An Australian Hellenic veteran tribute to John Pericles Arthur Deighton

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JOHN DEIGHTON JPAAbalinx Peter Adamis 17 October 2015

JOHN DEIGHTON (JPA – to his close comrades)

There are far better and greater men and women who could speak and write far better, more eloquently and with more knowledge, skill and passion of John Deighton. I cannot and will not write or comment about his military experiences as others better qualified and have that right. Mine is only to write about his personal influence and that of the Australian Hellenic veteran community. A copy of the article may be downloaded by clicking on: AN AUSTRALIAN HELLENIC VETERAN TRIBUTE TO JOHN DEIGHTON (JPA) FROM AND AUSTRALIANS OF GREEK HERITAGE

As such I seek forgiveness from those who knew him better. I can only speak from the time I met the great man in Victoria whilst he was working close with old friends the like of Bruce Ruxton, John Anagnostou, Keith Rossis and Michael Lidis.

All of the above were thick as thieves during their pinnacle at the RSL and much good work was done under their tutelage.  John Anagnostou and Michael Lidis always in competition with each other would go onto to do good work for the Australian Hellenic Victorian veteran community.

My time with John was during the nineties whilst still serving as a Warrant Officer with the Australian Regular Army. John along with Bruce Ruxton and that indomitable old man Keith Rossis made my transition into the RSL and to the world of civil life much easier.  To them I am and always will be eternally grateful as I was still struggling to raise four Aussie sons on my own. (I guess in hindsight I was worth the bloody trouble).

John was a man’s man, standing head and shoulders above his peers. He was born on the Island of Corcyra (now Greece) and like Bruce Ruxton passionate about his love of the Hellenic (Greek) people.  I remember many a time during ANZAC days meeting him for an ANZAC breakfast down in South Melbourne at Bruce Ruxton’s office amidst of the many others who congregated there.

RAR BadgeJohn Deighton along with Bruce Ruxton, and members of the Hellenic RSL Branch, John Anagnostou and Michael Lidis were instrumental in negotiating with local authorities to long lease the Hellenic RSL Branch in South Melbourne. As far as the Australian Hellenic veterans were concerned, John Pericles Arthur Deighton and Bruce Ruxton were honorary Australian Greeks.

John was also instrumental along with others for his support to the Australian Hellenic War Memorial in the Domain Gardens of Melbourne. A strong supporter of ex servicemen and women, a tireless worker within the Victorian RSL Branch, loved and admired by Australians of Greek heritage and not a man to be crossed if it meant going against Australian values. 

From my solitary point of view, during the times I spent interviewing him on his life, John appeared to have a positive outlook on life that reached out and touched many across the generations. He had seen young men and women come and go and with each he would ensure that no one went away empty handed.  Like Bruce Ruxton, he was never afraid of the truth or of confronting issues that were found to be challenging by others. In truth, John will be sadly missed but having passed on in the knowledge that whilst he was amongst us, his legacy still lives on.

jpa 225 aril 2013Vietnam veteran Brigadier John Deighton is seen during the ANZAC Day parade on April 25, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. Getty images.

We often too readily forget those men and women who have influenced our lives and later regret that we did not have the bloody balls and courage to express it publicly. All that I can say at this point in time is that if, I at the age of 65; an Australian of Greek heritage who has embraced Australian values can write about men like John Deighton and express my heartfelt thanks; then the spirit of the “Digger”, “mateship” and “ANZAC” is not dead.

To John and to those who made this country of ours safe and free from the evils of this world, we who have worn the uniform of this nation we call home, Australia, salute you.  JPA may you rest in peace in the embrace of your mates.

Absent at Roll Call by George Mansford – A Tribute to JPA

There was no answer when his name was called at roll today

A comrade who was with us in thick and thin has faded away

Now there’s a gap in our ranks where he used to be

Oh how he will be missed by the likes of you and me

 Never reluctant to speak his mind, no matter where

Yet was always there when time for warriors to dare

If the chips were down and the day looked grim

He stood fast, shoulder to shoulder with him and him

 Who could forget the familiar grin and “gidday mate” to all

Love of country and Duty First whenever the bugle did call

His special comforting cloak of mate ship no longer to be found

How will it ever be the same without such a comrade around?

 Soldier, patriot and a true blue cobber to you and me

His sprit is with us and always will be

Such fond and proud memories of him forever so strong

As we that are left march forward with song

Peter Adamis Aussie iconPeter Adamis is a Journalist/Social Media Commentator and writer. He is a retired Australian military serviceman and an Industry organisational & Occupational (OHS) & Training Consultant whose interests are within the parameters of domestic and international political spectrum.  He is an avid blogger and contributes to domestic and international community news media outlets as well as to local and Ethnic News.  He holds a Bachelor   of Adult Learning & Development (Monash), Grad Dip Occupational Health  & Safety, (Monash),  Dip. Training & Assessment, Dip Public Administration, and Dip Frontline Management. Contact via Email: [email protected] or via Mobile: 0409965538

  1 comment for “An Australian Hellenic veteran tribute to John Pericles Arthur Deighton

  1. 17 October 2015 at 4:13 pm


    Peter Vlahos.
    I was informed this afternoon of the death of Brigadier John Deighton (Rtd) Australian Army. I met John in 1997 when l was Mayor of City of Monash. It was John who introduced me to Bruce Ruxton, then the long standing President of the RSL Victorian Branch. John had a long and distinguished service in the Australian army and had served in Vietnam. He was a tireless worker for veterans and the right hand of Bruce Ruxton.

    It was John who introduced me to the big RSL family and it was John who gave me courage and confidence when l was Mayor….It was he through his wide network in the RSL branches in Monash who delivered me the support in those difficult days when l commenced the new local government in Monash after the amalgamations of 1996. John’s character was forthright. ….open and direct. He was old school and a fine gentleman. He was one of the boys and yet looked comfortable with the “brass”..

    He was a proud Australian and Anzac. ….he also was a good friend of the Greek branch of the RSL….and why not ….after all he always claimed he was part Greek. he was born on a naval vessel in Corfu harbour. When an Australian of John Deighton’s contributions and standing passes from our midst. We mourn not the passing of the man he was but the passing of an age …when the word ‘GENTLEMAN ‘ and ‘Gentleman’s honour’ meant something!

    Our thoughts are with his family in this difficult time. Less We Forget!

    Manny Tramoundana.
    My condolences mate

    Gina Papas.
    My he Rest In Peace.

    Petros Kosmopoulos.
    RIP Brigadier John Deighton.

    Peter Adamis.
    A man of many talents born on the island of Corcyra which was then under British protection. An great man, soldier and one to be admired. Not one to be afraid of confronting issues that were close to his heart and anything that was Australian. We have certainly lost a man of a bygone era, a soldier of the Cold war amongst other battles that he was involved in. If we know the man well, he is probably having a ‘heavenly’ beer with his mates.

    Peter Vlahos.
    And let us share in that “heavenly beer” Pete …John would have liked that….!

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