Colonel Terry Beaton IARes
Thailand/Myanmar & Thailand Railway Trek
Former Curator Hellfire Pass Museum (1998–2000)
Terry Beaton's interest stems from his posting to Thailand in 1988 when he first became smitten with the "Spirit of the Railway" and has been studying its history for 15 years.
He became the first Australian Curator of Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum, during his two years he researched and produced a detailed map of the entire railway.
His extensive knowledge of the entire railway line and history are an asset to the group.
He has escorted numerous groups including the recently developed and more challenging Railway Trek Tour.
Major Neil Leckie is an Army Reserve officer in the Royal Australian Infantry Corps. He commenced his Army service in 1968 as a National Serviceman, gaining his commission at the Officer Training Unit – Scheyville, in New South Wales. Since then he has spent thirty of the past forty years in various Army Reserve units, but mainly with his current unit The 8th/7th Battalion, The Royal Victoria Regiment. He was awarded the Reserve Force Decoration for 15 years service as an officer in 1989.
It has been during his time with 8/7 RVR, a battalion steeped in tradition which includes service in both World Wars, that he developed an interest in military history. Neil is a regular contributor to military newsletters and magazines and in 1999 he wrote his first book "Bushmens Rifles: A History of the 22nd Battalion, The Royal Victoria Regiment". His second book, Country Victoria's Own, 150 Years of 8/7 RVR and its Predecessors, was launched on 9th August 2008, the battalion's 150th Birthday.
Major Leckie is also the Museum Manager of the Ranger Military Museum in Ballarat and has toured Gallipoli and the Western Front with Belmore Travel and walked the Kokoda Track.
Gary Traynor has been actively involved in the research, preservation and collection of militaria for over 25 years. Consequently, he has a wealth of knowledge, experience and enthusiasm for Australian military history.
He has been visiting the Turkish battlefields since 1988 and indicates the highlight of his Gallipoli experience to be his attendance at the 75th Anniversary of the landings. On this significant occasion, the Australian government sponsored a contingent of the last surviving Gallipoli veterans to attend the 1990 ANZAC Day service. He also conducts tours of the Kokoda Battlefields for a number of Kokoda trekking companies and his work has been acknowledged in the 'Field Guide to the Kokoda Track' by Bill James. Gary's travels have taken him on numerous explorations of The Western Front in France and Belgium, Arnhem and the Normandy Beaches, Malaya, Singapore and North Africa.
When it comes to researching Military records and war service medals, Gary is a leader in his field. He is the Director of the NOT FOR PROFIT organisation, MEDALS GONE MISSING which reunites "lost" or "missing" medals with the ancestors of servicemen and women. What Gary considers to be their lost heritage.
Gary's practical experience includes over four years service at the Australian War Memorial in both voluntary and paid positions. He has operated as a tour guide and in the role of Information Assistant at this memorial which is considered one of the foremost War Memorials in the world. His literary work has been published in WARTIME magazine (the official magazine of the Australian War Memorial) and he was a contributing author to 'Kokoda For Dummies' by Wiley Publishing Australia. Gary is currently studying Military History at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA).
He is a former member of the Australian Army Reserve, having served with 4/3 RNSWR and UNSWR. With 23 years unblemished service within the New South Wales Police Force, Gary's experience includes 17 years as an Operational Safety & Tactics Instructor and Police Operational Support Group.
In 2012, he was the Project Manager for the 70th Anniversary Kuttabul Commemoration Project. This significant commemorative event paid homage to the lives lost as a result of the Japanese midget submarine attack upon Sydney Harbour and was one of the major commemorations on the 70th Anniversary calendar for the Second World War.
David has had an interest in Military history for 25 years, after finding out members of his family had served in the 1st AIF his interest in WW1 started to grow.
In 2005 he travelled to Gallipoli to attend the 90th anniversary of the landing on ANZAC Day and then onto France and Belgium to explore the Western Front.
This trip helped increase his knowledge and set the foundations for future trips, which have included visiting all of the Cemeteries and Memorials in France, Belgium, England and Turkey where soldiers of Warrnambool and District are buried. Photographs were taken of each headstone, and/or name on Memorial for future research projects.
These trips also saw an e-mailing project established between a school in Villers Bretonneux, France, with a local Warrnambool school. This relationship has culminated with the French students visiting Australia in 2009, followed by the Australian students visiting France in 2011 with David as the historian.
David is the Warrnambool RSL Memorabilia Officer and has been involved in helping develop an education program with assistance from the Shrine of Remembrance and from Veterans from the Warrnambool RSL for the local schools.
He has also been very active in researching and interviewing Warrnambool and District veterans and helping veteran descendants with requests for information. His enthusiasm and passion are infectious and benefit to any group.
Sue Austin has been escorting tours for Belmore Travel for over 20 years to Gallipoli, The Western Front, South Africa & Thailand. Sue is always eager to share her considerable knowledge and experience. Often the tours are personal pilgrimages for our clients; Sue's easy going ability to provide background information and explain the events, people and places, make the tours a more complete and memorable experience.
In 1989, Sue and her late husband, Ron, set up Slouch Hat Publications. Over the years, they researched, wrote and published many fine titles connected with Military History. Sue will continue to offer these books and other titles online.