Anzac Dawn Service – Origins

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.

It reads:-

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:-

A Priest”.

Ray Deed – 31st Bn Assoc Brisbane. (Jan. 2021)

Welcome to 2021 – from Pierre at Fromelles

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  



Hello my friends, I wish you a happy New Year, and I hope that 2021 will be better than 2020.
All the best to you and all members of the 31st Infantry Battalion Association.

Dear Pierre,

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)


Commemoration – “The Texas Terror” Crash –

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.

Stay safe,

Regards, Felix

“The Texas Terror” Commemoration

Anzac Day 2020

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



Tribute by the Coomera Anglican College

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:






Anzac Day Cancellation

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.


Help from Cobbers School Fromelles, France

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)


Pierre and the People of Fromelles – France

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.   


Commemorative Church Service – Townsville

On 18th August 2019, The 31st Battalion, Kennedy Regiment, The Royal Queensland Regiment, held their Annual Church Service at St James Anglican Cathedral Townsville as detailed on the front page of the Church service program (See Below). The service was conducted by both the Bishop, The Right Reverend Dr Keith Joseph, Major RAAMC (Rtd) and the Dean Very Reverend Rod McDonald, both of whom were Army Chaplains .

This year the Service focused on the actions of the 31st/51st Battalion in WWII in the Battle of Porton Plantation on Bougainville, Papua NewGuinea. The Reflections Address was given by Major Kaho Lai OC Army School of Transport- Maritime Wing, Ross Island Townsville. Major Lai gave a brief account of his career and an overview of the WWII Porton Landing operation stressing the links between the 31st/51st Battalion AIF and Water Transport. The Maritime Squadron turned out in strength with around 30 Squadron members attending. A big thankyou to the squadron for its support. The CV for Major Lai is on the back page of the program (See Below).

During the Church Service the first reading was delivered by Mr Garry Edwards, President of the Mackay Branch of 42nd Battalion Association, the second reading was by Mr Felix Reitano, President of the Ingham Branch of 31st Battalion Association. The 31st/42nd Battalion pre-positioned their Colours in the Cathedral prior to the service and provided a cross for the laying of wreaths. The support of the Battalion was excellent, as usual, and the Association thanks the Battalion.

4 Brisbane Branch Members:- Ray Fogg, George Stanger,  Mick James, & Tony Wadeson, travelled up to Townsville to attend the Commemoration Church Service & the Reunion Lunch afterwards.

The Church Service was well attended with the CO – LTCOL Damien Green, – RSM  WO1 John Stafford & Exec. Officer Major Ian Reid, plus other members of 31/42RQR in attendance. A large number of soldiers from the Army School of Transport- Maritime Wing, including the RSM also attended the Service. Representatives from the various Branches of the 31st Bn Assoc. as well as, 42 Bn Assoc. Mackay & 51 Bn Assoc. – Tablelands, provided a good attendance.

After the Service all those present had the pleasure of mixing with over morning tea before heading off to the reunion lunch.

The Reunion lunch held after the Church Service was at the Townsville Yacht Club as the Townsville RSL Club is still recovering from the extensive damage caused by the flood early this year. Photo from the lunch shows the Association President, Col Greg Stokie (Retd) welcoming all with the 31st/42nd Battalion CO and his wife in front of the lectern and the Battalion 2IC and RSM to the right.

You can read more about the Battle of Porton Plantation & 31st/51st Bn here –




Front page of Order of Service

Rear page of Order of Service containing CV of Major Kaho Lai

31st Battalion Colours

31st Battalion Association members L to R Felix Reitano (Ingham), Tony Wadeson (Brisbane), Merrick Lalor (Cairns), Mick James (Brisbane). Maj Merrick Lalor is the OC of the Kennedy Coy.

President of 31st Battalion Association Col Greg Stokie welcoming members and guests to the Reunion

Luncheon at the Townsville Yacht Club


CO 31st/42nd Battalion LtCol Damien Green at the Reunion Lunch


Members and Guests at the Reunion lunch at the Townsville Yacht Club


Battle of Onverwacht Ceremony

On Thursday 7th February 2019 at 1000hrs The Boer War Association Queensland held a ceremony at the Sherwood RSL sub branch centre commemorating the Battle of Onverwacht. The guest speaker was Maj. General Professor
John Pearn AO RFD who called on the wreaths to laid by interested parties. A contingent of 7 members representing the 31st Infantry Battalion Association attended and laid a wreath.
After the ceremony morning tea served in the club rooms attended by our group plus the representatives of the African Military Veterans Organisation of Australia ( SAMVOA ). We then moved to the Services Club for lunch.
Members should be aware that a significant number of the members of the Kennedy Regiment volunteered to join the
Australian contingent bound for South Africa during the Boer War. The Regiment was subsequently awarded the Battle Honour “South Africa 1901 -1902” in recognition of this service.
The following photos were taken at the sub branch function
President of the SAMVOA Shaun Winson and 31st Battalion (Brisbane Branch) Secretary Tony Wadeson
At the Battle of Onverwacht Commemoration
Mike O’Connor SAMVOA with 31st Battalion Assn members George Stanger and Mick James
31st Battalion Association (Brisbane Branch) President Ray Fogg and Mike O’Connor SAMVOA