I received the following from John Pereira from his time at 2 Bty when it was at Batman Ave, covering the period 1973-1979. The Bty moved to Dandenong around 1980-81.
Some memories that come to mind:
The loading of the Brig. Rossi CRA out of the Jarks Club windows on a number of occasions. As a new gunner I was horrified on the first occasion. The catching party always just made it in time.
The exercises in Cultana – Exercise Shell Pioneer, Tassie exercise Apple Pioneer, crossing the Vic Alps can’t remember what that was called.
TEWTS at Braemar College & the young section commander emerging from the staircase cupboard with bottle of green Chartreuse in hand late mid-morning looking very second hand. Rumourerd to be a Lt McFarlane.
Members of the Jarks Club who would recall “Gunner X” & his subsequent moniker which was not to be used to refer to him again or else. Similar to Voldemort. Though revenge was his when he doled out some of the duties handed out at Cultana!
The eventful tactical night occupation in Buckland Tasmania where the listening posts were not brought in by a Bdr(?) who was playing Command Post Sergeant, early onset of hypothermia was the verdict made by the WRAC signallers, who happened to be Ward Sisters. I was not convinced! Sorry Lisa.
We nearly set fire to the CP tent trying to light the chuffer to warm them up. I was wholly blameless and suggest BK Roger Smith totally responsible for the chuffer issue as he was acting outside his area of competence. 😊. The Gunners were eventually thawed out by other means.
Guns arrived at the position when the battery was attacked, flares fired, flare malfunctions & flies in through a rover passenger side window, fins cut the gunner’s face, place lights up light lunar park, RMO carts him away.
Hostilities resume. Hostilities cease due to shrieks from Gunner Ganley on Delta. Gnr. Ganley had used his finger to find the holes for the locking pin of the trails of the L5. The gunner at the end of the trails had swung the trail thinking Ganley had placed the pin in the locking hole which promptly guillotined off his finger. Lunar park lights up once again. RMO departs with Gnr Ganley. Night vision returns in due course.
The BC heads down, gets on the Tannoy and advises that we will fire a mission tonight. BC get on the radio; and informs range control and others of his intentions. Range Control suggests otherwise. The BC announces to all and sundry OIC responsible picks a spot within the middle of range and we do fire a mission sort of recall we went straight into FFE!
Two cans per man was the next order with #’s 1 requested to the CP. We all sat on the CP floor got into the goodies box, sweaty kabana, cheese that was well past its use by date and the GPO’s bottle of White Heather was passed around until it was no more.
One of the best examples of leadership during my tenure with the Battery
Further followup observations from John.
To the best of my recall, in 1973, 3 Bty in Brighton was folded into 2 Bty. As a newbie I felt there was a lot of jockeying for positions amongst the Senior NCO’s/WO’s and an initial us and them. The Div Loc Bty (132) stayed in Brighton.
Gerry Butcher was a Captain then, FO and Recruiting Officer. Bill Dingen was the Recruiting Sgt. I was inducted/sworn in by Gerry who happened to be my next-door neighbour.
The #’s 1 were Ray Armstrong, Ian Wingate, Dave Gibson as Sgt’s. Not sure but I think Doc O’Connor was #1 of Delta as a Bdr when I joined.
Roger Smith was the BK. Alan Halbish was the BG. Ken Foggie BC’s ack I think. The Sig Sgt god forget his name softly spoken guy can picture him but name evades me. Don Rodderick took over from him.
Capt Rod Singleton was the other FO and permanently on call to the CO as investigation officer for lost bolts, broken SLR’s which happen to fall onto the highway off the back of a 5 ton truck hurtling down the Hume, petty cash shortages at the Jarks club, just because he was an insurance loss adjuster. David Osbourne was the GPO. Best GPO I served under I reckon never phased, Rosco Pederken close second followed by Gerry Butcher.
Chris Renwick & Gavin (?) Schwartz most enthusiastic Section Commanders both ultra-competitive as to who would be battery leader. Fear not they both got us lost. Map reading was not a forte of either. Many a spray from the BK & BG resulted.
Doug Caulfield was a CP Ops Field & had been earmarked for bigger and better things. John Decker was the Sgt Cp Ops Field purloiner of my Staedtler China Graph pencils purchased at great cost from a stationery place in Elizabeth Street in the CBD.
John had a fixation about Battery Centre markers. I think we lost one on a firing weekend soon after I joined and there was hell to pay at the subsequent EIS inspection. Thereafter he made me responsible to collect Battery Centre markers. Prior to the subsequent EIS inspection we had to hide the surplus markers we had apparently been overzealous with our collections.
The two stand out AIG’s were Barry Cane & Bill Cross. IG would be “The Adjt” can again picture him but can’t recall his name. He had undertaken his long course before being posted to us another person you looked up to and learnt from.
I think the expedition to Tasmania & the Cultana night occupation was in 1977 +/-. Maj Keith Bunnett was the BC.
Brig Rossi was the CRA in the early to mid-70’s. Now there was a character who could hold the Jarks Club members enthralled another fine example of a citizen soldier.