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Army February 17, 2011
ONE of the last surviving founders of the Australian
intelligence community, W.T. "Bill" Robertson, has
died aged 94.
He was a founder of the Australian Secret
Intelligence Service in 1950 under instructions from the
Menzies government and served it in various capacities
for 25 years.
He was sacked by then-prime minister Gough
Whitlam, who was himself removed from office only a
few weeks later.
Mr Robertson was
vindicated by the Hope
Royal Commission into
Services and returned to
the public service under
the Fraser Government.
Mr Robertson was
born in Melbourne in 1917
and died in Canberra in
Before World War II
he had rowed at Oxford
College) and for the
London Rowing Club.
His crew won the Wyfold Challenge Cup, an
achievement like winning the rowing world cup today.
Robertson served in the Army from 1939 to 1945,
retiring as a lieutenant colonel. At the outbreak of
WWII he returned to Australia and was commissioned
as an infantry officer with the 6th Division.
Five months later his battalion arrived in Egypt and
he took part in the early battles of the Western Desert.
During the battle for Tobruk he was injured by an
Italian shell and left for dead on the battlefield.
Patched up, he rejoined his battalion in time to
embark for northern Greece, just as the main German
attack began in March 1941.
He won the Military Cross in 1941 in the battle
of Veve, was Mentioned in Dispatches in 1943 and
received an OBE in 1945. He also held the French
Legion of Honour and became a CBE in 1976.
In recent years, Mr Robertson found more time to
devote to the history of his family and his love of art,
though he never lost his interest in international affairs.
He married Jean King-Spark in London in October
1946 and is survived by their two children, Johnnie and
Fiona, five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
By LCpl Mark Doran
ADF musicians displayed their
skill and professionalism in the
Twilight Concert at Simpson
Barracks in Melbourne on
The Defence Force School
of Music combined with the
Australian Army Band Melbourne
(AABM) to perform a free out-
door-concert for the public to
showcase their capabilities with
music, lighting and enhanced
audio with stage-to-screen video.
Twilight Concerts, part of the
training for triservice band train-
ees, have a varied program which
includes vocals and instrumentals.
A student on the 18-month
Band Officers Course, Capt Nigel
Davy, said classes covered con-
ducting, arranging and composi-
"On the course we have also
learnt jazz piano, to conduct
choirs and marching-bands for
parades as well as learning the
skills used to compere a show,"
Capt Davy said.
"I joined the Army as an
apprentice musician in 1979 and
one of the highlights of my career
was a tour to China with 80 musi-
cians from the Australian Army
to perform with the People's
Liberation Army Band in 1998.
"It was interesting sitting in
the flute section with colonels and
brigadiers because all musicians
in the Chinese Army are officers."
LCpl Fiona Wilkins, who
is one of the two vocalists with
AABM, has been a musician with
the Army for six years.
"A career highlight for me was
working with Guy Sebastian dur-
ing the Army in Concert in 2008,"
"It has been great working as a
musician and I have performed in
all the Capital cities in Australia."
The next Twilight Concert will
be held at Simpson Barracks on
February 11. The final show for
the summer season will commem-
orate the Army's Birthday with
the 1812 Overture, the firing of
volleys and a major pyrotechnics
display on February 25.
Making music: WO2 Andrew Iverson, Defence Force School of Music, plays
the bagpipes while LCpl Fiona Wilkins (inset), Australian Army Band Melbourne,
performs a solo during the Twilight Concert at Simpson Barracks.
Photos by LCpl Mark Doran
FASTER, better battlefield communication is on the
way with the recent signing of a $69 million contract
with Raytheon to provide new digital radios for
The new radios are touted as faster and more reli-
able than current analogue systems, and are expected
to allow for better command and control, as well as
improved situational awareness on the battlefield.
Under the contract, Raytheon will provide more
than 1000 new vehicle-mounted radios, as well as
portable devices for troops.
Digital comms incoming
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