DEPUTY AND SUB-WARDENS OF THE STATE WAR MEMORIAL
The role of the Deputy Warden and the Sub-Wardens (formerly Assistant Wardens) is to provide an Honour Guard during Remembrance Services at the State War Memorial or the Flame of Remembrance. Between 30 and 40 Services are held each year by various organisations with permission from the RSL and Kings Park Management. The Service is usually conducted by the Warden of the State War Memorial. Anyone who wishes to serve as a Sub-Warden is invited to contact the Deputy Warden whose contact details are shown on the Committee Page. There is no restriction on gender, age, membership of the RSL or having any previous military service.
The information on this page has been compiled from articles in The Listening Post, and from the mid-1960s on, from records held by the Highgate Sub-Branch. Highgate would appreciate any historical information that you or your family may hold in relation to those who performed the Associate Wardens’, Deputy Warden’s or Sub-Wardens’ duties in earlier times. Please contact the WebMaster
ROLL OF ASSISTANT AND DEPUTY WARDENS
1931 West Perth Sub-Branch *
1931, 1936 Toc H (David Oates (Job Master))
1932-3 Perth Sub-Branch (W J Hunt (President) H Hopperton (Job Master))
1934-5 Nedlands Sub-Branch (J Nicholson (President))
1934, November 1938-1944, 1949 Boys’ Scouts Association
1935-6 Subiaco Sub-Branch
1936-7 West Leederville Sub-Branch
1952-4 (D Panton, N Brice, K Harris, J Morrison, L Carter, L Parks, C Davis), 1957-8, 1961, 1963 Public Service Sub-Branch *
1952-63 E C Townsend, G K Baron-Hay
1955-6, 1959, 1964, 1966-8, 1970, 1972, 1994 Highgate Sub-Branch
1962-3 Jewish Ex-Services Association
1964 Henry Douglas Dargie (Honour Guard 1952-1964, Warden 1976)
1973-4 Thirty-Niners Association (in conjunction with Highgate Sub-Branch)
1974 Mount Lawley – Inglewood Sub-Branch (in conjunction with the Public Service Sub-Branch)
1976 Ronald Nathan Stone AM JP
2004 Phillip Graeme Skelton AM
2011 Geoffrey Pierce Simpson OAM RFD
* The West Perth Sub-Branch (founded 1921) was later renamed the Public Service Sub-Branch in 1943, amalgamated with the Press Sub-Branch in 1973 and then with the Highgate Sub-Branch in 1976.
ROLL OF SUB-WARDENS
Ernst Baints (Retired)
Bill Beasley (Retired)
Hector Binks ED (Retired)
Ken Birks (Retired)
Ken Bladen AM (Past State President RSL)
Don Blair OAM RFD ED (Hon Life Member RSL)
Russ Bradbury (early 1950s)
Kenneth Broadhurst (More than 30 years service prior to 2006)
Bill Brockwell (early 1950s)
Chris Brooks (1990s)
Jim Burnham (early 1950s, Highgate President 1956)
John Harper-Nelson (Retired)
John Hately (Retired by 2006)
Bill Hawkins (early 1950s)
Simon Holman (More than 30 years service prior to 2006)
Tom Horton (Prior to 2006)
Keith Howard RFD ED (1990s)
Peter Hummerston RFD (Warden 2004)
Mick Hungerford (early 1950s)
Ray Mawson RFD ED
Ean McDonald VRD (More than 30 years service prior to 2006)
Pat Mehan (More than 30 years service prior to 2006)
Bob Mercer AM RFD ED (Retired 2007)
Don Meredith (1970s)
Michael (Mick) Michael
Ian Miller (1970s)
Shirly Mooney OAM
John Morriss (Retired)
Bill Musson GM (1970s, Warden 1997)
Bob Norris (Retired 2008)
Peter Salmon (Retired)
Alan Saville (More than 30 years service prior to 2006)
David Scott (Bugler)
Allan Shellabear (More than 30 years service prior to 2006)
Bert Shellabear (early 1950s)
Geoff Simpson OAM RFD
Phillip Skelton AM
Les Slade (early 1950s)
Gordon Smith (early 1950s)
Warren Smith (More than 30 years service prior to 2006)
Ann Spiro (Retired)
Basil Sprenger (Retired by 2006)
Barry Standen (Retired)
Les Stewart (1970s)
Ralph Stoddart (early 1950s)
Ron Stone AM (More than 30 years service prior to 2006)
Jack Suriano RFD ((Retired) 2017)
John Surridge (More than 30 years service prior to 2006)
Ted Townsend (early 1950s)
Brief Service Histories recorded in the Highgate Hall of Honour
Speech by Phillip Skelton AM, Deputy Warden, on the Occasion of the Presentation of Medallions to Retired Sub-Wardens on 17 July 2006.
This is a day of celebration! We focus on a special group of people. We celebrate the dedicated long service of 16 of our members who served as Sub-Wardens of the State War Memorial. These are members who have now retired from that duty, but who had attended most of the wreath-laying services at the State War Memorial each year for at least Ten Years.
Indeed, many of those whom we recognise today served regularly for over Thirty Years. Quite a remarkable offering of their time and effort that we celebrate today.
Many of the photos in the slide show that you see throughout this celebration were taken at just one wreath laying service – the combined Z Special Force and Defence Reserves service this time last year. And there are a few from other services. They were taken by a keenly interested civilian, Tim Bendawald, who came to observe these services. It has prompted me to ensure that we obtain a photographic record of each of the typically 30 wreath laying services each year – hopefully we will have a more varied slide show for you next year!
The Sub-Wardens perform an important duty that is greatly appreciated by the approximately thirty different organisations, that each year conduct a wreath-laying service on a day close to the anniversary of a day with special meaning for them. The silent dignity with which the Sub-Wardens carry out their duty adds significantly to creating the atmosphere of quiet reflection and remembrance that is the purpose of each service.
Perhaps even more importantly, the silent service of the Sub-Wardens gives the clear message to members of the public looking on, especially young people, that if those men consider it so important to turn out in the way they do, then there really must be something important on which to reflect and remember. Participation by the Sub-Wardens contributes to passing the message on to the next generations – the message that the sacrifice by those before them has made possible the wonderful open, free, democratic way of life we enjoy today; and that we must remain eternally vigilant to keep it that way.
We encourage young people to attend and participate in wreath-laying services. You see in the slide show an honour guard of Cadets. In other slides you will see the group of wonderful young people that through their essays and speeches on military topics won the privilege of attending an overseas battlefield tour. You have seen Scouts attend services at the State War Memorial, including conducting an overnight vigil prior to the Dawn Service. And two services each year, one near ANZAC Day and one near Remembrance Day, are conducted by school students. And in all cases they quietly soak up the message clearly given by the silent dignity with which the Sub-Wardens carry out their duty.
Highgate Sub-Branch was formed in 1947. Two people we honour here today were foundation members – Warren Smith and John Fitzhardinge.
Very soon after the Sub-Branch was formed, the State Branch invited the Highgate Sub-Branch to provide an honour guard at the State War Memorial. This we have proudly done ever since. Over the years since 1947, some services have required only six Sub-Wardens while other special occasions needed up to 40. I’ve seen a photo with 30 Sub-Wardens and another with 28. Typically there are between 8 and 16. There were 12 at our most recent service last week.
Ron Stone has attended well over 1,000 wreath-laying services, including his service as Deputy Warden for some 30 years. Additionally, until he invited the staff at Kings Park to take over the duty, for very many years he DAILY raised the flags each morning and took them in each evening. An outstanding level of service.
Amongst the 16 Sub-Wardens we honour today, nine others also served regularly for over 30 years.
It seemed to me that people giving such service should not be allowed to just fade away when they were no longer able to participate. So your Highgate Committee agreed to make a presentation of lasting value to each Sub-Warden that had attended most services each year for at least 10 years. Our research was a challenge as no written records had been kept, however we are fairly confident in the list of 16 recipients today. If we have missed any eligible person they will be honoured this time next year, together with any current Sub-Wardens with eligible service that retire by then.
The presentation item is a pewter medallion that can be displayed in their home, and you can see one of them on the head table after lunch. There is a photo in the slide show.
Money raised by the RSL is intended primarily for the welfare of ex-service men and women. So we had to find a source of funds to pay for the medallions. I am delighted to report that we found two enthusiastic benefactors:
- Defence Service Homes Insurance donated $1,000. Please acknowledge State Manager Ian Douglas
- Buckingham Pewter donated the expensive parts of the manufacturing process: the artwork and making the mould, and also the engraving of names on these first 16 medallions. Please acknowledge Managing Director Ann Bradford.
So we now have some 40 medallions, which should be enough for many years to come.
I now invite all of the recipients to come forward as I call your name. When you are all here at the front I will ask Ian Douglas to present half of you with your medallion and Ann Bradford to present to the other half.
Medallions Presented to Sub Wardens
Bob Dawson (Posthumous)
Highgate Sub-Branch Members Phillip Skelton and Geoff Simpson (Highgate Sub-Branch records) and Helen Birch (The Listening Post research) contributed to the information on this page.