The Borneo Graveyard – A Book by OCS Graduate John Tulloch (Dec 66)

Date Change

Please note that there has been a date change to the launch due to the Codiv-19 infection. The March launch has been postponed.

The book will now be launched with SABAH UBIQUE in August (see below for planned dates).

The Book
The Borneo Graveyard

John Tulloch is a December 1966 graduate of OCS who has served in the New Zealand and British artillery.

The launch of John’s book ‘The Borneo Graveyard’ will be at the Hyatt Regency Kinabalu, in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah on 12 March 2020.

John started his research for the book in in 2008, and his writing of the book began in 2015.  The book is now complete and is 492 pages, hard covered and is being published by a Kota Kinabalu publisher.

The back cover of ‘The Borneo Graveyard’ gives us an insight into what it is about:

Borneo, the land of the head hunters, was a World War II graveyard for POWs, internees, locals, Javanese and Japanese.

The narrative follows the raising of five Royal Artillery air defence regiments in 1939, their deployment in late 1942 to South East Asia, their short campaign in the Netherlands East Indies and eventual captivity as POWs in Java and North Borneo.

The account describes the invasion of Borneo and the subsequent four years of Japanese occupation.  It depicts the sadistic treatment of Australian, British, Dutch and Indian POWs in the various POW camps in North Borneo at Jesselton, Sandakan, Ranau, Labuan and Batu Lintang.  There were three Death Marches from Sandakan to Ranau.

The internee account covers the men, women and children from all over Borneo interned in Batu Lintang.  They experienced the unspeakable behaviour of the guards.  Several internees were killed or massacred trying to escape the Japanese regime or gratuitously executed before liberation.

The locals of Borneo suffered terribly.  Torture, executions and massacres occurred throughout. Malnutrition, starvation and death were endemic.  Tribes exacted their revenge and over 8,000 Japanese died during their withdrawals in Sabah.

The secretive Z Force gathered intelligence, trained local guerrilla fighters who harassed and exacted a heavy toll on the Japanese. The Australian military engaged in bitter fighting in the liberation of Borneo.

Finally, convalescence at Labuan followed by repatriation to the UK and the dreadful wall of silence experienced by so many of the returning FEPOWs and internees to the UK.

This disturbing history portrays the horror of the Japanese occupation of Borneo.

It is why the book is called ‘The Borneo Graveyard’.

John and the publishers have timed the release of ‘The Borneo Graveyard’ so it precedes VJ Day and ‘SABAH UBIQUE’, which is the Royal Artillery Act of Remembrance to be held in Sabah in mid to late August 2020.  John is also involved in the organising ‘Sabah Ubique’ and when he has the details he will send them to me for forwarding to you guys.

Planned Events

At this stage John has advised that SABAH UBIQUE will include:

  • 15 Aug (Sandakan Day). Held at Sandakan annually. The British and Australian High Commissioners attend. After the Service, the RA Marching Contingent (20-30), start their 164 mile walk along the DM route to Ranau arriving on the 25/26 Aug. That is the RA Act of Remembrance.
  • 27 Aug. The RA Service of Remembrance will be held in the English Garden, Kundasang War Memorial, near Ranau. Why this date? On 27 Aug 45, the last 15 Australian and UK POWs were executed. Attendance VVIPs, VIPs, locals, Australians and Brits.
  • Further activities being planned.

OCS Portsea Insignia Project

This project was the precursor to the 6/83 OCS Ring Project – see separate Post for details.

25/10/2019 The project continues to move on with a new series of drawings plus an offer to share the final drawings with OCS classes. If you want access to these then contact Ash Pagett. A compressed file holding all files is available here for your use. Projects – OCS Portsea, Insignia FA (2019)

Here is a list of drawings that will be available:

  • B&W Insignia FA:
    • On White Background
  • Colour (Two-tone Silver/Gold) Insignia FA:
    • On White Background
    • On Transparent Background
    • On Transparent Background, With Narrow White Border (Like OCS Ring Oval & Circle)
    • On Blue/Red Background (Small Vertical Rectangle Shape)
    • On Blue/Red Background (Small Vertical Rectangle Shape), With Narrow White Border (Like OCS Ring Oval & Circle)
    • On Blue/Red Background (Large Horizontal Rectangle/Flag Shape)**
    • On Blue/Red Background (Large Horizontal Rectangle/Flag Shape)**, With    Narrow White Border (Like OCS Ring Oval & Circle)

December 1984 – 35 Year lunch – 14 December

In celebration of the upcoming 35 year anniversary of the OCS graduating class of December 84, I’ve organised a booking for lunch at the Portsea Hotel from 1130 on Saturday 14 December for as many cadets, staff and family members as are willing/able to attend. This year the celebration will be informal with dress casual; partners, children, grandchildren and other family members welcome; come and go as it suits; a-la-carte dining and most importantly, enjoyment of good company.

To help with the administration, I’d be grateful if you could get back to me (ian.peek2@defence.gov.au) by Friday 8 November with a best estimate of whether you can attend or not; and if you can, roughly the numbers of adults and children etc. That’ll be all I need until Friday 29 November when I will need to let the Hotel know more accurate numbers.

…….extend the invitation to the MIAs if you have any contact with them at all. Our list of Staff contacts in particular is extremely sparse, and I’m sure we’d all like to see as many of those former DS of all ranks who helped not only launch or boost our military careers, but who also helped shape the men we’ve became over the period since graduation.

Thanks and best wishes to all of you until we meet again.

Please contact class members for more details and to book.

OCS Ring Proposal

The Class of June 83 is working on a proposal to have an OCS Graduation Ring designed. Design is in progress as shown by the image below.

More information will be provided through class orderlies as the design firms up. If interested, you could contact Ash Pagett through your class orderly who has further information and direct contact details.

4/10/2019 We have just received sample photos of the design as done for 1RNZIR.

Indicative prices will depend on final design. The following are prices for the above rings and depend on the price of gold.

  • White Lustrium                                 AUD $499
  • Silver/Platinum                                 AUD $699
  • 6K Yellow Gold                                  AUD $899
  • 10K Yellow or White Gold             AUD$1399
  • 14K Yellow or White Gold             AUD $1899
  • 18K Yellow or White Gold             AUD $2099

15/11/2019 Since designing the earlier OCS Portsea ring concept in consultation with the project’s early supporters (from multiple classes), the project team has since completed technical final artwork (FA) for the manufacturers we have shortlisted.

See this file containing the range of OCS Portsea (OCSP) rings we designed, in both white precious metal (WPM) and yellow gold (YG).  The images are shown below.

   

Recently, we requested design proposals from several shortlisted vendors and have whittled the list down to 2-3 finalists and we are now in the process of evaluating their design and commercial proposals.

We anticipate the winning designs being available for posting on the project’s blog by the end of Nov. 2019.

Subsequently, prototype rings should be available as photographic product models by year-end 2019 or early Jan. 2020 at the latest.

Once the rings have been supplied to the project’s early supporters (from multiple classes), class 6/83 “2020 SE Asia Reunion” attendee buyers, and class 6/83 buyers by end Q1, 2020; then ring orders will be opened up to all OCS Portsea alumni buyers who are interested.  We expect from Q2, 2020 onwards.

Eventually, orders will be able to be placed by individual OCS Portsea alumnus buyers directly with the vendor(s) selected.  Our project team and class 6/83 has no profit motive and has completed this project as a public service to the OCS Portsea alumni community.

“Design once, use many times.”

16/12/2019 Update

  • Having whittled down its vendor shortlist to two finalists (one US and one Australian), the OCS Portsea Ring Project subsequently received only one vendor’s design proposal on time.
  • The proposal submitted on time was from the US vendor finalist. A belated design proposal from the Australian vendor is still awaited.
  • The US vendor finalist has proven to be very accommodating of the project’s requirements. Their design proposal (below) conforms exactly with the project’s original design concept and technical drawings.
  • Accordingly, the US vendor’s latest revision of their oval face design proposal has been ACCEPTED.
  • With the ring’s oval face design proposal now accepted, the project is now focusing on the customisable text elements and commercial matters prior to placing some initial prototype orders.
  • Owing to technical constraints, the intended range of ring standard model configurations has been reduced from three to two (below).
  • As OCS Portsea’s livery colours evolved over time, to appease the different eras of graduates the ring’s background colours will also be customisable. With two red and two blue colour options to choose from.
  • So, all eras of OCS Portsea alumni should be able to select the colour scheme that resonates with them the most.
  • In addition to oval class-signet rings; matching cuff links, lapel pins, tie pins/clips, necklace pendants and other quality merchandising products are planned.

2/01/2020 Update

ADDENDUM (02/01/2020):

  • On reflection, I was a little disappointed to notice that our Australian vendor finalist’s prototype is not true to our technical final artwork that we provided them.  See annotated picture below.
  • Alas, an argument for the vendor following our selection process properly and getting their design proposal accepted before going into prototype production.
  • In any event, I will raise the design and quality issues noted below with the vendor.  Hopefully, they will be receptive to correcting the issues raised.

  • UPDATE – FOR PROJECT SUPPORTERS (02/01/2020):
    • Happy New Year everyone and best wishes for 2020!
    • Our OCS Portsea Ring Project is off to a flying start.  Just as well, as my recent/ongoing email provider problems and the year-end Christmas rush resulted in the project falling behind schedule.
    • Anyway, our project’s dual source strategy just got a major boost, which may help to get our timeline back on schedule.
    • Specifically, our Australian vendor finalist in Melbourne, VIC — having missed the earlier design proposal deadline of 27 Nov. 2019 — is now attempting to make up the lost ground and confidence.
    • They are proactively producing a “proof of concept/capability” prototype — at their own expense.
    • Presently, the prototype is still a work in progress, sans the contrasting centre lion/crown crest insert and background enamel colour scheme.  See picture below.
    • While some minor imperfections are visible and need further refinement, it looks very promising.  So, this new development augurs well for a “Made In Australia” option.
    • The prototype edges (mold?) could do with refinement and hopefully reduce the texture on the non-enamel recessed backgrounds too.
    • However, once the crest insert and background enamel has been added, it should be acceptable — subject to the above refinements.
    • I think they’re using a mold process rather than die press (stamping)?  Anyway, a promising prototype.
    • We eagerly await images of their completed prototype in due course.
    • Meanwhile, we are still waiting for the US vendor finalist to confirm the “top size” or oval face dimensions in mm (in relation to their price list) prior to placing our pending prototype firm orders with them.

11/02/2020 Update

  • Greetings from dusty Delhi, India.
  • After permanently relocating to Puteri Harbour, Malaysia recently; your project manager (Carl 6/83) is in Delhi, India on a secret mission.  Alas, a long awaited and much anticipated hair transplant — believe it or not.
  • Currently, I am five days post op hiding out in a Delhi hotel room.
  • Anyway, for the above personal reasons, kindly forgive my belatedly getting around to progressing our OCS Portsea Ring Project.
  • Please find below an image of the revised (Prototype 2.0) combined design and prototype proposal from our Australian vendor finalist.
  • The prototype is of the OCSP-RYG standard model configuration in default 14K yellow gold and garter blue/red colour way.
  • In my absence, Ash Pagett 6/83 will be taking delivery of the prototype in Australia for formal design and prototype quality assurance purposes.  A prerequisite to opening up the project for orders, in the earlier mentioned order of march.
  • Your acceptance (or not) feedback regarding this prototype 2.0 proposal would be greatly appreciated.  Email: carl.corbett@azea.com

Class of December 67 – Reflections

The Class of December 67 gathered at Cooroy, QLD, recently for some reflections on the years that have passed. Ian Gill provided an insightful address to those attending.

Reflections December 67

OCS Class Dec 67 Reunion - Memorial Service at Cooroy, QLD, 17 September 2019.

Rear L to R:  Paul Asbury, David Honeychurch, Geoff Campbell, Greg White, Ian Gill, Ian Campbell, Paul Tys (hidden), Barry Sydes, Terry Curtis (staff), Geoff Stooke, Ron Smith, Mike Downey, Jim Brown.

Front L to R:  Peter Muir, John Edwards, Alastair MacKenzie, Terry Reason, Allen Valentine, Sam Komarowski, John Alcock.

Ian’s notes are attached for your reading. OCS Reunion 2019 _Reflections_

Class Photographs

We are slowly putting together more detail to return the site to something that Bob de Haas would be proud of. There are challenges that we uncover from time to time. Our current one is simple yet challenging.

Class photos are gradually being added. We are up to 1960 and moving.

We have all the class photographs plus names that accompany each photo indicating those present, and in some instances those absent!!! On checking though, some of our eagle eyed helpers have identified some small errors in the lists.

If you are able to help provide an accurate listing of names as seated/standing, preferably from your class list, please contact us so we can discuss the list with you. Leave a Comment or use the Contact Us form.

Thank you for your assistance.