It was with great pride that Bomb Alley had the honour of presenting the Certificate of Merit to Moth Brian Porter. We had elected, with his support, that we would like to have it presented with his friends at the Shellhole meeting in lieu of the usual Dugout meeting presentation.
A dear friend and colleague in the Shellhole, Moth Pat Tate did the Honours of pinning the M-badge to Brian.
Brian has been a stalwart of any MOTH community where he has served since 1984 and this Award is long overdue. In his usual humble way Brian said in his acceptance that the award is due to the help of many Moths who had worked with him along the way and it was in fact an award for the team work of Moths everywhere.
Brian’s service to the MOTH is maybe best summarised in his citation as submitted by the Shellhole and approved by the NEC as follows:
CERTIFICATE OF MERIT : MOTH BRIAN GAVIN PORTER
Brian completed National Service and Reserve Force duties between 1975 and 1989, initially at 1 Maintenance Unit, then with 7 SAI and served his camps with Boksburg Commando, Group 41 HQ and Kempton Park Commando. In that time, he completed Intelligence Courses and served two tours on the Border. He has been awarded the Pro Patria, Southern Africa and General Service Medals as well as the 10 year Good Service Medal.
Moth Porter was inducted into the MOTH at Cosy Corner Shellhole, Brakpan, Far East Rand District in January 1984 and very shortly became very involved with the Shellhole’s activities and management, being co-opted as PayBill just 4 months later. From this first year he served almost continuously on the Shellhole executive until 2002 when he moved to Cape Town. His first of three terms as Shellhole Old Bill was within four years after induction in the 1988/89 MOTH year. Considering both the membership and size of the Shellhole at the time a remarkable vote of confidence from the members.
His leadership and management capabilities were also recognised by other Shellholes and other members in the District as he served on the Far East Rand District Executive from 1987 until 2002, serving as District Old Bill from 1990 to 1993.
With his relocation to Cape Town at the beginning of 2003 Brian was transferred to Blaauwberg Cuca Shellhole where he served as RagBill and initiated a “buddy” communication system for members. He moved to Marshal Smuts Shellhole in his home town of Somerset West having been requested by the Cape Midlands Executive to assist in the regeneration of Marshal Smuts Shellhole. Here he served as Orderly-Sergeant and Sergeant- Major while his input to the relatively inexperienced Executive members was invaluable in getting Marshal Smuts back on its feet. He was elected Old Bill in August 2009, a position he held until 2011.
His new Province also recognised his expertise and he served on the Cape Midlands Provincial Executive from 2004 to 2007 when he was elected Provincial Old Bill of the Cape Midlands Provincial Dugout till 2009 where, amongst other functions, he coordinated the Dugouts’ amalgamation with Cape Western Dugout. It was also during this period that Brian played an integral role in the establishment of the Moth Motor Cycle Association (MMA).
In 2010 an additional position on the National Executive for Provincial representation was created. Moth Porter was appointed as the representative for Cape Western Dugout and has served on the NEC since then having been re-elected when his initial term had expired. With the creation of a virtual Shellhole Moth Porter was appointed Old Bill of Cyber Shellhole and has served in this position since February 2011
One of Brian’s strengths is his organizational ability and in the eighteen years that Brian was a member of Cosy Corner Shellhole he was continuously an extremely active initiator and participant of a multitude of projects and other activities. These included an Annual Shooting competition, regular Golf tournament and the setting of a Guinness World Record hitting Golf balls to raise funds for the Sound Memory Cottages adjacent to Cosy Corner Shellhole. As Ragbill he initiated a regular Shellhole newsletter and also arranged regular family outings, potjie competitions, the annual Christmas tree party for children, the annual Shellhole dinner/dance and raids to other Shellholes.
His organisational abilities were fully utilized in coordinating Commemoration services and in the process built and strengthened ties with the local Reserve Force units, which included the local Commando’s and 2Bn Tvl Scots.
It was during this time that he also organised a fund raising drive for Project Tristan, a project which raised funds for the Cochlea implant for Tristan Stuck.
Brian also served on the Committee of the Cosy Corner Club which was a separate entity from the Shellhole. Here he served as liaison between the Club sub-sections, Club management and the Shellhole and for many years also did bar duty twice a week.
In Cape Town Brian initiated and coordinated a nationwide Fund-raising project, Project Phoenix, which was for a liver transplant for the grandson of a Moth. He established a Trust into which an amount of R250k was deposited over a period of 7 months of which R160k was donated via MOTH input. The Trust still exists. The transplant for the toddler was successful and the daily antirejection medication for Phoenix, now a normal outgoing Primary School young boy is to this day paid for by this Trust.
In 2009 Brian initiated Project Lagesen for Marshal Smuts Shellhole. This involved the replacing of a bare wooden cross with a granite Tombstone on the grave of Lance Corporal Lagesen who died during his national service in 1990. This also involved considerable liaison with the SANDF and a multitude of enquiries into the whereabouts of the families of Cpl Lagesen as well as the families of the others buried in Hero’s Acre in the Strand. To this day Marshal Smuts Shellhole has maintained contact with some of these families who only became involved due to Brian and his small Committee’s efforts in this regard. The brother of one of these heroes also joined the MOTH. The culmination of this project was an appropriate Remembrance Service that was held on 11 November 2009, which was hailed by among others World War II veteran Moth Derrick McClean, in a letter to Brian as the Old Bill, as the most moving he had ever attended.
Brian’s organisational ability has also been used throughout his 32 years as a Moth to arrange Commemoration services. At Cosy Corner he regularly arranged the Annual Delville Wood Parade for the Far East Rand Region, as well as in the Western Cape over the period 2005 to 2011. He has undertaken the planning and coordination of numerous other such events over the years including the 90th Anniversary commemoration of the Battle of Square Hill where many SANDF units, veteran’s organisations and the Cape Town City Council were involved. Most recently he has coordinated the Bomb Alley War Commemoration Service in 2014 and 2015.
Moth Porter served on the Cosy Corner Complex Committee for many years until his move to Cape Town in December 2002. These included positions of secretary as well as a two-year period as Vice-Chairman. His participation involved scheduling maintenance and upkeep as well as resident placement and rental controls.
Moth Porter is a most loyal member of the Order and probably one of the most active. His input is always valued be it at Shellhole, Dugout or GHQ level. Any project he undertakes or oversees is persistently planned and managed to its completion. In 2014, following on the initiative of a single member in one Shellhole he took it upon himself to develop the concept of a national survey, and, with the Dugout’s blessing, submitted a proposal to the NEC and coordinated the project from start to finish. The successful completion of this project is due to his dedication and commitment to the Order, coupled with a desire to contribute to its sustainability. The positive outcomes of this initiative are due to be implemented from 2016.
Over and above Brians’ MOTH affiliation he was also a member of the Lions and was involved in their White Cane and blanket projects until the early nineties when he lived in Gauteng.
Brian not only aligns himself with the MOTH but has been an active member of the SA legion since 2010. He is a Poppy Appeal co-ordinator on behalf of the Legion and is the organiser for the Medals Project for the Cape Town Branch. A number of these medal recipients have joined the MOTH and are actively involved in their various Shellholes.
He was elected to the initial Provincial CMVO structure in 2014 indicating that his interests lie with the affairs of all Veterans.
The MOTH remains closest to his heart and he will do whatever he can to promote the good name of the Order, living each day in the firm belief of our Three Ideals.
For his service to the Order, he has been awarded both the Certificate of Comradeship (1995)
and the Certificate of Excellent Service (2008).
Moth Porter is most worthy of this significant honour of receiving the Order’s highest award – the Certificate of Merit.