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LONG career, starting in the
Hitler Youth and ending in
ASIO, with three wars and 35
years’ Australian Army ser-
vice in between, has been continued
with a retired major’s son and grand-
daughter serving in the ADF.
SO2 Infantry Maj James Weaver, of
the School of Infantry, said his 94-year-old
father, Maj Alec Weaver (retd), grew up
in Berlin and was required to serve in the
Hitler Youth during the 1930s.
“With growing concerns of the war,
his family saw the writing on the wall and
sent him away to Australia before the hard
effects of war took hold in Germany, and
he was working in Australia when the war
broke out,” he said.
“Changing his name from Weber to
Weaver, he went to a recruiting centre with
a group of mates and succeeded in joining
the Army despite his ‘enemy alien’ status.
“But it wasn’t too long before Alec’s
German nationality was discovered.
“He was serving in New Guinea with
an infantry battalion when he was sum-
moned before the CO, who confronted him
about being an enemy alien and accused
him of fraudulent enlistment.”
Maj Weaver said his father was fortu-
nate he was highly regarded within the unit.
“The battalion adjutant, with an emi-
nent military lawyer, ensured his naturalisa-
tion application moved swiftly,” he said.
“He was allowed to return to his pla-
toon and within a few months his citizen-
ship papers arrived. He elected to stay
in the Army post-WWII in the British
Commonwealth Occupation Forces
(BCOF) and later served as a platoon com-
mander with 3RAR during the Korean War.
“He wasn’t a Duntroon graduate, but
because he’d seen action in New Guinea
and served in BCOF in Japan, he was
looked up to as a mentor by the young
RMC lieutenants who arrived in Korea.”
Maj Weaver said his father was shot in
both arms and a knee on patrol in Korea.
“But in an outstanding moment of
gallantry he fought on, leading a num-
ber of men through minefields back to an
Australian defensive position on Hill 355,”
“After that, he spent some time in a
military hospital, until he was fit enough
to be transferred to Japan, where he met
his wife Meg, my mum, a lieutenant in the
RAANC. They’ve now been married 60
After a number of non-operational and
staff appointments in Australia and over-
seas, Maj Alec Weaver served in South
Vietnam with the 1st Australian Civil
Affairs Unit from May 1968 to June 1969.
Maj James Weaver said when his father
retired from the Army in 1976, he was
immediately head-hunted by ASIO because
of his keen analytical and linguistic skills.
“Because he could speak fluent German
and Japanese with a strong handle of the
Russian language, he was used to infiltrate
groups that were touring Australia from
communist countries and was used in mul-
tiple translation roles,” he said.
“It’s still difficult to tease too many sto-
ries of those times out of the old boy, rather
he elects to remain a trusted Scorpion war-
rior. Dad retired from ASIO in 1988, but
still takes a keen interest in world affairs
and what’s going on around him.”
Despite his father’s background, Maj
Weaver did not join the Army straight after
leaving school, rather choosing a career in
hospitality as a chef.
“After gaining my chef qualification,
I decided to join the Army, signing up in
1980,” he said.
“On completing Infantry IETs I was
posted to 3RAR as a rifleman.”
Maj Weaver’s niece, AB Elizabeth
McCallum, is in the Navy and posted to
DURING his Vietnam service, Maj Weaver
(Snr) was temporarily tasked with acting as
the president of a court-martial, to try sol-
diers on active service who had a variety of
charges to answer.
Maj Weaver said the courtroom was a
simple Nissen hut, located on sand dunes
next to the sea at Vung Tau.
“Immediately next to the hut was a
small firing range designed for practices
with sub-machineguns and pistols,” he said.
“The constant crack of the firing was
most irritating and seriously disturbed my
train of thought while attempting to hear
the evidence presented against a soldier
who had deserted his post while on active
“I was sorely tempted to dramatise the
issue and, to my eventual regret, instructed
the court orderly as follows, ‘sergeant-
major, please instruct the firing squad to
“The accused went pale and was
near collapse, and his defending counsel,
who was a qualified lawyer, requested an
adjournment, which I denied him.”
Maj Weaver said the accused was
eventually sentenced to 28 days field pun-
ishment by his court.
“But the legal officer’s report to higher
authority resulted in me being barred from
any further court duties, not to speak of the
rather coarse rebuke meted out to me by
the convening authority,” he said.
July 13, 2017
to ASIO spy
In a family with a tradition of serving, an officer reveals the
fascinating tales of his father’s career, Sgt Dave Morley reports.
Maj James Weaver,
left, with his father, Maj
Alec Weaver (retd).
Photo: Peta Heffernan
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