Repatriation of British Vietnam Casualty - Gunner Checkley.

#1
9 Jun 2015 — Posted on the Department of Veterans Affairs Australia Facebook

Last month the Australian Government announced it would offer the families of Australian servicemen who are buried at Terendak Military Cemetery, Malaysia the opportunity to repatriate their remains.

The Office of Australian War Graves is now consulting with each of the families on their wishes for their loved one, but have been unable to make contact with some families.

One of the families that the DVA would like to reach is:

Gunner Thomas Checkley 131st Divisional Locating Battery

Gunner Checkley was killed by accident when he fell from a truck returning from Vung Tau 5th August 1966.

Checkley’s service number was 311534 indicating that he directly enlisted in the Australian Regular Army from Australia House in London. Given the mode of enlistment, it is highly likely that he had previous service in the British Army. Do any of the ‘old and bold’ recognise the name?

Thomas William Checkley was born in Buxton Derbyshire on 18th February 1938.

Any genealogists in the house who can help?
 
#2
From another site
Gnr Thomas William Checkley. Born Buxton UK. WWII: RAF. Cyprus & Malaya: RAF. SVN: Gnr 131 Div Loc Bty 22.4.66 - KIA Vung Tau 5.8.66. Buried Terendak Malaysia.
 
#7
There is a degree of sadness and irony in a lad from my home county surviving WW2 and more, going off to Vietnam, only to fall of the back of a bloody truck.

FWIW here is Tom:
309.jpg


And here is the Sydney Morning Herald article covering his death:
Checkley.JPG
 
#8
Well you can't both be right...
Sorry - you've lost me.

If you have a point, you have to make it clearer.

I know that there are helpful and clever people who check in here and I thank Bumhole, Furryturd, Spode and PapaGolf for making a useful contribution.

The contact at Veteran Affairs for any information about Gunner Checkley's family is Barry Hampson, the Office of Australian War Graves at wargraves@dva.gov.au
 
#10
I think the issue is mention of WW2 service. It appears Tom was born in 1938, and would be too young for WW2. He would have kicked in for National service aged18 in 1956.

If he did both Cyprus an Malaya I would guess he enlisted though. Cyprus kicked of when EOKA me a declaration in April 55. The Malaya troubles were 63-66. Young Tom would have seen a fair bit of life by the time he signed on with the Australians in 66.

I wonder how many of todays 28 year olds can say they have already part in three world changing events. No bad for a lad from Buxton.
 
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#12
image.jpg
I had a look around the Oz official dcuments site, unlike ours they are all free
There was a mention of him when his battery got their orders to go to Vietnam in Feb time that year (that's the PDF half way down the page unit diaries)
He is remembered in every past edition of his units newsletter as well, most of them can been found with this Google search


Interestingly coming back to a comment about his service number, there was another chap called Rob White who died in 1991 in the same unit but his service number was only 3 different
 
#14
Spode is correct, he had a sister, Yvonne, who was born in 1936. As far as I can tell at the moment there don't appear to be any close relatives alive, perhaps some cousin's children.

I have also notified the parish church in Chapel en le Frith in case they have any information.
 
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#15
I think the issue is mention of WW2 service. It appears Tom was born in 1938, and would be too young for WW2. He would have kicked in for National service aged18 in 1956.

If he did both Cyprus an Malaya I would guess he enlisted though. Cyprus kicked of when EOKA me a declaration in April 55. The Malaya troubles were 63-66. Young Tom would have seen a fair bit of life by the time he signed on with the Australians in 66.

I wonder how many of todays 28 year olds can say they have already part in three world changing events. No bad for a lad from Buxton.
What troubles would these be? The emergency was 48-60, what are you referring to?
Gen question
 
#17
I have managed to trace a very distant relative who wasn't aware of any details about him. I assume his remains will stay where they are buried in Malaysia and the grave will continue to be maintained by the CWGC.
 
#18
on another note entirely, genuine question, why are they repatriating anyone?

is the cemetery at risk or something?

If there's a good reason then ok, but what's wrong with leaving them with their mates when they've been there for 50 years already? Without a link to the OP I'm a bit confused (genuinely) as to why they're suddenly in bring 'em home mode - especially when the CWGC are world leaders in looking after cemeteries with dignity*)

are they about to start digging up France?


*ok, where they can I've got a great uncle in the care of the CWGC, buried in, er, Baghdad North Gate.... I've got no complaints with the one buried in Belgium!
 
#19
*ok, where they can I've got a great uncle in the care of the CWGC, buried in, er, Baghdad North Gate.... I've got no complaints with the one buried in Belgium!
Having been to Baghdad North Gate cemetry it was in supprisingly good condition (this was 2006) most of the head stones were intact but stored round the edge it looked like someone was in the process of trying to sort it out, I also went to habaniyha (spelling?)on the same tour and it was in a much worse condition, the local Nepalese workers and a couple of USMC guys had made a project out of trying to put it right and were about a third of the way through putting it right, lots of smashed head stones that were being put together like massive jigsaws so they could be ID'd and replaced
 
#20
on another note entirely, genuine question, why are they repatriating anyone?

is the cemetery at risk or something?

If there's a good reason then ok, but what's wrong with leaving them with their mates when they've been there for 50 years already? Without a link to the OP I'm a bit confused (genuinely) as to why they're suddenly in bring 'em home mode - especially when the CWGC are world leaders in looking after cemeteries with dignity*)

are they about to start digging up France?


*ok, where they can I've got a great uncle in the care of the CWGC, buried in, er, Baghdad North Gate.... I've got no complaints with the one buried in Belgium!
AFAIK the official policy was not to repatriate remains. Some families at the time were against it and a decision to overturn this was recently made so repatriation became an option. I have a vague recollection of reading it somewhere.
 

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