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.

At this stage I’m not sure what involvement we may have, – if any. I will keep you informed.

-ooo-

31st Battalion – Brisbane Branch – Anzac Day 2021

The Brisbane branch of the 31st Battalion Assoc continued their tradition of Commemorating ANZAC Day with members attending the 2nd 31st Bn Commemoration at the Memorial at Southbank and our march through the Brisbane CBD, this year behind all 3 of our Banners. We thank all or Banner bearers and they are included in our photos at the end of the march. Most of us adjourned to the Grand Central for lunch and a few ales. We also enjoyed the entertainment of the Irish Assoc Pipe Band.
The 2nd photo has Capt Henderson’s photo, cap, jacket & WW2 record. He was a Company Commander with 2/31st Bn.
Southbank 2/31st Battalion Memorial -Anzac Day 2021
Capt George Henderson
From L to R 31st/51stBn – 31st Bn  & 2/31st Bn Banners paraded together – Anzac Day 2021
31st Battalion Association (Brisbane Branch) – Anzac Day 2021
19

Anzac Days – In Times Past – Townsville

Here are a few reminders of Anzac Days past. It may be stretching the memory cells a little but the days of Khaki uniforms and Blanco belts and gaters are still seared into the minds of some of us. All of this finally gave way (circa 1960) to Jungle Greens , Black Belt and Gaters. At the same time the old tried and tested .303 was finally retired in favour of the 7.62mm SLR. It cannot be denied that the old hobnail Boots AB (Ankle Black) gave a well defined “crump” on the asphalt as we marched along.  I wouldn’t mind betting that some of our modern troops miss that well defined sound when marching along in their soft soled modern day counterparts.

ooo

 

 

AGM & Award to Brisbane Branch President – Ray Fogg

Yesterday (9th March 2021) the 31st Infantry Battalion Association (Brisbane Branch) Ltd held its 2021 AGM at Corinda Tavern. We welcomed guests including Association President, Col. Greg Stokie (Ret’d) from Townsville, members of 49th Bn Assoc and Elizabeth & Lindsay Timms from the 2/31st Bn descendants group. Additionally we welcomed a new member David McMaugh, whose father, Bruce McMaugh, served in the 2/31st Battalion in England in 1940 through to Balikpapan in late 1945. David also served in various Units in both the Reserve and Full Time Army.

One of Greg Stokie’s pleasant tasks at the AGM was to present Brisbane President, Ray Fogg with Life Membership of the Association. This had been approved last year, but for many reasons including COVID-19, the presentation had been delayed until now. As the Tribute notes, Ray served with both the 31st and 51st Battalions and was awarded the Efficiency Decoration. He instigated the formation and approval of a Brisbane Branch of the Association and has been its only President over 17 years.

During this time the Brisbane Branch has been very active. Since its formation, the Brisbane Branch has marched in most ANZAC Day Marches through the city. We have attended the 2017,18,& 19 2/31st Battalion ANZAC Day Commemorations at the Southbank Memorial. We coordinated with other Organisations and conducted Commemorations for Billy Sing DCM Croix de Guerre (Belgian) in 2012, 2013 & 2018. Additionally, in 2015 again with other organisations incl Kedron Wavell RSL, we arranged the construction and dedication of a Granite Plinth at Lutwyche Cemetery in honour of Billy Sing DCM Croix de Guerre (Belgian) with a Cwealth Govt Grant. Further, in 2019 & 2020 we organised and conducted, with assistance of Rosewood & Ipswich RSLs Commemorations of the Battle of Fromelles at the grave of Lt Arthur Adams DCM, who fought in the Battle.

The Brisbane Branch has also attended many of the yearly Commemorations of the Boer War conducted by Sherwood/I’pilly RSL and laid a wreath. The 31st Battalion AIF CO, Lt Col Fred Toll completed 2 tours to the Boer War. We also attended many of the Kokoda Day Commemorations also held by Sherwood/I’pilly RSL and laid wreaths on behalf of the 2/31st Bn and our Association. Ray has had support from many members but none so much as Secretary, Tony Wadeson, who has been Secretary since formation of the Branch.

Congratulations and well done, Ray Fogg

Also, we had a very interesting talk by our member, Lt Col Mick Byrne, who for a number of years has been a Liaison Officer with the Singapore Army during their extended Training at Shoalwater Bay Training Area and spoke about his role. Mick is in the photos with Greg and Ray.
Most office Bearers were re elected with Paul Bertini elected the new Treasurer.
Descriptions with each photo.

 

Life Membership Award to Brisbane Branch President by Association President Greg Stokie

 

 

Tribute presented to Ray.

Tribute was produced by Association Honorary Member in France Pierre Seillier.

 

Below is a message from Tony Wadeson, Secretary of the Brisbane Branch of the Association fleshing out other aspects of the AGM:

Members, Our AGM meeting held on the 9th march at the Corinda Tavern was held with a total number of 26 Members & Guests attending the meeting & 23 remaining for lunch after the meeting. President Greg Stokie made a special trip down from Townsville to attend. We welcomed two new members David McMaugh (ex 9RQR & attachments to British Units) – the son of Lt Bruce McMaugh – WW2 veteran (one the Originals) of the 2/31st Bn. Also Elizabeth Timms daughter of WW2 Veteran of the 2/31st Bn – Jack (Strangler) Lewis. Also Evan Jenkins eldest son of WW2 Veteran of 2/31st Bn Sgt Albert Jenkins. Guests included our good friends from kindred Associations:-  Phil Ainsworth, President of NGVR/PNGVR, & 49 Bn Assoc. Members, Ray Davidson, Peter Grogan, & Ray Knight, & Lindsey Timms, Convener of the 2/31st Bn Relatives, & Friends Group

The Committee members re-elected unopposed – President Ray Fogg, Vice Pres. Colin Jackson, Secretary Tony Wadeson, & Committee members Mick James & George Stanger. Our inaugural Treasurer, Eugene Farrell, (who could not attend the meeting due to ill health) has decided to retire, from his post after 18 years of First Class service. President Ray thanked Eugene for his devoted & professional service over the years.  Paul Bertini, volunteered to take on the post & was elected accordingly.

As a Surprise to our President Ray Fogg, Association President Greg Stokie, presented Ray with Honorary Life Membership of the Association. Refer photos attached. Our French Honorary Life Member, Pierre Sellier, produced one his famous Tributes covering Ray’s Military Service, also for presentation to Ray. Ray Fogg, started the Brisbane Branch by arranging a Meeting of Eight known ex 31st Bn Members at the Breakfast Creek Hotel in 2002. He has been the driving force behind the Brisbane branch ever since. The award was scheduled to be done prior to last Christmas but due Covid-19 Travel restrictions, it had to be rescheduled to the AGM. Ray received a rousing applause of appreciation from all those present.

Our very own, LTCOL Mick Byrne, ex CO of 42Bn RQR, was our Guest Speaker, providing a most interesting & informative insight on his association as a Liaison Officer with the Singapore Army during the past few years, during Exerciser’s at Shoalwater Bay. It was an eye opener to say the least.

Regards Tony

31st Inf. Bn Association -Brisbane Branch – AGM Lunch – Tue 9th March 2021

Members and Friends

DUE TO UNFORESEEN CIRCUMSTANCES WE HAVE BEEN FORCED TO CHANGE THE VENUE OF OUR AGM/Meeting – LUNCH ON TUESDAY 9th March. REFER TO THE ATTACHED DOCUMENTS. (1) New AMENDED Notice.  (2) MAP  (3) Menu  (4) Agenda

We will NOT be at our previous Venue – Sherwood Services Club now called Westside HQ

NEW VENUE:- Close by at the CORINDA TAVERN – 651 Oxley Rd. CORINDA.   REFER ATTACHED MAP If coming from the Railway station walk down the Laneway thru to Oxley Rd then turn Right and walk to the Tavern. (Its about the same distance you would have had to walk to the Services Club)

REGISTRATION:- Will be from 11.15AM – MEETING WILL START at 12.00 Midday.

LUNCH:-  PLEASE SELECT YOUR MEAL FROM THE ATTACHED MENU & advise me when you RSVP. Cost for the Lunch including Wine, Beer & Soft  Drinks at the Table during Lunch will be the standard $25 Per Head. All Drinks prior to lunch being Served & after Lunch will be at your expense.

GUEST SPEAKER:- will be our very own LTCOL Mick Byrne. Mick has been a Liaison Officer attached to the Singaporian Army during the last couple of years during Exercises at Shoalwater Bay. (Pre Covid-19) His address will be on his experiences whilst attached to the Singaporians.

Association President Greg Stokie will be traveling down from Townsville, to attend the Meeting. Greg will bring us up to date on this Years planed Programme in Townsvil

Please RSVP  re your attendance NO LATER THAN WED 3rd March & Also advise me your Lunch Choice. by Email or Ph/Text – 0427 337 177

Regards TONY

 

 

31st Bn Assoc. AGM AGENDA 9th Mar 2021

31st Bn AGM Minutes 20th Aug 2020

31st Bn Presidents Report 2020

31st Bn AGM 2021 Treasures Report 2020

31st Bn 2021 AGM Battle for Australia Commemoration 2020 Report by Mick James

Battle for Australia – 78th Anniversary – Commemorative Address – BRIG Jason Blain

31st Bn 2021 AGM Mick James Report 104th Battle of Fromelles Service Ipswich

2/31st Bn Veterans,Families & Friends Report by Tim Lewis

31st Bn AGM 2021 Report Lindsey Timms on 2nd 31st Bn Facebook Page

Australian War Memorial – VC Awardees Display

The following story was uncovered by Association member Mick James. Having just returned from a visit to the AWM, I totally agree that this new display is a fitting addition to the Hall of Valour. At its centre it features our most recent posthumous awardee – Ordinary Seaman Edward ‘Teddy’ Sheean VC – 78 years after his selfless act of bravery (description below).
Martin O’Sullivan
Mick takes up the story:
I’ve just come across this new AWM display of V C awardees. See photo.
While it doesn’t say so, it is the 1st occasion where the AWM  could mount a VC Display including the 3 Services. All VCs were in WW2.
We have (from left to right) John Edmondson VC, for actions at Tobruk, our own 2/31st Battalion Jimmy Gordon VC, Sir Roden Cutler VC AK KCMG KCVO CBE, Teddy Sheean VC,  Sir Hughie Edwards VC KCMG CB DSO OBE DFC, Flt Sgt Rawdon Middleton VC, and Flt Lieut William Newton VC.
The RAAF Victoria Crosses are probably less well known. This is an outline of them-
Wing Commander Sir Hughie Edwards VC Citation reads – “On 4th July 1941 over Bremen Germany: Wing Commander Edwards led a formation of bombers, in daylight, at a height of about 50 feet through telephone wires and high-tension cables to attack the heavily defended port. The bombers successfully penetrated fierce anti-aircraft fire and a dense balloon barrage. Further fire over the port itself resulted in the loss of 4 aircraft. His task completed, Wing Commander Edwards brought his remaining aircraft safely back to base although all of them had been damaged.”
The Bust in the right corner of the display is that of Sir Hughie.
Flt Sgt Middleton was awarded his VC for a raid over Turin, Italy on 28-29  November 1942.he was in command of a Stirling Bomber which was hit by anti-aircraft fire over the target. One shell burst into the cockpit destroying his right eye & wounding the co,pilot and Wireless Operator. Although there was heavy flack, he released his bombs on the target and continued his return journey over the Alps in a heavily damaged aircraft. He managed to cross the Channel and ordered his crew to bail out over land with only 5 mins fuel left. Five landed safely while 2 remained with him.
He then turned the aircraft out to sea to avoid crashing into civilians. The 2 crew parachuted into the sea but drowned. He did not survive the crash. His VC was awarded posthumously. In Feb 1943 his body was washed ashore at Dover and he was buried with full Air Force Honours.
Flt Lieut Newton was awarded his VC for completing 52 operational sorties  over the Salamana isthmus, New Guinea from May 1942 to 16 March 1943.
On 17 March 1943 he returned to the same target and at a low level successfully bombed a single building, but his aircraft burst into flames. With great difficulty, he turned the aircraft  towards the sea to give the crew a chance to survive. Two members of his crew swan to shore.
Although his cockpit didn’t open initially, he also managed to swim to shore. However he and his Flt Sgt were captured by the Japs and later executed. The brutal beheadings on 29 March 43 were described in a captured Jap Diary in October 1943. The VC Award was posthumous.
The No. 4 airfield at Nadzab New Guinea, was named in his honour. This airfield played an important part in landing the 25th Brigade (including the 2/31st Battalion) in their push down the Markham Valley to capture Lae in September 1943. It was later a major Allied Airfield for the remainder of the War.
LEST WE FORGET
Mick James
The new Display in the Hall of Valour
It is also appropriate to include the story of Teddy Sheean

Edward ‘Teddy’ Sheean was born on 28 December 1923 at Lower Barrington, Tasmania, fourteenth child of James Sheean, labourer, and his wife Mary Jane, née Broomhall. Soon afterwards the family moved to Latrobe. Teddy was educated at the local Catholic school. Five foot 8½ inches (174cm) tall and well built, he took casual work on farms between Latrobe and Merseylea. In Hobart on 21 April 1941 he enlisted in the Royal Australian Naval Reserve as an Ordinary Seaman, following in the steps of five of his brothers who had joined the armed forces (four of them were in the Army and one in the Navy). On completing his initial training, he was sent to Flinders Naval Depot, Westernport, Victoria, in February 1942 for further instruction.

In May Sheean was posted to Sydney where he was billeted at Garden Island in the requisitioned ferry Kuttabul, prior to joining his first ship as an Oerlikon anti-aircraft gun loader. Granted home leave, he was not on board Kuttabul when Japanese midget submarines raided the harbour and sank her on 31 May. Eleven days later he returned to Sydney to help commission the new corvette HMAS Armidale (I), which carried out escort duties along the eastern Australian coast and in New Guinea waters. Ordered to sail for Darwin in October, Armidale arrived there early next month.

On 29 November Armidale sailed for Japanese-occupied Timor, in company with the corvette HMAS Castlemaine, to withdraw the exhausted Australian 2/2 Independent Company, evacuate about 150 Portuguese civilians and 190 Dutch troops, and land soldiers to reinforce Dutch guerrillas on the island. Arriving off Betano before dawn on 1 December, the ships rendezvoused with the naval tender HMAS Kuru, which had already taken the civilians on board. When these people were transferred to Castlemaine, she sailed for Darwin, leaving the other two vessels to carry out the rest of the operation. From 12:28 Armidale and Kuru came under repeated attack from Japanese aircraft. Despite requests, no air cover was received.

The Loss of HMAS Armidale (I)

Shortly before 14:00 on 1 December 1942, Armidale, by then separated from Kuru, was attacked by no less than thirteen aircraft. The corvette manoeuvred frantically. At 15:15 a torpedo struck her port side and another hit the engineering spaces; finally a bomb struck aft. As the vessel listed heavily to port, the order was given to abandon ship. The survivors leapt into the sea and were machine-gunned by the Japanese aircraft. Once he had helped to free a life raft, Sheean scrambled back to his gun on the sinking ship. Although wounded in the chest and back, the 18-year-old sailor shot down one bomber and kept other aircraft away from his comrades in the water. He was seen still firing his gun as Armidale slipped below the waves. Only 49 of the 149 men who had been on board survived the sinking and the ensuing days in life rafts.

Recognition

Sheean was mentioned in dispatches for his bravery and in 1999 HMAS Sheean, a Collins Class submarine, was named after him – the only ship in the RAN to bear the name of a sailor.

In 2020, following a sustained public campaign to have Ordinary Seaman Sheean’s selfless actions appropriately recognised, an expert panel recommended to the Australian Government that he be considered for the the award of a Victoria Cross.

On 12 August 2020 His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d) Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia announced that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II had approved a posthumous award of the Victoria Cross to Ordinary Seaman Sheean.

In doing so, Ordinary Seaman Sheean became the first member of the Royal Australian Navy to be awarded Australia’s highest honour for valour.

On 1 December 2020, 78 years to the day since the death of Ordinary Seaman Sheean and the loss of HMAS Armidale (I), the Governor-General presented the insignia of the Victoria Cross for Australia to Teddy Sheean’s family at a ceremony held at Government House in Canberra, ACT.

Source: http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/sheean-edward-11671.

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 – Mrs Gwenyth Lewis

I regret to advise the passing of Mrs. Gwenyth Lewis.  Gwenyth was the wife of Major Aub Lewis (Decd) former Platoon Commander of 10PL – B Coy 2/31st Bn at Balikpapan WW2. After discharge from the AIF he served in the CMF with 9Bn & the 2/14th QMI. Gwenyth was the mother of our Member Tim Lewis – Coordinator of the 2/31st Bn – Veterans, Family, & Friends.

Gwenyth Lewis was the niece of LTGEN Sir Reginald Pollard KCVO, KBE, CB, DSO a former Brigade Major of the 25th Brigade on its departure to the Middle East and CO of the 2/31st Bn during the Syrian campaign. Sir Reginald continued on a brilliant career in the Military after the war, attaining the rank of LTGEN and appointed Chief of the General Staff, prior to his retirement.

Gwenyth attended our last Special Association meeting in October 2019 with Guest of Honour – 102Yr old WO2 Alf Cumberland and Descendants of members of the 2/31st Bn, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic disrupting our lives.

Our thoughts and condolences go to Tim Lewis and his Family on this sad occasion.

Gwenyth Lewis – Rest In Peace.

Ray Fogg (President, Brisbane)

 

 

 

Visit to Alstonville – Home of Paddy Bugden VC

Regular contributor of articles to our website, Mick James, tells us of his visit over Christmas to the hometown of Patrick Bugden VC:
I spent Christmas in Ballina with family and had a relaxing time. We visited Alstonville (about 10 klms west on the road to Lismore) and had lunch at the Federal Hotel there. This was owned by Paddy Bugden VC’s family and he worked there before joining up in 1916.
The Hotel has a Tribute to Paddy in the Hotel (see photos). We also visited his Memorial around the corner in Bugden Ave.
I also include my photo of Paddy’s grave with Pierre’s tribute that I placed on it when I recited the Ode during my visit together with Pierre in Sept 2017.
LEST WE FORGET
I should also mention that local Rotarian, John Barnes OAM wrote a slim book about Paddy, titled “So i fear nothing”, which is part of a quote taken from a letter Paddy wrote to his mother. It is detailed on the memorial stone that forms part of his Memorial in Bugden Ave, see photo. The Rotary Club of Alstonville may have copies of the book.

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)

TONY        

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)