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Veterans Christmas Reunions – 2020

07 Dec 20
Greg Martyn
No Comments

Local Christmas Reunions – 2020

2020 has been a different year, particularly with concerns and restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic altering our day to day and normal activities becoming more cautious.

The usual OTVA Christmas Reunion in Sydney, at Club York has not been held due to concerns with people attending and travelling to the city by public transport.

The OTVA Committee decided to hold local events, where members were willing to organise a get together that would be more easily accessible for those members and friends living nearby or happy to travel to.

Sydney Northern Suburbs Reunion

The first Reunion was held on Friday 27 November by the Sydney Northern Beaches and Suburbs group hosted by Orm Butler. Many of the attendees are pictured below

Sydney Northern Suburbs Christmas attendees

Back row L – R Dennis Grant, John Hibbard Front row L-R Bill Breeze, David Coutts, Dave Stimpson, Peter Trebeck, Alan Michie, Tom Gruzka, Ken Arnold, Bill Davey, Milton Cale, Tom Neeson, Dean Veverka, Orm Butler, Ernie Wan, George Knowles

Orm wrote: We had the function on Friday, and a good turn up of people. Lots of stories exchanged and memories relived. Photo: Orm Butler.

Thanks for the update Orm.

Sydney Central Christmas Luncheon

The second Reunion was held on Wednesday 2 December by the Sydney Central group hosted by Jim Simpson.

A good reunion with old friends from the former OTC Operations, Engineering, CRS/Maritime & Drawing Office represented at a luncheon at Club Five Dock.

Attendees included:
John Bellingham, Paul Cope, Alex Ebert, Greg Edwards, Mike Elliott, Steve Galbraith, Graham Hansen, Dagmar Perumal, Jim Simpson, Karen Wrenall (ex Telstra, Steve Galbraith’s partner),
Neil Yakalis. Photo: Jim Simpson.

Thanks for the update Jim.

Sydney Southside Christmas Luncheon

The third Reunion was held on Thursday 3 December by the Southern Sydney and the Southern Highlands group hosted by Greg Martyn.

Those OTVA Members from Southern Sydney and the Southern Highlands who attended enjoyed lunch at the By the Bay Cafe in Carss Bush Park south of Sydney. With good company, good food, refreshments while many stories were re-told, the veterans celebrated their company and companionship! A good time was had by all.

Attendees included:
Peter Bull, Mick Callaghan, Ross Smith, Darryl Steer, Ray Pow, Brian Travis, Bill Jolly, Gary Beaton, John Vossen, Tom Barker, Greg Martyn, Robin Tuckfield, Rob Askew, Shaune Walsh, David Izatt, Jules Corben and John Eades. Photo: John Eades.

Report by Greg Martyn.

Tweed Valley – Northern Rivers Christmas Party

John Bennett reports on the intrepid fellows of the Tweed Valley enjoying their Christmas Party despite the torrential rain in the area over the last week.

We had our annual xmas party to day [Wed 16th] at the Riverview Hotel Murwillumbah.

We all enjoyed the afternoon, as it was touch and go, with the flooding only receding in the late morning, enough for us to get through to the Riverview.

We all gave a warm welcome to Phil Wall who is visiting from Sydney. Jim Hulme sent apologies, as he would have come from Brisbane, with road closures a big unknown.

Visitors welcome

Any exotc members who may be visiting the area over the holidays are welcome, call John Bennett for details, if you wish to attend Wednesdays at 12.00pm.

OTVA Tweed Valley Christmas Group 2020

OTVA Tweed Valley Christmas Group, (L-R) David Kidd, Paul Close, Alan West, Bill Newman, Phil Wall [antlers], Steve Marshall, Bob Collins, John Bennett, Gary Samuels. Photo: John Bennett

Thanks for the update, John.

Photos of the reunions are here


Audio Newsletter OTVA December 2020

24 Nov 20
Greg Martyn
No Comments

OTVA Audio Newsletter of December 2020

As our members age, some may be having trouble reading the email newsletter on their computer or phone. Please listen to this computer generated version of our latest Newsletter and let us know your thoughts. We appreciate your comments.

Play the audio

[Link: Audio Newsletter for December 2020 (mp4)]

Note: This issue the audio file is an audio mp4 file, which is much smaller than last quarter’s audio edition. It also uses a woman’s voice which may be more pleasant to listen to. The download is only 9 Mb this time. Please be patient (who ever wanted to wait for a computer!). I expect the file (which is an mp4 file) will open an audio player in a new browser window on your computer or phone. Playing this file will be about 50 minutes.

Alternative ways of listening to the Newsletter are:

  • Have a relative, friend or neighbour read it to you
  • Open the December 2020 pdf newsletter from here [Link]
    • Download it to your computer, so you can open it in your PDF reader app
    • Look for the Read Aloud option:
      • Edge browser, Windows 10, Read aloud
      • Adobe Acrobat Reader DC it’s under View, Read Out Loud
      • Foxit Reader it’s under View, Read


Please share your thoughts with us.

OTVA Newsletter December 2020

24 Nov 20
Greg Martyn
No Comments

OTC Southern Ocean Yachting Classic – 1987

12 Nov 20
Greg Martyn
No Comments

1987 Yacht Race from Hobart to Perth,
in time for the America’s Cup Challenge.

Sailing Against the Roaring 40’s

OTC was invited to sponsor a special yacht race in 1987 to link the Sydney to Hobart annual race to the Americas Cup race in Perth.

Image: Start of the race Hobart to Adelaide. Photo Tom Barker.
The OTVA Newsletter of December 2020, and I expect, the March 2021 edition have 2 stories of this race, how it came about, and it’s organisation, both from a managerial view and that of a Radio Operator on the Race relay ship.

Tom Barker explains the origin of the races.

In 1986, Peter Shore was the Manager of OTC Public Relations and he received a visit from the Commodores of three yacht clubs, The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania (RYCT), the Royal Perth Yacht Club (RPYC) and the Royal South Australian Yacht Squadron (RSAYS).
They told him that as the Americas Cup had been won by the RPYC (famously sponsored by Alan Bond) in 1983 and that club was committed to host races in defence of the trophy in Perth, in January 1987, it would be fitting if a series of ocean yacht races could be conducted after the conclusion of the 1986 Sydney Hobart race, which would culminate in the Defence of the Americas Cup, in Fremantle. These races would be from Hobart to Adelaide, Adelaide to Esperance Bay (WA) and Esperance to Perth.

Don Koulaouzos’s application as Radio Officer on the Radio Relay ship was successful.

As Don says “… I was also appointed as Chief Radio Officer (CRO) and would be on duty for the entire duration of the SOYC. It was hard to contain my absolute glee for the rest of the day with this humbling honour and exciting responsibility.
The other successful Radio Officers (RO) who were to join me for each leg of the race were Brian Morgan, Maryanne Lyneham and Peter Gilkes all of us in our mid 20’s.”

Expect to see their full stories in the Newsletters.

Images of the Southern Ocean Yachting Classic 1987

by Greg Martyn. Newsletter Editor.

SOYC-054 Privateer in Gageroads 23-1-1987 (a new record 2 days 6hrs 49 min 23 sec from Esperence)

Privateer arriving in Perth waters 23-1-1987. Photo: Tom Barker.

OTVA Newsletter September 2020

31 Aug 20
Greg Martyn
No Comments

Audio version of OTVA Sept 2020 Newsletter

31 Aug 20
Greg Martyn
No Comments

Experimental audio edition
September 2020 Newsletter

As our members age, some may be having trouble reading the email newsletter on their computer or phone. We’re interested to have you listen to this computer generated version of our latest Newsletter and would appreciate your comments.

play the audio
Link to Audio Edition of September 2020 OTVA Newsletter. 23Mb.

Note: the download is 23 Mb and may take some time to arrive on your computer. Please be patient (who ever wanted to wait for a computer!). I expect the file (which is an mp3 file) will open an audio player in a new browser window on your computer or phone.
Playing this file will be about 50 minutes.

Alternative ways of listening to the Newsletter are:

  • Have a relative, friend or neighbour read it to you
  • Open the September 2020 pdf newsletter from here [Link]
    • Download it to your computer, so you can open it in your PDF reader app
    • Look for the Read Aloud option:
      • Edge browser, Windows 10, Read aloud
      • Adobe Acrobat Reader DC it’s under View, Read Out Loud
      • Foxit Reader it’s under View, Read

Enjoy our newsletter

Please share your thoughts with us.

EFM Texts – C&W Fiji 1944

25 Aug 20
Greg Martyn
No Comments

EFM (Expeditionary Force Messages) were used by members of the Armed Forces & civilians serving overseas, during wartime, with their families in both World Wars.

As part of our research for the September 2020 OTVA Newsletter, a copy of the EFM TEXTS from Cable and Wireless in Fiji, Suva from August 1944 were discovered in our archives.

To aid researchers, who may be interested in EFM Texts, the text of this Table of Codes of EFM’s are listed below.
The graphic of the EFM Texts is here.  [Link: EFM TEXTS. Site]




  1. Letter received many thanks.
  2. Letters received many thanks.
  3. Telegram received many thanks.
  4. Parcel received many thanks.
  5. Parcels received many thanks.
  6. Letters and parcels received many thanks.
  7. Letter and telegram received many thanks.
  8. Telegram and parcels received many thanks.
  9. Letters sent.
  10. Parcels sent.
  11. Letters and parcels sent.
  12. Many thanks for letter.
  13. Many thanks for parcel.
  14. Many thanks for telegram.
  15. No news of you for some time.
  16. Writing.
  17. Urgent.
  18. Please write or telegraph.
  19. Please write,
  20. Please telegraph,
  21. Please reply worried.
  22. Airgraph letter received many thanks.
  23. Letters arriving regularly.
  24. Have you received letters.
  25. Your letters not received.


  1. Greetings.
  2. Loving greetings.
  3. Fondest greetings.
  4. Love.
  5. Darling.
  6. All my love.
  7. All my love dearest.
  8. All our love.
  9. Fondest love.
  10. Fondest love darling
  11. Best wishes.
  12. Greetings from us all.
  13. Loving greetings from all of us.
  14. Best wishes from all of us.
  15. Fondest wishes from all of us.
  16. Best wishes and good health.
  17. Kisses.
  18. Love and kisses.
  19. Fondest love and kisses.
  20. Well.
  21. All well at home.
  22. Best wishes for Christmas.
  23. Best wishes for Christmas and New Year.
  24. Loving wishes for Christmas.
  25. Loving wishes for Christmas and New Year.
  26. Loving Christmas thoughts.
  27. Happy Christmas.
  28. Happy Christmas and New Year.
  29. Good Luck.
  30. Keep smiling.
  31. My thoughts are with you.
  32. Many happy returns.
  33. Birthday greetings.
  34. Loving birthday greetings.
  35. Happy anniversary.
  36. You are more than ever in my thoughts at this time.
  37. Best wishes for a speedy return.
  38. Good show keep it up.
  39. Best wishes for New Year.
  40. May God grant you a year of happiness.
  41. God bless and keep you safe.
  42. My thoughts and prayers are ever with you.


  1. Family all well.
  2. All well children evacuated.
  3. All well children returned home.
  4. All well and safe.
  1. Are you all right?
  2. Are you all right worried about you.
  3. Please don’t worry.
  4. Hope you are improving.
  5. Please telegraph that you are well,
  6. Are you ill?
  7. Have you been ill?
  8. Illness is not serious.
  9. Illness is serious.
  10. I have left hospital.
  11. In bad health.
  12. Health improving.
  13. Health fully restored.
  14. Son born.
  15. Daughter born.
  16. Am well and fit.
  17. Delighted to hear you are safe and well.
  18. So glad to hear you are better.
  19. Have not been ill.


  1. Congratulations on your promotion.
  2. Very pleased to hear of your promotion.
  3. Delighted hear about your promotion.
  4. Have been promoted.
  5. Have been decorated.
  6. Have received commission.
  7. Congratulations on your commission.


  1. * Please send me £…
  2. * Please send me….dollars
  3. * Have sent you £…
  4. * Have sent you.. dollars
  5. Can you send me any money?
  6. Glad if you could send some money.
  7. Have received money.
  8. Have you received money?
  9. Have you sent money?
  10. Thanks for money received.
  11. Have not received money.
  12. Unable to send money.
  13. Sorry cannot send money.
  14. Do you need money.
  15. * Have paid £……..into your banking account.
  16. I do not need money.
  17. Can you make me daily allotment.


  1. Congratulations on anniversary best wishes.
  2. Congratulations lasting happiness to you both.
  3. Glad and proud to hear of your decoration everybody thrilled.
  4. Loving greetings and congratulations.
  5. Good luck keep it up.
  6. 1 wish we were together on this special occasion, all my best wishes for a speedy reunion.
  7. Very pleased to hear you have passed examination.
  8. Best wishes to all at home.
  9. Our thoughts are with you.
  10. Love to all the family.


  1. What things do you need most urgently.
  2. Have done as you asked.
  3. Rumour not true.
  4. No.
  5. Very happy to hear from you dearest am fit and well.
  1. Hearing your voice on the wireless gave me a wonderful thrill.
  2. Hope to see you soon.
  3. Hope.
  4. Your telegram not received.
  5. Yes.


  1. The Lord bless and sustain you in your loss.


  1. Please address letters home.
  2. Have you received telegram.
  3. No parcel for some time.
  4. Write same address.
  5. Parcel sent.
  6. Writing regularly.
  7. Your parcels not received.
  8. Have you received parcel.


  1. Love and best wishes for New Year to all at home.
  2. Best love from daddy.
  3. God be with you till we meet again.
  4. God bless you.
  5. Love to daddy.
  6. My love and greetings on Mothers’ Day.
  7. My love and greetings on Father’s Day.


  1. Hope you will soon be better.
  2. Have not been well.
  3. Injury not serious.
  4. Anxiety unnecessary.
  5. Going into hospital.
  6. Operation over, condition satisfactory.
  7. Hope children all well.
  8. Both well.
  9. Twins born.
  10. How are all the family.
  11. Injury is serious.
  12. I am in hospital.


  1. Have sent money.
  2. Can you increase the allotment.
  3. Are you receiving allotment.
  4. Business very bad grateful financial assistance.
  5. Expect to be able to send you money next pay day.


  1. Father } These can be inserted
  2. Mother } in front of texts 354
  3. Wife } 355 and 356 and those
  4. Fiance } marked x hereunder.
  5. x Writing telegraphing frequently.
  6. x Writing weekly.
  7. x Writing regularly receiving no reply.
  8. x Anxious welfare no news recently.
  9. x Receiving letters regularly.
  10. x Receiving letters occasionally.
  11. x Well receiving allotment.
  12. x Recovering operation returning home.
  13. x Is entering hospital.


  1. Hope to broadcast greetings from BBC listen … (Day of week to be added by filer).
  1. Repatriated to England, My address is….
  2. Have arrived safely in Middle East hope to be home soon.


  1. Writing in detail.
  2. Letter you mentioned not received.
  3. Parcel was just what I wanted Many thanks.
  4. Letters coming in fine.
  5. Send me love by V-mail.
  6. Received your nice letter.
  7. Tell….. to write.
  8. V-mail letter received. Many thanks.
  9. Regards to the gang.
  10. Greetings from the gang.
  11. Love to my Valentine.
  12. I hope you are still my Valentine.
  13. Love to all at home.
  14. Best wishes for a happy Easter.
  15. Best wishes for Thanksgiving.
  16. Love to the best mother in the world.
  17. Greetings to the best of fathers.
  18. Regards to everyone.
  19. May you be inscribed in the Book of Life.
  20. May the Passover bring new hope and courage.
  21. Am getting along all right.
  22. Received news of birth of…..
  23. Expecting blessed event.
  24. Very happy in receipt of good news.
  25. How is…..
  26. Have received decoration…..
  27. Can you make me an allotment.
  28. Put money I sent in Savings Account.
  29. Shall I increase allotment.
  30. To what address was money sent.
  31. Buy War Bonds with money.
  32. Do not purchase….
  33. Buy……at best price without delay.
  34. Sell… best price obtainable.
  35. Will send money in…… days.
  36. Receiving allotment regularly.
  37. Congratulations on your decoration.
  38. We are all very proud of you.
  39. Congratulations on your graduation.
  40. Congratulations.
  41. Tell children about me.
  42. Tell me about children.
  43. Send me a late photograph.
  44. Hospitality of people here wonderful.
  45. Be happy and brave.
  46. Consult lawyer before taking action.
  47. Wait instructions in my letter.
  48. An sending legal papers to-day.
  49. Have acted as you requested.
  50. Will keep you fully advised.
  51. Let me know when you find out.
  52. Wish I could be with you.
  53. Please send duplicate.
  54. ….has been sick x
  55. ….much better x
  56. …in good health x
  57. Expect to be home soon Do not write further.
  58. Will contact you on arrival.
  59. Plans to return home changed STOP letter follows.

NOTE: x Texts 354 to 356 inclusive can be inserted following selection of items in Texts 176 to 179
Texts 319 and 320 for Jewish New Year.
Necessary additional information to be inserted by senders in texts where blank space provided.
Only one item can be inserted in Blank space of Texts 332 and 333.
* The amount in words to be inserted immediately following the text number.


  1. … injured and in hospital.
  2. Injured and in hospital.
  3. Sorry to hear of damage hope all well.
  4. Sorry to hear of injury and hope not serious.
  5. Sorry to hear of injury and hope soon be better.


141. Sorry to tell you …. died.
142. Sorry to hear …. died.


This transcript is published for research of this little known method of telegraphy to keep defense forces in touch with home during WWII. The compression of the text into a simple 3 numeral code, allowed many more messages to be passed than would have been able using full telegraphic code. Note: Morse code would have been in normal use at that time. GM.

OTVA Newsletter – June 2020

27 May 20
Greg Martyn
No Comments

OTVA Newsletter – March 2020

10 Mar 20
Greg Martyn
No Comments

ExOTC Southside Catch-up

19 Feb 20
Greg Martyn
No Comments

Southern Sydney Vets Gathering

Southern Sydney Veterans and former OTC staff have been meeting regularly for over 2 years.

The origin of these Southside Catch-ups can be traced back to the Fuel Crises of the 1970’s when many of the staff at OTC’s Paddington terminal living south of Sydney used to car pool as their rosters permitted. The old cry just after 11 pm was “South Carpool about to leave” as the late leavers would rush to get home.

Venue and time

The Catch-Ups are held on the third Thursday of each month at The Carss Park Cafe in Carss Bush Park near Carwar Ave Carss Park. Carss Park is an idyllic location for a coffee and cake on any Thursday morning.

The get togethers are at 9:30 am with coffee or tea and many Vets having brunch of a muffin or Bacon and Egg Roll. Brunch usually lasts about 90 minutes.

Former OTC staff from the area and visitors are welcome to attend.
More info from Greg Martyn.

L – R; Peter, Gary, Robin, Robert, Lindsay, Vince, Greg, Denis, Greg, Ed, Bill, Ray, Brian [Photo Greg Martyn]