Please find the undermentioned notification from Association President Greg Stokie, concerning the passing of long time stalwart of the Association – Ron Costabeber.
Ron Costabeber – RIP
Please find the undermentioned notification from Association President Greg Stokie, concerning the passing of long time stalwart of the Association – Ron Costabeber.
Ron Costabeber – RIP
31st Bn Members We have received the sad news from President Greg Stokie that past member “Kyle Macleod” passed away Kyle was on the 31st BAttalion Association Committee for some years.
As an old Past Service member of 31st Bn – Kyle Macleod – Rest In Peace.
AGED 84 YEARS
Late of Villa Vincent Nursing Home, Townsville and formerly of 119 Queens Road, Hermit Park. Loving Husband of Thelma. Beloved Father, Father-in-Law and Grandfather of Heather, Wendy, Geoffrey, Jennifer, Ross (deceased) and their respective Families.
All Relatives and Friends are respectfully invited to attend a CELEBRATION of KYLE’S LIFE which will commence at 10.00 a.m TUESDAY MORNING 22nd DECEMBER, 2020 at the Lakes Chapel, Morleys Funeral Home, Cnr. Hugh Street and Martinez Avenue, Townsville.
For those unable to attend due to COVID 19 restrictions, Kyle’s Service will be live streamed at morleys.net.au/upcoming-services
National Servicemen’s Association of Australia (Qld) Inc. Townsville
Branch Members of the above are respectfully invited to attend the Funeral Service of their late Comrade-in-Arms 1713902 / 119934 KYLE MACLEOD which will commence as above. Nasho uniform and medals to be worn.
Ian Kuhl Secretary.
Returned and Services League of Australia (Qld Branch) Townsville Sub Branch Inc.
Members of the above are respectfully invited to attend the Funeral Service of their late Comrade-In-Arms 1713902 / 119934 KYLE MACLEOD which will commence as above.
Val Clark Secretary.
31st Infantry Battalion Assoc. Inc. Townsville Branch
Members of the above are respectfully invited to attend the Funeral Service of their late Comrade-in-Arms 1713902 / 119934 KYLE MACLEOD which will commence as above. Medals may be worn. Dariel Walker Secretary.
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.
MILITARY SERVICE – WW2
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:
The Secretary of the Brisbane Branch of the Association, Tony Wadeson has passed on the following sad message:
It is with great sadness that I report the passing of Merv Short, the optimum of an Officer & a Gentleman. A great Character and Entertainer, but above all a great mate & true friend to all who new him. Who could forget the Army CL Truck heading through the streets of Townsville on the way to a W/E Bivouac, with the sounds of a Piano being played from the covered back.
Merv passed away early Thursday morning (3rd September 2020) after a long Illness. Our thoughts and deepest sympathy go to Merv’s devoted wife Wendy who nursed him at home, until the end.
Merv’s funeral will be a private Service to be held next week.
Farewell old friend – RIP
Merv continued to be involved with the 31st Battalion long after his family and business commitments restricted the amount of time he was able to devote to specific postings. His was a continuing effective presence as Chairman of the Committee For Employer Support Reserve Forces (CESRF). In this capacity he continually liaised with other employers to smooth the way for many of their employees to complete their army commitments to the Battalion. His emphasis was always on the value adding that Army Reserve service gave back to an employer in the long run.
As Honorary members of the Mess, Merv and Wendy were always great supporters of many social occasions. Members will attest that, with a small amount of encouragement, Merv would to sit down and tinkle the ivories on many of these occasions. Wonderful evenings of song, enjoyment, and camaraderie.
I am sure many others know of the generosity of Merv Short but I, as a past member of the board of the Endeavour Foundation, can attest that Merv always was the first to generously contribute, whenever we sponsored an outing for the disabled young people in the care of the Foundation in Townsville,
A Young Merv with a Group of Officers of 31st Battalion (Circa 1950’s)
A message from Vic Nichol, Secretary/Treasurer of the Charters Towers Branch of the Association has advised us of the sad passing of Barry Renton. Barry enlisted as a private in 31st Battalion on 21 Jan 1958.
He was was a staunch member of the 31st Battalion Association Charters Towers Branch attending various functions. He was one of the first to offer help to whenever it was required. Much of his life was spent in the transport business.
He ran a successful business owning a fleet of trucks.
A email from Vic Nichol describes the service held on the 1st September 2020 at 10am.
“It was a well planned funeral and Barry would have been proud of his family. His coffin was carried on the side-car of a Harley Davidson with his grandson riding Barry’s Harley escorted by five more Harley motorcycles followed by the vehicles of relatives and friends, accompanying Barry on his last ride down Gill Street. Following this was the grave side and poppy service at the Cemetery. The wake was held at the RSL Club”.
It is with a heavy heart I regret to inform members of the Passing of Don Page.
Don Page was part of the heavy furniture of 31st Bn. – Always Solid & Reliable. Always steady as she goes – with that smile of his, no matter what chaos & panic was on. – Always there to turn to, – AND Always there to offer help in any way.
Both Don & his wife Edna had been unwell for some time, & were both living in a Nursing Home in Townsville. We also learned that Edna had also passed away a few weeks ago. This is so sad.
Don’s Funeral was on Friday 14th August 2020, making it almost impossible to get up to Townsville at this stage due to COVID-19.
DON PAGE will be remembered fondly by all who new him. – Rest in Peace Mate. TONY
Emails of condolence and support were received from members who had served with Don or knew of his service to the Battalion. Two well known members of the association who served with him were Chris Pyke and George Stanger whose messages are included below
CAPT Don Page was my first Coy Comd (B Coy 31 RQR) when I enlisted in 1966. He was a good bloke. Very sad,
The president of the Brisbane Branch of the 31st Battalion Association Ray Fogg has passed on the following sad news:
It is with great sorrow that I have to advise the passing of our great leader, companion and distinguished soldier of the 31st Infantry Battalion an the 2nd Battalion Royal Queensland Regiment who died at midnight on Monday the 25th November 2019. His funeral was held on 3rd December 2019 at Morleys Funerals cnr Hugh Street and Martinez Avenue, Townsville at 1100hrs, he was 89years old.
The funeral was attended by family and friends including a number of past members of the 31st Battalion. The President of the 31st Battalion Association Greg Stokie added "I think Hugh has a special place in the history of the 31st over the past five decades......" All of those of us who have had the privilege of serving with him over that time would heartily agree.
Well this is a tough gig. In our family, it was usually Dad that delivered the eulogy at funerals. Jenny and I will
try our best.
Thank you all for being here to help us farewell Dad and for the love and support we have had over the last week
since his unexpected departure.
Hugh Bracken Gaffney was born on the 11 May 1930 in Bowen Nth. QLD. He was the youngest of 5 children of
John & Florence Gaffney. His middle name was his mother’s maiden name. His siblings were Florence Annie,
Mildred Edna, John James, & Collin Alfred. All have predeceased him. Hugh was educated at the Bowen state
primary & high school from 1935 – 1945. Having grown up in a happy family environment, family was always
Dad loved having his family all together. Today we are all here but with a huge gap without him being with us.
Youngest grandchild, Alex, was assured by all our family that he should not take time off from his job in Hong Kong
to come back for this funeral but came anyway. I think I know who he inherited that stubborn streak from.
Dad was seriously outnumbered with a wife and two daughters, but he eventually won when Jenny and I married
Paul and Barry who were wonderful sons-in-law and then expanded the family with three grandsons and one
granddaughter. The final score – 6 to 4. But they all probably knew where the real power stayed.
One of Dad’s happiest days was the 2014 celebration of Mum and Dad’s 60th wedding anniversary. The photo
we have chosen of him for today was taken that day. We celebrated the occasion with family and friends and the
guests included 3 people who were at the wedding on July 3rd, 1954 – Mum’s brother Barry Sleigh and Mum
and Dad’s almost lifelong friends Maureen and Orton Matthews. In July this year Mum and Dad reached their
65th anniversary. A long and very successful marriage and as Dad would say “with never a cross word”.
With the McGeachins in Townsville and the Bullimores in Melbourne all of our family still managed to remain
a closely knit unit. Dad had a special connection with his four grandchildren. They all have wonderful memories
of the various tent constructions in the back garden at Tertius Street, cooking the BBQ with Granddad, Mad
Hatters Tea Parties, and endless other projects and activities. They all simply adored him and he was so proud
of them all. Anna was forever his princess and James, Matthew and Alex could do no wrong in his opinion,
even if they all have beards. On Father’s Day this year, he phoned Jenny before he went to bed to say that he
had the most wonderful day because he had heard from all four grandchildren. Anna, Matthew and James
had phoned and he had checked his email and found a message from Alex.
Apart from a close family life, Dad led a very productive life in the community. In 1945, he commenced his
boilermaking apprenticeship with Queensland Rail in Townsville after completion of his Junior certificate in
Bowen. In parallel to his “day job”, he joined the Citizens Military Forces at the age of 18. He remained in
both of these vocations for the rest of his career.
In 1982, Queensland Rail appointed Dad as their first full time workshops occupational health & safety officer,
covering all the northern area. After the odd 37 years on the tools, this was a responsibility he thrived on and
gave it his best.
Dad had a long and distinguished military history which we are all proud of. His rise from enlisted private in
1948 to Colonel in 1980 showed his ability in leadership and organisation. In 1964 he was attached to the
Pacific Islands Regiment (Papua New Guinea) and served as patrol commander on the border of PNG and
Indonesia during the Indonesia confrontation. Jenny and I got some interesting souvenirs from that posting.
In 1970 he was seconded to full time duty and attached to 7 RAR, South Vietnam. More souvenirs! I don’t
think we quite appreciated what he was doing.
From 1965 to 1969, Dad was Commanding officer of 31st Battalion. Subsequent to that, he raised the first
Army Reserve officer cadet training unit in North Queensland then in 1971 the Command Staff Training
Unit to train officers for higher promotion. By 1977 he was appointed commander 11 training group North
Queensland. In the same year he was honoured with a member of the order of Australia for exceptional
service in the Australian Army Reserve; in the establishment of officer training in North Queensland and
the training of officers. In 1980 he was promoted to Colonel and appointed Commander 11 Field Force Group.
A remarkable part-time career.
In years past, the CMF in Townsville had its own band. Dad, being a music expert (NOT) consulted with
bandmaster, Keith Hebden, on the music to be played. Keith told the story that when it came to a march
tune he pleaded with Dad “not Colonel Bogey again”– so we have selected that march as the final
farewell to Dad today. Jenny and I grew up with going to marches, mess parties and Dad being “at the
army”. It was just normal for us. One special event I remember clearly in the late 1960’s was when Dad
was CO of 31st battalion and they received new colours. There was a parade and ceremony we attended
along with Dad’s parents who travelled from Bowen to attend. It must have been a very proud day for them.
Jenny and I didn’t care that we didn’t get to go to the evening function – we had the evening with the
Matthews family – a much better deal. At a later date Dad laid up the old colours in St James Cathedral.
Dad was always very proud to serve his Queen and country – although it was King and country when
he started. He had many longlasting friendships from his army years. One in particular was with his batman
and driver Banjo Paterson who has steadfastly visited him regularly on Thursday mornings. Dad was
honoured to become the patron of the 31st Infantry Battalion Association which maintained the connection
of past members of the battalion.
Dad was a wordsmith. We all received very special messages from him on greeting cards. Last week we
found a notebook where he had collected various poems, bible verses, hymns, quotations, sayings that had
obviously meant a lot to him. He had also recorded his messages included on cards to the grandchildren
on milestone events starting with when they finished primary school.
Dad also was meticulous in collecting his family history. He had folders that included documents and newspaper
articles that ranged from his ancestors through to my sister and I and then the grandchildren. Something he
did quietly that produced a wonderful record for us to keep.
Dad retired from the Army Reserve in 1985 and from Queensland Rail in 1995.
In retirement, Dad did not stop becoming involved in new pursuits. When grandsons, James and Matthew
commenced playing junior cricket, he and Barry split the cricket duties between the different age grade
locations. Dad taught himself how to score for the cricket matches and became the dedicated scorer for
Matthew’s junior teams right through until Matthew played in the senior grade. So there where lots of
Western Suburbs cricketers who knew “Grandad” well.
When Mum and Dad moved to St James Retirement Village in 2007, Dad really enjoyed the social events
and assisted the social club where he could. In recent years Mum’s mobility problems meant that they
participated less in village activities, but they appreciated the friendship of their wonderful close neighbours
and others across the village.
Dad was a very proud Australian and Queenslander. He was happy when the Cowboys won and especially
if the Maroons won the State of Origin. He particularly liked watching the cricket and followed the recent
1st test with Pakistan on TV.
When the NBN was connected to St James Village, we equipped Dad with a laptop and launched him online.
In recent years, he has had grandchildren living in Germany, New Zealand and Hong Kong so the ability to
email became important. He mastered some online connections with quick links on the internet to BOM for
cyclone warnings and the 31ST BN Assoc website. While claiming to have learnt typing at Bowen State
High in the 1940s, Dad’s keyboard skills were not great. He always typed in upper case and there were
often amusing typo errors in his messages. He utilised the printer to photocopy and to print out emails and
photos to share with Mum. He also used the laptop to create useful lists and notes. An interesting document
was his preparation of a profile of his life which has helped us to include what was important to him in
Dad we will all miss our happy hours at the village with you and Mum, particularly when we were all up in TSV
and squeezing into your outside lounge. We had a lot of laughs on those days. I will miss our Sunday phone calls
particularly during footy season when we could talk about the Melbourne Storm and the Cowboys games. And
if the Storm get beaten next year, let it be by your Cowboys!!!
We have all been so lucky to have had so many wonderful years together. You have gifted us with so many precious,
funny and poignant memories. We will miss you so much. But you are forever in our hearts.
----o0o---- The following is a brief quote from the book "Crossed Boomerangs" by the late Captain Bob Burla: Quote - Hugh Gaffney was born in Bowen on 11th May 1930. He received an early insight to the CMF (now the Army Reserve) training from his father who had earlier served with the 27th Light Horse. Hugh enlisted in the 31st Battalion as a private on 9th March 1949 and after three years in the ranks was commissioned in December 1952. He served as Mortar Platoon commander until November 1956 when he was promoted to Captain and posted as transport officer. His leadership qualities and his ability to get the best out of his men soon became evident and in 1958 he became Company Commander of B Coy and in 1959, D Coy with the rank of Major. On the Army's re-organization to the Pentropic Establishment he became Officer Commanding C Coy 2RQR, the headquarters and two companies of which were located in Townsville whilst the remaining two platoons were located in Ingham and Ayr. Promoted to LtCol in January 1964 he served as Executive Officer 2RQR and later was posted to OCTU. In February 1966 he was appointed Commanding Officer 31st Battalion the Royal Queensland Regiment and competently led the Battalion for the next three years. He left the Battalion in 1969 and was posted as Chief Instructor OCTU NQ Area, a newly formed unit in North Queensland. LtCol Gaffney's ability to command, his obvious concern for the welfare of all ranks, his fairness in dealing with his officers and above all his own continued enthusiasm and devotion to duty, stands as an example for all. - Unquote
The following email was received from 31st Battalion Association (Brisbane Branch) Secretary, Tony Wadeson:
Members, its with a sad heart, I have to report the Passing of our Honorary Life Member, – Noel Pilcher – 31/51 Bn AIF – WW2 Veteran. Noel passed away this afternoon in his home town of Bowen – North Queensland. Noel was a month short of his 99th Birthday. For over 40 years Noel has travelled the 2280 Km round trip from Bowen down to Brisbane to march in the Brisbane Anzac Day Parade, (wheelchair past 3 years). He indicated to everyone, he had every intention of coming down to participate again next year.
Our deepest Sympathy goes to his family.
Noel’s Son in Law, – Russell Mayhew, has advised me of the Funeral Details:- If any member can attend The Funeral, it will be will be held next Wed – 14th August at 11.00 AM at the Catholic Church – Bowen.
Please find the attached Tribute on WW2 Vet. – Noel Pilcher – 31/51 Bn AIF. who passed away in Bowen on 8th Aug. The tribute was designed & produced by our Honorary Member from Fromelles – Pierre Seillier for Noel Pilcher’s Family. The 31st Bn Association appreciates this wonderful gesture, Pierre, & we thank you most sincerely.
Affectionately known throughout the 31st Infantry Battalion family of members and their partners, and in particular those of Charlie Company, for her contagious laugh and ever-ready smile, Patricia Hilary Gardner passed away peacefully on 1st May, after a courageous struggle with persistently failing health. She was 84 years of age.
Patricia was married to former C Company OC, Major (retd) John Gardner MBE, for 62 years. The couple met in the choir at St Andrews Church, South Brisbane in 1953 and were married in the Church in 1957, before moving north to Ingham where John took over his late father’s pharmacy.
“Patsy was a wonderful supporter of every aspect of my army career”, said John, “beginning with National Service and continuing on to my transfer to Infantry and Charlie Company. During the years to 1971, when I retired to the Reserve of Officers, Patsy rarely complained about the many times I was away from home. My CMF service would have been impossible without her understanding and patience.”
Patricia’s ashes will be placed in the Columbarium at St. Andrews Church.
Members of the 31st Battalion Association photographed with John (Front row -Second from left)
Following the service for Patsy Gardner in Caloundra on 13th May 2019
Townsville 31st Battalion Association member Ron Whiting passed away on 8th April 2019. As well as being a past member of the 31st Battalion Ron was also a member of the National Servicemen’s association.
|Ron’s Statement of Service|
|Full Name:||Ronald Alfred Whiting|
|Service Number:||1718271, 162852|
|Category of Service:|
Citizen Military Forces
Citizen Military Forces
Citizen Military Forces
17 Aug 55 to 22 Nov 55
23 Nov 55 to 30 Jun 60
22 Mar 61 to 15 Jul 64
13 Jul 66 to 21 Nov 66
|Rank on Discharge:||Private|
|11 National Service Training Battalion
11 Infantry Bde Light Aid Detachment
107 Coy, Royal Australian Army Service Corps
4 Coy, Royal Australian Army Service Corps
|11 Aug 55
23 Nov 55
22 Mar 61
13 Jul 66
|Honours and Awards:|
|Australian Defence Medal
Anniversary of National Service 1951-1972 Medal