W3 Company - News


link to more news beginning January 2007 - news archive

Bruce Young [15 December 2006]
I visited Peter Henderson and Doc Welsh recently as part of my research into the 3 Platoon accident.  They are both living in the Waimate area but had no idea the other was in close proximity.  Neither are on email. Both are well and Peter and I were able to visit David Wright's grave in the Esk Valley nearby.  I have also recently interviewed Neil Ure, Bill Hansen and George Preston about their recollections of the accident.  Jim Cutler is chasing up the official report into the accident.  A number of others from 3Pl are producing written records of their recollections.  To all our veterans and their families, have a good Christmas, more from me in the New Year.
Melissa Shields [13 December 2006]
My dad Terry Tai John Shields died of a cerebral haemorrhage in 1990 and had a extremely bad skin condition due to Agent Orange.  He was married to Naumai Lydia Shields and has four children - Mark, Tracy, Melissa and Katrina.  Tracy also has a extremely bad skin condition identical to what my father had.  We all love and miss him sooo much and only wish we heard all his stories before he passed.  We have many photos of him in Vietnam that we are willing to share with anyone who wishes to see them.
Agent Orange Joint Working Group Reports [8 December 2006]
These are links to the relevant decisions of the AOJWG released 7 December 2006, and media comment:

Vietnam Viets AO Ministerial Press Release          RNZRSA Press Release

media: adverse comment from veterans reported

Kia Ora W3 [7 December 2006] 
my name is Clarence Ormsby, served Vietnam with 161 Battery RNZA 1967 - 1969. I am helping the Vietnam veterans national Museum situated at San Remo Victoria Australia. The Aussies have allocated an area in the museum called "Kiwi Korner". To support this museum project I have planned to have all Kiwi Vietnam veterans who have passed away post war remembered. To do this we can "buy a brick" with their name on it. It costs AUD$25 with cheque made out to "Vietnam veterans national museum" then forward the money with application form to me so I can enter the name into the NZ "in memory" book so we don't double up with same names. My postal address is; P.O.Box 7072, Mannering Park NSW 2259 Australia. Don't send cash.
My community in Australia and I are sponsoring a black granite plaque with gold lettering with the 37 NZ names and will donate it to the museum.
Living veterans can also have their name recorded. Please forward this message on to your mates. You do not have to be a Vietnam war veteran to buy a brick. Sponsors just have to be proud of our ANZAC service.  [This opportunity is now closed - 31 January 2007]

Evan Torrance email:
[5 December 2006]
The attached photo is of the ex W3 folk (and Father Ray Stachurski who conducted the service) who attended Owen's funeral at the Porirua Club, Porirua, 5 December. [left to right]  Don Wolff, Danny Campbell, Roger Greenaway, Nigel Clifford, Neville Carmichael, Father Ray Stachurski, and Evan Torrance. Tom Konia was also present but had to leave before I could grab my camera.

Eulogies were given by Pam (his partner for the past 22 years) and representatives of the Whitireia Polytechnic (where he worked), Titahi Bay Bowling Club, Porirua Chartered Club and the Titahi Bay RSA. The majority of the approx 150 that attended were from these organisations including a number of other ex VN vets. Owen was known as "Cowboy", "Jock", "Clarence", and "Magic" and from the eulogies it was clear that he was a well loved and respected member of these organisations. He died of cancer at 57 years of age. On behalf of all ex members of W3 we expressed to Pam, his children and grandchildren our deepest sympathy at their loss of a partner, father and grandfather.
Kind regards, Evan

Noticas Fatal 43659 Pte OS Mahoney 3Pl - webmaster [4 December 2006]
The Vetnet has been advised by partner Pam that Owen (Cowboy) Mahoney
died Porirua 30 November 2006 after a long illness, funeral service is Tuesday 5 December at the Porirua Club, Lodge Place, Porirua City at 1 pm followed by private cremation.  Tributes here.
Evan Torrance email: [23 November 2006]Left to right: Gary Pickering V6. John Nicolle W3. John Mullens W3. Rani Simms V2?, & Ewan Wright V3 [photo courtesy Ewan Wright]
Spotted this picture on the vets net, taken at the Picton 'Year of the Vet' function. [mouse over for names].  Don Wolff is going to Picton for the 28 November function so I'll ask Debbie Mullen to try and get a photograph of all the ex W3 folk attending.  [most W3 people will be surprised to see 'Gannet' Mullins [middle] wearing a tie - Ed]

Left to right: Gary Pickering V6. John Nicolle W3. John Mullens W3. Rani Simms V2?, and Ewan Wright V3 [Ewan Wright]

Mark Binning email: [19 November 2006]
Have just returned from a weeks visit to Sydney.  Caught up with Jim Mitchell.  Mitch and his wife Lyndy gave us a great tour around the eastern seaside suburbs before hosting Fran and I to a wonderful lunch at their place.  Mitch has struggled with medical problems but seems much better now.  Lyndy and daughter Fleur are obviously great support.  Mitch produced his 69/70 photo album and we spent time identifying faces and reminding us of good stories.  If anyone out there is in Sydney be sure and look Mitch up - he would be delighted to see any of the old company.

[perhaps Mitch could also
share the stories..?  Ed]


Duke Henry email [2 November 2006]
It was with real sadness that I read of Rau Te Harra's death in the W3 web page.  Rau, Billy Kahaki, Ben Te Namu and later Wi Taepa were my 2 PL tent mates and not much else can be said.  Rau was a strong and resilient mate, his brand of humour was bloody unique.  If there is any real sadness for me ref my Vietnam frolic then its all about Rau and his sudden departure from our group all those years ago........   I have never dwelled upon any thing that happened those many years prior, but for whatever reasons reading his death notice just minutes ago has bought me savagely back to earth.  Rau, may you trip to the next world be a smooth and wonderful journey, and I am sure you will be sitting up there amongst many an old friend looking back down at us peons.  We will miss you Bro, but hey, don't send for reinforcements, none of us are ready yet - Ka Kite   Duke, Baghdad
Noticas Fatal 383901 Pte R Te Haara 2Pl - webmaster [30 October 2006]
Rau Te Haara died in Kaikohe 26 Oct 2006, his funeral was held 28 Oct 2006 at the Kaingahoa Marae at Mataraua near Kaikohe.  Tributes here.

Mark Binning email: [9 October 2006]
Had Mike Morrison call in yesterday (see photo) - he was in the Hawke's Bay for the races.  Mike, as usual, full of beans and good stories.  Nice to hear of his recent trip to Australia where he spent sometime catching up with Jim Mitchell.  From Mike's account and photos, Jim looks well.  Fran and I are off to Sydney next month and are looking forward to catching up with Mitch as well.
Recently had an e-mail from Dave and Bev Flintoft who are into the picking season on their strawberry farm north of Brisbane.  They were in NZ towards the end of last year and managed to catch up with Ross Cherry in Invercargill.  Have also touched base with Stu Cameron.  He was over in the HB recently with the family supporting son Pero and the NZ Basketball team.  Didn't get to see him as his commitments with the games and family left him no free time.
My health is good now except my knee which keeps me from being too active. Soon to be fixed I hope.

Year of Veteran  [YoV] Links: [28 September 2006]
The New Zealand Government has designated 2006 as the ‘Year of the Veteran', the following links allow members to apply for their YoV lapel badge and certificate but application needs to be made by 30 November 2006:
RNZRSA explanation of veteran entitlements
Certificate of Appreciation and Lapel Badge application

Have you applied for yours..?

Australian War Dog Memorial - Evan Torrance [15 July 2006]
Zilla [Mrs Sunray] and I have not long returned from Queensland having attended a Staff College Reunion in Brisbane followed by a few days on the Sunshine Coast.  We spent most of the time at Mooloolaba and it was while we were out walking one day that I took the two attached photographs.  Right on the foreshore overlooking the beach there is a park in which there are a number of military monuments including the Dog Memorial shown in the photograph.  The wording on the plaque indicates that all the tracking dogs sent to Vietnam stayed there - presumably quarantine requirements did not allow for them to be returned to Aust.  Also, the names listed must have been all the tracking dogs in Vietnam 1967-1971?  If so, one of the dogs listed must have been involved in the 3 Platoon tragedy that resulted in Tom Cooper's death.  It would be interesting to know the name of the tracking dog involved in the tragedy and to confirm whether his name is among those "memorialised"!  Interestingly and to the best of my memory this is the first military memorial that I have seen that "commemorates" animals.  [23 Aug 06 - the dog has been identified as Milo (misspelt on the memorial as Mila) - a separate article on Milo and mates is here -Ed ]


Duke Henry reports from Iraq: [14 July 2006]
"all is well but somehow I have fallen out of the loop it seems. Take it easy and stay safe, Duke
PS: If 'Grunter' Greenaway is on the email list please pass him my regards and tell him to catch up via email".  [he's not - Ed]  Duke also reports Titty Harris, Rex Ryan and PP Brown have been in touch as well as Mark Binning, and wonders how Paul Moana is getting on..? [18 July 2006]
National Reunion Update [5 June 2006]
It is understood the following W3 veterans attended the Palmerston North national reunion, Queens Birthday weekend June 2006: 'Lucky' Atatu, Danny Campbell, Nigel Clifford, Bill Compton, Phil Cribb, Peter Harris, Ngatoko Kupe, Terry Lynch, Neil Ure, George Preston.  Everyone spoken to enjoyed the Reunion. [report from Evan Torrance]

link to more news from before June 2006 - news archive