Quite a few formal photos from courses held at the old School of Artillery on North Head (Manly) have appeared on facebook lately. Many feature a lot of the Vic gunner officers and NCOs from the 80s and worth recording for posterity here.
Many young officers came and went in a few years, whilst others had long and distinguished military careers. All would remember courses at the school, living in the mess or mess annex on the lower side of the parade ground. Drills were held all over the head, including the gun park and director pegs. Early starts to get out to Holdsworthy and Singleton for live firing. And the occasional social evening down at the “ManPac” or “Steyne”, and giving up trying to get a cab and walking back up the steep hill to the school.
The early 80’s was a peak time for new officers to go to Arty regiments in Victoria. Infantry was shrinking, going from three battalions (1 RVR, 2 RVR, and 5/6 RVR) down to two (1 RVR merged into 5/6 RVR and 2 RVR was renamed to 8/7 RVR). But at the same time we had two regiments with 2-3 gun batteries each – 2/15 Fd Regt (2, 3 and 23 Btys) and 10 Mdm Regt (37 and 39 Btys). We also had the Locating Battery in Brighton (132 Div Loc Bty), but it was seen as a senior LT posting, not something you graduated straight into. We were about the same size as Reserve Artillery in NSW which had two Fd Regts and a Locating Battery (133 Div Loc).
Also at the time there were two main routes to getting commissioned: the Officer Cadet Training Unit (OCTU) took people from the street and spent two yers training them to first appointment; and the university regiments (Melbourne University Regiment, or MUR, and Monash University Regiment, or MonUR) that ran 12-month courses with students qualified to CPL (both Subj 1 and RAInf Subj 2, and of course a RAInf IET). The uni regiments alternated running courses, with a dozen or so students, whereas the OCTU courses were graduating upwards of 20 students in each 6-month batch.
Following are the photo’s I’ve collected with Vic gunner names highlighted. They cover FO, GPO and ROBC (Regimental Officer Basic Course, sort of a Subj4 for LT). Note that there were different ROBC courses for Field and Medium.
1/84 ROBC Field (ARES) Course
Students and staff:
- Back row: Rob Mills, Ron Wilson, Rory Cain (2/15 Fd), Bill Bush, David Williams, Rob Davie (2/15 Fd).
- Centre row: Al Maguire (2/15 Fd), Dave Rodgers, Ken Black (2/15 Fd), Rob Moorby (2/15 Fd?), Don Taylor (2/15), Darren Cullen, Pete Spencer (dec), John Auchettl (2/15 Fd), Bill Dixon, Greg Cameron, Peter Chu.
- Front row: WO2 Brown, WO1 Waters, MAJ McClellan, CAPT Terry MCullough, WO2 Bernie Keddie, WO2 Winchester.
Seven out of seventeen students from Victoria. This was only the field gunner officers, so 10 Mdm young officers (YO’s) wouldn’t be there.
2/85 GPO (ARES) Course
Students and staff:
- Front row: Greg Brookes, WO2 …, CAPT David Pearce, MAJ …, Ken Black (2/15).
- Middle row: Don Taylor (2/15 Fd), Tim Swain, Dave Rogers, Rob Davie (2/15 Fd), Charlie Vella, John Auchettl (2/15 Fd), SGT Farmer.
- Back row: Rory Cain (2/15 Fd), SGT McDade, Jim Eastes, SGT Simon Foxlee, Al Maguire (2/15 Fd).
Again, a good showing from the Vic gunners, six out of thirteen students.
1/86 FO (ARES) Course
Students and staff:
- Front row: Steve Carey, Tony Thwaites, Ian Malcolmson, Nick Wray, Jim Stitz.
- Centre row: Ian Monck, Ken Black (2/15), MAJ Ian Morley, Craig Taggart (10 Mdm), Rob Charles (10 Mdm), Al Maguire (2/15).
- Back row: Rob Moorby (2/15 Fd or 10 Mdm?), WO2 Tom Christie, Greg Brookes, Ron Wilson, Rory Cain (2/15), Ron Harris (2/15 Fd).
That’s eight out of fourteen students from the Vic regts.
Many who were in the regiments at the time of the amalgamation would remember MAJ Jim Stitz who came to 2/15 Fd Regt as the OPSO when LTCOL Forster came as CO.
1/87 ROB Fd (ARES) Course
I was the only Victorian gunner officer on this course (third row, left).
1/88 GPO ARES Course
I was the only Victorian gunner on this course (standing, second from left).
1/92 FO (GRES) Course
I don’t have all the names but there’s myself (22 Bty, 2/10 Mdm) on the left in the rear rank, Steve Bright (38 Bty, 2/10 Mdm) RIP third from left rear rank, and Alex Kostadinovic (38 Bty, 2/10 Mdm) fourth from the right.
1/94 ROA Fd (GRES) Course
July 1994. I was the only Victorian gunner on this course (standing second from left). WO2 Steve May was a SMIG at 2/15 Fd & 2/10 Mdm at the time of the amalgamation.
The following is a ARA Subj 4 WO course. Second from the right rear rank is Mick Hayes who served as a SMIG in 23 Bty 2/15 Fd Regt.