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In Memory of:




Bernard John Mathwin.


We heard from John’s sister Gayle who told us the sad news that John had passed away on the 7th July, one month short of his 70th birthday.


Gayle said that “John had suffered for many years with emphysema, the dreaded disease that also took our dad, but he is now at rest. Sadly, I will never again get that daily phone call saying - ‘Hi love, how's it going?’ John was the best big brother anyone could ask for”.


John’s life was revealed to the many that paid respect to him at his funeral (see HERE) which was held at the Bowra and O’Dea’s chapel, in Bellevue, a suburb of Perth, on the 17th July, after which friends gathered at the Chidlow Inn Tavern to continue to share stories and thoughts.


“In 70 years, there are so many people who have been part of the life of Bernard John Mathwin (preferring to be known as John) and who share the sense of love and loss that his family have today. We are here to remember John with love and affection and respect for the times shared with him. He was such a positive man, a friend to many, professional in his many different work endeavours, always ready to give things a go. An intelligent man with a zest for living and an interest in his world, fun loving in his approach to life and a proud family man, brother, husband, father to Nicole, Yvette and Travis (deceased), (step father to Anthony and Fiona) uncle, great uncle and grandfather.


He leaves a small dynasty that will remember him fondly and be influenced by their connections to him for many years to come.


John was a lover of people, enjoyed sharing the yarns of life and the hospitality of a good meal and drink. As a fisherman and lover of sports, he was a “man’s man” and he loved to share “his men’s stuff” with the younger generation


Wife Maureen and sister Gayle have put together a summary of Johns life:


In 1947 John was born to Eva Merle and Bernard Thomas Mathwin in Preston, Victoria,  where he lived for the first nine years of his life. The family then moved to Gooch Street, Thornbury, when John was 10 years old.  A few months after that move Gayle was born. – a young sister who remained close in his affections all his life.



John went to Fairfield Primary School, He went on to Rosanna High School where he completed his year 12 studies, or matriculation as it was call back then.  He was a high achiever - an ‘A’ student. At school and throughout life, he was an intelligent reader and always wanted to learn as much as possible.


John had a great love of animals. Gayle recalls when there was a horse in the backyard and Mum said in surprise, “How did a horse get behind the fence,”  John simply replied , “He followed me home.” !!!!


John went into the army at 17, but 12 months later decided the army wasn’t for him and he joined the Royal Australian Airforce Force (RAAF) where he became a radio technician. He enjoyed approximately 15 years in the RAAF.


At the age of 21, he married June Yeomans, who was also in the Airforce, they had two daughters Nicole and Yvette.  Life however does not always serve up roses and John faced his share of sadness. June and John bore a son Travis who only survived a day.  John lost his Mum (right) when he was only twenty six years old. That shook him to the bone, as they were extremely close. John lost his Dad in July 2005 and during that year his health began to fail.


Nevertheless, John generally faced life optimistically and positively. With many years serving in the RAAF, John and his family got to move and experience many different places both in Victoria and Perth. After he left the Air Force he worked in private enterprise.


In the late 1980’s John accepted a Job with Telstra as a technician and he spent many years with them before the area in which he worked was to be closed. In keeping with his character, he enjoyed the best parts that the job offered. He got to see many parts of Western Australia because he was working on the Microwave link from West to East, North and South at the time. He travelled anywhere from Albany south to Derby in the north.


Sometimes they would camp on the sites depending on whether they wanted to save their travel allowance or not. Wherever he went, John would always enjoy his stay in hotels because this way he could talk with the locals and get all the local information about the town’s history. He was a social man who always enjoyed sharing a story or interest over a beer and a barbie.


After Telstra, he had a change of profession and moved into horticulture and this was to become a passion. He went back to studies and achieved a Certificate in Horticulture. Again, typical of John, he completed 20 units in 12 months achieving  ‘A’s & ‘B’s and distinctions in all results.  Gaining this certificate in the 1990’s gave him the opportunity to apply for jobs in the field of Parks and Gardens with the local government council, in which employ he spent the next ten years.


In 1985 while in Perth John met Maureen.


Maureen and John took off in the white VW Beetle and drove to Melbourne to visit family. It was November and a very busy time in Melbourne with the Melbourne Cup coming up. They decided to drive long distances and arrive in Melbourne in time for the Melbourne Cup but were too tired from the long drive and gave the Tuesday Cup Day a miss. Undaunted and in good humour, they enjoyed the races on the Saturday instead.



After spending time with the family, John had planned a long drive back to the west going via the north and across the states back to Perth. This afforded him the time to share with Maureen the places he had been to in his younger days.


The journey did not take three years but it cemented the relationship and in 1988 they married! They lived in South Perth and Palmyra until they purchased a house in Manning. After spending 10 years in Manning they purchased a property in Chidlow, which they developed over the years until today.



The property in Chidlow was purchased in the year 2000 and had very little planting on the half an acre of the land.  John however was an excellent planner and was to shape out a beautiful and productive garden.  With his mathematical brain and knowledge of horticulture the land was put to great use and is still a productive garden today.


He was in his glory arranging where all the fruit trees and the roses would be planted. John planted fruit trees of all types, bearing different fruits all year round which has worked a treat. In typical John style, a chook run was planned on paper before he methodically arranged for all the equipment to get the run built, When completed, the chooks were purchased and an effective long term self-sufficient property created.


John enjoyed reading the daily papers and doing the daily crosswords which he would always have completed in record time, until his later years when his eye sight was not the best. He enjoyed the quiz shows on TV where he would be answering most of the questions before the other participants.



Bruce Baxter and John's wife, Maureen.

Maureen and sister Gayle

Graeme Benthien and Gayle.


John loved a beer and a chat at the local pubs where he got to meet many interesting people. He could always find a good tradesman with his meetings at the local.


John took a position at CY O’Connor TAFE in Northam to teach horticulture.  He enjoyed teaching the trade to someone, and found this period very satisfying. He continued doing this until mid-year of 2005 where his health was starting to become an issue for him.  He suffered with emphysema and for the next ten years developed more ongoing symptoms until he reached the advanced stages of emphysema. Despite this decline in health, he kept up his social life, one could even call him a socialite!


In 2015, home care was put in place to support John at home. Then in early 2017, with his health failing, he was admitted to REGIS Cypress Gardens in Greenmount, Perth WA. In the high palliative care unit, visited by Maureen in the morning, and then later with Nicolle by his side and Yvette on her way, he peacefully drifted off into a deep sleep and his life ended”.




John and I were mates for many years. We were on rookies together in 1965, on 62 RMC at Laverton in 1956 and again on 41RTC in 1967 after which we both headed off to Richmond, John to 486 and I to 38. During those years we did a lot of things together, we bunked together, we played up together, we shared a lot of things. He was a great bloke, a great friend and he will be sadly missed.  tb


Click HERE to see more pics of John.




Douglas Malcolm Ellacott.


We heard from Bevan Greenwood, he said:  “A few ex-members will be saddened to hear that my old mate Douglas Malcolm Ellacott, Engine Fitter, passed away peacefully at his home in Bundaberg on 17th November 2016 after a long illness. Doug had hoped to have seen Christmas out, but it was not to be. He and I both joined the RAAF in 1956 in Brisbane and served 21 years, terminating our service at the same time. He left a wife Elaine, son Gary, and daughter Christina.


Doug served with 35 Squadron in Vung Tau from July 1966 to March 1967.


Sadly, his younger son Malcolm was killed in a motorcycle accident a few years back, which devastated the family.


Doug’s funeral service was held on the 17th November 2016 followed by a Private Cremation at Springfield Gardens Crematorium, Elliott Heads.”





Denis Patrick Macneall.


Ted McEvoy tells us the sad news of the passing of Denis Macneall, a Beaver and Mirage Pilot, who passed away on Wednesday the 12th July. He was 72 years old. “A true friend and just a great bloke”.


Denis was born in England and began his service career in 1961 at Wagga as an Apprentice Instrument Fitter.


From 1964 until 1970, he worked as an Instrument Fitter in a number of postings including 36 Sqn with its A model Hercs, 38 Squadron then RTFV Vietnam April 1965 to Dec 1965 and 35 Sqn Vietnam Mar 1967 to Mar 1968 with the Caribou and with No 2 FTS in Pearce, WA.


In 1970, he was posted to No 78 Pilots' course, qualifying for a posting to 'Fighters' at Williamtown. He completed No2 OCU Fighter and Mirage Conversion Course by 1972 when he was posted to No 75 Squadron in Butterworth.


In 1974 Denis tackled the Flying Instructors' Course at Central Flying School, East Sale, which equipped him to take on two Instructional postings in both No 1 FTS, Point Cook (Winjeel) and No 2 FTS, Pearce (Macchi) until 1978 when he returned to Williamtown. Over the next six years he served with No 77 Squadron, No 2 OCU and as CO No 4 Flight.


In 1984, as a Qualified Flying Instructor, he was appointed Standardisation Officer and Flight Commander with No 2 FTS.


Denis retired from the RAAF in 1988 after 25 years’ service.


In 1989 he worked with CASA and became an Instructor in Saudi Arabia until 1992 following which he was Chief Flying Instructor with the Kalgoorlie Aero Club.


From 1994 to 2000 he held various positions with General Aviation and Airline training appointments and in 1997 he was awarded a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science.


Denis retired from full-time work in 2000, retaining many interests with Gliding, GA, flying his Nanchang and running and owning Warbirds International.



L-R:-   Robbie Rhodes (Sumpie – 9 Sqn), Ted McEvoy (Radio, Pommie import 35Sqn), Denis Macneall (Instruments, ex RTFV and 35Sqn), Jim Muscat (MT Fitter, ex 2 Sqn)




Denis’ funeral was held at the Pinnaroo Valley Memorial Park, Padbury, WA, on Friday 21st July.


The following pic appeared in the WA Weekender newspaper on the 05 August.






Bob Deane.


We heard from Peter Deane, he said:  “I am Bob Deane's brother. I am using his email account to complete unsubscriptions and notifications. I regret to inform that Bob passed away at Lingard Private Hospital in Newcastle on the 18th July. He is on your membership list for ACT.


His funeral service was held on Monday 24th July in the Pettigrew Chapel in Belmont NSW, followed by private cremation.


Bob, a Framie, was 81 (b 30DEC35 - d 18JUL17). He completed 23 year’s service from the mid 1950s to the late 1970s. He joined immediately following completion of national service, doing his rookies at Rathmines NSW from where he was posted to a Neptune Sqn.


He loved the RAAF and was fortunate to have a diverse and quite active career, serving in Malaya, Vietnam (35 Sqn Nov 1971 – Feb 1972), the Middle East (UN Peacekeeping), Indonesia (Technical Training) and all over Australia. He worked with many different aircraft types and loved the variety (the truth is he loved anything that could fly and was only really happy when posted to flying squadrons).


Interestingly, the last aircraft he worked on as late as 2006 was a Neptune. He volunteered at HARS where he had the opportunity to be involved in maintenance and to occasionally fly in the aircraft. He would still be there had his health not failed.


He maintained close contact with numerous service friends and quite enjoyed involvement with various RAAF associations. In retirement, he settled in Canberra where he lived for many years. In the last few years he spent a lot of time in Thailand where he escaped the Canberran winters and enjoyed the company of other ex-RAAF friends.


Bob suffered severe cardiovascular disease and had three separate bouts of different types of cancer. He was a real survivor who loved life and lived it fully to the end”.






Frank Howie.


Steve Howie advised the sad news of the passing of his dad, Frank, who passed away peacefully in the Maitland Hospital, on Friday afternoon, the 28th July, after a prolonged, distressing illness. His funeral was held on the 8th Aug at 11:00 at St John's Church, Clarencetown NSW.


Frank entered the RAAF on the 1st October, 1951 as a Trainee Signaller.  After spending three months at Point Cook, the course went on to the Air and Ground Radio School (A&GRS) at Ballarat in Victoria and then on to the Air Armament School (AAS) East Sale for air gunnery training on Lincoln aircraft.


In 1953 Frank was involved in a bad accident when a Dakota aircraft, on a flight from Richmond to East Sale, lost an engine and crashed into the Snowy Mountains. The co-pilot was killed. Frank was fortunate to escape with his life. Early in his career he became a Gunnery Leader. In 1957 he transferred to the Engineering Branch and completed a Diploma in Aeronautical Engineering at Melbourne’s RMIT.


He had three overseas postings. To the UK in Dec 1958 to undertake an armaments course, to France in Jan 1961 with a team to write the engineering specification for the Dassault Mirage fighter and finally to Italy in Jan 1966 to head up a team associated with the purchase of the Macchi fast jet training aircraft.


At the end of his time in the RAAF, 5 April 1979, Frank was Commanding 481 Maintenance Squadron at Williamtown.


Frank Howie had a distinguished military career. As a Senior Officer, he set a fine example to all those who came in contact with him over the twenty-eight year period he was in the RAAF.


You can read more HERE.




Ron Tyler.


We received the sad news from Yvette McDonald, (Ron’s niece), that Wing Commander (Ret’d) Ron Tyler MBE had passed away in Gympie on the 06 August 2017.


Ron was well known in the RAAF’s radar community, being a WOff radio (Ground) with 114 CRU before being commissioned. After a distinguished 35-year career in the RAAF he retired to Gympie, but soon found himself heavily involved in the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Association and it wasn’t long before he was awarded an Emergency Services Medal. He was raised in Gympie, where his father worked for the Southern Electricity Authority (now Energex), and after he left school he did an apprenticeship with the SEA. In 1958, at the conclusion of his apprenticeship, he joined the RAAF, was trained as a Radtech Ground and stayed in the service until his retirement at age 55 in 1992. During this time he rose to the rank of Wing Commander


At the time of his retirement from the RAAF, he was chief executive officer of the message switching centre in Sydney for the Defence Department.


He was appointed as a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1978 while serving as an RAAF officer, for work he undertook as part of the multi-national exercise Kangaroo 1.


Ron’s funeral was held at the Gympie Crematorium (Opposite the Goldfields Museum) on Tin Can Bay Road on Wednesday 16 August.




Reginald “Rocky” Rockliff.


Early on the morning of the 1st of August, 2017, we lost one of nature’s gentlemen when “Rocky” Rockliff finally left us, a mere 3 months short of his 95th Birthday.


Rocky had a wonderful career with the ADF. In 1941, with WW2 in full swing, and when he was a strapping young bloke of 19, he was called up by the Army and sent to work as a driver with the 5th Motor Ambulance Convoy. He didn’t last long in the Army, transferring to the RAAF in 1942 and was posted to No 1 Engineering School at Ascot Vale in Melbourne.


In 1946, with the outbreak of peace, he was classified “surplus to requirements” and de-mobbed with thousands of others. Then in 1949, saner minds realised the Services were drastically short of man-power and a frantic recruiting drive was commenced. Rocky re-joined the RAAF, as a sumpie, and gradually worked his way up the ranks until in 1959 he was promoted to Flight Sergeant.


In 1961 he was commissioned and enjoyed the next 16 years in a variety of postings, continually rising in rank until in 1977, as a Wing Commander and at the (then) compulsory retirement age of 55, he left the RAAF.


You can see his full story HERE.


On the 7th of August, his family, friends and past RAAF work-mates gathered at the wonderful Ecostudio Fellini function centre, in the hinterland behind Mudgeeraba (Gold Coast), to farewell Rocky in style.


Click HERE to see the Handout given to all.




The Ceremony was conducted by “A Gentle Touch Funerals” of Mudgeeraba in the main function room of the complex with Rocky’s casket in pride of place at the head of the room.




During the ceremony, Dick Wills, who represented the Air Force Association, invited those with military service to lay a red rose on Rocky’s casket.


Brian Duddington.

Col Duffield.



John Griffith.

"Aussie" Pratt.



John Sambrooks.

Nev Conn.



Ron Workman.

Elaine Knight.


Elaine was a Clerk in the RAAF and spent a lot of her time at Williamtown. When she married John Knight she had to take a discharge then they moved to Richmond when John was posted to 38Sqn to look after the Sqn's GSE.   It was there they first met Rocky.



Rocky’s casket – at the head of the room, draped with the Air Force Pennant and a sprig of local flowers.




Joy, who was married to Rocky for a marvellous 70 years, with her grand-daughters.




With the ceremony concluded, Rocky was conveyed from the building by his family.




Those present then formed a “guard of honour” as Rocky was transported to his final resting place.




Everyone was then invited to enjoy refreshments in the reception area, to mingle and to swap some of the hilarious stories and events for which Rocky was famous.


Some of Rocky's work-mates, L-R:  Nev Conn,  Dick Jones,  Charlie Downs,  John Sambrooks,  Doug Angus,  Brian Duddington,  “Aussie” Pratt.



And never one to miss a chance of having his photo taken with a pretty girl, once again, Sambo excelled…..


Sambo with Anna Percuoco, the co-owner of the picturesque Function Centre.

Sambo with Megan Lewis, Rocky’s daughter in law.




Rocky was one of those blokes for whom the term “Lovable Larrikin” was invented. He was a great bloke, he had a great sense of humour and he was a great boss who, if he thought you were right would back you 105% but if you were wrong, you’d wear his number 9 right in the back side.


He will be sadly missed.




Roy "Sticks" Carlton.


Sad news from Ian Butcher: To the Beaver Community and friends, I have been advised by Mike Carlton that Roy lost his fight on the 3rd August, he was 73 years old. His breathing became laboured and he was disconnected from all support and allowed to pass away peacefully.


It is news that I feared over the last two weeks and it is with regret and sadness that I pass it on. Our thoughts and condolences must now must turn to Betty, Jean, Mike, Kate, Sophie and James who have lost a husband, father, father in law and grandfather.


For the Beaver community, we have lost a much loved member and I have lost a best friend of 57 years, luckily we have a lot of fond memories to fall back on.


Farewell Roy "Sticks" Carlton.

You will be sorely missed.



Doug Ramm.


Ken Mould advises the sad passing of ex-WOFF Doug (Dougie) Ramm at Devonport Tas on the 22nd August after a long but well fought battle with illness. He was 70 years old.


Doug as well known in the catering and wider circles as an ebullient person who couldn't do enough. A memorable occasion was the infamous 'Casino Night' at Laverton. Doug's contribution ensured the success it was even though the OC got into some hot water due to unwanted publicity.




Brian Howlett.


Darryl Howlett (ex RAAF MTFITT) advises his brother, Brian, passed away in Cairns on the 16th August, at the age of 70. Brian enlisted as a TELEG in 1969 and retired as a FSgt to Cairns after 20 years. His last posting was at ATTU as a SIGSOP. Brian's funeral was held on Saturday 26th August 2017 at Burkin Svendsens Chapel, Westcourt, Cairns.


He will be greatly missed by family and friends.




Keith Flynn.


Arthur Ellem advises that K.B. (Keith)  Flynn passed away on the 11th  September 2017.  Keith was on No 2 Radio Servicemen's course at Ballarat in 1947. A Thanksgiving Service was held for Keith at the Mosaic Baptist Church, in Page (ACT) on Friday 15 Sep.





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