MARY AND ARTHUR BUNTING
Submitted by Alan Price
Between 15 May and 18 May 2013 the 4 RAR Association, Queensland Incorporated, hosted Mrs Mary Bunting from Ballarat, Victoria, who was researching the war time history and experiences of her father, Private Arthur Bunting who served in World War Two twice; once as an enlistee until he was found out to have enlisted underage in the Militia and as a result discharged, only to sign up again the same day under a new date of birth into the AIF.
Somehow through the grapevine, Mary had heard of the Association and of the unit 4 RAR (Cdo) and contacted us to ask for assistance in recording her father’s exploits as her father had served in 2 Australian Independent Company which later became 2/2 Commando Squadron, that served in Timor and New Guinea. Our President, Alan Price and our Merchandise Officer Maureen Price, invited Mary to stay with them at their home in Brisbane.
We found that Mary had fully investigated her father’s war time recorded experiences so we decided to investigate the peripheries of his history and that included some of the areas that he had served in or units that he had trained in. As the World War Two commandos had trained at the Jungle Training Centre in Canungra now called The Land Warfare Centre, Alan contacted the RSM of LWC and it was arranged that Alan, Maureen and Mary could visit the centre on Thursday 16 May to look at the places where the commandos and her father had trained. On the way we visited the site where the old World War Two, 22 Australian Camp Hospital had been at Camp Cable. Mary’s father had spent some time at the hospital with malaria whilst he was posted to Canungra. Camp Cable was the American military camp located outside of Logan Village during the Second World War but is now being developed as a housing estate. The camp itself was home to around 20,000 troops during its active history. The base was first known as Camp Tamborine but renamed in honour of Sergeant Gerald O. Cable and constructed for the 32nd Infantry "Red Arrow" Division (United States) preparing for the New Guinea campaign. The US Army 155th Station Hospital was co-located with the 22nd Australian General Hospital.
After looking at the area where the commandos had trained; the Padang, alongside the river and Battle Ridge, Mary “completed” the confidence course. We enjoyed lunch in the Sergeants’ Mess and then visited the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial adjacent to the Padang, the AATTV memorial a little further up the track and then the commando memorial adjacent to the centre headquarters. The 2/2 Commando Squadron double diamond badge is the red one, second from the left in the photo. We could not enter many of the buildings and the camp is experiencing a massive rebuilding campaign. The new buildings are impressive but the confidence course now looks like a beginners course with heights being reduced and the rustic apparatus now replaced by concrete surrounds. .
The next day, Friday Alan and Mary visited the Gold Coast War Museum where the Association has a 4 RAR display annex and our unit historian Bob Meehan OAM is the curator. After lunch at the nearby restaurant we went up the hill to the museum where we saw many reminders of the commandos of World war two including uniforms, artefacts and weapons but Mary had never seen a Sykes commando knife used by World War Two commandos as a killing knife. Alan knew that there was one somewhere in the museum in a World War 2 display but could not find it until they were just about to leave and Alan suggested that they had missed one display cabinet. Lo and behold, there was the Sykes knife in the cabinet. Mary was overjoyed as she had now seen an article that fully represented her father’s service.
That night Mary invited Alan and Maureen to dinner at a local club restaurant and after dinner, Alan presented a plaque donated by Maureen, to Mary on behalf of the Association. The plaque was a 4 RAR (Cdo) plaque with the Regimental badge and a replica Sykes knife attached. The inscription read “Mary Bunting in appreciation from the 4 RAR Association, Qld Inc 17 May 2013”. Alan, in his presentation thanked Mary for keeping alive the name and the history of an Australian Digger.
Keeping the Spirit Alive