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 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.