Vale – LtCol Doug Angus RFD (Retd)

Members & Friends, it is with great sadness I advise you that our good mate, – Proud ex CO of 42Bn RQR, – and staunch member of 31st Bn Assoc (Brisbane Branch), – DOUG ANGUS passed away last evening (Tue 10th May 2022) about 6.30PM at the PA Hospital Brisbane.

Doug, has been suffering from a weak Heart after his Quadruple By-Pass some years ago. He has also has been suffering constant pain from a bad back for many months.

A bit over a week ago, Doug had a bad fall and has since been at the PA Hospital where he subsequently passed away.

DOUG ANGUS – RIP dear Friend.


Tony has now posted the following notification of Doug’s Funeral:

Please note the Funeral arrangements of our good Mate – past Commanding Officer of the 42nd Bn Royal Queensland Regiment, – LTCOL Doug Angus (Retd)

TIME & DATE:-  12.30PM – Friday 20th May 2022.

WHERE:-  Mt. Thompson Memorial Gardens – EAST Chapel. – 329 Nursery Rd. Holland Park Qld 4121

DRESS:- Members:- Anzac Day attire – Jacket, Tie, Medals, Beret, Name Tags. Doug’s Family has indicated they would welcome the Association’s & 31/42 Bn RQR Personnel attendance.

The Family have given us permission to liaise with them & the Funeral Directors for us to either, form a Guard of Honour, or a Final Salute. I hope members will make a special effort to attend, to provide a last Fairwell to Doug, who made every effort to attend all Association Functions despite his Ill Health during the past few years.

Regards, Tony

Tribute to Doug created by our Honorary Member in France Pierre Seillier

Doug as CO 42RQR (second from left) with members of the Unit in the Field

Doug (third from left) on Joint exercise.

Doug newly promoted to LtCol

Doug enjoying a get together with members after a recent meeting

Maj Henry William Murray VC DSO and Bar

Information on Maj Harry Murray VC DSO and Bar was put together by Mick James. Normally this website concentrates on members of the 31st Battalion in all of its various forms however Harry’s rise from Private to LtCol and his multiple awards for bravery make him one most decorated of Australia’s sons in WW1. The investiture ceremony for his bravery awards is included below.

“The Times” described the event held on 2nd June 1917 in the “Times History of the War.”:

“For the first time in the war, an investiture ceremony would be held in public, and in Hyde Park rather than Buckingham Palace. The event was scheduled for the afternoon of Saturday 2 June, announced in advance to ensure a good turn-out.
An enclosure was prepared in an area of the park between the Serpentine and Knightsbridge Barracks, and a canopied pavilion set up for the King to make the presentations. Areas were set aside with seating for various dignitaries, and for several hundred wounded servicemen from the hospitals in the London area, and there was ample space for thousands of the general public.”
“No less than 351 presentations were scheduled, including fifty posthumous awards to be received by next-of-kin. Also, there were to be 11 Victoria Crosses presented.
Saturday 2 June 1917 was a beautiful summer day in London. Spectators and guests began to assemble in the early afternoon, and at 2.00 pm the massed bands of the Brigade of Guards, leading a guard of honour from the Scots Guards, began to march up Constitution Hill to Hyde Park Corner, and along The Row, which was lined with spectators, to the enclosure in Hyde Park. The men and women receiving decorations filled several rows of seats in front of the pavilion. Observers noted the wide variety of uniforms, and the row of people wearing black, who were receiving the awards of their dead relatives.”
The reporter from “The Times” was moved to note that the gathering included “men of every class and from many walks of life….. who, before the war had no thought beyond peaceful employment…. gathered here to receive from their King….. decorations for acts of war which three years ago would have seemed impossible to them.”
The King left Buckingham Palace at 2.35 pm in the royal carriage, accompanied by the Queen and Princess Mary, and followed by further carriages conveying various aides and equerries (including Sir Ian Hamilton, erstwhile commander-in-chief at Gallipoli). The royal party was cheered enthusiastically by the large crowd during the 10 minute drive to the pavilion; alighting from his landau, the King saluted as the Royal Standard was broken out, inspected the guard, and mounted the pavilion to begin the investiture.
The recipients were allocated numbers designating their place in the order of appearance; these had been published in the press with the corresponding names, and were displayed on large cards around the area as each came up to the King. Number one on the list, first of the distinguished company to march up the ramp, was Major Henry William Murray of the 13th Australian Infantry Battalion.
It was most unusual to present a Victoria Cross and a double Distinguished Service Order to one man at the same time, and it was reported that the King spoke to Murray at considerable length; one account said for fifteen minutes, but this was probably an exaggeration as the whole investiture was scheduled for only an hour and three-quarters.
“The Times”, taking note of the wording of Murray’s VC citation, commented that “he seems to have accomplished nearly every task it was possible to set himself in an attack”, a statement with which it would be hard to disagree.
From Jeff Hatwell’s book “No Ordinary Determination- Percy Black and Harry Murray of the First AIF”.
May be an image of text that says 'ÛP The scene at Park, London, on 2 June 1917, for the presentation decorations by King GeorgeV. (Inset] Murray leaving the dais after receiving his decorations. History of the War, Vol XII)'

Harry Murray VC DSO and Bar Investiture by King George V

VC Citation  10th March 1917 –

Capt. Henry William Murray, D.S.O., Aus. infy.

For most conspicuous bravery when in command of the right flank company in attack. He led his company to the assault with great skill and courage, and the position was quickly captured. Fighting of a very severe nature followed, and three heavy counter-attacks were beaten back, these successes being due to Captain Murray’s wonderful work.

Throughout the night his company suffered heavy casualties through concentrated enemy shell fire, and on one occasion gave ground for a short way. This gallant officer rallied his command and saved the situation by sheer valour.

He made his presence felt throughout the line, encouraging his men, heading bombing parties, leading bayonet charges, and carrying wounded to places of safety.

His magnificent example inspired his men throughout.

The award of the VC was for actions in the attack on Stormy Trench at Gueudecourt just north of the Somme in February 1917.

Previously in August 1916 Harry had been awarded the DSO for his successful company attack on Moquet Farm then in a later action (April 1917) at Bullecourt he was awarded a bar to his DSO.

Full awards for Henry William Murray

Victoria Cross
Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George
Distinguished Service Order & Bar
Distinguished Conduct Medal
Mentioned in Despatches (4)
Croix de guerre (France)


Anzac Day 2022

31st Battalion Association members took part in the Anzac Day – 2022  march through Brisbane yesterday. Members braved the inclement conditions along with thousands of other serving Members and members of other service associations. Top marks to members of all the brass and pipe bands many of whom upon completion of the march went back for a second or a third time to provide musical accompaniment for the tail end groups. Our members started in light showery conditions but it quickly turned into a downpour shortly after passing the Governor’s saluting dais. A vote of thanks is in order to our three lots of banner carriers bearing the Banners of the 2nd 31st Bn, the 31st/51st Bn as well as the association Banner. Well done guys and girls.

Association Members under shelter at the end of the march with our banner behind

Top marks to our soaked Banner carriers holding 31st/51st Battalion Banner

Anzac Day march 2022. The three Banners.

Capt Frank Smith MC DFC

Regular contributor to the 31 Battalion association website, Mick James, has uncovered the amazing story of Capt Frank Smith MC DFC, an original 31st Battalion WW1 digger, who, fought in the battle of Fromelles (also known as Fleurbaix in the diary by the CO LtCol Toll). After being commissioned he was awarded an MC with 31st Battalion for his actions in a raid which he led, whilst wounded, near Armentieres. He then trained with the Australian Flying Corps (AFC) in 1917 and subsequently was awarded a DFC in 1918.

Much of the research was done by Melbourne based 31 Battalion historian, Peter Nelson whose grandfather fought in WW1.

Mick goes on to say “I was amazed that he had a MC with 31st Bn & a DFC and did further research. It is
an amazing story. I found a photo of Capt Frank Smith MC DFC  in the annual photos of St Leo’s College Uni of Qld for 1919. Long story short, I was invited to give the ANZAC Lecture at the College prior to ANZAC Day last year. Photos and the story of Capt Frank Smith MC DFC were published in the 31st Bn  AIF Memorial Association Facebook page last year.”

Peter Nelson continued with further research (very detailed) and has produced a 2 part story on Frank. The 2nd part is his post WW1 life leading to his WW2 experience. Click on the links below for the full story.

Biography Part I War Service

Biography Part II Post War

Annual AGM and Lunch – Brisbane Branch

Members & Friends, Please find the attached Notice of our 31st Battalion association AGM Lunch meeting to be Held on FRIDAY –

1st APRIL Registration from 11.00 AM.  – Meeting 11.45AM. – Lunch at 12.45PM

The Venue will be at WESTSIDE -HQ  (Sherwood Services Club), –  Clewley St,  CORINDA.

Westside HQ is the new name of the Sherwood Services Club. 

It is situated across the Track from the CORINDA RAILWAY STATION.  – on the Ipswich/ Springfield Lines. Those traveling by Car there is ample Parking at the Club.

DRESS to be Good Casual. – Refer the Invitation concerning the Menu & Drinks etc

Lunch Cost – $25 – will include some Wine & Beer on the table at Lunch. –  Pre Lunch & After lunch Drinks to your A/C.

RSVP to TONY WADESON – by Friday 25th March. 

Please also advice your CHOICE OF LUNCH & Drink Preference:- Red or White Wine or Beer at the Lunch Table to assist catering.

Tony Wadeson – Email –  – Phone/Text 0427 337 177.

I apologise for this late notice. However Due to Floods/Family Bereavement, & Illness, – it has been a difficult past couple of weeks.





Vale Elsie Burla

Members, we have been advised of the sad news – the passing of “Elsie Burla” – wife of Bob Burla (Dec’d):- Former OC – Charlie Company Ingham & later Founder of the 31st Bn Association & Author of “Crossed Boomerangs” – History of the 31st Bn.

Elsie, continued to be a great supporter of the 31st Bn, particularly Charlie Company Ingham after Bob’s death. Bob died prior to completing his Book – “Crossed Boomerangs” , – Elsie  completed the Book & organised its publication & distribution. Refer to the Attachment from Felix Reitano.

Elsie has continued attending the Battalions annual Church Service up until year ago & always wanted her Photo taken with the Old Brisbane Branch Boys who served with husband Bob.

Our thoughts go to the Family of this wonderful lady. –

RIP Elsie Burla


Tribute By Felix Reitano



Elsie Burla – Obituary by Professor Stephen Graw – 7/2/22

I cannot recall exactly when I first met Elsie but it would have been either in the very late 1970s or the early 1980s at a function, which she would have attended with her husband Bob, in the Mess at Jezzine Barracks.

In fact, all of my early encounters with her were around social occasions either at Jezzine or, after I became the OC of 31 IRC, at 31 Battalion Association functions in either Townsville or Ingham (wth at least one occasion in Charters Towers ̶ after the dedication of the Memorial at the former Sellheim Army camp in 1985).

I remember her from that time as a very softly spoken, very gracious lady with a quiet sense of humour which she deployed easily when she got to know you.

My real association with her though only came about after Bob’s untimely death in 1995 after a short illness. I was then the CO of the Battalion and I was greatly honoured when Elsie asked me to speak at the funeral. It was a very sad occasion but Elsie maintained her poise and was a rock of support for Bob’s dad, Dario, through what was clearly a very difficult time for them both.

Shortly thereafter Elsie rang to ask if she could come to see me about how we might arrange to get Bob’s history of the Battalion professionally published.

Bob had written it as a ten-part series of ‘Historical Journals’ which had then been compiled into a composite history of the unit.

I had found a copy in a sideboard in the Mess when I arrived in Townsville in 1977 – in three bound copies of roneoed typescript. I had dipped into those three volumes on occasion but had never read them through completely – always promising myself that “one day” I would.

I regret to say that that never happened – at least not while Bob was still alive ‒ and when I returned to the battalion as the CO in late 1994 I was more than a little disturbed to find that only the third volume could still be found. Of the first and second volumes there was no trace. It was largely assumed that they had been “borrowed” by someone and it was hoped that eventually they would be returned. As far as I know they never were.

I was therefore both glad and relieved when Elsie rang, and then came to see me, with her sister Veen, in my office at the University.

And that was when I discovered another aspect to Elsie ̶ her quiet but steely determination. Bob’s dying wish, she told me, was to have the book published in a form that was, in his words, ‘worthy of the Battalion’ – and she wanted to make that happen.

She had a full unbound copy of the complete work with her and our first step was to convert it into data files that would be acceptable to a publisher in the electronic age. The Department possessed what then passed for a very effective scanner and my secretary, Pat Adams, patiently scanned all of the roneoed pages over the ensuing weeks.

However, our 1995 scanner did not take kindly to the typeface of the old manual typewriters on which Bob had typed up his original manuscript – especially after the pages were then reproduced on one of the old Gestetners. What came out of the scanner was not always entirely accurate – or, sometimes, even entirely English.

Spell-checking of the finished product helped a little but foreign place names, unit designations and military abbreviations, in particular, defeated Pat and it was Elsie who, page by page, word by word, comma by comma, name by name, unit designation by unit designation checked every one of those scanned pages to ensure that they were an accurate replication of what Bob had written. It was a Herculean task and a real labour of love – with Elsie often going back not only to the original manuscript but also to Bob’s original source documents, references photos and maps to ensure that what we had was as accurate as we could make it.

Then came the task of finding a publisher.

At that time I chaired the North Queensland Military Museum Committee of Management and we had some connection with the then emerging Army History Unit.

I suggested to Elsie that we see whether the AHU might be interested, she concurred, and we wrote to the Head of the Unit who agreed to see whether the manuscript met the AHU’s publishing criteria. After about a year of correspondence back and forth he advised us that their brief required a more policy-oriented approach and Bob’s book, being centred on what had happened at the soldier level, did not fit that picture.

He did however suggest that another publisher, Nelsons, might be interested so Elsie and I contacted them. They were interested – but after some initial consideration they too felt that the book, though interesting, was probably not a commercial proposition.

We tried a couple of other possibilities with no real success ̶ and I have to say that at that point I was becoming a little discouraged.

But Elsie was not to be deterred and it was she who, once again, got the project back on the rails.

She saw me in early May 1999 (the 5th) with a copy of a book she had received that had been published by a commercial publisher of which I had not previously heard – Australian Military History Publications. The book was very professionally put together, it looked good and, more importantly for us, it contained contact details for the publisher – Clive Baker. We immediately rang him and arranged to send him a copy of the retyped manuscript for him to consider.

Eleven days later (on 16th May) Clive wrote back saying he would like to publish. Elsie’s determination had paid off in spades.

And so started the publication process – but there was still a considerable amount of work to be done to convert the retyped manuscript into what would become a finished book which in Bob’s words would be ‘worthy of the Battalion’.

Elsie was a driving force throughout that process – checking references, organising photos and doing all the myriad little things that have to be done if a book is ever to see the light of day. I had given her a small booklet from one of the legal publishing houses that outlined the typesetters’ marks that were then an essential editing tool and she assiduously set about familiarizing herself with them – and using them with every tranche of typescript that she checked – so that all of her corrections and amendments were carefully noted with the appropriate typesetters’ mark in the margins so Clive could see exactly what had to be done – and how it had to be done.

With her usual thoroughness, Elsie also arranged for her work to be independently checked for correctness. She organized with Ian McIntosh, a former OC of B Company (Bowen, Proserpine and Ayr/Home Hill) and one of Bob’s many friends, who was then living in retirement in Forrest Beach, for him to act as an additional proof-reader.

Given Elsie’s attention to detail I doubt whether there was a lot that Ian had to correct. His involvement was, however, an important fail-safe and it was typical of Elsie that she had identified the need – and found someone who could meet it.

In short, without Elsie “Crossed Boomerangs”, in its final published form, would never have seen the light of day. For that, the Battalion owes her a great debt of gratitude ‒ second only to the debt we owe Bob – for ensuring that its history was formally recorded in a permanent form that will be accessible to future generations.

But that is not the only debt that we owe Elsie. One of Bob’s signature achievements was the formation of the 31st Battalion Association which he instigated in 1976 and of which he was the inaugural President, continuing in that role until right up until his death.

Bob might have been the President but it was very much a double act. Elsie was always there to support him, attending all of the functions and being very much a part of whatever the Association did. After Bob’s death she continued her involvement and, until recent years, was a regular attendee, in particular, at reunion dinners and, with her niece Leigh Cristaldi, at the Annual church service. For her dedication she was, very deservedly, made a life member of the Association in1997.

Elsie, you will be greatly missed, not only by your family but by all those who were privileged to be a part of your life. May you rest in peace.


31st/42nd Bn – Start of the Training Year

Training got off to a flying start for Battalion Headquarters  members of 31st/42nd Battalion.  Pictures below show

BHQ kicking off the week with Beep test and functional circuit under the watchful eye of the new RSM. Honorable mention to PTE Ellis Williams, WO2 Jayse Bird and SGT Phil Manning.

VALE – Maj Gen Mick Fairweather AM RFD

The Secretary of the Brisbane Branch of our 31st Bn Association, Tony Wadeson passes on the following sad news: Members – We have been advised of the passing of MajGen Mick Fairweather AM RFD who was previously a Commander of 11Bde. I met him when he used to attend the yearly 31st Bn Church Service’s held in the “Rocks Area” Sydney

This is a Bio on the late MAJGEN Mick Fairweather. Mick James & Chris Hamilton have supplied the Info.  Mick was one of the old school who rose up through the Ranks & had experience of Command at all Levels from L/Cpl up. He Commanded 25th Bn RQR. Chris Hamilton has supplied the undermentioned Bio.


Notification was received from our 49 Bn Mate Garry Saunderson.   REGARDS TONY


 For those who aren’t on Facebook (or who don’t see posts from Duncan Schulz), the above is a post from Duncan Schulz

Tony continues: I did however receive the Poem reproduced below. It was passed onto me by our good mate Peter Grogan of 49 Bn & 25 Bn Associations.

You’ll note the Poem was written in Sept 1990 by one – C. Hamilton, (Now Brigadier Chris Hamilton (Rtrd) & past CO of 31st Bn), who has given me the OK to resurrect his early Jottings.   

The CO’s History (MAJGEN Ian Fairweather)

T’was Mick the Tick

From Gatton town

Who caught the Ares craze.

He gave up sport & drinking grog

And re-arranged his days

To put on greens & GP boots

A pack & webbing too

He headed off to QAC

To see what he could do.

They trained for wars that never came

It didn’t worry Mick

He soldiered on & earned his pay

His mates they thought him thick

He should be here & drinking beer

Was heard about the town

But Mick the tick, he acted deaf

He was headed for a crown.

From course to course

He moved along the postings in between

From CPL Mick to SGT Mick

The wildest they had seen

He earned his pips he took the bit

No one could slow him down

The die was cast he headed fast

T’wards a pip beside that crown.

Was CAPT Mick – then MAJ Mick

He arrived up on the Downs

To join ye ken with the Mountain men

A Battalion of renown

So Company B soon came to be

The wariest of the mob

To awake poor old Roma at daylight on their jogs.

He went of then with Gentlemen

Of the other arms n corps

To do Tac 5 after he had survived

The trials of the Senior course

Said COL Lane “He’s back again”

Promoted same as me

He’ll have to do as Chief Moutain man 11

Lord knows who we’ll get as 111.

So it came to pass when the high level brass

Write down 25th with their pen

As they dry their ink they pause to think

Of Mick & his Mountain Men.


Written on 27th September 1990 by a – C. Hamilton –(a Lost Poet)

who ended up as CO of 31st Bn on his way to be – BRIG Chris Hamilton.

(I believe it was about the time Mick took Command of 25 Bn)


Texas Terror Commemoration – 2021

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