Home' Army News : December 10th 2009 Contents 50 YEARS OF SERVICE
4 -- ARMY NEWSPAPER, DECEMBER 10, 2009
A look behind the lines
A love of cartoons and humorous take on life
started Ben Crothers' comic career.
THE son of ARMY's sixth editor, Maj Richard
Crothers, Ben's "Stand Easy" featured in
the newspaper from 1988 to 2001.
Having grown up with a copy of the paper
at arms length for most of his life Ben jumped
at the chance to start drawing when he noticed
there was no longer a resident cartoonist with
the soldiers' newspaper.
For 13 years Ben empathised with the
dilemmas his characters faced and the often
chasm between what was thought to be going
on and what seemed to be going on.
"With cartoons you always have a sense of
the absurd," Ben said.
"Let's face it, we are put in so many situ-
ations that you have to see the absurdity -- I
see this just as much now in my own profes-
sion as I have ever heard from people in the
His characteristic wit induced both sym-
pathy and understanding and often curiously
reflected soldiers' views on current events
of the time -- no doubt helped along by his
His work included dream sequences and
genies to evoke a sense of the surreal.
"A cartoon means you can stretch reality
and you can draw things larger than life.
"You've got a better way of playing with
things that I don't think words on a page or
photographs can achieve."
Ben now works as an IT project manager
and web designer but paints in oils to flex his
By Cpl Jane Ashby-Cliffe
FOR the love of making others
laugh cartoonist Bob 'Dikko'
Dikkenberg has shared his witty
characters with Army for more
than 20 years.
He first appeared in Army news
in 1987 after he sent a sample of his
work to the editor.
Dikko said as a soldier on map-
ping operations he used to create
cartoons for his own entertainment
until they became quite popular
with the boys.
"I try not to offend anybody or
make political statements; I just try
to make people laugh," he said.
"When it's a good one Bob
Dikkenberg did it, when it's a bad
one I say I don't know what Dikko
"I enjoy drawing cartoons for
Army and I hope to be here when it
Each Dikko cartoon is hand
drawn and usually inspired by Army
personnel and military activities.
"Once an idea comes to mind
and I decide on the punch line a
cartoon can be finished in a couple
of hours," he said.
"I always ensure there is no
ambiguity. You have to be careful
with the English language as it can
be interpreted in so many ways."
Having drawn countless car-
toons for newsletters, journals and
magazines, Dikko also appeared in
the Adelaide News until the paper
He has illustrated several books
and written 26 pantomimes for
After joining the Army in 1971,
Dikko served as a topographical
surveyor on 14 mapping opera-
tions including two in Papua New
He transferred to the Army
Reserve in 1987 and is currently
serving in HQ 9 Bde.
Dikko's zany work will have a
place in Army as long as he wants to
keep sending them through.
After countless cartoons, one of the Army's last staff sergeants, Bob
Dikkenberg, is still spreading his wit and satire.
Listening to diggers' complaints gave
Bob Faulkner plenty of ammo.
VIETNAM veteran Bob Faulkner
plied his talent for Army on a vol-
unteer basis from the '60s to the
'80s and is best known for his strip
cartoon, Wakka & Coy.
Soldiers followed the hard-case
perennial digger throughout the '70s
and '80s and through Wakka the
highs and lows of Army life unfurled
For Bob it was a labour of love.
"A lot of those cartoons were
straight from the digger's mouth,"
"I would get a lot of my ideas lis-
tening to the diggers -- what their
But it wasn't just the soldiers
who appreciated Bob's work.
Bulletin magazine published
Bob's political cartoons for about
In one edition the magazine
published a full page of his car-
toons and proclaimed him as
Australia's newest political sati-
rist.Bob started his career as a 1
RAR digger in the first battalion
to deploy to Vietnam, Bob went
on to WO2 rank, was commis-
sioned to captain and was later
promoted to major before leaving
After his military career, Bob
rose to the rank of chief superin-
tendant in the Australian Protective
Service and retired as the Regional
Commander of Queensland.
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