W3 Company - Family/Whanau Stories  Kōrero whānau  


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Index of Family/Whanau Stories

Barkle family reunion 1968 Harry Hemana funeral Joe Yandall obituary
Chris Kennedy Kai Time Graeme Briscoe Drowning poems by Oroua Downs School students
Jack Broughton's demise David Nesbitt's demise  
Upheld by our Young Rex Ryan beats family There's a Wall in Washington
Cassandra Brooker in Vietnam Dave Heywood remembered Detective Howell discovers Creativity


Death of Graeme Briscoe - hat tip Colin Fraser 2Pl

Graeme Briscoe died while fishing at The Bluff, Ninety Mile Beach near Kaitaia on 13 November 1971, the following newspaper article was published on 16 November 1971. 

Graeme's body has never been recovered.  At the time Graeme had a weak knee and family surmise that this failed in the thick kelp and he struck his head.

Chris Kennedy and Kai Time - hat tip Peter Anderson

Chris Kennedy was snapped in his food truck 'Kai Time' at the Ruataniwha Holiday Park Twizel 4 January 2014.  According to the Timaru Herald he sells deep fried mince pies.  Popular with campers "they're really nice, the pastry goes all crisp, totally brings out the flavour" the pies are fried in ordinary dripping with no more fat than a pottle of chips.  Chris got the idea off TV where a man complained of putting pies in the pie warmer but not selling them.

Chris doesn't have plans to deep fry other food but had heard of people deep frying pizza.  Maybe Chris could take on Chef Michael Van de Elzen with his TV series 'The Food Truck'.

good initiative Chris..!



The Question was Asked:  Did Jack Broughton die on duty..?
Jack Hayes,
HQ NZDF advises that based on the NZDF Non Operational Roll of Honour Cpl Jack Lief Broughton was still serving in the NZ Army when he died on 15 March 1976, aged 40 and posted as a Cpl to Southern Company, RNZASC based in Burnham Camp.  Jack's funeral was 17 March 1976. 

Circumstances of his death were described as: 
"Died on duty after delivering supplies to an exercise on Banks Peninsula when the Army truck he was driving left the road near Kaituna, hit a pole and burst into flames.  The Court of Inquiry found the accident was a simple driver fault - probably went to sleep at the wheel, as no vehicle mechanical faults were found, and the road conditions were not seen as a contributing factor.  He died at the scene."  see another Jack Broughton story

The Language of Our Enemy: Captain Cassandra Brooker ADFGAry Brooker at the RMC graduation of his daughter Cassandra [C Brooker]

Cassandra is Gary Brooker's eldest daughter.  After a stint in the RNZAF Police Cassandra used her mother's Australian citizenship to join the Australian Defence Forces [ADF] in 2001 to attend RMC Duntroon for 18 months of officer training after which she graduated to Logistics and in 2007 saw active service in Baghdad Iraq.

Following Iraq and promoted Captain Cassandra started studying Vietnamese at the ADF School of Languages at RAAF Laverton where after 8-months she was selected as the first ADF member to attend the Practical Vietnamese Language Course 2 (Intermediate) at the Military Science Academy in Hanoi Vietnam. 

Defence relations between the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and Australia were formalised in February 1999, when an Australian Defence attaché was first posted to Hanoi. The relationship is now largely supported through reciprocal training under the Defence Cooperation Program (DCP) between Vietnam and Australia.  The DCP includes long-term professional development courses and short courses for Vietnamese personnel at Defence institutions in Australia, Mobile Training Team visits to Hanoi and Laos and individual training in Australia.  Cassandra is the first Australian to undertake reciprocal training in Vietnam.  Studies are only in Vietnamese and after the initial culture shock and teething problems were overcome her class of one American, two Thais, a Chinese and herself have just completed their second round of exams [2008].  Cassandra will probably return to Australia in June 2009.

Gary Brooker at the RMC graduation of his daughter Cassandra [C Brooker]

At the time the graduation photo was taken [December 2002] Gary had finished radiation therapy for throat cancer but three months later the cancer was found to have spread to his liver pancreas and kidneys and he died in May 2003.  Cassandra has recently [2010] donated a large collection of her fathers Vietnam photos and slides to the W3 archive project, these are being used where appropriate to illustrate stories on the website.

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The Far North remembered one of ours:  Joe Yandall obituarySgt Joe Yandall SVN November 1970 - click photo for link to Joe's citation [Young]

The following was likely published in the Northern Advocate newspaper late January 1982:

“Army and Civilians Honour Joe Yandall.  Kaitaia and the Far North showed its affection on Friday [likely 29 January 1982] for Mr Jersey Bassett (Joe) Yandall, a man that immediately became part of the community when he served here in the Army, and who proved his feelings for the district when he returned on his retirement.  He was buried at midday with full military ceremonial at the church and the Kaitaia Public Cemetery where several hundred stood at the graveside.  It was Kaitaia’s first full scale military funeral and was given to the former Staff Sergeant because of his 20 years army service.  It was under the command of Captain A. R. Dixon (Whangarei).  The pallbearers were warrant officers of Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment the same corps that Mr Yandall served in and the firing party at the cemetery was from the 16th Field Regiment Papakura.  Sergeant D Rose, Papakura sounded the Last Post.

There were many other soldiers present in uniform and a RSA detachment.  Civil Defence was officially represented and so were other organisations such as the Fire Brigade and the Air Training Corps.  Many local body staff members were present, the council being represented by the Mayor Mr D. W. R. Bell and the county chairman Mr M Schoj.

The Rev P Nunn conducted the service in St Saviour’s Anglican Church, which was filled with about 300 mourners.  The Mayor Mr Bell spoke of Mr Yandall’s service in two capacities which gave people security – the Army and Civil Defence, mentioning how efficient and likeable a man Joe had been.

Warrant Officer Kevin Merito said that he had now gone to his peace and he hoped that time would heal the wounds of Mrs Yandall and her family.  He said that she had suffered hardship and near starvation in her home country of Malaya during the Japanese invasion, then her family was exposed to further hardship because of what had developed in an ignorant society. Her family lost home and possessions so that sorrow and hardship was not new to her.  Now she would turn to Kaitaia people for their love and tolerance to replace the support of her husband.

Mr Jim Yandall first spoke in Samoan, then thanked Mr Bell and the Maori elders for allowing Joe’s body to rest for 24 hours on the marae.  Joe was born in a Western Samoan village near Apia. He came to New Zealand as a child and attended the Newton Primary School, Kowhai Intermediate and Mt Albert Grammar before going to Wellington and then Christchurch. He later came to Auckland where he entered the Army, much to Mr Jim Yandall’s pleasure at the time.  He recalled that on Sunday January 24, Joe and his family had been in Auckland for his mother’s 80th birthday, and it had been a terrible blow when they heard of his death on Tuesday [26 January].  When Joe retired he insisted on returning to Kaitaia though his family urged him to come back into the family circle in Auckland in the usual Polynesian way.  He realised now why Joe had felt so strongly about Kaitaia since he had seen the affection which was given the family.  Several members of the family sang a hymn in Samoan before the gathering joined in “The Lord is My Shepherd” and the coffin was carried shoulder high down the aisle. It was draped in the flag and his military beret, side arms and medals lay on it

Outside the church the guard stood at present arms and when the coffin was placed on the gun the soldiers proceeded to their bus at the slow march.  The gun was one of the new field pieces with all of its metal work including the flash suppressor brightly chromed. It was drawn by a Landrover to the cemetery.  Here again the coffin was carried in on the shoulders of the bearers at a slow pace, preceded by the clergy. At the graveside it was the Vicar of Kaitaia, the Rev Bernard Moore, who conducted the committal to the earth, a ceremony which ended in the publicly expressed grief of the relatives.

The firing party sent up three volleys some distance away and Sergeant Rose sounded the bugle near the flagstaff where the half masted flag was raised to the top of the staff at the end of the ceremony.  It concluded in the RSA farewell ceremony conducted by Mr J Summerfield. Returned men filed past dropping their poppies into the grave and the uniformed soldiers followed suit, saluting as they paid their tributes while Maori hymns were sung.  Later luncheon was served at the RSA Hall."

Other contributions to the story are welcome, use the "I Was There" link.

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Father and Son Reunion:  Des & John Barkle

It is likely that only one father and son in the New Zealand Army served at the same time in Vietnam, WO2 Des Barkle serving with 161 Battery RNZA at the same time as his son Cpl John Barkle served with W2 Coy.  It was originally thought that they served together during the early part of the W3 TOD, the caption on the photo suggesting that they were together for Christmas 1969 when they had a very public reunion in Nui Dat.

Their meeting [probably in late 1968] was recorded for New Zealand television [most likely in black and white and well before Christmas] and shown in New Zealand on either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day 1968.  John's wife Lyn recollects that as John was only 20 and therefore officially under-age by New Zealand law, he was photographed with a can of tomato juice while Des had a beer - an early example of political correctness about the drinking age, rather than accepting the reality of a young male on active service overseas, daily facing political reality.

When John turned 21 in February 1969 Des celebrated it with him, turning up in the bush with a sponge cake he had convinced an American to bake for him, staying for an hour before returning to Nui Dat.  Not the most normal of celebrations..!

The photograph on the right, taken in the 161 Bty area,  was used on the order of service for John's funeral held 23 September 2004.  The comment 'Christmas 1969' is obviously wrong as Des had departed from Vietnam by then, the year should probably read 1968 but it could have been taken on any date.

It was not generally known within W3 that LCpl John Barkle arrived in 1RNZIR in May 1968 and deployed with W2 Coy 10 November 1968; his name is in the 4RAR Journal [while with W3 he did not appear to wear any medals from his earlier tour - as example see W3 pre-deployment photo].  There is one recollection that he and several others were involved in a bar fight at Terendak before going and had the posting put on hold, but John's service record shows he did deploy.  John's service record then shows he left W2 in March 1969 and returned to 1RNZIR. Why John left Vietnam in March is not stated but one source, in sticking up for John about the bar fight, describes him as "more outspoken then most and along with other RF Cadets a bit of a tearaway and therefore attracted the attention of his seniors".  This might suggest that there was a disciplinary problem.  One W2 source remembers that Maj LG Williams W2 Coy refused to have him in the Company.  The story goes on that Des tried to intervene, it all got heated and LG Williams had the W2 CSM escort Des from the company lines.  To verify the story we need the dates Des was in Vietnam but I have been unable to locate these.  161 Battery veterans do recollect Des being in Vietnam in late 1968 so he could have served until mid-1969.  We do know that Des was a WO2 with 22 Battery Fort Dorset when John again left Vietnam in May 1970 [with V4 Coy, and at the conclusion of the 2-year SEA tour cycle] as Des is noted in W3 company records as John's next of kin. 

Were there to have been a disciplinary problem it would have been recorded meaning it was unlikely that John would have been allowed to return to Vietnam with W3.  However neither company commander nor CSM W3 Coy can remember John as having been a disciplinary problem.  Doug Mackintosh placed him in the intelligent and trustworthy with good potential category, Evan Torrance promoted him Corporal just prior to going to Vietnam with W3, and he had a section commander appointment with 1Pl W3 which required trust by his senior's.

More mystery: John's service record shows he deployed to Vietnam on the date the W3 advance party deployed, but is not on the advance party nominal roll.  It was originally thought that John travelled with the advance party but as a reinforcement to W2 but on that date W2 had finished operations in readiness to come home so would not have required such a reinforcement.  It is likely the discrepancy was a simple clerical oversight.

John continued to serve for many years in the NZ Intelligence Corps, gaining the rank of Warrant Officer and even after retirement was employed on a consultative basis for NZ Intelligence Corps activities and courses.

Other contributions to the story are welcome, use the "I Was There" link.

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Harry Hemana Funeral:  [15 Jun 05] click on picture for detailsHarry Hemana ex-2Pl w3 funeral report [click on image to read text]

Sgt Harry Hemana died in Lower Hutt on 3 May 2005.  He had been a RF Cadet in 1958, graduating into the Armoured Corps.  He deployed operationally three times, in 1961 to Malaya after which he changed corps to Infantry, later Borneo and finally with W3, arriving mid-way through the tour as a replacement for Sgt Dave Heywood 2Pl.  In 1976 he changed corps again to Ordnance before retiring in 1978.  He received a full military funeral where the Principal Army Chaplain officiated and the Trentham Camp commander Major Peter Stitt [himself a Vietnam veteran] delivered a military eulogy.

This link has some detail and photos of Harry in Vietnam, there are others scattered through the photo section.

Other contributions are welcome, use the "I Was There" link.

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SOP on contributions to website                   [also see 'I Was There' - add a comment]
1. family/whanau are welcome to write about their 'hero' be it in the context of a family man, community supporter or sportsman.  write the story in any manner that suits you.  Embellish it as much as you like - its your story, let others enjoyed it with you..! 
2. any topic is good, from start to finish of their army time, to things since, illness and other challenges, personal triumphs.  write from the perspective of a family member.
3. send it to the website by either email or letter, see the details here.  You can expect an acknowledgement.  Send as many as you like, the more stories the more we can perhaps share it with you.
4. include photos if these help the story - if you post stuff write your name and address, phone No etc on the back so they can be returned and acknowledged.
5. the webmaster will scan the photos and type your story onto a webpage and add a comment to the 'changes made' page.  The webmaster will decide style, layout etc that suits the story and check the content for suitable language and other politically correct things....
6. ask any questions by contacting the webmaster in advance, OK..?

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