David Edwards, FO, 22 Bty
In the second week we returned to the range. At some point we migrated the FO parties to the ridge to the west. It was steep. One night I slept in my sleeping bag wedged in the bottom of a tree to stop sliding down the hill.
Then there was the day the BC party went missing. We found out later they had got bogged on the plain. Sgt Don Errey (BC Ack) was driving, so the BC had to do the pushing. When they eventually turned up to the hill, he was covered head to foot in mud. It’s probably not appropriate to fall about laughing at your boss, but we did it anyway.
On another day the two 22 Bty FO parties were bunkered down in their little holes with their little cam nets over them, mine on the left, the other on the right. Working away we hear this scream of “SNAKE” and we looked around to see three blokes bolt out from under there cam nets in all directions. Apparently, a little fella had slithered between them and continued on its way without a care in the world. It wasn’t the only snake story of the week, apparently a few folks had them cross their paths (or boots).
The last day on the range was a combined regimental shoot. Up to this point we’d only shot our own batteries, so this was a good chance to fire both 105 (22 Bty) and 155 (38 Bty). Whilst it was interesting to see the effect of both, the “crump” and impact of the 155s is very impressive.
For some reason it took two days to get to Cultana, but three days to get home. We stopped at P&EE Port Wakefield for the first night on the way home. Two things I remember from that night – really bad beer (West End? – the boys couldn’t stop complaining) and the white chopped LandRovers the locals used to recover rounds from the flats at low tide. I don’t remember it, but the CO LtCol Forster gave a rousing speech that quelled some of the 2/15 vs. 10 Mdm animosity. The second night was at the Transport depot in Horsham down the street from where I lived as a kid. Other than that, it was a long and uneventful trip.
I’ve heard other stories of goings on at camp or on the gun lines, but I’ll leave them for others to tell. It was an interesting camp, and very different to the usual two weeks at Pucka where we were constantly deploying to the same places and firing on the same hills.