Vol 74

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Djinnang Reunion.

Herc in trouble.

Last Herc out of Vietnam.

The People I meet (Jennie McIntosh).

The RAAF trunk.




The people I meet.


This year ANZAC Day fell on a Sunday, that doesn’t happen a lot, in fact it has only happened 9 times since 1950 so I was really excited. And apart from being one of Australia’s most memorable days, this year, as it fell on the Sabbath, I was definitely going to commemorate the day, for two reasons, come what may.


I knew though that a lot of my fellow Australians would also be terribly excited about the joint occurrence, who would have believed? ANZAC Day and the Sabbath on the one day, I just knew that it would bring them out of their homes and onto the streets in most capital cities in droves to cheer, clap and say thank you to the hundreds of returned service men and women, who with medals adorned, would proudly march the streets.


Being the smart, intelligent and very modest person that I am, I knew to join this already excited crowd, I’d would have to mask the Radtechitis that naturally emanates from my person otherwise I would be the centre of attention, not those who had fought in other lands in Australia’s name. I couldn’t and wouldn’t be so cruel.


Being a creature of habit, and not wishing to deviate on this auspicious occasion, I decided to follow my normal daily routine, so it was up at 3.30am, on with the blue lycra shorts and Dunlop Volleys, hook up the greyhound and off for my morning constitutional. I usually pound out a brisk 20km in the morning and so as not to tire the young dog, at the 5km mark I tie him to a tree where I know he’ll be safe, I complete the next 5km out and then back at a pace I know would exhaust Rover, pick him up again and finish the remaining 5km at a slower pace. When we get home Rover is, of course, completely exhausted and after a long drink of water and half a can of Pal, retires to his kennel for an hour or so.


Needing to cool down gradually after my morning jog, I drop to the mat and do fifty push-ups on my left arm, fifty on the right, then it’s into the bathroom for a refreshing shower and a good lathering with Velvet. From the bathroom, it was into the kitchen for a hearty breakfast of black coffee, rolled oats with brown sugar and toast and marmalade then it was time to get dressed. My well-fitting two year old blue Stamina suit was hanging in the cupboard but before getting dressed I knew I would need to mask the Radtechitis, so once again it was into the bathroom, out with the bottle of Johnsons baby oil and I gave myself a good smearing of the oil.


With the Radtechitis now contained,  it was on with the Stamina, medals hung from the top pocket, into the 1960 VW beetle and off to the station to catch the train into the city. I didn’t march this year as, being a humble and sharing person, I wanted my fellow past warriors to enjoy some of the adoration, as even though I would usually march in the back row, I would be the recipient of the crowd adoration, people would display signs saying “Thank you hero one” or “ We love you hero” or as the young and fair ones would display “Marry me hero”.


I knew though that my fellow warriors would want the opportunity of meeting me in a social situation, so I joined them at the Jade Buddha on the Brisbane river where I knew they would come and pay homage and attempt to buy me drinks which I would have to refuse as to accept one would result in a hundred or so being offered. I was about to pay my entrance but the proprietors insisted they were honoured to have my presence in their abode and allowed me in as a guest and slipped the blue confirmation of entry tag on my wrist. Unfortunately, un-noticed by me, the tag scraped a tiny amount of Johnsons baby oil from my person and allowed a miniscule amount of Radtechitis to escape. Oil being viscous, it soon ran and the gap was healed. Whisked away by the breeze coming from the river though, that tiny amount of Radtechitis headed west. Gone!


Once inside, I found a table at the rear of the room and sat there so as not to overwhelm my fellow warriors.


Some miles away, in the Hills district, Jennie McIntosh had just finished chopping the kindling and started the fire to heat up the copper. As Sunday was her normal wash day, she was adding the Persil to the water when that tiny amount of Radtechitis fluttered into her laundry. She was immediately transfixed, dropping the laundry basket to the floor, she spun around, doing a couple of 360’s then identifying the source of the alluring attraction, not able to find the orange twin set, it was on with the red dress, knee high boots and helmet, onto the electric scooter and down the road she went, onto the highway and down hills getting the scooter up to high sub-sonic speeds.


She burst into the Jade Buddha, not bothering to pay, scattering people far and wide, found me sitting quietly at the back of the room and yahooing at an uncomfortable 150db, she immediately draped herself upon my person attempting to soak up some Radtechitis. I allowed this to continue for 57 minutes before extracting myself.



Such is the burden a Radtech must endure.


Jennie is the Promotions manager for KM Smith, Funeral Directors, which are a major sponsor for the RTFV-35 Sqn Association. Jennie is a lovely lady, full of fun and great company.




Q: What's ET short for?....A: Because he's only got little legs




Djinnang Reunion. 2021.



Some of the pics below have been crunched to allow them to open quicker.

You can see and/or downlopad a better quality one by clicking each pic.



The 2021 reunion was held at the Paddo Tavern, in Given Terrace, Paddington. This was the first time the Paddo had been chosen and from all accounts was a popular choice as it was decided it would also host the 2022 reunion.




People started to roll in not long after lunch and soon there were more than 70 people from all the RAAF Comms trades enjoying a cold ale, some great food and recounting their embellished memories of their time in.


Those present include:  (All names left to right)



The Gate-Keepers. 


No-one got past these two ladies without first paying their dues!!


Tracey Stephens,  Gail McDermott.



Sue Culley,  Gary Francis,  Joy Macpherson,  Marie Henson.



Bev Ramsay,  Ros Smith,  Deb Hawkes,  Vanessa Holt.



Les Ramsay,  Mike Holt,  Wayne Dalmeida, Glen Watson.  Front:  Gavin Smith.


This was the first time these 5 blokes had been together since 1966 when they were at Laverton on 71 Telegs. (Below)



In the pic at left:


Standing:  Les Ramsay,  Mike Holt,  Wayne Dalmeida,  Glen Walton.


Seated:  Gavin Smith,  Bill Roberts (Dec’d),  Bob Morrison (DNF)





(Who said age shall not weary them? What a load of bunkum, seems to have done quite well here!)





The Telegers and their lovely ladies.


Bev and Les Ramsay,  Mike and Vanessa Holt,  Wayne Dalmeida, Glen Watson. Front:  Gavin and Ros Smith,  Debi Banks.



Bill and Leanne Watson,  Daryl Henderson,  Iain Crapp,  Mike Roberts.



Cath Tierney,  Adele Murray,  Sue Culley.



Col Price,  Karen Jorgensen,  Ian Mckee,  Neville Murray.



Colleen Higginson,  Gary Francis,  Di Chattington,  Shelly Mathers,  Sue Culley.



Double Debs


Debi Banks,  Debi Hawkes.



Di Chattington,  Mitch Hogfalt.



Di Mellick,  Fran Brown,  Waymne Dalmeida,  Ros Curran,  Marie Anderson.



Sandy Faber,  Di Mellick,  Marie Anderson.     These 3 lovely ladies say they were on 187 Rookies back in 1969. How could that be? – not one of them looks any older than 35!!



Gary Francis,  Di Chattington,  Shelly Matthers,  Sue Cully..



Geoff Baldwin,  Les Ramsay,  Des Williams,  John Rogers,  Greg Bussey.



Geoff Grebert,  Susan Nichols.



John Subott,  “Pygmy” McAndrew.



Joy Macpherson,  Marie Henson,  Cath Tierney.



“Pygmy” McAndrew,  Nipper McGilvery,  Jill McAndrew,  Marie Price.



Ray “RG” Thompson,  Ron Amos,  Geoff White,  Ron Bellert.



Ros Curren,  Lorraine Caesar.



Rod Taylor,  Geoff and Colleen Baldwin.



Steve Ellis,  Sue Nichols,  Colleen Higginson,  Lisa Williams,  Ingrid Laudzevics,  Tracey Stephens,  Murray Crome.




One of the perks of this job is you get to have your photo taken with some beautiful ladies – sorry, no vacancies!!  -  tb.


Lallee Jagiello.



Debi Banks.



Lisa Williams.



The Committee.


Tracey Stephens (Committee),  Brian Webb (IT),  John Isaacs (President),  Gail McDermott (Secretary),  Alyn Hawkes (Treasurer), Gavin Smith (Immediate past president),  Kerry Harrington (IT).




Life Membership


RG, being an old Codger, was awarded a well deserved Life membership of the Association by the past President Gavin Smith.




Course Photos


CommsOps and SysComs






Telstechs and Radtechs.



Trinops and Switchies.






SigsOps and Telegs.




All the Troops








The RAAF Trunk.


Brendan Godwin says “I set myself a project this year that I have just completed. Restoring my Air Force trunk. One end was rusted to the point where there were some small holes in the bottom. I tried welding them but that made them bigger so I soldered them all closed. I sanded the thing back to bare metal. To my surprise, inside the lid I unearthed an inscription of the manufacturer, Duff Steel Industries. They were still operating in Sydney until 2000. The company was deregistered in 2000. When I tipped all the rust out of the bottom, I found a couple of relics in the powder.






These things have been in there since we were issued with our uniforms in 1967. I am afraid the rest of my khaki uniform is long gone. Correction. I just found a shirt that I had been using as a work shirt to fix motor vehicles. I might see if Vanish cleans it up.


The paint was not a perfect match. I took a photo into Bunnings but they wanted the trunk to scan the paint with their paint scanner. I wasn’t dragging that in. The inside lid was still largely original paint. The outside front and one end was original paint but well faded. I can’t be sure the inside lid did not change colour shades over the last 54 years so I really did not have an original colour to work from. I tried to match the inside lid colour with some of the paint cards they had and I came to what I thought was close. But it came out lighter after I painted it on and let it dry. I think it should be a tinge darker.


These trunks have a seal inside the lid. When you clamp them shut they are water proof. You can throw them in the ocean and they will float.


My father kept his WWII trunk until 2000, he threw it out in a house move.


Does anybody else still have their trunk?”



Apparently it's only appropriate to say "Look at you!.  You got so big!" to children.

Adults tend to get offended.




Last Herc out of Vietnam.


Ron Russell got in touch, he says : “I am writing regarding the article on the last Herc out of Vietnam. I would like to add to the story.


I was a Cpl RadtechG at Base Radio RAAF Butterworth in April 1975. When the situation in South Vietnam started to deteriorate, an operation was set up based at RAAF Butterworth commanded by GPCAPT Lyle Klaffer. For our part, we set up a radio network with RAAF Butterworth, Bangkok and the Embassy in Saigon (which was in the Caravelle Hotel) being the stations. RadtechGs from Butterworth were to be cycled through the station network with each person spending a week in Bangkok and a week in Saigon. Our role was to maintain the radios and the network. I went to Bangkok but was tasked to go to Saigon after only a couple of days as the situation in South Vietnam had deteriorated. Cpl Zanco Barbadyn who was a RadtechG was already there.


As it transpires, we were a part of the evacuation of the Embassy. My recollection was we got out on Saturday the 26th April but others say Friday the 25th. I do know that the North Vietnamese carried out their threat to bomb Saigon on the Sunday. Too long ago.


On the day, there were two Hercs at Tan Son Nhut waiting to load a whole lot of people of a number of nationalities. Of course the Ambassador was there. As we took off, I remember thinking that I, with all others, would have the dubious honour of being on the last Herc out of Saigon and subsequently South Vietnam. That turned out to be untrue.


Part of the RAAF contingent at Saigon at that time was 4 ADGs. Ian Dainer was one but I can't remember the names of the others. For years, I did carry a newspaper clipping with a photo of the guys sitting on their gear on a pallet on the hard stand at Tan Son Nhut and the full story but alas, I am buggered if I can find it. I have though attached some scans of articles about it from Google. They were not allowed on the Hercs as the story goes as the Hercs were overloaded.



If you talk with some others, they will tell you that the Ambassador made the decision to leave them there. Fortunately, many hours later, true Aussie spirit, bravery and values rose to the top, and a Herc was diverted from another task and went in and picked them up. I take my hat off to the bravery of those 4 ADGs and to the bravery of the aircrew who flew that Herc into what could have been hell on a runway. So the story is, the last Herc out of South Vietnam came of Saigon after picking up the 4 ADGs who had been left behind. I hope you get something out of the attachments.”


There is some video of that HERE, unfortunately, it does not contain sound. You can see the data Ron sent HERE.




They say every piece of chocolate you eat shortens your life by two minutes.

I've done the maths, seems I died in 1537.




Flat tyre?



This old A model doesn’t look happy. Does anyone know what, when and where?



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