Lest We Forget

We wish to inform with regret the passing of the following members:

~Bertram J Mettam HQ Coy~
~John W Snowden HQ Coy~
~Kenneth J Crawford HQ Coy~
~Bernard N Jensen C Coy~
~Stanley C Rossiter C Coy~
~John D Roxburgh HQ Coy~
~Fredrick John R Sizeland A Coy~
~Charles Baker HQ Coy~
~Arthur J Perry D Coy~
~George Tite HQ Coy~
~Harold F Saunders C Coy~
~Hal R Thirlwell HQ Coy~
~Walter A Sarkies HQ Coy~


The Ode

'The Ode' comes from the poem 'For the Fallen' by the English poet Laurence Binyon (1869–1943).


'With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children
England mourns for her dead across the sea,
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow,
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again,
They sit no more at familiar tables of home,
They have no lot in our labour of the daytime,
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires and hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the night.

As the stars shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are stary in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

VX38008 Lt. Frank W Nankervis OAM - C Coy -2/29th Battalion AIF

Frank Nankervis (on left) with Barney Davitt, Ken Crawford and John Roxburgh at the Anzac Day March 2007

It is with regret that we record the passing of our president Frank on the 6th April 2008. He was a fine officer and well respected by his troops in Singapore, Malaya and Thailand. The 2/29th Association was formed in 1943 and has had only two presidents, Arthur Wimpole for 39 years, followed by Frank for 26 years. Over the years he has been a great leader understanding the needs of widows and members of the Battalion in general. He will be greatly missed by all.

Frank was to receive the Order of Australia Medal. "For service to the communities of Hurstbridge and Arthur's Creek through a range of veterans' welfare, municipal and service organisations." Frank's honour is being presented to his daughter Kate at Government House on the 11th September 2008.

VX38973 Lt. Colonel John Charles Robertson CO MC VD

Lt Col Robertson was born on 28 October 1894 in Geelong Victoria. He served in the 23rd Battalion (Bn) in WW1 as a Lieutenant and was awarded a Military Cross (MC). Between the wars, he served in the militia and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and battalion commander.

On 17 October 1940, he was appointed Commanding Officer and given the task of forming the 2/29th Bn. Just a few weeks after his appointment, training commenced at Bonegilla before the battalion moved to Bathurst on 24 February 1941 for final training in Australia.

The Battalion was shipped to Singapore on board the transport ship SS Marnix, embarking from Melbourne on 30 July 1941.

Col Robertson Memorial Headstone - Kranji War Cemetery Singapore

After arrival in Singapore on 15 August 1941 the Battalion conducted extensive training in both Singapore and Malaya. The Battalion went into battle against the Japanese at the Battle of Muar on 17 January 1942 and although hopelessly outnumbered they held the Japanese advance for 6 days. On 18 January 1942 Lt Col Robertson was riding pillion passenger on a motor cycle in an attempt to report to 45th Brigade Headquarters at Bakri. Unfortunately he and his driver were severely wounded on encountering a Japanese road block and within a short time of returning to the 2/29th lines, Lt Col Robertson died of his wounds.

His memorial headstone is located in the Kranji War Cemetery Singapore.