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SAS Historical Foundation News and Events
WA Premier Visits the SAS Historical Collection
A volunteer member of the SAS Historical Foundation (SASHF) recently had the opportunity to speak briefly with the Premier of WA, the Honourable Mark McGowan MLA. The Premier advised that he had never visited the SAS Historical Collection (SASHC) and would be delighted to do so. Accordingly, a formal invitation was extended to the Premier.
Given the proximity of his visit to Remembrance Day, the Premier was greeted by CO and RSM SASR and escorted to the Garden of Reflection where he laid a wreath at The Rock.
Chairman SASHF hosted the Premier for the tour of the SASHC.
2 SAS Squadron Reunion
SASR was deployed for operational service in the Vietnam War from June 1966 to October 1971. Each Sabre Squadron, 1, 2 and 3 had two tours of duty. The Viet Cong referred to SAS soldiers as ‘Phantoms of the Jungle’ due their camouflage, concealment, stealth and ability to disappear from action without a trace.
The last members of 2 SAS Squadron were withdrawn from Vietnam on 10 October 1971. The Squadron served with distinction in Vietnam and significantly contributed to the overall reputation of the Regiment. Some of the Squadron’s Vietnam veterans served for many more years in SASR, committed to capability development in the newly formed Training Squadron and were highly regarded by their peers.
Former members of 2 SAS Squadron resident in WA, from both tours of duty, held a reunion over the period 6 to 9 October 2021 comprising several events held at Campbell Barracks, the home of SASR.
The SAS Historical Foundation had the privilege of hosting the reunion participants for a tour of the SAS Historical Collection.
SAS Resources Fund Charity Dinner Table Gifts
One of the events conducted during 2014 to celebrate SASR’s 50th Anniversary was a ball held at the Perth Entertainment and Convention Centre. The ball tickets were a double-sided blister pack penny card incorporating a copper coin representing a penny from 1964.
Subsequently, the SAS Resources Fund Charity Dinner Committee has sought the assistance of the SAS Historical Foundation to produce similarly designed blister packs as table gifts for attendees at their annual dinner
The theme of the 2021 dinner is the 25th Anniversary of the Black Hawk helicopter accident.
The blister pack designed by the Foundation incorporates an artwork by renowned military artist Ian Coate, entitled ‘Salute’, and a cartoon drawn by Dean Alston.
‘Salute’ depicts the service held at the SASR Memorial to commemorate the 15 SASR personnel killed in the accident.
The cartoon depicts those 15 soldiers being welcomed into heaven by SAS comrades who had gone before them. The original cartoon drawing was offered for auction to raise immediately needed financial support for the deceased soldiers’ families. A group of serving and former Australian SAS personnel successfully bid for the cartoon to ensure that it stayed within the SAS Family.
The badges on the penny are those of SASR and 5 Aviation Regiment.
2 SAS Squadron Whiskey
The SASHF and Whipper Snapper Distillery have collaborated to produce a bottled Upshot Australian Whiskey to acknowledge the history of 2 SAS Squadron.
Established in 2014 by two passionate whiskey drinkers, brother in-laws Alasdair Malloch and Jimmy McKeown, Whipper Snapper Distillery was born from an idea shared that a new era of Australian whiskey could be crafted with its own identity, redefined, while still being authentic, quality whiskey helping to shape the future of the Aussie distilling industry.
Initially inspired by a recipe passed down from two heroes in war, an American and Australian pilot during WW2, to the modern Aussie expression of today, Whipper Snapper are passionate about using 100% local West Australian grains and highlighting innovation and sustainability.
As Western Australia's first urban distillery, the significance of provenance shapes Whipper Snapper’s award-winning whiskies. As a true craft distillery, everything is created on-site in Perth.
Whipper Snapper also boasts a specialty coffee bar, an eclectic tasting room, and a team of passionate whiskey educators offering tours and masterclass throughout their distillery at 135 Kensington Street, East Perth, seven days a week.
2 SAS Squadron was a sub-unit of SASR, which was established on 4 September 1964.
The Squadron was deployed on operational service to Borneo from January to July in 1966, and to Vietnam from February 1968 to February 1969, and again from February 1971 to October 1971.
2 SAS was disbanded in November 1971 as part of organisational restructuring within SASR. The need for additional personnel for domestic counter terrorism duties saw the Squadron re-raised in January 1982.
2 SAS Squadron was disbanded a second time in January 2006 to again accommodate internal organisational restructuring of SASR but was re-raised in mid-2008 for service in Afghanistan.
Force elements of 2 SAS Squadron were deployed to Bougainville, the Solomon Islands, Arabian Gulf, Malaysia, Iraq, Sinai, the Gulf States, Fiji, Afghanistan, the South-West Pacific, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, the Ukraine, Kuwait, Rwanda, Somalia, East Timor, Op Gold and the Southern Ocean.
2 SAS Squadron was removed from the Army Order of Battle in November 2020.
Limited and Standard Editions of the Whipper Snapper Upshot Australian Whiskey were produced.
Alasdair and Jimmy presented the Number 1 bottle in the Limited Edition to the SAS Historical Foundation’s Chairman, Mr Greg Mawkes. This bottle will be retained for auction at an appropriate time and event.
Black Hawk Helicopter Disaster 25th Anniversary Gift
The Black Hawk helicopter accident of 12 June 1996 tragically claimed the lives of 15 members of the Special Air Service Regiment and 3 members of the 5th Aviation Regiment. During the months that followed the accident, the 5th Aviation Regiment received approximately 900 letters, signals, faxes and cards from all over the world.
Those messages of condolence, and the many newspaper articles produced after the accident, were collated and incorporated into a bound book. Only 38 books were produced, with one allocated to each Regiment and the remainder given to the families of those who lost their lives in the accident.
A former Regimental Sergeant Major of 5th Aviation Regiment, ‘Titch’ Preston, has kindly gifted a copy of the book to the SAS Historical Foundation to mark the 25th Anniversary of the tragedy. The National Secretary of the Australian SAS Association, Mr Steve Paterson DSM, presented the book to the Chairman of the Foundation, Mr Greg Mawkes MBE, as Titch was unable to travel to WA.
The book will be located within the SAS Historical Collection for viewing by visitors.
The 5th Aviation Regiment commemorated the 25th anniversary of the 1996 Black Hawk accident, with a service at The Palmetum in Townsville, including a helicopter formation flypast.
Member for Curtin Visits SAS Historical Collection
The Stronger Communities Programme provides each of the 151 Federal electorates with $150,000 to fund small capital projects. These projects aim to improve local community participation and contribute to vibrant viable communities. Federal Members of Parliament (MPs) identify potential projects and invite applications from their electorate.
Campbell Barracks, Swanbourne, the home base of the Special Air Service Regiment and location of the SAS Historical Collection, is in the Federal electorate of Curtin. The SAS Historical Foundation has applied for and been successful in receiving Stronger Communities Programme grants, which have been used to improve the experience of visitors to the Collection.
The Foundation invited the Member for Curtin, Celia Hammond MP, to view the Collection, with emphasis on where the grants monies were spent. The tour also included paying respects in the SASR Garden of Reflection, and a behind the scenes look at the workshops and facilities provided to the volunteers.
Ms Hammond expressed her surprise at the extent of the Collection and was complimentary about the standard of the exhibitions. Ms Hammond also appeared to enjoy the humour injected into the tour commentary.
While acknowledging the need for security at Campbell Barracks, Ms Hammond was of the view that access to the Collection by the wider public would lead to a greater appreciation of the outstanding contribution by SASR to the defence of Australia and the sacrifices made by families of the soldiers.
Ms Hammond was accompanied by her Electorate Officer, Katie Adrigan Hondros.
Katie is the niece of Sergeant George Terrence Baines, who was accidentally killed in Vietnam in 1968 while serving with 1 SAS Squadron. As Katie was born many years later, she had little knowledge of her uncle’s service circumstances. However, the Museum Guide escorting Ms Hammond and Katie, Mr Greg Mawkes, had served with George Baines in Vietnam and was a member of the same Patrol. Greg provided Katie with relevant information about her uncle’s service in the Australian SAS.
Katie was shown declassified Patrol Reports of missions in Vietnam where her uncle was the Patrol Commander with Greg as the Patrol Signaller. Katie was also presented with a photograph of her uncle taken in Papua New Guinea where he was undertaking pre-deployment training for Vietnam. The photograph now sits on Katie’s desk in Ms Hammond’s electoral office.
Premier’s ANZAC Student Tour 2021
The Premier’s ANZAC Student Tour is a WA Education Department program for secondary students in Years 8/9 and Years 10/11. The program focusses on study and investigations into Australia’s military history and its consequences, with emphasis on the ANZAC heritage.
Since 2004, 216 students have travelled to Belgium, England, France, Greece, Malaysia, Singapore, Turkey, or Vietnam.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic restrictions on international travel, the 2020 and 2021 student cohorts were amalgamated. From 16 to 26 April 2021, the students travelled to Kununurra, Broome, Rottnest Island and Albany. The historical education program focused on:
· the ANZAC legacy in the context of Western Australia’s pastoral heritage;
· nation building between the wars; and
· defence of the home-front during World War II.
While in Perth the students were invited to view the Special Air Service Historical Collection, located in Campbell Barracks, Swanbourne. The students conducted their own commemorative service in the SASR Garden of Reflection, reciting The Ode, observing a minute’s silence and laying a wreath.
The Special Air Service Regiment added to the student’s experiences by providing a display comprising a Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat, a Long-Range Patrol Vehicle, and a Military Working Dog and handler.
The students were also presented with a ‘show bag’ of goodies comprising Australian Defence Force recruiting information and memorabilia from the SAS Historical Foundation’s Museum Shop.
Daily tour diaries were written by selected students. The following was written by Lucy Lonnqvist and Darcy Reid after the visit to Campbell Barracks:
Tour diary, Day 7: Perspective
To be interconnected is to rely upon multiple people or parties to fulfill each other’s needs; by sharing knowledge and passing on resources, we thrive as individuals. Today, the Premier’s Anzac Student Tour group learnt that interconnection is a value that the Special Air Service Regiment depend on greatly to ensure successful operations and cohesion. By taking a step back from our surreal feelings and overwhelming impressions of being inside the gates of Campbell Barracks, we were able to draw lines of comparison between our interconnectivity as student representatives of Western Australia, to the interdependence of the SAS soldiers in their deployment as representatives of our nation.
This sense of interconnectivity becomes apparent when you make links between our service as students on the Premier’s Anzac student tour, and that of the SAS soldiers: On this tour, we have travelled from the Kimberley to the inner-city, witnessed how landscapes have shaped cultures, and engaged with a diverse range of people united by our purple uniforms; these same principles apply to the SAS soldiers on a much broader, global scale, as seen during our tour through the Campbell Barracks. We noticed how, over the course of multiple conflicts, the same principles of exploring distinct environments and conversing with locals, travelling all the while with a bonded, tight-knit team shaped by the inclusivity of a uniform, a formerly atomised group of individuals come to depend on each other to survive and thrive.
Today we were incredibly fortunate to be toured through the historical artefacts of the Special Air Service Regiment, and investigate the role of the SAS, guided by a Vietnam veteran Captain Greg Mawkes. Greg’s wealth of SAS knowledge presented us with unique insights into individual experiences during warfare. However, we were also exposed to much larger, more complex ideas such as the ambiguity of warfare through the rise of modern technologies in counterterrorism. To be allowed to walk beyond the steel gates of Campbell barracks, guided by a Vietnam veteran, was a privilege, and words cannot express our gratitude towards Special Air Service Regiment for hosting us today.
The 2021 Premier’s ANZAC Student Tour combined tour journal can be viewed at here
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