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Gemas Day continues to be a reminder of the sacrifices and success of the members of 2/30 Battalion and 2/15 Field Regiment who took part in the operation at Gemanceh Bridge on 14 Janury 1942. Sadly almost all of the heroes who were there in 1942 are no longer alive to share our admiration. It is up to us as the surviving generations and members of the Association to carry on the appreciation and respect for this significant event in Australia's military history.
This year 30 members, friends and the Association Pipes and Drums celebrated the occasion at Pymble.
In its wisdom the Army has prohibited members of Scottish affiliated units from wearing Scottish dress other than when forming catafalque parties. It does, however, seem fitting that one of the few, if any, occasions when 2/17 Battalion members can wear the kilt is at Gemas Day. Whilst the 2/30 Battalion was not technically affiliated with the The Black Watch, the Battle Honours of the Battalion fell to be preserved by the postwar 30th Battalion NSW Scottish Regiment and it is gratifying to see our traditions carried on by Alpha Company Scottish of 2/17, even if not on as many occasions as we would like.
Starting in 2017, the 2/30 Battalion Association, feeling the loss of its original members, invited members of our Association to join the march at he Gemas Day ceremony. We were honoured to do so to represent the origtnals. This year we were again honoured with an invitation to carry on the "tradition" of the one year. Of course the Pipes and Drums have been part of the Gemas Day celebrations for many years now.
A wreath from the Association was laid by Frank Woodhams accompanied by Ian Meek, whilst the Pipes and Drums provided the background.
Photos courtesy of Andrew Murdoch
Photos by courtesy of the ABC.
|Our happy re-enactment group|
Reserve Forces Day 2017 was again held at the ANZAC Memorial in Hyde Park, with the Association members forming up on both sides of the Pool of Remembrance, a very fitting and thought provoking venue.
In the absence of the Governor, who was overseas, the Principal Reviewing Officer was the Lieutenant-Governor of New Soutn Wales, His Excellency the Hon Tom Bathurst AC.
The theme of Reserve Forces Day 2017 continued the Centenary of ANZAC theme by remembering the Mounted Desert Campaign and the Charge at Beersheba in October 1917. The Parade featured the Light Horse by placing them at the northern end of the Pool of Remembrance and by honouring the 1/15th New South Wales Lancers and the 12/16 Hunter River Lancers as representatives of the cavalry that took part in the Charge at Beersheba, the last major mounted cavalry action in history.
A demonstration of the equipment carried by each trooper during the 1917 Mounted Desert Campaign was given by two troopers from the Light Horse Association.
Our Pipes and Drums led a parade of descendants of World War 1 veterans who were presented with medallions by the Chairman of the Reserve Forces Day Council, the Hon Tim Fischer AC, the Chief of Army, Lieutenant-General Angus Campbell DSO AO, the RSM of the Army, Warrant Officer First Class Don Spinks OAM, Rear Admiral the Homourable Justice Michael Slattery RANR, the Judge Advocate General of the Australian Defence Forces. Frank Woodhams, who is also Treasurer of the Reserve Forces Day Council was responsible for the the organisation of the presentation.
Once again our Association was represented on the organising committee of Reserve Forces Day by Frank Woodhams, Ian Meek, the Secretary of the Reserve Forces Day Council , Terry Kennedy who was responsible for the forming up area of the Parade and by Kevin Cram.
Frank Woodhams welcomed members and their guests to the traditional Formal Lunch that has been held on Reserve Forces Day for many years. The venue again was the Castlereagh Boutique Hotel
In doing so he welcomed special guests, CAPT Pat Sharkey, OC of Alpha Company (Scottish), LTCOL John Moore and Mrs Virginia Moore, Connie Cameron, Fred Nile and Mrs Silvana Nile, Angie Valentine Flint, Jolyon Nove and Marion Howard.
As usual proceedings commenced with the Address to the Haggis, this time carried out by Eric Maver.
LTCOL Tony Larnach-Jones spoke to the assembly about the Boer War Memorial in Canberra which has now been opened and thanked the members of the Association and the Reserve Fiorces Day Council for their part in obtaining funds for completion of the project.CAPT Pat Sharkey follwed by describing a restructure of the Reserve whereby 8 Brigade will now become a training unit. 2/17 Bn and, of course Alpha Company (Scottish) will transfer to 5 Brigade. This concludes a long history going back to WW1 whereby 17 Bn and 30 Bn have been members of 8 Brigade. CAPT Sharkey did provide the welcome news that members of Alpha Company can now wear Balmorals on Parade nights, when they have qualified for them. A Balmoral presentation night is being planned for later in the year.
A new addition to proceedings was the introduction of Scottish Dancers provided by the Argyle Scottish Dancers Group.
Once again the highlight of the day, the Pipes and Drums recital.
Followed by the Pipe Major's Toast. Frank was joined by our Pipe Major Gordon Irving, Nick Roelvink, Pipe Major of the Manly-Warringah Pipe Band and our Hoi Captain , Harvey Baden.
Following the 2016 Reserve Forces Day Parade, the NSW Scottish Regimental Association was again awarded a Cerificate for the Best Association on parade and whilst this Cerificate was accepted by Ian Meek on behalf of the Association at the Reserve Forces Day Council presentation night in the absence of the Association Commander, Derek Bryden, and the Association Sergeant-Major, Don McNiece, advantage was taken by the presence of LTCOL John Moore to present the certificate to Derek and Don.
The Manly-Warringah Pipe Band, re-named the Manly-Warringah Pipes and Drums for the occasion, has been a magnificent supporter of Reserve Forces Day for many years and LTCOL John Moore took advanbtage of their presence at the lunch to present them with a cheque in appreciation.
The cheque was received by Drum Major Barry Nicholas, Pipe Major Nick Roelvink and Secretary Piper Vicky Lindsay
And the raffle.
Some of the winners were:
Frank introduced a new innovation by arranging for all to participate in singing Auld Lang Syne.
We open the ANZAC Day 2017 report with a picture of a "mimi-banner" donated to the Association by the estate of the late LTCOL Bill Crooks MBE. This banner commemorates the New South Scottish Regiments since 1885 - the New South Wales Scottish Rifles and 30th Battalion NSW Scottish Regiment.
The ANZAC Day March in 2017 again followed the Elizabeth St route that has been necessary since George St was closed for installation of light rail. This route is a little shorter than the previous one and and was welcomed by our 65 participants.
it was pleasing to be supported by several members of Alpha Company (Scottish) this year.
and our contingent was led by the Scots Old Boys Pipes and Drums for the second year with a promise to so do again next year.
Photos courtesy of Andrew Murdoch
The ANZAC Day Reunion was held at a new location this year, the Sir Stamford Hotel. This proved to be a popular move not only because it was cheaper but also for the magnificence of the surroundings.
Every function held by the Association is very well supported by John Ewing who manages to bring a large number of guests, usually female, and who have became famous as "John Ewing's Sisters". This year was no exception except that a larger number than usual were male so the occasion is now known as as the one that was supported by John Ewing's Brothers AND Sisters.
|John Ewing's Brothers and Sisters|
Frank Woodhamns welcomed a number of new guests, including Bill Magson, a guest of John Ewing, and a regular guest at our functions. He also welcomwed another of John Ewing's guests who as a boy lived in Holland during World War 2, one of the few, if any others, in the room who had actually experienced life in the battle zone.
He also welcomed LTCOL John Moore, Ilona Birtha and Lyn Scott , members of the Reserve Forces Day Coiuncil, and LT Tony Hopkins, a serving platoon commander in Alpha Company (Scottish), who was accompanied by Rosemary Endesbury. Tony had also marched with the Association members.
|Tony, Rosemary Frank and Jan|
The traditional highlight of the afternoon was the Pipes and Drums who seem to go from strength to strength as shown by the very enthuiastic appreciation and applause of our members and their guests
The traditional Pipe Major's toast was also celebrated. Frank Woodhams took the opportunity to point out that no Pipe Major throughout the Regiment's history had ever asked for anyhing other than whisky. It is rumoured though that sometime in the diatant past a Dining President had used two decanters - one full of whisky for the Pipe Major and one filled with cold tea for himself
The afternoon concluded with the raffle, drawn by Rosemary.
To show that the Association is alive elsewhere than Sydney, Allan Stevenson sent the follwing picture of the Broken Hill ANZAC Day March and Paul Oates sent one of the march in Boondah Queensland.
To satisfy complaints from our Hoy Captain that our photo galleries seem to ignore him and despite the fact that we managed to sneak a photo in the commentary above we publish the following:
At the risk of making the NSW Scottish web site seem like a politicians's post-election behaviour we have to again break our previous promise not to report on the weather for the 2017 Harbour Cruise. This is because IT RAINED! and it rained all day but did not dampen the Scottish spirits. (Note Scottish not Scotch, we are not sure whether our guests dampened their whisky or not)
This year Frank Woodhams commandeered a larger vessel, the Captain Cook III, pictured above among the grey clouds. It was just as well he did because a record-breaking 140 members and guests accepted the Association's invitation. The new vessel accommodated everyoine very well with a different configuration of tables that enabled most of us to get a better view of the rainy harbour attractions.
|The crowd boarding||The crowd boarding and still boarding|
As usual the Pipes and Drums entertained the boarders and bystanders and as usual our photographer showed his incompetence because the Man'O War kept stepping into the picture. The cruise liner at Circular Quay did provide a different backdrop though.
Tradition followed commencement of the voyage with the Association AGM taking place on the upper deck of the Captain Cook III. Frank Woodhams reported on past and future activity and finances and also announced that in honour of Alpha Company's involvement in overseas operations in East Timor and the Solomon Islands, these activities are now emblazoned on the Association Banner.
|The unveiling of the banner at the AGM||A better view of the banner held by CPL Greg Smallwood and PTE Declan Murray of Alpha Coy|
Despite the record attendance and contrary to what the pictures below seem to show, the new boat provided ample room for all to ove about and the lunch menu was a great improvement on past cruises.
As usual the occasion was highlighted by the Pipes and Drums
Each year the Association makes a donation to the Pipes and Drums to offset the considerable expense incurred by its members in upkeep of uniforms and instruments
|Frank Woodhams and Pipe Major Gordon Irving|
In what is now a tradition anongst the many others, Harvey Baden has adopted the role of "Captain OY" to lead us in the response during the playing of th Black Bear. In acknowledgement of his complaint that we rarely show his happy face on the web site we are pleased to do so now and at the same time capture his performance during the Black Bear of the 2017 AGM.
Prior to the conduct of the raffle, Frank Woodhams takes the opportunity to make a presentation to recognise the contribution of special people and this year in recognition of the high level of support given to the Association and to the Reserve Forces Day Council of Group Commissioner Trent Aylward and the Australian Air League a special presentation was made to CPL Natalie Aylward who has earned the distinction of the Air League's New South Wales Cadet of the Year.
LTCOL John Moore also took the opportunity to detail the current interest of the Reserve Forces Day Council in the campaign initiated by the Chairman of RFDC, the Hon Tim Fischer AC, to have General Sir John Monash posthumously promoted to the rank of Field Marshal in belated recognition of the vital part General Monash played in the latter stages of WW2, a recognition that was denied to him in the years after 1918. John Moore spoke of the then forthcoming NSW Launch of the Saluting Monash Council that was held in Sydney on March 8
And then the Raffle
|The Prizes donated by Members||And the Prize of Prizes donated by Dulux|
Some of the winners were:
The Dulux Dog was originally won by Colin Boland to the consternation of Clementine von Muenster, the daughter of MAJ Stephen von Muenster the previous OC of Aplha Coy who is now one of our staunchest members and was a great supporter of the Association during his service in Alpha Company. Stephen offered a donation to the Assocation if Colin was prepared to forego his proze, which Colin generously agreed to do.
|Colin, Clementine and her dog|
In a previous report we promised that we would not start our future reports by commenting on the weather. So we won't, except to say that it was perfect for the 2016 30 Battalions' Church Parade.
|The St Stephens Choir under the eye of the 30 Battalion Regimental Standard singing "Where Have All The Flowers Gone?". A most appropriate song for Rememberance Day|
The Church service was followed by the now traditional end of year and Christmas lunch at which traditional Christmas fare was served including festive vegetables which tickled the fancy and the appetite of at least one of our guests who proceeded to eat them festively.
Thanks to Don and Brenda McNeice for their festive decoration of the tables.
In the absence of haggis at the Christmas lunch a tradition of Piping in the Pud has developed.
|Piping in the Pud||The Pud|
Then, as always, the highlight of the day the Pipes and Drums, whose repertoire once again included new tunes although their performancee of Highland Cathedral needs special mention as it was a special delight for us all.
|The Pipes||and the Drums|
In recognition of his sterling service as the Pud Piper and his piped rendition of Happy Birthday to Eric Maver Bill Wright was elevated to Acting Piper Major for the Toast and toasted the President.
And finally the raffle which does so much under the organisation of Don McNeice and his band of raffle consultants - festive ones this time - to provide funds for the Association. Our thanks to all who donated prizes which were of the usual very high standard.
Some of the lucky winners were (you will note how intense they were in their selection of prizes such was their high standard):
|Graeme was one of them|
|He wanted to make sure of his choice|
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