During WW2 and into the early 1960’s, the Army had a very large Ordnance centre at Bandiana in northern Victoria. It had its own railway line, sidings and a mass of buildings that housed all sorts of stores and military equipment. In one of the old buildings (around 1940’s vintage) is the Army Museum. It houses an impressive collection of historical items and would take about a half day of time to see everything properly. It is open to the public, except on Sundays and Public Holidays.
We spent the morning there on Friday, along with other past and current members of 26 Transport Company / Troop and 85 Transport Platoon, to present an historical flag to the museum. The flag had flown over the Company HQ during its first year in Vietnam and was the first flag of the RAASC (Royal Australian Army Service Corps, now the Royal Australian Corps of Transport) to fly outside Australia since World War 2. It has not been on display since 2001 when we at 85 Transport carried it in the Vietnam Veterans Day March iin Melbourne in 2001. We 85’ers paid for the restoration and framing of the flag so that it could become a permanent exhibit in the museum.
The flag was presented by Brigadier (Ret) Geoff Christopherson who was the first OC of 26 Company in Vietnam and was unveiled by WO2 Naomi Rockliffe and Robert Bruce of the 85 Transport Association.
In addition to presenting the flag, Lt Col (Ret) Paul Asbury handed over a disk containing a collection of photographs that illustrate the history of the unit in Vietnam to Major Marcus Luciani, the current OC of 26 Squadron RACT.
I had the honour of presenting a copy of my diary that I had kept in Vietnam to Major John Nelson the Manager of the Museum for him to include in the museum library. Who knows, someone might just find it interesting and of some historical value in the future. Aside from all the formality, it was just great to meet up with old friends again over dinner and lunch.