3 Squadron STORIES
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I was brought up to 'not make much of myself' and it has taken me a while to 'get' that my stories are worth telling. I've been encouraged by a few folk - Malcolm Mackerras most recently - to get on with writing up my stories! [Malcolm was my FILAws academic colleague at RMC Duntroon - J.T. Laird being the Assoc. Prof of English and Malcolm in Politics.]
The stories reflect on "military training" and its occasional potential value in ordinary life!
I do think that my eight years - to 1976 - in what is now The Army Reserve, making it to A/g CSM of ANU Coy, SUR, may have played some role in what I've done.
Back on 18 February 2003, our part of Canberra was hit by a huge fire-storm, and we had a meeting in a large double garage to which the relevant ACT Minister - John Hargreaves - came. He asked at the end if anyone had any 'positive ideas' - and I suggested we set up Community Fire Units similar to that in the Royal National Park.
- I raised and trained one of the first, right here where we live - CFU22 - Kambah - which is still in existence.
Out of that came an eight-day course for 'Volunteer Emergency Leaders' held up at the old School of Artillery on North Head at Manly. Not long after I arrived and had a beer (in the former Sgts Mess) with other attendees from all over. Helen - a lady that had led a team into the little townships of the Dandenongs on that same weekend, said that I'd 'had a hard life!' Another unit leader - from the Gold Coast - asked me what I thought of that - and I said, 'It's the one I've had'. (So that's going to be the title for a few stories!)
[My Grandad Pardy trained at the School of Artillery before he went off to France, as a Gunner/Driver in the Royal Australian Artilllery. The job was taking ammo and equipment up to the font lines, and then bringing back - with dead or slightly wounded soldiers on board the empty truck! North Head was also where Dad was trained as a Militia Gunner, in the years leading up to WWII - while he was doing his Pharmacy apprenticeship and Uni studies. Dad's apprenticeship to the Soul-Pattinson pharmacy network had been agreed by Pardy and Dr. Soul in France in 1916...]
Childhood as a Junior Legatee, one of 5 kids, becoming a Cathedral Chorister, and learning French-foil fencing, going on a Legacy-run 'Outward Bound' course at 14 and learning to ride (horses) as well!
(Some folks find it difficult to see how these would be relevant. Precision and timing, and committed team-work, for a great outcome, is my response.)
Then there's school, ANU and dropping out, marriage, and sons. Working with Information Technology for industry-policy analysis & becoming a Tariff and Trade Dispute Consultant.
Restarting uni studies, but at UC, and becoming a Tutor - in my second semester - in my Major (Information Systems)! Within two semesters I had enough tutoring work to be put on salary at UC as an Academic Level A.
This (along with being the door-greeter at BIG W in Woden during the Summer breaks!) helped us keep paying off the mortgage. They wanted me to come back!
Then a job as a Senior Information Systems Officer and then leader of an Electronic Strategy Team with the Health Insurance Commission / Medibank Private. (Triggered by the States, Territories and Feds introducing Casemix to measure health-care performance. This move tripled the amount of data to be collected!! - And I'd just helped UC get its head around the AARNET, which was a prototype of the Internet, but 'closed'.)
Then making those processes into International Standards Organisation standards. (There are seven such standards.) I was not a mere 'member' of the SAA working groups I joined; I had end-outputs in mind, and got them! - In consequence, being invited to be a guest-speaker at working meetings of the USA's health-messaging ISO Standard, called HealthLevel7 in San-Fran, Baltimore, etc.... There were also other groups and nations to visit. UK and NZ. - I'm a Life Member of HL7. Briefly famous!!!!!
Mind you, my three brothers have made their mark. Ian the eldest is an AM for his pioneering of Construction Law. Don ran Zurich Australia for several years, and Bruce did the fire-protection for both 'sides' of New Parliament House. - Not too bad for 'Repat kids'. (Don came very close to being declared an 'uncontrollable child' during his teens. We had at least two irate husbands call in, asking for him, crunching their fists, when he was still at High School!)
My only flaw - if it is - is a barely-concealed lack of respect for those whose rank/position is higher than appropriate, at least - AKA 'The Peter Principle'.
While I'm still a practicing Christian, attending church has paused with COVID. - I'm a High-Church Anglican of the 'liberal' type. (And I'm no plaster-saint either. Golf-widows are a real 'thing'.) I dislike 'bible-bashers' / bible-inerrancy proponents...
Hobbies? History - military history, strategy/weapons/tactics - and veggie gardening. Hi-Fi / Audio, and classical era music, and recording concerts in simple-stereo.
I left out 'correcting idiots' but it's probably implicit!
More of an impulse/habit ?!!
Regards, Tim Bailey.
Right out in the flat as your hat ‘Outback’ walks a lone swaggie and his dog. He’s walking into a slight breeze. In the distance he can hear a motor.
A Land Rover drives up behind him and stops, so as to keep him out of the dust.
The driver leans out - "Hey mate, want a lift!?"
“Nah, you deal with your own bloody gates!"
When gates are first supplied to farmers they have a latch and chain arrangement, or a bolt system. And when assembled in place, both posts are vertical and stable, and the fittings are strongly affixed to the hinge-post and latch-post.
So, the ideal gate swings without dragging on the ground, and the sensibly obvious (and working) closure and opening 'system' - lines up.
It's important to remember that bit about opening and closing, and lining up.
Such new gates are rare, and can be a real
pleasure. Just don't expect them!
And, of course ..... Next time you meet that once ideal gate, it probably won't be any more!
So you are on your own, most of the time. If it's raining, or also dark, that just adds to the challenge.
Ahemm! If it IS just YOU, you poor bastard! (*&%#$)
REAL 'real gates' just do drag on the ground, and are always heavy.
Some have only ONE attached hinge. But it isn't always the bottom hinge, thank God!!!.
As you might guess, and given that gates tend to be heavy, the bottom hinge-only gates are right bastards. So, finding a closure you can - unselfishly - drive away from is just a bit of a challenge.
Over time, such sagging gates get more and more jerry-built repairs, and can take a good while to figure out.
Gates with a working top hinge are a relief, in contrast, but can still be right bastards... to get the closure system... to close-up enough to actually close, and stay closed - under the efforts of stock!
Usually, you get out in a cloud of dust, or in the rain or cold, even sleet and snow...
and often... in the dark!
Dealing with gates at night is to be avoided if at all possible.
When the gate was a right bastard on your way in. This is worth remembering...
Get back to the bastard before it gets dark!
(Because it is not always possible to get your vehicle's lights onto the problem areas. And as you may be aware, these can be on either side of the gate - and its ‘bush-re-engineered' closure system.)
Of course this may not matter if you aren't coming back through it!!!!
The vehicle comes up to the gate, and IF you both know the gate already, the passenger gets out to open it.
Then you begin undoing it: either trying to remember how you did it up. OR doing the discovery thing! OR, simply wondering how you are going to do it all back up again, as parts of an effective closure.
And then when you do get it undone, the whole gate might just fall off. OR out of the top OR bottom hinge!
OR sag so much that it will drag on the ground, and you have to lift the huge, heavy bloody thing and swing it out of the road - all at the same time…
And then get covered in dust [as the vehicle drives through]. Or mud if the wheels spin - and they will if there IS mud.
Then swing it back into place or bodily carry it and lift it into position while you try to tie it back on again, with just one hand this time! In the swirling dust. (Or at night in the vehicle’s headlights!)
Now - depending on what kind of person you are, and who is with you (if at all!!!!) - by this point you may well be swearing fluently:- at the gate, the farmer, the bastard idiot who came up with the impossible to undo closure - and at the bloody driver - who is by now stupidly asking if your need some help or would LIKE!!! some help!
Of &*^%$$#@!@!!!! bloody course you do, but you do try to maintain the friendship...
It can't hurt... And might just help!
You will VERY often be doing this standing on top of a cast-steel cattle-grid, so much the better. Fun all round. Slip your foot in and twist, sprain or BREAK your ankle!
If it's raining? ... S'LIPPery!!!!
This is when a third and 4th hand would be good.
So will recalling that you might be coming back through later – if you are, that is! And a torch or two can be vital. Bringing the vehicle up and resting a torch on the bonnet can help. IF the bonnet will let the bloody torch stay, of course!
All this can (or SHOULD!!!!!) help to concentrate the mind on making the ‘closure system’ un-do-able on return, while still effective at keeping stock in.
(Repetition is GOOD, see!!!)
I eventually learned to take a side-cutter, pliers and a metre or two of wire (stranded wire twists a good deal more easily), to replace the occasional complete mare’s nest.
An illustrative example?!?!?!?
It's the early-to-mid 1970s, late Spring? An old friend of mine - Mick Rogers - and I have been hunting feral pigs in the Brindabella Mountain range. (It is west of, and a good bit higher up than Canberra is, bits of it are in NSWales.)
It was dusk and Mick has strained his shoulder and I am driving the Mk2 SWBase Land Rover!
Now the last gate in had been difficult and we wanted a good few hours after the pigs, so I'd done what I could with that gate's 'closure system'!
I was tired and didn't notice him storming back to the Landy until he was nearly back to it. Mick was tall, red-haired and with a short-fuse. Irish? (Well he WAS an RC.)
Mick was guardsman-like when doing close-order drill, too, and an exemplary soldier in the field. We'd become known as the terrible twins to our sections when Corporals in the same Platoon. Mick left and became a soldier-of-fortune before he made Sergeant.
He goes right past me. Throws open the tailgate and starts rummaging 'where'd you hide the bloody pliers Beetle, bloody wire, bloody bastard bloody gate!' he says - 'Where's that bloody *&^%$#g torch.'
Thud, and then another. His long torch had fallen out onto his foot, ...plus one of the rifles, in its case.
My torch? .... with its big red rectangular 6volt battery, was sitting in the Landy's items tray in front of me!
With some trepidation ... I get out, saying, "Are you alright, Mick?!" and go round the back. He was doubled over shaking… With laughter, thank God!
We then rechecked the torch, found the wire and the pliers, put everything else back in place, put the 'Rovers lights ON the gate. I grabbed my torch - and we - got on - with the job.
We worked together on it - undid it eventually - made a new - tidy, sensibly workable and reliable loop, drove through, closed the gate up, and went on home.
Mick kept the torch and the pliers and the wire with him - for the remaining two gates! But I still went with him.
If there ARE any farmers listening to this, could you please try making the two hinges kinda permanent, like fixed right through the flaming posts?! PLEASE!?
Or use three hinges!? OR use reo'd concrete posts as well!!!
I know this might cost a bit more, but the gate just might last a bit longer.
Wire, pliers, wire-cutters, two torches ...and two people (who get-on) ...is best ...with gates ...in the bush!
Timbo in Oz
The late-mid 1970s, Canberra.
My mad-mate Mick Rogers and I were off on a hunting trip (feral pigs) up into the Brindabella Mountains.
(They are to the west of the ACT.)
Land-Rover S2 (ShortWheelBase) so - no rear seats, just carrying space. For all the gear we'd found we needed, esp. triangles with spikes. And the rifles, plus one shotgun, all in their cases.
It was a late-Spring / Summer. Saturday, AM. We are flagged down by a woman, who was looking out for folks to help, and had noticed the dust from us as we approached the accident scene.
A Morris Major Elite had gone off the dirt road in a nature-park/reserve, rolling more than completely over, down a steep bank and into some Casuarina trees. Past upside-down, and well down to the to the left of the road.
Plus? The driver's hand was trapped between a Casuarina's trunk and the steering wheel. Driver's hand still bleeding, with enough running blood to concern me. I could see right away that we couldn't turn the car right back over - with our hand winch - without making his hand injury worse.
The driver was moaning in pain, head cut as well, and he'd hurt his back and broken a shoulder blade, too. I confirmed that he could move and feel his legs and feet.
Mick and I had a quick discussion, agreeing that we ought to try to free the driver by pulling the still-upturned car back up the slope - just far enough - and at that same angle, so as to get his hand free from the tree trunk and steering-wheel, and then get him out of the car. (By using the hand-winch on the front of the Land Rover. And then manoeuvre him out, through the - one available - back door - as the car had a 3-person front-seat that folded back. )
Apart from a good first aid kit, we had
added two warning triangles to the Landy. We also
had :- spare galvanised wire-rope for the hand-winch, some
shorter lengths of it with suitable looped ends. And, some
steel triangles and spikes I'd had made up for winching across
alpine bogs. (L-section steel lengths with holes for the
[But that's another story, which will cover why we were well- equipped.]
I asked the lady who'd waved us down to put
a tourniquet on the man's fore-arm, to reduce the bleeding.
I showed her how to relax it and so forth, then get it back
I then asked someone else to walk down the building-up queue of vehicles, and explain, and get some of the drivers to walk back along, and stop the horn tooting and free the 1.5 width roadway.
Mick put the Land-Rover across the
road - nose facing the wreck, then remembered our
emergency triangles - got them out & up and down the
road. He then began rolling out the winch wire.
Meanwhile I bashed the winching triangles
into the road with their spikes & hooked up a length of wire
to the Landy's
The rolled car being an old Brit-sedan, we
were able to ram a
drag-bar across between the chassis' elements and the
body, so it shouldn't twist too much. (Which could have been
unpleasant for the trapped bloke.)
[A drag-bar? Steel L-section bar & 3 U-bolts & a short piece of wire with cast galv'd steel loops on each end, as above.]
Then I was working hard (tapping the 'bar' into place with a small sledge hammer; this while perched on a steep slope) when this superior idiot comes down the slope and said "why can't you wait until a crash-truck get's here?!", and, "could we hurry up and get out of the way!?"
Mick was busy shoving logs in front of the
wheels of the 'Rover and had mentioned a hurt trapped
driver and our plan - to the complainant. And, that we would
be done quicker if he helped, and suggested "Go down and see if
you can help my mate Tim, and take this bar and the drag-wire
down too, here!".
But, he didn't carry down the bar
and the wire - having decided he could persuade me!
(Maybe in his concern for his 'outing', he hadn't quite heard the 'injured driver' bit!?)
Then Mick arrived - with the bars and wire.
very fluent feller, Mick; tall red-haired; and was a tad
scary at the time. - The selfish
git kept out of our way from then on.
I don't recall how long it all took, but we
were surprised at how little time when we looked at our
Then Mick and I drove on, into the mountains
on the other side of the reserve, after wild pigs.
As Mick drove, he mentioned that question all soldiers ask themselves - 'Will I cope when the balloon goes up' and said that he thought we just might be okay.
It had turned out that we were!
3 Squadron STORIES
3 Squadron RAAF HOME/Search