Vale Colonel Neville Ross Bergin (23 July 1935 – 6 June 2017)


Leanne Glenny (née Bergin) (WRAAC OCS 1983)

 

In 1953 Neville left Adelaide as a 17-year-old to begin a lifelong connection to the Royal Military College, Duntroon and develop friendships that extended over the next 64 years. The time at Duntroon was a very formative part of his life, not only preparing him for a 34-year military career but also building on his values of loyalty and service. Despite ill health, Neville determinedly joined his Class of 1956 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of graduation in December last year.

Neville graduated into the Royal Australian Corps of Signals and, as a junior officer, undertook a range of regimental appointments and a National Service training role. As Officer Commanding 126th Signal Squadron (Special Forces), he moved the unit from Sydney to Melbourne before attending the Army Command and Staff College, Queenscliff in 1968. A further command position at 139th Signal Squadron preceded his appointment as Officer Commanding the Task Force Signals Squadron (104 Sig Sqn) in Nui Dat, South Vietnam in 1970.

As a lieutenant colonel, Neville served as the senior Signals staff officer and Defence Communications Officer in London and completed the Joint Services Staff College course. One particular highlight of his time as Commanding Officer and Chief Instructor of the School of Signals (1975–76) was commanding the Corps’ 50th Anniversary Parade attended by the Governor-General in early November 1975.

In addition to his regimental experience, Neville’s staff appointments built his expertise in logistics, leading to his promotion to Colonel as the Director of Logistic Operations–Army. From 1983 to 1987, in his final posting, he was seconded to the United Nations in New York as a logistics and communications adviser for the support of peacekeeping missions. In this role he travelled frequently and extensively throughout the Middle East.

On retirement, Neville accepted an appointment as a Divisional General Manager in British Aerospace Australia in Adelaide. After establishing and managing a consultancy firm for a number of years, Neville’s final position was at AITEC as Program Manager ASEAN Telecommunications Training Project, where he travelled extensively throughout South-East Asia.

His post-career volunteerism demonstrated his dedication to service and commitment to his military life. He remained connected with the Royal Australian Corps of Signals Association and held the honorary appointment of Colonel Commandant in South Australia. He had a long association with the RUSI and, from 2000 until 2004, was President of the RUSI of SA. The Council of the RUSI of SA awarded Life Membership to Neville in 2007. For ten years, he was a Director of Employ SA.

His connection with the RMC remained very strong, serving for over 20 years as the South Australian Convenor of the Duntroon Society—for which service he was appointed a Fellow of the Society in 2008. Brigadier Peter Evans (Retd), former President of the Duntroon Society, relied on Neville for his sage advice and encouragement remarking that he was always willing to review suggestions for policy changes, making a notable contribution each time. Neville and Nanette attended ten national reunions, organising two of them in Swan Hill (1998) and Griffith (2004).

Neville passed away on 6 June 2017, at his home in Adelaide. By his side for almost 60 years was his wife Nanette, who cared for him during his long illness. He is survived by his daughters Karen, Leanne, and Janine, their partners and six grandchildren.