Korean War Veterans Remembered

Today, the nation remembers those Australians who served in the Korean War, on the anniversary of the 1953 Armistice agreement.

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More than 17,000 served, 340 Australians lost their lives and more than 1,200 were wounded.

21 Nations provided military personnel, medical support or other assets to the United Nations effort in Korea, despite most still recovering from the impact of the Second World War.

Australian soldiers, sailors, airmen and nurses made an important contribution to this international endeavour, serving both during the conflict and in the post-armistice period which continued until 1957.

In Korea Australian service personnel earned international respect for their courage and endurance in battle. Today we pause to remember the service and sacrifice of our veterans and the debt of gratitude owed to them by all Australians.

ANZAC Day – Kenmore Moggill RSL 2020

With Honour We Serve

It was a moving experience to see friends and neighbours all come out onto their driveways this morning as we commemorate the sacrifices those who have served on this most unusual of Anzac Days.

Some of you may recognise the motto of the Queensland Police Service as the title of this article; the reason for that is because a former Inspector with 26 years service sent me a message to say “thank you for your service” and then shared with me how emotional today’s experience was in comparison to past Dawn Services. It is certainly a very difficult time that we find ourselves in and we cannot underestimate the emotional costs that isolating at home will have on people.

We all have stories to share about our own service or the service of loved ones who came before or are still wearing a uniform today. Please remember that we all serve in different ways and that’s what I love about this country! The “Care Army” helping support vulnerable Australians who can’t get out at the moment is just as important as the men and women who have fought overseas protecting the freedoms we hold so dear.

Here is one story of a young Australian who did not return from the Second World War while serving our Country.

Flying Officer Evan Charles Patten DFC is the great uncle of my friend from the Police service. He is proud to have these original documents, and they are certainly an important part of our history. The airmail letter at the bottom is a letter F/O Patten sent to his mum on the day that he went on his last mission and was shot down over Dortmund Germany. It was a letter of hope and sadness and love and is really quite incredible. 

They had flown a significant number of missions and were shot down over Dortmund Germany and crash-landed with all surviving. They tried to evade the German Forces but ended up getting captured. The SS executed the Officers and the flight crew were sent to a prisoner of war POW camp.

The true story of the fate suffered by the officers eventually came out thanks to the surviving NCO aircrew. 

All gave some, some gave their All

“Lest we Forget”



March 19 2019

FOR the first time, a former Regimental Sergeant Major of the Army has been appointed as the new Repatriation Commissioner with outgoing Commissioner Major General Mark Kelly AO, DSC completing his appointment on 30 June this year.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester today announced Mr Don Spinks AM, who recently retired from the Australian Defence Force with almost 40 years’ experience, had been appointed as the new Repatriation Commissioner and as a Member of the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission for a period of five years from 1 July 2019.

“Mr Spinks is highly qualified and well-respected, has an impressive military career serving on multiple overseas deployments and has capably represented the concerns and views of soldiers to the Chief of Army and senior leadership over a lengthy period,” Mr Chester said.

“As Commissioner, Mr Spinks will be able to use his recent service experience to assist in addressing contemporary issues faced by veterans and their families, I congratulate Mr Spinks on his appointment.”

Prior to taking up his full duties on 1 July, Mr Spinks has been appointed a Commissioner on the Repatriation Commission and will receive a comprehensive handover from Major General Kelly who has served on the Commission since 2010.

Mr Chester thanked Major General Kelly for his contribution and invaluable service to the Repatriation Commission and the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission since 1 July 2010.

“The work of the Commissions is pivotal in the development of effective policy and programs, and the efficient delivery of services for veterans and their families,” Mr Chester said.

“In his almost 10 years, Major General Kelly has achieved a great deal in support of veterans and their families, most recently in advancing Open Arms — Veterans and Families Counselling, a service that is vitally important to the ex-service community by providing early intervention and longer term mental health treatment services.

“On behalf of the ex-service community, I thank Major General Kelly and wish him all the best for the future.”

Mr Spinks served in a number of senior roles during his Army career, including 2nd Cavalry Regiment, Multi National Force and Observers – Sinai Egypt, 1st Brigade, Joint Task Force 633 on Operation Slipper and the Command Sergeant Major Forces Command – Army.

The Repatriation Commission grants pensions and benefits, and provides treatment and other services under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 to veterans and members of the Australian Defence Force, their partners, widows, widowers and children. The Commission also provides advice to the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs on related issues.

Further information about the Commissions and Mr Spinks can be found on the DVA Website.


Rachel Tharratt: 02 6277 7820
DVA Media: 02 6289 6466

Office of the Hon. Darren Chester, Canberra ACT.

Open Arms – Veterans and Families Counselling, provides support for current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families. Free and confidential help is available 24/7. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 1800 011 046 or +61 8 8241 4546) or visit www.OpenArms.gov.au

Advocacy News – Issue 10, December 2018

Please click here for the Advocacy News, Issue 10, December 2018. 

Should you have any enquires about ATDP or would like to provide feedback/comments on the newsletter, please send an email to [email protected].

Kind regards,

Mark McCarthy

ATDP Projects and Communications Officer

Employment and Rehabilitation Policy

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

T 02 6289 6026 | ext 616026

Email: [email protected]


CONTACT Newsletter 82

View the latest “Contact” newsletter by clicking here.  Please forward it by email to anyone you think might be interested.

Productivity Commission – Draft Report Into Compensation and Rehabilitation for Veterans

MINISTER for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel Darren Chester today welcomed the Productivity Commission draft report of its inquiry into compensation and rehabilitation for veterans.

“The report reinforces a commitment to putting the well-being of veterans and their families first, it outlines the importance of a whole-of-life focus and it acknowledges the key role of families,” Mr Chester said.

“These are all central components of the Government’s efforts to provide the high-quality support and assistance our veterans and their families want and deserve.

“I welcome the draft report and as a Government we will carefully consider the recommendations put forward and respond once the final report has been completed.”

“A number of significant recommendations have been proposed­ — none of these have been accepted or rejected at this stage.

“This report will also help to start a conversation amongst the veteran community on the future of the military compensation and rehabilitation system in Australia, and I look forward to hearing those views. I will be conducting a series of roundtables to receive direct feedback early in 2019.

“The Department of Veterans’ Affairs is already changing for the better – under our Government.” 

The Productivity Commission operates independently, and its findings and recommendations are based on its own analyses and judgments.

The coming months will give the Government and the Commission the opportunity to hear the views from the veteran community and other stakeholders before the Commission finalises its report in June 2019.

“Our Government is committed to putting veterans and their families first and we will continue to work with the Productivity Commission and the wider veteran community over the coming months to address key issues,” Mr Chester said.

“I acknowledge the support that the Productivity Commission demonstrated in the draft report for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ transformation, under the Veteran Centric Reform program.

“This transformation has seen a number of new programs and initiatives established,including the very successful My Service platform, the digitisation of records project and general improvements with our processing systems. I am confident that we are on the right path with our transformation journey.”

Individuals wishing to view the report, or put forward their views, can do so at www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/current/veterans#draft

History of Two Minutes Silence

This article was written for the South African Legion by Peter Dickens and later published in the Kenya Regiment Magazine, Mini Sitrep Kenya.  One of our members, Don Thompson kindly forwarded the publication:

 I wonder whether readers realise that the ‘ two minutes silence’ and its association to Armistice Day, Remembrance Day (or 11/11). has a South African origin?

 This is why South Africans should stand proud of what they have given the world and on Remembrance Sunday and on Armistice Day in November – when the Western world stands silent in remembrance for “two minutes”, remember also that the entire ceremony has South African roots.

 At 05.30 in the morning of 11th November 1918. the Germans signed the Armistice Agreement also known as the Armistice of Compiegne, in a railway carriage in a remote siding in the heart of. the Forest of Compiegne, 60 km north of Paris.  Soon wires were humming with the message – ‘Hostilities will cease at 11.00 today,. November 11th.  Troops will stand fast on the line reached that hour.’

 Thus, at 11.00 on 11th November 1918 the guns on the Western Front in France and Flanders fell silent after more than four years of continuous warfare; warfare that had witnessed the most horrific casualties.   World War One (then known as the Great War) had ended.

 The time and date attained an important significance in post-war years and the moment that hostilities ceased became universally associated with the remembrance of those that died in that and su

When the first casualty lists recording the horrific loss of life in the Battles of the Somme were announced in Cape Town, Mr J.A. Eagar, a Cape Town businessman suggested, that the congregation of the church be attended, observe a special silent pause to remember those in the South African casualty list.  It was the church also attended by Sir Percy Fitzpatrick.  In May 1918, the Mayor of Cape Town, Councillor H. Hands (later Sir Harry Hands,) at the suggestion made by Mr. R.R. Brydon, a city councillor, in a letter to the Cape Times, initiated a period of silence to remember the events unfolding on the battlefields of Europe and the sacrifices being made there.    Mr. Brydon’ s son. Major Walter Brydon, was three times wounded and once gassed, was killed on April 1918.

 The pause would follow the firing of the Noon Gun, the most audible signal with which to co-ordinate the event across the city of Cape Town. The boom of the gun for the midday pause of three minutes for the first time on 14 May 1918, became the signal for all activity in the Mother City to come to a halt. Everything came to a dead stop while everyone bowed their heads in silent prayer for those in the trenches in Flanders.

 As soon as the city fell silent, a trumpeter on the balcony of the Fletcher and Cartwright’s Building on the comer of Adderley and Darling Streets, sounded the Last Post, the melancholy strains of which reverberated through the city. Reveille was played at the end of the midday pause.

 Articles in the newspapers described how trams, taxis and private vehicles stopped. Pedestrians came to a halt and most men bared their heads. People stopped what they were doing at their places of work and sat or stood silently. The result of the Mayor’s appeal exceeded all expectations. One journalist described a young woman dressed in black, who came to a halt on the pavement and furtively dabbed at her eyes with a handkerchief. ‘One could not but wonder what personal interest she had in the act of remembrance’, he wrote.

 A few days later, Sir Harry, whose son Captain Richard Hands, a member of Brydon’s Battery, had been mortally wounded in the same battle in which Major Brydon had been killed, decided to shorten the duration of the pause to two minutes, in order to better retain its hold on the people.

 In terms of the meaning of ‘two minutes’, it was also argued that the first minute is for ‘thanksgiving for those that ‘survived’, and the second is to ‘remember the fallen’.

 The midday pause continued daily in Cape Town and was last observed on 17th January 1919, but was revived in Cape Town during the Second World War. It had however, become a pause throughout the British Commonwealth from 11th November 1919.

 Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, author of the book ‘Jock of the Bushveld’, had been impressed by the period of silence kept in his local church after the horrific loss of life at Delville Wood became known and the casualty lists read out.  He had a personal interest in the daily remembrance as his son, Major Nugent Fitzpatrick, battery commander of 71st Siege Battery, was killed on 14th December 1917 by a chance shell fired at long range. Sir Percy was understandably deeply affected by the loss of his favourite son and was also so moved by the dignity and effectiveness of the two-minute pause in Cape Town, that the date and time of the Armistice inspired him to an annual commemoration on an Imperial basis.

 On 27th  October 1919, a suggestion from Fitzpatrick for a moment of silence to be observed annually on 11th  November. in honour of the dead of World War I, was forwarded to George V. then King of the United Kingdom, who on 7th  November 1919, proclaimed “that at the hour when the Armistice came into force. the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. there may be for the brief space of two minutes, a complete suspension of all our normal activities, so that in perfect stillness, the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the glorious dead.”

 11th November was the date in l918 that the formal end of combat occurred to end WWI.  Fitzpatrick was thanked for his suggestion of the two-minutes silence by Lord Stamfordharn, the King’s Private

Secretary who wrote:

 Dear Sir Percy.

 “The King. who learns that you are shortly to leave for South Africa, desires me to assure you that he ever gratefully remembers that the idea of the Two Minute pause on Armistice Day was due to your initiation, a suggestion readily adopted and carried out with heartfelt sympathy throughout the Empire”.

 Use the link below for more info on the Kenya Regiment.




Social Member Celebrated Birthday

One of our regular social Members, Pat Barlow celebrated her 70th surprise birthday at the weekly morning tea on Friday 8th September with other club members.  Pat turned 70 on Tuesday 12th September.  The President provided the cake which was prepared in the shape of a very hairy little dog.

 All members of the Kenmore-Moggill RSL wish her well.

Member’s Milestone


Keith Victorsen OAM, a long-standing member of the Kenmore-Moggill RSL recently celebrated his 90th birthday.  Pictured is Keith and his wife Barbara with a birthday cake presented by the RSL Club made by Julie Grey.

Keith was born in Brisbane on 3rd September 1927 and attended the Coorparoo State School between 1932 and 1942. He left school at the age of 14 and commenced working at the Truth Newspaper the day Singapore fell – 15th February 1942. 

At the age of 16 Keith joined the Air Training Corps for a two-year theory training course after which an automatic Air Force call up would happen.  Unfortunately, two weeks before his call up was due the Americans dropped the two bombs on Japan and all call ups and recruiting for the Air Force was terminated.  Following the end of the war Keith did attempt to enter the Air Force but due to recruiting restrictions limited to ex RAAF personnel and technical tradesmen, he was excluded.

Being despondent with the Air Force, Keith joined the CMF and spend most of his time at the Annerley Dudley Street Depot – Royal Australian Army Service Corp.  He spent six years with the CMF reaching the rank of Staff Sergeant, qualifying for the rank of Warrant Officer and missing out on securing a Commission due to the failure of one subject – Army Tactics.  Keith says: “that his view on tactics and his colonel instructor’s view widely differed” – hence no Commission.

 In 1947 Keith joined a new company -Equitable Probate and General Insurance Company and continued on with the company for 45 years working in Brisbane, Sydney (1961) and South Australia on a temporary basis.

 Following Keith’s retirement, he returned to Brisbane and took up voluntary work as a guide in Government House working for both Quentin Bryce and Penelope Wensley.   He did this for seven years while concurrently volunteering as secretary for the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) for some 13 years.  At the age of 90, Keith still volunteers his services to RSUI two days per week

 It was during the time Keith was volunteering at RUSI he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia – the Citation states (in part) “for services to the Royal United Services Institute and veterans”.

 Keith has stated that he thoroughly enjoyed his time at RUSI and made mention of the three wonderful presidents he had the pleasure of working with, they were: Major Generals John Hartley and Kevin Cooke and Group Captain Ross Clelland.

Everyone at Kenmore-Moggill RSL wishes you a very happy 90th birthday and wish you and Barbara well.