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Army October 1, 2009
By Barry Rollings
THE fickle finger of fate has beck-
oned Lt-Col Dave Buller over his long-
lost class graduation ring from Royal
Military College, Duntroon.
The ring has been returned to him after
spending some time underwater before it
was remarkably found and then forgotten
for about 10 years.
Graduating from RMC in June of 1989,
Lt-Col Buller received a ring inscribed with
the Latin words Doctrina Vim Promovet
(Learning Promotes Strength) and his staff
cadet number, 5448.
"My first posting was to Middle Head,
Sydney, where I served in 10 Terminal
Regt and the Army Maritime School at
Chowder Bay," Lt-Col Buller said, now the
Army's senior standardisation representa-
tive in Ontario, Canada.
"The two units were at the time the
prime locations for training and employing
the bulk of the Army's water transport and
terminal operations personnel. As such, we
conducted training via a number of facili-
ties and varied watercraft that were located
in the area."
While he does not recall the exact
details, it was at this time that he lost the
ring. As fate would have it, a novice scuba
diver, Philip Wyndham, found the ring
"At the time, he was living in Mosman
and experiencing scuba diving for the first
time," Lt-Col Buller said.
"His first dive was with a mate down at
Clifton Gardens. While diving under the
Clifton Gardens Wharf, Philip noticed the
ring lying on the sea bed."
Mr Wyndham had meant to track down
the ring's owner but events gradually over-
took him and this intent did not resurface
until earlier this year when he was driving
from Sydney to Newcastle.
"At the time, he was listening to Adam
Spencer on ABC Sydney radio. Adam was
talking about a couple from California
who had recently returned a chunk of the
Coliseum in Rome, which they had chis-
elled off 25-odd years earlier as young
backpackers travelling around Europe.
They had recently mailed it back to Rome
with a note explaining their feelings of
guilt and apologising for their actions," Lt-
Col Buller said.
"This led Adam Spencer to ask people
to call in with stories of things that had
been found, but not returned. Phil subse-
quently rang Adam and the rest is history.
"He was able to Google search the
Latin inscription on the ring that led him to
"With the help of Capt Stephen Hladio,
SO2 Protocol RMC, the ring's inscribed
staff cadet number then allowed Capt
Hladio to link the ring to me."
After a few clarifying phone calls to
Lt-Col Buller in Canada, plans were made
to return the ring. After a brief stay in the
custody of RMC Commandant Brig Mick
Moon, the ring was safely reunited with its
owner in July.
Unselfish act: Mr Philip Wyndham presents the ring to
RMC Commandant Brig Mick Moon (above). A close-up
of Lt-Col Buller's lost ring (right).
Photos by Grace Costa
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