31st Battalion Association – Brisbane Branch – AGM

Members, Due to unforeseen Circumstances, we were unable to hold our AGM in March as per usual. This year the AGM is going to be a more casual arrangement. We will still distribute The President’s, Treasurer’s &  Mick James Report on the Battle of Fromelles, as well as hold an Election of Office Bearers as per our Constitution. However we won’t be having a guest speaker, & the lunch arrangements will be different from previous meetings as follows:-

(1)  VENUE:-  We will be holding the lunch this year at the “Caboolture Sports Club” Station Rd Morayfield,  close by the Morayfield Railway Station. So those coming by train 
       from the Sunshine Coast , Nambour & Brisbane have about the same distance to walk from the train as they did at Sherwood Services Club. 
(2)  MENU:- The Club has excellent facilities & the choice of food from a couple of different sources. So this year you have the option of BYO (ie Buy Your Own) of your choice of the Various menus. 
      Google Caboolture Sports Club & Check out the Menu’s from the different Outlets You will also be able to BYO (as per above) Drinks. Therefore there WILL BE NO REGISTRATION CHARGE  
      for the lunch on entry. YOU WILL ALSO NOTE That Prices for meals & drinks are a Lot less if You are a Member. We suggest you become a Member on line before you attend 
      or Join when you arrive, to gain the cheaper Meal & Drink Prices. You will save more by doing so. – (Seniors Card Concession Membership  $3.30 Per/Year) 
(3) MEETING ARRANGEMENTS:- The Club will provide us with a Table in an area to ourselves to enable us to conduct our meeting. We will still have a Registration Table to  
      allow you the Opportunity to Pay your Annual Subs for 2023 which we have normally collected in March at previous AGM’s. A Separate Notice is being sent out to you regarding SUBs. 
(4) DATE & TIME – Tuesday  – 13th June 2023.  Meet at 11.00AM for Fellowship & Meeting Start at 11.30 AM – Complete by 12.00. – Order Meals.
(5) DRESS: Good Casual, –  Wear NAME TAGS 
(6) RSVP:- To Secretary – Tony Wadeson no later than SUNDAY 11th June at 6.00 PM. by Email or Ph/Text – 0427 337 177 

Pte Buddy Williams – Country Music Star – 2/31 Battalion Service

Mick James, a regular contributor to this website, has passed on some research by members of the Remembrance Army on country and western singer Buddy Williams.

Mick continues, “More great research from Australian Remembrance Army (thanks Katrina) of a 2/31st Battalion digger and Country Music Legend, Buddy Williams. I believe some senior members of our Association even saw Buddy perform. He had a sad life in many ways but brought joy to many.


Service No: NX202295
Rank: Private
Unit: 2/31 Australian Infantry Battalion
Harold “Buddy” Williams was born in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on 5 September 1918 as Harry Taylor, and was placed in the Glebe Point Orphanage. He was adopted from the orphanage at the age of seven by a couple who worked a farm in Dorrigo, NSW. Buddy did not have a happy childhood with the McFarlane’s, and was reportedly subjected to regular beltings by his new family, and made to sleep on a bed made from straw with a couple of coats used as blankets. It soon became apparent to Buddy that his adoption was a means for the family to secure cheap labour.

At 15 years of age, one night after receiving a beating, Buddy ran away from the McFarlane’s farm and never returned. He remained in the district of Dorrigo and found work and shelter wherever he was able, working at timber mills, as a bullock driver and boundary rider. He made his way from Dorrigo down the coast of New South Wales -working and busking for money along the way.

On 9 January 1940, at the age of 21 years, Buddy married Bernice Perring (known as Bernie Burnett during her singing career). Bernice was eight days shy of her 17th birthday. The couple had met in 1935 at the Grafton Jacaranda Festival when Bernice was 13 and Buddy 17. Bernie joined Buddy in several duets, including the recording of “Stockmen in Uniform” and “Let’s Grow Old Together”. The union lasted seven years before the couple divorced in 1947.

Buddy signed up for service during the second world war, enlisting at Paddington, New South Wales on 14 September 1943. He marched out from Sydney on 21 September, joining the 15 Infantry Training Brigade in Warwick, Queensland. Three months later, on 25 November, Buddy marched out to 33 Infantry Training Battalion. He was reported absent without leave at Warwick on 11 February 1944, with a warrant for arrest issued two days later. On 22 March he marched out to the Land Headquarters Training Centre (Jungle Warfare) at Canungra, marching in to the training centre on 24 March. This centre was where the soldiers were taught bushcraft and survival techniques.
Buddy was absent without leave a few times between 11 February 1944 and 9 April 1945, being find a total of 13 pounds 10 pence and auto forfeit of 65 days. Buddy reportedly conducted recording sessions during the war years while he was on leave. As no official leave is recorded in his service record, perhaps the times he was absent without leave is when he was recording his music – but just speculation.

On 3 July 1944, Buddy joined the 2/31 Australian Infantry Battalion. The following year on 9 June 1945, he embarked at Townsville per “Howell Lykes”, disembarking at Morotai on 18 June. A week later, Buddy embarked from Morotai, travelling for service at Balikpapan, Borneo. On 3 July, Buddy was wounded in action, seriously injured during the battle of Balikpapan and was not expected to live. He was unconscious in hospital for nine days following an ambush in which he received serious wounds to his arms, back and stomach. He was evacuated to 2/2 Casualty Clearing Station on 12 July, and transferred to X-List.

“Buddy Williams/Percy Ruff/Keith Hearne were on the same Jeep that brought us back to Casualty

Clearing Station, Perce and Buddy were on stretchers, I was sitting up. I saw Perce for years after the war till he


Keith Hearne AM 90. (February 8, 2016)

Buddy was transported to the Australian Hospital Ship on 19 July before being evacuated to 2/9 Australian General Hospital five days later. On 28 July, he embarked at Morotai per 2/2 Australian Hospital Ship for return to Australia. He disembarked in New South Wales, Australia on 10 August 1945 and was admitted to 114 Australian General Hospital. Buddy discharged from service medically unfit for military service on 13 October 1945.

On 31 January 1947, Buddy married Grace Mary (nee Maidment) in Brisbane. The couple had four children: Donita, Harold, Kay and Karen. Grace shared Buddy’s dream of life on the road, traveling from town to town, taking music to the people. Tragically, their daughter Donita was accidentally killed at the Scottsdale showground on 29 November 1948. She was hit by a truck being driven by one of the rodeo riders while he was backing up after unloading his show equipment. She was buried at Lutwyche Cemetery in Brisbane four days later. Following Donita’s death, Buddy wrote “Little Red Bonnet” in memory of his daughter, which he sang at the close of every show.

After recovering from his injuries from the war, Buddy formed a rodeo tent show that travelled for many years before touring with the Buddy Williams Variety Show for 11 months of each year. Buddy, Grace and their three children travelled to country towns and outback communities throughout Australia, and once did an eight-week stint at Brisbane’s Theatre Royal. The group travelled up to 56,000 km a year for about 40 years to take their show to the people of the Australian outback.

Buddy has been the recipient of many awards, including being the first person in Australia to receive the Australasian Country Music Award, presented to “the person contributing the most to Country Music”. He is an inductee of the “Australian Roll of Renown”, won a Heritage Award for “What a Dreary Old World it Would Be” at the Country Music Awards of Australia, and awarded a Special Award and Songmaker Award at the Tamworth Songwriters Awards. Along with Tex Morton and Smoky Dawson, Buddy was one of the first three to be inducted into Country Music Capital’s Hands of Fame at Tamworth.

Harold “Buddy” Williams died in Brisbane on 12 December 1986, aged 68. His funeral was conducted at St Andrews Church of England, Lutwyche and he was buried with daughter Donita at Lutwyche Cemetery. Buddy’s funeral was televised and among those present were Slim Dusty, John McSweeney and Shorty Ranger. Nick Erby read the eulogy, and members of the 2/31 Battalion formed a guard of honour.


Anzac Day – 31st Bn – Box Hill – Victoria

Our Melbourne based 31st Battalion Assoc. Member Brian Mullarvey, represened the Association at the ANZAC Day – Dawn Service at the Box Hill RSL – Victoria.

Association (Brisbane Branch) Secretary Tony Wadeson gives us a brief on Brian’s service”
Brian joined 31st Battalion Association Brisbane Branch this year as he has ties with Brisbane.  Brian (Captain) – Served with 42 Bn as 2IC of the Biloela Company. At that time, Brain was Manager of ARC Engineering Pty Ltd, – Gladstone Operation.
31st Battalion Association Member Brian Mullarvey at
Cenotaph at Box Hill RSL – Victoria

Anzac Day – 31/42 RQR – Participation

The Battalion was heavily involved in Anzac Day commitments. Members supported commemorations in over 12 locations across the AO and we cannot be prouder of the Soldiers who represented the Battalion.
This level of support to the local community and ANZAC Day Commemorations is a great achievement.
Well done to all involved.

On a wider scale, members of 11 Brigade members proudly supported 150 Anzac Day events across Queensland and Northern New South Wales at schools, dawn services and memorials covering Muswellbrook in the South, north to Cairns, and west to Roma and many others in Brisbane and across regional Queensland.

Wreath Laying Ceremony

Catafalque Party Member

Catafalque Party – Mt Morgan

Catafalque Party – Rockhampton

Boyne Island Catafalque Party

Catafalque Party – Gladstone

Catafalque Party – Mackay

Catafalque Party Member

Dawn Service – Cairns








Anzac Day – 31st Bn – Brisbane March

At the head of the 31st Battalion Association Anzac Day 2023 march in Brisbane were the banners of the 31 Bn Association, the 2/31 st Battalion and the 31/51 st Battalion. Banner bearers  had to battle a stiff breeze as they marched along Adelaide Street.

As usual, prior to the main Brisbane March, a small ceremony was held at the Memorial in South Bank to commemorate the 2/31st Battalion AIF.

Service at South Bank Memorial prior to the main Brisbane March

Anzac Day – 31st Bn Association – Brisbane – 2023

Members, & Friends – Please Refer to the Attached – VERSION 12 -April 2023 – ANZAC DAY ORDER OF MARCH  Pages 1 & 2 (This is the Latest Version) 
Page 1 Shows the Total ORDER OF MARCH – We will be Marching in GROUP 4 Section D & Position No 43. Step of 1015 Hrs
Page 8 shows GROUP 4 Section D – We are now Position 43. We form up NO LATER than 10.00AM – in GEORGE ST down near Mary St.(Look for our Banners)
We will have the 3 Banners – 31st Bn Banner, (Carriers Rory Wadeson & Peter Lewis) – It will be up by 10.00AM 
The 2/31st Bn Banner, (Carriers Noah Swan &  Sarah Crisp}  It will join us maybe a bit after 10 (after the 2/31st Bn Southbank Service)
The 31/51 Bn Banner   (Teresa Mayhew & her Sister. Daughters of Noel Pilcher) – It will be up by 10.00 AM
I’m appealing to all Members to make an effort to join us in the March. 

Unveiling of Plaques at Lutwyche Cemetery – Brisbane

On 15th April 2023 a service was held in Brisbane to mark the Unveiling Ceremony for the 247 Plaques of WW1 Diggers who died in Brisbane in the 1940s. The service was conducted at Lutwyche Cemetery by the Australian Remembrance Army in conjunction with the Toowong RSL sub branch. Among the Attendees were RSL members, members of Army Associations and relatives of those with new plaques on their graves. There was an Aussie Flag placed beside each new Plaque. The 31st Battalion was represented and Association member Mick James also  placed a Tribute specially created by our Honorary member in France, Pierre Seillier, for RSM Francis Law DCM. This was placed beside his Plaque in the Cemetery.
Mick James goes on to say, 

“I congratulated Cate Walker & Katrina Trevethan on the Australian Remembrance Army Facebook page. They have done an outstanding job in forming the Group, applying for the Grant, researching all the Personnel files, tracing relatives where possible, organising the production of the Plaques, composing the script on the Plaques in conjunction with relatives, where possible, and affixing the plaques to the concrete beams. They started in late 2020, laid the first plaque in August 2022 and probably won’t finish until some time in 2024. They deserve our sincere Congratulations, and encouragement & support to complete the Project. Thanks again Cate & Katrina .

Members Plaques attached to Concrete Beams in Lutwyche Cemetery


Members of 31st Battalion including RSM Francis Law DCM with the Tribute

Created by our Honorary Member in France Pierre Seillier

The Citation for Francis Law states

“For conspicuous gallantry in action. He showed great determination on the right flank, and,

with about 10 men, attacked an enemy’s machine gun position, captured the gun,

and brought it back to the main position, where he held on all night. “          

Award to Our Honorary Member – Pierre Seillier OAM

Members will be pleased to hear that honorary Member of the 31st Battalion Association, Pierre Seillier, has been awarded an Honorary OAM for his services to Australian Service and ex-Service personnel and ex-Service Associations. The award was reported in the the Locyer and Somerset Independent newspaper 8 Mar 2023.

Our Association has had a close connection with Pierre over many years particularly in connection with the recovery, identification and re-interment of the missing soldiers from the 1916 battle of Fromelles. Pierre has produced high quality plaques of many members of the 31st Battalion from that battle and many other battalion members who have passed away subsequently.

The Somerset Independent News report is reproduced below under the headline:

“RSL’s Efforts Get Recognition for French Comrade with OAM ”

Thanks to he work and perserverence of members of the Laidley RSL Sub Branch, a French Citizen has been awarded an honorary Order of Australia Medal. Laidley RSL Sub Branch President Tom Barton said Pierre Seillier of Fromelles in Northern France was well known to many Australian ex-service organisations and individuals.

“His mission in life is to honour the Australian troops who traveled to places far from home, just to fight for his countrymen during the First World War” Mr Barton said.

He now devotes his time to researching the details of soldiers who lie in graves in that foreign land. For many years Mr Seillier has contributed to RSL Branches throughout Australia by providing excellent artwork for their Anzac and Remembrance Days orders of service.

“He has been granted honorary membershipp of many Australian ex-service organisations, including honorary membership of the Rats of Tobruk Association” Mr Barton said.

At the Laidley Sub Branch, he is regarded almost as a personal friend, one who can be relied upon when they are seeking his services for a design or artwork to advertise a particular occasion.

“Laidley Sub Branch pays tribute to our member Jim Nicholls for his initiative in taking on this project and for sticking with it over the three year period it took to bring it to fruition” Mr Barton said.

Boer War Memorial Service – 9th Feb 2023

Gentlemen, Please find the attached Invitation from the “Sherwood – Indooroopilly RSL Sub-Branch” to attend the “Boer War Memorial Service” to be held Thursday 9th Feb at 1000 Hrs at the Corinda Sub Branch. They usually provide Morning Tea after the Service. We usually have a few attendees and if anyone is available we could adjourn over the Road for a Light Lunch. (Unfortunately I won’t be able to stay for lunch) 
Assemble:-  No Later than 0945Hrs on Thursday 9th Feb
Dress:- Good casual – Jacket, Beret & Name Tag ( I will advise re Medals Later)
LUNCH:- Please Indicate whether you wish to stay on for a light lunch at the Westside HQ Club afterwards. 
Those who wish to attend please advise Me (NOT THE SUB-BRANCH) no later than Thursday 26th Jan. 
I will then advise the Sub Branch The total from 31st Bn Assoc. 
Click Below for Details

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