Vol 5

Page 7


Battle of Britain.


We received an eMail from Ron Johnston who lives in Telford, Shropshire, in the UK and who just by chance got our address from a recent edition of the Vetaffairs newspaper. (It goes far and wide doesn’t it). Ron advised that a British paper, the Daily Mail, is featuring surviving pilots of the Battle of Britain, and they need help in tracking down any living BOB pilots living in Australia. Anyone with any info can send it direct to letters@dailymail.co.uk


Ron also advises that the Battle of Britain Association recently held a reunion at the RAF Museum at Hendron, North London, and 109 answered the roll call. It is believed that the numbers are now down to 315 out of a total of about 3,000 There are plans for a monument on London’s Victoria Embankment large enough to accommodate all 3,000 names.


But, as we’ve said on many an occasion, “it’s a helluva small world”!!!


Ron is originally from northern Tasmania (me too) and served 20 years with the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps. Between 1963-1965 he was posted overseas with tours of Malaysia, the Thai border, and later to Ubon. In 1969-1970 he was with the 1st Aust Field Hosp, and was posted to Back Beach hospital Vung Tau and would have been on duty while yours truly did a stint there. He remembers Silver Bird day well when the RAAF hospital bus would arrive at Back Beach to pick up the medivacs for their long trip back to Richmond via Butterwork in the “big old Herc.” He says: “We owe a lot of thanks to the RAAF Caribou, medivac and dustoff crews, particularly those who operated around Nui Dat and Vung Tau.” (How right he is!!—tb) He suggests a web site worth a look is www.callsignvampire.org.au Vampire was the call sign of the “dust-off” pad at Back Beach.


Ron vividly remembers the trip into Nui Dat with Wallaby airlines, with its steep descent/take off made necessary so as to minimise “shoot-ups” of the aircraft. For first timers a STOL in a Caribou is quite an experience, not at all like a take off and/or landings in that other old La Viet work horse, the USAF C123.


Like the rest of us, he also has vivid memories of the Flags area, but insists he never tried any of the hepatitis rolls sold there late at night, (We did—they were damn good), but on more than one occasion he can recollect catching the “Lambro” back to base after having a few.


Ron also sent us a copy of an ODE he had written, and seeing as ANZAC Day has only just gone, we’d like to share it with you.





Early alarm calls all comrades to rise,

And wipe the sleep from bloodshot eyes;

To don those medals shining bright,

March on, march on, in the pale November light.


We look around and call the roll,

Anyone seen Bill from Shrewsbury Town?

Alas, alas, another Sunset Call,

March on, march on, in the pale November light.


Forty thousand feet marching as one,

Some crisply gait, others slight;

Forty thousand ears hearing the drum,

March on, march on, in the pale November light.


With heads bowed low in silent prayer,

Leaves rustle loudly on the autumn air;

Reveille sounds bringing us erect,

March on, march on, in the pale November light.


It is the same throughout the lands,

Where Allies once bore arms to fight;

As we closed the books on ninety nine,

March on, march on, in the pale November light.


As the new Millenium moves to double zero one,

Another bloody war, fight on, fight on, they'll say;

More names are added to the stone,

March on, march on, in the pale November light.




Ron, recently in the UK. We include his photo because someone’s sure to remember him from the Thai/Malaysia skirmish in the early 60’s, the world’s just not big enough any more– you just can’t hide anywhere….



If you’ve been to any of the spots mentioned before, and you’d like to have a yarn over the ether with Ron, send your emails to us and we’ll direct them on. We know he’d be glad to hear from you.



Timor homecoming.

Great to see the public getting behind the blokes and blokettes that went to Timor—those that went to Vietnam, when thinking of their home coming all those years ago, must feel a little sadness, and surely must be thinking—if only…….





Just when you get used to a black and a red wire set, they go and change it to a brown and blue one!!!



Australian War Graves.


Vetaffairs reports that the British based Commonwealth War Graves Commission has set up a Debt of Honour Register on the Internet. This site contains the details of the graves of the 1.7mil members of the Commonwealth armed forces, including Australians, who died during the two world wars.


The cemeteries and memorials where these names are commemorated are situated in 50 countries, but this data base makes it possible to identify the exact location, by cemetery plot and/or memorial panel where any given name is commemorated. Details of the 60,000 or so civilian causalities of World War 2 are also recorded.


If you’ve got a relly or friend of the family that died in one of the world wars, you can check the site to find out exactly where they are buried. The address is www.cwcg.org




Damn noisy neighbourhood this Alice……..



A woman was standing beside her car in the Coles car park, and a bloke stopped and asked if there was anything wrong. “Yes” she said, “I’ve locked my keys in the car”. “No problems he said”, and he turned and rubbed his bum against the side of the car and all the doors unlocked. “That’s amazing" she said, "how did you do that.”  “Easy” he said, “I’m wearing my khaki pants”.





John Broughton remembers his time at 38Sqn. He had just returned to work after his honey-moon, when Laurie Lindsay (OIC Queer Trades) met him with orders for a 2 month stint at Det A (Port Moresby). Word is that Josie was not amused and we hear that Laurie was not on the Broughton’s Christmas card list for quite a while.



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