I arrived home just filled with happy memories from this wonderful ANZAC meeting of the RLI. We deeply missed our other members and our friends who had the parade in Coolum and hope they had a great success.
I have attached Diggers wonderful letter to us below and can only say we are eternally grateful to him and Sue for their commitment to this success. I personally feel honoured taking this role at this important meeting of the RLI. Through Digger we met Mickey Michaelis who has made us members of the RSL league and donated that wonderful banner. We also had the incredible assistance from Derek Roylance who got the ABC to make a mention of us when we passed the Diaz.
The most important was General Clunies Ross who was our guest speaker and most interesting. We do apologise to the General for the miscommunication for his wife missing the dinner.
Richard Johnson was the main organiser of this event when Digger was ill and he did a fantastic job. The next ANZAC will be in Brisbane and this will again be arranged by Granny.
Shaun and Annette Ryan were with us and Shaun kindly donated us our own colours. Fantastic.
Chris Cox sent us some pics and a DVD of Msodja. Thanks Chris, the presentation had some impact.
Simone Johnson did the photography and even tried to follow us around the parade area and was pulled up by the Gestapo.. Fantastic job, thanks.
Digger, Damien of 8RAR was a star as invited the RLI to their private function. We donated him and Mickey a set of wings and the RLI badge. Maybe you can send this email to him.
We also hijacked Sharon and Linda (apologies if names incorrect) to carry the banner and they were unreal. There was a time that wind nearly blew them over, but they got into that scrum position. Thanks ladies.
Please see a link to the march.
Here is another link with a few pics of the parade and they got me doing a chop to the Diaz. Not sure if forcing the gut out is compulsory!! Maybe the 2 shirts do not help.
Granny has just said though Perth has a great monument etc. the proximity of the Memorial, the hotel, the after drinks, the airport etc etc makes the Canberra ANZAC the best by far. All we missed were the rest of our buddies.
I am sure Hugh Bomford would like to know that Gerald Moffet did make an appearance at the after drinks.
Directly after the parade, the Zim Ambassador, Jacqueline Zwambila came up to us asking to meet. We had a great chat and a few pics. I am surprised Australia permits them to have reps here considering the way Bob treats this country and his track record. Anyway she seems to be the opposition party. This was a real nice touch but suggest the dinner may have created a few coughs during the slide show if she were present!!
We ask Ian McFarlane to use any of this data and pics for the write up for our branch in the Cheetah magazine and please feel free to put these on the web.
I do not have all the email addresses, but will ask Granny to send this on to all our members.
As promised, we will have an election for Chairman and Secretary for this branch and ask that these are in by 11th May 2012. I have stated that as I have been asked to stand again, I will do so, only with Richard as Treasurer and Secretary. Please send these nominations by your registered email only. Only members of this branch can vote and any new members must contact Richard for a form to complete which must also be acceptable to our EXCO. We do encourage all our members who served in the RLI, to look at this wonderful parade in Canberra and become productive and plan to make the next one in Brisbane. Sub Committees will be formed with heads in each state. Doug Paxton will handle Victoria, Granny Qld and Canberra.
This branch grows steadily in numbers. A short note for Ian which may be of interest, is within our membership, is now the 3 Swan brothers, all who served in the RLI from 1976 to the final parade, being Jimmy, Reg and Mark. (marched in the final) Our old man was Major John Swan and he had the hard task of managing the goffel units. I once ended up on a FF chopper deploy to a base and my Dad was there as OC with these guys. I saluted, as one would do and then quietly asked him to please reshape the beret as was sick as looked like a cooks hat!!
Please can all members also Contact Richard should they wish to join the RSL League. The cost is only $30.
All the best,
Richard kindly made these photographs available to ORAFs.
RLI Austalia NZ Branch marches in ANZAC Canberra.
RLI Australia NZ branch and Associate members post march.
Zimbabwe Ambassador Jacqueline Zwambila
RLI outside the hotel.
The RLI and special guest Doug Jardine outside the Mercure Hotel.
Digger giving the RLI history.
Major General Clunies Guest Speaker
Dinner at the Mercure Hotel
Major General Clunies, Jimmy and Digger.
Jimmy Donates Damien, the head of the RAR a set of wings.
Letter from Brig Digger Essex - Clark.
Dear Jimmy and Richard, and all our stalwarts who were together in Canberra.
I hope you all got home safely after those two splendid days that Susan and I spent with The RLIRA Australian stalwarts.
I don’t think you’ll ever realise or understand to what a fabulous extent my morale was lifted by those two emotive days.
As a stale retired old military curmudgeon, you Jimmy and you Richard, and your magnificent team of stalwarts who came to our reunion made 2012 a significant and very special year in my life . For this I warmly thank you both, and also those incredible stalwarts for their heart-warming friendship, generosity, and moving spirit of the Old RLI and ‘Old Rhodesia’. I must also thank Shaun and Annette for being here and bringing those superb Colours. Jimmy and Richard, mates, what an unforgettable reunion you organised for us!
Susan and I thoroughly enjoyed our Reunion Dinner as did our guest Adrian Clunies-Ross who was most impressed by you all. I apologise for showing a little too much emotion in my ‘tribute’ to the RLI and its KIA and those who died on operations, to which I always also add the best junior officer I ever had: David Parker. (who was not serving in the battalion at the time).
Susan, again saw with warmth the emotional spirit of the best of those who served in our battalion whom could afford the time and costs to make it to our Canberra reunion. She, as were all those who knew my soul relationship with the RLI praised highly our contingent that marched past them to represent, not only the RLI, but subliminally, the spirit of ‘Old Rhodesia’. There were many tears from those that knew ‘Old Rhodesia’ as you marched so proudly by them.
All those of the RAR Association who hosted us at the Mercure following the March; commented about what a ‘great and energising bunch’ you were. Their President Brigadier Damien Roche said he spoke for the whole Royal Australian Regiment (RAR) Association throughout every state, city, and town in Australia when he also told me that the legal RLIRA or the RLIANZ are always welcome at any time, for any event in which the RAR Association as involved. They see us simply as well-blooded and most capable fellow Infantrymen who fought with distinction and courage for a great and worthy cause: 'Brothers in Arms'.
By becoming a distinct sub-branch of the ACT Branch of the RSL of Australia, we also cemented our relationship with the spirit of all Australian Ex-servicemen and women and now become part of the Australian Culture and Anzac lore.. The more members who can afford to join us, the stronger that bond will become. While saying this I must also praise Mickey Michaelis for his work to involve us with the RSL and presenting us with that splendid and proud banner, and in addition, for his entertaining and useful talk and card tricks at the dinner,.
I also think that the spirited welcome given to us by an excited Ndebele Zimbabwe Ambassador, and supporter of Morgan Tsvangarai ,as you came off the bleachers ,was the icing on the cake for us all.
Well done, you Incredible Stalwarts, what a grand example you set for all of us, and:
Take care, all of you and I give Susan's and my warmest and very best wishes and hopes for good health for all of you and your loved ones
'The Saints go marching on!'
ORAFs records its thanks and appreciation to Richard Johnson and to the rLI Association for sharing these photos and memories with ORAFs.
ORAFs also suspects that the one chap with the SAS beret is Ken Aplin who also served with the RhAF.