31/42RQR Support for the Unveilling of Statue of Army Nursing Sister

Members of 31/42RQR travelled to Blackall to provide support for a Ceremony honouring a WW1 member of the Army Nursing Service. Once just a name on the Blackall State School honour roll in Queensland, Sister Greta Towner (1891-1961), who served as an Army nurse from 1915 in World War 1, has had her likeness rendered in a statue that will honour her service for the next generation and highlight the importance of women serving our nation.
Sister Towner is described in a newspaper clipping as an Anzac nurse from a “distinguished family of soldiers with her own honourable record”.


The bronze statue honouring her service was unveiled in Blackall’s Memorial Park on November 10 and has been placed next to one of her older brother, Major Edgar Towner (1890-1972), who was an Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross.


President of RSL Blackall sub-branch Terri-Ann Eden-Jones said Sister Towner served in immensely difficult conditions during World War 1 on the Greek island of Lemnos, near Gallipoli, aboard hospital ships, and in France.
“It will be a fitting tribute to Greta and it will be the first time brother and sister war heroes will be honoured together,” Ms Eden-Jones said.


“The project promotes the service of women, especially in the military, and the service of Sister Greta Towner.”
Sister Towner’s story was researched by a Blackall teacher, students and the local historical society, and Ms Eden-Jones said the RSL Blackall sub-branch embraced the project when approached by the teacher.
The sub-branch secured a grant from the Queensland Gambling Benefit Fund to support the commissioning of the sculpture.

Commanding Officer 31st/42nd Battalion, The Royal Queensland Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Cameron McKay said a lot had changed since Sister Towner served her country.


“In today’s Australian Defence Force, women work in more than 200 roles and receive the same training, salaries and opportunities as men, but, until the Second World War, were restricted to the Australian Army Nursing Service,” he said. “In the modern era, women have continued to forge outstanding Army careers and we hope this memorial will inspire the next generation.”

Below are pictures taken at the ceremony by  Maj Edward Dahlheimer

Her Excellency the Honourable Dr Jeannette Young AC PSM,

Governor of Queensland. At the Unveilling Ceremony

31/42RQR on Guard Duty at the Unveilling Ceremony

Daniel Mulhall A Nursing Officer representing the

Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps

Local Community Members in Attendance at Blackall’s Memorial Park

Catafalque Party with the Governor

Catafalque Party with Unveiled Statue of Sister Greta Towner

Rifle Party Firing the Salute

 

 

Remembrance Day – 2023 – Townsville

Remembrance Day in Townsville was a day of activity for Ian Reid who, prior to retirement a few years back, was an officer of 31/42RQR. He gives a brief report on his part in Remembrance Day 2023: “Had the honour of Piping for the Remembrance day service at Townsville City. Great day, with the RSM laying the wreath for the Battalion.
Ran into Maj (Retd) Merv Dicton and had a lovely chat and catch up.
Keep up the great work Minatours”
“Semper Paratus Defendere”
Ian Reid Piping for Remembrance Day
Wreaths at the Townsville Cenotaph for Remembrance Day 2023

VietNam Vet Receives Medal

Capricornia Company members of 31/42 Battalion, Pte Spencer & SGT Boyd engaged within the local Gladstone community recently. They were asked to present John Russel, Vietnam Veteran, The 50th Anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War Medallion and Certificate of thanks. A number of our 31st Battalion Association Members will also be entitled to receive their Commemorative Medals and Certificates. Congratulations to those members for a job well done.

Anzac Day – 31/42 RQR – Participation

The Battalion was heavily involved in Anzac Day commitments. Members supported commemorations in over 12 locations across the AO and we cannot be prouder of the Soldiers who represented the Battalion.
This level of support to the local community and ANZAC Day Commemorations is a great achievement.
Well done to all involved.

On a wider scale, members of 11 Brigade members proudly supported 150 Anzac Day events across Queensland and Northern New South Wales at schools, dawn services and memorials covering Muswellbrook in the South, north to Cairns, and west to Roma and many others in Brisbane and across regional Queensland.

Wreath Laying Ceremony

Catafalque Party Member

Catafalque Party – Mt Morgan

Catafalque Party – Rockhampton

Boyne Island Catafalque Party

Catafalque Party – Gladstone

Catafalque Party – Mackay

Catafalque Party Member

Dawn Service – Cairns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

31/42 RQR Regimental Dinner – Mackay – 10th December 2022

Saturday night (10th Dec 2022) was an excellent occasion with the 31st/42nd Battalion The Royal Queensland Regiment, Regimental Dinner.

Association Member Mick James describes the evening:

It was attended by approx. 150 members of the Battalion, members of both Battalion Associations and invited Guests. The Mayor of Mackay Regional Council, Mr Greg Williamson & Mrs Annette Williamson headed the Guest list, with Guest Speaker Brig (Retd) Steve Graw & Mrs Dale Graw, Commander 11 Brigade, Brig Mark Armstrong and his RSM, WO1 Andrew Crook, and Mr Keith Payne VC AM. I had the honour of hosting Keith at the Dinner including picking him up from his home in Mackay and returning him there afterwards (with a driver). Keith also had a good friend with him, Darren Stendt who has 30 years service in the Army including 15 years in 1 Commando Coy.


After some excellent fellowship, we sat down to a 3 course delicious meal (after Grace) with good red and white wines accompanying it. Then the port was passed around and various toasts were made- The King, The Australian Army, & The Battalion, all to suitable music accompaniment with the latter Toast made by LtCol Cameron McKay, the incoming CO of 31st/42nd Battalion.

Brig (Retd) Steve Graw then spoke on the subject of Moral Courage. It was a most instructive speech and attempts are being made to publish it. However the night was far from over with the RSM WO1 Dave Harding calling a number of Promotions, Awards and Farewells.

The Farewells included the CO, Lt Col David Gandy, Kennedy Company OC Maj Barbara Keller, The Adjutant, Capt Nick Crosbie, Training WO Paul Lergessner (Retd), 2IC Cap Coy, Capt Stephen Wooler.  One of the notable promotion was Capt Misty Evans, who received her 3rd pips from the CO and her husband (see photo below).


An excellent night and Keith Payne enjoyed himself immensely. The Battalion members, Assoc members and guests enjoyed his presence, with many speaking to him and a number having their photo taken with him. When I introduced Keith to the assembled group prior to the Dinner, I also made 2 presentations to him. The first was a Tribute of his service in various Units and his Medal Awards & Honors done by our French friend and honorary 31st Bn Assn Member, Pierre Seillier. Pierre is also a friend of .Keith’s. The Tribute shows Keith’s 1st and last Units, 31st Bn . in top left corner and 42nd Bn in the top right corner. The 2nd presentation is an enlarged photo from 1951 showing 31st Bn troops training at Sellheim Army Camp (located outside Charters Towers). A number of men are named, including Pte Keith Payne (3rd from left) and Pte Kev Fraser (who became CO of 31st Bn in the mid 1970s). Keith was very pleased with both and his son, Colin was amazed at the 1951 photo when he saw it on Keith’s return home.


A very enjoyable night and thanks go to the Bn XO, Maj Mark Smith for organising and hosting it as Dining President.

The following is the address by Guest Speaker for the evening Brigadier (Rtd) Steven Graw RFD:

Mr Greg Williamson – Mayor of the Mackay Regional Council, Mrs Annette Williamson, Mr Keith Payne VC, Brigadier Mark Armstrong, Lt Col David Gandy, other distinguished guests, members of the Battalion, ladies and gentlemen.

The topic on which I have been asked to speak to-night is Moral Courage.

At its most basic, moral courage is not just knowing what is right, or doing what is right, or acting ethically or justly – it is being willing to stand up and confront the things that we know are wrong. It is not remaining silent or indifferent when something needs to be called out and corrected.

As members of the defence force we are sworn to protect Australia, its people and its way of life. That takes physical courage. But we also have a duty to defend its soul – and that takes moral courage – a calculated willingness to step up and be counted, even if it involves some personal cost or personal risk – to our relationships, reputation or physical or financial well-being.

The hardest things you will ever have to do in life will be those when you have to face the disapproval, and even the censure, of others – even those you considered your friends – for doing it.

Moral courage is acting resolutely on your convictions and ethical beliefs. That is what towering figures like Ghandi, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King did – despite the consequences.

Ukraine’s Volodimir Zelenskyy displays both physical and moral courage. When the Russians invaded and the Americans offered to extract him how did he reply? ‘I need ammunition, not a ride’. He got his ammunition.

Contrast that to the response of the then President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, as the Taliban entered Kabul. Having said on multiple occasions that he would ‘fight to the death’, when the Taliban closed in it was reported that he loaded up a chopper with his family and as many bags of US banknotes as he could (something he subsequently denied) and fled to the UAE. His excuse, that he did it to save Kabul from destruction was a blatant cop-out. There was no courage there – physical or moral.

Whistle-blowers in public and private enterprises who act to counter corrupt or unethical behaviour also display moral courage. Those who see bad behavior in their workplaces or communities have a choice. They can do something about it – or they can take the easy option and do nothing. Rocking the boat when it needs to be rocked takes moral courage.

Moral courage means adhering to your values – like honesty, respect, responsibility and fairness – even when that is uncomfortable.

It is not a group activity – if you wait for the consensus and follow the pack that is not moral courage. That is being ‘part of the herd’ – it’s bovine and it’s easy.

Unfortunately, true moral courage is sadly lacking in our society.

Our national politicians, in the main, do not have it. They prefer, instead, to do what is popular or ‘politically expedient’ rather than doing what is ‘right’. They even boast about it. Many of you may remember the title of Graeme Richardson’s autobiography – ‘Whatever it Takes’.

Promises, even firm undertakings, rarely have any binding effect, either ethically or morally. You may remember John Howard’s fatuous attempt to distinguish between what he called ‘core and non-core’ promises’ – a sort of ‘get-out of jail free’ card allowing him to ignore promises he did not want to keep.

Julia Gillard famously promised before the 2010 Federal election that ‘there will be no carbon tax under a government I lead’ – but then caved in to political expediency to introduce one under a deal she made to remain in government. That went well. It did her little good in the long run. It made her intensely unpopular, and resulted in her being ousted in an internal party coup to reinstate her predecessor, Kevin Rudd, as Prime Minister in an attempt to limit the fallout from the 2014 election. Who knows what the result may have been if she had had the moral courage to stick with her promise and refuse the Green’s demands for a carbon tax.

The media is arguably no better. Once it was there to ‘keep the bastards honest’, to be a watchdog holding government and other powerful institutions accountable. It did that by reporting honestly, fairly and impartially – and by sticking to the facts.

No longer. Sensationalist headlines and reports grab attention and that drives advertising revenue – apparently the major concern of even mainstream commercial media – not just what we used to refer to as the ‘gutter press’.

Worse though are those who abuse their positions of trust to drive their own, often ‘woke’, agendas.

Even our national broadcaster, the ABC, has been caught out, having to pay out huge amounts of public money to settle defamation and other similar disputes – simply because it did not have the moral courage to enforce its own editorial standards or, worse, to require its journalists to adhere to them and to ‘fess up’ and apologise when they are caught out.

And that brings me to the second aspect of moral courage.

Moral courage is not just standing up for what it right – it is also accepting responsibility, and acknowledging when you are wrong.

I will give you just one example.

Many of you will know, or at least have heard of Brigadier ‘Warry George’ Mansford – a larger than life figure who was responsible for re-raising 11 Brigade in 1987.

Warry George’ joined the Army on his 17th birthday, fought through Korea and Malaya took a ‘knife and fork’ commission in 1964 and then fought in Vietnam. He was subsequently responsible for setting up the Battle School at Tully and also set up the Young Officer Courses (now the ROBC) for newly commissioned officers to learn their specific to corps skills.

You will no doubt all remember that, as junior soldiers, we all had drummed into us that when doing TEWTs the DS will try to talk you off your plan. We also had it impressed on us never to let them do it – because that meant that you weren’t committed to it in the first place.

And so it was for a newly commissioned 2LT from one of the then ARES Commando Companies doing his Young Officer course with George.

The story is that, tasked with coming up with a plan to site an ambush near a known enemy position, he sited it just forward of the enemy wire – on the basis that he would achieve surprise because no-one would expect it there.

George listened patiently and, when the 2LT had finished presenting, said ‘It won’t work son’. Applying the accepted wisdom among students, the young officer argued that it was a terrific plan and would most certainly work. George put up with this for a while until, finally, he stood up, grasped his own shirt by its epaulets and said, ‘See this son. Three wars, no holes, It won’t f…en work’.

That was perhaps a very good example of an occasion where the young officer should have had the moral courage (and the good sense) to admit that maybe he was wrong.

I would l like to finish up with one final comment. A former Chief of Army, Lieutenant General David Morrison and I were CO’s and, then, Brigade Commanders in Townsville at around the same time. We did not meet often and it is probably fair to say that I did not always agree with him on everything he said. However, I cannot quibble with the comment for which he is perhaps most famous The standard you walk past is the standard you accept’.

As soldiers we have a duty – to ourselves, to the Army and to Australia – to have the moral courage not to walk past something we know to be wrong. We need to keep, foremost and always in our minds, that: The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’ Moral courage, ladies and gentlemen, is not ‘doing nothing’.

Thank you.

 

 

The Presentation by the 31st Battalion Association to Keith Payne VC, AM

Newspaper Clipping from 1951 Showing Pte Keith Payne (Third from Left) and

Pte Kev Fraser (later to become CO of 31RQR in 1976)

Presentation being made to Keith Payne VC AM by 31st Battalion Association’s Mick James

At the start of the Regimental Dining Night

Keith Showing the Presentation

Newly Promoted LT Misty Evans Receiving her Captains Pips from

The CO LtCol David Gandy and her Husband 

Comd 11 Bde Brigadier Armstrong making presentation to outgoing CO LTCOL David Gandy

Meeting the Incoming CO of the Battalion LtCol Cam McKay was

Association Website Editor Maj (Rtd) Martin O’Sullivan

CO Presenting Outgoing Adjt Capt Nick Crosbie with a Unit Plaque for a job well done

Presentation to Maj Barbara Keller with Thanks for a job well done in Kennedy Company

The Dining Night – Mackay – Mister Vice (Lt Mark Hazlett) studying the Menu

It was good to see Keith relaxed recounting a story or two and

enjoying the night

Many people had the chance to speak to and be photographed with our guest of Honour

Former Members of the Battalion (now Rtd), (L to R) Paul Ellems, Martin O’Sullivan,

Mark Allen, Chris Cummings, Steve Graw, (Guest Speaker) and Alan Bruce.

Chris and Steve were previously CO’s of the Battalion and Steve  was previously Comd 11Bde.

Missing from the Group was Mick James who was Hosting our Guest of Honour Keith Payne VC, AM

Our Piper signalling the start of the Dining Night

31/42RQR Regimental Dinner – Mackay

The 31st Battalion Association has received a copy of an Administrative Instruction from the CO of The 31st/42nd Battalion, The Royal Queensland Regiment, LtCol David Gandy, advising details of the Regimental Dining Night to be held at Mackay show Grounds on evening of 10th Dec 2022

Members of the Battalion together with members of Battalion associations and selected guests have been invited.

The dinner will also provide the opportunity for interaction with senior Officers whilst at the same time provide for the Battalion, as a collective, to farewell members leaving the Unit in 2022/2023.

Association members have already been received prior notice of the Regimental Dinner and of the revised cost of Tickets to the function. Attendees should by now have individually received details of relevant timings, locations, etc contained in the Administrative Instruction. Indications are that it will be a well organized and memorable evening.

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Remembrance Day -2022

Yet another outstanding level of support to the NQ & Central QLD community by the men and women of the 31st/42nd Battalion along with strong cameos by 35 ENGR SQN in commemorating the 104th anniversary of Remembrance Day.


The Bn provided Catafalque parties at Gladstone, Gracemere and Rockhampton whilst others members provided key note addresses alongside regional mayors, laid a wreath, supported schools or attended ceremonies in Cairns, Townsville and Mackay.


Great to see the Battalion life member and previous XO – MAJ Ian Reid playing the pipes in front of a large gathering at Townsville.


Well done to all who supported the community in remembering when the guns finally ceased to end the war of all wars 104 years ago.


Lest we forget !

 

Catafalque Parties

Battalion Life Member and previous XO Maj Retd Ian Reid 

Awards to Members of 31st/42nd Bn The Royal Queensland Regiment

Well done to CAPT Nick Crosbie who received COMD 11 BDE Bronze Commendation from BRIG Mark Armstrong for his outstanding performance as ADJT 31/42 RQR during his tenure at the Battalion.

In addition to receiving his commendation, Nick along with the RSM WO1 Dave Harding and the OPSO MAJ Jeff Martin received their OSM at the 11 BDE Dinner for their efforts on Operation Resolute earlier in the year.
Outstanding effort by these solid operators and great night for the Battalion.

Capt Nick Crosbie receiving Comd 11 Bde Bronze Commendation

from 11 Bde Comd Brig Mark Armstrong

RSM WO1 Dave Harding Receiving OSM from Brig Mark Armstrong

Awardees of the OSM with Bn CO (L to R) RSM WO1 Dave Harding,

OPSO Maj Jeff Martin, Capt Nick Crosbie, with CO LtCol David Gandy

31st/42nd Bn – Start of the Training Year

Training got off to a flying start for Battalion Headquarters  members of 31st/42nd Battalion.  Pictures below show

BHQ kicking off the week with Beep test and functional circuit under the watchful eye of the new RSM. Honorable mention to PTE Ellis Williams, WO2 Jayse Bird and SGT Phil Manning.

Kennedy Company – Final Training Exercise for the 2021

The Kennedy Coy engaged in adventure training, White Water rafting down the Tully River last Saturday (20th Nov 2021). Afterward we met up at Balgal Beach (50 klms nth of Tville)  for the Regt Dinner . It was superbly catered by local Lions Club at the Community Hall. They also provided bacon & eggs for brekky on Sunday morning.
The Battalion Facebook correspondent reports:
Kennedy Company has wrapped up the training weekends for the year in style!!
With the significant help and vision of the XO, MAJ Mark Smith, Kennedy Company converged on the Tully River, white water rafting all Saturday morning. With soldiers tipping overboard at every rapid and every calm pond, it was hard to distinguish falling from jumping overboard. Full marks go to the CSM for out doing all others and needing to be rescued.
Following lunch by the river and a pit stop at Jungle Training Wing, we were back on the move south to Balgal Beach. Not to be outdone by the rapids and the Team of Raging Thunder, XO and his incredible team including sister company members from Cap Coy, 11 CSSB and the community from the Balgal Beach community centre and Lions Club, treated the Company and distinguished guests to an incredible dining in night! The food was spectacular and we were so privileged to have visitors from 31st Bn Association who travelled from far and wide to join us.
Some of the Adventure Training Pictures: