From the President: Firstly, Seasons Greetings to you all! This is our first newsletter in the recent history of the Association and something the Committee has wanted to do for a while. Many of us only communicate once a year and it was felt that a special newsletter circulated to financial members in between Anzac Days would be something you might all enjoy!
So here it is—please give us some feed-back and think of the next newsletter which hopefully will be circulated next October. Some of you may have a story to tell, an interesting photo or a bit of memorabilia from the war years that you would like to contribute! In the mean time, have a lovely Christmas and we look forward to seeing most of you on Anzac Day 2005. Kindest regards to all Kevin.
Kevin (Nipper) Taylor and his wife flew north to Cairns in July this year. During their stay, they drove up to the Atherton Tablelands and paid a visit to the Rocky Creek War Memorial Park where our Association has a 3 Div AASC Plaque.
Kevin advises anyone making such a trip in the area to definitely make a visit to the Memorial Park. Not only does our unit have a plaque, but various other units belonging to the 3rd Division are also represented.
Kevin (Nipper) received a phone call from George Churchward (Qld) and he mentioned what a beautiful place Cabulture has become. Do you all remember our campsite there in the early ‘40’s? Mosquitoes by the thousands— so much for progress!
Below: Photo of the 3rd. Div. AASC Association plaque at the Roky Creek War Memorial Park, Qld. [Click Photo Link]
Above right: This little gem is from the very early years of the Association—1946, at the time of formation.
When you consider that we raise something like $650.00 for the raffle each Anzac Day these days, it puts the currency of the day into a very different perspective! This carefully recorded account is in Len Stevens’ handwriting and it was found amongst Harry Wadge’s early records.
VALE : HARRY GEORGE WADGE
4/06/1918 – 8/06/2004
Harry was a warm and intelligent man full of empathy for others, with a wonderful sense of humour and was full of life. In fact he totally loved everything about life and lived his life to the full, doing so with great integrity and charm. He was one of life’s true gentlemen.
Harry was born to Henry Viant and Lidia Annette Wadge (nee Collier) in Armidale on 4th June 1918. His parents’ home was at 86 Alma Road, Caulfield where he spent his youth.
His secondary education was undertaken at Melbourne High School and amongst his pre war employers was the Victorian Millowners Association.
Harry was a keen sportsman and prior to the war he ran with the Richmond Harriers and rowed with the Melbourne Rowing Club. That is probably where he gained his broad shoulders.
Harry gave a full six years of war service, during which time he received his commission and was ‘Mentioned in Dispatches’. He left a brief summary of those years, and so in his own words we are fortunate enough to have an accurate description of his amazing story, which follows:
‘My own Army history commenced when I joined 3 Div A.A.S.C. in 1937 and went to my first camp at Mt Martha. This was a militia unit. We used to attend parades at the old Coventry Street Drill Hall, and when war appeared inevitable we were told that if war was declared we were to report at Spencer Street Station in uniform and with full kit at 8.00am the following morning.
War was declared, as we know, on Sunday September 3 1939, and on Monday 4th, there we were on our way to Camp Site 17 at Seymour. After a month of training, we were released for a month in order to attend to our personal affairs and then reported back for further duty. In late May 1940, a number of us decided that we would transfer to the AIF, and I joined 7 Div A.A.S.C.
We sailed from Australia in the old Queen Mary in October 1940, completed training in Palestine and then moved up the desert road to Tobruk where we were ensconced for six months. I was eventually evacuated through medical channels and spent the next six months in hospitals including a sojourn in Eritrea.
Some time later, after the Japanese entered the War, I embarked on a Liberty ship from Port Said to go to Java, but as a result of a Naval battle in the Sunda Straights we backed off and travelled unescorted through the Indian Ocean to Adelaide.’
This is not in Harry’s story, he often told the following story over a drink. That trip to Adelaide, unaccompanied, in incredibly rough seas and in enemy infested waters, was a nightmare. Sixty metre waves came towards the little ship and all aboard felt they would be engulfed. But no, the little ship would sail up the massive wall of water and when it reached the peak the engines had to be stopped as the prop would have been sheered off as it protruded from the water on the peak of the wave. Once they reached Adelaide, no-one wanted to re-embark and sail to Melbourne and the soldiers were so relieved to set foot on home land, they all immediately went AWOL, Harry included.
I gather there was not a sighting of them for a couple of days.
Eventually, Harry was the one who brought them all back to the ship, well and truly under the weather. I am sure Harry too was no angel. However, he was the one who somehow managed to remain in good enough shape to lead them all back to the ship. And negotiate with the powers that be and persuade them to turn a blind eye on the antics. Fortunately, no charges were laid!
Returning to Harry’s narrative:
‘Upon returning to Melbourne, and after only one weeks leave my Unit travelled to Casino and then Caboolture from whence I was posted to 15 BDE 3rd Div A.A.S.C. - the Unit I had left several years before. At that time the Unit was at Casino. The Officer in Charge was Hugh McCullough who was a fine soldier. Subsequently the Unit moved to Caboolture and later we embarked for Port Moresby, flying to Wau. From there I went to Bulolo and took a small party up to Wampit on the Markham River. At this stage I was a Sergeant acting as a Warrant Officer. I was then called back to Head Quarters and sent with a small party of Infantry and other branches of the services to meet and liase with the Americans when they landed at Nassau Bay. However, because of a" stuff up" we did not arrive until several days after the landing. Later I went to Tambu Bay where I received notice of my Commission and spent some "hairy moments" as Assistant Beachmaster.
From there to Lae, a bit of home leave and a reposting as Officer in Charge of a transport platoon (B Platoon 158 AGT) which later became 56 Transport Platoon.
We went to Bougainville where we came under the command of 152 AGT. I was later reposted as Transport Officer of 17 Australian Field Ambulance and spent the last days of the war at Soraken at the northern end of the island.
Because of an accumulation of points I was able to get away from the island quickly once the war ended and sailed home on the Taroona with full lights ablaze on about the 16th August 1945.’
After the war, Harry took advantage of the government’s offer to provide tertiary education to veterans. He attended evening and Saturday lectures at the University of Melbourne and eventually obtained a Diploma in Commerce, graduating in May 1951. All this was achieved whilst supporting his growing family. Whilst achieving all these vital activities, Harry also managed to give time to help his fallen mates through service with Legacy.
He became a founding member of his Army Unit Association, the 3rd Div AASC Association, serving from its formation as either President or Secretary until his death.
Harry was admitted as a Member to the (then) Australian Society of Accountants in 1951 and he subsequently became a Life Member of the Australian Society of Certified Practicing Accountants in 2001.
Harry became a Justice of the Peace in 1964 serving the community in that capacity until 1990. During those earlier years of service as a JP, he gave many hours of his time to sit in the Oakleigh Magistrates Court.
He was President of 13th Camberwell/ 1st Hartwell Scouts Parents Association for many years whilst his sons were involved in the scouting movement.
Harry eventually became a Life Member of the RACV Caravan Club, and served as President of the club for almost 9 years. He and Marj spent many happy times with the Caravan Club and he introduced me to the same lifestyle.
He started his own accounting practice in the early sixties. He gradually built the practice up to the point where it would fully support him and he remained there until his ‘retirement’ in 1984.
In October 1994, Harry suffered a very debilitating stroke. Although he was never the sort of man to become an invalid, he faced his difficulties with great courage, continuing to caravan with Jan at the helm enjoying a few wonderful trips together as well as monthly rallies and Christmases at Blairgowrie and even managed a trip in the company of friends to Broken Hill and the surrounding areas.
Harry passed away peacefully in his sleep in a Nursing Home on 8th June, his family very much the richer for having sharing in his long and fulfilling life. [Photo below.]
Published in the obituary section of the Herald Sun August 2004.
Sadly, we have to report the loss of the following comrades since Anzac Day 2004:
Jack (JJ) Ryan - 16/05/2004
George (Shorty) Carter - 7/06/2004
Harry Wadge - 8/06/2004 [photos left]
Kevin Braithwaite - 5/07/2004
Jack Mason - 17/09/2004
Jack Richardson - 10/10/2004
Lest We Forget
We shall also make the same report in the next Annual Circular.
NEWS: Rod Dewar has been to Townsville and has photographed the Memorial Plaque at Rocky Creek.
Merv Newman of Bendigo recently turned 90 and celebrated with 162 friends! Ted Poole’s wife and daughter attended the celebrations.
Alf Middleton has just retired from umpiring cricket after 40 years service. He received a Life Membership with the Northern Cricket Association.
Frank Burridge is having some trouble after surgery in November. His son Scott lost his house in a fire. Fortunately Scott’s son was at school when the fire ocurred!
Les (Skinny) Grant is still the same weight at 49 kg!
Jack Richardson (JJ) passed away aged 87 years. He had just retired from playing tennis two months prior to his death! Jack, Bill Fry and Alf Woods used to play footy together.
Mick Shallue is again in the best of health after a rough trot earlier this year. He has taken to riding his bike around Benella—his biggest risk is dodging Lennie Lewis when he is driving his car!
Contributed by George Whitfield
ABOVE: WW2 AUSTRALIAN METAL IDENTIFICATION TAGS AND RETURNED FROM ACTIVE SERVICE BADGE. ARMY DRIVING LICENCE ISSUED 19/7/1942. OFFICERS COMMISSION, HUGH GEORGE McCULLOUGH, FIFTEENTH, MARCH 1941 AND CLOSE UP OF COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA COMMISSION SEAL.
ABOVE: THOSE AT HOME BEING ASKED TO DO THEIR BIT FOR THE WAR EFFORT.
Source: AWM artv00161, sc00590, rc02324, 042770.
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