W3 Company - News
Final Update W3@Tribute08 [webmaster 29 May 2008]
Carrying the flags of our fallen:
Apologies to date:
1Sect 3Pl early 1970 [Welsh]
|Some of the People
is apologising to...
|Helen Clark to apologise
for her behaviour - webmaster [26 May 2008]
Vietnam Vets are to finally get an apology on Wednesday. The apology will be given at Parliament. [more detail at the link]
Quote: "Prime Minister Helen Clark says the apology will recognise the veterans were not treated fairly on their return to New Zealand after the war in Vietnam."
see the 'I was There' comment at the bottom of the story at this link to put things into perspective historically.
The apology will be broadcast from Parliament, probably during the afternoon session.
Enjoy..! link to official apology text
PS: a 2nd apology is expected during Tribute08, this is likely to be the NZDF apology concerning preservation of personal records etc.
W3 Admin Order -
60 W3 veterans have indicated they will be attending [veterans need not have registered to attend]
Dress Code for the Weekend - The organisers ask that dress overall is "comfortable, smart-casual". People may choose to wear medals at any activity they wish.
For these, dress with medals as for ANZAC Day
W3 'watering hole' for Saturday afternoon is "The Thistle Inn"
To the W3
History Project - Bruce Young [14 May 2008]
Peter Anderson [27 April 2008]
Taken in Timaru RSA ANZAC Day, Peter [Andy] Anderson, Dick Bennett and Doug Mackintosh. They were among a large number of veterans and service people [including Doc Welsh] who later travelled to Esk Valley to lay poppies on Dave Wrights grave and play the last post. Doug with wife Chris made the trip south from Christchurch especially to visit Dave's grave. Andy said he and Dick enjoyed catching up with 'Pinky' and laughing about things that seemed so very serious 38 years before...
PS: seen at LG Williams [original SAS and W2] funeral 23 April: CSM has a tartan hat to match the waist coat...!
Peter [Andy] Anderson, Dick Bennett and Doug Mackintosh [Anderson
ANZAC DAY 2008 [25
It has been the custom on 25 April each year to remember those who served in conflicts as members of the New Zealand armed forces. Today W3 members pause and remember the sacrifice of David Wright [19 March 1970 buried Esk], John Gurnick [29 May 1970 buried Pukekohe] and Tom Cooper [11 October 1970 buried Tainui urupa]; and also those not here with us today.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old,
Updates from Veterans Affairs or Government - webmaster [20 April 2008]
Media Release 'One point of contact for veterans services' -
Veterans' Affairs Minister, Rick Barker
2. Veteran Registrations
and Associated Data
3. Update on NZGSM (Vietnam)
medal award [as at 16 April 08]
|Website Statistics -
webmaster [13 April 2008]
I have been watching the figures for website visitors grow over the past two months, with the daily average now around 38 at present [about twice the norm for 2007]. This is likely due to updates about Tribute08 but also to the number of new articles offered. Interestingly New Zealand visitor numbers to the website are not growing as fast as those from Australia [twice as many], and the USA [three times as many].
If you are an overseas visitor to the website, welcome...! I trust you will enjoy reading a record of what some New Zealand veterans achieved in the Vietnam conflict. I would be happy to publish emails from visitors, please use this link and identify your background.
Email from Duke Henry [9 April 2008]
Was interesting reading ref Dave Haywood's accident in the Philippines, so soon after the 3 Platoon document being released. The effect of ex NZSAS members like Dave Heywood, Doug Mackintosh, RSM Brighouse, Tom Rautau, Tapa Dickson in my early Bn years was immeasurable. I left the Bn in 1974 and took on an Adult Apprenticeship in Gisborne for the next 4 or so years, great times but not what I wanted. I rejoined the NZ Army again in 1979, though my initial requests through Lucky Monroe the cadre NCO in Poverty Bay were constantly turned down. Rather than accept the fact that 28 year old, married privates were hardly a bonus for the Infantry I wrote a letter to Sir Robert Muldoon, NZ PM of the day explaining my needs. He replied days later. With his assistance I guess? (I have a feeling Bobby Upton assisted in some way [see comment below - Ed]) I rejoined the military and was posted to 2 Field Sqn RNZE in Linton. Bill Lilicrapp (NZSAS Training Officer) received my SAS selection nomination. I met Dave again for the first time since Vietnam in Linton, he called into the unit and we talked for sometime before he wished me well and said we would meet again in Papakura. Dave was an incredibly kind hearted individual and I was humbled that he had made the effort to catch up with one of his old 2 Platoon problem individuals. Later that year 1979, I met Dave Heywood again, this time in the SAS compound and other than a wry smile and handshake that was about it until the end of selection and the 9 month cycle of training.
Dave was an incredible guy and well respected throughout the ranks. He was promoted to WO2 and was a serious member of the SAS senior peer group. Dave's crash in the Philippines in 1981 meant we lost a great comrade and truly humble unit member.
My second tour to Singapore put me under the direct control of WO2 Danny Wilson (ex NZSAS) which was a good thing for me. He along with Fred Barclay, Jack Curtis, Dick Kiwikiwi and many more (also ex NZSAS pers) gave the Bn a serious lift in energy and professionalism. The Infantry of that day was a unique blend in my opinion and we were extremely fortunate to have that SE Asian garrison duty. The young soldiers of today are indeed well up to speed and deploy almost all over the globe. Full kudos to them.
I look forward to meeting you all in the reunion days ahead, regards EAJ
I Was There - Bob Upton
Email from CSM - Doug Mackintosh [30 March
2008] We Will Remember Them...!
24 March, on our way back from Dunedin (where I spent 5 happy years in the 1970s as RSM, teaching the local lads how W3 would have done things) my wife and I turned off SH1 just south of Timaru and took the road to the ESK valley. About 8 km along the winding country road we came to a road junction with a small WW1 memorial for about a dozen local men, an old school building now used as a early childhood centre and one house. We took the shingle road to the north, climbed the hill and came to the old church of St Marys, on top of the hill with a good view all round. After a short search we found Dave Wright's grave where he lies next to his father, a vicar, perhaps the local one. I gave the stone a quick wipe down and laid two Anzac poppies for him. The graveyard is well kept and is a tranquil spot looking over rolling South Canterbury farming country, no hint of the roaring traffic on SH1. On the way back we paused to let a farmer, his dog and flock of sheep pass by. Perhaps a hint of the life Dave enjoyed before he came to us.
All the Best Doug
Duke Henry [25 March 2008]
Bruce - Your email rekindled the desire to get there for this one, I am looking forward to catching up. Nothing negative about Vietnam for me but guess for many not such a good time. Lets hope as many as possible can come along with simply the same mindset / mode we travelled together to Waiouru, Burnham, Terendak etc all those years ago. No hidden agendas or anxiety, just get together and enjoy families and old friends once more? I have had numerous experiences in strife stricken areas of the globe since 1974 and usually forget about the place and its problems the day I leave. Vietnam and the men I served with are one memory that I do keep and for me it was a unique experience and one that will never completely disappear.
Be safe and stay in touch, Regards Duke
Email from Peter Anderson [21 March
I had missed the 2005 W3 / V4 Reunion in Palmerston North because of work commitments and regretted not being able to get there. But seeing Larry O’Brien and Billy Ashford's dustoff's and other dustoff's over the years made me realise that the old anno dominie were speeding past too fast and maybe it would be a great opportunity to see old faces and remember the great times while we can still hold a glass without spilling too much and can remember the old times without resorting to BS. It would be great to see as many W3 pers as possible attend.
I would also like to say that the way the 3 platoon accident was researched and presented on the website was very well done. I remember the unfortunate incident well but never knew or understood the details. Certainly helps to understand what 3 platoon members went through. Regards Andy
Also: Andy had a message from Billy Ashford's sister but his laptop has been giving problems, wonders if anyone else has her address, if so please forward it to him.
|Book Review -
webmaster [15 March 2008]
"Voices from Vietnam" update - it is likely the book, based on oral recordings of veterans, will be launched at Tribute08. see here for publicity
Book Review -
webmaster [10 March 2008]
Of most relevance to jungle bashers is the way in which New Zealand developed the expertise in close-country operations that served us so well in Vietnam. Our style of small group tactics started with the New Zealand assistance and mentoring to the Fijian battalion 1952 - 1956, were later developed by the original SAS deployment 1955 - 1957, and enhanced by later infantry battalions during their operations on the Thai border, in the Johore swamps, and across the mountainous terrain in Sarawak. Veterans will recognise in the stories many names of those responsible for training and testing us. Also interesting was the way New Zealanders went in droves to the conflict, learning mostly after their arrival how best to do the job. But the book shows how the New Zealand effort was often the best of all the units deployed, on either side of the conflict.
Another overriding theme is summed up by Colonel David Moloney a former commander of the 4th SAS deployment to Borneo, who commented "that for a very tiny country .. with a tin-pot little army, we really do extraordinary things". The book exposes the way the Holyoake government's forward defence planning developed the art of promising to do - and indeed doing - much with little. Considering we were among those doing the much with little, the book makes interesting reading. "From Emergency to Confrontation" should be in your local library.
'I was There' -
Also, similar to the NZSAS experience detailed in the book, the Gurr bn was also very good in
keeping Claret operations, before, during, and after, very secret. The 'need to know' principle was strictly enforced.
As Signals Pl Sgt I did not need to know, and only guessed what was going on, half way through the tour. The COs
operator kept forgetting to completely fill in a lost report for a signals satchel, "lost when in contact with the enemy".
The location line on the lost report was left blank. After three reminders to the Sig I received a verbal message from
the CO telling me to stop asking his Sig Cpl questions, then the penny dropped!
General Service Medal - clasp Vietnam [3 March 2008]
A written application is required in order to establish eligibility and to ensure that the correct information is engraved on individual medals. The application includes a section where the applicant can indicate if he or she wishes to have the medal presented at Tribute ‘08 in Wellington, or delivered by courier. [also read in conjunction with news item immediately below]
Group [27 February 2008]
2. RAR Association website and Invitation: Rick Hollingdrake, webmaster of the RAR national website has invited this website to add a link to their website [see Welfare page]. The website has contact details for each state and Kiwi's are welcome to contact the Association and join them for commemorative and social events. Greg Decker, Secretary RAR Association Queensland has also approached us to extend an invitation for veterans in Queensland to join them - "I would like to invite and encourage any of your members who now live in OZ to make contact via the web and come along and see what we do. You'll see by the links the other Bn the Kiwis have served with in various loc, Singapore- SVN etc so there is a lot of mutual stories to be told. If any of your members are visiting OZ you are always welcome to join us on any Monday at the National Memorial Walk in Brisbane for smoko and a yarn. Hopefully this will help open the door and give guys a wider choice of which org they would like to affiliate or join with - RAR QLD Br Inc or 2 RAR Assc, 4 RAR Assc etc plus there is a great bonus in marching on ANZAC Day and participating in various activities afterwards with the main focus being on the Long Tan SGT Mess at Enoggera." Greg wonders if there is a Kiwi contact person in Queensland..? [is there..? - let me know]
3. New computerised ranges opening in Waiouru. On 7 March Army will officially open two new ranges in Waiouru. The ranges will be named the "Williams" Range and the "Torrance" Range after the commanders of W2 and W3 Companies. It is expected that both LG Williams and Evan Torrance will be present. Army GS have informally invited veterans to the opening which starts at 11.00AM. Those interested and able to attend [particularly W2 and W3 people] should mark their calendar [let me know here if you are attending and I will advise the Army].
Following Information provided by E.G Williams, Lieutenant Colonel, Director
Training and Commitments, Army General Staff
Worth a visit..? [let me know here if you are attending]
- Rod Baldwin
organising committee [25 February 2008] [scroll down for other relevant announcements]
Friday 30 May
Registrations: 9AM - 11PM TSB Bank Arena, Queens
Wharf, visit EVSA and Tribute08 booths.
Saturday 31 May
The Tribute including:
Sunday 1 June
Conclusion of The Vigil: at 8AM
Formal part of the weekend concludes at approximately 12 noon Sunday 1 June.
The Theatre season of ‘Ka Mate’ runs from 14 May to 2 June and Veterans and families can attend a performance at 2PM or 5PM throughout the weekend. The Vietnam Era Exhibition will be open over the weekend, with the full season running from 27 May to 8 June. Venue to be advised.
Tribute08 Travel Subsidy announced [6 February 2008]
Update [19 February 2008]
Vic Johnson has offered an update about the importance of the VANZ Presumptive List Information Sheet.
The opening paragraph of the presumptive list reads: 'In order to assist with the resolution of War Disablement Pension claims, presumptive lists have been introduced. These lists allow for the automatic acceptance of certain disabilities for a War Disablement Pension if you have served in certain theatres. These lists are based on medical and scientific research which indicates that if a veteran of one of these theatres is suffering from one of the disabilities on the presumptive list for that theatre, it is likely that the disability is attributable to the veteran's service. If you have been diagnosed as having one of the disabilities which appear on a list that corresponds with your theatre of service, this disability will be accepted automatically as attributable to your service.'
The closing section of the presumptive list reads: 'Previously Declined Claims" If you are have one of the disabilities on a presumptive list which you are covered by but this claim has previously been declined as not attributable to your service, you are entitled to apply to have your claim reopened on the basis of the introduction of the presumptive lists. To apply, you need to submit an application for reopening, along with medical confirmation that you are suffering from the disability on a presumptive list.'
The list can be downloaded from the website: www.veteransaffairs.mil.nz/pensions/index.html
needs Adobe Reader - download from this link
Rededication of Tom Cooper's Headstone - Evan Torrance [5 February
The official apology over the errors was signed by Margaret Marks Senior Adviser, War Graves for the Ministry of Culture and Heritage. The text of the apology is:
"Dear Mr Cooper
RE REPLACEMENT HEADSTONE FOR PTE TOM COOPER, VIETNAM WAR CASUALTY
As you are aware, the office of Veterans’ Affairs New Zealand is providing a replacement services headstone for Pte Tom Cooper, a Vietnam War casualty buried in the Taupiri Mountain urupa, because of errors in the service number and age on the present headstone. The latter was provided by the Department of Internal Affairs, the government department responsible for the provision of services memorials at the time of Pte Cooper’s death.
The Ministry for Culture and Heritage, which presently has responsibility for the graves of war casualties, is sorry for any distress caused to the Cooper family by the errors on the original headstone. It is pleasing that these errors are finally being rectified.
Please convey the good wishes of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage to the Cooper whanau.
Yours sincerely, Margaret Marks"
Group of veterans outside the Te Awamaarahi Marae at Tuakau.
from left: Bill Rawiri [V5], Ngatoto Kupe, Pompey Marshall [SAS], Ross Dunlea, Danny Campbell, Don Wolff, George Preston, Neil Ure and Evan Torrance, below: Ben Hona.
The Cooper whanau were very appreciative of the presence of Tom's army comrades and made everyone very welcome. It was most evident that Tom was a very much loved and respected family member and the sorrow felt by his untimely death was deep and sincere. Gone but never forgotten.
Review - webmaster [3 February
Michael interviewed a wide range of veterans and veterans wives to give the story of how conscription affected individuals, their families and their communities. He writes from the perspective that Vietnam was different from all other wars that diggers had been sent to: "At the end of it there is one harsh, unpalatable fact that separated this war from all the others: for the first and only time in our history Australian soldiers were sullied and defamed by their own people for carrying our name into battle. Whatever the reasons , Vietnam as a term, as a memory, still carries a volatile charge and careless handling can cause instantaneous detonation." He describes the Vietnam war as being two wars, the one we fought in, the other the war watched in rising discord and discontent at home.
The book covers the WW2-type military psyche of our parents, the manner in which Australia became embroiled in the US-led war, the effect of conscription and the manner in which 'nasho's' acquitted themselves, and many good yarns which could easily come direct from our own stories. Long Tan is covered in excellent detail, as was the futile effort to motivate the locals toward the US style of fighting. It finishes with the last days of the Republic and the confusion back in Australia as servicemen discovered their poor standing among their peers and even the old soldiers. The title of the final chapter may have summed up the feelings of veterans throughout the book "If we look like having another war, send the frigging politicians". 480 pages but worth the effort.
Peter Anderson [1Pl]:
[if you have a book you think the remainder of us might be interested in, send the editor the title, author and a very brief reason why the interest and subject to availability he'll try and review it]
Vietnam Veterans and their Families Trust [18 January
Also available on the EVSA website is the latest copy of the Application Form. Applications can be made by individuals who served in Vietnam or members of their immediate family who may need assistance due to the effects of their service or of an immediate family member (e.g father, husband etc). The Trust are also more than happy to consider applications made on behalf of someone who feels more comfortable having a support person assist them with their submission.
|Chris Kennedy Interviewed [14
Neil Ure and Bruce Young met with Chris Kennedy 14 January in Waimate to record
Chris's recollections of the 10 October 1970 3Pl accident. Like others interviewed, this was the first occasion that
Chris had recounted his recollections of an experience that has scarred him, especially on ANZAC days', where he reflects on
the life and times of his mate Tom Cooper.
Chris Kennedy and Neil Ure,
Noticas Fatal 42775 Pte WG Ashford 1Pl
- webmaster [11 January 2008]
The Vets Net have just advised that Bill Ashford [1Pl] died Marton 9 January 2008. Bill's funeral was held in Wanganui 11 January 2008 and he is buried in the Services section of Wanganui Cemetery. Tributes here.
We are deeply saddened to hear of Bills death and pass on our deepest sympathy to his whanau.
Evan Torrance [8
[5 January 2008]