45th Reunion Officer Cadet School of Australia (Portsea) Graduating Class December 1973
Wed 17, Apr 2019
Brisbane 7-9 December 2018
After class feedback in the preparation phase it was the general consensus that the City of Brisbane should once again host the three days of festivities during the period 7-9 December 2018 and we welcomed graduates who travelled from New Zealand, Vietnam and most States and Territories of Australia to the 45th Reunion – Officer Cadet School of Australia (Portsea) Graduating Class December 1973.
“Well I can honestly say that the 7P’s (principles) of Prior-Preparation-Planning-Prevents-Piss-Poor-Performance came to the fore in December with three days of Esprit-de-corps, camaraderie, memories, laughter, new introductions and of course a small degree of bullshit and a modest degree of drinking” this was an extract from the news article in 2013 for the 40th reunion and it most certainly applied once again to the three days of events to celebrate our 45th reunion. The preparation and planning were detailed as you would have expected and carried out over the preceding twelve months by the organising committee. Initially chaired by Peter Feeney (Feens) who unfortunately needed to step down and was not able to attend to reunion. The baton was passed to John Duff (JD), Mark Gallagher (MG), Eric Lanham (Rick) and Mike Buck (Buckie) and this committee spent long hours and had a huge degree of fun and friendly banter organising the three days of activities in minute detail.
Friday 7th December 2018 – a meet & greet commenced the reunion and was held on the pool deck of the Hilton Hotel where we had a total of 47 attend with 31 graduates and 16 wives, partners and one sister (Buckie’s sister Lenore who manned the reception desk) The highlight of the evening no doubt was to welcome the one and only VINNIE back into the fold. The committee resplendent in their committee shirts & caps (sponsored by A.L.B. Distributors) welcomed one and all and Graduates were handed their 45th Reunion Memorabilia Packs. MG gave a welcoming address and the food and beverages package was sensational.
Saturday 8th December 2018 – For those that were capable we gathered at the ANZAC SQUARE for a late morning memorial service to honour our fallen classmates. Chaplain Peter Devenish-Meares officiated over the service and his words were heartfelt and solemn. Major Phillip John Winston Mouncey delivered a beautiful reading as part on the service.
The Venue and Chaplain organised by MG were befitting for the Aussies & Kiwis who attended and truly inspirational. From there we crossed Anne Street to The Grand Central Hotel and shared a couple of cold ales to toast our fallen classmates.
Saturday 8th December 2018 – The highlight of the reunion weekend was the Showboat Cruise on Brisbane River aboard the Kookaburra Queen 11 and we all gathered at Eagle Street Wharf in preparation for a magical night. Thirty graduates and twenty wives and partners attended thereby enabling us to have the bottom deck to our group exclusively. What a night was experienced by all with the setting food, drink, service and company platinum class. The evening had a small formal side with speeches by the MC – Mark Gallagher (MG) and some sincere and kind words from Hoddy – Colin Hodkinson representing our NZ contingent.
Sunday 9th December 2018 – For those of us that were not boarding early flights to head home we travelled to the magnificent venue of the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron at Manly where we were greeted by the Commodore Mark (MG) Gallagher and his beautiful wife Fran. This was the perfect venue to have a recovery lunch and cold beverage.
Special thanks is extended to the graduates who assisted and contributed to enable our close friend and classmate Vinnie to experience the reunion and have some time touring parts of Oz. Special mention and a very warm hearted thank you to John McConnell, Bruce Mackie and their families who opened their hearts and homes to make Vinnie’s stay a very memorable experience.
The next milestone will be our 50th Anniversary in 2023 and the suggestions to date are to keep the milestone a no fuss affair with a proposed lunch gathering at the Portsea Hotel, keep watching this space!! BSM Riley and his beautiful wife Jules have completed an advanced recce with the following report:
Jules & I have just returned from the Mornington Peninsula where we attended the Appy School 50th re-union (of enlistment rather than graduation)! A great turn out with about 70 of the ‘old farts’ out of an original 140 attending. Whilst there we took the nostalgic trip down to Portsea just for a sticky beak and the obligatory glass of wine at the pub. We approached reception with a warning order for 9th Dec 2023 and shock horror, the books aren’t open that far ahead. We did explain this wasn’t a booking but early warning but when we mentioned possible numbers their tune changed somewhat. (They have taken my name and number at this stage). They currently have 11 accommodation rooms but will be building another 14 by the time we are there for ‘our show’. I suggested that we will probably need all of those rooms much to their delight! There is a rather large new boutique resort across the road from the pub now with something like 25 self-contained apartments but talking with John Goodchap who lives on the peninsula, this resort is heavily booked all year round. Prices in that area of course, are as expected, “up market”, including the pub. We were just thinking of walking distance accommodation to the pub but of course there is much cheaper available further out from Portsea. That time of the year obviously is the start of the high season so we will need to book early. The pub has had a major refurbishment with the outdoor area overlooking the jetty and bay now under cover. This refurb is obviously continuing with additional accommodation going in. So, just a bit of a heads-up guys, it certainly brought back some memories sitting in that beer garden pondering over that glass of wine (or two). We’ll definitely need a fairly early start to get this one up and running.
Best wishes to you all, Kev & Jules
Congratulations to Michael Buck aka “Buckie”
Mon 11, Jun 2018
Buckie was awarded the Order of Australia Medal – General Division in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Michael Graham Buck, Douglas Queensland 4814;
For service to the community through a range of charitable organisations and events;
- Put a Tin in the Bin Christmas Promotion held in conjunction with Southern Cross Austereo.
- Food Relief – NQ.
- Townsville to Cairns Bike Ride for Children’s Cancer Queensland. [Raised $22,700]
- Islah Sparkle Family Day 2016.
- Movember. [Raised $8,500]
- Give Me 5 For Kids.
The Investiture Ceremony held at Pullman Reef Hotel Casino Cairns on 8 September 2018, Buckie presented with his Order of Australia Medal by His Excellency, the Governor of Queensland, the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC.
Investiture Ceremony – Phillip (Bimbo) Blundell
Tue 10, Apr 2018
This award “The New Zealand Order of Merit” MNZM was presented a couple of years ago to Phillip (Bimbo) Blundell by the Governor General of New Zealand at the time, His Excellency Lieutenant General The Right Honourable Sir Jeremiah Mateparae GNZM QSO, who on the 16 December 2016 was announced that he would be New Zealand’s next high commissioner to the United Kingdom. Jerry was a graduate of the Officer Cadet School, Portsea class of December 1976.
45th Reunion Reminder
Fri 16, Mar 2018
Read the 45th Anniversary Reunion OCS Portsea Dec 1973 Graduating Class – Update 19 March 2018 here.
45th Anniversary Reunion OCS Portsea Dec 1973 Graduating Class – Update 22 Nov 17.
Wed 22, Nov 2017
Read the update here.
Congratulations to Mark Gallagher
Fri 01, Sep 2017
Congratulations to Mark Gallagher on his appointment as the Commodore of Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron.
Photo: Opening Day, Mark with His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC – Governor of Queensland.
VALE MARK WALKER
Tue 25, Apr 2017
Mark (Marcus) Walker graduated from OCS (Scheyville Wing) in December 1973 and was allocated to Aviation. After completing his initial Regimental Officer training at 1 RAR in Townsville in 1974, he proceeded to Point Cook to undertake Basic Flying Training with the RAAF. Marcus did not complete flying training and Corps transferred to RAAC in 1975. He served in all ARA RAAC line units: 2 Cav Regt at Holsworthy, B Sqn 3 Cav Regt in Townsville and 1 Armd Regt at Puckapunyal. Progressing to the rank of Major, his last appointment in the Army was as OC A Sqn 3/4 Cav Regt in Brisbane.
In 1985 Marcus moved to Perth with his wife Sue. He was doing very well as Executive Director/CEO of an industry association involved in transport training. Sadly, in 1999 Marcus suffered a severe brain aneurysm whilst on business in Adelaide and nearly lost his life. He was unable to work again after that due to the resultant acquired brain injury.
Tragically, in April 2016 Marcus was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He undertook chemo and radiotherapy but the disease spread and he passed away at home on 28 March 2017 at 63 years young, not survived by any children.
NOTICE: Site Copyright Infringement
Sun 02, Apr 2017
This post is to advise that you may have difficulty playing some of the video productions that were developed for the 40th-Year Class Reunion due to music copyright infringements. The affected vids and current YouTube copyright notices are:
- OCS Portsea December 1973 – includes copyright content
- OCS Dec 1973 Post 73 Military Service – includes copyright content
- OCS Dec 1973 Post Military Service – blocked world wide.
The above has been an ongoing issue for some months, where the infringements were appealed and rejected. Any further appeals can result in the vids being removed completely and the YouTube account for the site could be closed. We are not going there.
SOLUTIONS: As at the time of this post, the vids still play on some PCs, but not Smart (or not so smart) devices. You may still be able to play content from a YouTube account. Further, if you had not already downloaded and would like copies, let us know by contacting either JD or Buckie and we can arrange via Dropbox, or as a last resort, burn to disc and mail if required. Finally, remake of the vids is possible sourcing different music but if this is undertaken, it will be in slow time 🙂
Class 45th-year Reunion
Sat 14, Jan 2017
Planning is underway to hold a 45th-year graduation reunion. Most likely 7-9th or 14-16th Dec ’18 (incl warming rounds) and probably Brisbane, QLD. Classmates will have already received the fol Email (edited) from Feens, which included the updated Class Contact List.
‘I think we can all agree that the 40th reunion was a resounding success, due in part that we were able to get many of us to attend. The strategy we (the organising team) applied was to hold the gathering in Bne, as the centre of gravity (source of strength) was the number of graduates who could attend, and so we easily achieved critical mass. You may recall (through the alcoholic haze of the 40th functions), our Kiwi colleagues suggested that the 45th be run in NZ. I have had discussions with JD, Rick, Buckie and MG and we are of the belief that given the travel requirements of a NZ-based reunion, attendance may well be down hence lowering the opportunity to get together with as many mates as possible.
So, the questions are:
1. Do you want/will attend a 45th Anniversary Reunion?
2, Where do you want the reunion to be held: NZ (precise location currently unknown) or Bne?
3. What suggestions do you have for format?
4. Your preferred dates?
Please let me know your thoughts, I will collate the responses and get back to you. Replies to Peter Feeney at [email protected]
That’s all for now guys, looking forward to your responses.
‘Vinnie’ [Le Quang Vinh]
Wed 14, Dec 2016
The Class is very pleased to learn that Le Quang Vinh (‘Vinnie’), who we thought was KIA in South Vietnam (SVN) is alive and well. In organising our Class 40th Year Reunion, we had reliable sources that advised Vinnie was KIA. In Vinnie’s words, “… the information was a mistake, because that time was the end of the war, everything was mix up, not any news was correct”. More than likely it was misinformation from the Vietnamese regime at the time, while Vinnie was held in captivity. Unfortunately we all missed Vinnie at the reunion, based on information that he was not MIA so we did not go searching.
Vinnie has explained that he suffered many difficulties after Apr 1975, where he was concentrated in a camp (jungle prison) used to retain SVN Army Officers after the War (American War to the Vietnamese). He has explained that as he was a graduate from OCS, he had to endure a lot more than other prisoners. After 30 months or so, he was released and started his life again from scratch; this included trying to do a runner from VN about five times and receiving a year’s incarceration each time.
Vinnie reached out to us by emailing our ocsdec73 website. After a few searching questions, he verified it was he in the flesh and thus far he has made contact with the usual suspects (Buckie, Feens, Eric, MG, JD) and others. He was quite emotional to read his name ‘Vinnie’, as we all knew him 43 years ago. He reflected how being called Vinnie after all this time, reminded him of his ‘Senior B’ Coy classmates, who were always friendly and ready to help him get through the OCS course and pass the required tests to graduate with us.
Vinnie explained that he had some hard times, from 1975 until 1995, “… 20 years full with tear, sweat and even blood”. He is married and had two children, doing his best for their upbringing, “… my kids must be safe, strong and well educated”. His reflections of Australia being a civil and developed country run deep, as this is where he would have liked to have educated his children. He tells them about Australia and the way we live, which would be good for them. His children understood that Vinnie wanted them to be “… good persons, even in their poor and less developed country”. His children acknowledged this and “studied and behave well”.
After 1995, the Communist regime in VN changed their policies to cooperate with capitalism as a means to develop the country, including foreign investment. As far as Vinnie is concerned, while espousing communist ideals, the party elite got money for themselves to become rich. For Vinnie, life became a little bit better by just having a job with a basic salary. He used his ability to speak English as an advantage to make money by guiding foreigners to come to VN for business. His earnings were improved and life made a little easier. He later changed his job to real estate (buying, selling and building houses) for about four years, until the real estate business slowed. He changed jobs again to open an IT business for his son who graduated as an IT Engineer and he helped his son manage the company, until 2015.
Vinnie has now retired and while his family life is OK, his admits his mind is not, “… he never accepted to be a communist person”. His contact with classmates of OCS brings him happiness, and confidence that “… he can prove to everyone that he was a soldier and well trained by the Australian Army”. In 1991, Vinnie wrote and got a reply from RMC, just to get a letter to confirm he was an OCS graduate.
Vinnie has thanked all those that he has touched since coming back online only a couple of weeks ago as it gives him the joy of friendship. Hopefully we will be able to catch up with him as we look into how we could sponsor him (Visa wise) to visit Australia, maybe for a 45th-year reunion.
Vinnie’s FB page (and Messenger) is ‘Vinh Le’. He is also on Email and Phone (not posted here for privacy reasons).
[07 FEB 2017] Vinnie has been added to the Alumni and the the original Memoriam (Lest We Forget) video on the site has been edited.
So great to hear from you Vinnie after all this time.
Warm regards, jd
$20,000 Sponsorship for Food Relief NQ
Fri 09, Dec 2016
Buckie in association with Lt Col Michael Bassingthwaighte, DSM (CO 2 RAR) and Maj Matt Huggins (OC Spt Coy 2 RAR) arranged for corporate sponsors to be transported to Food Relief, NQ in Bushmasters to present $20,000 for the purchase of food for needy families throughout North Queensland.
A.L.B. Distributors sponsors the 2 RAR rugby team at the request of Major Matt Huggins OC Spt Coy 2 RAR.
Fri 18, Nov 2016
Buckie and Matt’s father Grame Huggins served together in 2/4RAR 1974-75. Buckie attended the inter Battalion Rugby tournament where 2 RAR defeated 1 RAR, 12-6 and Buckie was presented with a 2 RAR framed jersey.
ANZAC Day 2015 – Dr Brendan Nelson, Director AWM
Wed 06, May 2015
John Duff had a chance meeting with Dr Brendan Nelson, Director Australian War Memorial (AWM), prior to the ANZAC Day March in Canberra to personally thank him for his passion and the excellent work he was doing in his role as Director AWM.
Preservation of OCS Portsea Heritage at Point Nepean National Park
Thu 12, Feb 2015
On 29th January 2015, Bob Elworthy AM has once again gone into bat, in his capacity as President of the VVAA Victoria Branch, in writing to the Minister for Veterans seeking support to ensure that a significant part of military history (OCS Portsea 1951 to 1985), and in particular the memory of MAJ Peter Badcoe VC, are maintained in any development of the Point Nepean National Park.
End of Golden Gap Year for Jim & Liz
Sun 23, Nov 2014
21st October 2014, Qantas Club Melbourne Airport – JD (returning from the home of Armour of all things) met Jim and Liz Coubrough, on on their way back to Akaroa – the last leg of their Golden Gap Year (GGY).
Their GGY exploits and memorable events are too numerous to cover in one blog, so just a few exerts are included herein. Many classmates were kept up to date with Jim and Liz providing all-stations broadcasts during their time in the UK, which would not have been complete without attending the QB parade at Buckingham Palace.
While repelling lots of family and friends during their time in the UK, Jim & Liz covered the countryside with visits to Southampton, Portsmouth, Bognor Regis, Brighton, Windsor Castle (incl Evensong), Aldworth, East Garston, Streatley, Goring, Lamborne, Benson, Kintbury and Bath. It is understood that most locations were well referenced to having quaint pubs and gardens (in that order).
Birthday celebrations for Liz included a week in Vienna at the historic Grand Hotel, a Danube cruise and a Mozart concert at the Opera House. Well done Jim!
During a hectic UK summer, Jim and Liz cut away for a short holiday to southern France, and from Bordeaux drove to Nice via Sarlat, Carcassonne, Vaison-la-Romain and Monaco.
Jim & Liz are now back in NZ are prepared to further repel boarders, including those from across the ditch. They have settled for open plan living, very open. You can see why bookings are filling up fast, the view from the new digs are amazing.
Federation Star awarded to Major Phillip John Winston Mouncey
Sun 23, Nov 2014
Friday 21st November 2014, Blamey Barracks Kapooka – After 42 years and nine months of military service, Phillip Mouncey, Army’s longest serving ARA member from the OCS Graduating Class of Dec 73 was presented the Federation Star to his Defence Long Service Medal by the Chief of Army, LTGEN David Morrison AO, in the presence of the Governor General, GEN Sir Peter Cosgrove AK, MC. More importantly, Phil’s three sons were there to witness the occasion. Phil commenced his service at the other place (RMC) in 1972 and in preference to being an academic he, along with fellow RMC classmate Ken Stevenson (RIP), joined OCS in 1973.
It is reported (don’t ask) that the superior guidance and leadership from his Section Commander while at OCS was an influencing factor for Phil’s corps preference to the Royal Australian Infantry Corps. Forty two years on, Phil has received Compulsory Retirement Age-extension to continue service with Army, posted from Range Control Officer (RCO) Kapooka Military Area to RCO Cultana Military Training Area.
See more on Phil at http://au.linkedin.com/pub/phillip-mouncey/67/97/647
This post will be updated on receipt of any official photo/s of the award.
JD Salutes Farewell
Thu 14, Aug 2014
|LTCOL John Duff (RAAC) hung up his spurs from full-time service in the Army (and ADF) on 30 Apr 2014 and will now pursue other interests including:
This year the Long Ride is to Uluru and the Canberra contingent will consist of Senators Warren Snowden and Kate Lundy, as we head down through Victoria to various military bases (before heading to Uluru) including:
The intent is to use the bikes/ride to attract attention and do presentations on prostate cancer and what can be done to prevent men from losing their lives to it. The base commanders have agreed to do fund raising in support of the activity. After visiting the ADF bases in Victoria, the Defence Riders will head to Swan Hill to rendezvous with the riders coming from the East and North.
The full ride (there and back) will be in excess of 6,000 kilometres and is done at riders’ own expense, which is not insignificant.
Please support JD and the Defence Riders in this very worthy cause:
GREENSBOROUGH’S Robert Elworthy was appointed a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia for his service to veterans.
Thu 12, Jun 2014
Major Robert Elworthy has dedicated his life to helping Vietnam Veterans. Picture: Kylie Else Source: News Corp Australia
Since his tour of Vietnam, Major Elworthy has been passionate about fighting for the needs of veterans.
Major Elworthy is a member of the National Council of the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia, the president of the Victorian branch of the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia and was the president of the Diamond Valley Vietnam Veterans Sub-Branch from 2001 to 2006.
Major Robert Elworthy says there is always work to be done in veterans’ affairs. Picture: Kylie Else Source: News Corp Australia
He said there always work to be done in the field of veterans’ affairs.
“(We need to) make sure that vets get as much care as they can possibly get,” Major Elworthy said.
“Certainly there is a lot more work done by the Department of Defence in screening and decompression, when they come back from overseas they have them assessed.”
Major Elworthy, a member of the Vietnam Veterans Museum Board and Austin Health’s community advisory board, said there was a “much better system now”.
“The experience of the Vietnam veterans was that they came back and were thrown back into society,” he said.
Alumni Members to attend 2015 ANZAC Commemoration at Gallipoli
Sun 04, May 2014
25th April 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC landings at Gallipoli. The ballot to attend Anzac Day commemorations at Gallipoli in 2015 has been drawn. At least two Alumni members (graduates of the Dec ’73 graduating class) are known to have won tickets in the ballot; Mike Buck and John Gregs. The OCS Dec 73 Alumni congratulate Buckie and Gregsie on what will be a most memorable occasion for them, their families, and the honour of being at ANZAC Cove 100 years after the ANZAC landings.
Should other classmates have won in the Gallipoli 2015 ballot and wish to be named herein, please notify the Webmaster at: [email protected]
More information concerning Gallipoli 2015 can be found at: http://www.gallipoli2015.dva.gov.au/
ANZAC Day 2014: OCS Dec ’73 Wreath laid at Memorial Service, Khanchanaburi
Thu 01, May 2014
Eric (Rick) Lanham and Kev & Julie Riley tripped to Thailand to attend 2014 ANZAC Day ceremonies – the Dawn Service at Hellfire Pass, followed by the Memorial Service and Wreath Laying Ceremony at Khanchanaburi, where they laid a wreath, kindly attributed on behalf of the OCS Dec ’73 Graduation Class.
More news on Australians at Hellfire Pass courtesy of the ABC can be found at:
40th Reunion Celebrations – OCS Portsea Class of December 1973
Tue 04, Mar 2014
Various venues in the City of Brisbane hosted three days of festivities during the period 6-8 December 2013 and we welcomed graduates who travelled from the United Kingdom, Thailand, New Zealand and most states and territories of Australia.
Well I can honestly say that the 7P’s (principles) of Prior-Preparation-Planning-Prevents-Piss-Poor-Performance came to the fore in December with three days of Esprit-de-corps, camaraderie, memories, laughter, new introductions and of course a small degree of bullshit and a modest degree of drinking.
A total of forty seven graduates (95 graduated) and their partners attended the various functions beginning with a meet & greet held on the Friday evening at the Pig n Whistle Pub at the Riverside Centre. On Saturday evening the formal Anniversary Dinner was hosted at the Tattersall’s Club and all aspect of the dinner were simply superb. The feedback from all of those who made the effort to attend either one or all of the functions lavished huge praise on the dedication, preparation and planning carried out over twelve months by the organising committee. Chaired by Peter Feeney (Feens) and ably supported by John Duff (JD), Mark Gallagher (MG), Eric Lanham (Rick), Mike Buck (Buckie), this committee spent long hours and had a huge degree of fun and friendly banter organising in minute detail every aspect of each function. On the Sunday the Breakfast Creek Hotel was the venue for a recovery lunch and this was the culmination of a magic few days with many friendships rekindled.
Several graduates and their partners moved onto Canberra where they attended the Royal Military College (10 December 2013) Graduation Parade as invited guests and after the parade were able to view their OCS cadet files held at the RMC Museum. Thanks to LTCOL John Duff for organising this event.
General consensus from the class has a 45th reunion to be planned – keep watching for dates and venues?