They don’t do slipways anymore but still a great day in Ulsan to launch Aotearoa, NZ navy’s largest ship, built by Hyundai at the world’s largest shipyard.  Courtesy of Philip Truner.  23 April 2019

Click HERE for a video of the launch.

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My Old Man said Follow the Band

The caption says it all!   Ex-Chief Yeoman John Titmus to the fore.

This happens to us all at one time or another.  Click HERE


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Boost for Services to Veterans and their Families

WAS THIS A PRE-ANZAC DAY BRIBE OR IS THE GOVERNMENT FINALLY GETTING OFF THEIR BACKSIDE?  It is always interesting when these media releases hit the streets This was actually released 24 April 2019 with no fan fare.

The Minister for Veterans Ron Mark has today announced additional funding to support the wellbeing of New Zealand’s veterans and their families.

The funding will go towards health and wellbeing assessments for veterans to ensure that when they leave the Defence Force they are linked to the right support services.

“The review of the Veterans’ Support Act 2014 published by Professor Ron Paterson identified that we need to do more for our veterans and their families,” says Ron Mark. This new funding package will address some of his key findings, and help meet increasing demands for services.

“We now have upwards of 31,000 contemporary veterans in New Zealand. These younger veterans need early interventions to prevent service-related mental and physical health conditions from getting worse.

“The new funding will be used to better support these veterans by ensuring they are contacted soon after they leave the NZDF and provided with a health and wellbeing assessment.

“If needed, veterans can then be quickly connected to a health provider or support service, so they will get the help they need, as soon as possible.

“The health and wellbeing of our veterans and their families are paramount, and we are delivering significant improvements in that area. But veterans are proud people, and sometimes they don’t turn to Veterans’ Affairs until it’s too late. This is why early interventions are vital.

“Also announced today is a much-needed capital injection for an upgrade of Veterans’ Affairs existing client management system. Younger veterans expect to be able to get assistance online. Better IT systems will ensure routine transactions can be carried out electronically while freeing up staff to spend more time on complex cases.

“This extra funding demonstrates the ongoing commitment from the Coalition Government to our veterans.

“It is no longer good enough to stand by and let our veterans fall through the cracks. We have a responsibility to put their wellbeing at the forefront of our minds.

“Today’s announcement represents significant progress towards meeting the recommendations of the Paterson review, and will ultimately help those who have mental or physical challenges as a result of their service.

“It also builds on the secure funding for grants to the RNZRSA and the No Duff Charitable Trust that the Coalition Government announced last year as part of Budget 2018,” says Ron Mark.

The boost in operating funding represents a 5.4 per cent increase on current Veterans’ Affairs operating funding over the next four years.

In total it represents an additional funding package of $4.1 million over four years for Veterans’ Affairs. The extra money comprises an extra $2.1 million in operating funding, and a capital injection of $2 million to upgrade the existing client management system.

Q + As

Does this funding address underlying issues raised in the Paterson Report which was released in May 2018?

A. It is a step in that direction. The review carried out by Professor Ron Paterson found the Veterans’ Support Act 2014 to be unnecessarily complex and very difficult to understand and interpret. The funding will help to ensure policy underpinning the Act is consistent and easy for veterans to understand. It will fund work to improve how we define and recognise veterans and acknowledge the families of veterans. The policy work will ultimately lead to a revised Act.

How will the funding be used?

The extra funding will be used to simplify the application process for veterans, free up staff to deal with more complex cases earlier, and carry out work to amend the legislation. Prof Paterson found there was a backlog in dealing with all but the most urgent applications for support and assistance, which was creating uncertainty for veterans, delays in treatment and was negatively affecting veterans who were already suffering physical and mental distress.


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ANZAC Day 2019 in Oz

Two ex Yeomen jumped the ditch to parade at a 2019 ANZAC Day service in Murwillumbah NSW. It must have been early as they are still standing.  Well done guys.

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Were you on Blackpool in 1969?

This is an email which was received regarding HMNZS Blackpool and her service on the Far East Station in 1969. The author Ken, was an RO2(G) and serving in HMS Ajax (F114), which was Captain D, 2nd Destroyer Squadron Far East Fleet. The attached photo is the only one that I still have of me during my RN service. The attached is a photo of Ajax taken off the coast of Northern Ireland during the summer of 1970.

We accompanied Blackpool to Bangkok and were moored alongside each other on the Bangkok River. The photo was taken on our flight deck, just before we and some of the Blackpool ships company acted as ‘pirates’ hosting children from a local orphanage. I wonder if any of your members remember this event?

I have fond memories of our visit to Bangkok and subsequent call into HMS Tamar, Hong Kong. I can recall some memorable runs ashore with guys off the Blackpool and the friendship and openness of ‘Kiwi’s’.

I also have vivid memories of the collision between HMAS Melbourne and USS Frank E Evans. We were in company with HMS London making our way to join exercise Sea Spirit. I was on duty in the MCO when a ‘flash’ signal came in advising us of the collision and to make best speed to arrive off the Philippines. I can remember seeing the stern of the Evans, HMS Charybdis and other ships and helicopters involved in the rescue. We had no part in these events and were sent on our way to Subic Bay. The following day, as we were leaving Subic, I was on the flag deck when we passed the stern section of the Evans being towed into the base.

My RN service ended in May 1971 when I transferred into the Royal Air Force, initially as a Telegraphist and then as an RAF Regiment Gunner. I must have liked service life, as I retired in Feb 2005, having joined as a boy at HMS Ganges in October 1966.

I wish you and your members well, and hopefully, you’ll share this brief snapshot of times with the Far East Fleet in 1969.  Regards  Ken Hiscocks email

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John Vernon Dallow – Crosses the Bar

Regret to advise that our shipmate and Communicator John Vernon Dallow crossed the bar 17 April 2019.  Dickie, as he was fondly known, joined the RNZN on 13 March 1947 as a Boy.  He left the Navy 21 September 1955 as a Leading Signalman.  Dickie served in TAMAKI, BELLONA, PHILOMEL, HAWEA, TAUPO, CERBERUS, ROTOITI, NAVY OFFICE WELLINGTON, and BLACK PRINCE.  A celebration of John’s life will be held at Morrison Funerals 220 Universal Drive Henderson at 3pm Friday 26 April followed by a private cremation.

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Dept Veterans Affairs – Media Release ‘Budget puts veterans and their families first’

The Hon Darren Chester MP
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC
Back to media releases

3 April 2019
Budget puts veterans and their families first
Australian veterans and their families will continue to see an improvement in support and services with $11.5 billion in funding allocated in the 2019–20 Budget.

This funding represents an overall increase of $300 million allocated to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) in 2019–20 compared with 2018–19 to support our veterans and their families.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said the 2019–20 Budget was focussed on putting veterans and their families first and would see continued investment in the transformation of DVA.

“Over the next two years DVA will continue its focus on making it easier and faster for veterans to access the services they need, when and where they need them,” Mr Chester said.

“Veterans and their families will be able to access more services online and we will continue to simplify our phone system, introducing a single contact phone number, 1800 VETERAN.

“We are making sure that every veteran, no matter where they live have better access to DVA by partnering with Department of Human Services to use their extensive network of shop fronts and centres, as well as Mobile Service Centres and agent networks.

“We will also be investing more to make DVA’s online claims site, MyService, more user-friendly, making the claims process easier and faster.

“As the rising cost of living continues to put pressure on a lot of Australians, we have also announced a one-off Energy Assistance Payment that will provide additional support for more than 225,000 veterans and widows who receive support payments. The payment is worth $75 for singles and $125 for couples.

“We are continuing to deliver an extensive respect and recognition package with a veterans’ covenant, nationally recognised veterans’ card, lapel pin and commemorative program of national and international events.”

The Australian Government’s commitment to supporting veterans will strengthen with $24.4 million in funding over four years for a range of programs including:

$16.2 million in funding to support grants to organisations who support veterans to deliver innovative programs to support veterans to find meaningful employment
$4.2 million to extend the trial of the Provisional Access to Medical Treatment which will continue to provide veterans with access to treatment for specified conditions before claims are approved, getting veterans treatment faster and preventing the risk of further deterioration of their condition
$4.0 million to provide training to volunteers who work with veterans enhancing their capability to recognise mental health risks and to provide intervention and support.
“Helping veterans effectively transition to civilian life is a priority for the government,” Mr Chester said.

“We know that employing a veteran is good for business and the experience and skills they bring to a job can be invaluable.

“These grants will help veterans find employment by helping them navigate the range of community and government services available to them.”

Family violence victims who are former spouses or de-facto partners of veterans will also see an increase in support, with $6.2 million in funding allocated in the Budget.

“Funding for the Partner Service Pensions — eligibility alignment measure will ensure former spouses and de-facto partners will be able to continue receiving the partner service pension after their relationship has ended and divorce proceedings finalised, including where it is determined that special domestic circumstances apply,” Mr Chester said.

“This measure is about creating equity for all former partners of veterans, regardless of their marital status.”

Last year the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade completed its inquiry into the use of Quinoline anti-malarial drugs Mefloquine and Tafenoquine in the Australian Defence Force.

“We recognise that this is an ongoing concern for some veterans and the Australian Government is providing $2.1 million so that any concerned veterans can have a comprehensive health check by a general practitioner to identify service-related illness, disease and injury,” Mr Chester said.

The 2019–20 Budget also provides:

$3.5 million in funding to support the 2020 Anzac Day Dawn Service in France as well as for managing security and attendance in both France and Turkey consistent with previous overseas commemorations. The funding includes funds for a scoping study for a commemorative site on the Island of Lemnos, Greece, the former site of an Australian field hospital during the First World War.
New and amended listings on the Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
More information on all of DVA’s 2019–20 Budget measures is available on the DVA website.


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