Chairman’s report for 2018

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT TO 2018 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

2018 QUIET LION TOUR. Senior Vice Chairman Ian Holding, Secretary Krishna Vanderweide and Tour Leader David Piesse managed the 2018 Tour. Neil MacPherson was the travelling ex POW. Harry Martin travelled privately. Alan MacPherson assisted where required. Ian and David will provide this meeting with reports on the tour. Subsidizing juniors remains an objective.

2019 QUIET LION TOUR. Planning for the 2019 Tour is well under way with the tour team working to ensure another successful tour. Ian Holding will inform this meeting of the details.

MEETINGS. Committee meetings have been held as required and Ian Holding has been kind enough to host the meetings at his residence. WEB SITE. Roland Lockhart continues to carry out the technical side of managing the website. We owe him a debt of gratitude. The web site assists in generating and maintaining interest in the BTRMA and we now have regular queries which we answer or refer to a source of information. NEWSLETTER. Elizabeth Brennan collates the newsletter and Ian Holding continues to do a great job in printing and distribution. The newsletter has played a very important part in maintaining interest in the Association and the Tours.

The newsletter distribution is becoming increasingly wider.

SUCCESSION PLANNING. Our objective to constant rejuvenation and succession planning is proving effective and the long term success of our Association is assured, particularly the popularity of the Quiet Lion Tours. Nominations have been called for membership of the Committee and will be dealt with by this meeting.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS. To all committee members, office bearers and former POW’s, thank you for your ongoing dedication and support. A thank you for the ongoing support of:- the management and staff at Hollywood Hospital in providing us with these facilities to conduct our meetings and functions, particularly CEO Peter Mott, Director of Clinical Services Karen Gullick and Debra Taylor, Peel Health Campus CEO Doctor Margaret Sturdy and Mandurah RSL for sponsorship of Service Cadets, the Thailand-Burma Railway Centre (TBRC) founder Rod Beattie, Centre general manager Terry Manttan and Researcher Andrew Snow, Roland Lockhart for managing our Web Site and Flight World for flight booking services on tours.

Our Association remains committed to the objectives which were enunciated at our very first Annual Meeting and have been at the forefront of our every endeavour since. Our concentration on our objectives and our adherence to their scope has stood us in good stead. We have constantly developed and improved the Quiet Lion Tours to the point where they are recognised by all as historically accurate military tours with the addition of a measure of cultural and tourist experience. The extensive knowledge gathered by our tour team and our Thai guides, plus the presence of ex POWs provides a level of authenticity not generally available.

COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP AND OFFICE BEARERS. The current office bearers have all worked tirelessly for our cause. I continue to review my participation and find it satisfying to look after inquiries generated from the Web Site and carry out the Chairman’s role as required. Again, at Ian Holding’s request, I will continue as Chairman (subject to the agreement of this meeting). Ian remains very busy in his private vocation and in the primary organisation of the Quiet Lion Tour. He is happy to remain as Senior Vice Chairman with Neil MacPherson Vice Chairman, Krishna Vanderweide Secretary/Treasurer, David Piesse Tour Leader/co-tour organiser/Country Liaison, Elizabeth Brennan Newsletter collator, past Chairman Hugh Warden remains a good supporter and provider of wise counsel and it is pleasing to note that Hugh was recently made a member of the Order of Australia (OAM), mainly for his work in the Primary Industry area but also for a number of worthy activities in serving the community (including the BTRMA) and Peter Winstanley as Special Researcher. Allen MacPherson remains on the Committee and is an asset on the Tours. Arthur Anstis has now retired and we are grateful for his help over the years as Treasurer. It is recommended that Arthur be appointed a Life Member of the BTRMA.

The formal election of the Committee will take place later in the meeting. I look forward to remaining as Chairman for a further year should that be in the interests of the organisation. Thanks to all Committee members for their contribution to another successful year. It is pleasing that all current members have indicated their willingness to remain in the team for another year. I wish all members and their family’s good health for the coming year and another successful Quiet Lion Tour in 2018 and thank you all for your continued support.

Eric Wilson.

QUIET LION TOUR 2019

Places are still available on the QUIET LION TOUR 2019 which departs Perth on 19th April 2019 and returns on 30th April 2019. If you are considering taking part in this most interesting and informative tour you are advised to make a booking now.

The political situation is stable, the new King settled in and the Military control accepted. No demonstrations are occurring nor are any expected.

There are no health threats current and this is likely to remain over the period of the tour.

The Quiet Lion Tours have always featured High School students from around Australia who are sponsored by various charitable and service organisations. The focus on students is to celebrate the work done by the Doctors on the railway and to perpetuate the message that “we may forgive but we will never forget” the horrific story of the Burma Thailand Railway. The tour normally includes survivors of the railway construction, but this is subject to the health of the POW’s and is not guaranteed.

The Tour is for 11 days (10 nights) and the focus is on the story of the Australia PoWs, their camps and the Australian doctors culminating in the ANZAC Day Dawn Service in Hellfire Pass and the Memorial Service in the Cemetery at Kanchanaburi. Many sites of Prisoner of War camps, the Bridge on the River Kwai, hospital sites and other areas of interest are visited as part of the tour.

Descendants of ex-POWs who have become authorities on the Thai Burma Railway travel on the tour and provide commentaries in addition to English speaking Thai Guides.

The Quiet Lion Tours commenced in 1985 and travel to Thailand to honour Sir Edward “Weary” Dunlop, all other Doctors who tended the sick and all the Prisoners of War who were on the Burma Thailand Railway. The tours are operated by the Burma Thailand Railway Memorial Association, a non-profit group dedicated to preserving the memory of those who toiled on the Death Railway as Prisoners of War of the Japanese.

Several days are spent in Bangkok for tourist, shopping opportunities and to acclimatise to the local weather conditions.  Accommodation comprises of 3 nights at a top hotel in Bangkok, 1 night at a riverside resort in Kanchanaburi and 6 nights at the Home Phu Toey Resort (on the River Kwai near Hellfire Pass) which includes the Weary Dunlop Peace Park.

Arrangements can be made for travel from any State in Australia. In the Case of Brisbane, the flights are via Sydney.

Itinerary and associated information details are available on the BTRMA web site.

Interested people should contact:

Tour Organiser Ian Holding on M 0418832281 email: iholding@sinosteel.com.au

Tour Leader David Piesse on Tel 08 9447 7505    email:djpiesse@gmail.com

See Booking Conditions on the BTRMA web site.