W3 Company - News


link to more news beginning June 2009 - news archive

Op Flyswatter update - webmaster [25 May 2009]

The website recently received an email from Alan Oates, chairman of the Agent Orange Dioxin Committee for Vietnam Veterans of America.  He is doing a short article for VVA on Operation Flyswatter, the codename for the spraying of anti-malarial Malathion over allied troop encampments during the Vietnam war.  Alan requested and was given permission to use the photos from the website that showed a Flyswatter C123 Provider flying over the Horseshoe during the W3 stint there. 

In return he sent the website two articles:  one describes Op Flyswatter in more detail, the other connects Malathion to Parkinson's disease [warning - very technical].  Malathion should not be mistaken for Agent Orange - read the website background research into Op Flyswatter and Agent Orange spray missions here - Alan's articles have now been added to the research links.

Remember this character..? - Bruce Young [9 May 2009]
Bumped into Rolly Manning [WO1 RA Manning RNZIR (rtd)] at a club rugby game in Christchurch today, hadn't seen him in 20-odd years.  Only major change I noticed was the bottle-bottom glass lenses.  Rolly mentioned that by coincidence he had only a week or so before,Rolly Manning [centre rear] with the W3 training team back at Terendak Camp early 1971 [Young] been looking at a photo we both featured in from 1971.

Rolly will be 80 this year, having enlisted in 1949 and serving with the Fiji battalion during the Malaya Emergency in the 50's.  Rolly was never posted to Vietnam but he was instrumental in training almost every company that went, either from the Training Wing 1Bn Depot Burnham, or as SWI 1RNZIR in Terendak.  He and his team of instructors set the standards, wrote the SOPs' and encouraged the inter-company passage of ideas between those who had been and those expecting to go.

After W3 returned to 1RNZIR the Malaysian army asked that 1RNZIR run some courses at Terendak to pass on Kiwi operational experiences and two teams of basically W3 people were deployed, for about 3-weeks each, I think Rolly was the team planner.  The [cropped] photo is of Team 1, shown from left are a couple of Malay students, Rolly, Jim Cutler, Bill Blair, with myself and Craig Cocker in front.

Rolly Manning [centre rear] with the W3 training team back at Terendak Camp early 1971 [Young]

I Was There:  Bruce Young - I recollect that the garrison was pretty empty as the Malays had been waiting to inhabit the camp for a year after the British garrison had left, a year being enough time for the various cookhouses etc to be 'cleansed' of pork and other foods offensive to a Muslim.  Unfortunately we arrived at the old Engineer Squadron lines near the gate and the first thing we basically did was to have a typical Kiwi breakfast of bacon and eggs.....

Use of Army Leave Centres - Doug Macintosh [6 May 2009]
Last March Chris [Mrs CSM] and I took a short break from Christchurch and spent a very enjoyable week in Nelson. Walking on the beach, trying out some of the wines in the local vineyards, and visiting the local haunts we got to know in my last Army posting, and first decade of retirement.  The Garrison Club is still active and going well, some definite improvements since my day.  One new item in Nelson is the Army Leave Centre (motel) which is located 5 minutes from the beach and very handy to the local pub and eating places. 
Maybe some W3 men are not aware the Army makes these motel units available to all ex Regular Army types who served for at least 5 years and also for RSA members, so if you did not get 5 years in, you can still join the RSA. Why bother?  Well one reason is what the Army describes as moderate cost, or in my words bloody cheap, it cost us just $40 a night, I thought that was quite a bargain.  If you do visit the Nelson Garrison Club you can try mentioning my name and see what kind of reception you get, or it might be safer to ask for Barry Pont, I understand he is well thought of there.
There are Army Leave Centres in eleven locations - Mt Maunganui, Rotorua, Taupo, Turangi, Napier, Wanganui, Waikanae, Nelson, Hanmer Springs, Akaroa and Wanaka. If you are interested ring or email the Army Central Welfare Office in Trentham and ask for an Army Leave Centre Brochure.  It explains things pretty clearly, like you can book 3 or 6 months in advance, take your own sheets and clean the place before you leave.  Maybe keep clear of the busy periods Easter, Queens Birthday, labour weekend, and Christmas/New Year.  The facilities are not converted barracks but just like a civvy motel.  ARMY CENTRAL WELFARE 0800 111 823   Email:

'I Was There': Barry Pont responded - 'On Vets Pension Now.  Running Nelson RSA Office Suburban Club Tahunanui as District Pension and Welfare Officer  Ph 03 548 6815'.

Veterans Pension Paid Overseas Amendment bill - webmaster 5 May 2009
Parliament is considering amendments to the way the Veterans pension is paid overseas, (Para 137 of the RNZRSA Submission refers). 
This bill amends the New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income Act 2001, and the War Pensions Act 1954 to make it easier for superannuitants and veteran's pensioners to travel or retire overseas.  If you want to have a say on the "Social Assistance (Payment of New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension Overseas) Amendment Bill 301-1 (2008)", go here for details:
http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/SC/MakeSub/c/3/9/49SCSSsocialassistancepaym200\905291-Social-Assistance-Payment-of-New.htm       [A shorter URL is:  http://tinyurl.com/c8h7gr]
Who is Interested in W3..? - webmaster [2 May 2009]
The website had 994 unique visitors in April 2009, a big jump from the 683 in January and continuing a trend whereby more people are finding the website.  The daily average is around 43 with a daily high of 60.  Most interest by far is from the US, 2537 page views with a massive 568 Mb of downloaded pages.  Australian visitors were a distant 2nd at 579 page views with NZ 3rd slightly behind at 569 page views.  Hong Kong were 4th [113 views].  Vietnam had 7 views, perhaps Cassandra Brooker checking in..?
Appropriately for April the Remembrance page had 57 visits, the News page 209 and the article on the health issues in SVN was surprisingly popular with 77 visits.  Probably due to its position top left on the story index page, the deployment timeline had 179 views.  But it could be that interest in the timeline and health pages is relevant to current issues with veterans health, it is my experience that specialists vetting veteran war disability claims are influenced by data printed off the website [try this link for typical weight carried as an example if having a review for crook shoulders or back], so any veterans are encouraged to utilise the resources of this and other websites to their advantage.
However the visitor trend is still for 75% of visitors to leave the site within 30 seconds, meaning it wasn't what they expected - perhaps I need to revamp the welcome page to entice more visitors to linger longer...
Peter Anderson story feedback - Duke Henry 29 April 2009
Purpose_: W3 Story - I Was There...
persons_name_: DH
email_address_: dhenrynz@yahoo.com
story_title_: Personal Journey Peter Anderson
offer_comment_: Andy - I just read your story and was impressed mate, I hope a few more of the boys put pen to paper and get these memories down on hard copy.  Be safe and see you at the next reunion hopefully.  Regards Duke Philippines
ANZAC Day 2009Pte David Wright RNZIR - 25 April
'Dave, John, Tom, stand down, the rest of you watch your arcs' - we will remember them...  and march with pride...!

I dreamed the soldier dream last night, it came to me so clear
I dreamed I saw my old platoon, they seemed to me so near
I dreamed I heard again the sounds, that only soldiers understand
And I dreamed I smelt the jungle smells of that far distant land
And in the dream I felt the heat, and the heavy monsoon rain
And I felt again the comfort of the ground, in the places I have lain
I dreamed I saw the blood red stain of the hard red laterite soil
I saw again the thick jungle slopes, through which we had to toilPte John Gurnick RNZIR
And the dead and jumbled trees caused by Agent Orange sprays
Devastating to the jungle and the effects will last us all our days
I dreamed I heard the insects, mainly the mossies angry scream
And I saw my legs festooned with leeches, after crossing any stream
I dreamed I felt again the familiar feel, of rifle, web and pack
And I felt again my shoulders pain, and the weight upon my back
I dreamed of being out of water, and the terrible, burning thirst
I felt of all the deprivations, the lack of water is the worst
I dreamed of the itch of tinea that stretched from toes to waist
And I dreamed of taking Paludrin and its bitter awful taste
I heard again the rifle shots, and saw machine guns tracer linesPte Tom Cooper RNZIR
I heard again the crash of shells, and the blast of Claymore mines
I dreamed I smelt the cordite and the strong iron smell of blood
And I dreamed of finding bodies and the wounded in the mud
I dreamed of our wounded soldiers, dusted off to waiting aid
And I dreamed of other soldiers and the sacrifices they had made
I dreamed of empty hours, doing sentry in a gun pit in the sun
I dreamed of fear filled sentry night’s, in that pit behind the gun
I dreamed of all these things, and it was if it were but only yesterday
As I slept that restless sleep, that twists the sheets in which I lay
I awoke to find that the world was as I’d left it, when I went to bed
And the soldier dream was real for me to see, but now only in my head.

Peter Anderson - 1PL W3 Coy

Update on EVSA Youth Trust bursaries - Ross Miller [18 April 2009]
The Board of Advisory Trustees has met and approved a further 29 bursaries.  The 34 applications received was a record for a funding round and compares with the 38 received for the whole of 2008 (which was also a record). Regretfully the increase in numbers meant the Board was only able to approve those received from first time applicants.  The mix of grants made was eclectic and included assistance with university and tertiary study; helping with the cost of swimming tuition; subsidising music lessons; contributions towards overseas educational study tours; assistance towards the purchase of computers; attendance at the World BMX Championships; subsidising travel to the Australasian Cheerleading Championships; assistance to a Country and Western singer and many many more. 
The Board continues to be impressed with the quality of applications received.  Clearly our children and grandchildren come from very good breeding stock.
The 'named' bursaries recognised eleven of our colleagues who died while serving in Vietnam together with a second tranche of awards recognising all the formed NZ units that were deployed into that theatre.
The close-off date for the next funding round is 20 September. Detail regarding the application process can be found on our website at

Ross Miller, JP - BOARD CHAIR

Wally Joe a Star..? - Evan Torrance [14 April 2009]
The Te Manawa Art Gallery in Palmerston North is featuring some of the paintings by Capt Matt Gauldie, the official Army Artist.  Most of the paintings are of the Army's involvement in Afghanistan and the Solomons and general military life.  However, one large painting commemorates Tribute 08 and it features very prominently, unless I am mistaken, the face of Wally Joe.  All the paintings are very impressive and well worth a viewing if you happen to be near an exhibition location.  And, if it is confirmed that it is indeed Wally Joe, it will be a must see for all ex W3 folk!
National Army Museum Project To Identify W3 People - Bruce Young [14 April 2009]
Sunray was recently approached by the Army Museum Waiouru to place names against faces in several photos taken of W3 in Nui Dat in the final days of our tour.  It has been an interesting task, and I need some confirmation that the effort is accurate, so I'm asking for wider input to check my work.  Some background:  The photos appear to be taken outside 2RAR ANZAC Battalion HQ.  W3 is paraded by platoons with 1Pl at the front and a composite platoon at the rear behind 3Pl.  Dress is dacrons and shoes and no arms are carried.  It might be that the individual platoon photos already on the website were taken after the parade.  There are four photos in two PDF documents to review here and here.  Please check for accuracy and where I have it wrong [or might be wrong] email me the number of the person from the photo, the incorrect name, then the correct name.  I can locate the relevant photo from that description or contact you back to ask for clarification.  Contact me at this link here.  I will follow-up this check with a more elaborate article in due course.  You may also have memories of the parade that you can contribute.  Have fun and thanx..!

UPDATE2: [in bold] The missing name in two photos has been established as 'Goose' Williams, later went to V5.  Mark Binning wonders, depending on dates, if the mortars were actually present, therefore 'Condon' may be someone else: any clues..?  Perhaps Waka Haig-Clark..?  Or Roger Wait [NZ armourer]  But is 'Carmichael' in the last photo actually 'Ralph'..?  Stead is the face between Wolff and Hall.
Who is the short guy between Reedy and Ure, right back of the large group photo..?  And just to the right of Ure, is that Charlie Lee between Samson and Hill..?  Who is the face between Kahukiwi and Nissen..?  Kahaki or G Harris perhaps..?

UPDATE3:  Bryan Goggin believes No6 in Picture1 is Peter McKenzie

Website Milestone - webmaster [1 April 2009]
the W3 Company website is officially 100 - pages that is.  This is something webmasters feel smug about, and no, it's not an April Fools Day joke..!  The indexing service automatically counts the pages on its weekly update to the search engine and on 24 March it hit three figures.
There are many great contributions among those 100 pages, and every contribution is appreciated so keep the news, photos and stories coming for our enjoyment and the education of others..!
What happened to the 'Never Volunteer' rule..?  - Mark Binning [30 March 2009]from left:  Mark Binning, Mike Morrison, Jim Mitchell [Binning]

Mike Morrison marries Lorna Sutton

Mike married Lorna 28 March 2009 in New Plymouth. 
Jim Mitchell and Mark Binning were the W3 representatives in attendance, accompanied by their wives Lyndy and Fran.  Mitch and Lyndy crossed the 'ditch' from Sydney for the occasion.

W3 wishes Mike and Lorna all best wishes for the future..!

Someone needs to remind Mike to stand on a chair for photos.  We will have to guess what the bride wore...

from left: Mark Binning, Mike Morrison, Jim Mitchell [Binning]

Noticas Fatal - 303236 Cpl Dave Simeon 1Pl [20 March 2009]
David Simeon ex 2NZ Regiment 1959-61 Malaya, W3 SVN, passed away at Taipa, Doubtless Bay Northland, on Monday 16 March 2009.  His funeral was held at Taipa 19 March 2009. There was a good attendance by Malaya and Vietnam Veterans.  Tributes here.

Please offer my deepest condolences to Dave's family. I have just got back from holiday and read the Company news. Ian (Blue Caldwell) ex-Dave's section

I was sorry to learn that David Simeon had died as he was a very valued member of our team and one of the few that had responded to the letter that I sent out concerning Tribute 08.  He obviously had some serious health issues over a number of years that culminated in his admission to the Auckland Hospital where he died.  This info is from Toto Thompson who I rang to get some family details before writing to his widow Emma Upwards.  In David's letter to me dated 5th April 2008 he apologises for not being able to be present at Tribute 08 and concludes "please pass on to all W3 Coy vets, enjoy, and be well, god be with Tribute 08 amen. Regards David Simeon".  Toto mentioned to me that David was given a fitting farewell at Taipa and that Emma and his whanau (he did not have any children of his own but had fostered a number) appreciated the presence of a number of ex Army folk at the tangi.  Evan Torrance

RNZRSA Submission to the Law Commission - webmaster [5 March 2009]
Found this submission on-line; its the RSA views on how the War Pensions Act should be re-written.
It is a very long and detailed proposal [I suggest you don't print it...] and while the recommendations are at the end of the report they don't make sense unless you have already read the arguments in the body.  The proposals are wide-reaching and encompass modern 'veterans' [not a word they encourage] as well as those going back to before the introduction of ACC in the early 1970's.  Happy to publish any opinions offered - send contributions here
War Pension and Allowances Increase - Judith Collins MP Minister of Veterans Affairs [released 23 February]
"War pensions and allowances to increase - All War Disablement Pensions and allowances available to assist veterans will increase from 1 April as part of the annual cost of living adjustment, the Minister of Veterans’ Affairs Judith Collins announced today.   The increase of 3.38 per cent equates to the increase in the cost of living for the year to December 2008, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).  “The decision to increase pensions and allowances recognises that the increased cost of living is a concern for our veterans,” Ms Collins says.  “Veterans who rely on their pension and allowances to help fund healthcare and other necessities shouldn’t be disadvantaged.”
Examples of the increases are:
· A veteran on a 100% War Disablement Pension will now receive a tax free payment of $188.17 per week.
· A Surviving Spouse’s Pension will increase to $138.80 per week, tax free.
All allowances are also adjusted in line with the increase in the CPI"  [press release ends]
He Didn't Know He Was Dead - webmaster [4 march 2009]
The nominal roll for W3 Coy has dates against the names of deceased veterans to indicate the year they died.  The information on this website was initially sourced off Vic Johnson's 'nzvietvet.bravepages' website, and Vic may have got the information from early EVSA files.  Its generally accepted that a death of a veteran is checked out before his demise is published.  Having come to the party late, I have an excuse, but....

Sunray recollects an occasion when 'they' got it badly wrong:  "I attended a 2NZ Regt Reunion in Waiouru in 1996 and we gathered at the Marae to pay homage to our departed ex members.  Rex Harris intoned the names of the "fallen" and poppies were laid at the base of the flag pole.  At the conclusion of the ceremony one of those named presented himself to Rex who was aghast to find that he had been misinformed about that individual's death!!  I am sure this wasn't the first case of mistaken identity and undoubtedly won't be the last."

Not wrong about that , Boss...!  I received this email the other day: "Sir - I am the brother of Ian R Naughton (1 Pl W Company).  I note that you have him listed as "deceased" in 1971.  In fact he is alive and well, living in Sydney Australia.  He was asking me who he speaks to about any pension etc entitlements, given he has been in Australia 25 years or so - Gerald Naughton".  I have asked Gerald to pass our best wishes on to our non-deceased comrade, who is actually absent in Thailand for another couple of months.  On his return I expect we will hear more from Ian.  In the meantime I have corrected the nominal roll....!  I will also arrange for a EVSA representative in Sydney to contact Ian in due course.

Update on MOU on Veterans Concerns - Rod Baldwin EVSA [23 January 2009]
This report is taken verbatim from an email by Rod Baldwin EVSA:
There have been recent entries on the EVSA website Message Board discussing what "outstanding issues" remain from the MoU.  Attached for your info is the situation as at 8 Dec 08 as seen by EVSA.  We are meeting the new Minister of Veterans Affairs in February to get the Joint Implementation Group (JIG) restarted.  The last government would not agree to continued meetings which would have enabled the RSA and EVSA to monitor implementation progress."
Stolen Medals Watch - webmaster [21 January 2009]
The SVN medals of Alistair Ross 161 Bty [deceased] were stolen in a burglary 19 January.  Chris Mullane is asking all veterans to keep an ear to the ground concerning their disposal - they are inscribed with his regimental number B372141, use the link to pass on information.
UPDATE [13 March 2009]:  The medals were recovered with the arrest of a 'fence' attempting to sell them to a dealer.
We Are Not Alone - webmaster [20 January 2009]
Gareth Phipps, Website Content Officer - Vietnam War Oral History Project has emailed me as follows, his comments are applicable to all veterans and their families:
"Thanks very much for registering on the Ministry for Culture and Heritage’s Vietnam War website which is recording memories of New Zealand and the Vietnam War. We wanted to encourage you to think about posting a memory, together with any memorabilia (for example, photos and newspaper clippings) you may have. You mention in your profile that you served with W3 Company in Vietnam 1969-1970 – this information could form part of a memory. Alternatively you may have stories on the W3 website
http://www.w3vietnam.org.nz which you’d be willing to share. To give you some ideas, here are some examples of the memories and images which have been contributed to the website:
Sister Claire Jacobson http://vietnamwar.govt.nz/memory/sister-claire-jacobson
Painting the Qui Nhon Hospital http://vietnamwar.govt.nz/memory/painting-qui-nhon-hospital
All in the Family http://vietnamwar.govt.nz/memory/all-family
SonofVBBrown’s Gallery http://vietnamwar.govt.nz/user/146/gallery
You can also comment on memories and images posted on the website. Here’s an example relating to a feature about the 1RNZIR Band tour to South Vietnam in 1969: http://vietnamwar.govt.nz/memory/1rnzir-band-tour (see bottom of the page).  You may also be interested in the BBC WW2 People’s War website which was a major inspiration for the Ministry for Culture and Heritage’s Vietnam War website. The BBC gathered 47,000 stories and 15,000 images between June 2003 and January 2006. You can see an archived version of the project website here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/
Please get in touch if you need help with submitting a memory or have any queries about the website. If you know of others who may be interested in the website, it’d be great if you could let them know.
gareth.phipps@mch.govt.nz     www.vietnamwar.govt.nz    www.mch.govt.nz
Former Commanding Officers at Duntroon Reunion - Evan Torrance [3 January 2009]

old CO's of W3 at Duntroon reunion 2008 [Torrance]

I attended my Duntroon class reunion at the beginning of December 2008.  The Duntroon class of 1948 were in Canberra celebrating their 60th since graduation.  The accompanying photo is of two members of that class who incidentally happened to be our CO's while we were in Vietnam.  Both David Butler 6RAR on the left and John Church 2RAR on the right are in their eighties and were happy to pose with their "young boy". Photo taken in the Duntroon House gardens with the college and parade ground in the background.
[Colonel David Butler was Commandant of OCS Portsea in 1971-72 when I was an officer cadet - Bruce Young]
Peter Anderson advises that the classmates regimental numbers are very close: John Church being 57005 and David Butler being 57006.  Sunray suggests that they not being in alphabetical order reflects their relative seniority on graduation, Church having been one place higher on the graduation order than Butler.

old CO's of W3 at Duntroon reunion 2008 [Torrance]

link to more news from before January 2009 - news archive