William Michael (Bill) Dunn was born on 2 April 1949 and commenced his NS on 9 July 1969 and commenced officer training at OTU on 25 July with Class 3/69. Bill graduated into the RAAOC on 19 December and was posted to 3 BOD. He discharged at the end of his NS. Bill succumbed to an advanced melanoma and spent the last 3-4 weeks in hospital and was quite comfortable and philosophical and gutsy to the end. His funeral service was held at the Magnolia Chapel, Northern Suburbs Cemetery (Sydney) on Monday 2 April 2012.
John Reid: In his inimitable style Bill gave Faye instructions for this service: “keep it light and breezy and don’t be maudlin” – that is a pretty tough call under the circumstances mate! Bill was a mate to a lot of us; – and so what is a “mate”? The Aussie, blokey definition is that you – get along together – enjoy each other’s company -share a bit of chemistry and share experiences in life.
Bill and I first met when we shared the Scheyville experience: here the army took a small proportion of each National Service intake and did their best to turn us into Platoon Commanders, officers and gentlemen. Officers – yes, Gentlemen – perhaps a bit later. Intake 3/69 were thrown into OTU at Windsor in the middle of winter and learnt the hard way how to sleep in a shell-scrape that gradually filled with cold rainwater overnight. We certainly came out fitter and had plenty of life skills hammered into us.
I know Bill in his later business life as a company manager kept to the Scheyville 3F principle of being FIRM, FAIR and FRIENDLY with those he was responsible for. After Scheyville I next ran into Bill a few years later at the Ferntree Gully Hotel, at the bar of course. This is one of the things about mateship – you can be apart geographically for years and take up a conversation as if no time had passed.
The recent Scheyville 40 year (Class 3/69) reunion, partly organised by Bill, was a good test of this theory, but once we got past the recognition barrier the bond was still there for all of us. By last Saturday the OTU website had received messages of condolence and thoughts for Bill’s family from: Brian Cooper, Alan Brimelow, Tony Beddison, Gary Vial, Graham Barnard, Jay McDaniell, Mal Brown and Jeff Coster from 3/69, David Webster, Ray Elder and our RSM Max Almond. Ray added that Billy was a Willie (Williamstown) Boy who played very courageous footie for the Willie CYMS.
Back in the early 70s Bill and I shared a road trip to Cairns in his flying red Datsun 2000, and when Bill came to Sydney to work for Grace Brothers we shared a flat at Bondi. We tossed a coin for the big bedroom with ocean views and Bill won of course, but we were stupid getting a top floor unit because carrying that much booze up 3 flights of stairs was murder. We tried a bit of Rugby with the Galloping Greens 5th grade but what do you do with an Aussie Rules player? You put him at fullback and yell instructions whenever the play goes his way. Any suggestion to clear the ball out on the full from the 25 was always met with an on-field argument from Bill on the legality and ethics of kicking out on the full.
Bill’s car in this era was a lime green Monaro with chrome widies – so the refined, mature Bill was still very much a work in progress.
Bill met Faye when my wife-to-be Glenyss needed to rent a room. The first 20 or 30 phone calls were answered by blokes on the make, but finally a female voice – the young Faye Goulder. Bill tagged along to check out the talent, and you can guess the rest.
All of us here today are Bill’s family, relatives, friends or mates; but Faye, of course, has been Bill’s “mate” in the true sense of the word: -his partner, his wife, his best friend, his life-mate and his soul-mate.
Our family has been privileged to share much of our lives with Bill and his family. Our boys Cameron and Lucas can’t be here today as Cameron is in New York and Lucas is working interstate; but their thoughts will be with Faye, Bryce, Carla and Marcus.
We have shared many happy times and a few sad times – holidays, parties, kid’s functions, food, beer and wine. In fact all the stuff life is made of.
When we say this last “see you later mate” we don’t mean literally, but we mean in our hearts and our memories. So – see you later mate.