Mathew Hopkins

Operation Slipper
Corporal Mathew Hopkins, known as ‘Hoppy’ to his mates, was born on 27 August 1987 in Christchurch, New Zealand and arrived in Australia with his family in 1988. He was a Brisbane boy through and through and a passionate supporter of the Broncos and the Maroons. All Mathew ever wanted do was be in the Army and serve his country – he joined up as soon as he could after finishing his studies at Kenmore High School in Brisbane. He enlisted in the Australian Regular Army on 28 March 2005. After completing Recruit training he was allocated to the Royal Australian Infantry Corps. He was posted to the School of Infantry where he qualified as a rifleman after completing his Initial Employment Training on 9 September 2005.

He was posted to the 5/7th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment with effect 10 September 2005, where he fulfilled a number of junior soldier roles and qualified as a M113 Crewman Driver.

Corporal Hopkins deployed to Afghanistan on Operation Slipper within 1st Reconstruction Task Force from November 2006 to April 2007. His military decorations include the Australian Active Service Medal with International Coalition Against Terrorism (ICAT) clasp, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Medal and Infantry Combat Badge.

He remained with the 7th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment upon the delinking of both battalions and later qualified as a M113 Crewman Commander in November 2007. He was temporarily promoted to Lance Corporal in June 2007 and made substantive in April 2008. He was promoted to Corporal before his 21st birthday in August 2008.

Corporal Mathew Hopkins deployed to Afghanistan as a member of the Force Protection Combat Team (FPCT) known as Combat Team Tusk, serving with the 1st Mentoring and Reconstruction Task Force. Corporal Hopkins was a Section Commander with FPCT.
His mates in the 7th Battalion described him as a very professional soldier, but always a bit of a larrikin having a joke when the chips were down. Corporal Hopkins was always keen to get the job done which gave his subordinates something to emulate. He was a good leader and a good mate who would go out of his way to provide any assistance within his capacity.

Mathew was an approachable bloke with a genuine caring attitude for his soldiers. He upheld the Army values as a source of inspiration particularly courage and mateship. He was a soldier who led from the front, never from the rear and always looked out for his mates and most certainly for his soldiers. He was a keen sports player; he particularly enjoyed rugby within the Battalion and the competition within the Brigade.
Mathew was recently married to Victoria and was present during the birth of their son, Alexander

Corporal Hopkins was serving with the Mentoring and Reconstruction Task Force (MRTF) in Afghanistan when he was killed while conducting a patrol near Kakarak when he and his team were engaged by a group of around 20 Taliban on Monday 16 March, 2009. Twenty-one-year-old Corporal Hopkins was a valued member of the 7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment.Mathew was a fine, professional and courageous soldier.
He died while serving his nation and his sacrifice should never, ever be forgotten

Suoi Chau Pha in the news

For nearly 50 years, a black and white photograph from the battle of Suoi Chau Pha, where six Australians were killed and 14 wounded (from 7RAR),  gave meaning to Williams’ life. To his family and fellow air force mates, he was the man holding the plasma bottle keeping an injured digger alive. Then, two years ago, his place in history was taken away.



It seems DVA photoshopped out the cigarette in the hand of the guy on the left, named him as someone else and also photoshopped out the bullet holes in the chopper.  Can’t have ciggies and bullet holes in a PC war, can we?




There now, much more civilized!

Members might like to leave a comment on the matter. Can anyone identify the digger on the stretcher?  I know he’s not visible but someone may remember the situation.


Ray Patten & Alan Talbot

Today we commemorate the death of Pte Ray Patten who died of wounds after a mine incident south-east of Phouc Buu in Phouc Tuy Province, South Vietnam.  Doctors and Ray fought for his life for 5 days to no avail.

Ray was severely wounded 5 days earlier on the 1st of Feb 1971 when Noel (Shorty) Godbold stood on an M16 mine whilst Recce Pl were on layover waiting for further orders. Alan Talbot died instantly on that day and Noel (Shorty) Godbold, Sgt Dick Williams and Pte Phil Ryan were wounded .

Sad footnotes:  Sgt Dick Williams was killed in a motor vehicle accident in 1973 and Noel Godbold, who lost his left leg in the incident, committed suicide in 1984.

Lest we forget.

Australia Day Honours: Earl Kelaher


Mr Earl KELAHER, ‘Denoan’, 59 Borambil Creek Road, Willow Tree NSW 2339
For service to the welfare of veterans and their families, and to the community of

Chairman, Quirindi Group, Tamworth Legacy, since 2007; Member, for over 20 years.
Board Trustee, Quirindi Sub Branch, Returned and Services League of Australia.
Director, RSL Club.
Organiser, local Anzac Day ceremony; attends local schools in conjunction with Anzac Day
Member, Vietnam Veterans Association, for over 37 years.

Deputy Mayor, Liverpool Plains Shire Council, 2004; Councillor, 2004-2008.
Mayor, Murrurundi Shire Council, 2001-2004; Councillor, 1991-2004; Member of the Social
Development, Australia Day, Weight and Loads, Honour Roll, and Harvesting the Future
Council Delegate, Murrurundi Development Association, Liverpool Plains Land Management
Committee, and Willow Tree Recreation Committee.
President, Willow Tree Bowling Club, 1993-1996; Vice-President, 1990-1992; Committee
Member, since 1986.
Member, Willow Tree Lions Club, for over 11 years.
Supporter, ‘King of the Ranges’, Stockman’s Challenge and Bush Festival, since 2003.

Awards/recognition include:
Community Service Award, Liverpool Plains Shire Council, 2010-2011.

Vale: Denis James

From Facebook via Andy Bellingham

Just had a phone call from Dave Willis, notification of the passing of 218330 Denis James 7RAR second tour and ex 5/7 RAR last Saturday in Wollongong, no funeral details as requested by Jamie R.I.P

Can you help?

From: Helen Fletcher <>
Subject: Thomas Edward Clarke

My abovenamed friend passed away on 15/12/2002 and I have been unable to find his grave or plaque.
He served in Vietnam Service No 2782802
If any details are available could you please contact.

If you can help please email Helen by clicking on the link above.


From the West

Bob Wood on the right presenting a cheque to Legaicies John Burridge

Busselton RSL Sub Branch President Bob Wood, (ex 7RAR) on the right, presents a cheque for $500 to Legacy’s John Burridge at the Legacy’s annual Legacy Wards’ camp in Busselton on January 4 this year.  Busselton RSL had previously donated another $500 sum to Legacy.  The total of $1000 was raised at the Busselton RSL’s ANZAC Day function in 2013 to be used for the betterment of the wards of Legacy.

83 children between the age of 5 years and 17 years are attending the 14 day camp this year with 21 coming from interstate and 11 being Police Legacy wards.  The wards are all the children of defence force or police personnel who have lost their lives.  The Busselton RSL Sub Branch is proud to support such a worthy cause and looks forward to an ongoing close relationship with Legacy in the Busselton region.

Maori Farewell

A video of the passionate haka performed by the comrades of three fallen New Zealand soldiers has gone viral, with tens of thousands of people around the world watching the clip.

The 2nd and 1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment performed the moving tribute for Corporal Luke Tamatea, 31, Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, 26, and Private Richard Harris, 21, at their funeral service at the Burnham Military Camp in Christchurch on Saturday.

The trio were killed instantly when a roadside bomb destroyed their Humvee in Afghanistan’s northeast Bamiyan Province on August 18.