Neil Harvey WEEKES AM, MC

WEEKES, Neil Harvey

Service Number: 1732646
Enlisted: 1 February 1967, Brisbane, Queensland
Last Rank: Brigadier
Last Unit: 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (1RAR)
Born: Mackay, Queensland, 21 September 1945
Home Town: Brisbane, Brisbane, Queensland
Schooling: Sarina State School and St Brendans College, Yeppoon
Occupation: School teacher
Died: Natural causes (brain tumour), Brisbane, Queensland, 6 March 2017, aged 71 years
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
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Vietnam War Service

1 Feb 1967: Enlisted Australian Army (Post WW2), SN 1732646, Brisbane, Queensland
7 Jul 1967: Promoted Australian Army (Post WW2), Second Lieutenant, 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (1RAR)
17 Mar 1968: Involvement SN 1732646
17 Mar 1968: Involvement Australian Army (Post WW2), Second Lieutenant, SN 1732646, 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (1RAR)
15 May 1968: Involvement Australian Army (Post WW2), Second Lieutenant, SN 1732646, 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (1RAR), FSB Coral / Balmoral - Vietnam
15 May 1968: Honoured Military Cross, FSB Coral / Balmoral - Vietnam

Non Warlike Service

1 Jan 1990: Promoted Australian Army (Post WW2), Colonel
1 Jan 1993: Promoted Brigadier

Help us honour Neil Harvey Weekes's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by John Edwards

"Brain tumour claims the life of Neil Weekes, one of Australia’s toughest soldiers by Ross Eastgate

Neil Weekes was never known to walk away from a fight, whether on Vietnam’s battlefields or battling bureaucracies over veterans’ benefits. He lost the toughest battle of his life in Brisbane on Monday when an aggressive brain tumour claimed one of Australia’s toughest soldiers of the contemporary era at the age of 71.

Neil Harvey Weekes was born in Mackay on September 21, 1945. He was educated in Sarina and at St Brendan’s College in Yeppoon before entering Teachers Training College at Kelvin Grove in Brisbane. He was called up for national service on February 1, 1967. At Kapooka he was selected for officer training and after graduating from the Officer Training Unit Scheyville on July 7, he was posted to 3 Platoon, A Company, 1 RAR. He deployed to Vietnam with the battalion in March 1968, leading his platoon in the Battle of Coral on May 15-16, with his gallantry recognised by the awarding of the Military Cross. He returned to Australia to be discharged at the end of his national service in December 1968 but was soon back in the army and 1RAR, serving with the battalion in Singapore and Malaysia during 1969-1971. He also served in Papua New Guinea with 2 RPIR at Wewak, and attended the Malaysian Armed Forces Staff College at Kuala Lumpur. He was a consummate infantryman, leader and instructor, holding many demanding staff, regimental and training postings, including at the Royal Military College, Duntroon.

From July 1985 to December 1987 he commanded NORFORCE, a regional surveillance unit with sub-units based throughout the Northern Territory and the Kimberley area of Western Australia. He was appointed a member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his leadership. He returned to Townsville in December 1990 on promotion to colonel to command the district support unit, beginning 22 years in the city. He retired from the regular Army in 1993 after 26 years service, but would remain in the Army Reserve for a further five years, being promoted to brigadier and commanding 11 Brigade, Ares at Jezzine Barracks. His civil employment was with James Cook University, where he was executive officer to the Vice-Chancellor until he retired in October 2003.

Retirement for Brigadier Weekes was relative as he was Townsville patron to the Vietnam Veterans Association, National Servicemen’s Association and the RSL. As chair of the North Australian Military Heritage Association, he was instrumental in Jezzine Barracks being handed over to the Townsville community. He was Townsville convener of the Order of Australia Association and an inaugural member of Ministerial Advisory Council on Ex-Service Matters. For many years he was the radio voice of Townsville’s Anzac Day march. In recent years the passionate fisherman had lived on Bribie Island.

Brigadier Weekes is survived by his wife Jo, children Marie, Mark and John and six grandchildren." - from the Townsville Bulletin 08 Mar 2017