Vernon Arthur Bettenay

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Vernon Arthur Bettenay
Betternay Vernon Arthur.jpg
Wedding photo Vern and Margaret -
Betternay Vernon Arthur 1.jpg
Personal Information
Date of Birth 29 Oct 1922
Place of Birth Subiaco, Western Australia
Death 9 Jun 2019
Place of Death Kelmscott, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 18 years, 11 months
Description ; fair complexion ; green eyes ; fair hair
Occupation Orchardist
Religion Congregational
Address Karragullen, Western Australia
Next of Kin Father , Mr. Arthur Leworthy Bettenay
Military Information
Reg Number W20846 & WX28319
Date of Enlistment 23 Jul 1942
Rank Lance Sergeant
Unit/Formation 2/16th Australian Infantry Battalion
Military Movement
1st Departure from Australia
Journey Dates 21 Nov 1944 ‒ 26 Nov 1944
Transport Details USAT Evangaline Darwin to Jacquinot Bay, New Britain
Return to Australia
Journey Dates 20 Dec 1945 ‒ 29 Dec 1945
Transport Details SS Frienze Rabaul, New Britain to Melbourne
Post War Details
Fate Returned to Australia

Pre War

Born on 29 October 1922, Vern was the second son of Mabel Parker and Arthur Bettenay. His siblings were Bill, Roy, Edna and Eric. He left school at age 14 to work on the family farm. At 16 years of age he went to a compulsory military service camp with his best friend Billy O’Meagher, which turned into a three-year stint in the Army.

War Service

Prior to enlisting in the 2nd AIF on 23 Jul 1942, Vern had served with the CMF's 25th Australian Reconnaissance Battalion as a Corporal from 21 Oct 1941 until 4 Jan 1942 part time and from 5 Jan 1942 until 22 Jul 1942 full time. On 21 Apr 1942 Vern was detached to the 10th Australian Reconnaissance Battalion's 'A' Company where on 9 Jun 1942 he was promoted Corporal. A week later he was transferred to the 25th Australian Reconnaissance Battalion at Gingin, detached to the 6th Australian Infantry Brigade. He rejoined his parent until on 15 Jul 1942, and a week later on 23 Jul 1942 he signed up with the 2nd AIF while at Northampton. On 27 Sep 1942 he was transferred to the 16th Australian Infantry Battalion (Cameron Highlanders Regiment). From 14 Nov until 31 Dec 1942 he was detached to the 13th Australian Infantry Training Battalion at Northam to undergo basic infantry training.

From 29 March until 1 May 1943 he was treated by the 122nd Australian Special Hospital for Urethritis. On 22 May 1943 he departed for South Australia to rejoin his unit, but appears to have also spent some time in the 123rd Australian Special Hospital in Adelaide, finally departing Adelaide on 28 Jul 1943 for the Northern Territory. He arrived there on 6 Aug 1943 and rejoined the 16th Battalion. On 24 Sep he was admitted to the 107th Australian General Hospital for treatment for an infected chin. In November 1943 he attended a Field Works Course, and on 31 Aug 1944 he was posted to the Australian Reinforcement Training Battalion (Jungle Warfare) at Cunungra, returning to Darwin on 22 Oct 1944.

The battalion embarked on USAT Evangaline in Darwin on 21 Nov 1944 destined for Jacquinot Bay on the south coast of New Britain, disembarking there on 26 Nov 1944. On 15 Feb 1945 Vern was promoted Temporary Sergeant. After hostilites had finished, on 19 Dec 1945 he was transferred to the 2/14th Australian Field Regiment, before embarking the following day aboard SS Trienza in Rabaul for Melbourne, arriving there on 29 Dec 1945. On the same day he was posted back to WA to take his discharge from Western Command Recruit Reception & General Details Depot on 14 Mar 1946.

RABAUL TROOPS DUE TOMORROW - The transport "Trienza", with 651 troops from Rabaul on board, will arrive in Melbourne tomorrow morning. The ship will berth at No 21 Victoria Dock about 8am. Most of the men are long-service troops due for discharge and are from all states except Queensland and NSW.[1]

Post War

Electoral Roll entries: 1949 - 1980 at Irymple road, Roleystone, orchardist.

Following his return from the war, Vern bought a shiny black limo “The Plymouth” and while transporting young folk across town he met school teacher Margaret Gowans (born 28 February 1927). Margaret and Vern were married on 27 August 1948. They had five children – Deb, Leigh, Fiona, Linda and Kim.

His valley farm ‘Irymple’ was often filled with workers and visitors. He devoted his time to many clubs, causes and discussion groups ( Marriage Guidance, Clan, Rent a Grandpa) and could be found trailing after his wife Margaret whenever Roleystone Theatre put on a show.

Vern passed away on 9 June 2019, aged 96 and a half years, at Mercy Care in Kelmscott.


Some biographical information sourced from the Roleystone Courier, July 2019, page 2.

External Links

  1. RABAUL TROOPS DUE TOMORROW (1945, December 29). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 2. Retrieved August 10, 2022, from