In the News
Military Historical Society of Australia
Victorian Branch Inc

The Commanding Officer of HMAS Stirling, CAPT Brett Dowsing, expressed his
condolences today on behalf of Navy at the passing of revered 84-year-old
WWII Z Force veteran, Jack Wong Sue.

"Jack Sue was a highly respected West Australian who served his country with
great distinction," said CAPT Dowsing. "He was awarded the Distinguished
Conduct Medal for his actions in WWII and in 2006 was made a Member of the
Order of Australia. He will be sadly missed by the local Perth ex-serving
and current military community."

After joining the Royal Australian Air Force for WWII, as a 19-year-old Jack
Wong Sue served as a member of Z Force, a special operations unit formed to
operate behind enemy lines in South East Asia. After WWII he became a
recognised author, prominent businessman, Justice of the Peace and
well-regarded musician in Perth for around 60 years.

In his book "Blood on Borneo", Mr Sue recounted his experiences with his Z
Force colleagues and gave an insight into the mistreatment that occurred in
the prisoner of war camps - the most notorious of these being the Sandakan
camp in North Borneo.

He returned to Perth after being discharged from the RAAF in January 1946
and subsequently opened a diving equipment store in Midland.  He was so
highly regarded by the military that, although remaining a civilian, he
later instructed and advised members of the Australian Army's SAS Regiment
in jungle warfare.

The Commanding Officer of the Royal Australian Navy's heavy landing ship
HMAS Tobruk, Commander Peter Thompson, was honoured by the King of Tonga,
George Tupou V, at a ceremony on 21 November 2009, at the Royal Villa in the
Tongan capital, Nuku'alofa.

Commander Thompson was presented with the Officer of The Royal Military
Order of St George, in recognition of the humanitarian relief effort that
the Australian Government, and in particular the Australian Defence Force,
has provided in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that struck the
Pacific Island region on 30 September this year.

King George Tupou V said it was, "Very much appreciated what the Australian
Navy and Australian Government had done to help the communities of Tonga
affected by the tsunami."

Commander Thompson said, "This Operation has been a chance for the
Australian Defence Force, in particular the Royal Australian Navy, to help
our Pacific neighbours during a time of crisis and support the local
agencies with their relief efforts.

"I am honoured and humbled to receive this award on behalf of the Royal
Australian Navy and the Australian Government," Commander Thompson said.

The Officer of the Royal Military Order of St George is the fourth-highest
military honour that can be awarded by the King of Tonga.

HMAS Tobruk has provided support to the nations of Tonga and Samoa, carrying
over 500 tonnes of humanitarian aid supplies, and assisting local groups and
agencies such as the Red Cross in their work in affected communities.

The most recent delivery of humanitarian aid has brought the total
assistance to Tonga and Samoa by the Australian Government, non-government
organisations and the Australian community to $13 million.

16 APRIL -11 JULY 2010

Official Opening  3.00pm Saturday 17 April

To be opened by The Hon Alan Griffin MP, Minister for Veterans' Affairs

Monash Gallery of Art's new special exhibition Icon & Archive: photography and the World Wars is open to the public on Friday 16 April.
Direct from the Australian War Memorial, Icon & Archive presents an engaging survey of the Memorial's extensive and highly significant photographic collection.
"Visitors to MGA will see many "iconic" photographs that have become part of the Australian psyche.  Icon & Archive includes both favourites and previously unseen photographs to showcase the experiences of both service personnel and the families left behind during the First and Second World Wars", said MGA Director Dr Shaune Lakin, the curator of the exhibition.
"The exhibition includes over 400 photographic objects from the Memorial's collection, many of which have rarely been seen before. Many of these photographs, some elaborately framed, others embedded in precious jewellery, have been lovingly cared for by relatives and are now on display for Melbourne audiences for the first time."
"Icon & Archive will allow visitors to discover the significance of photography in recording the experience of Australians during the World Wars." said Dr Lakin.
To coincide with  the exhibition MGA has developed a series of special events for visitors travelling to the gallery. Each week during the exhibition visitors will be able to join-in with a range of fascinating activities. From Anzac Day guided tours, film screenings and  the ever-popular Memorabilia Day, there is something for everyone.  For details ph 8544 0500 or visit our website
Icon & Archive will be on display at the Monash Gallery of Art  until 11 July. Entry is free thanks to ConnectEast, owner and operator of EastLink.


MHSA member Andrew Kilsby, researching the Victorian Rifle Association Minute Books for his work on the rifle club movement, read in the minutes of a plaque being erected in memory of two members of the VRA - Lieutenant-Colonel C.E.E. Eddy and Major G. A. Eddy - who fell in the Boer War.  The plaque was originally placed at the Williamstown Rifle Range.  Andrew asked the VRA Executive Officer whether he knew of it, not expecting a positive answer. "Oh yes, it's in the shed", came the answer.  Sure enough, it was still there, a little dishevelled but intact, leaning up against the wall.

LtCol Umphelby's biography can be seen here: and a photo can be seen in The Argus, 14 March 1900, page 7 (attached).

Major Eddy's background can be found in The Argus, 17 February 1900, page 13, 14 with photo (attached).

The plaque inscription reads:

Lest We Forget
In affectionate memory of two members of the Council of the VRA who fell in South Africa in 1900.
Lieut-Col. C.E.E. Umphelby.
Commanding the Victorian Regiment of the Royal Australian Artillery, an officer specially attached to the Royal Artillery under Field marshal Lord Roberts.  He died from wounds received during the Battle of Breifontein, Orange Free State.
12th March 1900.
Major G. A. Eddy.
Second in command of the Australian Regiment, he was killed near Colesberg in Cape Colony, while gallantly covering the withdrawal of the Wiltshire Regiment of British Infantry.
12th February 1900.
Erected by members of the Victorian Rifle Association.

Major Eddy's eldest son, Captain Jack Rylot Eddy, was killed at Passchendale in 1917.

His service record can be seen here:

HAPPY sequel! This column can find truly anybody!
A couple of weeks ago, we told you how the Military History Society of Victoria is planning a re-enactment next year to mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the American base of Camp Pell in Royal Park.
And how the society had found a newspaper photo dated June 11, 1942, of five Melbourne girls presenting baseball gear to the wartime GIs after raising pound stg. 24 in a backyard bazaar.
We wondered if any of the girls were still with us.
Well, step forward the former Eileen Fahey, Nancy McLean,Valda and Roma Beddame and Valerie Burgen.
They are cousins. All are living around Melbourne.
The youngest gal now is 77, the oldest is 83. All married and had children.
Mrs Val Swindells ( nee Beddame) is 81.
"I can remember how we organised the sale in a backyard in Brunswick, but I'm a bit hazy about who bought the equipment.
"We all still keep in touch after all these years."

Girls step up to plate 70 years on
From back: Nancy Cook, 81, Valda Swindells, 81, Roma Splatt, 80, Aileen Smith, 83, and Valerie Ballantyne, 77, are in the same order as the 1942 picture (inset).
Source: Courtesy of Herald Sun