Dawn Service 2024 – At Dasher’s

Please find the attached Photo taken Yesterday at Ray Dasher Deeds own Dawn Service at his Residence. There were over 60 in attendance.

Dasher turned 97 Years yesterday on Anzac Day. Ray turned 24Y, at the ending of the Battle of Kapyong in Korea, & reckons he’s still awaiting an apology from China for stuffing up his 24th birthday.
With Dasher in this Photo are 2 of his Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV) Mates, – Miles Farmer, & our own Member Warren Gunder, who served with the 31st Bn in the late 50’s & early 60’s before transferring to the Regular Army & the AATTV & then to one of the Regular Battalions after the Vietnam War. Warren was our Vice President for many years on establishment of the 31st Bn Assoc. Brisbane Branch in 2000. 
Happy 97 Dasher.
Regards to all Tony
Brisbane March – 2024
Carrying Banners of the 31st Bn Association, 2/31st Bn and 31/51 Bn

Vale – Darryl Somerville

Emails were received from Tony Wadeson Association Secretary (Brisbane Branch).


Members, I refer to the email (below) from John Tannock President of 2/25th Bn Association, advising of the passing of Member Darryl Somerville.
Darryl was the son of – CPL Ray Somerville 2/31st Bn who was – WIA – 27/11/42 at Gorari in New Guinea.
RIP Darryl Somerville

A Funeral Service held on 7th July 2023 at 10.30AM at All Saints Anglican Church – 501 Hamilton Rd Chermside.



Members, I refer to the above mentioned email regarding the Passing of our member Darryl Somerville. I wish to advise that Mick James attended the Funeral Service last Friday on behalf of the 31st Bn Assoc. & the Veterans, Families, & Friends of the 2/31st Bn. I have also forwarded a Condolence Card to Darryl’s family on behalf of us all.

Darryl Somerville RIP

Regards TONY

The following background to Darryl’s story and that of his father( 2/31st Bn member) Roy  comes from  our  Association member Mick James:

Darryl was the son of a 2/31st Bn digger who visited Gorari on the Kokoda Track, where his father was wounded and others from 2/25th & 2/31st Bns were KIA during the battle of Oivi – Gorari (4 – 11 Nov 1942). In 2018 Darryl unveiled a Memorial with members of 2/25th Bn Assoc in honour of those who died.
Pte Roy Somerville served with 2/31st Battalion in the Middle East and New Guinea on the Kokoda Track. While on the Kokoda Track he was promoted Cpl & subsequently to A/Sgt on 1st Oct 1942. On 11th Nov 1942 Roy was wounded at Gorari, north of Kokoda, during the Battle of Oivi – Gorari where members of both 2/25thBn & 2/31st Bn were KIA. Roy was subsequently evacuated to Australia where he was later discharged.

Roy’s son, Darryl, in honour of his father’s service, travelled to Gorari with relatives of 2/25th Bn members on 11thNov 2017. They also returned in Nov 2018 and unveiled a monument in memory of the Battle and those who died there.

I met Darryl after his second trip to Gorari and he was very interested in the history of the 2/31st Bn. He subsequently attended an Anzac Service at the 2/31st Bn Memorial at South Bank and joined our 31st Infantry Battalion Association. I only learned of his death on Thursday and attended his funeral on Friday.

Darryl lived a full life and achieved much with his wife and 3 sons. He was Managing Partner of Accountants Coopers & Lybrands for 10 years until his retirement in 2005. From 2005 until 2011 he was Chairman of Brisbane Broncos Football Club and loved to remind friends & relatives that he was the last Chairman to win a Premiership.

The funeral was held at All Saints Anglican Church, Hamilton Rd Chermside, and was overflowing with mourners. The Church played a large role in the Somerville Family life. Darryl’s father, Roy, helped build the Church, Darryl was baptised, confirmed and married there. There was much mirth during the Eulogy, given by his 3 sons, David, Paul & Craig, which Darryl had requested.
Rest In Peace, Darryl.

Aged 74 years.
Late of Everton Hills.
Passed away peacefully on 2nd July 2023.
Much loved husband of Elizabeth. Adored by his sons Craig, Paul and David, Daughter in-laws, Grand daughters and his entire family.
Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend Darryl’s funeral service to be held at the All Saints Anglican Church, Chermside. Service commencing at 10.30am on Friday 7th July, 2023.
In lieu of flowers, relatives and friends are asked to please donate to Dementia Australia via their website.

Cliick on the Link Below for the ABC’s story of the Oivi – Gorari Battle and the Monument.


Oivi – Gorari Battle and The Memorial

The following tribute is from 2/25th Bn Association John Tannock:

I have a number of issues to update everyone on, but I thought I would get a quick update out to advise of the passing of my good mate Darryl Somerville.

Many of you would remember Darrryl from our trips to Gorari, firstly to discuss the possibility of installing a monument with the villagers of Gorari and secondly for the unveiling of the monument. Our connection was that our fathers were both wounded in the Oivi/Gorari Battle near the village of Waju. In fact, we often used to muse about the similarities between the war experiences of our fathers ……… both were from the bush and joined up at the same time. Although they were in different battalions (2/25 th & 2/31st), the two battalion supported each other through the Middle East and New Guinea campaigns. Both were wounded at Waju in the Oivi/Gorari Battle, both spent several days lying on the floor of the Kokoda Hospital before being flown to Port Moresby. They were then transported back to Brisbane on the same ship before spending several months recuperating in the Warwick Hospital…….and both had devilishly good-looking sons (Daryl loved that bit).

I found Daryl to be great company with an infectious laugh and the ability to see the humour where others saw disaster. I remember one night in Gorari when a couple of dogs barked for hours on end. Everyone was lying in their tents unsuccessfully trying to sleep. Finally, around 3:30am, the dogs stopped barking. A collective sigh of relief went around the tents until about a minute later when a rooster started crowing amongst the tents. Suddenly Daryl roared laughing with the laughter spreading around the whole camp.

Through the project to erect the monument at Gorari, Daryl was my go-to person when I needed advice. He advice was always practical and full of commonsense……….and we would have a lot of laughs at the same time.

From John Tannock:





Pte Buddy Williams – Country Music Star – 2/31 Battalion Service

Mick James, a regular contributor to this website, has passed on some research by members of the Remembrance Army on country and western singer Buddy Williams.

Mick continues, “More great research from Australian Remembrance Army (thanks Katrina) of a 2/31st Battalion digger and Country Music Legend, Buddy Williams. I believe some senior members of our Association even saw Buddy perform. He had a sad life in many ways but brought joy to many.


Service No: NX202295
Rank: Private
Unit: 2/31 Australian Infantry Battalion
Harold “Buddy” Williams was born in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on 5 September 1918 as Harry Taylor, and was placed in the Glebe Point Orphanage. He was adopted from the orphanage at the age of seven by a couple who worked a farm in Dorrigo, NSW. Buddy did not have a happy childhood with the McFarlane’s, and was reportedly subjected to regular beltings by his new family, and made to sleep on a bed made from straw with a couple of coats used as blankets. It soon became apparent to Buddy that his adoption was a means for the family to secure cheap labour.

At 15 years of age, one night after receiving a beating, Buddy ran away from the McFarlane’s farm and never returned. He remained in the district of Dorrigo and found work and shelter wherever he was able, working at timber mills, as a bullock driver and boundary rider. He made his way from Dorrigo down the coast of New South Wales -working and busking for money along the way.

On 9 January 1940, at the age of 21 years, Buddy married Bernice Perring (known as Bernie Burnett during her singing career). Bernice was eight days shy of her 17th birthday. The couple had met in 1935 at the Grafton Jacaranda Festival when Bernice was 13 and Buddy 17. Bernie joined Buddy in several duets, including the recording of “Stockmen in Uniform” and “Let’s Grow Old Together”. The union lasted seven years before the couple divorced in 1947.

Buddy signed up for service during the second world war, enlisting at Paddington, New South Wales on 14 September 1943. He marched out from Sydney on 21 September, joining the 15 Infantry Training Brigade in Warwick, Queensland. Three months later, on 25 November, Buddy marched out to 33 Infantry Training Battalion. He was reported absent without leave at Warwick on 11 February 1944, with a warrant for arrest issued two days later. On 22 March he marched out to the Land Headquarters Training Centre (Jungle Warfare) at Canungra, marching in to the training centre on 24 March. This centre was where the soldiers were taught bushcraft and survival techniques.
Buddy was absent without leave a few times between 11 February 1944 and 9 April 1945, being find a total of 13 pounds 10 pence and auto forfeit of 65 days. Buddy reportedly conducted recording sessions during the war years while he was on leave. As no official leave is recorded in his service record, perhaps the times he was absent without leave is when he was recording his music – but just speculation.

On 3 July 1944, Buddy joined the 2/31 Australian Infantry Battalion. The following year on 9 June 1945, he embarked at Townsville per “Howell Lykes”, disembarking at Morotai on 18 June. A week later, Buddy embarked from Morotai, travelling for service at Balikpapan, Borneo. On 3 July, Buddy was wounded in action, seriously injured during the battle of Balikpapan and was not expected to live. He was unconscious in hospital for nine days following an ambush in which he received serious wounds to his arms, back and stomach. He was evacuated to 2/2 Casualty Clearing Station on 12 July, and transferred to X-List.

“Buddy Williams/Percy Ruff/Keith Hearne were on the same Jeep that brought us back to Casualty

Clearing Station, Perce and Buddy were on stretchers, I was sitting up. I saw Perce for years after the war till he


Keith Hearne AM 90. (February 8, 2016)

Buddy was transported to the Australian Hospital Ship on 19 July before being evacuated to 2/9 Australian General Hospital five days later. On 28 July, he embarked at Morotai per 2/2 Australian Hospital Ship for return to Australia. He disembarked in New South Wales, Australia on 10 August 1945 and was admitted to 114 Australian General Hospital. Buddy discharged from service medically unfit for military service on 13 October 1945.

On 31 January 1947, Buddy married Grace Mary (nee Maidment) in Brisbane. The couple had four children: Donita, Harold, Kay and Karen. Grace shared Buddy’s dream of life on the road, traveling from town to town, taking music to the people. Tragically, their daughter Donita was accidentally killed at the Scottsdale showground on 29 November 1948. She was hit by a truck being driven by one of the rodeo riders while he was backing up after unloading his show equipment. She was buried at Lutwyche Cemetery in Brisbane four days later. Following Donita’s death, Buddy wrote “Little Red Bonnet” in memory of his daughter, which he sang at the close of every show.

After recovering from his injuries from the war, Buddy formed a rodeo tent show that travelled for many years before touring with the Buddy Williams Variety Show for 11 months of each year. Buddy, Grace and their three children travelled to country towns and outback communities throughout Australia, and once did an eight-week stint at Brisbane’s Theatre Royal. The group travelled up to 56,000 km a year for about 40 years to take their show to the people of the Australian outback.

Buddy has been the recipient of many awards, including being the first person in Australia to receive the Australasian Country Music Award, presented to “the person contributing the most to Country Music”. He is an inductee of the “Australian Roll of Renown”, won a Heritage Award for “What a Dreary Old World it Would Be” at the Country Music Awards of Australia, and awarded a Special Award and Songmaker Award at the Tamworth Songwriters Awards. Along with Tex Morton and Smoky Dawson, Buddy was one of the first three to be inducted into Country Music Capital’s Hands of Fame at Tamworth.

Harold “Buddy” Williams died in Brisbane on 12 December 1986, aged 68. His funeral was conducted at St Andrews Church of England, Lutwyche and he was buried with daughter Donita at Lutwyche Cemetery. Buddy’s funeral was televised and among those present were Slim Dusty, John McSweeney and Shorty Ranger. Nick Erby read the eulogy, and members of the 2/31 Battalion formed a guard of honour.


Vale – Keith Hearne

Message from Association Brisbane Branch Secretary, Tony Wadeson:
Members I regret to advise that our 2/31st Bn Life Member, – WW2 Veteran & Victorian Past President of the 2/31st & 2/25 Battalions Association – Keith Hearne passed away on Christmas Day. Attached is a Photo taken of Keith receiving his 31st Bn Assoc. Honorary Life Membership Tribute at the Frankston RSL Club on 7th Sept last. We had been trying to present it to him since 2020 but were unable due to Covid State Border lock downs. The event was covered on this website (See “Keith Hearne – Honorary Life Membership” in Archives for October 2022 for his wonderful history of service to the RSL and the Community )
I’ve attached Keiths RSL Bio & you will note amongst other things that he was a Life Member of the RSL.
Funeral Arrangements have yet to be announced. – I will update you when they become available.
If its possible I would ask if our Melbourne Based Members, Peter Nelson & Brian Mullarvey & any 2/31st Bn Veteran, Descendants, could attend the Funeral. The Frankston RSL Sub Branch will be involved as The Victorian RSL State President apparently will be involved. Berets, Medals, & Name Tags Should be worn.
Keith Hearne – 2nd/31st Bn – WW2 Veteran – Life Member RSL – Life Member 31st Bn Assoc. 
 Rest in Peace. 
Regards Tony
Keith was also mentioned on this website in the article “2/31st Battalion Memorabilia” (Archive March 2019).
He was also featured in the article “Keith Hearne” (Archive September 2020) that tells a brief story of his experience in Balikpapan and of his subsequent service to the community. Also of his determination to go to PapuaNewguinea for the reinterment of some of his 2/31 Battalion mates who perished when their aircraft repatriating wounded from Balikpapan and Moritai crashed in West Papua in the latter stages of the war. 
Keith receiving his Honorary Life Membership of the 31st Battalion Association
Frankston RSL Notice of Keith’s Passing

A Glimpse of 31 Battalion History From WW1

Association Member, Tim Lewis, has unearthed a newspaper clipping of the handover of the 31st Battalion Flag from WW1 to the Army Museum North Queensland . The article dates back to 2010 when president of the 2/31st Battalion Association,  Ken Gladstone and five other veterans of WWII travelled to Townsville to present the WW1, 31st Battalion Flag and the 2/31st Battalion Banner from WWII, to the Museum which is based at Jezzine Barracks, Townsville.

The 31st Battalion has served continuously in one form or another since 1886. In its current form is now known as:

The 31st/42nd Battalion The Royal Queensland Regiment.

Keith Hearne – Honorary Life Membership

In September our Association Brisbane Branch Secretary, Tony Wadeson, visited Victoria where he presented the Association’s Honorary LIFE MEMBER to KEITH HEARNE – Past President of 2/31st & 2/25th Battalion Association Victoria. In an email to the President of the Frankston RSL Tony gives a brief of Kieth’s achievements over many years of RSL and community involvement.

For Attention President Kevin:- I refer to our Visit to your Club on Wednesday 7th Sept. for Lunch & to present an “Honorary Life Membership Tribute” to 97 Year old Keith Hearne WW2 Digger, & Past President of the 2/31st Bn & 2/25th Bn Association Victoria, who now resides in “Micare Avondrust Village.

As Requested I’m forwarding you:- (A) Details of Keith Hearne & his RSL Resume, – Details of the 31st Bn Association. (B) Photo of Presentation at Frankston RSL Names in Photo – from left to Right – Tony Wadeson Secretary 31st Bn Association Brisbane, – Keith Hearne WW2 Digger 2/31st Bn & Past President of 2/31st & 2/25th Bn’s Victoria, – Brian Mullarvey 31st Bn Assoc. Member. (Brian served with 42Bn as 2IC Biloela Company for a short period in the early 1970’s I believe? – He was The ARC Engineering P/L Manager of our Gladstone Factory at the time before being transferred to Manager/Tasmania.
Please refer to the Attached details & Photos.

Kevin, I would like to Congratulate you on Your Excellent Club, particularly your Staff who bent over backwoods to cater for our needs in the restaurant & where to take photos etc for the Presentation. It really made our visit enjoyable & successful.

Kindest Regards, 
Tony Wadeson -Secretary – 31st Bn Assoc (Brisbane)


2/31st Bn – WW2 Veteran

President of the 2/31st & 2/25th Battalions Assoc. Victoria

Gold Badge – Life Membership RSL

Life Member – 7th Division AIF Association

Honorary Life Member – 31st Infantry Battalion Association Inc.

The 31st Bn Association first made contact with Keith Hearne during July 2010 when a group of WW2 Veterans of the 2/31st Bn AIF were touring their old pre battle training areas in North Q’ld. They called in to Kissing Point Townsville to present an old “31st Bn Flag” to the North Queensland Military Museum. Keith who was, and had been, President of the 2/31st & 2/25th Bn’s Association Victoria as long as anyone could remember and one of the last operating in Australia, made contact with Committee Members of 31st Bn Association to request that we might take over the job of “Remembrance of the 2/31st Bn“ due to their Association’s dwindling Numbers. Our Committee members indicated that they would certainly be proud to take on the Caretaker role to ensure that such a famous Battalion as the 2/31st would “LIVE ON”. Twelve years on and that is work in progress with the Brisbane Branch joining with the Descendants of Veterans of 2/31st Bn in the Anzac Day Memorial Service at South Bank and the Brisbane Anzac Day March. Brisbane Branch member Tim Lewis, whose Father served with the 2/31st at Balikpapan, took on the role of 2/31st Bn co-ordinator, and has made contact with family members of past 2/31st Bn Presidents or committee members from all Eastern States. The Victorian Branch of the 2/31st Bn & 2/25th Bn Association folded about 5 years ago as numbers dwindled. It was the last Branch to close in Australia. As far as we are aware Keith Hearne & his Secretary Walter Robertson are the only two WW2 members of the 2/31st Bn still alive today. (Refer Keith’s RSL Resume – here under).

For your Info:- 2/31st & 2/25th Bn’s were sister Bn’s in the 25th Brigade – 7th Division- 2nd AIF

25th Brigade was formed in England & served in ENGLAND as part of the Defence Force of England. Then Served in SYRIA & Palestine. – NEW GUINEA:- – Kokoda Track, Ioribaiwa – Oivi Gorari – Buna, Gona. – Lae, Nadzab, – Ramu Valley. BORNEO:- Balikpapan

The 31st Infantry Battalion Association Inc. – WEBSITE:- Google – 31bnassn.org

The 31st Bn is the only Battalion from the WW1 – Fifth Division still on strength in the Australian Army’s Order of Battle today. It’s now known as 31/42 Bn RQR – HQ’d in Townsville, but drawing its Troops from Cairns down to Gladstone and west of those towns. Both the 31st Bn originally the Kennedy Regiment, and 42nd Bn, originally the Capricorn Regiment trace their history back to 1881. Most members of the 31st Bn Association have served with the 31st Bn. In North Queensland. The Association has Branch’s in Townsville, – Charters Towers, – Ingham, & Brisbane.

TONY WADESON (Secretary- 31st Bn Assoc. Brisbane)

Email:- wadesonriver@aapt.net.au


Keith Hearne’s – R S L Service Resume as at – “2002”

Sub Branch:- Bairnsdale

Service in Years Member 55

Committee 7

Welfare 35

V/Affairs 35

Anzac Poppy Appeals 35

Land Settlement/Rural 5

Hospital Visiting 25

Blood Bank 18

Conference Delegate 8


Chairman 6

State Councillor 7

Delegate 8


State Executive 5

Committees 5


Veteran’s Affairs Committee (Chairman)

Land Settlement/Rural – (Secretary)


Future of League


V.J. Commemoration

Diaster Fund Coordinator


Gippsland Veterans Welfare Management Committee Sale.

Veterans Affairs Coordination Council at – Veterans Affairs

R.S.L. Disaster Fund Coordinator East Gippsland Floods 1998

R.S.L. Disaster Fund Coordinator East Gippsland Bush Fires 2003


50 years Service Award

Gold Badge Life Membership RSL – June 26 2002

Certificate of Appreciation RSL – June 26 2002

Life Membership – 7th Division Association

Life Membership – 31st Battalion Association


A story on Keith Hearne and his previous wartime and peacetime involvements appeared on this

website in September 2020 (Type Kieth Hearne into he search box on this website).

The story includes his travelling Papua New Guinea to attend the re-interment of 

2/31 Bn victims of a wartime aircraft crash, remains finally recovered in 2005.


Lt R A Lewis – Japanese Surrender at Kotawaringin – Borneo

The following copies of letters, orders, diary extracts relate to the the part played by Lt Richard Aubrey Lewis (B Coy 2/31st battalion) in the surrender of the Japanese forces in the Banjarmasin/Kotawaringin areas of Kalimantan, Borneo in September 1945.

Note: For ease of reading some of the documents and hand written script a high resolution screen may be necessary. Older computer monitors may present some difficulties. Modern mobile phones or tablets are likely to have greater definition than older computer monitors allowing easier reading of the documents herein.

They were gathered and collated by his son, 31st Battalion Association member Tim Lewis.

From the diary of NX177993 Lt Richard Aubrey Lewis Recollection No9 Dated 11th Dec 1945:

“On the 25th of September I left Bandjamasin to proceed to Kotawaringin to accept the surrender of the Jap garrison. It was an interesting trip Lieut C Allan Hard and Sub-Lieut Col Gillespie were the naval officers of HMAL 1359 which carried portion of my party. The remainder under Sgt Hewston, travelled on a Jap coastal steamer.”


Lt Lewis with Navy personnel on HMAML1359 moving to Kota Waringin to

accept the surrender of members of Japanese Forces 

Above and Below – Lt Lewis meeting with the Sultan at Pangkalan Bun

This is the main administration centre of the Kota Waringin Area

Chart of the Kalimantan Coastline East of Banjarmasin


Warning Order given to Lt RA Lewis and key personnel on the day prior (22 Sep 1945). The order was for the move to Kota Waringin on 23 Sep 1945 to bring back Japanese 156 Soldiers and 18 Civilians.

With him was a Pl of B Coy (4 NCO plus 32 OR)

2 RAP Orderlies

1 Int Sect

1 Cook

Lt Hard and crew of  HMAML Q1359

Tke Kotawaringin Region of Central Kalinantan, Borneo

Below is an extract from the War Diary covering the period between 23 Sep 45 to 28 Sep 45.

It covers the move to Kota Waringin for the purpose of accepting the surrender and

Transporting of Japanese forces for processing at Banjarmasin.  

The Kota Waringin area is approx 450km to the west of Banjarmasin. The journey took just over 24 hrs to complete

Because of Navigation concerns they spent the night of 24/25 anchored (with the HAPGOAN, the coastal vessel that was to transport the Japanese) at the mouth of the river before going upstream to Kumai on 25 Sep. At Kumai, the village headman reported that majority of the Japanese had been assembled 1km north of Kumai.


A number of Japanese Officars (4 Naval and 1 Army) presented themselves to Lt Lewis at the Kumai wharf. Lt IIzuka reported that 153 soldiers and 18 Civilians  were in their party north of Kumai, 9 of whom were hospital cases suffering from (2 x appendicitis, 6 Malaria and 1 a Violent Lunatic). Weapons were centralised and stored. The OC of their sub unit Sub-Lt Takare had previously committed Hari Kari. Lt Lewis was able to inspect and confirm these reported numbers.

All Japanese were moved to the wharf and placed under guard. Lt Iizuka was given a warning order that they were to be moved to BANJARMASIN on 26 Sep. An English speaking Chinese was interrogated. Report shown below.

Arrangements were made for meeting with the Sultan in PANGKALAN BUN.

Travelled to PANGKALAN BUN by car (approx 15KM via road) to Sultans palace.

Lt Lewis was received by the Sultan at a civic reception at his Palace. The civil administration was 

returned to the Sultan whose position had been eroded during the Japanese occupation.

The Sultan returned with Lt Lewis to Kumai to be briefed on the stores and supplies that were to be policed.

The Japanese and one of their local collaborators (Hadji Mochamad Kasim) were loaded on the vessels.

Both boats (the “HMAML Q 1359” and the coastal vessel “Hapgoan”) set sail for Banjarmasin on 26th Sep at1555hrs.

Arrival in Banjarmasin was two days later.

The above list is the weapons and equipment handed over by the Japanese. A number of rifles and LMGs most of which were dumpted at sea. The Dutch captured weapons were returned to the Dutch.

The Japanese swords were returned to the Bn store. 

Equipment included Diesel and Petrol engines, Generators for lighting and radio equipment, workshop equipment (lathe drills, saws, grinding wheel, etc) and 10 vehicles of various types.

Most of this equipment was left to be policed by the Sultan’s men.

This image was taken from either NAA or AWM footage.

This note is from Tim Lewis (the son of Lt RA Lewis)”I can only assume that my father accepted the garrison surrender from Captain Iizuka with WO Iwase by his side. ( These names appeared elsewhere in my father’s diaries)”.

These are some of the handwritten notes written during the conduct of the operations at Kota Waringin

Covering note to the CO 2/31 Battalion 28 Sep 1945

Below is a hand written description of the meeting between Lt Lewis and the Sultan

to discuss the restoration of the civil administration.

The Sultan expresses his concerns regarding his reduced status during the Japanese Occupation.

Lt Lewis held meetings with district headmen to re-establish the Sultan as the centre of Administration in the district

pending the arrival of the Dutch Administration. 

Document F is a Patrol Report

The patrol was to ascertain whether and large numbers of Japanese were in the area and to locate any Japanese weapons.

It was determined that no large numbers of Japanese were in the area and that all former store houses were

searched but no weapons were found. Weapons previously founded were handed to a patrol from C Coy.

Document C is an Interrogation Report

This report is from the interrogation of an English speaking Chinese concerning the man Hadji Mochamad Kalim who was brought back from Kumai to Banjarmasin on the Naval vessel. Kalim was named as a Japanese collaborator. He had lived in the Kumai area since 1936 There were two occasions where Kalim received a token punishment from the Japanese for trying to buy a radio and for fishing. The same offences perpetrated by others would result in much harsher punishment.

In 1942 There were 1000 British and Dutch troops in the area but these had subsequently been transferred to Banjarmasin. since then there were not many Japanese in the area until they built an airstrip 6 months before the end of the war. The factory and equipment at Kumai was used in the manufacture of swords and in support of the air strip operations.

Below is the report from the Chinese person in his own handwriting.





Vale – Mrs Gwenyth Lewis

I regret to advise the passing of Mrs. Gwenyth Lewis.  Gwenyth was the wife of Major Aub Lewis (Decd) former Platoon Commander of 10PL – B Coy 2/31st Bn at Balikpapan WW2. After discharge from the AIF he served in the CMF with 9Bn & the 2/14th QMI. Gwenyth was the mother of our Member Tim Lewis – Coordinator of the 2/31st Bn – Veterans, Family, & Friends.

Gwenyth Lewis was the niece of LTGEN Sir Reginald Pollard KCVO, KBE, CB, DSO a former Brigade Major of the 25th Brigade on its departure to the Middle East and CO of the 2/31st Bn during the Syrian campaign. Sir Reginald continued on a brilliant career in the Military after the war, attaining the rank of LTGEN and appointed Chief of the General Staff, prior to his retirement.

Gwenyth attended our last Special Association meeting in October 2019 with Guest of Honour – 102Yr old WO2 Alf Cumberland and Descendants of members of the 2/31st Bn, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic disrupting our lives.

Our thoughts and condolences go to Tim Lewis and his Family on this sad occasion.

Gwenyth Lewis – Rest In Peace.

Ray Fogg (President, Brisbane)




Vale – WO2 Alf Cumberland – 103yrs

The following message has been received from the Secretary of the Brisbane Branch of the 31st Battalion Association Tony Wadeson

It is with great sadness that I advise you of the Passing of our oldest WW2 Veteran – QX43769 WO2 Alf Cumberland. Alf passed away early this afternoon peacefully in his sleep at his residence, – The Lodge, Magnolia Aged Care, Coomera. Alf had just turned 103Yrs on the 2nd Sept. Alf joined the Army – “Artillery” on the 22nd Sept 1941. He joined the 2/31st Bn in New Guinea as a Reinforcement Nov 1943. He also took part in the later Invasion at Balikpapan Borneo. There are quite a few interesting stories to be told. Alf’s Company Commander was George Henderson, the Father of Alex Swan (nee Henderson). Refer 31st Bn Assoc Website – 31bnassn.org   – Go to Archives refer to July 2019 & Sept 2019.

Members, Veterans & Friends. – FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS – ALF CUMBERLAND. as Follows:-

(1) WHERE:- The Funeral is to be held at:-  Newlife Uniting Church – 4 Greenwich Ct. ROBINA  Q’ld 4226

(2) WHEN:- Tuesday 20th October at 1.00PM

(3) DRESS:-  31st Bn Members – Jacket & Tie, – Beret, – Medals – Name Tag.

(4) It is our intention (with the OK from White Lady Funerals) to have the 2/31st Bn Banner Displayed & form a Guard of Honour at the Conclusion of the Service.

If anyone requires Transport assistance please contact me on my Mob 0427 337 177 or by email, & I will endeavour to help you.

The Nerang RSL are Handling the Poppy Service. 


Tribute Designed & presented by our Honorary Member Pierre Seillier (France). This Tribute was presented to Alf on his 102nd Birthday last year. Due to the Magnolia Aged Care Centre being in lockdown on his 103rd Birthday this year we were unable to visit him.

The following Record of Service was researched and compiled by Association Committee member Mick James

Vale – QX 43769 WO2 Alf Cumberland

WW2 – Veteran – 2nd/ 31st Bn AIF

Alf Cumberland was born on 2nd Sept 1917. He grew up in “Wellington St” Clayfield Brisbane.


    • 22/9/41 – Joined the 2nd AIF – 5th Field Regiment – Brisbane
    • 7/11/42 Transferred to 17th Field Regt. Townsville
    • 19/11/43 transferred to 2/31st Bn Port Moresby
    • 31/1/44 Returned to Townsville.
    • 20/3/44 Admitted to 2/4 AGH
    • 12/7/44 Rejoined 2/31st Bn Petrie Area. The Bn moved to Atherton Tableland in Aug 44
    • 28/9/44 Promoted A/Cpl
    • 4/12/44 Confirmed Cpl.
    • 9/6/45 Embarked “Howell Lykes” at Townsville for Morotai.
    • 18/6/45 Disembarked Morotai
    • 25/6/45Embarked for Service Balikpapan
    • 2/7/45 – 0900HRs Landed Balikpapan
    • 3/7/45 WIA – GSW (Rifle) Rt Ear Lobe – Evac 2/5th Field Ambulance.
    • 6/7/45 Promoted to A/Sgt
    • 8/7/45 Rejoined Unit.
    • 24/8/45 Promoted A/WO2
    • 24/8/45 WO2 Rank Confirmed.
    • 25/1/46 Embarked Balikpapan per “Kanimbla”
    • 4/2/46 Disembarked Brisbane
    • 1/4/46 Discharged.

Mick James – 31st Bn Assoc. (Brisbane) Committee Member – 8/10/2020

Peter Thatcher at last Octobers Reunion Lunch Meeting aged 102 Years.

 Alex Swan (nee Henderson) with Alf in April 2019.

A few of us with Alf on his 102nd Birthday last year.

Alf and wife Stephanie on their wedding day 1946

A few notes from Mick James after attending the funeral for Alf:

Have been down on the Gold Coast from Monday afternoon and returned home on Thursday. Went to the funeral of 103 year old WW2 digger, 2/31st Battalion WO2 Alf Cumberland. I have known Alf since meeting him at the 2/31st Memorial at South Bank on ANZAC Day 2017, and he was a extraordinary human being.
Four of us from the 31st Battalion Assoc visited him at his aged care home for his 102nd birthday on Sept 2nd 2019. We brought a cake and also his WW2 Service Record. When I mentioned that his record shows he grew up in Wellington St Clayfield , he replied – “yes, do you know it? It runs into Oriel Rd.” I replied “Yes, I deliver Meals on Wheels to the next street over”. Straight away, he said “Monpelier St”, which was correct. He wouldn’t have visited his home in over 60 years, but was still as sharp as a tack.
I was aware that he with his wife (who died in 2014) used to make ANZAC Biscuits, individually wrapped with a sticker, “LEST WE FORGET” on each and send over 1000 to various WW2 mates, friends and acquaintances. They also had willing friends from their Aged Care home assist them. The former Editor of our magazine was a recipient of the Biscuits for a number of years.
Among the incredible stories we heard at the Funeral Service, was that Alf was feeling that he had had enough and, as a religious man, felt it was time to meet his maker and rejoin his beloved wife, Stephanie, whom he married in 1946.
On Monday 5th October, he wrote his eulogy. When a friend visited the next day, Alf stated he was ready to go, but not before the Eulogy was typed up. which was done on the Wednesday. Alf died on Thursday 8th October.


Keith Hearne

Keith is a prominent member of the 2/31st Battalion from Victoria. He has always been heavily involved in the Association and is now one of a diminishing band of old soldiers who served through WW2.

Keith was to have gone to Canberra this year to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of WW2. The ceremony which was to have taken place on 15th August 2020 had to be cancelled because of restrictions in place to prevent the transmission of the Covid19 virus. Keith has of late been beset by illness but he received a letter from the Governor of Victoria in recognition of the occasion.

He has been a constant presence in the Victorian RSL as well as a past president of the 2/25 & 2/31st Association. The two Battalion associations voted to merge when numbers started to thin out.

Keith is really proud that he was asked to lead the Anzac Day march in Melbourne three years in a row.

Keith enlisted as soon as possible in 1943 and after various training postings, joined the 2/31 Battalion training on the Atherton Tableland prior to embarkation for Morotai then Balikpapan on the Island of Borneo.

During the landing at Balikpapan Keith recalls that the  landing craft had difficulties getting onto the beach so he and his sergeant were the first to wade  ashore to reconnoitre the enemy situation. Keith was crouched on the beach reconditioning the Owen Gun ensuring that it was free of sea water whilst the Sergeant stood to take a look around. In an instant the Sergeant fell mortally wounded by a Japanese sniper. Keith has spent his much life wondering about the fortunes of war. Why him and not me.

Letter of Appreciation from the Governor of Victoria

Keith has continued his service to the local community in good times or in bad. Amongst other things he has coordinated the East Gippsland RSL Disaster Fund for the floods in 1998 and the East Gippsland RSL Disaster Fund in the bush fires of 2003. In 2005 he flew to Papua New Guinea as a member of the party to reinter the remains of 2/31st Battalion comrades who perished when the aircraft carrying wounded from the battles of Balikpapan and Morotai crashed in the mountains of West Papua on September 18 1945. The service and reinterment took place at Bomana war Cemetery Papua New Guinea. In June 2015 he also visited the Labuan War Cemetery to pay his respects to his mates from the the Borneo Campaign.

Keith at the Reinterment of old 2/31st Battalion mates – Victims of the aircraft Crash Mentioned above

Keith in Papua New Guinea with old “Comrades in Arms”

One of Keith’s good mates, Trevor Jorgensen – killed in the Air Crash 

An old Mate, Trevor Jorgensen, (One of those killed in the Air crash) Finally laid to rest at Bomana War Cemetery, Papua New Guinea

The Crash site in the mountains of West Papua 18th Sep 1945

the remains of the wounded soldiers and crew were recovered in May 2005

2/25th 2/31st/ Battalion Reunion including a visitor from WA Jim Gordon VC

The Battalion rightly honours Jim Gordon for his award of the Victoria Cross for his acts of courage in the battle for Jezzine during the Syrian campaign. At the same time Keith makes light of his own award (The Commander-In-Chief’s Card) for testing anti-Malarial therapies. No doubt it also took great courage to be on the receiving end of untried and unproven therapies for Malaria. This, the disease that had caused more casualties than enemy action for armies and for civilian populations for thousands of years past.


The battered old Hat with the colour patch of 2/31st Battalion- Keith calls it the “Real Thing” 

The Banner of the 2/31st Battalion being held in a stiff breeze by 31st Battalion Association Secretary Tony Wadeson.

The banner was held high at the recent Kokoda Day Commemoration Ceremony in Brisbane (9th August 2020). It was regularly used during the Anzac Day march and other commemorative occasions in Melbourne and has now been entrusted to our safe keeping by Keith on behalf of the , now, disbanded, 2/25th- 2/31st assn.
Keith, We Salute You.