W3 Company - News


link to more news beginning January 2009 - news archive

40 Years on and almost the end of an era - webmaster [20 December 2008]the air force managed to scramble all of its old Iroquois and Sioux helicopters at the same time. [Stuff]
The RNZAF managed to scramble all of its old Iroquois and Sioux helicopters at the same time in December 2008.

The 19 helicopters, which are all of Vietnam vintage, completed a short flight over the towns around Ohakea air force base yesterday.

Operations flight commander Squadron Leader Nigel Cooper said it was a rare occurrence that not one helicopter was in for scheduled maintenance and a sight that might not be seen again as all the aircraft were scheduled to be replaced over the next two years.

He said the flyover was a thank you to the local community and a demonstration of the credibility and capability of the air force.

Merry Christmas - webmaster [20 December 2008]
Duke and Maribel Henry: Wishing you and all the W3 crew and fa2RAR journal reproduction advert 2008 in Australiamilies a wonderful Christmas and New Year

Christmas Present anyone..?  Colin Fraser found this advert in the latest edition of 'Mufti' in Australia, price is Aus$.

A Place for Family/Whanau Stories - webmaster [1 December 2008]
The website is starting a 'Family/Whanau Story' section - a place where those who knew their veteran as more than a soldier can share about him with others.  To start the section the stories on the Barkle reunion and Harry Hemana's funeral have been relocated.  So a very keen invitation is extended to any W3 family or 'dependants' [as the Army liked to call those close to a soldier] reading the website to offer a story.  The Family/Whanau index page and suggestions on how to contribute are here.
Contact with Yandall family - webmaster [16 November 2008]
Contact has been established with Joe Yandall's family through his daughter Moana Grove.  The way it was established was a little unusual, starting with the presentation of service medals to Isabel Beaumont NZ Red Cross in London in September 2008.  The NZ Red Cross compiled a photo album for presentation to Isabel which included photos taken from the W3 website photo pages and some of these, including a photo of Isabel with Wally Joe, Bob Newson and Joe Yandall were shown during a news item on NZ television and seen by Joe's family.  Moana then located Isabel's email address and asked for the original for her mother.  Isabel pointed Moana back to Andrew McKie at NZRC who redirected the query to me as webmaster.  By happy coincidence the photo was one of the few photos I took in Vietnam and I have been able to locate the original which is being forwarded to Moana this week.  For those wanting further contact with Joe's family I have added Moana's email address here.  I have added Isabel's email address here.

Your Voice, Your Choice - webmaster [29 October 2008]
As part of the MOU with the NZ Government the Law Commission is undertaking a comprehensive review of the War Pensions Act [WPA] – and are seeking answers to important questions that may affect you.  The Law Commission has asked NZDF to consult its personnel over the implications of any changes to the War Pensions Act and provide the Law Commission with feedback.  This is the first step in a journey to reform the war pensions system which will affect all veterans – past, present and future.  NZDF wants its personnel to be recognised and adequately rewarded for their service through the veterans’ benefits and entitlements they receive.  But they need older veterans help to ensure all veterans interests are looked after.  This is your chance to have a say in the benefits that will be available to all veteransIt’s Your Voice, Your Choice!

Robin Klitscher [president NZRSA] has written to veterans as follows:
"The NZDF has been working on how best to arrange for those now serving to contribute to the War Pensions Act re-write process.  Measures taken include attendance, as observers, by a serving military representative at the Law Commission's "Roadshow" now being held at RSA's up and down the country.  This is good, because it ensures that the serving Force is able to see first-hand what the issues really are, as seen by veterans - a unique and important opportunity.  The Defence Force will also be doing its own internal "roadshow" at camps and bases over the next few weeks.  Accordingly we have arranged that the RSA interest will be represented at these sessions by District Presidents in their areas.  This will enable us to hear first-hand what serving soldiers, sailors and airmen are saying, but also to make RSA views and capabilities known where appropriate.  These and other things illustrate how the public undertakings to improve connections between ex-Service organisations and the serving military are now beginning to be put into effect.  But this is a two-way street.  There is not much future in veterans just waiting for Defence to "do something".  We must be proactive, and work at it too.  After all, one-third of the currently serving military - about 5,000 - come under the present definitions of "veteran".

There is an opportunity for veterans to be involved pro-actively.  The NZDF is running a questionnaire on their Web site, aimed at assisting the WPA rewrite process.  NZRSA asked whether this opportunity could be made available to veterans as well. The  answer was "Yes".  In fact it was "Yes, of course".  You will find the on-line survey here:
Or you can get there by going to the main page of the NZDF website and clicking on the link in the centre with the poppy called "Towards a new veterans' entitlements scheme - Your Voice, Your Choice", then scrolling down to the link "Fill in a simple online survey".

Whether or not you have done - or intend to do - a separate response to the Law Commission's discussion document, please also participate in the survey now made available by the NZDF.  While it doesn't cover everything you might want to say, it is part and parcel of the process, and is a great opportunity for you to make many points easily."

Regards to all,
Robin Klitscher [president NZRSA]

Auckland Cenotaph Records - webmaster [14 October 2008]
Prior to
Tribute08 I requested that the staff at the Auckland Museum Cenotaph update the records for the W3 Coy dead.  This has finally been accomplished, using photographs provided from the website.  Well done to the Cenotaph staff involved.  Check the changes here compared to other veterans from Vietnam.

Story about John Barkle - Bruce Young [14 October 2008]
I am presently researching a story concerning John Barkle and his father Des Barkle both being in Vietnam at the same time.  The existing article had been shown to be so inaccurate as to be funny.  While I work with other veterans to sort out the facts, it is a fact that John originally deployed with W2 in November 1968 but returned to Terendak in March 1969.  He then joined W3 in May, was promoted prior to travelling again to Vietnam with us, and finally RTNZ at the same time as V4 in May 1970.  I am interested in why John returned to Terendak in March 1969, anyone have any idea..?  Tell me here.  For the record Des Barkle was in Vietnam with John but perhaps in early 1969.  Story Updated

New Story - Bruce Young [14 October 2008]
I am researching who from W3 Coy was still in uniform in August 1987.  If you were and I haven't contacted you please get in touch with me ASAP, use this email address.  I want to know your rank, corps and posting.

Interesting Stuff - webmaster [29 September 2008]

Update on MOU  Latest Veterans Affairs update on payments made to and registration of veterans and their families.

Challenging article  Rex Alexander [V6] has an article in the latest issue of the EVSA Contact magazine.  I have read the article several times and each time find something different and challenging in it.  I have reproduced it here.  It occurs to me that it speaks volumes of the conditions at home before and after our tour of active service, of close friendships forged in battle still important afterwards, of good support for young soldiers without going over the top, and of respect in all directions.  See what you think.

More Stuff - webmaster [15 September 2008]
a selection of photos supplied by Trevor Philips have been added to several stories.  Look for them among the existing stories.  Here's one worth highlighting.  More to come as I get the scanner working.

I need help please to research the background to an article for the website.  I'm trying to establish who was still in uniform in August 1987.  I have separately emailed a number of veterans but if you haven't replied to my email or haven't heard from me at all and were in uniform then, please drop me a line saying your rank, corps, job and location/posting in August 1987.  If your veteran is deceased could their next of kin please offer what they remember..?  Much appreciated..!

Have you seen this..? - Webmaster [3 September 2008]
The link goes to the Government-sponsored website where any Vietnam veteran can leave a story for the grand-kids and the nation to read and appreciate their service.  Enjoy the 1Pl V3 Coy order group..!

Fund-raising for the EVSA Children's and Grand-children's Trust - Webmaster [2 September 2008]
Ross Miller in his capacity as Chair of the Ex-Vietnam Services Association (Neville Wallace Memorial) Children's and Grandchildren's Trust has written to the W3 webmaster concerning fund-raising for the trust.  The Trust has been in existence now for over 15 years and during that time have provided financial assistance to a large number of veterans offspring helping them to realize their dreams. The Trust website is at www.evsayouthtrust.org.nz

Last year Alastair McKenzie and his supporters raised $50,000 for the Trust through the 'Ride of the Veterans'.  This year Louise Mullane, daughter of Chris Mullane, is running in the New York Marathon under the Trust's banner and is donating 100% of all monies raised back to the Trust.  In America she is being hosted by John Rowan, President of the Vietnam Veterans of America, who is commending her initiative to his Chapters and Members for whatever support they can give.  Back here John Banks, Mayor of Auckland, has given his support to the venture and has provided Louise with a letter of introduction and support for her to give Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York.

Ross asks that veterans show their practical support for Louise and the Trust by making a pledge which they will 'call-in' after 2 November.  This pledge can be done either through the link on their website or by replying to him direct.  All pledges are acknowledged on their website and already they have received a great response. Their target is $50,000.

update:  W3 Coy is pledging $500 from accumulated funds - individuals may also contribute

Medical Conditions and Advice - webmaster [1 September 2008]
A new section has been added to the website to cover medical issues experienced by veterans.  This section will in time offer links to advice on treatments to different conditions, or links to veterans willing to assist with questions or to offer support.  The new section is here

More Stuff - webmaster [4 August 2008]

Isabel Beaumont located.
The New Zealand Red Cross have succeeded in locating Isabel Beaumont.  She married a RAF type in Singapore and after much time in Hong Kong now lives in Wales, married name Harris.  The NZ Red Cross director will present her with her GSM and OSM medals in a ceremony in London first week of September, Isabel will travel to London with her family for the presentation.
Offer 1: Any vets in the UK who want to meet up with Isabel can do so at the ceremony.
Offer 2: NZRC are preparing a scrapbook of articles and photos to give her at the presentation and any wounded veterans who were nursed by Isabel can contribute.  Andrew.McKie@redcross.org.nz is the contact

Pre-deployment photograph
Sunray has had the W3 pre-deployment photo taken by Mr Lee in Terendak late-1969 digitised.  This has allowed the photograph to be sectioned to give better views of the individual faces.  The photo is presented here.
The names have been checked against the nominal roll as the section of names at the bottom of the photograph have misspellings for a number of people [in my case Young is spelt YONG].  Good luck convincing the grandkids you were that slim, good looking, etc

Book Review - Peter Anderson [28 July 2008]
I have finished the book “Voices from Vietnam” by Billy Barnz.  I enjoyed the book and found each individual had a different take on their tours up top.  Particularly good to read the Whisky 3 content from Doug Mackintosh, Denny King and from the W3 family side Rhonda Upton - Andy

Colonel of the Regiment Bob Upton - Evan Torrance [28 July 2008]Basin Reserve Wellington Tribute08 - Colonel of the Regiment Bob Upton in grey jacket drapes the rededicated 1RNZIR Regimental Colour.  The Colour had had the dates for the theatre honour Vietnam changed to reflect the service of all subunits - this had been part of the MOU and had received permission from HRH Queen Elisabeth II [Binning]
Basin Reserve Wellington Tribute08 - Colonel of the Regiment Bob Upton in grey jacket drapes the rededicated 1RNZIR Regimental Colour. The Colour had had the dates for the theatre honour Vietnam changed to reflect the service of all subunits - this had been part of the MOU and had received permission from HRH Queen Elisabeth II [Binning]

I wonder whether folk realise that Bob Upton is the Colonel of The Regiment, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment. Mark Binning sent me a photo that he had taken at the Basin Reserve of Bob presenting the rededicated Regimental Colour to 1 RNZIR. Apparently the ceremony had been put together at short notice and that meant Bob was unaware of the need to include his uniform in their Wellington bound kit.
[webmaster - note the escorts to the Colour are carrying Vietnam-era weapons, a recent custom to reflect the units linkage to that conflict, and probably also Borneo.]

More Stuff - Bruce Young [26 July 2008]
I am writing a series of background articles that attempt to describe the daily lifestyle and conditions under which Vietnam veterans toiled, basically with the aim of informing family and students.  My teenage son's friends have asked me about life in the trenches so there's a gap in their understanding..!  The first article is on the period in Nui Dat between operations, the 2nd on navigating and calling indirect fire support under the canopy, the 3rd under preparation is on the medical system supporting us, and the 4th will be about resupply in the field.  There may be others, feel free to suggest topics.  Also feel free to support me with facts, corrections and other stuff that make the articles less dry.Peter Harris 2Pl at Tribute08 [NZ Army]

I am slowly getting into the Tribute08 photos, here's some Mark Binning sent me of the march along Lambton Quay, and of Bill Compton in Parliament grounds: Happy to receive more from other parts of the weekend...

Peter Harris 2Pl at Tribute08 [NZ Army]

Command element of W3 Company during street parade - Upton (grey jacket), Torrance (shade on face) Fisher (right marker) & Cutler (left side in beret behind Upton [Binning]
Command element of W3 Company during street parade - Upton (grey jacket), Torrance (shade on face)
Fisher (right side) and Cutler (left side in beret behind Upton [Binning]
Tribute08 parade along Lambton Quay [Binning]
Tribute08 parade along Lambton Quay [Binning
Tribute08 parade along Lambton Quay [Binning]
Tribute08 parade along Lambton Quay [Binning]

Bill Compton [pioneers] with family in Parliament grounds [Binning]
Bill Compton [pioneers] with family in Parliament grounds [Binning]

Veterans Disability Pension - Webmaster [10 July 2008]
Have you been taking your paludrine lately..?  Remember how the anti-malarial tablets were available freely to help individuals avoid malaria, left in tins on the mess table, shoved down your throat by the platoon sergeant etc..?  So if an individual failed to take paludrine daily he was thought of by others as irresponsible.  What's my point..?  Like paludrine, the veterans disability pension [VDP] is also available freely to help individuals alleviate the effects of their operational tour.  If you are not receiving it to some degree then you are also irresponsible. 

There are several arguments raised by the irresponsible veteran:  'there are others worse off than me, let them have the money' is the most common.  Another is to say 'this pain is old age, not attributable to my time as a young soldier in Vietnam'.  The ultimate argument might be:  'I don't need the money'.  Then use it to shout your grand-children an awesome experience, or upgrade your car.

Lets look at some facts:  [1] There is plenty of money in the veterans budget for all of us, so you going without won't mean someone else is allocated more money.  Under the War Pensions Act an individual veteran can only be allocated a finite sum for their disabilities.  [2] Your spouse can also benefit long-term from your VDP if you reach a certain level of disability.  [3] Many problems in old age can be traced back to activity as a young soldier, such as PTSD, worn discs in your back, skin cancers, smoking related issues.

So how do you reconcile your arguments with the facts..?  Simple really.  When you apply for a VDP you ask a panel a question, 'is my ailment attributable to my service in Vietnam..?'  The panel ask specialists to review the issue and then make a decision.  If they say 'no' then you have your answer, but if they say 'yes' then you receive some additional income and better still some long-term assistance with medical treatment.  You can then choose another ailment and ask the question again.  The number of ailments accepted increases your 'percentage' of disability.

The preferred outcome of the process is to receive a combination of decisions that add up to more than 70% disability.  At this level you are better off at 65 than receiving national superannuation.  And your spouse also receives better treatment because when you depart on your next posting they will continue to receive 50% of what you were receiving prior to departure.  Tell them they are not worth it...!

The process starts with a phone call to War Pension Services 0800 553 003 if you are in New Zealand, or ++64 9 985 1070 if you are calling from overseas (but you pay for the call).

Want to talk about the process..?  John Nicolle is well versed in the process and has offered to help, and he's well recommended by 'The Gannett'.  John's email address is berg@paradise.net.nz

Associated with the VDP is registration as a veteran.  There were spouses at Tribute08 that were unhappy their irresponsible veteran had not registered himself and his family as part of the veteran community.  Registration costs nothing but could lead to long-term benefits.  The good news ladies, is that you can do it yourself.  The forms are available on-line here, there are different forms for veterans [even if deceased], spouses, children and grand-children.

Website Browsing Tip - Webmaster [3 July 2008]
The website visitor statistics indicate an average of 40 visitors a day at present.  They also show that many of you are using the automatic update tool to be advised when changes are made, so here's a tip - don't use the URL address in the body of the update email.  Each website page has a banner on top with the navigation links - but the update email URL only points to the bottom page [the welcome part] and the navigation banner is missing which makes further browsing difficult.  When you get the update email use a bookmark to the site address to get full functionality.

I'm half-way through Chris Stock's photo collection, some unique shots still to come, then I have Trevor Philip's slides to do.  Should be finished in a month or so.....  Enjoy your browsing, and sent in some stories huh...?

Tribute08 - Webmaster [16 June 2008]W3 Mortars 2008:- [fm left] Doug Lewis, Mark Binning, Bruce Young, Stu Cameron, Dave Condon [Binning]

Been busy post reunion so only now starting to get stuff together.  Please send any reunion photos you want displayed for others to see.  Here's an example, and if there is a better looking bunch of 'old farts' I'd like to hear about them:

W3 Mortars 2008:-
[fm left] Doug Lewis, Mark Binning, Bruce Young, Stu Cameron, Dave Condon [kneeling] Dave Flintoff, Ross Cherry

Next Reunion proposed for 2010 - 40th anniversary of
'and awakey'
comments please

Lots of 1970 photos have been offered, working on fitting these into stories or other articles

Tribute08 - Webmaster [3 June 2008]
Tribute08 was a kaleidoscope of emotions for veterans.  Each of us would have had a different perspective of what the reunion was for.  For most it was to see mates.  For some it was to hear the apologies and judge their sincerity.  For others it meant introducing whanau to the experience of being a veteran.  To others it was to give back to the veterans, to some to give it back to the anti-war protesters, like this [extract] from Finlay Macdonald writing in the Dominion Post on Sunday 1 June:  "Ironically, one of the ways a society can distance itself sufficiently from participation in an atrocity such as Vietnam, in order to eventually reach the kind of consensus that allows for a formal apology, is by turning away from it for so long....  Of course that is unfair to the individuals who did nothing more than serve where their government sent them.  But to have brought them home with parades and pipe bands would have been a denial of the truth of the times that this shabby war and our reluctant, token contribution to it was indeed something to be ashamed of...  It was not the time for magnanimous gestures, it was the time for consigning an outmoded political mindset to the dustbin of history.  If in the process the poor dupes of that mindset were similarly consigned, such is the hard reality of being in the killing business.  Yes, our soldiers were exposed to the defoliant poisons that also killed and deformed so many Vietnamese.  And the interminable delay in accepting this and compensating the victims is unconscionable.  It's a mark of how our engagement in the war was conducted in such bad faith that nothing honourable could be salvaged from it for decades.  Do they never give up..?parade in Parliament grounds for the Parliamentary welcome [Young]

Duke Henry responded to Finlay [extract, from afar]: Why Tribute08 was significant for the veterans can only be answered by each individual who served there.  Many of these servicemen and women had served in Malaya Borneo Thailand and SVN.  I joined as an 18 year old to serve in Vietnam, nothing more nothing less. The experiences that I was part of over my two year SE Asian tour of duty were sufficient to see me serve until 1992.  Don't get too sanctimonious in trying to understand why young Kiwis men and women volunteer to serve in our Armed Forces.  If you are one of them then you will know full well why you chose this path.  If you are not then you will never understand but should really try.            Finlay Macdonald would do well to realise the truth in this verse

Meeting with mates and inducting family into the veteran whanau are givens at every reunion, suffice to say that the friendships were as strong as ever.  This time the march to Parliament was more relaxed, the clapping and the flypasts expected and overall the emotional level was much lower with fewer in obvious grief than previous times.  The lengthy speeches and associated protocol was thought by many to be unnecessary, especially the lack of translation of the Maori.  The welcome at Parliament was interesting and seeing our fallen honoured as they were was very well received.  The Sunday service at the National War Memorial was likewise well received, especially Padre Carde's very pointed comments and prayers.  In the end it was seeing the Royal Tri-service Guard and the Regimental Colour of 1RNZIR paraded and rededicated that meant the most to me; it made me realise what the military family had had to endure for 40-years as the veterans battled the political masters for our right to stand proud.  From the standing ovation given at the end of Gen Mateparae's apology I believe that others also felt how important it was to have 'rejoined the ranks' again.   One close to the General commented afterwards about how nervous the General had felt about the reception he would receive, given that all his career he had been trained and guided by Vietnam veterans, and the relief experienced when we rose in a standing ovation to accept more willingly than any other offered his apology for the NZDF failing us.

The NZDF and NZRSA apologies are posted here

 'I Was There' - add a comment

Website Statistics Update - webmaster [1 June 2008]
The figures for website visitors grew hugely over April and May, with May totalling 942 unique visitors at a daily average of 44.1, high days had 60 or more visitors, probably due to updates about
Tribute08, the News page had 529 visitors.  Visitors from the USA remained high at twice that of NZ visitors.   In common with other websites, around 66% of visitors only remained for less than 30 seconds, either finding that the information was quickly available [I hope so..!] or of no interest long-term.  I hope that following discussion among W3 veterans in Wellington this weekend more will use the site and offer articles or news.

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.

link to more news from before June 2008 - news archive