Phillip Island Vietnam Veterans Museum

Arrival of A2 110 at Phillip Island

The weather of Victoria did no favours but couldn't dampen the spirits of all involved in ushering in a significant event, the arrival of A2 110 to our livery at Phillip Island.

The Army did a great job on delivering 110 though understandably a little late due to the appalling weather.

110 will now be the rallying point for our restoration project to restore her to her former glory, parts not withstanding!

More volunteers to assist with this great project will be called for shortly.

Steve Hartigan

Arrival of A2 110 at Phillip Island
Arrival of A2 110 at Phillip Island

Mandurah WA


Well, what a magnificent day this was.

Naturally we were all there to pay respect to those fallen comrades/friends that didnt make it, but also for those that are still suffering and of course to those that have to look after us these days the wives/family.

Several amazing things happened firstly, to see those guys that had made the effort to come from all around Australia to be with the Mandurah Group was amazing.

Ray (Mongo) Morrison together with Nev Pratt & Al Sewell organised the day.

Ray & Sherry Morrison came from Coffs Harbour, Peter (Short) Shambrook from Groote Island in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Bob Mitchell from Kununurra, Paddy & Pat Sinclair from the Gold Coast, Barry & Fran Bircham from Adelaide, Monty Jezinowski from Brisbane, Norm Bruce (38SQN) from the Gold Coast & Pat Darcey from Brisbane. Also to be with us was Rays Brother Kevin Morrison (2RAR was pulled out of trouble in Vietnam by 'Spider' Ryder) from Perth.

From the Perth area to attend was George Sheehan, David & Suzette Darcey, Bob Burtenshaw, Warren Peters, Barbara Rhoades (as Robbie Rhoades, Jim Muscat, Denis McNeal & Ted McEvoy are in the Philippines), Wayne (Ray) & Gail Hay up from Bridgetown, Fred and Lorraine Monohan also attended travelling up from Augusta & myself. I took our banner down together with a wreath that Nev Pratt laid at the Service.

It was decided that because there was going to be everyone in Mandurah for Anzac Day this year that the banner go down so that all would have the opportunity to march behind it. Up to now the banner had only been On Parade in the Perth City march.

The second thing that just blew people away (and brought tears to our eyes) was to see Robert (Fred Ferrys son) attend the march wearing Freds medals just amazing!
Most attended the Dawn Service followed by a Gunfire Breakfast at the RSL Club with the main march stepping off at 1030hrs a long march indeed! The old memorial was moved with a new modern one being built on the peninsula. Absolutely beautiful! Surrounded by water on three sides, beautifully kept grass with a ring of trees surrounding it, made it a perfect Anzac Day Service. The public came out as never before to also just make the day.

After the main march it was to the RSL for a beer or two then to Nev & Denise Pratts for lunch & chat. This just finished the day off so well and congratulations must go to those two for the effort they went to well done indeed.
It was great to have this time to put on the tin hat, but also what made it great was that Barry Bircham had brought over a bottle of special Port. He made a toast (with Fred speaking) to those that had given their lives for our country, to those with troubled times and to the wives for having to put up with us all.

What also is really amazing, is that this is the 7TH time the group from around Australia has gone somewhere different to celebrate Anzac Day with their mates also, well done guys and thank you for your effort.

Peter Robinson
VP WA Chapter No9SQN Assoc.
For and on behalf of the Mandurah Group.
29TH April 2012


Theodore Club, Brisbane

An excellent Chrissy Party with Charlie Brown, Peter Johnson, Max Baxter, Pink and myself and our ladies attending from the 9SA. Great night, excellent humour, great fellowship and outstanding Christmas fare!

Cricket is in the air again - remember the SASA QLD V 9SQN matchat Nudgee College in February (see 9SA website Events Calendar).

Graeme Chalmers for Charlie Brown

Burleigh Heads

Outing with Peter Hales

Dear all,
Last Tuesday, Steve and Vera and Heather and myself, met with Peter and Dorothy Hales at Burleigh Heads. We had a lovely time. I have to acknowledge the love, dedication and stamina that Dorothy shows for Peter under very difficult circumstances brought about by this "bastard" illness: she is an absolute gem.

Additionally, per kind favour of Steve, the electric wheelchair that the 9SA Members facilitated for Halsey is now in storage and Steve and Vera's home at Gatton Qld.

For the record Dorothy has "gifted" the electric wheel chair, seat covers and ramps back to the No 9 Squadron Association Inc. and this gesture was acknowledged by Steve and myself.

Graeme Chalmers

St Andrews' Cathedral, Sydney, NSW

This Commemoration Service was the 'land based' and primary event to remember the 645 servicemen who paid the supreme sacrifice during the naval engagement on19 NOV 1941 between HMAS SYDNEY II and HSK KORMORAN. Numerous dignitaries including the Prime Minister, ACM Angus Houston CDFand ADM Rus Shalders CN, attended this highly moving and large scale remembrance of those events of 66 years ago during WW II. Bob (Rags) Redman VP NSW, respresented the No 9 Squadron Association and he was accompanied by Don & Kathryn Porter especially remembering the 6 RAAF airmen who were part of SYDNEY'S crew complement.

A small attendance of 25 was made up for everyone getting in and enjoying themselves with the festivities and all this reasonably well oiled with a $270 over-the-bar allowence made up from various sources.

Also helping to set the mood was some great raffle prizes that were well supported and a magnificent door prize of a magnum of wine. Raffle prizes being 1st a 4 man tent (value $449), 2nd a magnum of wine and 3rd a car first aid kit.

Special mention is for Peter Larard who donated $70 towards the do as he was unable to attend and for Nev Pratt and Al Sewell and wives having travelled from Mandurah to attend. (Peter was 5 ACS but apparently in Vietnam Nugget "awarded" him honorary membership to No 9 Sqn while there is 1969.)

Nudgee Grammer School Oval

Inaugural SE QLD SAS V 9 Sqn Cricket MAtch


Ex SAS and RAAF No 9 SQN members "clashed" at Nudgee College on the 25th February 2007. The occasion that brought them back to the "battlefield" was the inaugural annual cricket match played for The Wocker Wacka Wok Cup.

In a spirited limited over match, Graham Brammer led the SAS Association Qld team to a six wicket win over the No 9 SQN Association SE QLD side that was captained by Graeme Chalmers.

The cricket match was billed as a family event and many spouses, relatives and children were spectators to what was a great activity. Family participation was highlighted by No 9 SQN Association's John Clarkson when three generations of Clarksons took to the field.

The perpetual Wocker Wacka Wok Cup is timber-mounted ceremonial yard glass and is a replica of the one from "SAS Hill". The "Loser" trophy is also a unique, quality timber piece; both trophies were made by Mungo McCabe.

Special thanks to Nudgee College, Leanne and John (Mungo) McCabe (SAS) and Charlie Brown (9SQN) for their organization and support.

The QLD SAS Association meets at the Victory Hotel, Brisbane on the last Thursday of each month (1130 - 1500) and a number of No 9SQN Association members usually attend this social gathering. Membership enquiries can be made to: QLD branch of the Australian SAS Association - [email protected] / RAAF No 9SQN Association SEQLD - [email protected]

Photograph courtesy of Roy Zegers No 9 Squadron Association.

SAS Association QLD and RAAF No 9 Squadron Association participants who competed for the inaugural Wocka Wacka Wok Cup on 25 February 2007

Canberra, ACT

Albatross Reunion 2006


Ladies & Gentlemen of the Association

The Association Reunion celebrating the 40th Anniversary of 9 Squadron arrival in Vietnam is now a memory; but what a memory!

Some 330 members, partners and guests travelled to Canberra from all Australian States and Territories, New Zealand, the USA and Canada to participate in a series of great events including:

a. an `I remember you, though you have changed a bit!` registration night and a member`s forum at the Canberra Club,

b. the dedication of a squadron plaque on Saturday and a commemoration service on Sunday at the Australian War Memorial along with a visit to the Memorial`s annex to see a restored UH-1B being prepared for the new gallery exhibit; and

c. dinner at the National Convention Centre during which Ray Scott`s anecdotes of events from reforming of the squadron through its early days in Vietnam were both enlightening and humorous.

The planning, preparation, attention to detail and conduct of the reunion were all executed with the spirit and professionalism that the squadron is renown for. The Reunion Planning Group - Mac Weller, Gerry Mapstone, Mick Haxell, Charlie Walford, George Beath, Rob Gee, Peter Ryan, Snow Clayton and Ian Thompson, ably assisted by John Paule, Sharon and Caroline Beath expended enormous amounts of their free time, expertise and contacts to produce an event that surpassed most expectations and did us proud. They have earned and deserve our sincere appreciation and gratitude. It was gratifying to see that their decision to provide a range of memorabilia was rewarded with a `sell out` as also occurred with the Association tie.

The event was also ably supported by the three services:

a.the RAN facilitated use of the (sacred) bell from HMAS Albatross at both the plaque dedication and the commemoration service,

b. the Army provided a UH-1H for a flypast and landing at the War Memorial and a piper from the band of the Royal Military College for the plaque dedication service; and

c. the RAAF provided its colours and escort along with the `Air Power Brass` from the RAAF Central Band for the plaque dedication and commemoration services.

Additional and valued support including facilities, expertise and financial - was received from:

a. the War Memorial and its staff,

b. the Canberra Club provided its facilities gratis to association members for the weekend as well as function rooms,

c. the Australian Rugby Choir at the plaque dedication service

d. the Commonwealth Government, Department of Veterans Affairs, particularly the Commemorations Branch, through its `Saluting The Service` program,

Three former squadron members Reverend Bob Macintosh (Uniting Church), Reverend Geoff Vidal (Anglican Church) and Captain Bob Stephens (Salvation Army) officiated at the dedication of the plaque and combined with Graeme and Heather Chalmers to conduct the informative and emotional (for many) Commemoration Service.

The Commemoration Service and Booklet was prepared by Brian and Dianne Dirou and printed by Mark Fielding. Copies of the Booklet, an excellent informative and moving summary of the squadrons history from 101 Flight to the final disbandment in 1989 will be available (watch the web site for details) to those Association members who were unable to attend the reunion.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Neville McNamara KBE AO AFC AE, a long time supporter of 9 Squadron - he flew with the squadron while RAAF Commander Vietnam - delivered the Commemorative Address. Sir Neville in recounting the unique history of the squadron was also generous in his praise and appreciation for the exploits and service of squadron personnel in both active and peacetime service.

Although overseas duty prevented our Patron from attending, he provided a message of appreciation that was read out by Mac Weller during the plaque dedication. The text of Angus`s message will be included in the next issue of `Albatross Droppings`.

Despite a great `Registration Evening` at the Canberra Club almost a 100 members made it to the Forum. Discussion on a number of points was positive and constructive, including the following key issues:

a. The National Council is expected to take decisions on behalf of the Association mindful of the views expressed by the members where a member-based decision is not clear cut such as the Association Tie and Memorial Plaque and where appropriate. Decisions taken are to be in accordance with the Rules of the Association and other controlling practices (such as the Office of Fair Trading).

b. The 2006 AGM will be conducted during October/November. The electronic capabilities of the website will be used to the maximum extent to reduce the effect of photocopying/postage charges on Association funds. Members can expect to be alerted that information has been posted which they can download and return their voting intentions to the National Secretary. All Executive positions will be declared vacant with incumbents permitted to stand for re-election (the President indicated that he will not be standing for re-election). Resolutions require a simple majority except where it involves a change of Association Rules (which will require a 2/3rds majority).

c. Establishment of a `Life Member` category with complementary qualifying conditions. Subject to formal approval of any required change of rules it was agreed that Brian Dirou, whose efforts received a vote of thanks from the forum, be honoured,with the first Life membership in recognition of his contribution to the Association since its inception and following his advice that he is withdrawing from active office holder activities.

d. The location and theme of the next reunion to be decided by the National Council in due course.

e. That in addition to the completion of detailed squadron history (such as `Seagull to Blackhawk`) the Association encourage and assist members to document personal anecdotes from their squadron service to provide a complementary publication (Lloyd Knight read a passage from one of numerous short articles he has written in memory of his service with the squadron) of `life` in the squadron. Discussion also covered remedial options to counter incorrect and adverse information being published in various areas - more on this at a later date.

f. That the Association will not be involved in actions which are presently undertaken by Ex Service Organisations (ESO) such as political lobbying, pensions and the like. However, the Association could assist members with special welfare needs (such as the wheel chair for Peter Hales) and access to ESO type services by displaying contact details of participating/trained Association members.

Finally, I felt for the young Army pilot conducting the Huey approach to the War Memorial lawn; never in his short aviation career has he ever conducted an approach so demanding, not in physical limits (there was plenty of room), but being well aware that some 200 or more pairs of critical eyes were watching his progress to the ground every step of the way. I am sure he will well remember the occasion including the warmth of the greetings offered to him at the dinner that night!!


Nick LeRay-Meyer
National President


Social Gathering

A pleasant social gathering of the Albatross fraternity to welcome Bob 'Bung' Thompson and partner Karen visiting from WA. Organized by Terry Pinkerton and Del Tyler. Attended by 'Pinky', Graeme Chalmers, Monty Jesinowski, Warren Duff, Dennis Olsen, Adrian Shepley, Jamie Moran, Fred Brown and some of their ladies.

Memorial Hall, IPSWICH, QLD

Remembrance Day 2005

Vice President QLD, Graeme Chalmers, attended the Ipswich Remembrance Day Commemoration with other 9SQN Association identities Wayne 'Whisky' Carter and Chris 'Nulla' Bohr also participating.

Bowen, Queensland

Hi Everybody,

This communication is addressed to all financial members of our Association and those who attended the subject commemorative event.

Post-happening, Rex Budd and myself left Bowen for Townsville at about 0730 on Monday, 4 July; with BD eventually arriving back home at Tanilba Bay around 2030 hours, totally knackered. Sorry for deficient comms since then; but exhaustion caught up after near a month of sleep deprivation, mainly associated with preparation for the Bowen happening. This task could not have been achieved without expert computer assistance from a loyal member, who prefers to remain low profile.

Am back in reasonable shape now to begin post-event admin, gear up to conduct Office Bearer elections (top priority), assemble a presentation on so-called Airmobile Operations to 5 Aviation Regiment at Townsville on 4 August, attend to finalization of the draft design for the AWM Commemorative Plaque to be dedicated at Albatross Reunion 2006, begin aggregating material for prospective inclusion in the Vietnam Gallery upgrade at the AWM to ensure that the 5.5 years of 9SQN effort is adequately portrayed and progress website improvements. Just so much to be done!

To those who attended at Bowen and their Ladies; a very sincere thank you for participating and it was a nice feeling to see this special commemorative event supported by Squadron stalwarts. We became aware of the reservoir of wonderful material that has been preserved by the community concerning the activities of 101FLT and 9SQN at Bowen and more appreciative of scope for conduct of future reunion or commemorative events at that location. The hospitality of the Bowen community was overwhelming, obliging us to perpetuate the bond now created with our Association.

The sacred Ship`s Bell from HMAS Albatross, which was featured at all events, had special significance and we have approval from Navy for future use (at Association expense). Australian Air Force Cadets, Bowen and Australian Navy Cadets, Airlie Beach participated in the Commemoration Ceremony and other activities, which boosted their profile and our incoming National Council will be requested to approve a sizeable donation to both groups to foster their activities. The format for the Bowen Commemoration Ceremony will be massaged to develop a more comprehensive and moving event for Albatross Reunion 2006 in Canberra, embracing parading of `The Standard` and other pageantry.

Russ Pyers (now residing in Townsville) willingly performed an Association Co-ordinator for the event in concert with Major Brian Schwarz, SASR (Ret`d), who acted as our Ground Liaison Officer at Bowen. Both did a great job worthy of special praise and the commitment by the Schwarz family in support of our Association was very magnanimous. A mounted Presentation Copy of `The Bushrangers` print was taken to Bowen for display and a decision made to present this to Brian in appreciation. Cost of mounting the print and supporting documents was $224, which will require downstream ratification by our incoming National Council (a surplus of $242 was generated from event activities). The following extract from an email to Brian and Bronwyn Schwarz, is self-explanatory:

`The sacrifice of both of you was incredibly generous, impinging greatly on your family life for a few weeks, and we feel very honoured by this effort from our Affiliate fraternity, reflecting the special bond that still exists between SASR and 9SQN. We would like the mounted print and supporting documents to be seen as appreciation to your family in general for their contribution towards conduct of our special event, which should convey some meaningful impressions to your kids; therefore, the following plaque inscription is intended:

In Appreciation to the Schwarz Family
from No. 9 Squadron Association Inc.
No. 101 Flight 80th Anniversary Commemoration
at Bowen, QLD 01 to 03 July 2005`

Laurie Menadue, a resident of Bowen and formerly with the RAN Fleet Air Arm, is an aero-modelling enthusiast who devoted an enormous amount of his time to building models of aircraft operated by 101FLT and 9SQN for inclusion in an illuminated display at the entrance to the Bowen Memorial Club this display was opened during the commemorative event.

Laurie has conducted an enormous amount of research regarding 101-9 history and keenly came on board as an Affiliate Member while we were at Bowen. His knowledge will be immensely valuable to us as we progress our historical projects and we are honoured by his enthusiastic contribution and participation; which will be recognized in appropriate fashion, after our incoming National Council is in office.

Commemorating special anniversaries such as this is mandated by the Objects of our Association to honour those who created the wonderful history of 101-9 and it was somewhat disappointing that we did not muster stronger participation; although, short notice for conduct of the event was no doubt a major factor. In the aftermath, we are perhaps now on track to generate wider awareness of overall Unit achievements and thus attract broader involvement in the Association by those who served in all 3 eras of Squadron activities.

To old acquaintances renewed at Bowen and their Ladies; your company was much enjoyed and hoping that we are able to associate again sometime soon.

Cheers for now,

Acting National Secretary
No. 9 Squadron Association Inc.
Tele: (02) 4982 3606