Vale December 2013

COHEN, Florence May (18 September 2013) | JAMIESON, James McMichael (29 August 2013) | JOHNSTON (nee Whyte), Lorna (30 September 2013) | KAM ON Leo (5 September 2013) | MACEY, David Arthur (25 September 2013) | STEEGE, Gordon Henry (1 September 2013) | WALL, Eunice Merle (5 September 2013)

Florence May COHEN (18 September 2013, aged 87)

See the tribute HERE


James McMichael JAMIESON (29 August 2013, aged 81)

after a long illness.

Born in Ayrshire, Scotland, he served in the Scots Guard for five years including two years in Cyprus during the nationalist EOKA uprising against British control of Cyprus. During this emergency between 1955-1959, 371 British servicemen lost their lives. After his army service he joined the Ayrshire Constabulary, Scotland, in   which he served for nine years before moving to Australia.

He joined the RPNGC on 25 July 1967 and served in Port Moresby with service throughout PNG as OIC of a riot squad  He resigned on 15 August 1973 on cessation  of his six year contract, at the rank of Inspector (3rd class). On returning to Australia he joined the Commonwealth Police for three years and remained with that force which became the Australian Federal Police (AFP). During this service he returned to Cyprus on several tours of duty with an Australian contingent of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus during the years of inter-communal civil violence between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. He retired from the AFP in 1992 at the rank of Superintendent and for some time later was employed as a tour guide at the new Parliament House, Canberra. He is survived by his carer for the last many years, son William, and three daughters Patricia (who, following her father’s footsteps, joined the AFP), Angela and Pauline.

Any former colleague who may wish to pass on condolences can contact William on (02) 6247 7380. M.R. Hayes


Lorna (WHYTE) JOHNSTON (30 September 2013, aged 98)

She was an outstanding Australian, who inspired so many with her courage and joy for life. As an Army nurse Lorna was taken prisoner by the Japanese in January 1942 in Kokopo, East New Britain, PNG, and endured over three years captivity in Japan. A true Australian, Lorna’s spirit of forgiveness was heartfelt.

Lorna was a generous supporter of the Rabaul and Montevideo Maru Memorial from the start, always remembering those who had been in Rabaul with her. Along with Sister Berenice Twohill, Lorna inspired the ABC telemovie Sisters of War. What a tremendous ambassador for Australia!

Our special thoughts go to her family. Lorna’s funeral was held in Auckland, New Zealand, on Friday 4 October 2013.

Read her tributes in the Library from Andre Heuber  and John Schindler 


KAM ON Leo (5 September 2013, aged 93)

Leo was born in Rabaul on 4 July 1920 and he died in Brisbane.

He went to school in Rabaul, after which he spent several years in Hong Kong and worked in Rabaul and Kavieng. He joined the Chinese Auxiliary Aid Detachment (CAAD) of the NGVR (Chinese were not allowed join the NGVR itself in Rabaul). When the Japanese landed in 1942 he reported for duty and worked with the 2/22nd Battalion Medical Staff during the chaotic escape down the South Coast of New Britain, until ordered by the RMO of the 22nd Bn to destroy his uniform and join the Chinese community at a sawmill at Adler Bay. During his time there he actively assisted members of the Chinese Community with Coastwatcher activities. 

He was eventually ordered back to Rabaul by the Japanese and was there when the War finished.

After the War he opened Chinese Cafes in Rabaul and Lae and later worked as a carpenter in Kainantu and Port Moresby. He later opened a Trade store in Port Moresby and came to Australia in 1977.

His first wife Maria died in Lae of a ruptured appendix shortly after their daughter Rita was born.  He remarried to Ruby two years later and she died in March of this year. After a lot of delay Leo was presented with his WW2 medals in 1993.

Kam (L). He was with the Chinese Auxiliary Aid Detachment (CAAD), with Shui Hong Wong (NGVR) and Ralph Seeto (PNGVR)


David Arthur MACEY (25 September 2013, aged 83)

at Caloundra after a long illness.

He was born in Bristol, England. After service in the Coldstream Guards in Malaysia, Africa and the Middle East between 1948 and 1967, he served for a year in the Huddersfield County Borough Police (Yorkshire). He was appointed to RPNGC on 30 September 1969. He served principally as an instructor at the RPNGC College, Bomana, with other duties as O.I.C. in charge of mobile squads at Mount Hagen and during the Rabaul Mataungan Association troubles in Rabaul and then later in charge of the police armoury at Bomana. After PNG Independence, he separated from RPNGC on 30 July 1976 at the rank of Senior Inspector. On his return to Australia, he worked in the security industry and in small businesses.

He is survived by Margaret and three sons Robert, Nicholas and Graham. M.R. Hayes


Eunice Merle WALL (5 September 2013, aged 85)

Merle Wall, MBE, a well-known identity who spent nearly 30 years on Bougainville from 1954, passed away peacefully in Brisbane on 5 September. Merle will be remembered for her commitment to improving peoples’ lives on Bougainville. Her funeral was held on 13 September in Brisbane at her church, St James Anglican Church, Newmarket. See the tribute to Merle, extracted from her eulogy delivered by John Holland, in the Library .


Gordon Henry STEEGE (1 September 2013, aged 95)

Air Commodore Gordon Henry Steege, DSO, DFC, 30 Oct 1917 – 1 Sept 2013

Gordon SteegeGordon Steege was undoubtedly on of the most outstanding airman of them all. Already a Pilot Officer in the RAAF at the outbreak of World War II, he served as adjutant with 11 Squadron based at Port Moresby until May 1940 and sailed with 3 Squadron to the Middle East. As Flight Lieutenant, he was Wilf Arthur’s flight commander.

In December 1940, flying an antique Glouster Gladiator biplane, he was credited with three confirmed ‘kills’, two ‘probables’ and one enemy aircraft ‘damaged’. In 1941, initially with 3 Squadron, and then as Commanding Officer of 450 Squadron he was credited with another five confirmed ‘kills’ and four ‘damaged’.

Returning to Australia in 1942, he was promoted Wing Commander and commanded 73 Wing (three squadrons of Kittyhawks and one each of Spitfires, Beaufighters and Bostons) at Kiriwina, leading the Kittyhawk squadrons in strafing operations. He took the Kittyhawks and Spitfires to the Admiralty Islands in March 1944, where he was awarded a DSO and promoted Group Captain.

He was Director of Operations at RAAF HQ, when he resigned his commission to become a Patrol Officer and was posted to Esa’ala. He attended ASOPA for six months in 1947, was posted to Kairuku, under ADO Kevin Atkinson in January 1948, to Madang and Bogia in late 1948, and to Manus, as ADO, in mid-1950 from where he resigned because of family ill health.

He re-joined the RAAF as a Wing Commander and commanded 77 Squadron in Korea. Promoted Group Captain, he commanded the base at Canberra, was the Australian Military Adviser’s Representative at the Military Planning Office, SEATO HQ, Bangkok, 1959-60 and then, for four years, Director, Joint Service Plans, at RAAF HQ Canberra. After being promoted Air Commodore he commanded RAAF bases in Australia and Malaysia before being appointed Senior Air Staff Officer, RAAF Headquarters, Operational Command: the position he held till retirement.

Gordon, accompanied by his wife Jennifer, returned to New Guinea in 2007, to visit Jeanette Leahy at Zenag, and to revisit his old haunts at Madang and Manus.

He is survived by Jennifer, son Peter and daughter, Diana.

Gordon Steege’s entry in Wikipedia can be read HERE

In  addition, there are an amazing 7 audio files totalling over 3 hours recording his experiences in WWII on the Australian War Memorial website that can be accessed HERE

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