W3 Company - News


link to more news beginning June 2008 - news archive

Final Update W3@Tribute08  [webmaster 29 May 2008]

Carrying the flags of our fallen:
Tom Konia - Tom Cooper
Bill Kenyon - John Gurnick
Peter Harris - David Wright [TBC on his arrival in Wellington]

Apologies to date:1Sect 3Pl early 1970 [Welsh]
Duke Henry, Robert Mitchell, Doug Mackintosh, Ron Lichtwark, Blue Caldwell, John Byrne, Patrick Blair, Huia Brown, Ted Gorman, Dave Simeon, and Craig Cocker.

Unaccompanied Whanau:
John Barkle's wife Lynne, Owen Mahoney's partner Pam, Colin Drylie's son Elton [who is hoping to receive his dad's medal].

Official Apology:
The text of the official apology is here.  The Prime Minister offered a very dry text, given her past she might have been choking on the words, especially the crap that Labour brought the combat troops home.  Also included at the link [scroll down] is the much more personal 'support for the apology' given by the National party leader John Key, who did mention the combat elements by name and offer the words "we finally say sorry".

1Sect 3Pl early 1970 [Welsh]

Some of the People Helen is apologising to...
"hammock of the unknown soldier"
Helen Clark to apologise for her behaviour - webmaster [26 May 2008]US veteran at conference, well prepared [internet]

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.

Parade State

HQ Keith Abernethy
HQ Bill Blair
HQ Nev Carmichael *
HQ Nigel Clifford
HQ Lionel Harris
HQ Fred King
HQ Patrick Kupenga
HQ Tony Moran
HQ Mike Morrison
HQ Bill Paki
HQ Chris Stock
HQ Evan Torrance
1 Peter Anderson
1 Waehapara Atatu
1 Jim Cutler
1 Dave Gundersen
1 Ben Hona *
1 Hokimate Kahukiwa
1 Denis King
1 Paul Moana
1 John Mortimer
1 John Nicolle
1 James Oliver
1 Tony Panirau
2 Dick Bennett
2 Peter Brown
2 Danny Campbell
2 Walter Goodman
2 Dave Hall
2 Peter Harris
2 Graham Harris
2 Duke Henry
2 Nev Howell
2 Tom Konia
2 Ngatoko Kupe
2 John Mullen
2 Lewis Pagan
2 Trevor Philip
2 Larry Rangiwai *
2 Graeme Ryalls
2 Rex Ryan
2 Bob Upton
2 Don Wolff
3 Ross Dunlea *
3 John Fisher
3 Wally Joe
3 Bill Kenyon
3 Robert Newson
3 George Preston *
3 Roy Reddy *
3 Neil Ure *
mor Mark Binning
mor Stu Cameron
mor Ross Cherry
mor Dave Condon
mor David Flintoft
mor Doug Lewis
mor Derrick Marsh
mor Bruce Young
pnr Eric Compton

   W3 Admin Order - Tribute08
Wellington Queens Birthday Weekend 2008

60 W3 veterans have indicated they will be attending [veterans need not have registered to attend]

send Tribute08 attendance notifications here    
new - May Sitrep [click to download]
Jim Cutler recommends this NZDF link for the latest changes to the Tribute08 Programme

Parade state needed - how many coming to Tribute08..? [Gundersen]

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 Services:
Saturday. Honour March, Whakanoa and Parliamentary Welcome
Sunday. Memorial Service, Commemoration and Celebration
infamous beer trailer at rear
the guy on the left is also in the photo next below - really...!


Gordon Alex
Bill Ashford
John Barkle
Graeme Briscoe
Gary Brooker
Jack Broughton
Jim Brown MC
Vince Butler
Tom Cooper
Colin Drylie
Peter Glendinning
John Gurnick
Harry Hemana
Keith Henson
Te Hira Heremaia
Dave Heywood
Phil Jane
Owen Mahoney
George Makowharemahihi
Ted Mason
Joe Mihinui
Jack Morris
Ian Naughton
Dave Nesbitt
Les Ngawhare
Larry O'Brien
Paddy Perawiti
Len Portland
Doc Schwass
Terry Shields
Dave Spence
George Stead
Rau Te Haara
Dave Turner
David Wright
Joe Yandall

W3 'watering hole' for Saturday afternoon is "The Thistle Inn"
corner of Mulgrave St and Kate Sheppard Place near Parliament buildings

download map


To the W3
family/whanau attending;
you  are all very welcome
[and please believe us when we tell each other the usual lies..!]

Oral History Project - Bruce Young [14 May 2008]

Tribute08 is one part of the MOU veterans signed with the Government, Another part is the Oral History project managed by Ministry of Culture and Heritage [MCH].  There is a website here which will be updated and launched during Tribute08.  I took the opportunity last Monday to do a recording session with Carol Dawber an oral historian with MCH, the session took as long as I wanted and lasted 4-hours.  I got to cover lots of points from before I enlisted, through the Vietnam experience, and life since.  The stories/reminiscent's were mostly old hat to me but I could tell that a lot of detail was new to 'civilian' Carol.  I particularly enjoyed discussing the protestors, the Australian leadership, and today's government.  What's in it for me..?  At the least a copy of the recording which I will store away until my kids get curious, but the opportunity to discuss our adventure with a captive audience was also enjoyable.  The official line is that we owe it not only to future generations but also to veterans themselves to make sure the Vietnam War is properly recorded and available to those interested.
If you are keen to do an interview and want to discuss the process feel free to drop me a line.

Peter Anderson [27 April 2008]Peter [Andy] Anderson, Dick Bennett and Doug Mackintosh [Anderson

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 April 2008] 
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,
age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn,
at the going down of the sun and in the morning,
we will remember them

Updates from Veterans Affairs or Government - webmaster [20 April 2008]

1.   Media Release 'One point of contact for veterans services' - Veterans' Affairs Minister, Rick Barker
Cabinet has agreed to a proposal that will see the provision of services to veterans improved and made more efficient, Veterans' Affairs Minister, Rick Barker has announced, read PDF here    [warning: 4th paragraph might offend]

2.   Veteran Registrations and Associated Data 
Figures cover veteran, spouse and family registrations with VANZ, read PDF here

3.   Update on NZGSM (Vietnam) medal award [as at 16 April 08]
Over 1,000 applications have been received, 871 have so far been entered into the Medals Office database.  788 applications have been received for the NZGSM with clasp 'Vietnam'; and 83 applications for the 'clasp' Vietnam only (from holders of the NZGSM (Malaya 1960-64) ).  61 applicants have asked for presentation at Tribute08, over 190 medals have been couriered to veterans.  85 applicants live in Australia.  Applications have also been received from Canada, the Cook Islands, Singapore, the Solomon Islands, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.  799 applicants served in the NZ Army, 66 applicants served in the RNZAF, and 6 applicants served in the RNZN.
The applications and cheques received are being processed as quickly as possible.  It is hoped that all applications and cheques received to date will be processed within the next four to six weeks.  Every effort will be made to ensure that applicants who have asked for their medals to be presented at Tribute08 will have medals engraved in time to be presented.

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 (Duke) Henry
PS:  Does anyone know the whereabouts of Susan Heywood and her son..?

I Was There - Bob Upton
In 1979 I was at Staff College in Australia but I remember being contacted informally by someone in Army General Staff about Duke.  I said something like “a bloody good operator in the bush who I would happily take to war again”.  That is all I can recall.  A number of years later I was approached by CO SAS and told the SAS were going to nominate Duke for a BEM.  They asked for some comments about him as a soldier in W3 Coy.  Again I told a lot of lies but it worked.

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

Email from 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 2008]
Dick Bennett and I plus wives are attending the Tribute during Queens Birthday Weekend and I was wondering how many other W3 vets are going.  At first I was reluctant to attend, remembering the “Parade ‘98” function with all the hassles of expensive food and drink and John Rowles intermittent wailing and his never singing “Ten Guitars”, probably the one song that epitomises the Kiwi Vietnam, the lock out because the venue couldn’t cater for number for the Volcanics show, etc.  The best part for me personally was the unit gatherings on the Friday night and after the Parade and the remembrance service in the park with the Iroquois fly past.

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]
W3 Coy was formed and trained in Malaysia.  There is not a lot written about the Malaysian connection with the forces deploying to Vietnam but one book worth reading is by Chris Pugsley "From Emergency to Confrontation" [Oxford Press], a story of the two forgotten wars New Zealanders fought in South-east Asia.  Chris Pugsley is a formidable researcher and this book details in minute detail the effort made by the New Zealand Armed Forces in Malaya and Borneo between 1949 and 1966, including the formation of the first regular units of the New Zealand armed forces, and the development of Terendak garrison.  Some W3 worthies whose early service is mentioned by name are Jim Brown [including how he obtained his Military Cross] and Doug Mackintosh [
misspelt DI Macintosh, original SAS Malaya and later Borneo Signals Pl].  The New Zealand contribution of naval and air force units is also covered and some of their activities may surprise - such as 14 Squadron RNZAF Canberra bombers in Singapore rehearsing their role for a pre-emptive strike against airfields around Jakarta during the early days of Confrontation.  I was also not aware of the extensive nature of cross-border operations [codeword Claret] undertaken by Gurr's battalion in Borneo, although news of the SAS Claret operations was more widely known.

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' - Doug Mackintosh
I enjoy reading Chris Pugsley's "From Emergency to Confrontation", it surprises me how much background information Pugsley has dug up and provides a very interesting picture of what we were doing up there.  I would like to correct a small error in your review.  I do not believe BOTH Battalions were involved in CLARET operations, Gurr's Bn was, and also NZSAS, but not the Poananga Bn.  Jun 1965 Gurr bn arrives Borneo - Mar 1966 Maj Gen Lea DOps Borneo (former CO for NZSAS 55 - 57) gave order "All Claret Ops to cease immediately" [page 287] - May 1966 Poananga bn arrives Borneo [page 325] [detail in review amended April 2008 after further checking - webmaster]

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!
All the Best, DOUG

General Service Medal - clasp Vietnam [3 March 2008]
Her Majesty The Queen has approved the extension of eligibility for the ‘New Zealand General Service Medal (NZGSM) 1992 (Warlike) with clasp Vietnam’ to those veterans who are currently eligible for the Vietnam Medal.  Headquarters New Zealand Defence Force is now accepting applications from Vietnam veterans [or next of kin] for the NZGSM with clasp ‘Vietnam’.  Eligible persons should complete an official application form, and forward the form to: The Medals Office, Headquarters New Zealand Defence Force, Private Bag 905, Upper Hutt.   Veterans and surviving spouse/families of deceased veterans who are registered with Veterans’ Affairs New Zealand will be mailed an application form. Copies of this form may also be downloaded from the medal application forms page of the New Zealand Defence Force medals website:  http://medals.nzdf.mil.nz/info/forms.html  

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]

O Group [27 February 2008]
1.     Medals links:  These two NZDF links concern the background and entitlement to New Zealand medals.  The 2nd link announces a new medal to awarded to Vietnam veterans later this year.
       medals.nzdf.mil.nz/index.html                      medals.nzdf.mil.nz/news/default.htm#Vietnam

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]video mode [NZ Army]


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

A state-of-the-art computer generated weapons training system (WTS) will be officially opened and ready for action at Waiouru army camp FridaLane mode [NZ Army]y 7th March 2008. [It appears to be installed into either two separate buildings, or separate areas in the same building].  The brand-new, multi-functional system allows soldiers to be trained in firing various weapons and to practice their marksmanship skills. The largest CGI range in the Southern Hemisphere with the latest developments in software and hardware, the WTS is designed to meet the training requirements of all soldiers, from basic training to the highest level.

With three modes incorporating computer generated imagery (CGI), lanes and video training, the system allows for both individual and collective training to be conducted and the practice of procedures that are required in all arms battle.

Video Training:
The WTS contains a number of pre-authored scenarios that include
Military Operations on Urbanized Terrain (MOUT) so that judgemental
shooting can be practised.  Videos can be created to enable the units and/or soldi
computer generated imagery [NZ Army]er to practice a variety of different exercises in
selected environments to practice specific aims.  These could be rules of engagement or Standing Operating Procedures.

CGI Training:  Computer Generated Imagery is an advanced leap
forward in simulation giving unit and sub unit commanders the ability to teach and practice all aspects of mission command.

Lanes Training:
Ability to carry out Marksmanship Training and create any range practice to include competition shooting and specific operational shoots with full shooting analysis of individual firers.

WTS can also be used to conduct Tactical Exercises without Troops (TEWT's) utilising the inbuilt targetry and creating force on force scenarios.  By the use of High Level Architecture (HLA), the WTS ranges can be linked together to allow different Arms and services to train in the same scenario.   more detail on Vets Net website

Worth a visit..?          [let me know here if you are attending]

Tribute08 Programme - 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.
Civic Welcome:  Civic Square from about 4PM followed by Beating of Retreat at sunset.
Sub-Unit Family Gatherings:  In the evening at the TSB Bank Arena and Town Hall, Wakefield Street.

Saturday 31 May

The Tribute including:
Honour March to Parliament:  parade Civic Square 8AM, step off 9AM to arrive Parliament 10AM.
Whakanoa and Parliamentary Welcome Home; commencement of The Vigil:  Inside Parliament Grounds, Molesworth Street, 10AM to Noon.
EVSA Annual General Meeting:  about 1.30PM Town Hall, Wakefield Street.  All EVSA members welcome. Light buffet lunch provided.
Theatre performances of ‘Ka Mate’:  Capital E Theatre, Civic Square, performances held 2PM and 5PM.
Sub-Unit Family Reunions:  3PM onwards at various venues.
Veteran Concert:  TSB Bank Arena, Queens Wharf between 6.00PM to 8.30PM.

Sunday 1 June

Conclusion of The Vigil: at 8AM
EVSA Memorial Service:
  National War Memorial, Buckle Street about 9:30AM.
Commemorative Service and The Celebration:  Basin Reserve, south end of Cambridge/Kent Tce about 11AM.

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]
Click the link to download the announcement on government travel subsidies for Queen's Birthday Weekend

Welfare Update [19 February 2008] 
click on link to download report received through the Gunner Association network.  It reports on progress with rewriting the Pensions Act, the way in which VANZ and Pension Services work [or don't], and the establishment of the Expert [medical] Panel, plus some other stuff.  Worth a read...

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 2008]
Tom is buried on the sacred Taupiri Mountain urupa which overlooks SHW1, the main trunk rail line and the Waikato River.  A large gathering of family, friends and ex military folk attended the re-dedication of Tom Cooper's headstone on a very warm Saturday 26th January.  At the conclusion of the re-dedication a copy of the research document and the apology was handed to Tom's sister. 

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


 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 shot 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, Evan Torrance [Torrance]

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.

Ben Hona [Torrance]








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.

Tom's headstone from 1970.  Over time the base had slipped sideways.Tom's replacement headstone prior to the unveiling 26 January 2008.  Tom's whanau had removed the old headstone the weekend prior to the unveiling & cleaned the area in preparation for the ceremony.

Book Review - webmaster [3 February 2008]
Occasionally a book comes to hand about the Vietnam conflict that is worth reviewing for its perspective on how we might have seen the times.  Such a book is "The Vietnam Years - From the Jungle to the Australian Suburbs", author Michael Caulfield [Hachette Australia].  Michael produced the ABC TV series "Australians at War' and he and his producer were responsible for the establishment of the Australians at War Film Archive.  He also edits 'Voices of War'.  He is not a veteran himself.

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]:
I have just finished reading “The Viet Nam Years”, and was really impressed, I couldn’t put it down.  The reaction of some of the RSL clubs was unbelievably callous.  The Long Tan chapter is the best I have read on that battle.  A must for the history buff.   Andy

[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 2008]
This is a plug for the
Vietnam Veterans and their Families TrustA Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), a package of measures for addressing the concerns of Viet Nam Veterans and Families, was agreed on 6 December 2006 between the Government and the Ex Vietnam Services Association (EVSA) and the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association (RNZRSA).  A significant element in the MOU is the provision by the Crown of an endowment of $7 million for a period of 30 years to establish a Trust Fund with the purpose of providing support to Viet Nam Veterans and their families in relation to concerns and circumstances not addressed elsewhere in the Package.  The MOU requires the activities of the Trust to be “financed by interest earned on the endowment”.  This is expected to be between $400,000 and $500,000 annually.

Trust Deed
The Trust Deed has been designed to allow the Trustees the widest possible discretion in addressing the needs of Viet Nam Veterans and their families whether living in New Zealand or overseas, by providing relief from “poverty or hardship.”  A copy of the Trust Deed can be downloaded from the “Documents of Interest” Section of the EVSA Website Home Page.

Also available on the EVSA website is the latest copy of the Application FormApplications 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 January 2008]Bruce Young, Chris Kennedy & Neil Ure, Waimate 14 January 2008 [Young]

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 travelled to the meeting from Dunedin, Neil and Bruce from Christchurch.

Bruce Young, Chris Kennedy and Neil Ure,
Waimate 14 January 2008 [Young]

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.
Tony and Phyllis Panirau, Runanga, West Coast

Very sorry to hear of Bills passing. A great pity that I never got to see him again after November 1970.
Rest in Peace Bill - Andy [
Peter Anderson]

Evan Torrance [8 January 2008]

Zilla and I have just returned to Palmerston North from a weekend in Auckland.  On the way there we detoured to Pukekohe and found John Gurnick's plot in the Pukekohe Cemetery.  He is Plot 142 in the Soldiers Section and his plot is not easy to find as the rows and plot numbers are not numbered within the cemetery!.  The map that I viewed at the Franklin District Council Office before going to the cemetery was not of much help either so it was "good luck" that led us to his gravesite. 
We put the flowers alongside his headstone "in remembrance" from all ex W3 members - kind regards, Evan

Mark Binning  [5 January 2008]
Just back from Wairoa where I attended Larry O'Brien's funeral.  Also there from W3 were Doug Lewis down from Gisborne and Larry Rangiwai (V4 and W3) who ventured down from the East Cape.  Bill McNeish, Larry's contemporary in V4 (Sgt - Mortar Section), and his great friend, was there and gave the first eulogy.  Also giving an eulogy was his son Bill who is a WO in the regular Army.  After the service Larry was interred in the RSA section of the Wairoa cemetery.  Doug Lewis and Larry Rangiwai were part of the RSA pall bearers at the cemetery.  Larry was laid to rest with his whanau in attendance and under a blazing Hawke's Bay sky.  I can report, after talking with Larry's wife and son Bill, that he died suddenly of a heart attack.  Doug and I were able to catch up with one another over a quiet drink at the RSA before heading home.

link to more news from before January 2008 - news archive