The 8 Ball Aug 2023 Issue.
"C:\Users\PC\Documents\8 RAR\8 Ball Issues from FEB 23 Onwards\Behind The 8 Ball August 2023.pdf"
The 8Ball March 2023 Issue:
"C:\Users\PC\Documents\8 RAR\8 Ball Issues from FEB 23 Onwards\Behind The 8 Ball April 2023.pdf"
The Latest 8 Ball
"C:\Users\PC\Documents\8 RAR\8 Ball Issues from FEB 23 Onwards\Behind The 8 Ball February 2023 (003).pdf"
Unfortunately, the Victorian Report for the above was missed. It is published below:
8 RAR Victorian Branch Update January 2023
Welcome to the Victorian branch update for January 2023. Judging by the renewed traffic congestion near Melbourne the festivities around Christmas and New Year have all been forgotten and mayhem ensues on the roads. Nonetheless, warmest best wishes to all for the New 12. A rather special year it is too with the National Reunion preparations in full swing. Mind you, there are a number of our folk who are yet to respond. Please do so soonest as numbers are important for planning purposes regardless of whether there is an intention to intend any number of activities or not. For instance, due to capacity limits the National Vietnam Veterans Museum may need to close its doors to anyone who hasn’t ‘booked in’ for the Reunion tour. More on that sort of matter to follow, but before we forget the Museum, please note the attached Donation Form. Rather than throw out memorabilia of your service in Vietnam and elsewhere, please consider donating it to the Museum where it will be welcomed and actually seen by others with an interest for years to come, as displays will be rotated. You won’t get that in other major repositories. The world being what it is today, there are rules and regulations for even giving your stuff away, so please do identify items, ephemera and the like for the Museum then digest the requirements of the attached Donation Form. Having done that, you may as well bring the donations and completed form with you to the Reunion. Sadly, the 8 RAR section of the Museum is sorely lacking. Only you can fix that.
Turning to recent Branch activities. We had a successful luncheon for the Christmas Break-up at Waverley RSL on 27th November 2022. It was a tad noisy in the venue and Dennis Moss is going to try to obtain a function room next year. Nonplussed by the racket, Arthur Koo resorted to using tourist Whispers type R/T devices with only limited success. In any event, the proceedings were graced by the presence of Dennis and Cait Moss, welcome newcomers Jim and Paula Corcoran, Bruce and Marilyn Lankford, Jane Andropof, Connie O’Dea, Geoff Ravenscroft, Ken and Ros Emmett, Alan Holland, Ralph Miller, Paul and Sue Fraser, Peter and Janet Fraser, Jim and Elka Pleasance, Geoff Hopkins, Julie and Graeme Agnew, John and Hilary Cooper, Christina and Buzz Kennedy, Grant Coultman-Smith, John Betts, Bill and Lyn Westhead, Bruce and Joy Seater, Jim and Dawn Brown, John Onrust and Arthur Koo. A great turn-out and pleasing to see John Betts, Bill Westhead and Ken Emmett back following recent medical issues. Thanks to Bruce for calling the roll too.
Apologies for the 27th were received from Peter Luttick, Allan and Joyce Small, Joe and Connie Azzopardi, Wayne and Vera Maschette, Mike Prendergast and Warren and Joy Gilliland who were crook with Covid – yes, it is still around it seems. A very late apology was received from Neil and Sylvie Smith. Apparently, while putting the finishing touches to their finery, Neil’s hearing aid fell to bits in his left ear. Ignoring the yelps and obscene language, Sylvie grabbed what Neil insists was a chop stick or something similar and attempted to remove the offending bits. Sadly, she merely succeeded in ramming them further into his ear where there seemed to have been little resistance – something was cruelly said by an 8 RAR man about the absence of any matter between his ears. In any event, a visit to the local Emergency Department resulted and solved the problem, although the wonderful Nurse Practitioner who attended was sure to advise no washing of hair for two weeks to avoid infection of the damaged ear hole. Washing of hair! If you know Neil, that will never be an issue.
This warrants a paragraph all by itself. Arthur Koo took the opportunity at Waverley to brief all present on the Reunion preparations and especially to call for volunteers. VOLUNTEERS. Did you copy that? More are needed to help out. Let Arthur know.
Bruce Lankford and Marilyn represented the Branch at the RAR Association dinner on 27th November 2022 at the Waverley RSL. Attendance was disappointing although happily some younger RAR men were in attendance. Bruce and Arthur went to the most recent RAR Association meeting at the new meeting venue, the Kew RSL. Disturbing news from the meeting is that the venue is struggling to find the necessary membership numbers – Covid being one reason, and may not be viable in the future. So the RAR Association might be looking for yet another venue even before the dust is settled from the last move from the Tramways/East Melbourne RSL where there are still unresolved issues with Association memorabilia lodged at the venue. Life wasn’t meant to be easy some say. Association numbers are also languishing and while the Regimental Dinner is still an annual highlight it is not as well attended as most would like. Also, the RAR Association is very conscious of the Royal Commission into Veteran Suicides but has neither the manpower nor expertise to become involved.
Touching on the Reunion once again, the RAR Association meeting discussed the matter, especially in relation to the position of 8 RAR among the RAR group in the Melbourne ANZAC Day March for 2023. Our preferred option is to be last (‘rules’ ensure first is out of the question) and close to a band to help marchers keep in step and therefore put our best foot forward, so as to speak, it being the Reunion March. It seems the jury is still out on where our position will be. Never fear though, you will be briefed before the actual March. Remember, ANZAC Day is the last day of the Reunion.
News about the traps then. With Paul Gallagher pulling the strings Bravo Company are holding a reunion in Bendigo for Long Hai Day this year which has received considerable interest from all accounts. Wayne Maschette has been feverishly progressing the place of 8 RAR at the National Vietnam Veterans Museum. Dennis Moss has been flat out attending to his SES responsibilities, all exacerbated by floods and carnage on the roads while Neil Smith has become a familiar face at The Shrine, as has Adrian Lombardo where both are kept busy with Governor duties, in fact Life Governor duties for Adrian.
Looking further down the track we have the annual Long Hai Commemoration Service at The Shrine at 1145 on Sunday 26th February 2023. The format will be similar to past years with some extra consideration of and discussion on the conduct of our Reunion Commemoration Service which is scheduled for Saturday 22nd with the Gala Dinner that evening. Also, two years ago, it was suggested that as part of the Long Hai Commemoration Service the names of those Battalion members known to have died over the previous two years would be read out during the service, so this is the intention this year. If anyone objects to this, please let the writer know and the matter will be further considered.
Returning to the National Reunion Commemoration Service, for your planning purposes please note that participants will be asked to assemble at the city end extremity of the Shrine Lower Forecourt, near St Kilda Road and the entrance to Government House, at 1030. For those who can march – remember it is a taxing climb for some, the group will form up with our banner and step off at 1100 behind the Rats of Tobruk Pipes and Drums – so there is no excuse for sloppy drill. Those who can’t march can join the parade after it has formed up in front of the Eternal Flag and the seated guests and spectators. Be advised the activity is filmed and can be seen on You Tube and elsewhere, so look your best and tell family and friends to have a look. A standard service will follow with components such as a formal Welcome, Shrine Welcome, Speaker/s, National Anthem, Prayer, Wreath laying, The Ode, Last Post, Silence, Rouse, Poem, Honour Roll and Closure. The parade having Fallen Out in situ, everyone will be invited to refreshments from the Salvation Army between the three main flags and Birdwood Avenue. Don’t forget to give the Salvation Army folk a gold coin for their support. When invited, groups will need to assemble on the Shrine steps for photographs. Following refreshments and photographs everyone is encouraged to enter the Shrine which is a magnificent building and suited to the reflection of our military sacrifice and service. Whilst not a museum per se, the displays in the Shrine are world class and should be seen. Take the opportunity if you can. There are guides about the place.
Just a brief word on the Melbourne ANZAC Day March. It is too early to detail form-up areas in the CBD but the March is similar to those most have experienced elsewhere. Note that it is a lengthy route, down Swanston Street, then along St Kilda Road and finally the longish rather demanding climb up the aforementioned forecourt to the Shrine, past the Eternal Flame (which always receives an Eyes Right and Front). Just before reaching the Shrine steps the column wheels off as directed and falls out in the nearby grounds. Now, for those with mobility issues, please do let us know so that arrangements can be made. Cars and the like are usually provided by the RSL but are limited in number.
After ANZAC Day and the National Reunion the Branch will hold the usual mid year luncheon, this time at the Ringwood RSL on 25th June 2023 starting about midday as usual. For the Battalion birthday the Frankston RSL is the venue once again, this time on 6th August while the final end of year function will be at the Glen Waverley RSL on 26th November 2023. Make sure they are in your diary.
Finally a few wise words from yesteryear. The only thing more accurate than incoming enemy fire is incoming friendly fire. Another one - make it tough for the enemy to get in, and you won’t be able to get out.
Finally, hot of the press. Regardless of what you might read elsewhere, the fact is that 63,718 Australian Defence Force members served in the South Vietnam conflict, with 18,807 being National Servicemen – not the 15,000 or so which is commonly reported.