W3 Company - News


new project - collecting photos of our
deceased veterans headstones

these will be displayed against their name on
the Company roll - see examples 

update:  seven photos [approx 20%] as at 1 May 2011

scan and email the photo here  [please do close-up photos for best detail]

link to more news beginning July 2011 - news archive

Want to help Vietnamese street kids..? - Cassie Brooker [26 June 2011]
Gary Brooker's daughter Cassie has suggested W3 people might like to support an appeal based in Hanoi that is helping Vietnamese street kids get homed safely.  The flyer for the 'Blue Dragon Outreach Appeal' is here.  A link to a programme from CNN called 'CNN Heroes' on the Blue Dragon Outreach is here.  The Foundation website and place to donate is here.

V5 website located - webmaster [25 June 2011] UPDATED
Tracking some links back from our site led me to the V5 website, it seems to have been around since July 2010.  I note Sgt Lima Karaka, which we show as also having been V5, doesn't appear on their roll.  All the others from W3 who moved to V5 are properly accounted for and I see Neil Ure and Ross Dunlea have been in touch.  Early days yet but great to see another veterans website up and running, especially one that also involved a number of our people.  If they put up photos of the crossover people that this site lacks I promise to pinch them...

UPDATED - I asked Sunray for his take on whether Lima was actually in V5 as our nominal roll shows.  Here's his answer in his usual well researched way - "My paper trail shows 553692 Sgt HK Karaka on the 141300Nov 69 Flight Roll to SVN destined for the ARU.  The Component Roll dated Feb 70 shows him on the V4 Coy Roll and the Component 29.2 dated 7 Apr 70 roll shows him as V4 Coy and to complete his tour with W3 Coy.  As an aside, he arrived in Terendak Nov 68, married accompanied, and his wife was in Singapore during his time in SVN.  He and his wife left Singapore 23 Nov 70 for NZ."  I have corrected the roll to remove V5 from Lima's name and advised Sean at the V5 website.

Caption Opportunity - Merie Kenyon [18 May 2011]
Merie offered this photo from the reunion last year, any good captions..?  Keep it funny.  the W3 sages..?


Historical Oddity - webmaster [1 May 2011]
We know W3 Company as c/s 5 in both 6RAR and 2 RAR/NZ (ANZAC) battalions, but it wasn't always so.  In May 1968 V3 in 4RAR were c/s 5 while in November 1968 W2 was c/s 7.  W2 changed to c/s 5 when 6RAR arrived, V4 would have become c/s 4 at the same time and this remained the norm after 2RAR's arrival.  Someone may know the c/s of the earlier companies..?  [source Ross Milne - W2]
ANZAC Day 2011 [25 April 2011]

"They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow,
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
they fell with their faces to the foe

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".

Today our thoughts are in Esk Valley, Pukekohe and Taupiri
Never Forget...

From our History:  0630H ANZAC Day 1970 - Dawn and Memorial Service – it is thought approximately 1000 ANZAC’s paraded for the Dawn Service, followed by the traditional sub-unit ‘gunfire breakfast’.  Mid-morning [1035H] there was a formal battalion parade for the Comd 1ATF Brig Steve Weir to officially farewell 6RAR from 1ATF, then company luncheons were held during which Comd 1ATF spent 30 minutes meeting the W Coy soldiers.  The parade instruction is here. The memorial parade service booklet is here, Pte DN Wright RNZIR is included in the battalion roll of honour.

ANZAC Day Interviews - Maori TV are broadcasting the two interviews by Bob Upton and Mark Binning/Doug Lewis  recorded during the W3 40th Reunion at around 1700 Hrs Monday night, as part of their ANZAC Vignettes series.  The full Maori TV ANZAC Day programme is here.  The V3 'Baptism by Fire' article is on at 2030 Hrs and is recommended viewing.

Updated information on the NZDSM medal project - webmaster [16 April 2011]
NZDF is now accepting New Zealand Defence Service Medal applications from ex-Service persons aged 70 or over. Applications from those in other age groups and from the next-of-kin of deceased ex Service persons, will be called for progressively over the next year or so.  Although not stated in the release it was always portrayed that terminally ill veterans should also apply in the first tranche.

For information and online application forms see this website:  medals.nzdf.mil.nz/nzdsm/index.html

Click for a picture of the NZDSM.  The FAQ [frequently asked questions] page is here.  There are four categories represented by clasps on the medal ribbon - regular, territorial, CMT, national service.  Applications open this month for the old fella's and those terminally ill.  Statements suggesting that the RSA is responsible to organise presentations and draft applications are poorly worded, the RSA is happy to assist where asked.

Pro Patria Project - webmaster 4 April 2011
Found a website called the Pro Patria Project a work in progress to record the timeline of New Zealand military history including in our case the citations for W3 people.  Look under 'Decorations, Mention in Despatches, Vietnam' for our contribution which is a copy of the website Honours page.  Jim Brown's citation for his MC is under 'Military Cross, Malayan Confrontation'.  The two researchers would be appreciative of any other detail including updating other awards held by our individuals.
A matter of timing...!  webmaster [26 March 2011] UPDATED
The venue for the 40th reunion formal dining-in and accommodation of most of those attending the Christchurch November 2010 reunion was the Latimer Lodge Hotel in Latimer Square.  Following the 22 February EQ the hotel has been closed:  "The Latimer Hotel is closed for the next 12 months. We are going to rebuild and look forward to seeing all our valued guests next year.  Currently we are unable to access our data and documentation being that we are in a state of lockdown within the Police and Army cordons and large areas of the hotel are inaccessible.  All those who have paid advance deposits will be refunded as soon as practical. Regards, Latimer Hotel Management".  It's all a matter of timing obviously..!  Latimer Square was the tented home of the international urban search and rescue teams. 

UPDATE 20 April 2011"As a result of significant damage sustained from the earthquake the Latimer Hotel has ceased operations as of 23 February 2011 and is no longer trading. We are now closed for what we hope will only be an 18 month period as we work through a complete rebuild. The Latimer Hotel will reopen as a 4 star plus property as a result of a ground up rebuild and will feature all new facilities, new layout and room configuration and the latest technology. As a new entity we hope to be able to start receiving reservations in twelve months time. These are only indications however, and are very much subject to change."

Bob Upton is the ECan CD controller [managed the two earthquakes on 4 September and 26 December 2010] and Baden Ewart is the CD director of plans in the Christchurch CDHQ, there may other W3 people involved.

Earthquake - My thoughts and best wishes go out to you and all our other W3 brothers and families at this tragic time in Christchurch and surrounding districts.  Kindest regards  David Gundersen

Thank you David for your kind wishes, my wife and I are safe and well, the house almost normal, shifted 53 barrows of silt, now looking for something else to do.   How are the rest of you black lanyard Christchurch  people out there ?    Doug M

Rumour worth repeating..? - webmaster [24 February 2011]
Note that I have no idea about the authenticity of this information and there may be considerable Vietnamese political hurdles to overcome before such an event becomes reality. The detail is from an OCS Portsea class email distribution.

"[Sometime this month] there was a informal gathering in Vung Tau.  Present were the outgoing, and incoming Australian Military Attaches (amongst others).  In the course of the evening a matter was raised that I feel deserves the widest distribution at the earliest convenience.  The subject .... A Vietnam Veterans Reunion to take place in South Vietnam during March 2012.  Those attending would be representative of services participating in the conflict. Namely Army, Navy and Air Force of Australia (and probably New Zealand ) as well as ARVN, VC and NVA.  It is envisioned that it will probably encompass both Saigon (sorry HCMC) and Vung Tau.  This would be a considerably Significant Event for any Vietnam Veterans and should be worthy of our fullest attention.  Especially considering that there aren't as many of us as there used to be.  I think that most of us would agree that the idea/concept should be given as much support/consideration/encouragement as possible.  Towards that end I would encourage everyone to indicate their interest/support of the idea and contact: Daniel Kindness - Warrant Officer Class Two (WO2) - Defence Section - Australian Embassy Hanoi
War pensions to increase - webmaster [24 February 2011]
The rate at which the War Disablement Pension and Veterans’ Pension are paid will increase from 1 April as part of the annual cost of living adjustment, Minister of Veterans' Affairs Judith Collins said 22 February 2011.  The War Disablement Pension and Veterans’ Pension will increase 3.75% from 1 April. This rise reflects increases to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).  “The increase in the rate of the War Disablement Pension and Veterans' Pension helps to compensate veterans for the rise in living costs,” Ms Collins said.

Examples of the increases are:

 A veteran on a 100% War Disablement Pension will now receive a tax-free payment of $199.05 per week, in addition to the Veterans’ Pension which is paid at the same rate as NZ Superannuation, or any other assistance such as a living alone or disability allowance.

 A veteran over 60 with a severe disability may receive up to $350.34 per week in addition to the Veterans’ Pension and/or other allowances.

All war pension payments are tax free and paid in addition to employment income or other financial assistance such as NZ Superannuation or the Veterans’ Pension.  Other pensions and allowances, such as the Surviving Spouse’s Pension, a Travelling Allowance, Clothing Allowance, Attendant’s Allowance and War Bursaries are also available in addition to the War Disablement Pension and the Veterans’ Pension.
Latest information on the NZDSM medal project - NZRSA News [24 February 2011]
As at 8 February 2011 - Applications for the NZ Defence Service Medal (NZDSM) are expected to open in early April 2011 for the oldest ex-Service persons.  Applications can only open after Her Majesty The Queen has approved the Royal Warrant, and the Governor-General has signed the Regulations.  The proposed design of the medal has been finalised by the Herald of Arms Extraordinary and will be sent to The Queen shortly for approval. Manufacturing will occur once the design has been approved by The Queen.  Around 160,000 personnel qualify for the NZDSM and the Defence Force Medals Office expect to issue around 116,000 medals over the next three years.  With such high numbers a priority programme is necessary and the Minister of Defence has directed that the priority will be:
1. Those living ex-Service personnel over the age of 70
2. Those living ex-Service personnel over the age of 60
3. Then other living ex-Service personnel.
Terminally ill ex-Service personnel will be given priority over all other applicants but will still need to apply in the usual manner.  Families of deceased ex-Service personnel will be invited to apply for their late relation's (husband/father/mother etc) medal entitlement after the processing of the initial applications from older living ex-Service personnel is well underway, possibly in late 2011.

An initial NZDSM presentation will be made to a selected group of ex-Service personnel at a ceremony in Parliament in the first half of 2011.  For logistical reasons it is anticipated that the majority of these personnel will be drawn from the Wellington area.  Regional medal presentations will be arranged by local RSA branches from late May 2011.  Interviews are currently taking place for additional staff to process the medal applications.  The hard copy form has been tested and the online version of the form is currently under construction.  For further information please read the NZDSM FAQ sheet which is being updated regularly basis in line with questions received through the medals site.

Once the application process opens the Medals Office aim to deliver medals to those entitled to receive them as quickly as possible and will be providing frequent updates about the NZDSM Project on the website at medals.nzdf.mil.nz .
Medical Research Trust Study of Veterans Mortality - Dr David McBride [29 January 2011]
I had better introduce myself, Dr David McBride, Lecturer at the University of Otago and (for the next three years anyway) LtCol and Medical Officer with 3 Health Services Company at the Medical Treatment Centre, Burnham Military Camp.  For the past year or so, we have been trying to get a study of Vietnam Veterans under way.  This is funded by VANZ through the Medical Research Trust Fund, but is independent of Government apart from that.

The aims are to see if Vietnam Veterans are at greater risk of dying from any cause, including cancer.  Rod Baldwin was kind enough to arrange a meeting at Papakura RSA in June 2010, where a number of you were good enough to come along and talk about it.  There seemed to be agreement that the study would be valuable: It would raise the profile of Vietnam Veterans at a Governmental level, for the public and for Veterans themselves; It would indicate where screening measures, such as for prostate cancer, might be of benefit to this group; It may highlight specific issues which we do not know about, and it would help to indicate what future resources might be necessary.

We also discussed the impact of negative findings and any risks that this might pose: I acknowledged that the results of one study will not provide conclusive proofs; We will not be investigating any specific associations, such as smoking or other service data; and lastly that the findings should not influence the presumptive list.

We have made some progress since, and the study is finally about to start.  The starting point was an accurate list of those who served in Vietnam, and VANZ have done a great job in working on this for us.  We have 3,249 records with dates of birth as against 3,304 on the “Flinkenberg” list.  There are likely to be a number of reasons for this.  We propose initially to “flag” the individuals who appear on both lists and those appearing only on one.  We have managed to find 2362 (68%) of Veterans on the list. Manual searches will have to be done for the other 1087.  Some of you will be living in Australia, that might turn up a few of the AWOLs!  We then need to know who has passed on.  As you are well aware, “Last Posts” are well reported on the “brave pages” by researcher Tame Turinui and webmaster Victor Johnson.  Sometimes the underlying cause of death is uncertain, but we are going to check on this through the New Zealand Health Information Service, who will give us this information from death certificates.  We will then be able to compare the rates with the New Zealand “average”.  We will also be able to examine rates of hospital admissions and cancer registrations to see if these occur more often than is usual.

In other words it is looking good so far.  This is the first letter keeping you up to date with what is going on.  I will let you know as soon as we have any further information, and will front up and face the music at your next reunion!

David McBride - 18 January 2011  david.mcbride@nzdf.mil.nz  03 363 0170 (best before 10.00 and after 15.00)
NOTICAS FATAL - 43443 Pte Douglas Lewis RNZIR Mor Sect - webmaster [29the mortar section is usually the largest section attanding any reunion - from left Doug Lewis, Bruce Young, Ross Cherry, Stu Cameron, Dave Flintoft, Mark Binning, Dave Condon [Binning] January 2011 - updated]
Family advise that Doug Lewis passed away in Gisborne 12 January due to complications caused by cancer.  The funeral service will be held at Evans Chapel, Ormond Road at 0900 Hrs on Saturday 15 January followed by interment at Servicemen's Lawn, Taruheru Cemetery.  Doug will lie at his home, 3 Elsthorpe Avenue.  send tributes here

Doug Lewis standing on left in photo

Doug spent his time since 7 January surrounded by family; he will be sadly missed by his family but particularly by his wife Anne and the girl they raised as a daughter 8-year old Leanne Smith.

Doug had been suffering from cancer for some time but was determined to attend the W3 Reunion in Christchurch in November 2010.  It was a great effort from someone who was often in great discomfort and feeling exhausted.  His effort was very appreciated by his colleagues.

“Fran and I motored through to Gisborne on Friday 14th for Doug’s funeral.  That evening we paid Anne and the family a visit and listened to the many stories about Doug from whanau and friends.  Dave and Anne Condon also arrived late Friday afternoon.  There was a huge crowd at the funeral home chapel next morning for the service including Doug’s family and Anne’s whanau from all up the East Coast.  Evan and Zilla Torrance had made the trip, other W3 personnel in attendance were Pat Kupenga, Larry Rangiwai and Willie (Bill) Wilson.  Evan Torrance and I delivered brief eulogy’s on Doug’s service.  Many ex-Vietnam servicemen from Gisborne and the East Coast were in attendance, including Gavin Nicol, V5, who had done so much for Doug with his medical claims.  The family eulogy written by Doug’s oldest daughter Mihi, and delivered by her husband Steve, painted a picture of a difficult upbringing, a pride in his service in the Army, and of a very proud and loving father and family man.  Ex-servicemen formed a guard of honour as the family bore Doug’s coffin to the hearse, and again at the soldiers cemetery.  Doug’s W3 comrades were given the honour of being the pall bearers at the gravesite.”  Mark and Fran Binning

"Doug Lewis was a rather unique figure during my early months in the NZ infantry, I caught up with him when we were doing our Corp Training in Burnham.  Those days Regimental Police controlled the mess hall access.  In the late 60’s, to get your meal you had to produce your ID card and be dressed according to Camp Rules.  If in civilians, it was Planters Order, (long sleeved shirt with traditional collar and tie etc).  Doug more often than not refused to comply and wore pink and mauve Nehru collared shirts with bellbottom trousers and the occasional paisley shirt and needle cord jacket, hence his nickname of Flower Power shortened to Flowers.  I can always remember Doug suggesting to the screws that a Nehru Collar and tie were up to speed while being escorted back to the barracks.  I ran into Doug a few times in Gisborne back in the 80’s.  Doug displayed tremendous tenacity and determination during this last struggle with cancer.  One thing for sure his loyalty to fellow friends and the military can never be questioned, as exhibited with his presence at the last reunion, his army service was a significant factor in his life.  To Doug’s family who survive him, from an old friend of his and fellow serviceman, be extremely proud of your man.  He was a humble and faithful servant of our Vietnam Veteran brotherhood.  His obvious desire to be the fashion conscious modern young Kiwi of the 60’s was one of his key attributes, his decision to volunteer for active service in SVN another indication that Doug did not simply follow the trends of the day, Doug was his own unique man and remained that man through to the end.  Flowers, I know you will be up there with the Angels mate and no doubt they will be trying to figure out how to fit you in.   Ka Kite".  Duke Henry, Cebu, Philippines

"I note that Mark had sent you a report on Doug's funeral.  There is little to add apart from the fact that Mark gave a very humorous, heartfelt and fitting eulogy, that Doug was clearly loved and respected by all members of his family and the community and that his Army service had been instrumental in shaping his future outlook on life.  The eulogy given by Steve Hannah, Doug's son in law, was very well received and covered a lot of ground that was new and enlightening to many of the mourners.  As Mark has mentioned it was written by Mihi and she may be prepared to let you have an edited copy suitable for publishing on the website - just a thought.  I spoke to Larry Rangiwai but did not see Pat Kupenga and Bill Wilson.  Perhaps they were present at the Lewis home on the Friday!  A large number of Vietnam vets were present.  The officiating minister Jack Papuni, was an ex soldier - RNZSigs I believe. [RF Cadet Crump Class 1967 I think - Ed]

On another note, Terry Shield's gravesite is very close to where Doug is buried so I had a look at it on the way out of the cemetery.  We have photos on the website of the headstones/plaques of our Vietnam casualties and Dave Heywood so perhaps it is time to think about collecting the public record of those that have died since coming home?  Every time I pass through the Bay of Plenty I think about making a detour to visit Jim Brown's resting place so perhaps I need the motivation/excuse of photographing his headstone to make it happen!  Evan Torrance

Webmaster - have placed existing photos of our veterans headstones as suggested [check People pages], others now welcome to take up the challenge..! [please do close-up photos for best detail]

Latest information on the NZDSM medal project - My Informant [21 December 2010 ]
The tender process for production of the medal has been completed. The successful tender will be announced next year after the contract has been finalised and signed.  The first stage of the application process is expected to open in late February /early March.  Medals will be issued based on the age of the living ex-Service person.  The medals will be sent to the oldest applicants first and to those of any age who are terminally ill.  To assist NZDF in ensuring the oldest applicants receive their medals first, it is expected that the initial call will be made for applications from ex-Service personnel over seventy years of age.  Any applications received from persons under that age will not be processed and persons should wait until the NZDF advises that the next age group should send in their applications. This is also the case for those applying of behalf of deceased spouse, next of kin etc.

Hiring of additional staff to work on the NZDSM project at Trentham Military Camp will begin in February 2011.  An initial NZDSM presentation will be made to a selected group of ex-Service personnel at a ceremony in Parliament in the first half of 2011.  For logistical reasons it is anticipated that the majority of these personnel will be drawn from the Wellington area.  “The continuing patience of ex-Service persons and their families is acknowledged and sincerely appreciated,” said Commodore Kevin Keat.  “NZDF is making excellent progress on its preparations for issuing more than 100,000 NZDSMs.  It is worth noting that NZDF has set itself a challenging target of less than six months to be ready to issue the NZDSM.  This is less than half the 12 months required by NZDF in 2001-2002 to prepare itself for the issue of (only) 12,000 New Zealand Operational Service Medals.”

For further information please read the NZDSM FAQ sheet at medals.nzdf.mil.nz/nzdsm/faqs.html which is being updated regularly in line with questions received through the medals site.  Once the application process opens the Medals Office aim to deliver medals to those entitled to receive them as quickly as possible and will be providing frequent updates about the NZDSM Project on the NZDF Medals website at medals.nzdf.mil.nz

A Note from the CSM - Pacestick [2 January 2011]

I thoroughly enjoyed the reunion and by the look on the faces present I think most of you felt the same.  Thanks to the organisers for labouring away for a long time to produce such a well organised weekend.  Many thanks also to those who came up and made themselves known to me - it made my day.  I was a bit surprised to be named as the oldest member present who needed assistance from the youngest member to cut the cake.  Last June I was at a reunion where I was the youngest member present.  For those who did not make it to Christchurch, perhaps we will see you at the next reunion or even sooner.

Those readers who are members of W3 will probably visit this website on a regular basis and enjoy most of what you see.  Half of this websites success is undoubtedly due to the hard and continuous work put in by Bruce Young.  The other half is over to you, yes YOU.  Without input from W3 members this website will fade away.  If half of you send in one contribution this year, Bruce will be swamped and cursing me but also very happy.  If you are in the half who will not be sending something in, what is your excuse? The W3 Coy members I knew had one thing in common - from the Boss down to the most junior Private they did not offer excuses.  Just did the job 98% of the time, and that I believe made us something a bit different.

What can you send in? Think wide, the website will give you ideas.  It can be serious or funny, about life in W3 or life afterwards.  I don't think Bruce would object to articles from W3 relatives or even the present W Coy.

To avoid everyone rushing in and swamping the website manager I have allocated the month when you are invited to submit your contribution based on the first letter of your surname - for example if your surname starts with M then you should get your contribution in before the last day of January 2011.

January M     February A K     March B     April C W    May D U     June E T     July F L     August G S     September H
October I R     November J P V     December N O     Not required Q X Y Z

LANG MAY YOUR LUM REEK (unless you live in Christchurch) and Best Wishes to you All for 2011 - Doug

link to more news from before January 2011 - news archive