Remembrance Day 2020: Tattersall’s Club, Sydney

By observing one minute’s silence on 11 November 2020, we pay tribute to the men and women who have served and are still serving in our defence forces and remember those who have died or suffered in conflicts, wars and peacekeeping operations.

A number of Tattersall’s members and members of their families have served with distinction, some paying the ultimate sacrifice, particularly in the First and Second World Wars. I cannot mention all of them here, but it is worthwhile highlighting the service of some of them.

Several members served in both wars. Lieutenant Colonel Blair Anderson Wark VC DSO MID is perhaps the most famous. Blair won a VC for bravery in operations against the Hindenburg Line at Bellicourt in 1918. He re-enlisted in the militia during the Second World War, but died suddenly on a training exercise whilst commanding the 1st Battalion at Puckapanyal in 1941.

Another well known member who served in both wars was Bob Concannon. A peak at his service record puts protests against COVID restrictions into perspective. He served with the 7th Light Horse Regiment,1915-1919 including service on Gallipoli and at Romani. In 1941 Bob re-enlisted to serve as a Captain with HQ 8 Division in Malaya.  He was captured by the Japanese and then interned as a POW in Thailand from 1941-1945. Two other members, George Kiernan and Ward Booth were interned with Bob.

The family of member John O’Riordan also saw remarkable service over both wars. John’s brother Captain (Dr) Sydney O’Riordan MC served with the Australian Army Medical Corps in both wars, winning his MC for his gallantry and devotion to duty whilst dealing with casualties in an aid post in France in 1918. He served again from 1941-1942, but died in 1944. Another brother, Flying Officer Clifford O’Riordan, was an air gunner with the famous 460 Squadron, RAAF. He was killed in a flying battle over Germany in 1943. One of John’s sons, Sgt John O’Riordan served with the 1st Papuan Infantry Battalion and he too was killed in action in New Guinea in 1943. Another son, James O’Riordan, survived the war, having served with both the Australian Army and the RAAF between 1942-1945.

Perhaps the most tragic family is that of member Henry Stevenson and his three sons: Frank, Joseph and Charles. Flight Sergeant Frank Stevenson served as a pilot with 450 Squadron, RAAF and was killed in a flying battle over Italy in 1944. Joseph the oldest son, was also a Flight Sergeant, serving as an air gunner with 24 Squadron, RAAF. He was killed in a flying battle over the Timor Sea in 1945. Henry’s middle son Charles served as a Gunner with the 2/5th Australian Field Regiment, RAA. His date of death is recorded as November 1947 in DVA’s Nominal Roll for the Second World War, but we could not determine a cause of death.

You can share who you are remembering on social media using the hashtag #WeRememberThem

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