee Member in the history of the Ambulance in Ingham. He was involved with many more community Service activities, far to many to list here.

John joined the CMF in Ingham in 1957 as a Private Soldier – C  Company, of the 31st Infantry Bn. He rose through the ranks, and eventually, as a Major, promoted to, OC, – C Company in 1968. John retired from the CMF, with rank of Major in 1971.  John remained in close contact with the Regiment, as Chairman of the Ingham Recruitment Committee for a period, and was the Anzac Day Parade Marshall in Ingham, for many years. John was awarded an MBE (Military Division) in 1970 for service to the Citizen Military Forces. John was the Editor of “The Whispering Boomerang” the  Association Bulletin from 1994 to 2008.  He was made a “Life Member” of the Ingham Branch of the Association in 2006, and in 2019, “Life Member” of the 31st Infantry Bn Association Inc..

John, also was the Editor of the Series “Lives and Times Volumes 1 to 4. – Editor of the Book “Detoured to War” & collator of a collection of Poems titled “Voices in Verse”.

John Gardner was still involved with the 31st Bn Association even whilst he was ill. Providing support, congratulating and encouraging Committee Members in all of our activities. He was a great Soldier, a great Leader and a true friend. John will be greatly missed by all of us who knew him, – But Never Forgotten.

In a final act of Community Service, John bequeathed his body to the Department of Anatomical Services at the University of Queensland.

Johns wife for 62 years Patricia, predeceased him in 2019, his ashes will eventually be laid to rest with Patricia’s at St Andrews Anglican Church, South Brisbane, where he and Patricia met as choristers in 1955, and where they were married in 1957.

John Gardner R.I.P.

Our deepest Sympathy goes to Johns Daughters, Paula, Jocelyn & Hilary & their families.

TONY

Further information has just been received from Association Secretary – Brisbane Branch – Tony Wadeson – regarding a Memorial for John:

Members,  I have been advised by John Gardner’s Daughters, Hilary, Jocelyn, & Paula, that a Memorial Service will be held for John at 10.30 AM, next Wednesday 19th May

VENUE:- Salvation Army Hall, – Sugar Bag Rd,  Little Mountain, – Caloundra. (same Place as Patricia Gardner’s Service was held).

Transport:- Anyone who requires Transport please advise me & I will investigate the courses open. That includes anyone flying down from the North, & requires a lift from the Airport.

Dress:- Jacket & Tie. – Medals, – Beret, – Name Tag.

 

 

-ooo-

31st Battalion – Brisbane Branch – Anzac Day 2021

The Brisbane branch of the 31st Battalion Assoc continued their tradition of Commemorating ANZAC Day with members attending the 2nd 31st Bn Commemoration at the Memorial at Southbank and our march through the Brisbane CBD, this year behind all 3 of our Banners. We thank all or Banner bearers and they are included in our photos at the end of the march. Most of us adjourned to the Grand Central for lunch and a few ales. We also enjoyed the entertainment of the Irish Assoc Pipe Band.
The 2nd photo has Capt Henderson’s photo, cap, jacket & WW2 record. He was a Company Commander with 2/31st Bn.
Southbank 2/31st Battalion Memorial -Anzac Day 2021
Capt George Henderson
From L to R 31st/51stBn – 31st Bn  & 2/31st Bn Banners paraded together – Anzac Day 2021
31st Battalion Association (Brisbane Branch) – Anzac Day 2021
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