18 August 2021 saw St Marys a red zone, locked down due to the COVID 19 Pandemic. An online commemoration was the only option.
use the > control below to view the video, start with the fwd arrow.
A special service was held on the 18 August 2016 at the new War Memorial upgrade at St Marys RSL Sub-Branch, jointly with the St Marys Outpost of the Vietnam Veterans Association.
Three mil-hardware icons of the period were on hand for this historical event -
a) our 2 Howitzers - representing the guns that provided a continuous protective barrier for besieged members of D Coy 6 RAR,
b) our M113 APC - representing the armour that delivered the relief force and additional firepower, and
c) the visit from the UH1 (Huey) Iroquois helicopter - representing the RAAF 'choppers' that supplied the much needed ammunition resupply in very challenging conditions.
These provided an ideal reflection and focus for the Service. Thanks to Stuart Ayres MP, a video of the chopper landing can be seen below.
Special thanks to Pat Soars (Australian Native Landscapes) for allowing the chopper to visit us this day, and to the great support we always receive from 1/15 Royal New South Wales Lancers (for the Band and Catafalque Party), 5 Engineer Regiment (to perform the Table Ceremony) and Andrew Iverson (for providing the Pipes that always add a sombre reality to our Services). Special thanks also to Professor The Honourable Dame Marie Bashir who graced us with her presence and delivered a wonderful Address to the 450 attending - her visit was a privilege to us all.
The newly upgraded War Memorial with its elevated Cenotaph and special lighting on both the memorial stone and each individual Catafalque party member, ensured that all attending had visual access to the central activity.
At Springwood on Sunday 16 August 2015 the annual grand parade was conducted; and we have it on video:
Meanwhile two days later on Tuesday 18 August at St Marys the Commemorative Service for Vietnam Veterans' Day, was attended by a crowd of around 250 and commenced in the St Marys RSL Club auditorium soon after 5.00pm to the solid sound of a Huey helicopter to gather attention. After the Catafalque Part from 1/15 Royal NSW Lancers mounted, the Cenotaph was laid - this entailed the 'Table Service for the Missing' (conducted by the RSM and Sappers from 5 Engineer Regiment) supported by candles to represent the 3 Services. Guest Speaker, Lieutenant Commander Stafford Lowe, reminded attendees of the extraordinary activity of the Navy's Helicopter Flight in South Vietnam. Organisers were very impressed with the larger attendance from local school students, along with our local State MPs (Prue Carr and Tanya Davies), Penrith Councillors (Greg Davies and Jackie Greenow) and representatives of the ARVN, as well as VVAA National and NSW State Presidents. The Sunset Station Singers and the Lancers Band were involved during the Service and both provided a bracket of appropriate music as entertainment after the Services while attendees enjoyed the buffet supper and refreshments.
A late decision on the day resulted in a change of venue so as to not encourage more rain and wind. The move into the club auditorium was made along with changes to format to ensure a successful 'indoor' Service.
As seen in the photos here, the Service was well attended. The inclusion of a 'table service' component, with kind assistance of two students from St Clair High School, was a significant highlight which caught everyone's attention.
MC Burke Rogge kept a tight rein on procedures and the Band from 1/15 RNSWLancers performed the musical components with the usual aplomb. Thanks also to the Lancers for again providing the Catafalque Party - they looked smart & did a great job. With the usual support from the Sunset Station Singers, all who attended and enjoyed the Service remained for the light buffet which was well received.
Thanks also to the RSL Club for accommodating the Service at late notice.
St Marys again commemorated Vietnam Veterans Day this year with a magnificent Memorial Service at the guns-memorial. Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia, St Marys Outpost, together with St Marys RSL Sub-Branch, were joined by about 300 to commemorate the occasion in a very special manner. Dianne Lindsay and Peter Simpson played a special performance during the Service (particularly the most relevant song of Dianne's - 'Living in the Shadow of the Horseshoe'), and then provided a welcome concert in the Club auditorium during refreshments. Dianne and Peter were well supported in the Service by the Sunset Station Singers and the ever-supporting Band of the 1/15 Royal New South Wales lancers - providing one of the best bugle renditions of the Last Post and Rouse that has been heard in these parts. 5CER did a superb job with the Catafalque Party. Bagpipes again provided an enjoyable addition thanks to our Piper, Andrew Iverson.
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I would like to remind everyone that April is the month to donate to the Cancer Council.
It is imperative that we eventually find a cure for the many types of cancer still affecting our families and friends.
It is not long since the Sunset Station Singers lost two members to cancer.
One member, Leslie Malicki along with her devoted husband Stan were Foundation members of the Choir.
Stan has taken up the challenge this year and entered the World's Greatest Shave to raise funds to beat leukaemia.
Although this event is coming to an end you can still donate at the web site:
The Sunset Station Singers do not intend to rest on the laurels but will also be taking part in the "Relay for Life" at Howell Oval in Penrith. This is a 24 hour walk and fund raising. A raffle will be held at the Train Prior to the weekend and all members of the Train and RSL are invited to wander down to Howell Oval and donate a couple of dollars and an hour to walk against cancer.
Around 250 attended our annual Commemoration of Vietnam Veterans Day at our Guns Memorial in St Marys on Saturday August 18th at 5.00pm.
With the usual spectacular support from 1/15 Royal NSW Lancers Regiment (who provided the Band, led by Cpl Arthur Crellin, and Catafalque Party, led by Cpl Stuart Gordon) and the Sunset Station Singers, President Greg Cant MC'd the Service. Together Sqn Ldr Julie Hackett (niece of our Welfare co-ordinator John Foeken), Maj David Neal (Ops Offr 1/15 RNSWL) and Capt Hatton (representing Capt Alex Kilgor of 1ACU Penrith), placed the remembrance candles to represent participation in the Vietnam Conflict by the Australian Navy, Army and Air Force.
In a departure from previous years' programs, relevant poems were recited and we heard a recording of Reg Lindsay's daughter, Dianne's new single 'In the Shadow of the Horseshoe'. The Lament was again beautifully played by our regular Piper, Andrew Iverson.
After Federal Member for Lindsay and Patron of the Train, Mr David Bradbury MP delivered the address, it was pleasing to see the various local schools (with whom we have developed a close relationship through the RSL Sub-Branch's Colin Shepherd OAM Memorial School Scholarship Program and presentations to Year 10 students and school ANZAC Addresses) also attend and lay a floral tribute to the fallen.
After the Service, those who could, joined together for refreshments and a delicious meal.
Veterans' Health Week was again conducted this year on behalf of the Department of Veterans' Affairs. It was organised for the VAN Parramatta this time by the VVAA St Marys Outpost and held in the St Marys RSL Club on Thursday 27th October. Letters had gone out to all ESOs in the local and adjoining areas, however attendance could have been better. A wide range of 'stalls' were on display, with a wealth of helpful information on health issues, for example, hearing, blood pressure, diet, funeral plans and DVA advice. The Sunset Station Singers provided intermittent entertainment, and all attending were treated to a sumptuous BBQ lunch.
On Sunday, 2nd October, a group of volunteers from the Outpost banded together to conduct a Bunning BBQ to raise funds to help in a project to restore two Caribou aircraft - both being 'veterans' of the Vietnam War. The Caribou, once restored, will be called the "Vietnam Veterans Memorial Flight" and be on display for all at Albion Park. Funds are sought to assist transport the 'spares' for the aircraft from Queensland to Albion Park. The accompanying photographs show that a few old veterans can still cook up a storm (it rained pretty-well all day).
Vietnam Veterans Day 2011 - St Mary Outpost
Our annual commemorative Service for Vietnam Veterans Day was again conducted at the Outpost on 18th August 2011. It was a splendid Service, as seen it the accompanying photographs. As usual we were well supported by serving members of the Services, as well as the Band and Catafalque Party from 1/15 Royal New South Wales Lancers, and our own Sunset Station Singers choir, while Mr Rod Bain gave a very informative and interesting Address.
Photos Courtesy of Mr Nic Peters
Vietnam Veterans Day 2011 - St John of God Hospital, North Richmond
On Thursday 4th August, St John of God Hospital held their annual Service for Vietnam Veterans, friends and families, in the chapel at North Richmond. It was well attended as usual and was followed by the traditional great hospitality from the Hospital in providing a delicious lunch for all. A creative range of patients' craft items was on display and for sale as well. A most particular highlight of the Service was the Address during the Service from an outstanding young lady, Brittany Smith, of Colo High School - all were overwhelmed. The text of her Address is available here - Brittany's delivery of it made it extremely moving and memorable. Thank you Brittany
The Outpost Education Team supplies Vietnam Era memorabilia and resources for the ANZAC Day display by the NSW Dept of Education at the Teachers Federation Building in Sydney and in the St Marys RSL Club.
St Marys Outpost takes great pride in supporting the local district and participates in the Spring festival every year.
The St Marys Outpost was heavily involved in the inaugural “Defence Force and Emergency Services” expo held at the Panthers Paceway grounds.
Along with St Marys Outpost there where approx 70 other stall holders. Among these where the RAAF Recruiting, Army Recruiting, Lancers' Museum Parramatta, Nam Bus and various stalls offering information and or services from health to lifestyle etc.
Also at the Expo we were lucky enough to get the support of the Army Swing Band along with local Penrith country singer Nicky Gilles. The entertainment was rounded out with performances by the “Sunset Station Singers” with Francis Edwards and Mark Bowden also performed with a troop of his dance group of local children.
Left to right, top to bottom:
- Wreath layingservice personnel.
- Cambridge Park public school choir and band.
- Vietnam Veterans Choir.
- Greg Cant closes ceremony.
- 1/15 Royal NSW Lancers Band.
- VIP Group: wonder what they were thinking?
About 300 attended the Service which began with the mounting of the Catafalque Party followed by two pipers from Windsor High School playing several verses of the hymn 'Amazing Grace' - which gave a beautiful lead in to the Service. I then addressed the congregation and gave a short account of the battles of Fire Support Base (FSB) 'Coral' and 'Balmoral' and also the significance of the Battle of 'Long Tan'. Wally Thompson OAM (3 Tours of Sth. Vietnam (SVN) then gave a thought provoking address followed by Chaplain Eugene Harley, senior Chaplain SVN 1966/67 at Vung Tau, Nui Dat and the AATTV.
We were very fortunate and grateful to have the band of 1/15th Lancers Parramatta, who also provided the Bugler and Catafalque Party, plus a soloist to lead us (terrible singers) in the hymns during the Service. The Band looked extremely smart in their white uniforms and they followed the script to perfection.
I only made the request at 4.00pm (1 hour before the commencement of the Service) for the Pipers, Heather Ruys and David Withers, to play 'Amazing Grace' in addition to the 'Lament' later in the Service, once again, they came in right on cue and they were spot on. Thank You to all the musicians and guests.
After the Service we moved to the Bowling Club function area at the RSL Club where the St Mary's RSL Sub-Branch provided refreshments and Bar Service free of charge until 8.30pm