Our Ingham Branch President, Felix Reitano, sent us some pictures from the “The Texas Terror” commemoration on 18th Dec 2021. The Commemoration Ceremony – Anniversary of “The Texas Terror” Crash – WW2 of a USAAF – B24 Liberator Bomber known as the “Texas Terror” which crashed onto the summit of Mt Straloch on Hinchinbrook Island 18th Dec 1942, during a fierce tropical Storm. It was on its way to Iron Range. It had just departed Garbutt Airbase Townsville after picking up passengers, & probably still climbing through the Storm when it hit the Mountain.
This Ceremony is organised each year by Felix & the Ingham Branch of the 31st Bn Assoc. often attracting relatives & friends from the USA of those who perished in the crash. –
Refer photos attached.
Commemoration – Ingham – 2021
Commemoration – Ingham – 2021
Part of Fuselage – At Crash Site – Hinchinbrook Is.
Tail of Liberator At Crash Site
Memorial at Crash Site
Crash Victims Names on Memorial Cross
Members please find the attached article prepared by our own:- WO1 Ray “Dasher” Deed BEM LS MSM MID, (Retrd). – (Korean & Vietnam Veteran) in relation to the “Dawn Service on Anzac Day.”
Wikipedia refers to the “first Dawn Service” being held on the Western Front on 25th April 1916. It also refers to a Service held in Rockhampton at 6.30AM on 26th April 1916, where 600 people attended, as well as the Albany Dawn Parade Service in 1923. But claims no definite proof has been found to corroborate any of them.
However they claim the Dawn Service held at the Sydney Cenotaph in 1928 can lay claim to be the first of a continuous tradition. Well, we all know from experience that anything that happens in a major City, especially Sydney (where apparently the world first started) goes down in history! – whereas anything from the Bush is always hearsay. I tend to believe that both episodes at Rocky & Albany took place.
This story of the Padre sounds to me to be very true. We can thank Dasher for bringing it to our attention. Dasher, who is now 94Yrs, is planning to conduct a “Dawn Service” at the front of his house at Corinda on Anzac Day this year. A few of us 31st Bn members are planning to join Dasher at 6.00AM prior to our attendance at the 2/31st Bn Service at their Memorial at Southbank at 9.00AM then hightailing it down to the Exhibition Grounds for the Brisbane Anzac Day Commemoration Service in lieu of the March thru the Streets. Our 31st Bn Assoc. will have 3 Banners in the March around the Main Arena:- The 31st Bn Main Banner, plus the 2/31st Bn & the 31/51Bn -WW2 Banners.
Attached Photo of Dasher Deed (2nd from left) with other Veterans of the Battle of Kapyong 3RAR – Korea, receiving their 2nd US Presidential Citation as part of the Aust. Army Training Team Vietnam. (Note the two Bars Left Sleeve) (Photo taken in Vietnam)
Wo1 Ray “Dasher” Deed with other Veterans of Kapyong – Korean War and AATV – Vietnam
The Dawn Service – Anzac Day
The Dawn Service on Anzac Day has become a solemn Australian and New Zealand tradition. It is taken for granted as part of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) ethos and few wonder how it started.
This story as it were, is buried in a small Cemetery carved out of the bush some kilometres outside the north Queensland town of Herberton. Almost paradoxically, one grave stands out by its simplicity. It is covered by a protected white washed concrete slab with a plain cement Cross at its top end. No epitaph recalls even the name of the deceased. The inscription on the Cross is a mere two words – “A Priest”. No person would identify the Grave as that of a dedicated Clergyman who created the Dawn Service, without the simple Marker, placed next to the Grave, only in recent times.
“Adjacent to, and on the right of this marker, lies the grave of the late Reverend Arthur Ernest White, a Church of England Clergyman and Padre, – 44th Battalion, First Australian Imperial Force”.
On the 25th April 1923 at Albany in Western Australia, the Reverend White led a party of friends in what was the first ever observance of a Dawn Parade on Anzac Day, in Australia, thus establishing a tradition which has endured Australia wide ever since.
The Reverend White was serving as one of the Padres of the earliest Anzacs to leave Australia with the First AIF in November 1914. The Convoy was assembled in the Princess Royal Harbour and King George Sound at Albany West Australia.
Before embarkation at 4 in the morning, he conducted a Service for all the men of the 44th Battalion.
When Reverend White returned to Australia in 1919, he was appointed relieving Rector of St. Johns Church in Albany. It was a strange coincidence that the starting point of the AIF Convoys should now become his Parish.
Albany, he is quoted to have said, was the last sight of land these Anzac troops saw after leaving Australian shores, and some of them never returned. We should hold a Service (here) at the first light of dawn each Anzac Day to commemorate them.
That is why on Anzac Day 1923, he came to hold the first “Commemorative Dawn Service”.
In later life Reverend White moved to Herberton, North Queensland where he became the Chaplain of the Anglican Convent. However, shortly after his arrival, (on 26th Sept. 1954) he died, to be buried so modestly and anonymously as:-
Ray Deed – 31st Bn Assoc Brisbane. (Jan. 2021)
Members, The attached Tribute from our member in Fromelles, – Pierre Seillier, – His final for 2020, sums up the situation beautifully.
With reference below Pierre wishes us all a Happy New Year, in the Best Way he knows. “Just Brilliant” Tony
On behalf of all of us 31st Bn blokes in Australia, I thank you most sincerely for all the Tributes you have prepared, & help provided to our Members. You are indeed – True Blue.
Unfortunately this past year has been a disaster for travelling and I can’t see any Australian Tourists departing Australia any time soon. They are talking late 2021, but that will depend on the Success of the “Covid-19 Vaccines”. We do hope that things are going to improve for you all in France.
Pierre we all wish you & your family A very Merry Christmas & all the Best Wishes & Good Health for next year. STAY SAFE PIERRE
Kindest Regards, from all of us – 31st Bn Assoc. (Brisbane)
From Felix Reitano and the Ingham Branch of the Association comes the news of the Commemoration of “The Texas Terror” aircraft accident.
The Ceremony commemorates “The Texas Terror” Crash during WW2. of a USAAF – B24 Liberator Bomber known as the “Texas Terror” which crashed onto the summit of Mt Straloch on Hinchinbrook Island 18th Dec 1942, during a fierce tropical Storm. It was on its way to Iron Range. It had just departed Garbutt Airbase Townsville after picking up passengers, & probably still climbing through the Storm when it hit the Mountain.
This Ceremony is organised each year by Felix & the Ingham Branch of the 31st Bn Assoc. often attracting relatives & friends from the USA of those who perished in the crash. Unfortunately with current restrictions on travel it was not possible to have visitors from the USA. – Refer photos below.
Thanks for your attendance yesterday at our “Texas Terror’ ceremony.
hope you all had a safe trip back home.
“The Texas Terror” Commemoration
Dawn service at home was the most unusual feature of Anzac Day 2020. Like so many others, the old digger in the picture started the day listening to the service from Canberra courtesy of ABC radio whilst watching the dawn rising over Lake Magellan, Pelican Waters, Caloundra. A local bugler added some realism to the scene by playing the Last Post at 6am and later by playing Reveille at different points around the lakeside. Many of the local residents, like those in Cities and Towns all over Australia, gathered at the ends of their driveways to commemorate the dawn service.
Lest We Forget
Members, Peter Grogan, our good mate from the 49th Bn Assoc., has passed this tribute on to us, as quite a few diggers of the 31st Bn, 41st Bn, & his 49th Bn, get mentioned. A moving tribute, produced by the Students of the Coomera Anglican College to pay homage to those Diggers from the Northern Gold Coast Area – KIA. This was produced by the students as they were unable to attend their Normal Anzac Day Service this year.
Most of Our Members will Parade at 0600 Hrs tomorrow morning, in front of our Homes, or on our Balconies in high rise Units, dressed in Jackets, Ties, Berets & Medals, to observe the Silence & remember the fallen. Radio 4BC will be playing the Last Post at 0600 hrs so if you can have your Radio blaring, it will be almost real. –
Our Thoughts however will be. – LEST WE FORGET.
Click on the link below:
The following message has been passed on by Association Brisbane Branch Secretary, Tony Wadeson:
Members Please find the attached Press Release re the cancellation of the Brisbane Anzac Day March. It is to be noted that this is the first time since its inception in 1916 that there will be NO ANZAC DAY MARCH IN BRISBANE.
Its not only the Older Diggers who would be at high risk – but the many thousands of spectators lining the streets, about 5 deep, would be unacceptable to Govt. authorities.
We may still hold our small service at the 2/31st Bn Memorial at Southbank if the 2/31st Bn descendants are still willing. We will keep you posted, on that one.
Pierre Seillier our Honorary Member from Fromelles, kindly sent a copy of the News item produced by Channel 7 European correspondent Sarah Greenhalgh. An edited version was shown on Australian TV on Saturday 22nd February 2020.
The news item tells the story of the help being offered by the children of the “Cobbers School”, Fromelles in Northern France after they had heard of the devastating fires in Australia and their effect on the wildlife. Pierre features in the Documentary.
Our thanks go to Pierre, who, by the way, instigated an appeal in Fromelles for Australian Bush Fire Victims. The Cobbers School was part of the this magnificent gesture by this small Town in France. The pupils of the school have each adopted a Grave of the fallen & their donations are being allocated to the areas of where some of these WW1 soldiers KIA at Fromelles in 1916. The battle of Fromelles was the first battle involving the AIF on the Western Front. Casualties in this battle were the highest (5513), experienced in a 24 Hour period in Australia’s history.
Each year on 19th July, the Anniversary of the Battle of Fromelles, Pierre represents the 31st Bn Association, wearing the 31st Battalion Association Beret. He lays a wreath on our behalf, at the Remembrance Ceremony held at Fromelles.
Pierre has produced thousands of tributes to Australian soldiers over the years. One of the many he has supplied for families of Australian soldiers is shown below. This one covers one of our own – Kev Thomas MM)
The following message was passed on by the Secretary of the 31st Battalion Association Tony Wadeson:
Our Honorary Member resident in France, Pierre Seillier of Fromelles, – A True Blue Aussie Mate, who, over many years, has helped out Thousands of Aussie Families with uncovering details of their loved ones, lost during WW1, – Instigated an Appeal in Fromelles to help out their Aussie friends who have been effected by the recent Bush Fires around the country.
The Mayor, The Local “Cobbers School”, The Gymnastic Club, The March Club, The Remembrance -FWTN 14-18, & other local Associations, created events & made Donations towards the Bush Fire Appeal. The Local Cobbers School also sewed pouches for “Baby Joey’s”, & they wrote & drew messages of support to Aussie kids who lost their Schools to Bush Fires.
Remember Fromelles is a small Village in Northern France. However they have never forgotten how young Australian Diggers died in France over 100 years ago. In Pierre’s own words on his Face Book Notification:- Because I Love, – They Love Australia.
This should appear in our local Newspapers throughout Australia to tell our communities about this small Village in France who have not forgotten Australia & are now contributing to help Aussies in their Hour of Need.
That’s True Blue Mateship, for you.