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Remembering ALL Our Fallen

Reunion project to collect photos of all
our deceased veterans headstones

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

link to more news from December 2019

news archive

On Facebook..?  - webmaster
W3 RNZIR Reunions
 Facebook page supports reunions that W3 RNZIR hold around New Zealand by engaging with and encouraging past members and their families to attend, to access welfare resources and to maintain old friendships.  It is a closed group for W3 veterans and their families.  Find yourself among the photo albums of our old reunions. 

Routine news, deaths and other topics are supported.  The W3 website remains as the historical record of activities.

The site is moderated and restricted to reunion and family welfare matters.  Join here 

NOTICAS FATAL 308185 LCpl David Condon mortars - webmaster [updated 9 January 2021]
Mark Binning advises that Dave Condon passed away 23 December 2020 after a long spell in hospital.  He had been struggling to eat among other issues.  Dave had prior service in Borneo and with 161 Bty RNZA in South Vietnam.  Ann has family support.

Dave’s wife Ann advises the following details for Dave's memorial service:
11.00 AM, 23rd January 2021, Northwest Baptist Church, 95 Rotokauri Road Hamilton.

 Dave has been cremated but will be buried in the services section of the Dargaville Cemetery once his step son and daughter can visit from the UK. 

NOTICAS FATAL LtCol David Butler 6RAR/NZ Anzac Bn - webmaster [11 December 2020]
Lt Col (later Major General) David Butler, AO, DSO and CO 6RAR/NZ (ANZAC) Battalion for the first 6 months of the W3 tour died on 24 November 2020.  His funeral with full military honours was held at the Royal Military College, Duntroon Chapel on Monday 7 December 2020.  The New Zealand Chief of Army was represented at the funeral by LtCol Lisa Kelliher the Military Attaché at the New Zealand High Commission in Canberra.

Each of the three Kiwi Company’s (W2, W3 and V4) who served under David Butler’s command produced messages of condolence which were read at the funeral service by LtCol Kelliher.  The W3 message of condolence was written by Sunray as follows:

"All ranks of the New Zealand W3 Company that served in South Vietnam for six months with 6RAR under the command of David Butler are saddened to learn of his death.  We were privileged to come under the fine leadership of an excellent commanding officer who displayed genuine compassion and concern for those that he led.  To his family we thank you for sharing him to lead us on active service.  Evan Torrance, Officer Commanding, Whiskey 3 Company"

Unfortunately David Butler’s wife was unable to attend the service due to her own illness but it was attended by his daughters Jennifer and Susan. Both daughters expressed their appreciation to LtCol Kelliher for the messages from the New Zealand Companies. Susan also told LtCol Kelliher how important the relationship and service with New Zealanders had been to her Father, and that he often spoke of the ‘Kiwis’ with fondness and pride, from his time as an Instructor then Commandment at the Officer Cadet School Portsea, and throughout his operational career, especially Vietnam.

NOTICAS FATAL 729639 David Hall 2Pl - webmaster [15 November 2020]
Family have reported that David Hall 2Pl passed away peacefully 14 November 2020 in Auckland Hospital after a struggle with cancer. Family were present.
NOTICAS FATAL 41668 Pte Waka Haig-Clarke 2Pl - webmaster [8 November 2020]
NZ Herald (4 November) is reporting the passing of Waka, Bob Upton's radio operator in 2Pl. Date being checked but likely 1 November 2020 (reported as 1 October). Waka lay in state at his home and at Ruaihona Marae Te Teko before being buried in the RSA Section of Kawerau Cemetery.
Remembering 3Pl on 10 October 1970 - researcher [8 October 2020]

10 October -
3Pl activities for the morning of 10 October are covered in detail at his link.  In outline 3Pl followed the tracker dog team along the route the VC party had used after the 8Pl contact.

1215H at YS360739 3Pl report being in contact - after a period of confusion the report was changed to a 'blue on blue' accident.Map of W Coy movements 10 October 1970  Four soldiers were wounded before it was realised that the platoon were firing at themselves.

    Wounded during the accident:
       Lcpl Bill Samson         Pte Ian Herd          
      LCpl W Samson    Pte I Herd

               Pte Ross Dunlea         

     Pte T Cooper         Pte R Dunlea

Map of W Coy movements 10 October 1970

3Pl activities for the afternoon of 10 October are covered in detail at his link.  All four casualties were winched from the location around 1300H and flown to Australian or US hospitals.  2Pl joined 3Pl to provide support and added protection in case the VC party being pursued was still in the vicinity.  An official investigation into the accident began, the investigating officer being Capt Jim Brown MC, the former 2ic of W Coy.

W3 Reunion 2020 - Covic-19 Update... webmaster [5 June 2020]

The organising committee for the 2020 reunion in Wellington  are advising veterans that the November reunion is postponed until 2021.  The decision to postpone while regrettable was formed by the uncertainty concerning national travel restrictions, the lack of airline schedules and ticket deals, the unknown government reaction should further Covid-19 outbreaks occur, and the potential stressors on individuals concerning their health or financial status.

Individuals who have made bookings or arrangements for November are encouraged to cancel and guest invitations should be withdrawn.

Not all is forlorn, the Committee will soon survey veterans and whanau with reunion options for 2021, likely being:

  • A W3 event in Wellington on a date in 2021 (date TBC in late 2020); or
  • Joining a national reunion in December in Burnham.

This message is also on the W3 Reunions Facebook page and emailed to veterans in the W3 email database.

Commemorating John Gurnick 3Pl - died of wounds 29 May 1970
John was cover scout for 3Pl on 29 May 1970 when a booby trap was missed and he and Chris Kennedy were wounded, John dying of his wounds while in the CASEVAC Iroquois.  Chris recovered after a period in 1AFH and returned to 3Pl for the remainder of the tour.

A brief description of the event is here, the after-action report here, and the timeline here.

NOTICAS Fatal W209527 Cpl Min Simons RNZIR 1Pl W3 & V4 - webmaster [26 April 2020]
V4 have advised of the passing of ‘Min’ Simons who died peacefully at 1715 hrs 26 April 2020, Auckland after a long illness. Owing to COVID-19 restrictions, many of his whanau will not be able to attend his tangihanga. 

The point of contact is his daughter-in-law Trudy Simons - trudy@mokowhiti.co.nz

W3 Reunion 2020 - Covic-19 Update... webmaster [4 April 2020]

The spread of Covid-19 in New Zealand, Australia and elsewhere is giving the 2020 reunion committee cause to rethink its preparations and ask the question ‘should/can the reunion proceed as intended.  The grounds for the question are:

  • Veterans are presently an endangered species due to our advanced age and health support requirements,
  • Even if New Zealand eliminates the virus from its population the Government would be foolish to open the borders again until the world population also recovers,
  • If the borders were opened visitors might be required to be quarantined for two weeks on entry to New Zealand, and again on returning home,
  • The business structure in New Zealand may not have recovered sufficiently by November – with a lack of tourists hotels and cafes may be closed, there would be limited air travel,
  • Restrictions on large groups could still be in force,
  • Veterans income may be compromised.

Until the situation can be fully understood the Committee is not encouraging veterans to make preparations.  The committee will likely communicate further in mid-May.  The Committee appreciates any feedback veterans may have, including their views on travelling in November.

From an Australian study – if 90% of the population maintain the lock-down the restrictions would finish in May, 80% the restrictions would finish in July, 70% the virus would be uncontained...

W3 RNZIR Reunion 2020 - 50th reunion Wellington November 2020

Details of the W3 RNZIR 50th reunion are at this link

link to W3 remembrance pageCommemorating David Wright 2Pl - died of wounds 19 March 1970
Pte David Wright [left] succumbed to secondary infections [likely renal failure] from his earlier wounds in January and died in Concord Repatriation Hospital Sydney on 19 March 1970.  Dave had been well enough by early March 1970 to be writing from Concord to friends in W3 and his death was sudden and unexpected, so sudden that a last letter was received in SVN after news of his death.  Dave is buried in Esk Valley South Canterbury; his grave was visited during the W3 2015 Reunion in Timaru and regularly by other veterans.
Vietnam War Interactive Website - webmaster [20 January 2020]
Veterans may not be aware that some years ago the University of New South Wales Canberra based at the Australian Defence Force Academy developed an interactive website for all the Australian and New Zealand combat actions in Vietnam.  The website is located at https://vietnam.unsw.adfa.edu.au/   (link also on Welfare page).  The W3 RNZIR contacts were uploaded to the battle map soon after the website was launched.  There is now a huge database of information available.

If you look at the website and click on the Battle Map you will see all the combat actions by the New Zealanders and Australians.  There is a small tutorial to help you around the site.  Veterans are able to look up their contacts and see the official reports from the War Diaries.  You are able to send in your personal story (these are welcomed) and photographs as these stories enrich history.  Takes a bit of patience to drill down but well worth the effort.  Pity about the website name...

link to more news from 2019 - news archive