Roger Geoffrey CUNDELL OAM

CUNDELL, Roger Geoffrey

Service Numbers: 305659, SX1152
Enlisted: 27 September 1939
Last Rank: Captain
Last Unit: 2nd/10th Infantry Battalion
Born: Milford-On-Sea, England, 14 February 1918
Home Town: Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia
Schooling: Edinburgh College Lee-on-Solent, United Kingdom
Occupation: Businessman
Died: Natural Causes, Adelaide, 11 July 2011, aged 93 years
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
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World War 2 Service

27 Sep 1939: Enlisted Private, SN 305659
1 Nov 1939: Involvement Captain, SN SX1152, 2nd/10th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW2
2 Apr 1946: Discharged

Help us honour Roger Geoffrey Cundell's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Steve Larkins

Born in England in 1918, Roger Cundell became a prominent figure in both military and commercial enterprises in his adopted home town of Adelaide.

Enlisting as a private in the Australian Army during 1939, he rose to the rank of captain during his six years of military service that included stints in the UK, at Tobruk where he was to become one of the Rats, in Syria, Palestine, Australia and finally the Pacific region.

His wartime adventures were both extensive and typical of his outlook on life which was not without an adventurous and humorous bent.

With the support of his family and business partners he built an enviable reputation for his company Tubebilt which pioneered many advances in cattle and sheep handling facilities Australia wide.

Roger was an ardent supporter of the Legacy organisation into which he offered much of his free time and energy. Similarly, his tireless contribution to the 2/10th Battalion Association no doubt helped contribute to its longevity.

Shortly prior to his 91st birthday in 2009, Roger was honoured with an Order of Australia Medal for his extensive community involvement.

Decidely one of a kind, Roger kept all around him on their toes at all times and will be remembered as a unique member of the Adelaide community.


Extract from synopsis of Stephen Lewis' biography of Roger Cundell


Biography contributed by Steve Larkins



ROGER Cundell, a lad in England's Hampshire who had musician parents, would later talk down his gutsy wartime deeds; he did much for Legacy and after a shaky start in business became a success.

His father decided to emigrate and Roger arrived in Adelaide in 1929 at age 12, attending St Peter's College until 1934.

He was an active Scout, developing skills in bushcraft that would serve him well.

From 1935, he worked at Elder Smith in Adelaide, before enlisting in the 2nd/10th Battalion at Woodside in late 1939.

He was commissioned in NSW in March 1940. After providing airfield and installation protection during the Battle of Britain, he was deployed to Tobruk as a platoon commander in B Company in April 1941.

Australia had 3000 casualties and 941 taken prisoner at Tobruk. Roger's unit defended with distinction well out of Tobruk town on the perimeter. The Rats of Tobruk, as they became known, suffered immense privation, disease and from fleas and flies, and were under constant enemy attack from screaming Stuka dive bombers as they faced the might of Rommel's armour, artillery and the ground troops of the Afrikakorps.

After serving in Palestine and Syria, Roger's battalion was recalled to Australia and was at Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea, ahead of the Japanese landing in 1942.

As a captain, he served in the Pacific at higher command level and was mentioned in dispatches.

After the war, he supported Legacy for nearly 50 years, including time as president, and was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for service to veterans and their families and to the community through service, nature conservation and heritage organisations. Roger marched in every Anzac Day march from 1947.

At age 90, he endured a double knee replacement timed to have him right for the next Anzac Day.

In 1943, he suffered a fortuitous sporting injury. In hospital, he met beautiful young physiotherapist Peggy Goodall, starting a lifelong relationship of great strength.

They had four children.

With three other veterans, Roger threw himself with energy into the postwar boom in manufacturing to make refrigerators.

Their first venture was very nearly their last. But the Tubebilt range of sheepyard and cattle yards became well known.

Roger's company, Structures Pty Ltd, replaced wooden saleyards with steel yards in many South Australian and interstate livestock auction centres.

In 1986, he guided the Structures board through the difficult decision to liquidate.

In 1953, with great foresight, Roger had bought 80ha of land at Ironbank and on weekends became a hobby farmer.

In retirement, he was in a position to enjoy 25 years pursuing his many interests which included gold prospecting, bee keeping and birdwatching, while still maintaining his presence in Legacy and with the 2/10th Battalion Association.

He and Peggy gave land to enlarge the Sir Mark Oliphant Conservation Park.

Roger Cundell is survived by his wife, Peggy, children Ibina, Anne, Guy and Naomi, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.