It was with great sadness that the UNSWR Association Secretary, Peter Godfrey reported that Joe Southwell passed away on the afternoon of Saturday 25 May 2017.
Lieutenant Colonel J.C. (Joe) Southwell, OAM, RFD, ED, BE, MIE (Aust), CPEng (1930 – 2017)
John Carlyle Southwell (known as Joe in Army circles) was born at Turramurra, NSW on 7 January 1930. He spent his childhood at Menangle and Camden NSW and attended Camden Central School to 1941 then Homebush Boys High School (NSW) until 1947.
In 1952, he graduated from the New South Wales University of Technology as a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical).
He enlisted in the CMF in 1951 and was posted to the Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Training Centre at Victoria Barracks, Paddington, NSW.
With the formation of the New South Wales University of Technology Regiment (UTR - now UNSWR) in 1952, he became its 17th member and was one of the first four commissioned in the Regiment, having been appointed as a Second Lieutenant (Provisional) on 15th December 1953.
Approval was given in December 1953 for the Regiment to change from RAEME to the Royal Australian Infantry Corps so he re-qualified accordingly and was promoted Lieutenant in the Regiment on 25th October 1954, Captain on 20th October 1958 then Major on 4th July 1961.
With his many years of continuous service as a regimental officer of UNSWR from junior through to senior levels, he had a strong influence in positioning the Regiment as an effective officer production organisation. His service in those years included tours of duty in Papua New Guinea (1966) and South Vietnam (1969) during the Vietnam War.
Promoted Lieutenant Colonel on 1 August 1969 he was posted to Headquarters Eastern Command as Assistant Quartermaster-General (CMF) until his appointment in August 1971 as the Commanding Officer of the 17th Battalion, Royal New South Wales Regiment.
Lieutenant Colonel Southwell commanded 17 RNSWR until 1974 when he transferred to the Reserve of Officers. He later resumed active duty as Staff Officer Grade One on the Committee for Employer Support of Reserve Forces and retired in 1982.
Colonel Southwell was the Honorary Colonel of UNSWR in the period November 1997 - February 2000. In that capacity, he hosted the parade at Victoria Barracks, Paddington, NSW on 22nd August 1998 when new Queen’s and Regimental Colours were presented to the Regiment by the Governor-General of Australia.
Whilst Honorary Colonel, he made it a practice to invite the incumbent and all former Commanding Officers and former Honorary Colonels and their partners to his home, Benwerrin, Camden for an annual lunch. These social events did much to maintain the Regimental spirit.
Colonel Southwell is a founding member of the UNSWR Association (President in the period 1974-1977).
Colonel Southwell’s many local community service activities have included Assistant Scoutmaster (1948-1950) then Scoutmaster (1950-1952) of the 1st Camden Troop; Camden Apex (1954-1960); Camden Rotary since 1958 (with recognition as a Paul Harris Fellow in 1993); Camden Show Society Committee (1962-1998 and serving as President 1986-1989 and becoming a Life Member in 1994); Camden RSL Youth Club President (1976-1978); Carrington Centennial Hospital Board (1974-2000 including President 1990-1993, Trustee 1980-2000 and a Life Subscriber from 2000); Camden and District Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal Chairman (1986); and Legacy (1989-1998).
Colonel Southwell was a recipient of the Commonwealth Seniors Award (1999) and was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal in 2003
On 9 June 2003 Colonel Southwell was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for service to the community of Camden through a range of aged care, service and veterans groups.
Colonel Southwell was a Fellow of the University of New South Wales Foundation (1997) and a Member of the Institution of Engineers, Australia. He was Chairman from 1979 to 1981 of the Campbelltown Group of the Metal Trades Industry Association. He was also Secretary/Treasurer of the Citizens in Support of Reserve Forces Trust Fund (Prince of Wales Awards Scheme) from 1979 to 2003.
A Chartered Professional Engineer, Colonel Southwell’s civilian occupation began in 1951 with H.C. Southwell Proprietary Limited, General Engineers and Agricultural Machinery Agents of Camden. He succeeded his father as Managing Director of the Company in 1952 and retired from that position in 1997.
John Carlyle (known to his Army colleagues as Joe) Southwell passed away on 25 March 2017 after a long illness.