Obituaries: September 2003

MATHIESON, Ormond James (Orm) |  RACE, William (Bill), OAM  |  SINCLAIR, Alexander Morrison (Sandy), MID, PLSGCM. |  WHITROD, Raymond Wells |  WILLIAMS, John Cyril |  FISHER, Ian Campbell, ISM |  FYFE, Douglas | 

 

Ormond James (Orm) MATHIESON (21 June 2003, aged 85)

Orm was born in Victoria and educated in Tamworth, NSW. He became a clerk with Dalgety’s of Sydney before enlisting in 2/2 Machine Gun Battalion 9th Division. He was wounded at El Alamein then discharged for health reason on the Battalion’s return from New Guinea. Postwar he married Mavis Brown and together they had two children, Ron and Jane.

In 1946 Orm signed on to become a Patrol Officer in Papua New Guinea. During his time there he served in a number of districts including postings at Wewak, Aitape, Baniara, Gehua, Kerema, Ihu, Madang, Saidor, Chimbu, HQ, Tapini, Goroka and Kundiawa. They remained in PNG until 1971 when Orm retired as District Commissioner, Eastern Highlands District, to Port Macquarie, NSW, where he remained until his death. Orm is survived by his children Ron and Jane and their families. From Orm’s daughter, Jane Mann  

William (Bill) RACE OAM

(aged 82 years)

 

Bill was with the Department of Health from 1951-74. Further details in next issue.  

Alexander Morrison (Sandy) SINCLAIR, MID, PLSGCM

(Mentioned in Despatches; Police Long Service Good Conduct Medal)

(29 June 2003, aged 99)

Click Here for Sandy’s article : “My life in Papua New Guinea” |  Sandy was born in Dundee, Scotland. In 1921, he joined the Brigade of Guards (Scots Guards) of the British Army, and served for several years in China. In 1929 he migrated to Australia and in late 1934 he joined the European Constabulary of the New Guinea Police Force as a Warrant Officer, 2nd class. In the following years he served at Rabaul police training depot, and at Kieta and Kokopo. When the Japanese invaded Rabaul on 23 January 1942, he was commanding the police detachment at Vunakanau airstrip outside Rabaul. On that day he was told by the Police Superintendent, W.B. Ball, to leave his post and try and escape from the Japs. For the next six weeks he wandered across New Britain, under considerable danger of being captured, until finally he was evacuated along with other police officers, soldiers, civilians and missionaries and taken to Cairns on the Lakatoi. He joined the RAAF in Australia, but because of his experience in New Guinea was transferred to the Army Water Transport unit in Port Moresby. There he came in contact with another former New Guinea Police Force colleague, Christopher Normoyle, then heading the Royal Papuan Constabulary (RPC), to which he was transferred and served until the end of WWII. RPC was a unit within ANGAU, serving in the 8th Military District.

After the war, he remained with the police force, which postwar became known as the Royal Papuan Constabulary and New Guinea Police Force, later to become the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary. When a detachment of this force was selected to attend the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth in London in 1953, Sandy was selected to head this unit of three officers and 23 loyal native members of the force, all of whom had served in WW2. Before and after the war Sandy, because of his army service, was largely involved in the training depots of the police force. He was promoted to the rank of Senior Inspector on 20 March 1952, and retired in that rank on 24 November 1960, following which he lived quietly in Sydney, his wife Gladys having predeceased him some years earlier. He leaves no surviving family members. Sandy was a loyal servant of the police forces of Papua New Guinea, and should be remembered for his great contribution to training indigenous members of the pre-war Native Constabulary and of the postwar Constabulary. M.R. Hayes  

Raymond Wells WHITROD (10 July 2003, aged 88)

Ray Whitrod served in the SA Police from February 1934 to April 1949 (apart from wartime service in the RAAF). He was Commonwealth Police Commissioner prior to PNG – dates not known. Appointed Deputy Commissioner RPNGC (Special Duties – whilst taking over from Bob Cole) on 31 March 1969, and Commissioner from 21 April 1969 (Bob formally retired 19 April 1969) until 31 March 1970, viz a very brief career in RPNGC as Commissioner, for 11 months of which he was overseas. He then went to Qld police, dates not known. Decorations; AC, CVO, QPM. He was on SBS TV, 9 August 2002, Australian Biography. M.R. Hayes  

John Cyril WILLIAMS (31July 2003, aged 82)

John was born in Ipswich Queensland, grew up in Cairns and in his youth did plantation work in New Guinea. He spent the war years with the RAAF and returned to PNG as a cadet patrol officer in April 1946. He served in a number of districts as a field officer until the early 1960s when he went to Headquarters in Port Moresby. For many years leading up to independence he headed the Management Services Division of District Administration with substantial responsibility in all aspects of staff finance in the Department. His long retirement was spent at Port Macquarie where his second wife Eunice died in 1987. He concerned himself with community affairs and was notably active in Probus. He maintained close contact with work-time colleague Orm Mathieson who also recently passed away in Port Macquarie. H.W. West  

Ian Campbell FISHER, ISM (4 June 2003, aged 86)

After training at the Marconi School of Wireless in Sydney as a radio telegraphist in the mid 1930s, Ian joined the merchant marine service as a radio operator and travelled to many parts of the globe including Rabaul (about 1937, before the eruption). When war broke out Ian found himself on armed troopships operating around Africa, the Mediterranean and Europe. After the war, with work being scarce, Ian answered an advertisement for radio operators to help restore communications in the Territory of New Guinea. He arrived in Rabaul in early 1946. His wife Vi and baby daughter Margaret joined him in late 1946 when married accommodation became available. Communications in the war-ravaged Territory were non-existent so it was a challenge to get a reliable service established – on a shoestring budget. From those early beginnings till 1971, when Ian left Rabaul to work in Port Moresby, communications in and to Rabaul, the outstations and Islands had improved dramatically. Automatic telephones had been established in the early 60s, and a good telegram service and reliable daily radio service with outstations was the norm. Ian was in charge of the Rabaul Telegraph Office for many years. At Port Moresby Ian became a radio inspector for about a year and then retired in 1972. He was recognised by the Queen for his service to communications in TPNG by being awarded the Imperial Service Medal in 1972. While in Rabaul in the early 60s, Ian took up amateur radio as a hobby and continued this until arthritis prevented him only last year. He was well known around ‘ham’ radio ranks, operating under call signs VK9VM in TPNG and VK4FB in Australia. Ian and Vi settled at Woody Point, Qld, for about 17 years and then moved to the country at Wamuran near Caboolture, Qld, where Vi passed away suddenly in Sept 2002. Ian had been in ill health for some time with Vi being his carer. His children, Margaret, Glenn, Ian and Janet, and several grandchildren and great grandchildren, survive him. Ian’s son Glenn  

Douglas FYFE (16 August 2003)

Doug’s association with PNG began in the 1950s. He came from Glasgow to join the Education Department as a primary school teacher. He moved around schools in the New Guinea Islands and later was based in Rabaul. After some years teaching he joined the ABC’s Education Broadcasts. His Scottish accent was familiar on radio as that of Form IV quiz master. Doug was a great entertainer, pianist and raconteur. He played for various entertainment groups and dances, and was involved in productions such as the Scout Gang Shows. Doug worked for a short time with the ABC in Sydney then finally retired to Tasmania about twenty years ago, where he was still involved in show production from Scouts to Retirement Village ‘gang’ shows. Doug could enthral his audiences with a yarn or two. Tragically six years ago a stroke deprived him of speech. He was a keen traveller and was brave enough to make a trip back to Scotland alone about four years ago. He has a nephew and sister in Glasgow, and good friends in Hobart. From Doug’s friends, Myra & Rod Macey