We grieve with you

As the events in Christchurch unfold, we stand with our mates in NZ grieving this despicable, awful event and hoping and praying for a better world. A few words from our leaders:

Jacinda Ardern has said:

this “..is and will be one of New Zealand’s darkest days.

This is not who we are,

This is an unprecedented act of violence.

There is no place in New Zealand for such acts of extreme and unprecedented violence.”

The PM of Australia has said:

“Australia and New Zealand, we are not just allies, we are not just partners, we are family. As family members with our New Zealand cousins today we grieve, we are shocked, we are appalled, we are outraged, and we stand here and condemn absolutely the attack that occurred today by an extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist that has taken the lives, stolen the lives, in a vicious, murderous attack, that has claimed so many New Zealanders.

Australians stand with all New Zealanders today during this dark time where hate and violence has stolen their peace and innocence. Kia kaha (stay strong).”

Amen to both.

Reporting Abuse: NZ Cadets’ Status

Back when Peter McCann first advised us of his successful claim to the Defence Force Ombudsman, Roger Simmons asked the very reasonable question:  ‘Very, very interesting. I am not sure how it affects us overseas students.’  The news, I’m afraid, is not good.

Advice by email from the office of the Ombudsman is that: ‘The Ombudsman can receive a report of serious abuse in Defence by a reportee who was, at the time the abuse is alleged to have occurred:

A member of the Australian Defence Force, or
An Australian Public Service employee deployed outside of Australia, or
A Defence contractor engaged to provide services outside Australia, either in connection with an operation of the Defence Force or for the purpose of capacity building or peacekeeping functions by the Defence Force.

This advice was reiterated during a later telephone conversation with a different Liaison Officer. She further advised that abuse by a non-Australian member was also not covered, so if you’re considering submitting a report please note that proviso. A couple of other points she made:

  • Firstly, DART has closed down, so all reports are dealt with by the Defence Ombudsman. I got the impression that they were mainly concerned with very serious abuses (sexual and/or injury), and that the threshold may have been raised, but that’s just my reading between the lines.
  • Secondly, there is a process time frame of about 8 months.

Frank Edwards (who served as CO/CI of CSC) and Maurie Meecham (who served as DMA) weren’t able to shed any light on whether NZ cadets had a special status that might render them as being in the Australian Army. That seems to be a forlorn hope, although the task has been passed to Tony McLeod to chase up from the Shaky Isles end. Frank’s reply, which he noted was his opinion, was consistent with Maurie’s response and is as follows:

Firstly, all authority must stem from the regulations or legislation that established DART and the Ombudsman role in it. Their answer says only ADF members (as we were as cadets) are covered. They would have no reason not to be accurate in their response.

 Secondly, the status of the NZ Cadets.  I had NZ Cadets (and other foreign nationals) at both OCS (when I was SI Field Training) and at RMC.  They were never members of the ADF. As I recall, they were posted to the NZ High Commission Defence Staff (for duty RMC as students). The NZ Defence Adviser at the High Commission was their “legal” Commanding Officer in Australia.  When Boards of Studies made recommendations on repeat or removal of a NZ cadet it went as advice to the NZ DA (with some involvement of the NZ Exchange Instructor). An official NZ response would come quickly and then be acted on (they rarely questioned any recommendation). I recall this process being used while I was at Portsea but do not recall seeing it used while CO CSC (generally all NZ cadets who got to RMC were pretty good as they had done a lot of pre-training in NZ).  I recall that there was an arrangement that placed them under command for discipline etc, but “admin” remained the responsibility fo the NZ Exchange Officer and Warrant Officer at RMC (leave, travel etc). For example, I recall that their leave applications for term breaks went to the NZ Instructor whereas all Australian Cadets applications came to me.  You would also recall they had different conditions of service back in our day (pay, leave travel, right to own vehicles in 2nd Class etc).  

 As an aside, I served at HQ ADF on DGJOP staff as SO1 Land Operations when a number of AS/NZ combined force operational responses were planned.  A sticking point with every Australian JF Commander was the status of command of the NZ component of the JF. NZ never relinquished national command authority and reserved the right of veto over any order or activity that involved NZ defence force members.  While the NZ component was “embedded”, they always remained under national command. I suspect similar provisions were contained in whatever agreement covered cadets.

So, although our Kiwi colleagues underwent the same regime, it seems they will not have access to the same means of redress.

I’ll post this on both the Class of 72 FB page, and on the website.

Queensland Classmates in Hobart.

A post from Ian Callan on Facebook, copied below:

Today a special meeting of Queensland Classmates occurred in Hobart. It was a makeup for Bob and I because we both missed recent Queensland Reunions. Barb and I had a great lunch with Bob Shaw and his cousin Susan. Notice the short sleeves; 24C perfect day.
Earlier in the day Barb and I caught up with Sue Martyn who is in Hobart doing family tree research. We also met with another couple from Melbourne who we walked the Portuguese Camino with. Sure is a small world.
Thanks for a great day Bob Shaw. Best food ever.
Callo

Bob & Ian

Roll Book Update

In case anyone following this blog didn’t get Graham Smith’s request for contact detail updates for the Roll Book, his email is hereunder:

As it is 50 years since most of us headed to clink to serve our
sentences, it is time to get the Roll Book in order so I am sending
this email to seek any updates for addresses and phone numbers etc.

I have incorporated some in an interim list but I failed to update Lee
Pattinson’s email but it is on his note on the homepage. Also Tom
Cobley’s address arrived today and will be updated on the next issue.

If I don’t get responses from all the email addresses on the current
list I will try to contact defaulters by phone.  Luckily my mobile
plan includes unlimited calls internationally. You cannot escape easily.

If anyone still doesn’t have access to the webpage please contact
Berry to provide you the details but you can google yourself and get it.

Mates for ever

Graham Smith

Graham’s email is grhmsmith@bigpond.com

There have been a few responses, two of which I’ve reproduced with permission below, because they contain a bit more information. Your thoughts on Tony Mckenna’s suggestion would be welcome.

30 January

Hi Graham,

My details are correct.

I have been thinking ahead to our reunion in 2022 and believe we should
produce a momento of our 50 years similar to what Rod Allan did with the
video in 2002 and re-issued on CD in 2012. I am sure I’m not the only one.

My thoughts are along the lines of a booklet or similar with profiles of
all classmates then and now (with photos) and a summary of service,
achievements, decorations/awards and anything else we feel might be relevant
without going overboard or invading privacy.

I would be happy to put together a working group (probably of Victorian
based classmates for convenience) if I can con a couple into getting on
board. We could then spend the next four years collecting and collating data
and putting it all together for publication and distribution at the reunion.
Of course, the class contact list will be vital for this exercise so I’d be
plaguing you for up to date information on a regular basis. 🙂

What do you think?

Cheers,

Tony McKenna

January 28 (originally to Ian Callan)

Hi Ian,

I trust that this finds you and Barb both fit and well.

Here Margo retired on 31 August 2018 and so we have moved to Minnesota, USA, which is her home area.

We bought a lake home seven years ago and we are currently doing some renovations.

While Margo was still working I embarked on writing a third book titled  The British Infantry,which is now about to be published.

So, once again, as with my two previous books, I was planning on sending our classmates a complementary copy.

Therefore, I was wondering if you have compiled an updated RMC CLASS 1972 – MASTER DATA SHEET that is more recent than the 27 July 2016 copy that I have at the moment?

In that regard, I certainly miss your Snippets, which I found indispensable in keeping up with what all our class were achieving with their lives.

In closing, I look forward to all your news.

Best wishes,
Tom

Another view of life at Duntroon

Thanks to Rowan Tracey for letting me know of another book that discusses life at Duntroon – this time in the period 1926 to 1929. It is one chapter in Robinson, Godfrey, The Decades of a Duntroon Bastard, Neptune Press, Belmont (Victoria), 1980, which, despite the title, is really his life story.

He notes that ‘I believe that my class endured the peak of the bullying: certainly the three classes that followed mine were less severely dealt with, although they might not agree.’ (p44) We might relate to that! There are a couple of poignant bits of self-examination that we might in some ways share, although I don’t think, as a class, we would have contemplated taking part in the sort of bastardisation we received (not that we had the option):

‘Being the youngest of my class – I had just turned seventeen – and of no great maturity anyway, this “training” had at least one unfortunate effect on me. I finished the fourth class course determined to take it out on the next fourth class, and that obsession possessed me in some measure until after I had left Duntroon. I think many of us suffered traumatic psychological injury as a result of that dreadful year.’ (p 45)

‘In fact after four years of training I was in a practical sense no more fitted for the world than I had been the day I arrived in Duntroon; but one thing I had learned. I could stand alone against all things, against all people if need be. There was in me an ineradicable unbending conviction of fitness to accept and handle responsibility at any level. I felt deeply that responsibility would be better exercised and more fully savoured, if it should thrust me into loneliness.’ (p 48)

Citation has been added to the Bibliography page (https://duntroonclassof1972.com/bibliography/). I managed to get a copy through Abe Books, but that website indicated that it was the only copy it had available.