We have been advised via Paul Dixon and Ian Finlay of the death on 7 January of Vic Claxton. Vic served with the Detachment 131 Divisional Location Battery in South Vietnam from January to December 1968.

He had endured a long illness and was in the hospital at the time of his death. Vic was 73.  No funeral details are available at this stage however we do have a phone number for his widow Andria, if any close friends would like to contact her. Please email me directly for that number.

RIP Victor Leonard Claxton.

Peter Bruce

[email protected]



Back in the early 1400s, chess became super popular in a European community. There was a certain group of people in particular who were especially enthusiastic about the game. They meet up to play chess with each other at every opportunity.

Eventually, this obsession with playing chess caught the attention of the church leaders who noticed that this group of people were skipping church to play chess instead. This was seen as blasphemous and they were ordered to stop immediately.

Unfortunately, the draw of the game proved too strong for these chess aficionados and after continuing to defy the church, they were arrested and tried for heresy. They were found guilty and sentenced to be burned at the stake.

This public execution, held in the town square, became the first recorded incident of chess nuts roasting on an open fire.



3797935 ARNOLD (Lou) HIGHAM – 4RAR

It is with great sadness we announce the passing of 3797935 Arnold (Lou) HIGHAM on 24th December 2021.

Lou served in Vietnam with 4th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment 13/5/1971 to 16/10/1971

On behalf of VVAA Victoria, we extend our deepest sympathies to family, veterans and friends of the late Arnold (Lou) HIGHAM

Naval top brass undergo self-punishment

Commander-in-chief, Sattahip base commander pay for subordinate’s misconduct

Adm Somprasong Nilsamai (left), the navy chief, and VAdm Narupol Kerdnak (right), commander of the Sattahip Naval Base. (Photo supplied)

The naval chief and the commander of a naval base have undergone self-punishment to uphold discipline and show responsibility after one of their subordinates committed a serious misconduct.

Adm Somprasong Nilsamai, commander-in-chief of the Royal Thai Navy, and VAdm Narupol Kerdnak, commander of the Sattahip Naval Base, on Thursday took the responsibilty for the actions of their subordinate, according to VAdm Pokkrong, director-general of the Naval Civil Affairs Department.

Lt Alongkorn Ploddee, director of the Real Estate Division of the Sattahip Naval Base, has been involved in quarrels and made false claims on various occasions, ruining the reputation of the navy as a whole, VAdm Pokkrong said.

Last Thursday night, he was caught on video verbally abused Sattahip policemen who showed up at a restaurant for a routine inspection, saying they had ruined his happy time.

“You don’t give me due honour,” he said. He then threw a glass of liquor at them and said he could put them in trouble.

Lt Alongkorn said that the police should have known that Sattahip belongs to the navy and that he was a member of its Seals team of highly trained divers.

In the clip, Lt Alongkorn also claimed he was a friend of “Big Joke”, a reference to Pol Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn, the assistant police chief.

VAdm Pokkrong said Lt Alongkorn had been summonsed by the navy for disciplinary action. A committee had been set up to conduct an investigation into his alleged misconduct.

To show responsibility for the misconduct committed by Lt Alongkorn, his bosses of two levels up  — VAdm Narupol and Adm Somprasong — had undergone self-punishment for seven and three days, respectively.

The self-punishment includes shaving heads, walking long distances with a backpack, running with weights, doing menial labour and three days in confinement.


Patton vs Rommel

By 1942, Rommel’s Afrika Corps has been pushed back to Tunisia and the new US tank force lands in North Africa. This is the story of the final North African battles as two of history’s most famed tank commanders – Patton and Rommel – go head to head.


A New Day in the Sunshine State

By Eamon Hale

Stephen Day DSC AM

As far as the RSL at a state and national level are concerned, RSL Queensland is a leader amongst them. Taking advantage of their significant cash assets raised predominantly through the RSL Art Union, the Queenslanders have led the national RSL in developing an impressive suite of research-informed services. Notable initiatives include the RSL Employment Program, Mates4Mates and Go Beyond.

Unfortunately, the Queensland branch has also had its share of controversy. In March 2018, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission issued a Directions Notice to RSL Queensland in in relation to governance, bookkeeping and questionable benefits to Directors. The then incoming President, Tony Ferris, had a major repair job on his hands.

Ferris, RSL Queensland’s youngest ever President, set off on a vigorous modernisation campaign to ensure the league was fit for purpose and able to stand up to legal and financial scrutiny. The culmination of these efforts came this year, with drafting a new constitution and a Membership Value Proposition (MVP), “to provide a simple and compelling description of the value and benefit of being an RSL member” and “to give a consistent message about why veterans and their families would want to join, stay and contribute to the RSL”.

The MPV set out that “RSL Queensland’s mission is to advocate for Veterans and the Defence Family. As members, you are supported to commemorate, connect and thrive throughout life.

It was a simple and dare I say sensible to attempt to draw the members of the state branch together in a unified and enduring purpose. But the delegates at Congress spoke and the MPV and Ferris as President are no more.

These outcomes must have clearly meant a hugely disappointing Congress for Ferris. The victor, Major General Stephen Day, reportedly didn’t stick around to listen to Ferris’s speech or hear the results of the election ballot. The early departure was interpreted by some as a snub and was perhaps not the graceful handover expected for an RSL State Congress. Others however commented on the positive tone of the congress and suggest that Day represents an opportunity to take the branch to a new level.

Indeed, it will be very interesting to see the style of leadership Day will bring to the role. With a CV that doesn’t require any padding his experience with RSL is however limited and he has not yet outlined his ambitions for the role. His rank and deployments to Namibia, East Timor, Iraq, and Afghanistan make his military qualifications plain to see, and his knowledge of governance through graduating from the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the United Stated National Association of Corporate Directors also put him in good stead.

Despite the election and constitution outcome, Tony Ferris deserves great recognition for a job well done. He leaves RSL Queensland in a vastly better position than when he began and he can be very proud of his record, remaining an excellent example of what a State President can be. Indeed, RSL Queensland generally is a shining example of what can be achieved with vision and willingness to get in and make things happen.

While it might have been galling for some that a relative newbie to the RSL (Day having only joined the Gaythorne Sub-Branch about 6 months ago) can nominate and win the senior position, it is at least a positive reflection on the strength of the RSL in Queensland that two quality candidates are willing to contest the presidency.

As for the future of RSL Queensland under Stephen Day, we will be watching with great hope and optimism.

With the Royal Commission into Veteran and Defence Suicide looming large, arguably the biggest veteran issue in generations, RSL members will be looking to Day to influence in champion much needed changes in response to its revelations.

My hope is that his recent strategic experience outside of the military, his reputation within it, and a personal vision will add a new and positive dimension to the way the RSL does business.

Eamon Hale is the Vice President of the Hawthorn RSL Sub-branch in Victoria, having served in the Australian Army as a cavalryman for 16 years. Eamon is a regular contributor to Australian Veteran News. Connect with Eamon on twitter: @eamhale


The highs and many lows of year to forget


AS THE year staggers to a close – and there would be few who would mourn its passing – it is timely to look back at the more defining moments of 2021.

The year began with a resounding victory for all those people who had been offended/hurt/depressed/dispossessed/marginalised/excluded and victimised by the word “young” in the national anthem when it was replaced by the word “one” so that the lyrics now read “one and free”.

In February, against a background of rising voter fury at border closures, Premier Palaszczuk announced it was all Prime Minster Scott Morrison’s fault and that everything would be rosy if only he’d hand over more money. This caused then NSW treasurer Dominic Perrottet to remark: “Queensland, closed one day, asking someone else to pick up the tab the next.”

Up on the Sunshine Coast, the popular restaurant Sum Young Guys, which is run by four men who happen to be white, was damned by a national magazine for using a name that was  “symptomatic of a society that weaponises languages against the very people who own them”.

“It’s a neo-colonial act of erasure,” wrote Amy C Lam in Gourmet Traveller. Locals booked out the restaurant for the next three months.

In March, the word “normal” was erased from shampoo bottles because people who didn’t have ”normal” hair may have felt excluded, hurt and offended in a move to tackle “harmful norms and stereotypes.”

In May, Treasurer Cameron Dick congratulated himself for saving the jobs of those employed at the Qantas heavy maintenance facility in Brisbane when its chief executive Alan Joyce said he was looking at relocation options. The facility was never going anywhere, but we fell for the ruse and handed over a bundle of cash. How much? That’s a secret.

On the pandemic front, Ms Palaszczuk explained that she had not had her Covid shot because she didn’t want to use up vaccines meant for true-blue Queenslanders. She did, honestly!

Chief health officer Jeannette Young then revealed that she was “very worried” about a Covid outbreak in NSW. She was so worried that she was tossing in her $600,000-plus-a-year gig and moving into Government House. Some people wondered that if you were that worried, you might stick with the job.

In July, Ms Palaszczuk said that if she went to Tokyo to support our Olympic bid, she wouldn’t be quarantining in The Lodge when she came back. No one was able to explain why she said this, but the news was greeted with relief by Mr Morrison.

Meanwhile, Deputy Premier Steven Miles was named official government clown when he appeared to use the “C” word in reference to the Prime Minister.

He later said he had mis-spoke.

In August, Dr Young said that there “there will be no football”. What she meant to say was that there would be no football unless the head of the NRL called the Premier and pointed out how much money was involved.

In September, Deputy Premier Miles hit the headlines again when he announced that Scott Morrison “gave Delta to Sydney and now they’re trying to gift it to us”. Just why the PM gave the virus to the unsuspecting people of Sydney, where his family lives, was unclear.

Ms Palaszczuk then said that modelling predicted: “Even with 70 per cent of the population vaccinated, 80 people will die each day from Covid. That is 2240 who will die each month.”

In October, it was revealed ABC management had paid more than $200,000 in legal costs and damages awarded against staff member Louise Milligan as well as $780,000 resulting from legal action taken by former attorney-general Christian Porter against it and Milligan.  While this was taking place, ABC managing director David Anderson grabbed a 10 per cent pay rise, which boosted his salary to $1.098m.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath then complained that Federal Minister Peter Dutton wouldn’t reply to her texts. It was then pointed out to her that this may have been because she had been texting the wrong number.

In December, the federal election campaign started rolling, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese revealing that his strategy was to call Scott Morrison a liar. One politician accusing another politician of being economical with the truth?

That pretty well sums up the year. 



UK Armed forces to get new guidance on how to use ‘inclusive language’

Pictured Admiral Sir Tony Radakin

The new guide includes more inclusive ways to address disability, race, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation and social mobility


The armed forces are to be given new guidance on “inclusive language” after the Defence Secretary said he is “unhappy” with the current advice.

Military personnel from all three services had been told to avoid using phrases such as “crippled with debt” or “blind drunk”.

The MoD said its Inclusive Language Guide 2021 was a “practical toolkit” to help servicemen and women understand why “certain words or use of language is hurtful or non-inclusive”.

A senior defence source told the Telegraph: “The Defence Secretary and Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) have been clear that the UK armed forces must modernise to tackle the threats of the future. That includes our approach to our people who are critical to that task.

“The Defence Secretary is unhappy with the current approach set out in the guide. A revised version will be published in the coming weeks.”

The guide will be taken down from the MoD website while changes are made. The guide, produced by the MoD’s Diversity and Inclusion Directorate, denies being “an attempt to police language” or “restrict your personal style of communication”, but was created to help staff “speak more powerfully, precisely and respectfully”, according to the Mail on Sunday tot recommended avoiding phrases such as “deaf to our pleas” in case it offended the disabled.

The 30-page pamphlet said the words “woman” and “female” “mean different things but are often used interchangeably”, adding: “Referring to women as females is perceived by many as reducing a woman to her reproductive parts and abilities.

“Not all women are biologically female, and the conflation of ‘female’ to ‘woman’ erases gender-nonconforming people and members of the trans community.”

“The women in the platoon” is said to be a more inclusive phrase than “the females in the platoon”.

The guide includes more inclusive ways to address disability, race, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation and social mobility.

The MoD wants personnel to put the “person-first” when speaking to others, only referencing characteristics when they are relevant and doing so in specific ways.

Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace pictured in May CREDIT: Anadolu

References to race or disability should only be used when relevant to the context of any discussion, the guide states, adding it is important to ask how others self-identify.

As far as possible neutral language should be used at all times.

The recommendations aim to be non-confrontational. The guide advises personnel challenging others on their language to be polite and prepared to “explain the logic” behind their views.

Equally, those being challenged should not “take it personally” and should support junior peers to raise challenges with more senior colleagues, according to the guide.

Push for greater diversity

The Telegraph understands there are no plans to disband or redirect the MoD’s Diversity and Inclusion Directorate, which was responsible for the guide.

The news came as the new CDS, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, said the push for greater diversity in the military is not about being “woke”, but addressing the “woeful” lack of women and ethnic minorities in the forces.

In his first speech in the post, Adm Radakin said: “This is not about wokefulness. It is about woefulness. The woefulness of too few women.

“The woefulness of not reflecting the ethnic, religious and cognitive diversity of our nation.

“And the woefulness of not following our own values, whether respect for each other or the simple integrity of claiming expenses.”