Vale – Keith Hearne

Message from Association Brisbane Branch Secretary, Tony Wadeson:
Members I regret to advise that our 2/31st Bn Life Member, – WW2 Veteran & Victorian Past President of the 2/31st & 2/25 Battalions Association – Keith Hearne passed away on Christmas Day. Attached is a Photo taken of Keith receiving his 31st Bn Assoc. Honorary Life Membership Tribute at the Frankston RSL Club on 7th Sept last. We had been trying to present it to him since 2020 but were unable due to Covid State Border lock downs. The event was covered on this website (See “Keith Hearne – Honorary Life Membership” in Archives for October 2022 for his wonderful history of service to the RSL and the Community )
I’ve attached Keiths RSL Bio & you will note amongst other things that he was a Life Member of the RSL.
Funeral Arrangements have yet to be announced. – I will update you when they become available.
If its possible I would ask if our Melbourne Based Members, Peter Nelson & Brian Mullarvey & any 2/31st Bn Veteran, Descendants, could attend the Funeral. The Frankston RSL Sub Branch will be involved as The Victorian RSL State President apparently will be involved. Berets, Medals, & Name Tags Should be worn.
Keith Hearne – 2nd/31st Bn – WW2 Veteran – Life Member RSL – Life Member 31st Bn Assoc. 
 Rest in Peace. 
Regards Tony
Keith was also mentioned on this website in the article “2/31st Battalion Memorabilia” (Archive March 2019).
He was also featured in the article “Keith Hearne” (Archive September 2020) that tells a brief story of his experience in Balikpapan and of his subsequent service to the community. Also of his determination to go to PapuaNewguinea for the reinterment of some of his 2/31 Battalion mates who perished when their aircraft repatriating wounded from Balikpapan and Moritai crashed in West Papua in the latter stages of the war. 
Keith receiving his Honorary Life Membership of the 31st Battalion Association
Frankston RSL Notice of Keith’s Passing

Texas Terror Commemoration – Ingham – 2022

The “Texas Terror” commemoration was held in Ingham on Sunday 18th December 2022. This commemoration is held yearly in remembrance of the lives lost when a WW2 B24 Liberator aircraft of the US Air Force designated the “Texas Terror”  crashed into the summit of Mt Straloch on Hinchinbrook Island on 18th December 1942 during a fierce tropical storm. It was on its way to Iron Range on Cape York , having just departed Garbutt Airbase Townsville after picking up passengers.

The ceremony is organized by President of the Ingham branch of the Association by Felix Reitano and fellow members of  the Association..

“Texas Terror” Commemoration – 2022

A gathering of members after the Commemoration Ceremony

31/42 RQR Regimental Dinner – Mackay – 10th December 2022

Saturday night (10th Dec 2022) was an excellent occasion with the 31st/42nd Battalion The Royal Queensland Regiment, Regimental Dinner.

Association Member Mick James describes the evening:

It was attended by approx. 150 members of the Battalion, members of both Battalion Associations and invited Guests. The Mayor of Mackay Regional Council, Mr Greg Williamson & Mrs Annette Williamson headed the Guest list, with Guest Speaker Brig (Retd) Steve Graw & Mrs Dale Graw, Commander 11 Brigade, Brig Mark Armstrong and his RSM, WO1 Andrew Crook, and Mr Keith Payne VC AM. I had the honour of hosting Keith at the Dinner including picking him up from his home in Mackay and returning him there afterwards (with a driver). Keith also had a good friend with him, Darren Stendt who has 30 years service in the Army including 15 years in 1 Commando Coy.

After some excellent fellowship, we sat down to a 3 course delicious meal (after Grace) with good red and white wines accompanying it. Then the port was passed around and various toasts were made- The King, The Australian Army, & The Battalion, all to suitable music accompaniment with the latter Toast made by LtCol Cameron McKay, the incoming CO of 31st/42nd Battalion.

Brig (Retd) Steve Graw then spoke on the subject of Moral Courage. It was a most instructive speech and attempts are being made to publish it. However the night was far from over with the RSM WO1 Dave Harding calling a number of Promotions, Awards and Farewells.

The Farewells included the CO, Lt Col David Gandy, Kennedy Company OC Maj Barbara Keller, The Adjutant, Capt Nick Crosbie, Training WO Paul Lergessner (Retd), 2IC Cap Coy, Capt Stephen Wooler.  One of the notable promotion was Capt Misty Evans, who received her 3rd pips from the CO and her husband (see photo below).

An excellent night and Keith Payne enjoyed himself immensely. The Battalion members, Assoc members and guests enjoyed his presence, with many speaking to him and a number having their photo taken with him. When I introduced Keith to the assembled group prior to the Dinner, I also made 2 presentations to him. The first was a Tribute of his service in various Units and his Medal Awards & Honors done by our French friend and honorary 31st Bn Assn Member, Pierre Seillier. Pierre is also a friend of .Keith’s. The Tribute shows Keith’s 1st and last Units, 31st Bn . in top left corner and 42nd Bn in the top right corner. The 2nd presentation is an enlarged photo from 1951 showing 31st Bn troops training at Sellheim Army Camp (located outside Charters Towers). A number of men are named, including Pte Keith Payne (3rd from left) and Pte Kev Fraser (who became CO of 31st Bn in the mid 1970s). Keith was very pleased with both and his son, Colin was amazed at the 1951 photo when he saw it on Keith’s return home.

A very enjoyable night and thanks go to the Bn XO, Maj Mark Smith for organising and hosting it as Dining President.

The following is the address by Guest Speaker for the evening Brigadier (Rtd) Steven Graw RFD:

Mr Greg Williamson – Mayor of the Mackay Regional Council, Mrs Annette Williamson, Mr Keith Payne VC, Brigadier Mark Armstrong, Lt Col David Gandy, other distinguished guests, members of the Battalion, ladies and gentlemen.

The topic on which I have been asked to speak to-night is Moral Courage.

At its most basic, moral courage is not just knowing what is right, or doing what is right, or acting ethically or justly – it is being willing to stand up and confront the things that we know are wrong. It is not remaining silent or indifferent when something needs to be called out and corrected.

As members of the defence force we are sworn to protect Australia, its people and its way of life. That takes physical courage. But we also have a duty to defend its soul – and that takes moral courage – a calculated willingness to step up and be counted, even if it involves some personal cost or personal risk – to our relationships, reputation or physical or financial well-being.

The hardest things you will ever have to do in life will be those when you have to face the disapproval, and even the censure, of others – even those you considered your friends – for doing it.

Moral courage is acting resolutely on your convictions and ethical beliefs. That is what towering figures like Ghandi, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King did – despite the consequences.

Ukraine’s Volodimir Zelenskyy displays both physical and moral courage. When the Russians invaded and the Americans offered to extract him how did he reply? ‘I need ammunition, not a ride’. He got his ammunition.

Contrast that to the response of the then President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, as the Taliban entered Kabul. Having said on multiple occasions that he would ‘fight to the death’, when the Taliban closed in it was reported that he loaded up a chopper with his family and as many bags of US banknotes as he could (something he subsequently denied) and fled to the UAE. His excuse, that he did it to save Kabul from destruction was a blatant cop-out. There was no courage there – physical or moral.

Whistle-blowers in public and private enterprises who act to counter corrupt or unethical behaviour also display moral courage. Those who see bad behavior in their workplaces or communities have a choice. They can do something about it – or they can take the easy option and do nothing. Rocking the boat when it needs to be rocked takes moral courage.

Moral courage means adhering to your values – like honesty, respect, responsibility and fairness – even when that is uncomfortable.

It is not a group activity – if you wait for the consensus and follow the pack that is not moral courage. That is being ‘part of the herd’ – it’s bovine and it’s easy.

Unfortunately, true moral courage is sadly lacking in our society.

Our national politicians, in the main, do not have it. They prefer, instead, to do what is popular or ‘politically expedient’ rather than doing what is ‘right’. They even boast about it. Many of you may remember the title of Graeme Richardson’s autobiography – ‘Whatever it Takes’.

Promises, even firm undertakings, rarely have any binding effect, either ethically or morally. You may remember John Howard’s fatuous attempt to distinguish between what he called ‘core and non-core’ promises’ – a sort of ‘get-out of jail free’ card allowing him to ignore promises he did not want to keep.

Julia Gillard famously promised before the 2010 Federal election that ‘there will be no carbon tax under a government I lead’ – but then caved in to political expediency to introduce one under a deal she made to remain in government. That went well. It did her little good in the long run. It made her intensely unpopular, and resulted in her being ousted in an internal party coup to reinstate her predecessor, Kevin Rudd, as Prime Minister in an attempt to limit the fallout from the 2014 election. Who knows what the result may have been if she had had the moral courage to stick with her promise and refuse the Green’s demands for a carbon tax.

The media is arguably no better. Once it was there to ‘keep the bastards honest’, to be a watchdog holding government and other powerful institutions accountable. It did that by reporting honestly, fairly and impartially – and by sticking to the facts.

No longer. Sensationalist headlines and reports grab attention and that drives advertising revenue – apparently the major concern of even mainstream commercial media – not just what we used to refer to as the ‘gutter press’.

Worse though are those who abuse their positions of trust to drive their own, often ‘woke’, agendas.

Even our national broadcaster, the ABC, has been caught out, having to pay out huge amounts of public money to settle defamation and other similar disputes – simply because it did not have the moral courage to enforce its own editorial standards or, worse, to require its journalists to adhere to them and to ‘fess up’ and apologise when they are caught out.

And that brings me to the second aspect of moral courage.

Moral courage is not just standing up for what it right – it is also accepting responsibility, and acknowledging when you are wrong.

I will give you just one example.

Many of you will know, or at least have heard of Brigadier ‘Warry George’ Mansford – a larger than life figure who was responsible for re-raising 11 Brigade in 1987.

Warry George’ joined the Army on his 17th birthday, fought through Korea and Malaya took a ‘knife and fork’ commission in 1964 and then fought in Vietnam. He was subsequently responsible for setting up the Battle School at Tully and also set up the Young Officer Courses (now the ROBC) for newly commissioned officers to learn their specific to corps skills.

You will no doubt all remember that, as junior soldiers, we all had drummed into us that when doing TEWTs the DS will try to talk you off your plan. We also had it impressed on us never to let them do it – because that meant that you weren’t committed to it in the first place.

And so it was for a newly commissioned 2LT from one of the then ARES Commando Companies doing his Young Officer course with George.

The story is that, tasked with coming up with a plan to site an ambush near a known enemy position, he sited it just forward of the enemy wire – on the basis that he would achieve surprise because no-one would expect it there.

George listened patiently and, when the 2LT had finished presenting, said ‘It won’t work son’. Applying the accepted wisdom among students, the young officer argued that it was a terrific plan and would most certainly work. George put up with this for a while until, finally, he stood up, grasped his own shirt by its epaulets and said, ‘See this son. Three wars, no holes, It won’t f…en work’.

That was perhaps a very good example of an occasion where the young officer should have had the moral courage (and the good sense) to admit that maybe he was wrong.

I would l like to finish up with one final comment. A former Chief of Army, Lieutenant General David Morrison and I were CO’s and, then, Brigade Commanders in Townsville at around the same time. We did not meet often and it is probably fair to say that I did not always agree with him on everything he said. However, I cannot quibble with the comment for which he is perhaps most famous The standard you walk past is the standard you accept’.

As soldiers we have a duty – to ourselves, to the Army and to Australia – to have the moral courage not to walk past something we know to be wrong. We need to keep, foremost and always in our minds, that: The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’ Moral courage, ladies and gentlemen, is not ‘doing nothing’.

Thank you.



The Presentation by the 31st Battalion Association to Keith Payne VC, AM

Newspaper Clipping from 1951 Showing Pte Keith Payne (Third from Left) and

Pte Kev Fraser (later to become CO of 31RQR in 1976)

Presentation being made to Keith Payne VC AM by 31st Battalion Association’s Mick James

At the start of the Regimental Dining Night

Keith Showing the Presentation

Newly Promoted LT Misty Evans Receiving her Captains Pips from

The CO LtCol David Gandy and her Husband 

Comd 11 Bde Brigadier Armstrong making presentation to outgoing CO LTCOL David Gandy

Meeting the Incoming CO of the Battalion LtCol Cam McKay was

Association Website Editor Maj (Rtd) Martin O’Sullivan

CO Presenting Outgoing Adjt Capt Nick Crosbie with a Unit Plaque for a job well done

Presentation to Maj Barbara Keller with Thanks for a job well done in Kennedy Company

The Dining Night – Mackay – Mister Vice (Lt Mark Hazlett) studying the Menu

It was good to see Keith relaxed recounting a story or two and

enjoying the night

Many people had the chance to speak to and be photographed with our guest of Honour

Former Members of the Battalion (now Rtd), (L to R) Paul Ellems, Martin O’Sullivan,

Mark Allen, Chris Cummings, Steve Graw, (Guest Speaker) and Alan Bruce.

Chris and Steve were previously CO’s of the Battalion and Steve  was previously Comd 11Bde.

Missing from the Group was Mick James who was Hosting our Guest of Honour Keith Payne VC, AM

Our Piper signalling the start of the Dining Night

A Glimpse of 31 Battalion History From WW1

Association Member, Tim Lewis, has unearthed a newspaper clipping of the handover of the 31st Battalion Flag from WW1 to the Army Museum North Queensland . The article dates back to 2010 when president of the 2/31st Battalion Association,  Ken Gladstone and five other veterans of WWII travelled to Townsville to present the WW1, 31st Battalion Flag and the 2/31st Battalion Banner from WWII, to the Museum which is based at Jezzine Barracks, Townsville.

The 31st Battalion has served continuously in one form or another since 1886. In its current form is now known as:

The 31st/42nd Battalion The Royal Queensland Regiment.

Vale – LtCol (Retd) Geoff Barlow

I regret to advise the passing of a good mate and a former proud member of the 31st Bn – Geoff Barlow. Geoff passed away yesterday at the Mater Hospital Townsville. Geoff had suffered from Cancer & had many Operations during the past couple of years.  

Geoff was a member of the 31st Bn during the late 50’s & early 60’s rising up through the Ranks to Sergeant prior having to transfer to Brisbane to complete his Pharmacy Degree at Q’ld University. 
He transferred from the 31st Bn to the 2/14th QMI. Brisbane. Whilst completing his Degree at Uni Geoff managed to transfer to Full time CMF with the Medical Corp. at – 1 Camp Military Hospital Yeronga. After Graduating as A Pharmacist Geoff then transferred to the ARA – RAMC  as a “Pharmacist”  an Officer Posting. 
During his Military Career Geoff served in Singapore & also an Extended posting to Vietnam  based at the 1st Australian Field Hospital Vung Tau. 
Geoff rose to the rank of LTCOL in the RAMC before he retired from the Army. He and his wife Pam & family retired to Magnetic Island Where for a time he operated a Pharmacy. He was the President of the RSL Sub – Branch at Magnetic Isl.
Geoff Barlow – RIP
Regards TONY
The following pictures are some of a collection previously sent by Geoff Barlow.
Memories of Battalion Parades held in Townsville during the 50s and 60s.

Freedom of the City

Pre 60s Khaki Uniforms and Blanco’d belts and Gaters


60s Jungle Greens Black Belts and New Gaters

Pte Thomas Bubbers MM – 31st Battalion

The following information on Pte Thomas Bubbers has been compiled by Association Hon Life Member Peter Nelson.

Peter adds:  “I am doing some follow on research on 31st Bn members. Thought I could possibly share some of it somehow with members. Over coming months will post files of men in alphabetical groupings. These are and have been for a long time a ‘work in progress’ but may raise awareness of these men’s stories. If any queries, tips or corrections feel free to contact me. My intention originally was to try and place a face to each name of men in alphabetical groupings.

Thomas Bubbers

Service No 495
Rank Pte
Born 9th May 1896, Newington, England
NoK (f) Mr Thomas Bubbers, (m) Martha (Hannah) Bubbers, 162 Commercial Rd, Spalding, Lincolnshire, England
Enlistment 13th Jul 1915 Cooroy, NC Line, Qld
Age 19
Status & Religion Single, C.of E.
Occupation Labourer
Address Cooroy, North Coast Line, Queensland
Outcome RTA 8th Apr 1919
Notes Migrated to Australia in 1911
Original, ‘B’ Coy / HQ Signaller, 31st Bn
Embarked at Melbourne, on HMAT A62 “WANDILLA”, 9 Nov 1915.
Disembarked at Suez on 7th Dec 1915
Embarked to join BEF on HMT ‘Hororata’ at Alexandria on 16th Jun 1916
Disembarked at Marseilles on 23rd Jun 1916
WIA (GSW face) at Fromelles on 19th Jul 1916
Admitted 2nd CCS (GSW face) on 20th Jul 1916
Admitted 25th Gen Hospital (GSW face) on 21st Jul 1916
Discharged to Base Details on 25th Jul 1916
Transferred from Base Details, Boulogne to Etaples on 25th Jul 1916
Marched in to 5th ADBD, Etaples, ex wounded, on 26th Jul 1916
Proceeded to re-join unit ex 5th AIDBD, on 8th Aug 1916
Rejoined Battalion on 15th Aug 1916
On leave to England on 28th Nov 1916
Rejoined unit from leave on 13th Dec 1916
To hospital sick on 20th Jan 1917
Admitted 39th CCS (mumps) on 20th Jan 1917
To No 3 Amb Train on 21st Jan 1917
Admitted 11th Stat Hospital, Boulogne, on 21st Jan 1917
Transferred to 8th Stat Hospital, Wimereux, on 29th Jan 1917
Transferred to 1st Conv Depot, Boulogne on 9th Feb 1917
Discharged as fit to Base Depot, Boulogne, on 11th Feb 1917
Marched in to 5th AIDBD, Etaples, from hospital, on 18th Feb 1917
Marched out to unit on 24th Feb 1917
Rejoined unit on 26th Feb 1917
Battle of Polygon Wood 26th/27th Sep 1917
To UK on leave on 15th Dec 1917
Rejoined unit from leave on 31st Dec 1917
To 5th Div Signal School on 7th Jul 1918
Rejoined unit from School on 28th Jul 1917
Battle of Amiens – 8th Aug 1918

Awarded MM for actions: “On the 8/8/18, after the capture of the BLUE LINE this man acted as a linesman and did splendid work. He continued to work up and down the line for the next 48 hours, often under heavy fire. He showed great bravery and devotion to duty throughout the operation.”

Battle of Hindenberg Line – Bellicourt, Joncourt, Nauroy
Appointed L/Cpl on 1st Nov 1918
On leave to UK on 27th Dec 1918
Admin HQ, London, leave 31st Dec 1918 to 14th Jan 1919
Rejoined unit ex leave to UK on 21st Jan 1919
Marched out to Base Depot for RTA on 24th Jan 1919
Marched out from AIBD, Havre to England (1915 Personnel) on 1st Feb 1919
Disembarked to Weymouth and marched in to No 4 Comm Depot on 1st Feb 1919
Granted leave from 5th Mar to 14th Mar 1919 with pay and subsistence of £3. Reason: Stud Tour
RTA per ‘Trasos Montes’ on 7th Apr 1919
Disembarked 27th May 1919
Discharged at Brisbane on 19th Jul 1919

Sister: Mrs C Stratigo, Athens Café, Mary St, Gympie, Queensland

After his discharge Bubbers went farming in Tolga in North Queensland and after World War II he worked in New Guinea. In 1948 he was a Senior Groundsman with Dept of Civil Aviation, Madang, PNG. Had his medals stolen in Cairns Qld, in Dec 1958, whilst on holiday from being a mining prospector in New Guinea.

He retired to 104 Nectarine St, Fruitgrove, 4113, in Southern Queensland in 1969.

Thomas Bubbers died 26th Jul 1970.

Thomas Bubbers MM

31/42RQR Regimental Dinner – Mackay

The 31st Battalion Association has received a copy of an Administrative Instruction from the CO of The 31st/42nd Battalion, The Royal Queensland Regiment, LtCol David Gandy, advising details of the Regimental Dining Night to be held at Mackay show Grounds on evening of 10th Dec 2022

Members of the Battalion together with members of Battalion associations and selected guests have been invited.

The dinner will also provide the opportunity for interaction with senior Officers whilst at the same time provide for the Battalion, as a collective, to farewell members leaving the Unit in 2022/2023.

Association members have already been received prior notice of the Regimental Dinner and of the revised cost of Tickets to the function. Attendees should by now have individually received details of relevant timings, locations, etc contained in the Administrative Instruction. Indications are that it will be a well organized and memorable evening.


Remembrance Day -2022

Yet another outstanding level of support to the NQ & Central QLD community by the men and women of the 31st/42nd Battalion along with strong cameos by 35 ENGR SQN in commemorating the 104th anniversary of Remembrance Day.

The Bn provided Catafalque parties at Gladstone, Gracemere and Rockhampton whilst others members provided key note addresses alongside regional mayors, laid a wreath, supported schools or attended ceremonies in Cairns, Townsville and Mackay.

Great to see the Battalion life member and previous XO – MAJ Ian Reid playing the pipes in front of a large gathering at Townsville.

Well done to all who supported the community in remembering when the guns finally ceased to end the war of all wars 104 years ago.

Lest we forget !


Catafalque Parties

Battalion Life Member and previous XO Maj Retd Ian Reid 

New Identifications of Diggers – Fromelles and Zonnebeke

Vet Affairs Minister , Hon Matt Keogh announced today that 2 soldiers who fought at Fromelles have been identified.
They are:

No 1537 Walter Allen Grace of 31st Bn and

No 20 Edwin Charles Gray of 32nd Bn.

They will have new grave headstones next year at Pheasant Wood Military Cemetery at Fromelles.

Another digger who was one of 5 discovered in 2006 at Zonnebeke and reburied at the British Buttes Cemetery has also been named. He is Pte Thomas Allen Gibbens of 29th Bn.

Thanks to our friend and chief driving force behind the finding and identification of the lost diggers of Fromelles Lambis Englezos AM for the good news.

Lest We Forget.

Walter Allen Grace – 31 Battalion