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Thursday, 29 January 2015
The Veteran Signature Quilts
Tonight I have the story of some very special quilts. I will concentrate on one of them but there are three quilts in all.
At the beginning of January I received an email from a lady called Marg. She wrote in part
"My husband is a Vietnam Veteran and hence we are members of the Vietnam Veteran's Federation (VVF) SA Branch and we hold monthly bbqs. At the last one I took heaps of 6 ½” squares of homespun and asked the chaps to sign them with the fabric marking pens I supplied. I asked for Service No., Name, Unit, the area of Service overseas, the years, and a short message for a serving member of the defence force. The chaps were lining up to sign one, and hence there were enough patches for three quilts.
The VVF has a quilting group and the Committee has generously supplied us with a roll of Nu-Wool wadding to be used for charity quilts so I would like to acknowledge the “donation” of the VVF on the quilt label."
I was thrilled! I loved the idea and was really touched at the visual image of the blokes lining up to sign the patches. I have heard over and over again from Vietnam Vets how much they "get" what we do. They, more than anyone else, sadly, understand the benefit of support from home on morale. I couldn't wait to see the finished quilts and was thrilled when Marg offered to send one to me so that I could see it before it was sent off.
Here are the other two she made - I am just sorry you can't read all the messages.
And here are photos of the messages on the quilt that I received to send off. Where possible, Marg had given me a little information about the signatory.
Mike Culley – Served with RAEME in Vietnam. He is a Life Member (along with his wife Marg) of the VVF in SA. He is also a former Committee Member.
Herb Ryan – long time Air Force.
Doc Ballantyne – Another strong supporter and Committee Member of the VVF, also a Life Member.
Robin Carbins – Another Life Member and former Treasurer of the VVF in SA.
Roz Connor – Served with the Air Force and is married to a Vietnam Veteran.
Gary Howell – was another RAAF member.
David Easterbrook (known as Max) – Trained in Pathfinders and flew in flew Special Operations in Bomber Command in WWII. Note the postnominals DFC
DFC stands for Distinguished Flying Cross. This is awarded for exceptional valour, courage or devotion to duty performed whilst flying in active operations against the enemy.
Kim Brumfield – is also a current Committee Member of the VVF in SA. He was in the Armoured Corps in Vietnam.
Peter Rogers – (Marg's husband, married 45 years) Was a plumbing apprentice before the Army. Went to Vietnam as an Engineer doing mainly civil aid work. He is retired now living the dream on an acreage and caravaning around Australia each winter. He is a Committee Member of the Vietnam Veterans Federation in SA.
Leith Holder – Was a member of 9 RAR in Vietnam. After the Army his career was spent in another uniform and retired as a Sergeant.
Larry Davenport – Spent his 21st birthday with the Artillery Unit at the Battle for Fire Support Bases Coral and Balmoral in Vietnam in 1968. He is the Public Officer and a Committee Member for the VVF
DG Harding (Dave) – served with 3 RAR in Vietnam, now a voluntary Welfare Officer for the VVF in SA.
Bill Bristow – Served in the Navy in WWII and is now in his 90’s, living the quiet life with long term wife Rita. He said he was very proud to be asked to sign a square.
This patch is perhaps the most moving of them all. Sergeant Andrew Russell was serving with Special Air Service Regiment in Afghanistan on 16 February 2002 when the vehicle he was traveling in struck anti vehicle mine.
Andrew Russell was the first Australian Soldier killed in Afghanistan. Andrew’s parents, Bob & Jan Russell, are strong supporters of younger Veterans. When Marg asked Bob if he wanted to sign a square, Jan asked if she could do one in memory of Andrew as well. They always attend the VVF's monthly BBQ’s. The VVF has a Veterans Retreat called “Camp Andrew Russell”.
And the quilt label
Finally, here is the completed quilt.
All three of these quilts will be sent to be displayed work areas in the Middle East. I hope that they will serve to remind our deployed serving members and their families they they are in our thoughts and will remain so till they are all home safe and sound.
Till next time.................keep speading the word and happy stitching!