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2/9th Field Company reunion of ID tags with their families

RAE Association(Vic) inc. – Annual 22 ER, Regimental Awards 2020

On 28th November 2020, the President Don Hughes with Zeus and Secretary Jim Davis were invited to Oakleigh Depot to present the Association’s awards to the Regiment’s most outstanding Sappers as selected by the CO, LTCOL Sharon Coates and her executive team. In addition to the Association’s awards there were several promotions and other awards.

Due to the current socializing conditions in Victoria the awards weekend had to be managed and accordingly there were two presentation sites – Ringwood and Oakleigh. 

The year started off under extremely difficult conditions for the Eastern States with tremendous bushfires impacting on substantial parts of Victoria and New South Wales resulting in a large number of the Regiment’s members being mobilized to assist fight the fires then after things were starting to return to normal along came COVID-19 the impact of which no one could have envisaged. Again, many members of the Regiment were called upon to help with the management of the virus.

There was a worry (unfounded) that due to COVID-19 restrictions and the ability to parade and train that it would be difficult to identify Sappers for these awards but we have seen many Sappers of all ranks step up to the plate and render outstanding service not only through  the disasters but with the way they manage and train during the lockdown and restrictions imposed.

This year was sent to try everyone, but the wonderful Sappers of the Regiment were up to the challenge proving their outstanding ability and adaptability in the most difficult of years.

This year’s award winners are.

Most outstanding Sapper                                       Francis (Frank) Coppa

Most outstanding JNCO                                          CPL Brett Grayling

Most outstanding Jnr Officer                                CAPT John Alekoz

Special mention must be made here for John Alekoz – not only did he receive the RAE Association award for the Regiment but he also received the Sandy McGregor Corps award for the Most Outstanding Lieutenant Ares (Australia wide) and was promoted to Captain – a trifecta – congratulations John

The Association is immensely proud of all Sappers and it is the Association’s intention to continue to support the Regiment with awards such as these which acknowledges the unbelievably valuable contribution that Sappers make to the success of the RAE, congratulations to all.

National Sapper Association Conference Cancelled

Committee of Management Meeting Summary 13 October 2020

Land Commander Australia Silver Commendation.

70th Anniversary of HQ 22 Engr Regt, 105 Const Sqn, 203 Wks Sect

Good afternoon all – the attached RAE Order of the Day message from the HOC (BRIG Carey, CSC) is a wonderful acknowledgement of the outstanding contribution to the Corps by the Supplementary Reserve and 22 Construction Regiment.

BRIG Carey wrote

Fellow Sappers – FYI. Congratulations to all members currently with or previously having served in these Units.  All the Best,




Jim Davis.

HOC BRIG John Carey Waterloo Dinner – Mid Year Update

Good afternoon all

On behalf of the HOC (BRIG Carey) I am attaching his address on the Corps which would normally be delivered at the Waterloo Dinner.

Jim Davis.

Dear Fellow Sappers,

Normally, I would be welcoming you all, at our 105th annual Waterloo Dinner. This event allows us collectively as Sappers to come together, honour our proud heritage and reflect on the many achievements of our Corps – The Royal Australian Engineers. As your Head of Corps, I typically employ this opportunity to reflect on our proud journey and importantly, provide you an insight into the future.Mid year update

This year is somewhat different. It has been challenging for all of us both as a Corps and personally – a year of uncertainty; one of bushfires, floods, pandemics and a troubled global economy. Apart from a couple of regions, the Waterloo Dinner has been cancelled; unfortunate yet not unexpected. As a result, I am writing to you to keep you informed, in this our 118th year since various colonial units merged as one Engineer team, under the authority of our Commonwealth constitution.

A ready and resilient Army and Nation is kept ready and resilient through its Engineers. We exist to provide engineering solutions for our Nation’s toughest challenges. In the last twelve months we have led from the front – our Sappers are leaders among their peers; innovators at the forefront of national security, military engineering, humanitarian response, disaster relief, capacity building, facility management and technical design.

. Together, as a Corps of over 3,500 men and women, we continue to be a globally engaged force providing unmatched strength and value to others.

Defence’s operational posture is changing, our long-term efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan are coming toa close, and our focus is further shifting to our region. Building partner capacity, mentoring andinteroperability with our neighbours remains our main effort; critically important in the current strategic environment. In the last twelve months, we have deployed combat engineers to Timor Leste, Vanuatu,Solomon Islands, Tonga and Papua New Guinea, expertly aiding the delivery of vital facilities and training. Similarly, our works and construction engineers remain deeply involved in key strategic infrastructureprojects. This includes the redevelopment of Lombrum Naval Base on Manus Island and in Fiji, the construction of a peacekeeping training facility at Blackrock Camp and now a Maritime Essential ServicesCentre. In Vanuatu, upgrades to barracks accommodation are underway as part of a security assistance package. These efforts by the Engineer Force have been simply magnificent, both enhancing our reputation and reinforcing critical relationships.

As part of the Federal Government’s ‘Closing the Gap’ initiative, the Corps successfully concluded the Army Aboriginal Community Assistance Program (AACAP) in J.igalong, Western Australia. This year’s project scheduled to be delivered for Pormpuraaw on the west coast of Cape York Peninsula, has been postponed until 2021. Future AACAP projects are expected in the Northern Territory in 2022 and South Australia in 2023.

Our Special Operations Engineers continue to develop and prepare task organised specialist technical Counter – Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosive forces to enable Special Operations and conduct Counter Weapons Mass Destruction missions. This includes technical specialists in Biometric and Forensic Collection, supporting the wider ADF exploitation enterprise through 1 Intelligence Battalion and ADF Joint Counter Improvised Threat Task Force. They are building close relationships with the Defence Science and Technology Group and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, supporting future research and development into vital areas of Australia’s National Security.

The Corps was wholly involved in Operation Bushfire Assist. Sappers led the way and were reinforced when the Governor General called out the Reserve for the first time in its history. We deployed by road and air from across Australia to the badly affected regions – Adelaide Hills, Kangaroo Island, East Gippsland, the entire South Coast of New South Wales, Queensland border, Norfolk Island, Namadgi and the leafy suburbs of Canberra. We provided planners and liaison officers and manned community centres. We participated in regional recovery committees, conducted infrastructure assessments, disposed of livestock and refurbished local residences. We cleared 4,850 kilometres of roads, repaired 1,280 kilometres of fencing, cut 240 kilometres of fire breaks and produced 10 million litres of drinking water.Remarkably, for the first time on our home soil, we worked together operationally with our Engineer counterparts from Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Fiji and Indonesia.

Then, a pandemic not seen since the end of World War One, struck our Nation. The Corps pivoted and immediately took charge in support of Joint Task Force 629. In the last few months, our Sappers have been supporting bio-hazard controls, airport arrivals and border check points across the country to prevent COVID19.

Although challenged by these crises, our readiness did not fail. Well done to all Sappers who responded and continue to do so during this difficult time. Thank you also to our families for their patience and goodwill.

This year the Corps leadership continues to resolutely execute, evaluate and adapt our RAE Strategy which guides Defence in how we organise, train, and equip our personnel; how we plan, prioritise, and allocate resources; and how we respond to emerging requirements and challenges.  The upcoming release of Sapper – Plan 2028, provides greater detail. The Chief of Army’s mission for us though is clear – to promote national interests, influence vital regions and enable the Joint Force to live, move, fight and win our Nation’s wars. He wants us to ‘Build Great Engineers.’A significant ongoing effort has been advising Defence on Plan MONASH. As a result of some outstanding work across the Corps, the Chief of Army recently directed an increase to our capability. In summary, this initiative establishes from next year an additional Chief Engineer Works unit (12 CE Works) in South East 

Queensland; supports the phased growth of a future Construction Engineer sub-unit in Western Australia, led by 13th Brigade; establishes senior technical and operational staff within Army Headquarters and Headquarters 2nd Division; and elevates part-time construction engineering support in Army for contingency requirements, joint collective training, domestic support and regional engagement.

These decisions will assist in delivering innovative, resilient, and sustainable Engineer solutions for Defence and the Nation. However, there is more to be done and I challenge each of you to continue to drive change and support us in preparing for tomorrow.

I see the following as key objectives for Engineers, aligned with Army and Defence initiatives. These will be our focus for future Corps workshops and conferences.

Wmust be recognised as the Engineering experts of the Joint Force Team. Experts who are innovative, adaptive, and situationally aware; leaders solving the most complex problems.

We must be able to continue to support the Joint Force commander on the optimum use and integration of combat, construction and specialist engineering and then aggressively execute as part of the combined arms team for decisive action.

We must develop Engineer solutions for multi-domain operations. I need your assistance to help us build the future Corps structure for 2028-35. This needs to be a mix of how we as a Corps support Army to generate total workforce opportunities, accelerate training transformation, optimise partnershipwith Industry, leverage resources and capacity of the National Support Base, enhance regional cooperation and capacity, and determine what long lead-time capabilities must be staffed and where we can accept riskin capabilities that can be quickly industrialised.

Wmust divest legacy capabilities no longer fit for purpose or irrelevant and sponsor Engineer research and development priorities. This has already started, including modification of our requirements for Army Work Diving. Further, we are to build decisive points that assist us as a Corps to synchronise future capability outcomes, rewriting Engineer keystone manuals and supporting the implementation of the Objective Force 2028 structure.

Our R&D priorities include Robotics and Autonomous Systems; Terrain Shaping capability as an alternate to mines; and Unmanned Aerial Systems integration. These efforts are being captured in the RAE Modernisation Plan led by Army Headquarters.

We must further build and enhance our workforce by ensuring all risks are considered in Army’simplementation plans, and especially Work Force 2028. We are already taking great strides in gender integration and talent management, the remediation of critical and at-risk trades, the implementation of targeted direct entry and specialist service officer/soldier options and Part-Time Force integration. I ask that you elevate the employment of training technology, education and certifications; and integrate skills-based policies, industry best practices, broadening postings and credentialing efforts across the Joint Force.

We must achieve the mobility alignment in our Combat Engineer Regiments. The recent Defence Strategic Update endorsed protective mobility and breaching capability for our combat engineers. This development continues and has been over a decade in the making. We need to now accelerate planning to synchronise preparation and the fielding of this capability to Units, including their training and education.

We must achieve ‘More together’ by ‘partnering for impact’. Our Future is a partnered one. If you arenot doing it already, you need to reach out to Air Force Engineers, Navy and the Defence Science andTechnology Group. Partner with Engineers Australia, Worldskills Australia, Registered Engineers for Disaster Relief, Emergency Management Australia and State/Territory Emergency Services. Seek out opportunities to partner with Industry. Be prepared to continue to work closely with Other GovernmentAgencies.

We must extend Allied Engineer Force Interoperability.Similarly, it is. essentialwe find solutions using the community of practise to resource, train, equip, support and develop ready forces. The Corps has recently revitalised our bonds of friendship with our Five Eyes partners and the NATO Military Engineering Centre of Excellence and promoted new relationships with Engineers in the Inda-Pacific.

We must promote Identity, Community and History. This is absolutely essential and I seek your support. SME is already leading from the front and will host ‘Engineer Week’ each year, including sponsoring the RAE Steele Cup Best Sapper Competition. The Corps is to enable future events/milestones; some examples include, supporting the 42 for 42 Afghanistan Memorial construction in Brisbane, participating in Tunnel Rat’s visits to Vietnam, commemorating 1 Field Squadron Group Association’s memorial at Amiens in 2021, celebrating the Corps 120th Birthday in 2022, and undertaking a trek to observe the 80th Anniversary of the Bulldog-Wau Track in Papua New Guinea in 2023. The Corps is to support the RAE Foundation to re­ establish Warrior Workforce with Industry. The RAE Corps History Volume V 1973-2002 is to be compiled together with the RAE Foundation, Corps Museum, Veterans and Industry. A proposal to capture our history in Afghanistan by interviewing recent Veterans – both serving  and ex-serving  –  and delivering a film project, is to be considered.

We must promote and enable Sapper Associations. I once again encourage Sappers to join an Association well before they leave the Army and support all ex-serving Sappers to make the connection. Associations perform an essential supporting role, supporting influence and advocacy, sharing information to the wider community and enabling sponsorship. After our recent success, Head of Corps will continue to sponsor a National Sapper Association Conference each year at SME.I congratulate our award recipients in the last twelve months and the continued distinguished promotions of Sappers at every level. Well done to Brigadier John Shanahan DSC and Bar; Colonel Mick Say, DSC; Lieutenant Colonel Glen Billington, CSC; The late Colonel Robert Sanders, CSC;  Lieutenant Colonel Brendan Hogan, CSC; Lieutenant Colonel Clare O’Neill, CSC; Colonel Craig Lauder, CSM; Lieutenant Colonel George Hulse (Retired), OAM; Mr Neville Clark, OAM; the late John (Jack) Muir, OAM; Colonel Stephen Glidden, CDS; Corporal 

Matthew Sullivan, 2019 Most Outstanding Engineer; Lance Corporal Mand Sapper N from SOER winners of the 2019 RAE Best Sapper Competition; and the recipient of the inaugural 2019 Brigadier General CH Foott CB, CMG Award, Colonel John Wertheimer (Retired).

Ladies and Gentlemen –

Sappers are innovative and cunning – but embody the spirit of our Nation.

Sappers are professional and humble – but if threatened, will become your worst nightmare.

Sappers are courteous and helpful – but ferocious in battle and will never leave mate behind.

Sappers have unique technical skills – but care passionately about Family and Friends.

In closing, each of you can take great pride in the significant role you have developing, enhancing and protecting our Nation. The future will of course be challenging for the Corps, however, we will continue to hone our competitive edge and deliver vital solutions. When Engineers are needed, we will be there, now and in the future.

Thank you for what you do. Follow the Sapper. Ubique.

John Carey, CSC Brigadier, Head of Corps, Royal Australian Engineers

Queen’s Birthday Honour List – 2020

I have some good and bad news for you in relation to the Honour list announced yesterday

The Late John (Jack) Muir

Recently I sent out an email advising of the passing of Jack Muir and today I am sending this notification to advise that Jack has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honour list 2020 for his community work by being posthumously awarded Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) with the citation noting the award for; 

Service to the Community through a range of roles.

Regretfully Jack did not get to know that he had been awarded the OAM.

Neville Clark (Western Australia) 

Congratulations to Neville Clark for receiving a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).

Awarded for       service to veterans and their families.

George Hulse (Queensland)

Congratulations to George Hulse on his award of a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)

Awarded for       service to veterans and their families.

I am sure you will join with me to congratulation our Sapper family members who have been recognised for their outstanding work

Jim Davis.

Waterloo Dinner 2020 – Cancellation.

Good afternoon all,

On behalf of the Colonel Commandant RAE Southern Region (COL Bruce Murray, AM (Retd)) and Commanding Officer 22 Engineer Regiment (LTCOL Sharon Coates) this email is to advise you that the Waterloo Dinner for 2020 has been cancelled.

In making the decision to cancel the dinner consideration was given to the current environment, safety and wellbeing of members, gathering restrictions and limitation of venues.

It is certainly regretful but the right decision in the circumstances.

We can only hope that in June 2021 the world will have returned to normal and a we can plan and enjoy an outstanding Waterloo Dinner. 



Reserve Sapper of the Year 2019 for the RAE

75th Anniversary of the Kapooka Tragedy

HOC Message Colonel Ahmad Mostafa RAE Writing Prize

Good afternoon all – I am providing the following message on behalf of BRIG Carey.

Jim Davis.

Fellow Sappers,

I am writing to you to make you aware of the inaugural RAE Writing Prize. Colonel Mostafa, Colonel Commandant Eastern Region has generously offered to sponsor this initiative into the future – thank you Ahmad on behalf of all of the Corps. 

I also would like to thank Brigadier Wayne Budd and the RAE Foundation for their continued support.

The purpose of the Colonel Ahmad Mostafa RAE Writing Prize is to encourage excellence in writing and support future planning efforts for the Corps.  

The HOC Challenge for 2020 is:

‘Advance new thinking about how the Royal Australian Engineers will tackle the diverse and difficult security challenges of the 21st century. No issue is too big or too narrow as long as it aims to make the Corps, Army and Joint Force stronger. Authors may be critical and challenge conventional wisdom, current policies, and practices. 

Dare to write about the toughest and most difficult issues; the topics that everyone knows need addressing, but some are hesitant to acknowledge.’

  • Eligibility – Open to all contributors/ranks – Full-Time, Part-Time, Veterans, and Civilians. 
  • Length – 2,500 words maximum (excludes endnotes/footnotes/sources).
  • Prior Publication – Your essay must be original, not have been previously published (online or in print) or being considered for publication elsewhere.
  • Award – First Prize $1500; Runner-Up $300 
  • Submission Guidelines. Email essay as a Microsoft Word attachment to MAJ Dave Spriggs (SO2 HOC/Corps Secretary) with RAE Writing Prize on the subject line. Include word count on title page of essay but do not include your name on title page or within the essay. Provide separate attachment to include biography and complete contact information—i.e. work, home, and mobile phone numbers; and home mailing address. Deadline: 01 September 2020
  • Selection Process. The RAE Corps Committee will evaluate every essay and screen the top papers to a special Essay Selection Team (HOC, RCC, Colonel Mostafa and the Corps RSM). All essays will be judged in the blind – ie. staff members and judges will not know the authors of the essays.
  • Announcement of the Winners.  Winners will be announced in Australian Sapper2020 and prizes released shortly afterwards through the Office of the HOC, preferably during Engineer Week at SME. 
  • Sponsor. Colonel Ahmad Mostafa, Colonel Commandant Eastern Region.

Please promulgate widely. The POC for any questions is Major Spriggs (SO2 HOC/Corps Secretary).

All the Best,




Seeking Support – Head of Corps (HOC) Message

The following message is from BRIG John Carey CSC, (HOC) seeking your consideration with financial support for the Sapper’s Fund.

Details on how to subscribe and rates are on the attached flyer – any contribution is totally voluntary but would be most welcomed.

Jim Davis.

Fellow Sappers,

Last year, I directed we change the name of the RAE Corps Fund to the RAE Sappers’ Fund. This name better represents what this fund supports – a source of income that can be utilised for the benefit of all Sappers – regardless of rank.

The RAE Sappers’ Fund income is generated from fortnightly or annual subscriptions from serving (both Full-Time and Part-Time) and ex-serving members of the RAE, as well as various donations. The recommended contribution and how to subscribe is enclosed. There are currently 132 active subscribers; an increase from 92 at the start of 2019. I listed these members in Australian Sapper magazine and I once again thank them for their contribution. 

The Sappers’ Fund is used to foster our Corps spirit, not only by ensuring our past is captured, but also by making sure we continue to build our identity into the future. The Fund exists to provide support to prizes, awards, incentives and initiatives. Ideally, this encompasses recognition of individual and team achievements, written articles, memorial and museum projects, as well as special projects requested by individual members or sub-units/units of the Royal Australian Engineers and affiliated Associations. 

During the last twelve months, Unit COs/RSMs have been highlighting to all Sappers how to seek funding support from the Corps Committee. The SO2 HOC/Corps Secretary Major Dave Spriggs (cc) recently re-released an update on Corps Policy Statements for greater transparency and understanding. The Corps also has a list of projects supported by the Fund in 2019/20, and this will be included in the end of year Australian Sapper.

I appreciate this has been a challenging year – bushfires, pandemics and a troubled economy. The Sappers’ Fund not only belongs to past and present Sappers, but also to our successors. We must leave them a strong and vibrant ‘Family.’ This is only possible with support from individual subscribers. Your contribution, along with all the other serving and retired members of the Royal Australian Engineers making a similar commitment, is extremely important.  This ensures your Corps Committee can support the fostering of our esprit-de-corps and the unique ‘Sapper identity’ remains a fundamental part of Army’s culture and traditions. 

My POC for any questions is the Corps Treasurer, WO1 Robert Oltvanji (cc). 





ANZAC Day 2020

ANZAC Day 2020 – Driveway at Dawn Parade

If you have photos of your parade please send them to It’d be great to highlight individuals’ 2020 commemorations in the next Sapper Summit. Let’s keep our Anzac Day commemorations alive in our magazine.

Graeme Lambert laying a wreath at the Ringwood Clock Tower on behalf of the RAE Association

Bushfire Assist – Orbost 2020

Congratulations to all for the fantastic work done at the Bush Fire Assist in Gippsland, particularly our 22 ER members, its great to see such a very coordinated team at work with our Fijian counterparts and our thanks to them also.

Commissioner Andrew Crisp, LT COL Sharon Coates and MAJGEN Jake Elwood Cmdr 1 Div, meeting the Fijian contingent 23-1-20 at Camp Davis, Orbost (football ground). Several 22ER members present.

Clearing killer trees north of Bairnsdale 8/1/20.

LCPL Viccars leaning on vehicle.

Photos by Mathew Magilton

Kapooka Tragedy Memorial Service 2020 – Cancelled

Good Morning Associations,

It is with regret that I advise, due to Covid 19 restrictions, the planned Kapooka Tragedy Memorial Service for 2020 will not be conducted. I can however; confirm that serving soldiers from Kapooka will pay respects on behalf of us all in a small discreet service on the day. 

For those who live in the local community and pending the enforced social distancing restrictions, a reminder that that the site is open to the public if individuals want to visit and pay their respects on or around the time of the anniversary.

This year marks the 75th Anniversary of the tragedy and upgrade works to the Memorial were planned to commemorate this date. To date, a total of $10000 has been raised and the proposed construction approved by the Kapooka infrastructure authority. Unfortunately, circumstances since Christmas have removed any available workforce with the Corps heavily tasked in Operation Bushfire Assist and now supporting the Covid 19 situation. It is very much hoped that the second half of 2020 finds us all in much calmer waters and allows the project to be completed.


Sean Chainey




Bridges Barracks

Puckapunyal VIC 3662

Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal

For 89 years there has been a Royal Children’s Hospital appeal conducted to raise money for this outstanding and worldwide acclaimed hospital which provides such a wonderful service to children from all walks of life and from all parts of the world.

For 31 years Eric (Jock) Howatt and his band of helpers have supported the hospital by rattling tins and have contributed $424,687.95 to the RCH

From the outset Jock has enjoyed the support of the Regiment along with its members, family and friends and has made the RCH Appeal a very successful event not only for the hospital but also the Regiment. Jock promotes the appeal as “22 Engineer Regiment and Friends Good Friday Appeal”. 

Jock has a special reason for his passion in supporting the RCH and that is because his son Adam was treated at the RCH for cancer but regrettably did not survive.

Due to the COVID-19 emergency this year’s Good Friday appeal will be very different to the past in that there will not be a physical presence of collectors such as Jock and his team rattling tins on street corners. This lack of visibility will have a major impact on the fund-raising efforts.

We will all still have the opportunity of supporting the RCH through a “virtual appeal” and we are asking the sapper family to help Jock by contributing through the following link which you can click on or alternatively copy and paste into your web browser;

No matter the amount, your support will be a contribution towards very worthy projects at the Royal Children’s Hospital (Melbourne’s own) and assist Jock and the Regiment add to the very impressive contribution already made.


Jim Davis.

Annual General Meeting Postponed



In keeping with the intent of the increasing government imposed restrictions and advice on movement and social gathering, and our desire to reduce health risks in response to the increasing threat of the Covid-19 (Coronavirus), your committee has decided to postpone the AGM scheduled for 02nd April 2020 to a date and location to be advised.

You have been recently been provided with the Annual Report of the Association for 2019 which gives you a summary of the Association’s activities throughout the year and its goals and aspirations for the future.

The only pressing business that would have been presented to you at the AGM is the financial statements of the Association in order to meet Consumer Affairs requirements.  The accounts, distributed with the notice for the AGM, show that the Association is in a strong financial position with the ability to trade comfortably and meet all financial obligations in the achievement of our fundamental purposes.  Whilst not a requirement under the Act the Association has these accounts audited for transparency.

Consumer Affairs requirements are:

  • finalise the accounts of the association for the year, closing on the financial year end date
    (In our case 31 December);
  • have the accounts reviewed or audited, if required;
  • two committee members must check the finalised accounts and sign the relevant declaration; and
  • hold the annual general meeting (AGM) within five months after the end of the association’s financial year and present the declaration to the members with the accounts.

Given the uncertainty a date to conduct AGM, we are providing to you the Balance Sheet and Accounts of the Association for the period 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2019 and would ask you to examine these. The Auditors report is also available.

We (Bill van Ree and Jim Davis) intend to sign and submit the declaration stating that the 2019 financial year accounts have been presented to our members on 24 April 2020.


If you are satisfied with the financial reports as submitted, then no further action is required – a “no response” to this email will be deemed as acceptance of the report.

Alternatively, should you have concerns with the financial statements as presented then you should respond to this email to so that we can promptly address your concerns 

The accounts will be presented a second time at the convening of the 2020 AGM.

We wish you all good health and speedy recovery from the financial impact of these uncertain times

Holdfast 2020 Cancelled

G’day all,

As you’ve no doubt heard by now restrictions have overtaken us and as expected, the decision has been made for us. HOLDFAST 2020 is cancelled due to COVID – 19 restrictions imposed by the Commonwealth Government as well as the application of a fair amount of common sense by the organising committee when considering the age and disposition of attendees and the places from whence they travelled.

Whether HOLDFAST 2020  will be rescheduled is yet to be determined. But I will keep you posted.

In the meantime take care of you and yours.


John Cotter


HOLDFAST 2020 Organising Committee

Mob: 0438230244

Annual RAE Association Muster 29 February 2020


OAKLEIGH BARRACKS 29th February 2020

The annual Muster is without doubt the most important event on the Association’s calendar and provides members, family and friends the opportunity to gather and enjoy the social and comradery aspects of the night.

Once again we were so very fortunate to have the support of the CO 22nd Engineer Regiment (LTCOL Sharon Coates) who made the facilities of Oakleigh available for the event – this is an ideal place in relation to location and facilities for a night like this.

Victoria had endured a terrible start to 2020 with horrendous bush fires resulting in the Regiment being mobilised under a National Call Out for Defence. This was the first time that the Reserve had ever been mobilised for a natural disaster and it was only released from duty the week before the Muster.

This year attendance was around 90 which was well down on last year’s but we have to remember that there had been a catastrophic event in Victoria and that many of the Regiment’s members had been on duty for over 40 days. Even so we still managed to have several of the young Sappers come along and we are so appreciative for this and their efforts for Victoria.

The Muster isn’t only a night for those who had served but also for partners and family who supported the soldiers during their military service.  We had had two interstate guests (David Dufall and Ross O’Grady – both from NSW) along with several our members who travelled considerable distances to attend.

For the 4th year the Association provided a spit roast meal which was served in the Drill Hall – people were not disappointed with the quality or quantity of the meal with many going back for seconds. The meal consisted of a main and sweets. It is hard to fault this method of providing a meal particularly this year where there was ample food

As with all evenings there has to be some formalities and these included a report by the President (LTCOL Bill van Ree) on the Association’s achievements throughout the year. He went on to welcome everyone to the function. 

The CO (LTCOL Sharon Coates) who only returned from fire duty on Tuesday came along and again our thanks must be extended to Sharon for allowing the Association the use of these wonder facilities along with great support from  the staff in setting up the depot. The bar staff of Noel Tipton and David Kelly-Grimshaw certainly worked very hard. 

Many members of the Association worked hard to make the night a success and thanks to Eric (Jock) Howatt, and Marg Handte.

Special guests were COL Bruce Murray, AM (Retd) (Colonel Commandant Southern Region RAE), COL John Wertheimer OA, RFD (Retd) Patron of RAE Association and the Association’s Honorary Padre John Raike.

The Muster is the Association’s major fellowship event for the year and is not convened to make money but to bring together a good cross section of sappers of various ages and ranks to enjoy the company of likeminded people. The knowledge and amount of military service in the room is hard to comprehend. 

Thanks everyone for your support and attendance. I know I have said it before but without your support and encouragement then the Association is headed for nowhere.

Jim Davis


Annual General Meeting of the Royal Australian Engineers of Victoria Incorporated

See ‘FUTURE EVENTS’ Page for timings and location

Head of Corps (HOC) Message No. 6 – Tunnel Rats

Good afternoon all – the following message is from the HOC BRIG John Carey – I apologise for the delay in getting this out to you but I have been interstate for the last few weeks

Jim Davis.

From: Carey, John BRIG 3 
Sent: Thursday, 20 February 2020 11:46 AM
ToSubject: HOC Message #6 – The Tunnel Rats [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]


Fellow Sappers, 

The Corps RSM and I recently attended a National Commemoration Service on the 18th February to officially acknowledge the sacrifice of those Australians who fought during Operation Hammersley, in South Vietnam back in 1970. Operation Hammersley was carried out in the Long Hai Hills area of Phuoc Tuy Province and was defined by ambushing and intense close quarter fighting, along with landmine, tunnel and bunker clearance and demolition. The 28th February became known as ‘Black Saturday’ when a mine incident resulted in nine Australian killed and twenty-four wounded in action. Included in these casualties, were seven Tunnel Rats of the 1 Field Squadron, with Sapper Rodney Hubble paying the ultimate sacrifice.

Later, we attended an Australian War Memorial Last Post Ceremony, where the Corps remembered Sapper Allan Patterson, who was killed in action alongside his fellow 1 Field Squadron Sappers; Staff Sergeant Colin McLachlan, Lance Corporal John Garrett and Sapper David Steen. Their Engineer Section was acting in their secondary role of Infantry while conducting an overnight standing patrol forward of Fire Support Base Anderson near Bien Hoa, Vietnam during the Tet Offensive on the 17th/18th February 1968. This Last Post Ceremony was sponsored by the Vietnam Tunnel Rats Association and wreaths were laid to recognise all seven Australians (Engineers, Infantry, Artillery) and one American servicemen killed in action at the Fire Support Base on that night. 

That evening we received a kind invitation to attend the Vietnam Tunnel Rats Association Dinner at the Hellenic Club in Canberra. What a night! It was a wonderful evening of remembrance and celebration with over 170 people attending, including 20 serving ADF personnel. For those soldiers, NCOs, warrant officers and officers who were able to make it, it was very much appreciated by all the veterans and their families in attendance.

President Mr Jim Marett showed yet again why he is such an inspirational leader; his devotion to the Corps and all veterans is second to none. Mr Peter Scott as the MC was the consummate professional. Both of them were outstanding hosts. My wife Aly, son Jack and I truly enjoyed meeting so many veterans and their families.

I had the remarkable privilege of speaking at the dinner. I would like to share with you some extracts from that speech:

On evenings like this most of us will remember the tragedy of losing comrades…and we do remember them…magnificent Sappers with broad smiles who led with purpose.  But tonight is also about celebrating the Tunnel Rats – an absolutely essential part of RAE history. 

Your efforts in South Vietnam were nothing but extraordinary. But we should not have been surprised.

I remember growing up as a young Sapper officer and learning about the legendary Tunnel Rats of South Vietnam. You were instrumental in finding and searching tunnels miles long and pioneering the employment of two man teams to carry out the search and demolition of hundreds of enemy underground bunker systems. You always led from the front – you had to. There was no other choice. The infantry and armour could not operate without you. 

You developed new search techniques to save lives in the fight against mines and booby traps, which caused over 50 percent of Australian casualties at the peak of the war. And of course you paid an awful price, with 36 of your mates killed in action and just under 200 wounded from the same 650 men who operated in this role over the six years of the war, a casualty rate of around 33 percent.

The Tunnel Rats provided a flexible and adaptable force, quickly and without fuss – IT WAS WORLD-CLASS. 

Your wide range of skills shown in the face of danger give truth to our Corps mottos of ‘EVERYWHERE’ and ‘WE MAKE AND WE BREAK’. It was your collective dedication and obvious professionalism that so easily impressed and I can tell you, it has left such a strong legacy for those who have served after you.

The Tunnel Rats adapted, innovated and overcame, in order to get to the objective and accomplish the mission, whatever it was…And to me that is what being a combat engineer…a Sapper…is all about: a state of mind that figures out how to get the job done – no matter what – and has the willpower, perseverance and strength to see the mission through to completion…all the while taking great care of our People.’

In closing, Jim regularly sends the RSM and I a copy of each edition of Holdfast – it has pride of place in my office for all to read who come and go. For those of you who know, on the back page, it always ends with a salute to modern-day Sappers. Well, to Jim and all Tunnel Rats everywhere – Admiration, Awe and Respect (Heaps of It). 

The Corps honours all Tunnel Rats who closed with the enemy and never let us down. Even today, many years later, they continue to support the Sapper. Next time you meet a Tunnel Rat, or indeed any Engineer veteran from the war in South Vietnam, please shake their hand and thank them for their incredible courage, determination and Sapper spirit.

All the Best,




Chief of Staff | Headquarters Joint Operations Command

Head of Corps, Royal Australian Engineers

David Stevenson’s CFA Life Membership Award

David has been a member of the Association for several years. He and his wife have always been good supporters and will be attending the Muster. This was in the February “ Firewise”, the monthly CFA fire brigade’s news paper.
The award & medal was presented on 13/12/19

RAE Association – Facebook posts

Sapper Muster 29 February 2020

Whats on at the Shrine

Extract from Thank you Bush Fire Assist

Sharing this email from Ken Daly (SA Sappers) – always good to get feedback

Jim Davis.

Hello Jim and John

The following is an extract from a community notice board in the Adelaide Hills:

“Bob and Jenny Wystra of Lobethal would like to thank to the very kind soldiers who came too our burnt out property to help us with clean water and cutting down burnt/dead trees. Bob had just been discharged from the Burns Unit of the Royal Adelaide Hospital after sustain burns to 20% of his body defending our property on Dec 20 during the Cudlee Creek fires. The clean water put into our tank is greatly appreciated since he must have clean water to avoid infection. Then the soldiers offered to come back and cut down the dead trees. These good people came to our property for 3 days to work hard helping us out. When we thanks individuals they all said they just wanted to help. We cannot thank them enough. They have helped us enormously and made our struggle to cope with the fire aftermath so much easier. from the bottom of our hearts, thank you very much.”

The task was completed by a section minus from 3 Fd Sqn RAE lead by a LCPL.

Thanks Macca.

As an aside the tank had 30 years of sludge and was drained washed/cleaned and refilled.


Ken Daly

President RAE Association SA Division


With the devastating bushfires currently ravaging many parts of Victoria and Australia the Association wanted to contribute something to the tireless members of the Country Fire Association (CFA) and on the suggestion of the Vice President (Don Hughes) it was decided that we would run a BBQ sausage sizzle at the Warrandyte IGA on Saturday 18th January 2020 with the proceeds to be handed directly to members of the Warrandyte CFA to be utilized as they saw fit.

Even though it was short notice from the conception stage to the completion we had wonderful support from many members of the Association. Some even brought their family members along to help.

The Saturday morning was cool but there was a smoke haze in the air from the Gippsland fires. This smoke haze had blanketed Melbourne for many days, and certainly added to the desire to support the many volunteers that were within the danger zone and putting themselves at risk.

The Regiment had been called out and had over 60 Sappers in various locations throughout Victoria and whilst our first thoughts would have been to support our military personnel they were being well supported by the Defence network whereas the CFA members were there as volunteers.

Whilst many of us still believed that we had the ability to help with battle the obvious truth is that we are well past being able to pull on the gear and head off to the fire front so the next best thing was to do this fund raising.

On the day we had two members of the local CFA Brigade (Tony and Louise) join us for the morning.  This visible presence of the CFA members let the people know that by supporting the BBQ their money was going to the local CFA – this reassurance certainly helped and we did receive a large number of donations.

At the completion of the morning we were able to hand over $1,254.40 to the CFA members

The big winner on the day was Zeus who seemed to get lots of food and pats.

Thanks Don and all the team for making this come together and for your support with this very worthwhile community project. A big “thank you” also must go to IGA Warrandyte for their very generous support in providing, at no cost, all the equipment for the BBQ.


See Future Events

Good afternoon all – on behalf of the HOC an invitation is extended to all Sappers to support this very important reunion being conducted in Canberra

Jim Davis.

Once a Sapper always a Sapper

To all Sappers past and present, 

A National Commemoration Service to officially acknowledge the sacrifice of those who fought during Operation Hammersley in Vietnam in 1970, will be held at the Vietnam Memorial, ANZAC Parade, Canberra commencing at 1030am on 18th February 2020. Operation Hammersley was carried out in the Long Hai Hills area of Phuoc Tuy Province and was defined by ambushing and intense close quarter fighting, along with landmine, tunnel and bunker clearance and demolition. The 28th February became known as ‘Black Saturday’ when a mine incident resulted in nine Australian killed and twenty-four wounded in action. Included in these casualties, were seven Tunnel Rats of the 1 Field Squadron, with Sapper Rodney Hubble paying the ultimate sacrifice.

Later on this same day, assembling at 1630hrs at an Australian War Memorial Last Post Ceremony, the Corps will remember Sapper Allan Patterson, who was killed in action alongside his fellow 1 Field Squadron Sappers; Staff Sergeant Colin McLachlan, Lance Corporal John Garrett and Sapper David Steen. Their Engineer Section was acting in their secondary role of Infantry while conducting an overnight standing patrol forward of Fire Support Base Anderson near Bien Hoa, Vietnam during the Tet Offensive on the 17th/18th February 1968. The Last Post Ceremony has been sponsored by the Vietnam Tunnel Rats Association and will lay wreaths to recognise all seven Australians (Engineers, Infantry, Artillery) and one American servicemen killed in action at the Fire Support Base on that night. 

Enclosed are further details about the Last Post activity. Also attached is a two-page document which you will find interesting. It is from the Operation Hammersley After Action Report and lists all of the bunkers, tunnels and caves found on this one operation. The list includes over 200 enemy bunkers and gives the reader an idea of the intensity of Sapper tasks on our operations with infantry and armoured. It also of course confirms there were tunnels found on Operation Hammersley.

The Head of Corps requests the attendance of all available Sappers (especially in Canberra) to attend either event or both, and acknowledge the sacrifice of all those who served on those missions. Those attending are also invited by the Association to attend an informal bistro style meal at own cost, following the Last Post Ceremony, to be held at the Hellenic Club, 13 Moore St, Canberra. For catering purposes, all serving members should RSVP for the dinner as requested by 10th February through the CRSM, (





3 Fd Sqn Bush Fire Update

Sappers and friends 

This is a copy of an update provided to the OC (Deployed overseas) and the COL COM by SSM WO2 Woods:

Sir, a comprehensive update on the 3 Fd Sqn commitment to Op Bushfire Assist 19-20.

As of today the Sqn is at 98.4% recalled, a phenomenal effort by all.
This number is the current Sqn ORBAT less any pers who are the wrong MEC (3 pers), those who don’t have an ECN (non RAE and recruits – 3) it also excludes those pers who are in the emergency services (7), and those who are transferring to other units (3)
We have deployed one CE troop minus to KI and one CE troop complete to the Adelaide Hills, Support Troop (two plant sections minus) have essentially deployed to KI.
Under the current Sqn ORBAT, that is all there is to give. There has been a request to raise a third CE troop, this demand cannot be met unless the ORBAT is changed, just remember 98.4% of the deployable SQN.
The 10/27 admin functions are being conducted by 3 Fd Pers (CPL M and LCPL L) great work both, and nearly half of  the 10/27 Q staff are now 3 Fd Sqn members (CPL H and CPL W)

All Engineers (less the SSM) have been removed from command of 10/27.
3 Fd members on KI are under direct command of 1 Armoured Regiment. On KI there is a Sqn commanded by 1 CER, consisting of 1 CE Tp from 3 Fd Sqn, 1 CE Tp heavy from NZ, a section from 6ESR for the WPDS, and a Plant troop commanded by 1 CER (but made up of two plant sections from 3 Fd Sqn).
3 Fd members in the Adelaide Hills are under direct command of 16 Air Land Regiment. All engineers in the hills are commanded by 1 CER and consists of 1 CE troop from 3 Fd Sqn and 1 CE troop from 1 CER.

3 Fd Sqn continues to punch well above its weight, well done all.


Warrant Officer Class 2 Matthew Woods
Squadron Sergeant Major
3rd Field Squadron, 10/27 Royal South Australia Regiment

The SSM has asked that I pass on thanks to all Sappers who have supported the SQN and thanks you for your many words of encouragement. 

Ken Daly
President RAE Association
SA Division

The AWM Hall of Memory with Dr Brendon Nelson

This is about us, about Australia and the War Museum in Canberra, a most informative youtube..

Click on the link below.

Defence Force Assistance For Bushfires


            Following the release of the additional Defence Force assistance package yesterday, several media outlets have let the public believe that this was the first time the Defence Forces have assisted in the Bush Fire Emergency.  To counter this belief, the following has been circulated amongst several ex-service organisations:

The following has been doing the rounds and deserves further dissemination in light of the current deplorable reporting by the media and the lack of knowledge by most of the community:

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has been working with Emergency Management Australia to assist with firefighting efforts since directed by the Minister on November 8.

The ADF is providing, and has provided the following support:

• From November 17 to December 15, The Army provided logistical support for 250 firefighters at the RFS staging ground in the Northern Rivers Region.

• From November 12, the Lismore Depot of the 41st Battalion, Royal New South Wales Regiment, has been available to provide logistical support to firefighters from outside the region.

• New South Wales RFS have multiple large aerial tankers and spotter aircraft at RAAF Base Richmond.

• Since November 29, HMAS Albatross has helped with water refuelling and retardant loading of aircraft from the Nowra Naval Air Station.

• From November 8 to December 22, The Air Force is providing airlift support to move large groups of firefighters and their equipment.

• From November 26 to December 23, The Army is providing NSW RFS with ground logistic support for the movement of vehicles, stores and equipment in the Casino and Hawkesbury areas.

• From December 3 to January 26, The Army is providing support at Marrangaroo Training Area to NSW RFS helicopter assets and personnel.

• From December 3-16, The Army is providing logistics support at Marrangaroo Training Area to NSW Rural Fire Service assets and personnel.

• 41st Battalion, Royal NSW Regiment, will support RFS Casino flight line with loading of fire retardant at Casino airport.

• On December 10, a Royal Australian Navy helicopter provided support to NSW RFS to fly day and night missions from Naval Air Station.

• Defence is hosting refuelling assets. This support is on an as-required basis.

• A Royal Australian Air Force 737 Boeing business jet transported ACT Rural Fire Service firefighters from Canberra to North Coast on November 8.

• A Royal Australian Air Force C-130J Hercules aircraft transported firefighters and their equipment from Adelaide to North Coast on November 9.

• A Royal Australian Air Force C-130J Hercules aircraft transported firefighters and their equipment from Hobart to North Coast on November 10.

• A Royal Australian Air Force KC-30A multi-role tanker transport aircraft transported 150 firefighters on November 14.

• Two Royal Australian Air Force KC-30A multi-role tanker transport aircraft transported 258 firefighters and their personal equipment on November 15.

• A Royal Australian Air Force C-17A Globemaster aircraft transported 165 firefighters and their equipment, using two flights, from Melbourne to Coffs Harbour on November 17.

• The same aircraft then transported an additional 130 firefighters and their equipment from Coffs Harbour to Melbourne on November 18.

• A Royal Australian Air Force C-17A Globemaster aircraft transported 130 firefighters from Melbourne to RAAF Base Richmond on November 19.

• A Royal Australian Air Force C-130J Hercules aircraft transported 140 firefighters and their equipment from Melbourne to Coffs Harbour on November 20.

• A Royal Australian Air Force C-130J Hercules aircraft transported 167 firefighters and their equipment from Coffs Harbour to Melbourne on November 21.

• On November 18, 21 and 22, Army supported Queensland Fire and Emergency Services helicopter operations at Borneo Barracks, near Toowoomba. This support is now complete.

• From November 11-13, Singleton Army Barracks provided accommodation and catering support to about 200 firefighters from the Victorian Country Fire Authority.

• From November 12-14, two MRH-90 Taipan helicopters from the Royal Australian Navy and two S-70 Black Hawk helicopters from the Australian Army provided movements for Rural Fire Service strike teams.

• From November 12-13, the Royal Australian Navy provided two MH-60R Seahawk helicopters to fly night missions from Sydney and Coffs Harbour to facilitate the operation of Rural Fire Service air observers.

• Two EC135 helicopters from the Royal Australian Navy and two S-70 Black Hawk helicopters from the Australian Army flew in support of New South Wales Rural Fire Service impact assessments on November 14. This support is now complete.

• From November 12-16, RAAF Base Williamtown provided refuelling and water re-supply support to a large aerial tanker from the New South Wales Rural Fire Service.

• From November 13-23, RAAF Base Richmond provided accommodation and catering support for varying numbers of between 150 and 300 firefighters.

• From November 18-19, the Army’s Borneo Barracks near Toowoomba established a helicopter-landing site, overnight parking and refuelling capability for firefighting and support to civilian rotary-wing aircraft.

• On November 21, a New South Wales Rural Fire Service large aerial tanker was refuelled at RAAF Base Edinburgh after a mission was completed in South Australia.

• On November 26, RAAF Base Gingin provided 18,900 litres of water to two water bombers fighting a fire in the vicinity of Yanchep. 

• On December 3-4, HMAS Albatross provided catering and accommodation for RFS NSW at Naval Air Station Nowra.

This support is been provided in a co-ordinated fashion in conjunction with the State Governments.


                        I hope this information is helpful to clarify the amazing support which has been given and continues to be given by the Australian Defence Forces.

            Kind Regards,   

            John Clarkson.

            (Sergeant – RAAF – Retired).

Sapper Summit Issue 101, Supplement


The printer now has Sapper Summit 101.  Today I included a supplement that we will add to each copy of the magazine when they are ready.  Hopefully, the one page supplement will also get emailed out to everyone who receives an e-copy of the magazine.  I have attached a copy for you.  It is not much but I felt something had to be added in light of recent, and indeed, current events.

By the way, the Facebook platform has been amazing regarding responses to 22ER being deployed.  We’ve had over 2000 reaches and have had responses from around the world.  I hope its been of come encouragement to the deployed soldiers.



Graeme Lambert

Vale – WO2 Robert (Bob) Burns

Good evening – a very sad way to start 2020 is by sending emails concerning the passing of another Sapper but it has to be done.

Regretfully I have been informed that Bob Burns has passed away – at this stage I cannot advise of funeral arrangements or any other details.

Bob was a SSGT when I joined 7 FER back in 1975 and was an SQ. He went on to become a WO2 and as far as I know was always within the Q stream.

I found Bob to be a great bloke but one always ready to catch you out – for instance he had his keys tied onto an elastic cord which he would throw towards you only to see them spring back to Bob before reaching you – he certainly got a laugh out of this – I know that I never caught those keys.

The attached photo is from Reserve Forces Day 2018 which shows Bob with Ted Boltong.

I will provide further details when they are known

UBIQUE – Rest in peace Bob – your duty is done.

Jim Davis.

22nd Engineer Regiment – Op Fire Assist – Task Force 646

Good evening all – I am sure everyone receiving this email is acutely aware of the tragedy facing Victoria, and in fact most of Australia, as a result of the devastating and terrible bushfires that are ravaging our wonderful country.

The contribution being made by the firefighters, volunteers and all emergency workers at this time is without doubt beyond belief and no words I write here will be totally adequate to express appreciation for their work in difficult, horrendous and trying conditions.

As at today ADF Reservists have been called out and a force of some 3000 Reserve personnel will be added to the legion of current personnel tackling this dreadful event.

Among the first Reservists answering the call are members of Victoria’s own 22nd Engineer Regiment who will no doubt take a lead role in this catastrophic event with equipment, personnel, and experience.

The RAE Association (Vic) Inc. Facebook Page will allow you to record thanks to these amazing people and to provide messages of support and I encourage you to take a moment to consider adding a few words by clicking on the link below.

Positive words of support and encouragement are required. No political stuff just positive messages highlighting that “Victoria’s Own Sappers” from 22 Engineer Regiment have a wide range of skills and experience to support our communities.


Jim Davis.

Presentation of the CH Foot Award 2019


This award has been introduced by the Head of RAE Corps (BRIG John Carey) to recognise individuals who have been judged to have made an outstanding contribution to the RAE Corps and for 2019 it was awarded to the RAE Association (Vic) Inc. Patron in COL John Wertheimer AM, RFD.

The award was announced during a recent function conducted in Sydney with the citation reading

The Brigadier General CH Foott CB, CMG Award:

Award for an individual who has rendered outstanding and significant support or service to the Corps of Royal Australian Engineers – COL John Wertheimer, AM RFD

Due to personal reason COL Wertheimer could not make it to the function in Sydney so it was arranged that the HOC and the Corps RSM (WO1 Sean Chainey) to come to Melbourne and attend the RAE Associations Christmas lunch which was held at the Ringwood RSL where this prestigious award could be presented.

There could be no more worthy recipient for an award of this type recognising and acknowledging the wonderful outstanding contribution that John Wertheimer has made to the Corps – many of the things that John has done over many years goes unrecognised and he is more than happy with that but at last it has caught up with him and he has received the accolades he so richly deserves .

Congratulations COL Wertheimer from all sappers Australia wide and thank you for your efforts and contribution.

WTSS Activity – Simpson Barracks – 11 December 2019


9 representatives of the Association were invited to join 22 nd Engineer Regiment to participate in a WTSS practice at Watsonia.

The objective of the practice was to give those Association members attending the opportunity of using the latest weapon system and partake in a Range Activity in as close as a realistic setting as possible.

We have to remember that many of the Association members last fired on a Military Range using SLR’s so this weapon was a huge leap not only in rates of fire but weight, sophistication of sights and overall use of the weapon.

Each Association member was assigned an ARA staff member to assist with the practice and ensure that we were at ease with the weapon and its ability. The shoot was in line with the requirements of the current AIRN practice. Believe it or not but there are some still good shots amongst us “oldies”

The morning was an outstanding success for all who attended and no doubt each of us came away with a much better appreciation of this weapon, the facilities available to the current Defence members and thankful that we do not have to face this weapon.

The overall feeling from the group was that if they were provided with the opportunity they would like to participate in another practice.

Our thanks go to MAJ Dan Hayes, CAPT Isaac Thompson and all the staff of 22 ER who came along to coach and guide us – we even had Zeus the Wonder Dog in attendance but he elected not to shoot.

Message from Head of Corps, BRIG John Carey & Corps RSM, WO1 Sean Chainey

Fellow Sappers,

The RSM and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your service to the Royal Australian Engineers in 2019.

The Corps is in a good place. Today our Corps is composed of a great depth of experience, a wide breadth of engineering knowledge, and an incredible force of innovative Sappers – particularly our young leaders. In Iraq and Afghanistan, to PNG and Vanuatu, from Timor to the Philippines, and Antarctica to Jigalong – we are partnering with Engineers from multiple Nations and Services. It is a pivotal time in our history – solidifying the enduring lessons learned from over a decade of combat; ‘Building Great Engineers’ by creating a Corps’ foundation for future multi-domain operations; supporting specific Engineer missions in the Pacific and South-East Asia; and applying all this to the incredible challenges we face in an era of persistent competition, cooperation and conflict. 

As a Corps we provide engineering solutions for our Nation’s toughest challenges. Our mission is to promote national interests, influence vital regions and enable the Joint Force to live, move, fight and win the Nation’s battles. As Sappers we are volunteers bonded with comrades in a shared identity and culture of sacrifice and service. Engineer leaders remain in high demand; when confronted with a problem, Army leadership looks for an Engineer to solve it. We are providing specific enabling capabilities in support of combat missions, special operations, force engineering, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, capacity building, environmental and facility management, technical design, and research and development. Australia’s Sappers are multi-skilled soldiers, combat engineers, tradesmen and engineering professionals. 

I want to especially give a special mention to the RAE Foundation and our Sapper Associations: You have been extraordinary with your support this year to serving and ex-serving members. Thank you for your kindness, advice and generosity.

As we look forward to next year, the Chief of Army’s direction on our future is clear: ‘BUILD GREAT ENGINEERS!’ He wants Sappers to always be first on the scene, and first to fight if required to do so. We should always expect to be last out. To that end, ‘SAPPER 2020 – RAE Corps Conference’ is scheduled for 28-30 April 20 at the School of Military Engineering – make a placeholder in your diary. Further details will be issued. This year we have been forging the plan, we now need to take it to another level. Everybody, including the veteran community, industry, allies and academia will be welcome.

Finally, congratulations to all those who have been promoted at every rank – including MAJGEN. Farewell to each of you leaving Army, please remain in touch and remember, ‘Once a Sapper, Always a Sapper’

We wish you and your Family a happy, healthy and safe Christmas/New Year break. See you in 2020.

All the Best,




Chief of Staff | Headquarters Joint Operations Command

Head of Corps, Royal Australian Engineers

Kings Highway, Bungendore, NSW 2621

“Follow the Sapper!”

Thales Australia Tour – Bendigo, 26 November 2019

Home of the Bushmaster and Hawkei, protected vehicles

Thursday 26 November 2019 saw a gathering of RAE Association (Vic) personnel to attend a very interesting tour of the Thales Plant in Bendigo.

Home to the Bushmaster, the plant currently produces the Hawkei, the next generation protected mobility vehicle.

The Hawkei (named after the Acanthophis hawkei, a species of death adder snake) is a 10,000 kg (GVM) highly sophisticated piece of equipment. It is 5,780mm long, 2,396mm wide and standing 2,300mm high, it comes in variants of Command, Liaison, Special Operations (eg Ambulance), Border Protection and Utility. All variants have the same four wheeled platform. There are over 1,100 vehicles to be built for the Australian Government, Thales are currently building one per day but by March next year that should reach two per day.

Our tour was led by Murray and Andrew from Thales, they gave us a brief run down on the history of the Hawkei and an introduction to the major components and testings that were carried out before we all moved out for a tour of the production line from start to finish. There are 17 assembly stations that put all the preassembled parts together. By seeing the vehicle coming together as you walked from station to station gave us all a very good in sight as to what is involved in the production line, all the way up to dyno tuning the vehicle.

A few fit ones from the group were able to clamber in and take a seat but I find it hard to imagine being cocooned in the vehicle with not much room, wearing all your body armour, equipment and carrying weapons, however, having said all that and given the circumstances and locations these vehicle will be used in, I then can’t imagine a better place I would want to be to feel safe and secure.

An Association plaque was presented to Murray in thanks for their wonderful tour then after photos were taken, we parted with a few going for lunch to the Bendigo Long Gully RSL where we had a delightful meal before returning to Melbourne.

Thanks to all who came, I think a great day was had by all.

Mick Mace Club SME

An email from Helen Mace……..

Good Morning All,

Hoping you are all well copies of photos taken Mick has had a club named after him at Sme School of Mechanical Engineering Sydney

The Mace Centre opened on Nov 7th Anne(younger sister) went up.

Also an annual award to be given out to a Sapper

Warrant Officer Class 2 R.C. Mick Mace MM,BEM Excellence in Engineering Award for 

Most Outstanding Junior Non-Commissioned officer (Australian Regular Army)

Announcement of the 2019 RAE Awards

The attached Order of the Day details those members of the Corps who have been recognised for their various contributions during 2019 – congratulations to all award winners but I would like to particularly highlight 2 award winners namely;

  1. COL John Wertheimer, AM (Retd) who is the Patron of the RAE Association (Vic) Inc.
  2. SPR Abbey Gray who is a member of 22nd Engineer Regiment

The Brigadier General CH Foott CB, CMG Award:

Award for an individual who has rendered outstanding and significant support or service to

the Corps of Royal Australian EngineersColonel J Wertheimer (Retd)

Sergeant M Chalk MG Award 

for Most Outstanding Sapper ARes, Sapper A Gray (22 ER)

We Victorians can be justly proud of the recognition afforded to John Wertheimer and Abbey Gray through these awards and again congratulations to both.


Jim Davis.

Hon Secretary,

RAE Association (Vic) Inc.

Telephone:   0413 479 157



Heidelberg Repatration Hospital, Remembrance Day 2019

Coral Balmoral Memorial, Heidelberg

Waterloo Dinner 2019

Mostly Unsung Military History Research & Publications, Winter Catalogue 2019

Exercise Chong Ju, May 2019

ANZAC Day 2019

New Head of Corps

As many of you would know there has been a change with the Head of Corps (HOC) and I am attaching a letter from our new HOC BRIG John Carey outlining his vision.We wish BRIG Wainwright and his family all the very best in his new adventure.



Jim Davis.

Hon Secretary,

RAE Association (Vic) Inc.

Townsville Floods

Hello Fellow Sappers, 

I write to all in my capacity as a Director of the RAE Foundation. 

None of us could have missed the devastating effect of the recent flood event in Townsville. It therefore wouldn’t surprise you to know that around 40 Sapper families of members of 3 CER were impacted. 3 CER has been offered support for these families from around the Corps and have set up a RTF facility for that support. They have also reached out to the RAE Foundation for support. The RAE Foundation has today offered CO 3 CER a $10,000 immediate impact donation to support families. The Directors have also offered the Foundation’s charitable status as a means by which donors can provide further support to affected families. Donations to the RAE Foundation will receive tax-deductible status and the Foundation will provide raised funds to 3 CER in a coordinated manner, prioritized with the Regimental leadership. 

Donations can be made to the Foundation for flood relief purposes using the following details: 

BSB: 033 508Acc: 1400 72

Name: Royal Australian Engineers Found 

Reference: First name Surname 19FR 

A tax-deductible receipt will be issued by the Foundation. Can I ask that we all get the word out around the Corps family and support 3 CER at this time of need.


Wayne Budd W.G. BUDD


RAE Foundation

Sydney /Canberra Tour 3-5 June 2019

Sydney Canberra Trip 3-5 June 2019
Sydney Canberra Trip 3-5 June 2019
Sydney Canberra Trip 3-5 June 2019
Sydney Canberra Trip 3-5 June 2019
Sydney Canberra Trip 3-5 June 2019

Vietnam Veterans’ Museum Excursion November 2018

Australian War Memorial- Hill 60 Commemoration 2018

Waterloo Dinner 2018

Remembrance Day – Ringwood 2018

Reserve Forces Day 2018

ANZAC Day 2018

Waterloo Dinner 2017