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Operation Ivanhoe


50th Anniversary of Operation Ivanhoe

including The Battle of Nui Le 20 September 1971


The Department of Veterans Affairs is hosting the 50th anniversary National Commemorative Service of Operation Ivanhoe including the Battle of Nui Le at the Vietnam Memorial in ANZAC Parade, Bardon, Canberra on Monday 20 September 2021. The event will include a parade of unit Colours, Banners and Guidons and a memorial service at which the Sovereign’s Banner of the RAE will be on-parade. There will not be a march past of veterans.The Battle of Nui Le was the final large-scale engagement by the Australian Army with enemy forces in Phouc Tuy Province.

The Australian War Memorial has scheduled a Last Post Ceremony in the Commemorative Courtyard commencing at 4:45 pm 21 September 2021 in memory of Private Ralph Niblett who was KIA on Operation Ivanhoe on 21 September 1971 (NOTE: this is the day after the commemoration in ANZAC Parade). He was the last Australian digger of 1ATF to be KIA in the war of South Vietnam.

This is a ticketed event and anybody who wishes to attend this LPC must register individually with the AWM beforehand.

Sappers of 1 FD SQN GP RAE are cordially invited to attend the memorial service in Canberra on 20 September 2021.

The Service at the Australian Vietnam Forces National Memorial on 20 September 2021The National Commemorative Service for the 50th anniversary of Operation Ivanhoe including the Battle of Nui Le will commence at 10:30 am Monday 20 September 2021 at the Australian Vietnam Forces National Memorial on ANZAC Parade Canberra. It is expected that this service will run for about one hour.

Attendees should be in position by NLT 10:00 am in order to receive information about the event and also to view images of the Operation and Battle on a large screen audio-visual display unit.

During the service, unit representatives will be invited to lay a wreath. The nominated 1 FD SQN GP RAE representative is Mr George Hulse as President of 1 FD SQN GP RAE Association.

At the completion of the wreath laying ceremony, an invitation will be extended to anybody else who would like to lay a wreath.

Be aware that news media will be present at the service and you are invited to make comment on your participation on the Operation. 

Please take advantage of this opportunity to promote the Corps of RAE and in particular emphasise the role played by our Sappers in the Vietnam war. Should you wish to be interviewed during this event by the media, please let me know and I will nominate you as a spokesperson for 1 FD SQN GP RAE.

Parking and Transport.
Movement to and from the ANZAC Parade service on 20 September 2021 is an individual responsibility. There will be no shuttle services provided for general attendees. Parking is available in the streets adjacent to the ANZAC Parade Australian Vietnam Forces National Monument as well as a good public bus service from Civic Centre to the AWM and areas close to ANZAC Parade, Bardon.It is the attendee’s responsibility to provide their own transport to and from the event on 20 September 2021.

Should we receive a roll-up of Sappers for this last of all 50th anniversaries of battles from the Vietnam War and you would like to meet for a get-together after the service, please contact me on with your details and I will arrange for an engineer table for the evening meal of 20 September 2021 in a high quality Canberra restaurant.


DVA has requested that units attending this event give indicative numbers of attendees so that seating arrangements, orders of service and other considerations be met.

Please advise me by email or 

SMS 0412 341 363 if you intend: be at the ANZAC Parade service on 20 September 2021.

2. If you would like to get-together for an evening meal as a group.

3. If you are willing to be interviewed by the news media.

Yours in Sappering

George Hulse OAM


1 FD SQN GP RAE Association.

Site Administrator

Lord Howe Island Airstrip Construction 1974.

Lord Howe Island Airstrip Construction 1974.

Detachment from 1FER Holsworthy, Feb - Sep 1974.

Exercise Kentia Palm. 

In preparation for the 50th anniversary of the completion of the civilian airstrip, constructed by Army with RAN support, we are seeking names of those RAE, RAEME, RASIGS, RASVY, RAAOC, AACC, and RAN (LCH Crews) who were there.

Sadly the Army Rolls have not survived and memories are fading - we have 20 names so far, but believe around 120 were involved, over the three rotations. The idea is to present the names to the Lord Howe Island Community in 2024 and also have a reunion, hopefully on Lord Howe Island.


Gary Barker 0409 446 475;

Ron Byron 07 3294 0409; entry

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1FD SQN Quarterly update April 2021

                                        AUSTRALIAN ARMY
                                        1 Field Squadron, 1st Combat Engineer Regiment


1 Field Squadron RAE Association
Vietnam Tunnel Rats Association


Dear 1 Field Squadron Associations,

Thank you again to George Hulse, Jim Marett, John Pritchard, and John Hopman for taking the time to visit the squadron and for sharing your vast experience with us. The opportunity to start the year by learning from our squadron's past was an extremely valuable one! I would also like to further thank George for his ongoing leadership of efforts to have 1 Field Squadron's rich history recognised through an award of the Meritorious Unit Citation.

The squadron has commenced 2021 without the domestic operational commitments that characterised 2020, however it has been a busy start to the year nevertheless! We have deliberately sought to overcome the limitations of the wet season to maximise opportunities to train key skills early. The squadron found itself conducting the first live fire of any Darwin based unit in 2021, heading to the range at the very first opportunity to conduct marksmanship training and demolitions confidence practices. Our squadron and troop headquarters teams conducted a week long command post exercise to refine their procedures, including leveraging the capabilities of simulation training systems. Individual members of the squadron have been busy attaining key qualifications, particularly through driver and promotion courses. This initial hard work, led by our enthusiastic team of junior leaders, will pay dividends for the remainder of the year.
Building on our smaller training events, the key activity during the first quarter was Exercise MONSOON SAPPER 21. This exercise saw each troop complete motorised tactics training, urban operations training, demolitions ranges, and live fire attacks (enabled by the ongoing fantastic support of our partners from the 5th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment). The demolitions ranges were a key highlight of the exercise, enabling our teams to revise old skills, test new concepts, and enhance their ability to adapt to complex problems.
Looking to the future, I'm very pleased to let you know that Captain Adam Mowat will return to the squadron on promotion in 2022 to assume the role of Officer Commanding. Adam has previously served within the squadron as 3 Troop Commander, Reconnaissance Officer, and Second-In-Command. Once again, we hope that all former members of the squadron and their families remain safe and look forward to seeing you again in the near future.

Yours sincerely,

Matthew Scott

Officer Commanding 1 Field Squadron

18 April 2021

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A Huge Welcome to our Patron...

Brigadier Matthew Galton DSC.

Matthew served in 1 FD SQN and is an "old-hand" coming back into the fold. We look forward to meeting Matthew at the reunion in Brisbane on 23 October 2021. 

Warrant Officer Class One Sean Chainey, DSM

Brigadier Matt Galton DSC.
Director General Capital Facilities and Infrastructure.
Infrastructure Division, Estate and Infrastructure Group.

Brigadier Galton graduated from the Australian Defence Force Academy in 1992 and the Royal Military College Duntroon in 1993 and was allocated to the Royal Australian Engineers. His corps postings have consisted of multiple regimental appointments within the Combat Engineer Regiments of the 1st and 3rd Brigades, including Troop Command, Squadron Command and Regiment Operations Officer in 1st Combat Engineer Regiment, and Adjutant in 3rd Combat Engineer Regiment. He also completed a technical engineering appointment in the Chief Engineers Office in Western Sydney. His last regimental appointment was Commanding Officer of the 6th Engineer Support Regiment, 6th Brigade.

Brigadier Galton’s operational service includes deployments to East Timor as a Squadron 2IC, Israel/Lebanon/Syria as a UN Military Observer and Operations Officer with UNTSO, the Solomon Islands as Squadron Commander and Force Engineer, Afghanistan as the Deputy Director of the US led Counter Insurgency Training Centre and Iraq as the Chief of Plans of the US led Combined Joint Force Land Component Command – Iraq (CJFLCC-I). In 2015 he commanded the first Australian and New Zealand combined Task Group to undertake the Build Partner Capacity mission in Taji, Iraq.

His postings outside of the regimental environment include appointments as Staff Officer Global Operations in Military Strategic Commitments (MSC), Staff Officer Global Operations in Headquarters Joint Operations Command (HQJOC), Staff Officer in the Directorate of Plans, Army Headquarters, and Colonel Plans in Headquarters 1st Division / Deployable Joint Force Headquarters.

In his current role as Director General Capital Facilities and Infrastructure, Brigadier Galton is responsible for the development, approval and delivery of the Facilities and Infrastructure Program, a portfolio of in excess of $20 billion of construction work across the country. This role requires him to regularly appear before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works as the Defence lead witness.

Brigadier Galton has a Bachelor of Civil Engineering with Honours and a Masters of Arts from Kings College London which he undertook whilst attending UK Command and Staff College. He is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a Chartered Professional Engineer and a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Australia.

He received a Vice Chief of Defence Force Gold Commendation for his service in MSC, a Deputy Chief Joint Operations Silver Commendation for his service in HQJOC, the US Meritorious Service Medal with the First and Second Oak Leaf Cluster for his service in Afghanistan and Iraq and the Distinguished Service Cross for his service in Taji, Iraq.

Brigadier Galton is married to Antonina who is an Occupational Therapist. They welcomed their first child, Vincent, to the world on 24 Feb 20. His hobbies have now focused on the joys of being a mature age Dad. Time permitting he plays the banjo at a liberal social distance from all others.

Site Administrator

1CER Update

October 2020

1 Field Squadron RAE Association
Vietnam Tunnel Rats Association

Dear 1 Fd Sqn Associations,


2020 continues to provide us with unique opportunities to demonstrate the squadron's flexibility and to serve the Australian people. As I write this update, a large part of the squadron is deployed to the Northern Territory borders as part of Operation COVID-19 ASSIST. The remainder of the squadron continues to conduct training, focusing on key courses that will set the conditions for success in 2021.

This quarter allowed us to conduct some good field training. The squadron as a whole participate in a regimental exercise in Mount Bundey Training Area, with our squadron training focussing on search, obstacle construction, and breaching. 2 Troop exploited an additional opportunity to join with a Combat Team from 5 RAR, participating in Exercise Koolondong alongside the United States Marine Corps. Finally, two of our teams participated in 5 RAR's Section Competition, earning praise from the infantry for their performance.

Despite compressed training opportunities, our junior leaders continue to perform well - I've been very impressed by their efforts throughout the year.

With the development of the La Nina weather pattern, we will not be at all surprised if the year has more challenges for us to come. Once again, we hope that all former members of the squadron and their families remain safe and look forward to seeing you face to face in the near future.

Yours sincerely

Matthew Scott
Officer Commanding 1 Field Squadron
Robertson Barracks
Thomgate Road
13 October 2020

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