ANZAC Day 2020

Rork Projects acknowledges all servicemen and women who have served their country.

We recognise the more than 1.5 million service men and women who have served our country in all conflicts, wars and peacekeeping operations. We also remember the more than 102,000 Australians who sacrificed their lives in our country’s name and the families and loved ones they left behind.

Our staff proudly acknowledge and remember the family members and loved ones who have served.

Lest We Forget.

Pepe Ianniello – Business Development Manager  QLD

Pepe’s great grandfather in law is Major General Sir Neville Howse VC.

In January 1900 Howse was commissioned as a lieutenant in the New South Wales Medical Corps and sailed for South Africa for the Boer War. He was serving with a mounted infantry brigade at Vredefort where, on 24 July, he rescued a wounded man under heavy fire. For this he was awarded Australia’s first Victoria Cross. He was promoted to captain in October the same year.

Howse returned to Australia, but went back to South Africa as an honorary major in the Australian Medical Corps in February 1902, just as the war was ending.

When the First World War began in 1914 he was appointed principal medical officer to the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force to German New Guinea, with the rank of lieutenant colonel. His medical knowledge and logistical skills ensured that there were no cases of serious illness and he returned to Australia in time to join the first AIF contingent as staff officer to the Surgeon General, director of medical services.

In December 1914, Howse was promoted to colonel and appointed assistant director of medical services, 1st Australian Division. At Gallipoli he took charge of evacuating wounded men from the beach in the campaign’s opening days. “Shells and bullets he completely disregarded”, wrote one officer, but “to the wounded he was gentleness itself.”

In September 1915 he was given command of ANZAC medical services and in November became director of the AIF’s medical services.

Based in London once the AIF moved to France, Howse made regular visits to France and retained control of the Australian Army Medical Corps in Egypt and Palestine.

Howse was knighted in 1917 and in 1920 made a brief return to private practice before resuming work with the army. He resigned in 1922 and won the federal seat of Calare for the National Party.

John Paul Janke – Co-Owner, Rork Projects

John’s great grandfather Victor Blanco signed up in 1939 before being posted to the 2/31 Battalion which was formed in England before being sent to Egypt.

He also saw heavy action in Syria and Lebanon and was also deployed to reinforce battered Australian forces along the Kokoda Trail in New Guinea.

The service of Torres Strait Islanders was significant during WWII. Almost every man of eligible age for service in the Torres Strait Islands enlisted to fight during the war – some 830 men in total.

The Torres Strait had the highest rate of volunteers any where in Australia during WWII.

Brian O’Rourke – Co-Owner, Rork Projects

Brian’s Uncle – Lt Col David Dunworth enlisted in 1915 and joined the 18th Battalion, 6th Reinforcement as a Captain.

His Unit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A14 Euripides on 2 November 1915. He received the Military Cross for “Conspicuous gallantry” and served in Egypt and Western Front. The citation noted “For conspicuous gallantry. When the enemy counter attacked he led his platoon over the parapet and attacked their right flank, materially assisting in the repulse of the counter attack. Next night he showed great determination in another counter attack.”

Brian nephew is a Major. Army Intelligence Officer, having served in the Army for 16yrs.  He’s served multiple tours of Afghanistan as well as Iraq, border patrol operations and humanitarian assistance missions. Has served in multiple specialist intelligence roles in Australia and overseas, as well as an instructor for new recruits at Kapooka and for new Officers at ADFA. He has worked as an Aide de Camp to the Assistant  Defence Minister in Parliament House and is currently working in Darwin supporting the NT government’s efforts to control the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shareen Bottomley – Office Manager Victoria

Shareen’s Dad Anthony Bottomley (25.12.1958 – 04.04.1988) joined the Australian Navy HMAS Cerberus in 1980.

He met Shareen’s mum (Jemma) while he was in the Navy and then moved to Sydney where he was on the HMAS Supply. At this time he as given leave so that he could get married to Jemma in 1982.

He served on the Supply until around December 82,  then he was posted to Garden Island in Perth. He was then on the HMAS Cook until 1986.

He passed in 1988 due a car accident after he’d left the Navy.

Shareen’s brother, Adam Bottomley, also service in the ADF. He joined the Australian Army in 2017 and served 2 years.

He was based in Holsworthy Barracks, Sydney and during his service posted on a 9-month peace keeping mission in East Timor.

Malcomn Hoye – Construction Manager, NSW

Malcomn’s grandfather Lionel Hoye was in the Australian Army.

He was stationed in Darwin 1944 in the lead up to the Pacific Campaign before serving in The Battle of Morotai, as part of the Pacific War, in 1945 (His dad is centre of top row, sitting on the bonnet of a jeep)

He was demobilised in 1946.

Phil Sidebottom JP – Site Manager Sydney

Phil served in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) for 15 years and led many Anzac Day ceremonies in honour of all those that served our country past and present.  He was the senior Drum Major of the RAAF and says “it was an absolute honour and privilege to serve.”

Shane Kennedy –Systems & Safety Manager

Shane’s Grandfather, Frank Kustra, served under the British command in WWII.

During WWII as a young boy, he was taken from his hometown of Lwow in Poland and placed in a prison camp in Siberia.

He escaped, then at the age of 16, served under the British command in Africa and in Europe in WWII.

He fought in the Battle of Monte Cassino also known as the Battle for Rome.

He met several Australians along his journey & they convinced him to move to Australia once the war was over.

In 1948, he did just that & even visited some of the soldiers he met during the war to catch up with them over a beer. His first job in Australia was working on the Snowy Mountains River Scheme.

Shane says: “My Dziadzio (Grandfather in Polish), then moved to Manly on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, married a beautiful Scottish lady, started a family & the rest is history”

James Graham – Site Manager, Victoria 

James’ family has a long history of contribution in the defence forces both here in Australia and in England.

His Great Grandfather on his mothers side served in both WW1 and WW2 in the Royal Navy as Warrant officer class 1 of the Signals on various destroyers.

His Great Grandfather on his dad’s side made the rank of full Colonel and awarded the Military Cross for bravery in Gallipoli in WW1 and  went onto serve in WW2 as Army intelligence and served with the South African Natal Carbineers (Rifles).

His Great Uncle was a Squadron leader and Pilot with over 100 confirmed kills prior to being shot down and killed off the coast of Malta on his 22nd birthday.

His Grandad was part of the WW2 Desert Rats SAS in Africa and also worked as a British Intelligence officer during the Cold War catching Russian spies all over Europe.

His Grandfather on his mum’s side, served in the British army in Germany WW2.

James’ father served in the British army and made the rank of Major and received the MBE honours after a full and proud Military career.

Scott Kennett – Project Manager, Victoria

Scott’s grandmother Joy Free served in the World War II (1939-45)

And his Grandfather – Jack Alfred Weston served in the Royal Australian Air Force 1941-1946 – as Leading Aircraftman.

Angela O’Rourke –  Director Rork Projects

Angela’s Maternal Grandfather – 1st Lt Robert E Dolan – joined the US Air Force aged 19 and was trained as a fighter pilot in WW2.

He was part of the 12th Airforce base in Italy and flew P47 Thunderbolts.  He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Her paternal Grandfather  was a Torpedo man’s Mate 1st Class on USS Borie DD215 during WW2.  In 1943 the USS Borie engaged and sunk U-405 in the North Atlantic by ramming the U-boat and using small arms fire.  Unfortunately the next day USS Borie sunk from battle damage and the crew had to abandon ship.  There was no loss of life.

Angela’s step – Great Grandfather was an ANZAC –  William Chave joined the Australian Imperial force in 1914 in the 5th Light Horse Regiment, Machine Gun Section.  He was part of the Mediterranean Expeditionary force for”med in Egypt and operated during the Gallipoli campaign.  He was part of the final withdrawal of December 1915 in which they rigged Drip (or “pop off”) self firing rifles to deceive the Turks during evacuation.

Wayne Johnson – Site Manager ACT

Wayne’s Grandfather Harry Battams served in World War Two. He was the youngest of nine, and fought along side his brothers & one sadly was killed in action.

Both Wayne’s parents served as well, his Dad did national service in the sixties & was a 20-year veteran of the South Australian Fire Brigade.

Wayne’s Mum was Army reservist as a medic & also volunteer St John Ambulance worker.

Wayne says that “he is very very proud of my family’s sacrifice.”

Nathan Spencer – Senior Project Manager – ACT

Nathan’s great grandfather Gunner William George Spencer enlisted in Brisbane on the 20th of August 1914, aged 21 (travelling from Longreach)

He embarked for Alexandria where he along with so many brave souls prepared for the events of the next 4 years. At some stage prior to the landing at Anzac Cove he sailed for the Limnos in preparation for the landing.

He was amongst the first Australians to land at Anzac Cove, approximately 8am on the 25th.

On 20th June he was attached to a Howitzer Gun as a telephonist. He was transferred on strength to 3rd Field Artillery Brigade on 15 of July 15.

Following the evacuation of Gallipoli, he landed at Alexandria on board the HT Ulysses.

He then found himself disembarking at Marseilles on the 29th of March 1916 and promoted to Bombardier. He served in France and Belgium for the remainder of the war.

He was awarded the Military Medal on 22nd of June 1917 for Bravery in The Field during the battle for Messines Ridge.

  • Promoted to Corporal in on 26/10/17.
  • Promoted to Sergeant on the 26/7/18
  • Taken to hospital sick 24/7/18 (probably due to gas)
  • Re-joined his unit 28/7/18 from Hospital
  • Disembarked in Southampton for return to Australia on Special Leave (sick) 13/10/18
  • Embarked HT Lyttleton for return to Australia 23/10/18
  • Disembarked Melbourne 25/12/18
  • Discharged Brisbane 31/5/19
  • Medals awarded Military Medal, 1914/15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.

The address on William’s discharge papers simply reads Railway Hotel Longreach. “One of the most humbling things we can do as William Spencer’s decedents is to stand on the railway platform of the substantial Longreach Railway station and walk a mile in his shoes and take in the solitude and beauty of the Queensland Outback after years of blood, sweat and War!”