An article from the Melbourne Legacy Bulletin of a Past Presidents' Day speech by Legatee Brian Armstrong, a long serving Legatee and past president (1937). It is poignant for it's insight into what he saw on the Western Front, in particular around Pozieres and the Windmill that had stood there and was destroyed in battle. He had recently visited France and recalled his personal feelings.
“I have no doubt that each one of you had some special memory of war that is bound up with your membership of Legacy – some event, place or happening. This was one of mine – you will find the story in a book we all know ‘There goes a man’, a story of endurance, determination and incredible courage. The feeling came to me as I stood in that little enclosure that here began the long road that led to Legacy, for in the middle of that holocaust was the Victorian Brigade from which later came the first man of Legacy. I am certain that many splendid men, some of whom were my friends, whose last sight was that battered windmill, would, had the finger of fate but pointed another way, been original members of this Club. A question seemed to hang in the still air – not for me, for I was only a cypher, but for all of us for whom, in those or later years, the finger had pointed to ‘LIFE’ – what have you done to merit and repay your deliverance from this and similar ordeals."
He was one of the founding group of Legatees, being enrolled in 1924, and served for 54 years. The Bulletin often published articles recounting the speech from the week before.
John Henry Brian Armstrong was born 23 June 1894 and completed a law degree at Melbourne University. He served with the militia when at University and tried to enlist in December 1915. He was accepted into the Army Medical Corps in April 1916. He served in France and Belgium as a Lieutenant with 22 Infantry Battalion and was wounded near Dernacourt on 24th April 1918. He was wounded again and taken prisoner at Herleville, France on 18 August 1918 when leading a night patrol in an action in which the majority of the party were killed.
For a number of years Brian was a Trustee of the Frances Ormond Estate, which was the genesis of The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). Along with Legatee Jim Gillespie (and Jim's grandfather) the trustees were identified with all the notable developments of RMIT.
He remained a bachelor his whole life. He was one of the initial archivists of Melbourne Legacy. One of his speeches in 1961 gives an insight into why he became a Legatee. (see 02501)
A record a speech that contained insight into the life of Legatee Brian Armstrong.
Copy of 2 pages from the Legacy Bulletin on a speech by Legatee Brian Armstrong in 1961.
Bulletin 28/02/1961. Pages 5 to 6.
vale, past presidents, brian armstrong