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WW2 Commando Association (Victoria)



The WW2 Commando Association (Victoria) was established in April 1946, by WW2 Independent Companies and WW2 Commando Cavalry Squadron members residing in Victoria, with other State and Territory Associations also beginning around this time. The first Victorian office bearers were K. Mackenzie (president), Mick Sheehan (secretary) and Lloyd Jelbart (treasurer). The Association also embraced members of M and Z units.

Soon after, in 1948, the Double Diamond newsletter was first published, edited by Edward Courtin. It was published until the final issue, number 230, in June 2010. From then on, it was included within the Victorian post-WW2 Commando magazine and newsletter editions until the final Victorian Commando Newsletter 96 / Double Diamond 252 in December 2015 with the introduction of the national Commando magazine.

The first pilgrimage to the Commando memorial plaque in the Shrine gardens was held in September 1956.

In November 1964 the national Australian Commando Memorial was dedicated at Tidal River, Wilsons Promontory. This Memorial was based on an idea put forward by 'Mac' Walker, the former Officer Commanding of 2/4 Commando Squadron, who visited the UK with his wife where they saw the British Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge, in Scotland.Ultimately Francis John ‘Curley’ Papworth is credited with creating the memorial design. Papworth served as an Intelligence Sergeant with the 2/4th Commando Squadron in Borneo, Tarakan and Buna. Papworth created the original concept sketches and diagrams for the Commando Cairn. 

Max Chester, the design architect of the Cairn, was not available to supervise the actual construction phase.

At the dedication Lieut.-General Sir Edmund Herring, who commanded the Commando squadrons during the war, unveiled a 24-foot stone monument of commemoration. More than 500 ex-Commandos from (all states) marched past Sir Edmund. Many of the men met up with their wartime comrades for the first time in almost twenty years. Many were the emotional and heart-felt reunions that occurred over that weekend with men from all states of Australia, and from New Zealand, attending the dedication ceremonies and reunion.

In September 1974 a meeting to discuss the formation of a Victorian “Z” Special Association was held. In October the first official meeting of the “Z” Special Unit Association (Victoria) was held at Duckboard House, Melbourne.

In November 1997 the Victorian ‘Z” Special Association unanimously passed a “Motion of Voluntary Winding Up” and ceased as an organisation. It continued on an informal basis under the auspices of the WW2 Commando Association (Victoria). The post-WW2 Association also strongly supported the informal “Z” Special body in various ways.

The separate state Associations saw the need to form a national body to better represent the interests of its members with the DVA, RSL and government bodies and in 1983 the WW2 National body, the Australian Commando Association, was formed to represent all states, territories and other Commando Associations.

In 1987 the WW2 Association and post-WW2 2 Commando Associations signed a Memorandum of Affiliation in recognition of their mutual friendship and support

In 2010 the WW2 Commando Association (Victoria) made the sad but unanimous decision to disband.  

At the WW2 Commando Association (Victoria) AGM, 17 March 2010, a motion reference Rule 35 (c), “Disbanding of Association’ was passed.

Following the decision to disband, a formal handover meeting between the office bearers of the two Associations was held at the Oakleigh RSL in June 2010 (see photo below)

All WW2 Commando Association (Victoria) current members were automatically transferred to membership of 1st Commando Regiment Association Victoria Inc. Reference, Double Diamond No 230, June 2010. (The final issue.)

Historic photo: the handover meeting in June 2010. From left, Glenn MacDonald, Lindsay Lorrain, Dick Pelling, Peter Beasley, 1st Commando Regiment Association Victoria; Ron Hamilton and Keith Johnston, Commando Association (Victoria).

Back cover photo in Commando, Vol 10 No 77, September 2010.

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