TOWNSVILLE REUNION exceeds expectations.
All who attended declared the Townsville Reunion an outstanding success. The second Reunion to be organised by the 107 Fd Bty RAA Association was conducted from 13th to 21st August.
Sunday morning was the visit to the Kissing Point Fortifications and Kennedy Regiment Museum. Lunch at Tim’s Boardwalk Seafood Restaurant followed. That evening the new arrivals of Barry Artup, Tim & Leah Mooney, Greg (Spook) Wilkinson and Jeff & Stephanie Buckman were initiated to the RSL Club.
Monday saw the group board the fast Sunferries catamaran to tour Maggie Island on the hop-on-off bus. That evening the new arrivals of George & Tess Salmon, Barry & Sandra Pearce, David Grant, Mark Elliot, LJ (Smithy) Smith and the intrepid car travellers Olie Oliphant, David Gilmer & Geoff Gray join the ever-growing fray at the RSL Club. Geoff Gray gained the close attention of Doc Barclay but declined the Doc’s old Vietnam solution of the big penicillin syringe!
Eight-thirty Tuesday saw Barry, Doc, Dave, Dutchie, Jeff, Olie, Noel Peter, Smithy Spook, and the Lenard’s, Mooney’s, Pearce’s, Salmons, Walford's & Wrights board the bus for Mt Spec and morning tea at Paluma. An hour later lunch was taken at the Herbert River RSL Club by courtesy of President Lloyd Greentree (HQ Bty in Vietnam) and wife Rhonda. Lloyd hosted an extensive tour of Ingham and the surrounding sugar growing district. After refreshments back at the RSL, the group headed to the Frosty Mango for a late afternoon tea. Just outside Ingham a photo stop was taken with the group posing in front of the “Townsville 107 Fd Bty” sign. For those still hungry, the evening meal was at the Rollingstone Hotel and the tour returned to Townsville at 7.00 PM.
Some of the lads at the "Townsville 107 Fd Bty" sign near Ingham. New arrivals to the Reunion on Tuesday were John & Annette Connellan, Graeme & Diana Lucas, Allan & Lyn Henderson, Allen & Diana Betts, Jeff Roser, Mick Buckley, Ken Rosenlund & Gaye Hodson, Rob & Denise Cook, Russell Robertson and John & Shani McKay.
After collection by the Reunion Bus, members negotiated Lavarack Barracks Security at the main gate and visited 107 Fd Bty at Chau Pha Lines.
Christine, Chris, Gay and Trevor under the cam net. What "warie" is Trevor spinning, to impress the ladies?
An impressive three gun quick action and a series of demonstrations were staged by the Battery to get the nostalgia running in us Olds & Bolds.
Some of the Reunion team in the 107 Fd Bty History Room at Lavarack Barracks. Arch Foley was there to formally capture the moment. He was there back in 1970 but there was no time for photos, just High Range, more High Range, Canungra, High Range, Shoal Water Bay, High Range again then Vietnam.
Back in the saddle again are TARA Sgt Peter and GPO Hilton and two 107 Bty signallers. The tannoy, Hilton claims, is the same one he had in Vietnam. The shooting tables could do with Peter’s fine woodworking craftsmanship.
Next to the Sheep Dip, where else would a Rampant Ram or a Black Sheep go for refreshment?) to meet the gunners of 107 Fd Bty to be welcomed by BC, Maj Richard Vagg and BSM WO2 Brett Armstrong.
Barry Pearce presented his set of Vietnam Medals, Return from Active Service Badge and Zippo lighter to the Bty History Room. By some SNAFU, Barry was issued two sets of medals and RAS Badge on return from Vietnam. Thank you Barry, from the 107 Fd Bty History Room.
Hilton presented one of the cartridge cases fired in anger during the first contact mission the Battery fired in Vietnam. It is the unpolished (because at war spit & polish us discouraged) case on the right. Hilton followed with the Number One copy of the 107 Fd Bty RAA Association’s Scrapbook project, titled “The Back Sheep at War - recollections and photographs from those who served in 107th Field Battery, South Vietnam 1970-71”.
At a moving and well-attended service, Barry Pearce layed the Association’s book, The story of 2 RAR in Timor on the memorial. The book, was suitably notated for presentation to a Townsville school.
Thursday morning, by necessity, was “Make and Mend” In the afternoon most gathered for the Vietnam Veterans Association Long Tan service at ANZAC Park on the Strand.
After the service and brief stop in the Irish Pub in Flinders Street, the Reunion members joined other Veterans for refreshments and a meal at the RSL Club.
Rob Cook, Noel, Peter & John Shelly at the pre dinner drinks before the RAA Dinner. Note Peters 1969 issue twiggy green trousers he won at the 4 Fd Regt Historical Collection the previous day.
Despite the difficulty in hearing speakers and an initial reluctance, the RAA Association of NQ President and Dinning President, John Wilson, permitted Wally Walford to make a surprise presentation to Hilton for his efforts organising the Reunion. It comprised of a polished (rubber wood, Peter assures) box with the inscription “Thanks for a great Reunion Townsville August 2005” It contained a pewter mug inscribed “to 2Lt Hilton Lenard, the fastest GPO in the East, 1970-1971 SVN, from 107 Fd Bty 4 Fd Regt” Wally also presented Chris a lovely flower arrangement, for her assistance, support and patience while Hilton was otherwise occupied.
With over 370 old gunners, current members of 4 Fd Regt and our Association and their partners, it was a most impressive, spectacular and enjoyable evening.