Funeral for retired Major General Alan Stretton
2 November 2012
Major General Alan Bishop Stretton AO, CBE (retired) was farewelled with full military honours at the Royal Military College Chapel in Canberra today.
Major General Stretton’s military service spanned 38 years and involved active service in four separate theatres of war; however he is best known for his role in the recovery of Darwin after Cyclone Tracy in 1974. He oversaw the evacuation of 36,000 people after devastation struck on Christmas Day.
His extraordinary efforts over those six days led him to be made an Officer of the Order Of Australia and awarded Australian of the Year in 1975. Major General Stretton served his nation with distinction, but made it clear that he accepted the awards on behalf of the people of Darwin.
In the delivery of a heartfelt and humorous eulogy, comrade Eric Smith, recalled Major General Stretton’s sense of daring, adventure and bravery.
Major General Stretton proved that he was a man of many talents by playing two seasons with St Kilda in the then Victorian Football League. Sport was a passion that developed from a young age and one he carried through his life.
Major General Stretton held a number esteemed positions as he rose through the ranks from an Infantry Private through to Major General. Notably, he commanded the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment during their tour of duty in Malaya and was the Australian Army Chief of Staff in Vietnam in 1969.
For his service in Vietnam he was made a Commander of the British Empire, decorated with the Distinguished Service Order and the Bronze Star.
An Army band played while an honour guard and catafalque party performed ceremonial duties to mark the end of the service, as the gun carriage left the chapel.
Major General Stretton passed away at Batemans Bay in New South Wales on 26 October, 2012 aged 90 years. He is survived by daughters Virginia and April, and son Greg.
Images of the funeral service are available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/12131645