3rd Battalion
Royal Australian Regiment
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3rd Battalion
Royal Australian Regiment

Roll of Honour

5976 Sgt. Reginald John Weiland 23/03/65
Lt. David John Brian (5th March 1965)
61207 Sgt. Vincent Phillip Vella 17/05/65
1200029 Pte Larry Richard Downes 17/05/65
37746 Pte Dennis Michael Millane 27/08/65

Malaya (Emergency)
Pte Cecil Charles Anderson 4/03/56
Pte Aeneas John Tulloch 31/01/58
Cpl. D A Seesink 28/02/58(Illness)
Pte Peter Leslie Haynes 23/05/58
Sgt. Maurice Ryan 14/12/58
Pte F. N. O'Sullivan
Pte P. E. White 7/08/64
Sgt. Reginald John "Reno" Weiland 23/03/65

Sergeant ‘Reno’ Weiland of 3 Platoon, ‘A’ Company, 3RAR (28th Commonwealth Independent Infantry Brigade Group, Far East Land Forces) was killed-in-action on 23 March 1965. Weiland and Iban tracker Mudah Anak Jali were killed by a concealed anti-personnel land-mine near the Sarawak-Kalimantan border in Borneo, whilst leading a reconnaissance patrol from Stass.

Memorial services were held at Terendak Army Camp, and in Singapore where he was cremated; Mrs Eiko Weiland from Terendak Camp attended both, and returned to Perth on 27 March with her husband’s ashes for interment. He was memorialised as ‘Reno Weiland’ at a Family Shrub in Karrakatta Cemetery, Nedlands, WA. His name is honoured in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial (panel 3)
The sacrifice of the 26 Australians who lost their lives whilst on active service during the Indonesian Confrontation with Malaysia (24 December 1962 to 11 August 1966) and immediately after was not in vain, serving to uphold the sovereignty of Malaya and permitting the early development of Malaysia as an independent nation.

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29720 Lieutenant
David John BRIAN (1938-1964)
5th March 1964 25 Years

Pinnaroo Lawn Cemetery and Crematorium
Queensland Australia

3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
5 March 1964: Lieutenant David ‘Dhobi’ Brian, Platoon Commander of 11 Platoon, ‘D’ Company, 3RAR died on active service on the Malaya/Thailand Border, peninsular Malaysia (accidental – gunshot wound to the head from an Owen Machine Carbine). Lieutenant Brian was evacuated by stretcher to a Landing Zone, then by RAF Wessex Helicopter to hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. He was originally buried in Terendak War Cemetery in Malacca, Malaysia. His remains were repatriated to Australia on 2 June 2016 in Operation ‘Reunite’, and reinterred in the Pinnaroo Cemetery and Crematorium, Bridgeman Downs, Brisbane on 10 June 2016.    Accidental (Gunshot wound), Malaya/Thailand Border, 5 March 1964,

See: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-29/widow-says-adf-repatriation-husband-killed-overseas-heal-hurt/7455182

Lieutenant Brian’s name was included on a commemorative plaque honouring those Australians who died during Confrontation which was unveiled in the Sarawak Heroes’ Memorial Park in Kuching on 29 August 2016. The plaque was arranged by the SA/NT Branch of the National Malaya Borneo Veterans Association of Australia (NMBVAA).
Lest we Forget

Charters Towers Historical Photo Club-MALAYAN Emergency
Service Voices 

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Sgt Vincent Phillip Vella 17/05/65

17 May 1965: Sergeant Vincent Vella of 3 Platoon, ‘A’ Company, 3RAR (28th Commonwealth Independent Infantry Brigade Group, Far East Land Forces) was killed-in-action in Borneo. Sergeant Vella was killed by a concealed anti-personnel land-mine near the Sarawak-Kalimantan border, whilst leading a reconnaissance patrol from Stass.

Military memorial services were held at Terendak Army Camp, and in Singapore where he was cremated; Mrs M Vella from Terendak Camp attended both, and returned to Australia with her husband’s ashes for interment. Sergeant Vella is commemorated in the Victorian Garden of Remembrance within the Springvale Botanical Cemetery, Melbourne. In Sarawak, Sergeant Vella is honoured on the SA-NT Branch NMBVAA plaque in the Sarawak Heroes’ Memorial Park in Kuching which was unveiled on 29 August 2016.

Two Australians killed in Borneo
Today we pause to remember the life and service of two Australian soldiers who were killed in action whilst serving in Borneo during the Malayan Emergency on the 17th of May 1965. The two men were 1200029 Private Larry Downes, and 61207 Sergeant Vincent Vella.
Both men were from 3RAR and were killed when they stepped on an Indonesian land mine whilst on patrol on the 17th of May 1965. The double fatality brought the Australian death toll to three since the Battalion arrived in the Bau district on the western side of Sarawak the month prior.
Larry was 18 and Vincent was 31 at the time of their deaths.

Lest we Forget
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Pte Larry Richard Downes 17/05/65
by Robert Simpson

Larry Richard Downes was born in Toowoomba on 12th June 1945. He was one of five children to Garth Lindsay Downes and Isobel June (nee Bianchi). The other children were his sisters Sharon, Gail, Trish and brother Paul. During WW2 his mother was working with the women’s land army. They were living near Dalby in a small town called Bell on a farm called “Kingarth”. Bell is a village in the western foothills of the Bunya Mountains. Garth’s father moved to Bell with his parents and was a store keeper; following on from his father Hugh. Hugh and his wife are buried in the Bell cemetery. Hugh was born in Ireland and married in Victoria before moving through New South Wales to Queensland. One of High’s sons, also named Hugh served with the 47th Battalion in WW1 as Private 3054. Larry’s father was a farmer and remained so until his retirement. The family still lives in Bell. From his service records he attended Bell and Dalby district schools. An uncle, William Alexander Downes, served in WW2 under two numbers QX27166 and QX39125.

Larry joined the Regular Army as Private 1200029 on 10th February 1964, aged 18 years and 7 months. The application form for males for enlistment in the Australian Regular Army, Permanent Defence Forces form was signed on 11th January 1964. His address at the time of enlisting was 14 Bernard St. Toowoomba. He worked as a farmer and truck driver for his father from December 1959 to December 1963. Larry was single and gave his next of kin has his mother, Isabel June Downes, “Kingarth” Bell via Dalby. Mrs. Downes was also listed in his records as having a postal address of Box 6 Bell and a phone number of Bell 58. She also signed his certificate of consent form for him to enlist in the Australian Regular Army for 6 years. His hobbies included tennis, football, cricket, water skiing, shooting and rock collecting. He was described as being 1.76 metres tall (5 foot 9 inches), weighing 56.2kg (124 pounds), with green eyes and brown hair. His highest educational standard attained was a scholarship and his religion was stated as Roman Catholic. He was blood group O+ and had small scars on his left knee and a birth mark on his right flank for distinctive marks. Referees to his character were the head teacher at Oakey state School and Fr Justin King, Quilpie. He stated he wished to enter the Army Corps as a (Driver) vehicle mechanic. His suitability form stated his training potential and educational level were suitable and he was medically fit, including CVD safe and his personality adjustment was satisfactory. After completing his recruit and corps training, he was posted to 3RAR on 24th September.
His postings include-

1 Recruit Training Battalion (Trainee Strength) on 10th February 1964
Infantry Centre (Trainee Strength) on 28th May 1964
3RAR on 24th September 1964 as Batman
24th September left on plane from Sydney to Singapore
9th March 1965 plane from Singapore to Kuching
Overseas service Sarawak 9th March 1965 to 17th May 1965

Comments in his individual training – progress record include “works well under supervision and is a clean type of soldier. Should do well in his future service.” “A good average soldier. Is quiet and performs well in the platoon. Recommended for “employment as a rifleman”. His posting in the unit was as “Batman ECN 175”. On his DP 4 Basic Training form he passed all but 2 areas, and on the DP 3 and DP 2 forms he received average scores with 1st class on the SLR and qualified on the GPMG. He was vaccinated against smallpox on 20th March 1964 and for cholera in August 1964 and again in January 1965.

The 3rd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment was posted to Borneo during the Indonesian Confrontation of 1962-1966 as part of the Malayan Emergency. A group photo of reinforcements from the infantry centre in Ingleburn NSW was taken as they waited to board a Qantas 707 at Brisbane in September 1964 and included Larry. The British Government authorised raids inside Indonesian territory in October 1964 after Indonesian commandos had begun crossing the border in the other direction to destabilise the newly-formed Federation of Malaysia. It was an undeclared war against Malaysia. The British sought to keep the Indonesians on the defensive. “The strictest secrecy was observed and the “Claret” operations, as they were known, were aimed at ambushing Indonesian troops and supply parties as they moved towards the border”, Colonel Horner wrote. It took a quarter of a century for these facts to come out. Australian troops joined British and Malaysian security forced patrolling the borders against Indonesian raids. He was involved in marches and operations while there. Patrols usually lasted 10 to 14 days and up to 10 kilometres inside Indonesian territory. A photo of him on a march is online at the Australian War Memorial and shown above.

The 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, which arrived in Sarawak in March 1965, conducted 30 Claret operations. Twelve were reconnaissance patrols and the remainder were ambushes or fighting patrols; of these, four resulted in successful contact. While based near Sarawak on 17th May 1965 with 3 platoon of A Company 3RAR, they left their base at Stass on a reconnaissance patrol through the jungle. As they approached a well-known border crossing between Indonesia and Malaysia, used to infiltrate into the area, Larry stood on a “jumping jack” land mine (an American WW2 M2A3 anti-personnel land mine) when he stepped off the track into the jungle.

The explosion killed him instantaneously, due to horrific injuries, and also Sergeant Vincent P Vella, the acting platoon commander. Sergeant Vella was a married man from Queenstown Tasmania.

A letter from A J Forbes minister for the army was sent to his mother; “It is with deep regret that I have learned that your son 1200029 Private Larry Richard Downes has been killed in active service on 17 May 1965 at Sarawak. I desire to convey to you in your sad bereavement my sincere personal sympathy as well as that of the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia and of the Military Board.” It was delivered at 11.30am on 18th May 1965.

Larry is remembered on the wall at the Australian War Memorial on panel 3 in the Roll of Honour and he is buried at Kranji Military Cemetery Singapore. (He was originally buried at Ulu Pandan Military Cemetery Singapore on 21st May 1965 in plot 5B. row B. grave 7, but in 1971 due to construction he was exhumed and transferred to Kranji War Cemetery). His damaged L1A1 self-loading rifle is on display at the Australian War Memorial as are pictures of him. The AWM also has a film of 3RAR in Borneo which includes shots of a visit by members of 3 Platoon to the grave of Pte Larry Downes KIA Borneo. He is now buried at Kranji War Cemetery, Plot 14 Row B Grave 13.

A letter from Prudential Assurance Company about 1200029 LR Downes policy no. A128994, certificate no. 4351 was sent to Base Records for claim to establish that the deceased was the person assured by the policy. They needed: – d.o.b. 12.6.45 Toowoomba, date of enlistment 10.2.64 place of enlistment – Brisbane, Occupation prior to- Farming and truck driver, address prior to enlisting – 14 Bernard St. Toowoomba. Place and cause of death – Sarawak, Borneo, killed on active service (mine explosion) was the reply back from central army records office.

A note to 3 RAR members from Base Records read, “Mother states member had tape recorder player and radio, watch, silver cigarette case, wallet of photos. Please investigate and forward items together with any other effects”. Lt. Goodwin went through his inventory in Borneo and sent sandbag as well as pack etc. Another note in reply stated that his personal effects were dispatched by 3RAR on 25th May 1965 for delivery direct to Australian Army and a written note has personal items mentioned were not on inventory.

A series of letters and messages starting with letter from Major R F Cowie in Ashgrove who received a distressing letter from Larry’s mother stating she was trying to get a tape recorder and tapes, which he paid $400 Malay for, a record player and radio combined, one watch, a cigarette case and a wallet of photos and she was seeking assistance to look into this. The reply stated that he had no effects other than a wallet and photos and asked to find out how she knew of them and he would follow through more. They talked to the soldier who packed the effects. Further discussion found out Downes often borrowed tape recorder of Dwyer’s and none of those other items were sold by NAAFI to Downes. His watch was deemed to be irrecoverable due to damage as he was wearing it at the time and also his cigarette case.
A letter from Carvosso and Winship solicitors at Dalby regards estate of L R Downes, who were contacted by his mother to attend to it, would need his will and 3 certificates of death copies to forward on to interested parties. A letter from Mrs Downes on 17th May 1966? stated she had read in the newspaper about applying for a badge for mother of servicemen killed overseas and if she was entitled to one. On 2nd June 1966 a photo of his grave at Ulu Pandan was sent to her.

The last record in service file is most poignant – a warning letter (in jest) done up to send to parents or family saying he will be home in 200 days (signed by him) with points like lock up your daughters, get civvies out of moth balls, saying he might be suffering a bit from Malayantitis and how to treat him if he does strange things.

His medal entitlement is the General Service Medal with clasps Borneo and Malay Peninsula and also the Australian Active Service medal with clasp Borneo and Australian Defence Medal. The GSM was sent to his mother on 23rd June 1966. His mother also received a Mothers and Widows badge number A13599 which was sent on 7th March 1967. The museum has the actual mine casing in perfect condition, including the tripping mechanism and also a shrapnel fragment from the explosive which had been embedded in a nearby tree. It was dug up in 1964 by a member of the Assault Pioneer Platoon in 3 RAR after the incident and brought back to Australia.

Display at Museum
ANZAC Biographies
On our website you will find the biographical details of ANZAC (as well as British) servicemen & women
whose medals or other memorabilia form part of the collection belonging to the
Maryborough Military & Colonial Museum,
Maryborough, Queensland, Australia.
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Pte Dennis Michael Millane
Born 1943 Victoria Australia
Died: 27/08/65
Age 22 Melbourne City, Victoria Australi
Springvale Botanical Cemetery

On the Roll of Honour for Borneo Campaign.

3 R.A.R.

AWM Records 37746 Pte Dennis Michael Millane

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Cpl. David Arthur Seesink 28/02/58(Illness)
Pte Aeneas John Tulloch 31/01/58
Cpl. Peter Leslie Haynes 23/05/58

Accidental (Gunshot wound-non battle casualty.
Sgt. Maurice Ryan 14/12/58
Pte P.E. White 7/08/64
Pte F. N. O'Sullivan
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The 3 RAR Internet site gratefully acknowledges the assistance of 101 design of Wollongong. www.101design.com.au