Visit to Arizona Memorial Pearl Harbour


In early July 2015 I was in Hawaii on a family re-union and took the opportunity to visit the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbour. This is still a large operational base, so the authorities have constructed a visitor centre with extensive gardens on the western side of the harbour, easily accessible from Honolulu via the main freeway.

On arrival we were advised that entry to the Arizona Memorial was free, but we were required to book ahead and individual tickets were issued after sighting ID. (Passports for foreigners, drivers licences for US citizens). The base was on high alert due to the recent Independence Day celebrations. A ticket was also required for my 2-year old grand-daughter.


There were charges to visit other nearby sites including USS Bowfin (a WW2 submarine), USS Missouri (where the Japanese surrender was held) and the Pacific Aviation museum.

At the appropriate time we were taken to an auditorium to view a film of the attack on Pearl Harbour, which included an analysis of prior Japanese history which I thought was very balanced.

The Arizona memorial is only accessible by barge as the ship is located alongside mangroves adjacent to Ford Island across the harbour. We boarded the barge manned by US Marines, and were taken for a short ride across the harbour to the Arizona site where an open memorial building has been constructed across the ship. It is painted in dazzling white and stands out starkly against the mangroves, the water and the nearby ships and buildings.


On entry to the memorial you immediately feel the reverence of the building as it sits a-stance of the ship still housing some 900 sailors who were unable to be saved when the vessel rolled over and sunk.


The outline of the ship is visible from the visitor platform and the housing of one gun is still visible above the waterline. The Arizona still leaks bunker oil, but as the ship is a war grave no-one is allowed to enter it.


Around 2400 US personnel lost their lives during the attack, and their names are inscribed in a marble wall on one end of the memorial.


One interesting feature of the memorial, described to us by the duty personnel, is the ability of former Arizona crew, who survived the war, to be interred in the ship with their former shipmates. To date 9 former crew members have accepted this offer, and their names are inscribed on a separate marble monument on the memorial.

After the visit we had lunch in the extensive memorial gardens, which also has a display of those who lost their lives, and a bronze map of the location of the various vessels during the attack.


On the way back to Honolulu we visited the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific located in the crater of a huge extinct volcano which houses around 13,000 headstones of US and Allied personnel who died in the Pacific during WW2.

pacific cemetary

Mick Jenner

Visit to Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery Burma


Mick and Deb JENNER and Tony and Jo VAN RHODA visited the Taukkyan War Cemetery in Myanmar (Formally Burma) about 35 kilometers from Yangon (Formally Rangoon). We were surprised how beautifully the cemetery was being maintained. The Taukkyan War Cemetery is the largest of the three war cemeteries in Myanmar, It was started in 1951 to consolidate the graves from four remote battlefield cemeteries, all of which were extremely difficult to access for friends and relatives. The different battlefield cemeteries have been kept distinct within the grounds of the Taukkyan site.

Numerous other bodies were retrieved from smaller remote jungle sites and also brought here, but the continuing conflict in Burma after the war delayed the work of the Army Graves Service. More graves are still being found, but so far the cemetery contains 6,374 bodies of Commonwealth soldiers. Of these 867 are unidentified. The central pillars are the Rangoon Memorial, bearing the names of 27,000 men who died during the campaigns in Burma and whose body was never retrieved, along with the inscription “they died for all free men”.

We all agreed our visit to the Taukkyan War Cemetery was one of the highlights of our holiday in Malaysia and Myanmar and well worth the visit, though hard to access as Myanmar which is a poor country is only just opening up to tourism and not yet up to the standard we are used to like those found in more affluent Asian countries. It was a visit Mick and I had planned to do for a long time.





Flowers and photos of one of a still missing in action serviceman left by relatives who recently visited the memorial, it is seeing the young face and the not knowing what happened that makes you feel sad.


Amateur Radio Licence Course


Proposed Amateur Radio Licence Course.

At the General Meeting on  6th May 2014 a discussion was held regarding radios fitted and used by WVCG members. Members were advised that to operate a transmitting radio, a member must hold an amateur radio operator licence.

For those not currently holding the required licence, and the meeting was advised that a senior assessor of the Adelaide Hills Amateur Radio Society had offered to run a course specifically for our members. This offer is appreciated as that would mean our members would obtain specialised assistance on the course to obtain their radio licence. A number of members attending the general meeting indicated their willingness to do the course. There will be a small fee for attending the course (eg$20). This will be confirmed when final numbers are known.

For further information please download the following document.


Tony Van Rhoda did the course last year and can fully recommend it as it opens up a whole new hobby and as a licenced radio operator you can join the Adelaide Hills Amateur Radio Society. Tony has now purchased equipment and is currently setting up his radio shack.

If interested in attending, please advise Tony via email on: Once we have numbers we will advise those attending of the cost, date, times and venue of the course.

Penang War Museum Visit

Mick Jenner and Tony Van Rhoda visited the Penang War Museum while on holidays in Malaya. The site has a very checkered history being a Japanese POW camp during WW2. Initially built as a fort by the British in 1930 to guard the Malacca straits, it included 2 15in naval guns facing out to sea from re-enforced concrete gun platforms. Other facilities included 100 ft of tunnels for ammunition storage, a command and intelligence centre, and a submarine wharf. It was staffed by British Marines, Indian troops and local militia.

The Japanese invaded by land in December 1941, and after a pitched battle the British evacuated the base which was then occupied by the Japanese. They subsequently used it as a base for spreading propaganda (to Singapore) and for interrogation, torture and execution (mostly of locals). It was also used later in the was to indoctrinate  future kamikaze pilots.

After the war the base fell into disrepair and was overtaken by jungle. The local population avoided the area due to the “bad spirits” lurking there, and after several generations many did not even know  of its existence. In 2008 the area was cleared of jungle and re-opened for public access. It is also used today as a paint-ball site, and “spooky tours” are conducted after dark as it is supposedly one of the top-10 haunted sites in Malaysia.


Japanese 6 in Gun


Ammunition Room (Underground)


Gun Platform for British 15in Naval guns


Gun Command Bunker


British Anti-Aircraft Gun




Japanese Executioners area


British Generator Room. Used by the Japanese as the torture room.Torture relics are still inside.


Troop Accommodation block


British Intelligence room (underground)



The US M8 armoured car, which would become the US Army’s most important ar- moured car of the war, started life as a design for a wheeled tank destroyer mount- ing the 37mm tank gun. This was originally intended to be a replacement for the 37mm-Gun Motor Carriage M6 (an anti-tank gun on an unarmoured ¾-ton truck) but, by early 1942 it had become apparent, following American observation of op- erational trends in Europe, that there would be no requirement for such a vehicle and the specification was therefore reclassified to that of a light armoured car.

The M8 was a six wheeled six-wheel-drive (6×6) vehicle with an all steel welded body, on top of which a round manually operated open-topped turret, mounted a 37mm M6 Tank gun with an elevation of +20 degrees, a depression of -10 degrees and a turret traverse of a full 360 degrees. Eighty rounds of 37mm ammunition were carried. Secondary armament consisted of a 0.30-inch Browning co-axial machine gun and a 0.50-in heavy machine gun on a mounting on the turret top.

The four man crew consisted of a driver and co-driver/bow gunner who were seated in the front of the hull (on the right and left respectively), and a gunner and vehicle commander who were located in the turret. The Hercules petrol engine and trans- mission were located at the rear of the hull. The M8 was the most widely-used American armoured car during the Second World War. It was accompanied in service by the mechanically identical Armoured Utility Car M20, which was simply the M8 without the turret but with a ring-mounted ma- chine gun positioned on a raised centre section of the hull. The M20 was normally employed as a command vehicle or personnel carrier and could carry up to six men, according to function. By the last month of the war, when production was finally terminated, some 8,523 M8s and 3,791 M20s had been manufactured by the Ford Motor Company at their St. Paul Factory in Minnesota, United States. In post-war years the US and British Armies disposed of all their M8s, but large numbers were still in service throughout the world, notably in many African and Latin American countries for many decades thereafter. In post-war service many M8s underwent modifications including the fit- ting of a diesel engine, installation of a TOW anti-tank rocket launcher and replace- ment of the 37mm gun with a 12.7mm machine gun.


An apology and redress is needed to the thousands of young men conscripted into the Australian Army.

 Reprinted as written by: BRUCE HAIGH

On November 26 last year Defence Minister Stephen Smith announced a judicial inquiry into cases of abuse within the Australian Defence Force from the 1950’s through to the present day. The single act of introducing conscription, by ballot, of young men into the Australian Army, in the years 1965 to 1972, for military service overseas in a war zone, constitutes one of the graver acts of abuse and bullying of Australian citizens in recent history. The judicial inquiry, should look at the ethics, effect, equity and justice of conscription. It was an abuse of power and of people, and redress and an apology are required to right the wrong that was committed.

Australia twice voted against the introduction of conscription during World War I. Conscripts fought in Papua, in World War II, because it was an Australian Territo- ry; they fought with great distinction on the Kokoda Track, stopping the Japanese just short of Port Moresby and getting abused by the head of the Army, General Thomas Blamey, for their trouble.

Conscription or national service as it was euphemistically called, was introduced in


1965 to provide a pool of trained young men for military service in Vietnam, Aus- tralia had a professional army of volunteers, but after the decision was made to go to war with the United States, concern was expressed within a small a restricted circle of government, that volunteers might not come forward in sufficient numbers to man an expanded army in a commitment of unknown duration and intensity.

The Prime Minister, Robert Menzies, announced the introduction of conscription on November the 10, 1964; the necessary amendments to the Defence Act were made on April 6, 1965. Menzies announced the commitment of 1 RAR, a battalion of reg- ular soldiers, to Vietnam the next day. He gave no indication that he intended to send the first of the conscripts when their training was completed at the end of 1965

In citing the need for a limited ballot to draft 20 year old men into the army for two years, Menzies referred vaguely to the growing communist threat from the north and the need for Australia to be prepared to meet any sudden threat quickly.

There was also a hint that Indonesia might again threaten regional security. However it seems that Menzies knew exactly why he wanted a bigger army; he had given se- cret undertakings to the US that Australia would be prepared to give legitimacy, through provision of Australian troops, to a much increased US involvement in Vi- etnam. It was an act mirrored by another Liberal prime minister, John Howard, near- ly 40 years later.. On August 6th, 1964, the US Congress gave the president the power


to take whatever action he thought necessary in Vietnam. This was expressed in the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. Menzies and foreign minister Paul Hasluck were led to believe that Australia would be asked to make a major commitment to the war in Vietnam.

If Menzies had wanted to prepare for a general but unspecified threat he would have drafted young men not only into the army but also into the navy and air force. This was the system in operation from 1950 to 1960. This system required three months full-time training and a camp once a year. It was scrapped because the ser- vice arms saw it as an unnecessary drain on limited resources. Too much time was spent on training recruits rather than lifting and maintaining the skills of profes- sional volunteers.

Anne Marie Jordens, in a chapter ”Conscription and dissent” of the book Vietnam Remembered” (New Holland, 2009). Says. Menzies avoided seeking a mandate before introducing conscription for overseas service….and the intense secrecy with which the government enshrouded its plans, ensuring no widespread debate oc- curred before the scheme was firmly in place.

From 1965 to 1972, 804,000 young men registered for national service, 63,375 conscripts served in the army, 19,450 in Vietnam; 1479 were injured and 200 killed. Many others were killed and injured during training and road accidents trav- elling interstate to see family and friends. No record has been kept of national ser- vicemen who died while serving in the army, other than in Vietnam. More than 61,000 Australians served in Vietnam 42,700 in the army. In all, 520 Servicemen died in Vietnam and 2398 were wounded.

Conscripts or “Nashos” as they liked to refer to themselves, were not legally al- lowed to vote or drink at the time of their registration; they were not allowed to take out a bank mortgage . They were legally under-age. The only way out of mili- tary service was to fail the medical, become a conscientious objector, evade the law or be undertaking studies or skills training at the time of registration. Some were allowed to join the Citizens Military Forces because they were in reserved occupations, such as farming.

Unlike regular soldiers awarded the Australian Defence medal, they are not entitled to a pension. By and large they accepted their fate and made good and loyal soldiers; they fought with distinction in Vietnam and did their duty in Australia. They are not asking for much, just recognition that at the age of 20 they were removed from family, friend, jobs and careers and stripped off everything familiar, including their hair. They were taught to be aggressive, mechanical, neat and tidy.

Recognition of the nature of the 1965/72 National Service Scheme and of the eth- ics of conscripting men, not yet able to vote, for service overseas in a war as bloody and complex as either of the two world wars and Korea needs acknowledgement and examination. Conscripted and trained 63,000 to go to a spe- cific war. They were not just trained to be soldiers; they were trained to go to Vietnam.

Nashos who went to Vietnam get the benefit due to veterans of that war. It has been suggested that the 1965/72 conscripts would like a clasp on their National Service Medal to show the years in which they served and some limited benefits, such as an annual medical check and a rebate on commonly used drugs, hearing aids and glass- es, for conscripts who, although eligible, did not go to Vietnam.

The judicial inquiry should look into the abuse brought about by the unjust act of conscription an act that led to a great deal of protest and civil unrest. The enquiry should examine the efficiency of an apology and the introduction of some benefits to conscripts who are not recipients of other veteran entitlements.

Bruce HAIG is a political commentator and a former national serviceman and diplomat.


The Global Hawk is controlled via satellite.

It flew missions that went from Ed- wards AFB and back nonstop. Basically, they come into the fight at a high mach # using military thrust power, fire their AMRAAMS, and no one ever sees them or paints with radar. There is practically no radio chatter because all the guys in the flight are tied together electronically and can see who is targeting who, and they have AWACS (Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems) direct input, as well as 360 situational awareness from that and other sensors.

The enemy had a definite morale problem before it was all over. It is to air superiority what the jet engine was to aviation. It can taxi out, take off, fly a mission, return, land and taxi back on its own. There are no blackouts, pilot fatigue, relief tubes, ejection seats, and best of all, no dead pilots, and no POWs…