HMAS LEEUWIN 17TH INTAKE

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HMAS Leeuwin - Junior Recruit Training Establishment  

October 1966 to October 1967

This website is dedicated to Michael John BROWN who passed away 3 December 2006
Mike did an enormous amount of work to make this site a reality

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Norman John Holdsworth REES

Official No: R95773 Aged: 15 years 9 months Joined: 7th October 1966
Division: Marks Home Port: Brisbane Discharged: 1972
Branch:

Clearance Diver

Postings: Leeuwin, Rushcutter, Vampire, Penguin, Vampire, Rushcutter, Penguin, Parramatta
   
1966 today
Biography:

After leaving Leeuwin I was drafted to Rushcutter with Evan Hayden for our basic diving course or Cuff Rate as it was known before eventually going onto our CD acceptance course later down the track.  I was lucky enough to get through but due to a case of the flu, Evan didn't make it.  Went through our first course under P.O. CD Tug Wilson, one of the toughest instructors I encountered in my CD career.  After completing the first stage I was drafted to the old Vampire.  My first major diving operation was that same year, the recovery of the bodies of a helicopter crew after it crashed off Jervis Bay.  It was very daunting as I was still not 17 at the time.  We had to get special dispensation from Naval HQ because of the depth and my limited qualifications.  Anyway the operation was a success even though CDT2 came down from Sydney and took over. 

I drafted to Penguin in 1968 for my CD acceptance course as Rushcutter was in the process of closing down as a diver training school.   As a matter of fact, I have the distinction of being in the first CD class to train at Penguin.  After that I drafted to Parramatta where I spent a couple of good years, a couple of tours in the Far East Strategic Reserve and was involved in the tragedy of the Melbourne/Evans collision in 1969.

In 1970 I was transferred to CDT3 for training for deployment to Vietnam.  Unfortunately I was involved in a training exercise that went terribly wrong and my best mate at the time, Allan Dempster, was killed.  My naval career went downhill from that time on until I was eventually discharged as unsuitable in '72.

I've been married twice, have three great kids, and at the time of writing this, two and a half grandchildren.

By the way, 'Porky' Rees was my name in the diving branch but it had nothing to do with my size at that time. You may have heard the joke, it has something to do with pigs. Oh, one other thing, Evan Hayden did eventually become a diver but I haven't seen or heard of him in years.

 Personal photographs

 

 

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Last modified: October 13, 2018