AUSTRALIAN VETERAN MATTERS FORUM => THE MAD GALAHS FORUM--This forum does not necessarily reflect AVMs opinion. CLICK HERE FOR AVMS OPINION => Topic started by: Zion on Wednesday08July2009

Title: General Gower Emails Tate
Post by: Zion on Wednesday08July2009
We have received the following. is Tate.

From: xxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Wednesday, July 08, 2009 10:27 AM

From: Steve Gower
Sent: Tuesday, July 07, 2009 5:12 PM


In response to your series of recent emails, I’m afraid there’s not much I can say that will assist: there’s no “official” line, no protection of people, no “corruption” nor hiding of records. If you don’t believe that, you are most welcome to spend whatever time you like in our Research Centre.

But, Don, there’s a much more important issue for you to consider. For some time your commitment to a cause and your resultant frustration has resulted in derogatory and defamatory accusations being made. This can’t go on in the interests of a civilised relationship. I’ll give you some examples:

·         The May (not August) 2007 meeting. You seemed to have forgotten what really happened. In your 18 May 2007 email, sent immediately afterwards, you said amongst other things, “(people) warned me that the AWM would attempt to brush this matter aside... Perhaps I am a poor judge of a man, but I didn’t get that impression today of either of the three (AWM) persons present”. Yes, Don, we too thought it was generally constructive and cordial. It lasted 2 ½ hours and at the end we shook hands. You then paid me a compliment that I appreciated, but will not embarrass you by repeating. Certainly there were areas of difference, which were recognised and respected, but not anything remotely like the descriptions in your recent emails.

·         You were recompensed for accepting my invitation to come down to Canberra to meet the official historian and give him whatever information you had. It was the decent thing to do at the time, so I thought, and still do. At the end you signed for TA with our Chief Finance Officer to cover your costs for coming down. We have that record with your signature against the purpose of the payment. Since then you have maliciously – and, Don, there’s no other word for it – claimed on several occasions it was a bribe (to The Canberra Times, Mr James Massola) and that there was no accountability (in your 5 July e-mail). You know what you are saying is untrue; and it’s only out of respect for a fellow veteran that I haven’t taken this and other slanders further. So cut it out, please! In fact, a retraction would be in order, just like the apology you made when you wrongly told the world we weren’t stocking your book. Incidentally, well done on the second reprint.

I will go on to another subject, your donated film material. You have said on several occasions you donated private movie film valued at $90,000 to the Memorial. I understand in 1993 the Memorial was pleased to get the donation but, no Don, two independent valuers assessed the film at an average of $5,186. Could you please use that figure in future. That’s what you used for the Tax Incentive for the Arts Scheme, isn’t it? 

Turning to responses to your recent set of questions (3 July e-mail):

·         There are no “official records” nor “official accounts” of the disposal of enemy dead at Thua Tich.

·         Deliberate corruption. What you said is actionable.

·         The official history will be released in 2010 and covers the events of 29/30 May comprehensively. It is based on a balanced assessment of all available evidence from private and official sources. I cannot pre-empt the work of the official historian, who works free of any institutional, political, group or individual direction. 

·         There is no evidence of “truth... hidden all these years”. You are most welcome to come and search for it yourself if you still don’t believe me. 

·         There is no knowledge of “missing records”.

·         No restriction is placed on Denis Gibbons’ photographs beyond those which he, as the donor, has imposed. The AWM database states “copies of this image can be obtained... (Dr Gibbons’ address)”. We have used his captions unchanged, i.e. “Ambush of troops at Xuyen Moc”.

·         The AWM does not hold, and never has, copies of the “Pound enquiry”. It’s presumably an Army file. 

You mentioned elsewhere about wanting to take action against what you believe were war crimes. I encourage you to do this if you have the primary evidence. It’s your call and nothing to do with us.

In conclusion, I have had enough of your tirades. It’s a sad world when veterans abuse others, but happily we live in a great democracy, and you can go for your life if that’s how you feel. That would be sad for you as a person, who has been through a bit, but it’s up to you. 

With that in mind, the door remains open for your suggestions, comments and requests for information. 

Steve Gower


From: Allen Petersen
Sent: Saturday, 4 July 2009 10:30 PM
To: Undisclosed-Recipient:;
Cc: Ashley Ekins; Steve Gower


From: Bernie McGurgan

To: Ashley.Ekins; Steve.Gower; webmaster@awm

Sent: Thursday, 2 July 2009 8:49 PM

Subject: New enquiries: 2nd D&E Platoon matter


Veterans In August 2007, when three members of the 2nd D&E Platoon travelled to the Australian War Memorial to discuss the whole 2nd D&E Platoon matter, we were met by (General) Steve Gower, and the official historian, Ashley Ekins, and a bureaucrat. At that meeting, we were informed by Gower that the official account of the ambush at Thua Tich, submitted by Capt Tom Arrowsmith, stated that all the dead bodies were "neatly wrapped in green tarpaulins and transported elsewhere for proper burial." We disputed this, but Gower would not be moved. We were heard to some degree, but weren't allowed to present our evidence, won a concession to the effect that a "discrete infantry group" had existed, handed $150 each, and ushered out.


When "The War Within" was published in 2008, I was vilified by sections of the cavalry because I gave a different account of what transpired at Thua Tich. So too, were those other members of the 2nd D&E Platoon- Ted Colmer, Barney Bigwood, and Kevin Lloyd-Thomas. I now reproduce a few paragraphs from Allan Stanton's book "Before I Forget"

(Sid Harta Publishers). Stanton was the driver of Captain Tom Arrowsmith's APC:


"The Arrow (Capt Tom Arrowsmith), like me, did not want the bodies in the cargo area of our carrier, so it was decided to take five bodies, tie them together and hang them by their ankles from the back of the carrier for the trip back to Xuyen Moc. "Before leaving the ambush site we had one further task to perform- dispose of the other six bodies. We dragged them to an old bomb crater just to the side of the old gates of the deserted village. Along with the bodies were placed explosives, hand grenades, a number of Claymore mines, a few gallons of petrol and a long fuse cord. "The fuse was lit and about five minutes later the the explosion of our crude burial could be heard.

....... (After the second VC attack on the way to Xuyen Moc)... "There was now one more task to perform before our return to the Dat- take the bodies of the five VC still hanging from the back of Two-Alpha-Zero (Stanton's APC) into the village square. I knew they were still there by the shocked looks on the faces of the locals as we drove through the village...... "The bodies were cut from the carrier and left with the village chief to do what he wanted with them."

It is important to note that Allan Stanton is a cavalryman. In the light of Stanton's first-hand, written, account of these actions, I now ask these questions of (General) Steve Gower, and Ashley Ekins: 

1. Do you still stand by the "official" accounts of what transpired at Thua Tich in respect of the treatment of the dead VC?
2. Has the Australian War Memorial been party to a deliberate corruption of the histories of the war in respect of these matters so as to protect the reputation of certain officers?
3. Given this validating account of the events of the 29th and 30th May, will the official histories being written by Ashley Ekins now accurately reflect all that transpired, and include the "2nd D&E Platoon" as formally recognised by the Australian Government on May 29th 2008?
4. Will the Australian War Memorial issue a statement to the war veterans of Australia which reflects an honest reappraisal of the facts and issues surrounding this entire matter- and explain how it was that the truth was hidden all these years?
5. Will the AWM now "find" those missing signals that flew between General Daley, Brigadier Pearson, and Captain Tom Arrowsmith on the 30th May 1969, and state for the record precisely which officer was referred to as "Seagull" in the Narratives of the day?
6. Will the AWM explain why civilian photographer Dennis Gibons' photographs are all for sale- EXCEPT those taken at Thua Tich on the 30th May 1969, and whether or not the AWM had anything whatsoever to do with that decision?
7. Will the AWM provide the veteran community with all the details of the 'Pound Enquiry', especially since the only 'Pound' and 'Enright' we have discovered seem to have no memory of the public airing of these matters back in 1976, or of the subsequent enquiry?


Don Tate author, "The War Within"

Title: Re: General Gower Emails Tate
Post by: Zion on Wednesday08July2009

Tate has replied to General Gower in his usual arrogant, self centred and self serving manner. His response follows this comment.

Tate really is a coward at heart. Whenever he is confronted with the truth, and whenever he is corrected he runs like a dog, apologising all over the place in case he is sued and making excuses for his lies and inaccuracies. He has loyally followed this script in his reply to General Gower. The trouble is donny boy once something is said it can't be unsaid, and you damn well know that.

Tate just cannot accept deep in his heart that he could ever be wrong, that there are others who have suffered as much and more than him and that the world doesn't centre around Don Tate.

So once again he has been caught out, simply by the General speaking the truth with manners and intelligence, two characteristics Tate does not possess.

His pathetic response follows. We have edited out some names to protect various people.

From: Allen Petersen
To: Undisclosed-Recipient:;
Cc: Steve Gower
Sent: Tuesday, July 07, 2009 11:46 PM

From: Donald Tate
To: Bernie ; Allen Petersen
Sent: Tuesday, 7 July 2009 5:21 PM
Subject: Tate Reply to Steve Gower of the AWM

For: Steve Gower - Australian War Memorial

G'day Steve

Thank you for your letter which came to me via Bernie McGurgan- and I note addressed to other veterans as well, including xxxxxxxxxxxx- and why he was included in an email of yours makes for interesting reading in itself. I would have thought that a man of your status, and in your position, would have addressed me personally and privately and not through a person like xxxxxxx. The fact that you didn't puts us on the same level, then.
I shall address the matters you raise:

First, I DO apologise for any inference that you or the AWM might have acted in any way unbecoming in respect of the $150 you authorised as "travel costs" to each of us when we attended that meeting. I note though, that we were not asked to provide receipts, and there was a comment made in that room I shall keep to myself with respect of those monies. Nevertheless, I never suggested you acted dishonestly in any respect, and apologise if you feel I have offended you in any way. (Just for the record, within minutes of my sending that email to Allen Petersen, I had second thoughts about it, and rang him to ask that he NOT send it, however he already had. Allen could verify that.) So again, a sincere apology if you need that.
I must say that when I sent that letter, I was in quite an angry state, given that I was advised that Bill Murray had sought an interview with you to discuss me and matters concerning me, and made it public. It's been a long time since I needed any man to act on my behalf, and I've told Bill that. My business is not his business.

As far as the comments about those monies being a "bribe" are concerned, my comment to the Canberra Times reporter was to this effect: " felt like a bribe to shut us up...." Nothing more sinister than that. There is a difference.

With respect to your comments about the meeting of May (yes, I stand corrected re the date) and matters discussed, I say:

- yes, my impressions of you were as you say, but we were all ex-privates in the company of an ex-general, so were in awe to some extent

- yes, you gave us a hearing, but you did not hear us, and YOUR email that followed that meeting was inaccurate in some respects, as well

- nevertheless, the crux of the issue (still unanswered by you is this).... you (the AWM) steadfastly refused to accept that there was any evidence that the 2nd D&E Platoon existed, YET you refused to allow Ted Colmer to place the evidence he had collected on the table when we attended that meeting

- and secondly, I have asked you (the AWM) where it stands now that the Army History Unit has concluded that the "2nd D&E Platoon" existed, and also now that a former cavalryman (Allan Stanton) has validated the accounts that bodies were blown up and strung up behind APC's in his own book (which would have gone through the same legaling process as mine did)'s a simple question, and especially relevant given that there are two contrary accounts of these matters- one by an officer, and others made by OR's

You will NOT answer that question, except to say that the matters will be covered comprehensively in the final volume of the histories.

And we say, given that there are many inaccuracies within the AWM records (as evidenced recently) it would be wiser to make that information public before printing it. And surely the veteran community has a right to know its own history before the public does/ your comments about the historical value of my films. You seek to mock my assertion that they are valued at $100,000, and that comment of yours in the hands of certain veterans will cause me some difficulty, but I guess that is the purpose of it. You have used your position once again to attempt to humiliate and or embarrass me, and just quietly I wonder why you would do so.

It must be great to occupy the rarefied air of an ex-general.

But since you pride yourself on being an ex-general, well then I must ask, is your letter and its contents consistent with that of a general? Are they the actions of a man of honour?

In any case, allow me to enlighten you, like we've had to do with the whole 2nd D&E Platoon matter....

1. The Film Valuation:
I have in my possession an evaluation done by Graham Shirley Film P/L (ph: 02990705671) which is dated 14th February 1996- and was done on behalf of the Australian Valuer-General. His comments are as follows:
- "Don Tate's coverage of ground operations is unique"
- "Tate's film provides the only footage available of the 4th and 9th Battalion in action in Vietnam"
- "Tate's material is at its strongest when dealing with individuals"
- "Tate captured an instinctive feel for capturing everyday events on and off the battlefield"
- "In action terms, there are some memorable shots of men....moving on patrol through jungles and fields, and witnessing air strikes...."
- "most of the remainder takes the viewer on a powerful journey made all the more remarkable by the realisation that its cameraman had the courage to keep filming at times when others might have kept the camera packed away."
- "I was reminded at times of the detail and unselfconscious quality that shines through the best of Damien Parer's camerawork from World War 2."
- "Don Tate's film is certainly unique...his footage provides a keenly observant insider's view of the Vietnam War"
Not bad comments are they Steve?
Now, to their Value (and remember, this was 1996):
Shirley then gives a "Basis of Valuation" as Part B of the valuation document, on page 4. It states:
- 2580 seconds @ $35 per second.......$90,300
- Percentage judged to be of historical value........(90%)....$81,270

That's $81,000 in 1993, Steve!

WIN 4 Television also did a story on it at the time, and spoke with two members of the AWM- Anthony Rudnicki and George Imashev. Those men agreed with the valuation of "$80,000" and it's quoted in the news story.

The figure of $5000 or so that YOU have bandied about in your letter was the tax-concession granted to me by the Taxation Dept for the donation of the originals- NOT THE ACTUAL VALUATION.

Both the official valuation by Graham Shirley P/L and the WIN4 story are available to any veteran who asks. In fact, I will post the valuation on my website. Many veterans have already seen the WIN 4 story.

As for the matter concerning the AWM's stocking of my book...again, let's get this straight:

- a veteran's wife, xxxxxxxxx, informed me that she was unable to locate a copy of "The War Within" at the AWM, and I reacted to that (as one might, given all the circumstances)

- I contacted Nadia Pessarossi, the bookstore manager (and as lovely a person as they come) and she said the book WAS in stock, but that a salesperson simply hadn't located it for the customer on that day

- there was no unpleasantness, and the matter ended there. Nadia and I enjoy a great relationship

So Steve, there's an apology to you, and some enlightenment, as well.

Make sure this explanation goes to the same men (and that creature) you sent your letter to.
Don Tate

Title: Re: General Gower Emails Tate
Post by: Fergus on Wednesday08July2009
Donald Tate reminds me of a huge snuffling, dumb and dangerous boar pig rolling around in excrement of its own making. He cares not a fig for truth and reality and thinks only of his own gratification and the ideal that he is the grand unsung hero of his wallow pit.  He has a fear of any other animals in his kingdom and believes any who oppose him must be destroyed. He also has a huge inferiority complex about being just a pig in a world where many superior animals exist. Like all pigs he has taken on the task of bringing down superior animals so that they will wallow with him in his pool of mud and shit.  Unfortunately for Tate our society has a habit of identifying pigs and turns them into bacon.

Tate’s problem is that he has the temerity to believe his distorted ideas of his service in Vietnam must be adopted as the official Australian War Memorial version.  Don Tate was a very inexperienced and far from efficient Infantry Soldier.  For his version of his war, to be creditable we must support his theory that Officers generally and in particular the Commander and others who served at HQ 1st Australian Task Force (HQ 1ATF) during his time were a rum lot of corrupt, egotistical, inefficient, medal chasing dandies.  These theories worked when put forward by the pigs in Jacobean France in 1789 and in Marxist Russia in 1917 but in Australia, apart from being supported by a very queer group called the Mad Galahs, Tate’s theories get no credence at the Australian War Memorial or amongst decent Australian veterans. 

Australian Army officers, Warrant Officers and Non Commissioned Officers since the first World War are famous for there integrity, efficiency and even handed manner of maintaining discipline and taking care of the business of our armed forces, decent veterans know this to be true. Those who fail to adopt the standards and philosophical values of our armed forces are usually sidelined and sacked or not allowed to re-enlist or not promoted, with few exceptions Tate’s support group known as the Mad Galahs consists of people of this ilk.

It’s time for decent veterans to pull Tate from his wallow pit and turn him into bacon.

And it is iterated:

There was never a unit in Vietnam named the "2nd D&E Platoon". Those who make this claim are wrong. A grouping of soldiers posted to HQ 1ATF adopted the “nick name” "2nd D&E Platoon". They were together for a few weeks then posted as reinforcements to other units as was the intention all along. Details of this “unit” were not corruptly expunged from records to distort history, those who served in this unit were posted to HQ 1 ATF as were all members of the D&E Platoon. Details of their posting is clearly shown on Nominal Rolls. Tate has asserted that Veterans have been denied DVA benefits because of their posting to “his 2nd D&E Platoon”. That is a load of bunkum and typical of Tate’s deficit of knowledge about how the Defence Force operates. Who are these people denied DVA benefits? Simply put, it is just piss and wind that has emanated from Tate’s wallow.

It is such a simple matter, however after observing Tate’s behaviour, it is easily understood why this horrible man has made such a fool of himself about this issue

Tate acts like a fool because he is a fool and for the rest of his life will remain so.