Vale – Peter Stewart

Members & Friends,it is with great sadness I have to advise you of the passing of our Member – PETER STEWART this morning (Sunday 18th July 2021). Peter was competing in an Ocean Swim in Darwin and apparently developed a medical episode and was pulled from the water deceased. Peter, was the son of our past member DAVID STEWART, and had turned 60 Years of age earlier this year. Peter & wife Sharon were members of our Team that toured the Western Front – 2016 & attended the 100th Anniversary of The Battle of Fromelles Commemoration Service at Fromelles.

Peter & Sharon & Family would come down from Darwin each year, – late April & would march with us in the Brisbane ANZAC DAY March. Our thoughts and Prayers go to Peter’s wife Sharon & Mother Dawn & Family. This news was passed on to us by friend/member Sean Rooney.

Rest in Peace – our good mate, Peter Stewart.

Tony

Peter and Sharon Stewart

Peter at his competitive best

Vale – Maj Alan Hartley ED

Message from Association Brisbane Branch Secretary, Tony Wadeson –

Members, I have received very sad news from Felix Reitano in Ingham,  – Our great old Mate & Comrade – The man from Charters Towers – Allan Hartley, – Passed away this morning at about 2.30AM (15th July 2021). Many of us served with Allan in the 50’s & 60’s & 70’s in the 31st Bn  & later through  the Association. A great  man who will be missed.

ALLAN HARTLEY – Rest In Peace

Tony

A true Officer & Gentleman

Tribute from Felix Reitano

Allan in a group photo of Officers from 31st Battalion on the occasion of

Presentation of the Colours 25th August 1968

(From Crossed Boomerangs by Bob Burla)

–000–

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-

Vale – Ron Costabeber

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

Tony
Sadly Ron Costabeber passed away on Tuesday morning (2nd February2021). He was a long time supporter of the Association and the Treasurer of Townsville Branch for many years. He will be missed by all.
There will be no funeral as per Ron’s wishes.
Greg

Vale – Kyle Macleod

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. 

Kyle has lived at Villa Vincent for some time. I will pass on best wishes from the Association at the Funeral

As an old Past Service member of 31st Bn – Kyle Macleod – Rest In Peace.

The following notice appeared in the Townsville Daily Bulletin:
https://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/tributes/notice/funeral-notices/kyle-macleod/5609840/

Kyle MACLEOD

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.

NO CORTEGE

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.

 

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.

MILITARY SERVICE – WW2

    • 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.
RIP Alf
LEST WE FORGET

–ooo–

Vale – Captain Merv Short

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

Tony

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,

Thanks Mate

Martin O’Sullivan

 

  

A Young Merv with a Group of Officers of 31st Battalion (Circa 1950’s)

-o-

Vale – Pte Barry Renton

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”.

--

Vale – Capt Don Page ED

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,

Regards

Chris Pyke

—–

Very sad news Tony.
I had a very close association with Don and a better bloke you would never find.Yes Tony, he certainly will be fondly remembered by all who knew him.
Rest in peace Mate.
George Stanger
—–
Messages were also received from:
Phil Ainsworth – NGVR/PNGVR ex Members Association
Mark Dillon – 51st Battalion Association
Steve Vokes – 9 Battalion Association
Patrick O’Keeffe – Battle for Australia Commemoration Committee
.
Members observed a 1 minute silence at the AGM held at the Sherwood RSL of Thursday 20th August 2020 in honour of Capt Don Page ED and Col Hugh Gaffney AM RFD ED both of whom have passed away since the previous AGM
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