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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Robert Allan SCOTT

Official No: R95778 Aged: 16 years 2 months Joined: 7th October 1966
Division: Rhoades Home Port: Brisbane Discharged: 15th March 1974  then RAAF 15th March 1989
Branch:

Radio Operator

RAAF: - RadtechG2 Communications Electronics System Tech (CESYSTECH2) Postings:

RAN:  Leeuwin, Sydney , Penguin, Harman, Cerberus, Moreton, Brisbane , Anzac (seconded for 40days trip to NZ) Tarangau, 21 Sig. Sqn. Port Moresby for 1 month, Madang, Supply, Moreton, Wewak, Moreton.

RAAF: - RAAF Base Edinburgh, Laverton, Darwin, Butterworth, Darwin, 1Aircraft Deport RAAF Laverton doing Maintenance Control Systems, Tel Eng, TEMPEST Flight testing at every RAAF base through Aust and OS and a stint at RAF Hendon – GCHQ, Cheltenham UK
Notes:    
Notes: It appears to me that we all had the same feelings about the NAVY and that we had great intentions to say for 12 years when we joined, a lot of us got pissed off with the service at about the six year mark or so.  I got out under Gough Whitlam's let off clause because I realised that I was just another number and the Navy was treating me like siht, especially since I was Naval Comms. for QLD during the 100 year floods in Brisbane where I was bottled up in Vic barracks for 5 days with 3 other Army communicators.  I never got a thank you or acknowledgement out of the Navy for that episode.  

I joined the RAAF to find that half the navy was in there.  I did a greenie's course and never looked backwards after that.  The RAAF sent 15 of us to school at Footscray tech for Diploma in Electronics with automatic promotions to W. O.  Best Ever!

Current Occupation: Security Industry
1966 June 2005
Biography:

I still have vivid memories of our time at Leeuwin and will never forget what a wonderful adventure it was.  I tell my kids about it and they just can't believe it.  Tales of how many trains we caught from Brisbane to Perth , the stopovers in the big cities of this country at that time.  Real trains and rail gauge changes.  What meals were served, where they were served and how?  Not like today’s kiosk set-ups but real café sit down meals.  The sites of those monster kangaroos on the Nullarbor and the rude awakening of the first day at Leeuwin in the drill hall.  What's your number son?  The great hair cut that we just had to have!  Short back and sides please?  The “fang Bosun” tortures and Medical shots we just had to have. Show them my yellow shot book.  Although, I haven’t told them about my MUPS session yet but I will get to it!  Running that bullring made me the fittest I had ever been!

 

After Leeuwin, the same as everyone else.  Still remember the stink of acid and the pong of the heads. The tinea, the great sleeping arrangements we had in the mess' and hangar, the fantastic meals (yeah rite!).  The first meal to sea and the army guys getting crook seeing that picture on the wall swing side to side.  The bingo sessions, the nightmare watches and being freaked out by the RAR guys as we returned home with their 1000 mile stares and shitting yourself when they stared at you or confronted you at night as you went through their mess on rounds.  The great Outback painting on the hammock bin in 3D2 mess (what ever happened to it?).  The Army dude who flew off in Manila for swinging on the hammock rails and ended up with a perforated arse by someone else’s SLR.  The RSM who got the empty casing on the way up to the Nam (wonder what ever happened to him?), and many more happenings.

 

Also, I tell people how old we were in that war at that time and they just can't believe it.  Today they have sailors    I. D.  cards stamped with “UNDER 18” in large black letters on them to keep them out of the wets and out of war zones.

 

We were then posted to Penguin to be shown by CPORS Biff O’Neil (ex HMAS Arunta) how men should drink explicitly in the local pub before going up 10 floors at Australia Square to “sight and sound typing”.  Apparently, we pioneered that for the Navy.  Also, We were NOT pissed! Just stunned a little!  Next to Harman in the middle of winter on the “Daylight Express” train to Queanbeyan.  Some Express! 4 hrs of snail steaming.  Who remembers leaving their clothes on the line overnight to find them in the morning frozen to the line?  The great nights out with the WRANS at Civic?

 

Then Steve Summers and I in his Mini going on posting to Cerberus.  Cold and Cramped.  Never did that Again!!  Followed by 9 months on course at Cerberus Comm. school.  At Comm's school I did a deal with one of the guys on course, he was hopeless at flags and meanings and I was hopeless at reading a flashing light morse code.  So when we did the exams, I did his flags and meanings and he mine too, we got a good pass there.  We both got through comm's school.

 

I mainly got around a lot in the RAN because my great Uncle Bill Monaghan who started as a writer and ended as a Lieutenant, Admiral’s secretary in Canberra .  I would meet him in pubs in Sydney or at OS. (a bar in Hong Kong ) places and suggest where I would like to go.  I got posted to HMAS Brisbane for Vietnam deployment (that’s why I waited at Moreton in lieu of some other places after my RO course). Posted to HMAS Tarangau (Bill was stationed at Tarangau when we went thru on the Brisbane , so we had a little luncheon & chat at his married quarter).  While at Manus I did a stint with Army Signals at Port Moresby .  We were trying to establish HF radio links between Port Moresby and Manus but the big Owen Stanley ranges just soaked up the signals and made them useless. 

On HMAS Madang, I went to the Saint Mathias group of islands just north of Rabaul.  Stupid situation there is that it is mainly controlled by the Seven-day adventurers religion mob that instruct the local not to eat the local foods but rather to buy their food from the church canteen.

Also, on the way to Vuvulu island (just north of Wewak) we had a power out one night.  The Ship completely shut down.  There we sailors at leaving ship stations in a flash, dressed in their p/j's or naked, or with jocks on or in uniform.  But all with their rubber ducks around their wastes ready to go over the side.  Apparently there were fuel problems with the donks.

 

Getting smart I though I may send my kit back to Australia via HMAS Madang to Cairns when she went off for a refit.  Wrong choice.  The bloody ship ran aground at Samari just East of Port Moresby .  The fresh water tank busted and flooded the void space under the mess deck where my kit was.  About three weeks later I get a visitor to my folks place in Brisbane who show me my kit bag.  Everything that was white is now Yellow. To HMAS Supply, which went to Mururoa Atoll for last three atmospheric atom bomb tests in 73.  Still remember Dave Knox swinging thru the rigging on that ship. 

 

A point to remember was that a posting to sea was not normal thing, especially after 15 and a 1/2 months at Manus Is. The normal posting is to go from Tarangau to Albatross to detox from any unusual tropical diseases you could have picked up.  Oh Yeah, I got a taste of malaria and was bogged to the eyeballs with penicillin and Chloroquine.

 

On Supply’s return to Aust, I was given a crash posting to Moreton because the navigator walked into the Comcen, just as I was about to SNOT the PORS who had a habit of stealing our receiver links to Aust for radio telephone calls.   I was in Moreton 2 hours and got “dropped” onto the Wewak for 60 days – “Take a little trip to Melbourne , sailor” they said.  We loaded with 20 cartons of beer in the well deck lockers (We ran out in Sydney ) and in company with HMAS Tarakan and sailed south.  I discovered the boss (our skipper Lieutenant was a friend because I used to swim against him when I was a high school). We got to Sydney and I got in the shit from the fleet Comms WO because I missed a coded signal for us on the broadcast.  Too bad.

 

After Westernport Bay we headed back to Sydney where we met up with Balipapan and Tarakan and restocked with beer.  We all sailed up the coast and into the Clarence River heading up towards Grafton for an Army exercise.  At Mclean we started the exercise.  It was from a radio point of view was a disaster as the countryside is so hilly and plenty of high mountain ranges, radio signal would disappear or just not get to their objective.

 

RAAF:

I went to the old recruiting centre to join the RAAF and what do I see?  The photo of 'us' doing a march past at HMAS Leeuwin.  Me as right hand marker and the boys alongside.  The Bastards are using it as recruiting material!  I went to RAAF Edinburgh for rookies (3 mth holiday) in SA, Barossa valley, wine, women.  At Edinburgh I was put in charge of 30 guys and started double timing them all over the place, throwing orders and generally teaching them NAVY marching basics.  Also we have a RAAF corporal in charge of the squad – His name was Skull Davantier.  One of the guys was a mechanic by trade so three of us went into thirds in a ’62 Holden sedan.  We went everywhere in that unit before we sold it onto to the next rookies who immediately blew it up.

 

Then I was posted to RAAF Laverton – School of Radio for radio techs course – 9 months of electronics.  Here I ran into Ray Thompson (ex Navy tartar tech who taught all the instructors at RADS about transistors and missile theory).  Trevor Barber – ex submariner RO who became a supply officer in the RAAF and quite a few other ex Navy daredevils.

 

From RADS to RAAF Darwin where I served most of time at 11 mile HF transmitter station.  Here, I got the opportunity to take 3 transmitters from Darwin to RAAF Butterworth.  Managed to take my wife with me on the C130E to Penang and have a holiday with friends while I did the job.

 

Eventually someone must have had it in for me as I was posted from Darwin to 1 Aircraft Depot at RAAF Laverton. Spent 3 months doing maintenance control systems until I was nominated to do a Quad Radar course.  I never got to do this course because my name came out on a signal asking me if I wanted to go to Footscray TAFE to do a Diploma in Electronics.  Well another RAAF silly Question!  You pay me to go to school and get a Diploma?  15 of us started the third intake of that Diploma in 1983.  I was corporal at the time so I jumped at it.  We did a three year course of 30 points in 14 months and graduated handsomely.  We had 3 guys who got 100% for every friggin subject exam so my low 90s and upper 80s seem just par.  During the course, I got glandular fever, which really set my scores back in upper 80s, but I got thru.  I did 32 points – extra 2 points in Laplace transformation mathematics, which are used in the fire control systems of all fighters and helicopter systems today. After the course I was Promoted to Sergeant.  This Course offered automatic promotion through to WO every couple of years as well as step up to Officer ranks if you wanted to do it.   After Footscray I went back to RADS to teach Basic and Advance Digital Electronics for 32 hours a week for 15 months to RAAF Apprentices.  Only failed one guy out of the entire courses I taught.  He must have been the only one interested in stealing hub caps (midnight spares) and chasing women. After RADS I was posted back to 1AD down the other end of the airfield where I was in a Research and Development cell.  We did projects like develop a microprocessor IC to replace a 19” rack full of electronics to track aircraft at 300nm.  But the RAAF didn’t like that idea as it cost too much to get rid of the cabinet.  Eventually I was again found to be surplus to requirement and was given the option of moving into Support Command, which was over the west gate bridge or go down the road to TEMPEST Test Flight.  I didn’t like the idea of paying the toll on the gate and paying for parking every day so I went down the road to TEMPEST.  I was here for 3 weeks and posted to RAF HENDON GCHQ for a 12-week course March 1986.  (Got to fly in Nimrods over the Atlantic )   This posting really opened the world for me - TEMPEST is the detection of radio frequencies that can carry classified data (plain language) from communication and computer components, equipments and systems.  My job was to detect these undesirables and take action to eliminate them!  I had a team of four guys and a few millions dollars of detection equipment.  So Off we went around Australia , Overseas and to places that the average bear has no idea existed and will never know.  I used to catch C130 Hercs like people used to catch taxis.  Heaps and heaps of flying hours in C130s and P3Cs.  What a tourist?

 

While I was in the UK , I went for a fly in a Nimrod aircraft over the Atlantic ocean doing another Operation Gateway.  Not a bad trip but these aircraft can’t stay up long as the jets burn fuel pretty quickly.  We were out for about 7 hours whereas the P3C would be out for up to 12 hours. After UK I return to TEMPEST and we did about 6 years of work in 4 for the RAAF and other Government Departments.

So in 1989 and after 22 ½ years all up, I had had enough of the military and knew that I could get better pay for my expertise out in civvie street.  I did a short stint in Defence Signal Directorate in Melbourne until I was recruited with a very good pay offer to join COMPUCAT Pty Ltd in Canberra doing the same job but for big bucks.  I was at this place for 10 years before I took up a 2 year contract in late 99 in OTTAWA , CANADA .  More big Bucks but they sure can keep the great white desert.  Canadian Spring to Autumn is absolutely beautiful and the fishing over there is absolutely out of this world.  20 to 60 lb salmon, 58 varieties of trout that average 5 pounds or more and lots of other fish varieties to catch.  Eventually my Canadian friend (who now lives in Nova Scotia ) and I got pissed off catching small mouth and big mouth bass all the time.  Fish can only be caught for 3 months of the year as the rest of the year is under ice during snow time.

 When I came back to Oz I had a little rest at my folks place in Brisbane and then returned to Canberra to be with my kids.

 Now I work with one of our extended family - Mike Sheely who is my Supervisor (lucky bugger, takes all the flak!) and in a semi-retired mode with not too much stress and plenty of time to paint RAN warships in oils on Canvas as well as being there for my kids!

 

1.    I had my 21st birthday in HMAS Brisbane on 25th August 1971 while we were steaming around in ever decreasing circles chasing the USS Kitty Hawk around the "race track" at Yankee Station, gulf of Tonkin.

2.    I had my 51st birthday in the Brisbane on 25th August 2001 in Auckland NZ.  Shortly after I arrived back in Australia from Canada, I travelled as a "sea rider" with 4 other guys from Brisbane to Auckland.  A three day cruise, lucky I had my dads movie camera with me.

So there you go.  30 years apart and two birthdays on the same ship, don't think too may other guys can claim this?  Oh this time I ate in the WARDROOM , not in the general seamen's mess!

Personal photographs

 

 

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