Tag Archives: Around the Traps

Vietnam Veteran taken by Charlie

The poor man spent his 20th or 21st year in a smelly Centurion tank in the Republic of Vietnam with Charlie firing RPGs at him trying to ruin his day.

Thirty plus years later Charlie gets him only this time Charlie is a 5.5 meter saltwater croc
MONSTER … the crocodile, pictured being tagged three years ago, believed to be responsible for the Cooktown attack. Pic: Professor Gordon Grigg, The University of Queensland.

A VIETNAM veteran who had gone to retrieve crab pots after breaking camp in north Queensland vanished yesterday, the first suspected victim of a fatal crocodile attack since 2005.

Arthur Booker, 62, from Logan south of Brisbane, has not been seen since he went to check a crabpot at the Endeavour River Escape campsite near Cooktown, north of Cairns, about 8.30am (AEST) yesterday.

Rangers at the campsite believe a 5.5-metre crocodile named Charlie dragged Mr Booker into the river.

For those metric disadvantaged readers 5.5 metres is about 18 feet

Father’s Day

There are a host of positives being a father of five and yesterday seemed to highlight them all. Books on Cosgrove and Tobruk (Fitzimmons) and the highlight, a family conspiarcy where all contributed to a new Engel 60 litre car fridge for my bush trips!!

I would normally say their presence was gift enough and a phone call from daughter in Perth had everyone answer the roll call but let’s face presence is good but a car fridge – thats really good

I’m ecstatic. All afternoon I was playing with it boring everyone with a temperature readout as in ‘it is now 2.9 degrees” or ‘look son, it’s bigger than yours’ (20 litres bigger, that is!) and playing with the freebies that came with the fridge. Engel are doing a promotion so freebies included umbrellas, picnic set, stubby holders, a small heating/cooling almost fridge thingie for the front seat and a mob of lockandlock food containers. Mostly made in China but it still looks good.

I had been sick with a body purging gastro for three days courtesy of grandson Lachlan, much loved but hereafter known as Typhoid Mary, and was just starting to come good. The day was the medicine I needed.

Thanks guys, I’m over the moon.

See how easy it is to please an old soldier.

Land mines and little kids

I spent Wednesday down south at the Currumbin RSL at a fund raising luncheon organized by Mine Victim and Clearance Trust (MIVAC). Normie Rowe played MC and sang a couple of numbers and all had a good time for a good cause. MIVAC do wonders in Asia delousing mine fields and UXBs left over from various conflicts in the region. Graham Edwards, the retired ALP MP from WA came over for the lunch and as we were in the same company in Vietnam I attended along with a couple of other Support Company 7RAR mates.

7RAR’s second tour of Vietnam is remembered as much for it’s mine casualties as for it’s honourable service with the two fighting and recce platoons of Support Company suffering a disproportional number of these casualties. Graham Edwards is one of them and well known but there were several others less known publicly but remembered and honoured within the battalion.

Having has such an intimate relationship with mines it is not much of an extension to want to help others similarly inflicted, particularly when they are mostly civilians – woman and children – in countries where the Department of Veterans Affairs has no charter to help. The kids go looking for scrap metal to supplement the families income and often find the metal contains explosives. They are blown up and killed or de-limbed. No one helps..no government department gives them artificial limbs..they just crawl around.

Have a look at the web site, you may be moved to help.

I was.

Pornography or Art?

The art world are releasing a flood of words that seek to justify Bill Hensen taking and displaying photos of nude girls. Others are shouting ‘Pornography’ and even Rudd doesn’t like the pics (or he sees some votes in taking a public stand against them)

……Prime Minister Kevin Rudd described the works as “revolting” and devoid of artistic merit, the art community has come out strongly on the side of Henson, rejecting the accusation that his works are pornographic.

Put simply, it is morally wrong and illegal to take photos of naked children and display them. Calling it art doesn’t change the law or nullify the moral status and anyone suggesting that it does is simply giving us an insight as to why there is a disconnect between artists and the rest of us.

The fact that Hensen might be charged and that commentators have suggested it would be difficult to gain a conviction likewise doesn’t change the status of the act; it simply reflects on a legal system that places legal point and counterpoint above justice.

More poor taste in a poor taste week

ACTRESS Cate Blanchett and other prominent Australians who attended Kevin Rudd’s 2020 Summit have backed controversial photographer Bill Henson, saying charging him would damage Australia’s cultural reputation.

Well they would, wouldn’t they? It’s their style.

The letter, whose signatories also include writer Peter Goldsworthy, playwright Michael Gow, journalist and broadcaster Marieke Hardy, film maker Ana Kokkinos and economist Saul Eslake, said Henson was being subject to trial by media.

The Art world stand just doesn’t make sense to me. If I, or even Cate Blanchet had nude photos of children on our respective computers we could be charged with an offence if the pics were discovered. It’s not about art, censorship, trial by media or us terrible conservatives getting our way and I don’t care if Bill gets charged or not but I do care that we apply the same standards of law right across society.

It is simply about the law.

Fitzgibbon spinning

HERE’S a hot tip. (from Greg Sheridan) There is not the slightest chance Australia will buy any F-22 Raptor aircraft, and there is almost no chance that we will ditch the F/A-18 Super Hornets that the previous government was going to buy.

If the Raptor is not built for export why would anyone think the US would sell it to us. Well, actually people don’t but Fitzgibbon would have us believe it’s on the table so that he can look like he is managing the portfolio and in doing so pointing out how Howard’s government didn’t.

The US have already refused to sell it to the Japs and to Howard so in what fairy story does a Republican lead administration change it’s policy for a newly elected Labour government.

None that I’ve read lately.

Not news

FIVE Australian-based journalists, known as the Balibo Five, were deliberately killed to prevent them from exposing Indonesia’s 1975 invasion of East Timor, a NSW coroner has found.

“The Balibo Five died at Balibo, in Timor Leste on 16 October 1975, from wounds sustained when (they) were shot and or stabbed deliberately, and not in the heat of battle, by members of the Indonesian special forces, including (Commander) Christoforus Da Silva and Captain Yunus Yosfiah on the orders of Captain Yosfiah to prevent (them) from revealing that Indonesian special forces had participated in the attack on Balibo,” Ms Pinch said.

We always knew this but couldn’t say it as it might have embarrassed Gough Whitlam

Mr Whitlam insisted at the inquest he had not known of the shooting until October 21, 1975, and could not recall a number of sensitive radio intercepts suggesting the men had been executed on official Indonesian orders.

Not knowing about the shooting until 21 Oct is reasonable but not recalling radio intercepts flies in the face of procedures. He would have been told about something as dramatic as journalists being murdered.

The inquest also heard a navy linguist, Robin Dix, who translated an intercepted Indonesian military radio communication on the day of the invasion that was subsequently sent to the office of the prime minister and other government officials.

“Five Australian journalists have been killed and all their corpses have been incinerated or burnt to a crisp,” the message read, Mr Dix told the inquest.

“I will never forget it. I remember it word for word.”

Rob Dix is a classmate of mine from the RAAF School of Languages where we both studied Bahasa Indonesia in the 60s. I’m glad he got his 15 minutes of fame although linguistic work, particularly at DSD, is generally kept hush-hush.

Wouldn’t normally want the Indons to know we know, would we?

The Silent Anzac

11:00 am Sunday I departed Chudley Stud and rushed back to Brisbane to attend a family reunion. Whilst there I met Terry Roach, my wife’s cousin, for the first time. I had heard of Terry as he had been a Submariner when I was an Infantryman and to the best of my knowledge, of our generation, we were the only two service officers in the extended family.

Terry now runs a property at Kempsey called Tullamore. The name Tullamore rates frequently in the family as it was the Irish family seat before migration. There is a Tullamore Consultancy and at every reunion one can easily see a bottle of Tullamore Dew somewhere on the table and one framed bottle on the wall commemorating the life of Jim O’Rourke, the quintessential Irish Copper whose last beat as a sergeant was the Gabba.

Where was I?…..Ah yes, the Silent ANZAC.

AE2 at sea

AE2 at Sea

HMAS AE2 was the first Allied submarine to penetrate the Dardanelles in 1915 as part of the Gallipoli Campaign, on the very morning the ANZAC soldiers landed at Anzac Cove. After five hectic days “running amok”, she finally fell to Turkish gunfire and was scuttled. Her crew was captured and spent the rest of the war as Turkish POWs. AE2 lay, unseen, until in 1998 she was discovered, intact, in 73m of water in the Sea of Marmara.

The Submarine Institute of Australia (SIA) aims to ensure the protection, preservation and promotion of AE2, to contribute to an informed debate on her future and ensure that AE2’s contribution to the Gallipoli campaign is duly recognised by telling the story of her brave crew. Following Government support, implementation of the Project AE2 strategy has been assigned to the AE2 Commemorative Foundation Ltd, a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee.

The sub was ably commanded by Lt Comd Henry Stoker, DSO (don’t confuse his name with the Stoker mustering) and the story of his exploits in Dardenelles are well worth the read

Terry, aka Commodore Terence Roach AM, JP,RAN (Rtd) has found himself Director of the AE2 Commemorative Foundation Ltd and is heading up the project. Conversations with both the Coalition and ALP parties have attracted interest and some funding and the Turks are more than happy with the concept. The submarine has been located and a preliminary dive has been conducted revealing the sub is in good shape and, because all the crew were rescued, its not a war grave.

This fact allows for flexibility in planning and the outcome may well be that the sub is raised and displayed on the Gallipoli Peninsular.

Only time and a lot of work will tell but it is a story that needs to be told.

If there was a sub AE2 then there must have been at least an AE1 and sure enough there was. The AE1 was lost with all hands east of Rabaul in September 1914

From the Naval Association of Australia website;

When the First World War broke out in August 1914, both submarines (AE1 & 2) were still in refit. They were quickly prepared for sea (most of us know how that went, as well) and then proceeded north, where they eventually joined up with the rest of the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (ANMEF


On 14 September, AE1, accompanied by HMAS Parramatta, left Blanche Bay, New Britain, to patrol off Cape Gazelle. She was last seen by Parramatta at 3.30 pm that day, when she turned to return to harbour. When she failed to arrive at the anchorage before sunset, a search was launched. The search lasted for two days however no trace was found of the AE1, or her company, ever since. It has been presumed that AE1 struck an uncharted reef and sank, however even that remains a best guess.

My sub experience is minimal but I do recall a night in Bangkok during the Vietnam stoush (no, I wasn’t on R&R, I was working) when I bumped into submariners from, I think the Onslow, an Oberon class sub. This unfortunate/dangerous state of affairs led to an invite to the PO’s mess on board for drinks. All the drinks were 26oz (750ml) cans RAN style and in telling the story I often state that when another can was opened someone had to leave the PO’s Mess, it was that small. Siphoning off excess body fluids required gymnastics far outside my large frame ability. Bending backwards to the shape of the hull was too much for me and I ended up hanging off rails up-top while I polluted the Gulf of Siam.

Cuts and bruises were obvious the next day as moving along gangways required lifting legs and ducking heads at the same time in a coordinated manner to get through all the watertight doors (yes, I know, doors are most probably called something different but I can’t remember right now).My ability to handle this simple hand-eye coordination activity diminished with the opening of every one of those 26 oz cans.

Submarines are definitely not my bag thus I hold submariners in very high regard. I wish the AE2 project best speed and point out there will be a documentary screened on ABC next ANZAC Day telling the story of the sub and the project.

I’ll remind you.

The story of the recent trip to the Dardanelles by the recovery team is here and the Submarine Institute of Australia Submarine AE2 Project is here

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