Perth Formal Mess Dinner
23 October 2021
Facbook Post by Ben Opperman
It is said a picture is worth a thousand words and if that is the case I will let the pictures do the talking. However, a few words have to be said about this year’s SAMVOA (WA) Formal Mess Dinner, our ninth, and that is that the event was a roaring great success. Much laughter and joy was had by all. And what a mix of guests we had! Veterans from South Africa, Rhodesia, Australia and Great Britain, Aussie friends and probably more. Dinner President Veteran Dave Stevenson afterwards said it was the noisiest and loudest function to date and testimony to all the guests enjoying themselves to the fullest.
Activities around the event started early on Saturday with many veterans turning up to lend a hand with the tables and chairs etc. and final preparations. Equipment and other necessities were dropped off. Everything was coming together quite well. In no time everything was set and everybody left only to return later in the afternoon. A new table layout and approach would be tried and it was found to be a success. The food and everything that went with it was absolutely great. The caterers had outdone themselves. One couldn’t fault the food and presentation thereof.
At the back a few last minute finishes to our new display cabinet was applied and dressed-up mannequins made to stand. The display isn’t finish yet. A lot has still to be done but everybody who had a look at the display as is reckons the final product would be spectacular.
The first guests arrived around six ’o clock and the trickle soon turned into a flood. Some veterans were on hand at the door to welcome them. A seating plan showed guests where they were sitting. Drinks were ordered at the bar, old acquaintances greeted and hugged and newbies welcomed. The ladies especially were all looking spectacular making the event a glamorous one! Eventually the bell was rung by Master-at-Arms Veteran Ian Higley and guests readied themselves to sit down. A final rung had everybody enter the dining hall. Piper Doug Gillespie played the head table into the hall with ‘My Sarie Marais’.
The Ode was recited by Veteran Garth Pienaar after which veterans sang ‘Old Soldiers Never Die….”
Dinner President Veteran Dave Stevenson’s welcome words….. ““I’d like to welcome Mr John Gartner and Mrs Cass Gartner, General Chris le Roux and Mrs Marlyna le Roux all the way from Bunbury, Lt Colonel Leigh Partridge, the Commanding Officer of 16 Royal Western Australian Regiment, Major Doug Gillespie, Mr Alan Richardson OAM JP President of the City of Belmont RSL and Mrs Yvonne Richardson.
I’d also like to welcome Mr Troy Simmonds, the past president of the Australian Special Air Services Association (WA Branch), Mr Mick Coyle, the President of the Airborne Forces Association of WA and Mrs Jacqueline Coyle, and all our dinner guests.
This year is our 9th Mess Dinner and my 4rd as Dinner President seeing as we missed out on our dinner due to Covid restrictions last year.
I find that each year is special and precious in its own way.
It’s also an opportunity as SAMVOA to reflect on the year that has past, and as Ben always says, “An opportunity for us to rekindle old friendships”, and cement some new ones too.
As each year goes by, we need to realise more and more that life is a gift, and we should appreciate it. So, here’s to all our friends that have passed on in the last year and especially remembering Riaan De Villiers and Tim Chadwick. We will remember them!
Guest of Honour
Chairman's Cup Winner
SAMVOA Bugle Winner