OCS MEMORIES
(Class of June 1965)

Location, Layout, and a General Description of OCS

The OFFICER CADET SCHOOL was located at Point Nepean just to the eastern side of The Rip, the infamous entrance to Port Phillip Bay and was originally the site of the Quarantine Station for Victoria. See maps (further on).

It was a place described by many with regimental numbers starting with 1, 2 or 5 as the arse end of the world. It was housed in a number of old buildings designed as a hospital to treat those entering with diseases and had provision for all contingencies with a morgue and crematorium as well as the hospital. An old graveyard was not far from the sports ovals. For many years, and certainly whilst we were there, it was in readiness for any Quarantine emergency and accordingly we had to be ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice.

When we went bush our gear was packed up and stored away in trunks etc in case an emergency occurred during our absence. This was a constant embuggerance but for a change it was not one that had been deliberately programmed into the training schedule.
When we arrived the accommodation blocks available were scattered around with 1 and 2 Blocks at the northern end adjacent to the Cadets Mess and forming three sides of a quadrangle with the Bay as the fourth side. The grassed area bounded by this quadrangle was used for a variety of things from impromptu parades to Hakas and most memorably as the site of extra theme areas for Social functions. Gilligan’s Island during the South Seas Night comes to mind. The Cadet Company HQ was in 2 Block and it was from here that the delightful sounds of the PA system that ruled our lives originated; more about the PA system later. 3 Block was a new purpose-built block and overlooked the parade ground and, until the completion of 4 Block by the start of our Senior class, was the most convenient as it was closest to the Mess and the work areas. However, being brand-new it was harder to keep clean. Miles to the south, if you ask Ken Hussell, was an annexe that was convenient to the gym, canteen, lecture rooms and parade ground but a long way from the Mess. Time was our constant enemy and any second that could be shaved from the time necessary to change and move from lesson to lesson, parade, meal or sport period was greatly appreciated. Those of us who lived on the top floor in 1 Block and thus well away from the work areas were very envious of those who lived in the annexe. Conversely Ken Hussell informs me that we had it good because eating was the most important activity at OCS and we were much closer to the Mess than he and Lou Malietoa and Bill Kingston.
The lecture rooms and theatre were new and faced the parade ground that was a grassed area on the shore of the Bay with the Pier and cadets’ beach to the south and the RSM’s office on its northern edge. School HQ was adjacent to the lecture rooms and formed a backdrop to the parade ground. Cadets tried hard to avoid both the RSM’s office and the School HQ. The Pier and the Bay foreshore, however, did come into our lives at times and are the subjects of some later memories.
Sport was held on the ovals to the south of all buildings. The cross-country course ran for 5 kilometers through the scrub and sandy tracks of the Point across towards Cheviot Beach then back via the Assault course. The scramble
course was a steep cliff- face at the back of the School HQ and the gym was appropriately between the parade ground and the crematorium, with climbing ropes nearby. The staff married quarters were between the last cadet accommodation block and the main gate with the CI’s married quarter on a ridge just above the Cadets’ Mess. This was to be of great significance to us in the last few weeks at OCS.
To the north on the escape route to Melbourne was the little town of Portsea blessed with three pubs, the Continental, the Nepean and the Portsea and a hamburger shop. All of these establishments were very near and dear to cadet’s hearts.

RECOLLECTIONS OF THE LOCATION AND LAYOUT.

  • “I was allocated a bed space in the last room on the top floor of 1 Block and thus had the longest distance to travel to the ovals or other work areas. ‘Bloody hell!’” (H) “Accommodation was pretty good, although in the first 6 months I was in the old building on top of the hill (1 Block). My room was upstairs and was the furthest room away from the parade ground and that made it more difficult to get to extra drills. However, I did perfect the morning “leap” as a result.” (David Procopis) “We who lived in the annexe had the longest trek to meals and as that was the most important activity at OCS no-one who lived in 1 Block deserves any sympathy.” (Ken Hussell)
  • “The accommodation was great (spoilt in the new 3 Block), meals were good.” (Trevor Gardiner)
  • “Having lived in New Guinea for the previous five years I thought I was in Antarctica.” (Brian Stremple)
  • “Polishing the floors in 1 Block to the tones of “Orv…ill” the foghorn and the chunketychunk of ships passing by.” (John Graham)
  • “I shall never forget the music. Strangely enough, I never got sick of it and have retained a great fondness for military music ever since. My wife can’t stand it. Accommodation, in my opinion, was very good. However, I never really got used to having to leave the window half open at all times. The meals were superb, lashings of good wholesome food and as much as you could eat. Marvellous!” (Steve Griffiths)
  • “I’d come from country SA and hot water in a basin in your own room was pretty impressive. I still can’t sleep without the windows open – and preferably with a gale blowing.” (Dennis Lines)
  • “Water skills’ training was often hazardous and the jetty running out from the parade ground was even more so. Nominated as a lifesaver, I perched on top of the end pier, much like the many sea gulls around and watched my charges. The aims of this particular exercise was for cadets to jump in, fully clothed, and make their way back to the beach by swimming. I counted seven charges as they leapt into the ocean but a short while later only six had surfaced. I dived in to recover the lost soul who turned out to be
    Andrew Opie. Not a good swimmer said Andrew was doing his best to ‘march’ back to the beach on the bottom.” (Ken Hussell)

There is no wonder the wealthy society people of Melbourne all had holiday houses in the Portsea area. Pity we were not there for a holiday but we did get full board and lodging.


LIFE AT OCS

A cadet’s life at OCS was simply a highly structured round of calorie intake and expenditure. The intake was the most important part as cadets were always hungry and could consume more food in a shorter period of time than any biblical plague of locusts, and still plead for ‘back-ups’. The expenditure was a direct result of concentrated hard physical effort but all with some purpose – or so we all hoped at the time.


What am I doing here? Was an often-asked question. You volunteered dummy, was the answer. You should not have joined if you cannot take a joke! I still remember the prophetic words of the Senior class as we marched in - ‘You’ll be sorry!” Now this is the standard welcome for new arrivals from‘veterans’ but this time I wondered if there was any truth in it.
Generally speaking our accommodation and meals were as good as you could expect anywhere in the army at the time. Those who had gone through RTB would attest to that. Even Watsonia Barracks, which was very good, was not better. The only catch was that the barracks we admired so much when we marched in were in such a pristine state because cadets worked their rings off making it so.
The big difference between OCS and other barracks, however, was the lack of leave. Leave was from after sport on Saturday until 2145 hrs on Sunday, if you were not on some stoppage or other. Considering the ages and testosterone levels of the cadets at the time, this was a very short period indeed in which to‘relax.’ It was in 1969 well after our time that leave ecame more freely available. There was, of course, the mid year leave period between Junior and Senior classes, when you escaped for a month and went home although if you were a single West Australian that meant a fair amount of time on the train traveling back and forward across the Nullabor.
Now selection for attendance at OCS was a very taxing and testing business where those successful were young, below 25 years of age, physically fit, with a reasonable education standard, had intelligence rating of SOI 3 or higher, with demonstrated leadership potential. Stan Coleman used to say they selected the top two percent of Australian’s young men. No wonder the restrictions and rules imposed were to many simply a challenge. Many are the tales of how these challenges were met.

 

RECOLLECTIONS OF LIFE AT OCS
The following are from Russ Smith:

  • ”Working out how to set off fire alarms and get the whole of Senior class on parade when they had been arseholes.”
  • ”The number of cadets who camped out at my oldies on leave weekends was amazing.”
  • “As a civilian entry, it felt very satisfying to be able to slow march, master some of the more intricate rifle drill movements - rest on arms reverse for example, and achieve an acceptable level of spit polish on boots and shoes.”
  • “Wondering how I was ever going to learn a Bn organisation (Pentropic) and then in Senior Class having to learn a new one.”
  • ”I had a love-hate relationship with the place depending on how badly I had stuffed something up.”
  • ”Packing the roof space with gash stuff before mid-term break.”
  • ”Discovering what being super-fit, testosterone charged and celibate was all about!!!!”
  • ’Discovering that wonderful sense of belonging to something bigger and better than I ever imagined - the feeling has never left and is constantly enhanced.”
  • “The meals served and the accommodation was excellent by Filipino standards and I put on between 10-15 pounds whilst there.” Junior Garcia.
  • “We were all sure the rations were being pinched but as three of the stewards had done recruit training with me I tended to be first served.” (John Graham)
  • “There were about 14 officer instructors, all captains, from a variety of corps and a mix of OCS and RMC graduates at OCS. The officer’s mess was usually a place of decorum but on occasions as the night got on some captains and the occasional major could be seen tripping one another, spilling drinks and wrestling on the floor. Reliving their cadetehood perhaps. One night, however, a major attempted to trip from behind an NZ captain. The reaction was immediate as the captain threw the contents of his glass in the major’s face. The rumour was that only the fact that he was a Kiwi saved him from being marched out.” (John Rawson)

THE FIRST 100 DAYS
Chris Jones has provided this section and I am very grateful. My comments follow his contribution.

  • I can't remember the date we started at OCS, but from my 'Universal Any Year Diary' it shows the second Monday in July 1964 as being the 13th and that seems a pretty appropriate date from which to start! 100 days from there makes it the 20 Oct 64. It never entered my head that someone would ask me to remember - 38 years later - what happened in the first 100 days at OCS. I never bothered to keep a copy of the syllabus (or a diary). (What an oversight! Remember Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. H.) Actually I don't remember what happened over most of the period, so please excuse any stuff ups. A more important date really was the end of "running everywhere" - the end of the first 50 days - and that, using the start date of 13 Jul, would have been Monday, 31 Aug 64. The 'marriedies' got to see their families and weekend leave could be granted to the rest of us - except to those on multiple extras - and of course those "really bad cadets", who by even that early stage were on CB.
    But I am getting ahead of myself and should start at the beginning. Ray McCann, Dave Meade and I were all at the School of Military Survey, Balcombe Camp having been in the same platoon at 1 RTB. We subsequently found we were all on our way to Portsea. Ray and I were in the same room at Balcombe and we commenced to do some running; as it turned out, not nearly enough to satisfy Ray Keane's syllabus.
    On the day for march-in, we got our Movement Documents and reported to the RTO at Spencer Street Railway Station. To my surprise there were a few additional faces that I knew. Roger Kershaw and John Martin had been at the same high school and Kenneth John Joseph Richardson-Newton (why isn't his full name in the Graduation List in 'Loyalty and Service'?) who had also been in the same platoon at 1 RTB and been allocated to AAPsy.
    Then we were herded onto buses and off we went - back past Balcombe - and on down the Mornington Peninsula to Portsea.
    From then on everything is pretty much a blur.
    I do remember being allocated to 2 Platoon, getting a whole lot of 'new' webbing equipment (we had 37 Pattern in RA Svy - remember ‘Blanco’?), being issued with clothing and being measured for more. We signed for what seemed an endless number of training pamphlets that then had to be carried up from Badcoe Hall to the first floor of 2 Block. Here we met our section Senior class, Cpl Pat Ferguson, Jim Powell, Warren Griffin, Kev Lunney, Zaki bin Haji Wan Mahmood (Fred) and the most important, my 'father', Malcolm Halsdon. In Junior class on the southern end, 1st floor, 2 Block were Roger Kershaw, John Martin, Stewy Jameson, Russ Smith (with whom I shared a room), Bob Sayce and a couple of other notables. We were told to fold our clothes up exactly nine inches wide, roll the socks and fold the tops and put clothes on hangers so the fronts faced to the left (how many of you still put your clothes that way around on hangers?). I do all the above! (H) We found that the showers were right down the other end of the building - which, unknown at that time, would mean that you had to sneak down the whole length of the corridor in the cold to prepare for extra drills.
    Some other Senior class then began to appear demanding that we stand to attention to speak to them and name who they were. Generally, we didn't have a clue, but Roger K, John M and I knew Hans Schmerlaib, as he too had been at the same high school and he quickly departed. Anyway, it ended up that there were some very direct exchanges between some of the new arrivals and these Senior classmen, followed by the rapid arrival of our section Senior class. From then on we were pretty much left alone.
    About the second day a Senior classman came up looking specifically for Cadet Jones. I had no idea who this guy was, what I had done or not done or what he wanted. I hoped there was another Jones on the course for at this time I wasn't even volunteering that my name was Jones. Eventually he found my father who summonsed me to him and it resolved that I was the youngest in the class and it was my job for the next six months to lower the 'daysto- go' in the holders placed on the Cadets Mess mantle piece. Off I went to be acquainted with this task. This Senior class ‘youngest’ informed me, that the number of days left was very important to them and if I got it wrong I would be on "extras" for the remainder of his time at OCS. I came back to my room with the hope that I could get hold of a calendar some how, and quickly, so that I could keep count.
    This was particularly necessary as the next event was the Junior class introductory field training and I would be away for a week and have to get the days-to-go numbers right when I got back. I think the field training was more of a period to get us away from the Senior class, and allow us to get to know our peers. It also gave the staff time to get to know us. It was not really to teach us too much. Anyway, it taught those who hadn't put up a hutchi or eaten ration pack meals what this was like. We all wandered off down Ochilltree Drive, skirted Number 1 oval and headed into the teatree for a week.
    For the first week and while we were on the field familiarisation period we were 'safe', but on our return the embargo on giving us Extra Drills was over! I am unsure for what I got my first extra, but I think it was from Phil Spence, the platoon sergeant, because my clothes were not all nine inches across. I can remember coming back from training at one of the breaks to get changed into a different uniform and finding my clothes all over the floor in the corridor. My wardrobe was located in the hallway because we had two to a room. There, stuck on the front of the wardrobe was a note telling me to "take one"! I was really crooked on this, as I had my laundry done through the canteen and my green shirts were starched and folded and it was next to impossible to refold them, even if they were re-ironed, given the amount of starch used in the process. Anyway, my complaint fell on 'deaf ears' and I developed my first grudge (of many) against the system.
    I entered the penalty in the register book and got up early the next morning to do my penance. This turned into what for a while seemed like a procession as I certainly remember that I got my second extra for some transgression I had committed on my first ED parade.
    For the first 50 days we were required to run everywhere. I doubt if it would be allowed to day, as it would probably be against OH&S to run inside barracks on highly polished floors - that the cadets polished on their Saturday morning "make & mend". The idea for running was that it got us fit more quickly. They needn't have bothered to make it compulsory; most of us we were running to get to the next activity on time anyway.
  • In the first week we practised 'leaps'. Before the evening meal (Officer Cadet) Sergeant Spence would send up a message that the platoon was to parade in five minutes in the quadrangle in front of the mess dressed in, say, field dress. When we all got there he would give us five minutes to be back in battle dress, then PT attire (another OH&S problem today would be those black toe capped sand shoes that of course had to be spit polished - thank heavens for gloss spray paint!) followed, at last, by Blues uniform and off to dinner. Meals were all taken in the Cadets Mess, with waiter service and we were all hungry enough to eat any thing placed before us. Bread and butter were always devoured as soon as you sat down and could get at it, after Senior class went first, of course.
    My father taught me that as soon as dinner was finished you got out of the mess and sprinted to the canteen so that you were in the first group to be served. He also taught me that it was quicker to go down the back steps from 2 Block and across the front of the parade ground along the sea wall, as you were not supposed to run in Blues down the main pathway in front of the HQ for some reason.
    Nearly every night during the whole time I was at Portsea and we were in the barracks, I would grab my laundry and dry-cleaning bag and run to the canteen, then buy a block of Old Jamaica chocolate and a pint of milk, before getting into the laundry line so as to scoff the milk and chocolate while waiting to be served.
    I was hungry the whole time I was at Portsea, I think. Remember those Sunday lunch functions? When the mess doors were opened for the buffet luncheon if you were in the front then you had better run or those in the second wave would trample you. Everyone was hungry.

  • Every night after dinner there was a period of compulsory 'study'. We were supposed to do our homework and prepare for tests or exams and generally get the training pams out and read up the next day's lessons. That was the
    theory anyway. Most of the Junior class set up look outs, in case the Pl Sgt or an Officer Instructor came, and spent the time cleaning equipment - usually for the next morning ED parade - but in any event for the next day's training or daily morning parade. In the early days, the 'serving soldiers' mostly did the look out while the 'civilian entrants' used the additional time to spit polish boots, shoes and other items which we "lucky ones" had gone through at recruit training or Army Apprentice School.
  • During the first 50 days, on most of the Sundays, visitors were allowed. The‘marriedies’ got to see their families, the Victorians had their families and girlfriends visit and we, 'other Staters' tagged along. Peaches Smith was a Victorian and he invited us to meet his parents. They had a little picnic down on No 1 oval somewhere I think it was and there was home made cake for afternoon tea. We ate everything in sight. By the next Sunday the word had spread and there were more cadets on hand. Gwen Smith had luckily brought three cakes. Everyone was hungry! Actually thinking about it, I am probably still eating cake made from the same recipes as I married Russ's sister Rhondda.
  • "Make & Mend" or Internal Economy was on the syllabus on Saturday mornings. This was the use of cadet labour to tidy up the barracks. Dressed in our KD protective dress, starched of course, and cloth berets, we were detailed to various tasks, chipping weeds, sweeping gutters and generally cleaning up the area, as well as 'spit polishing’ the barracks. I mentioned the polished floors before, but the door handles had to be 'brassoed', windows cleaned and everything dusted.
  • There were no floor polishers, of course. We had three blankets on our bed - one kept clean on top, for inspection purposes, one on which you cleaned your web belt brass and, when it was your turn, sat on while two other cadets towed you up and down the corridor as a polishing rag for those highly polished floors.
    The remaining one was used for covering the Tables, Bedside as an ironing base - and to keep the polishing blanket off your sheets!
    How no one ended up in hospital after some of the 'chariot sprints' down the corridor and whip turns at the end while polishing the floor was more a case of good luck and being fit enough to absorb the collisions, than good management.
    Then there were the first PT sessions? WO2 Keane sitting on the floor with his legs at 90 degrees to his body and shimmying up the climbing rope just using his arms. He then introduced us to the scramble course and took us for a 'familiarisation run' along the obstacle and cross country courses!
  • OCS was big on physical activity and organised sport was high on the list with Colonel 'Stan-the-Man' Coleman, Commandant. Now I had played sport - baseball, sailing and surf lifesaving and had done reasonably well - but I had never played a team game of Australian Rules football or cricket and much to my platoon sergeant’s horror had never even seen a game of rugby!
    This was important as you quickly realised that most of the Senior class who held Senior NCO appointments in the Company of Officer Cadets were also members of the OCS 1st Rugby Team. I never even dreamed of my plight - I was suddenly, but did not know it, even more liable to be awarded extra drills! None of the sports in which I had an interest were on the list at OCS and so it was that every afternoon I began to parade in the Gym Squad. What this meant was that for most of the afternoon sports period, the gym squad, under the supervision of a rotating captain instructor, played volleyball every night while the sports teams went away and did their training. Captain Warwick Smith I remember was unusual as he actually used to participate on one of the sides in the volleyball matches.
    Once after "his team" had taken a particularly bad thrashing for two sets he gave us a break and went off down to the RAP. We sat and lay around and waited enjoying the moment; but he was soon back. He then summoned myself and someone else (I have a feeling that it might have been Yippie Geyl, if not I am sorry). "I have repeatedly told you two to use two hands when you strike the ball", he said, "hold out your hands Jones - palms down" whereon he produced a crepe bandage that he had obtained from the RAP and bound my wrists. Then he did Yippie's. We played for the remainder of the period with our wrists bound and at no time subsequently were we on his team!
    Generally, the staff members were all pretty good. My guidance officer was Capt George Newton, RAASC and I can remember only twice that I received "counselling sessions" from him in about the first 100 days. Likewise the other rank staff senior NCO were also reasonable blokes, from The RSM (Atten ... HO) down to 'Orvrill'.
  • First 100 Days" be damned - 13 Jul 64 to 12 Jun 65 - I just wanted to get the hell out of the place the whole 345 days! Well, that this is about all the lies I can dream up. Anyway, it is said, "you only remember the good times" and I hope these memories will bring some smiles. (Chris Jones)

More on the First 100 Days.

Whether to break the new entrants in gently or maybe just to break them quickly, opinions vary on the reason, the first 100 days after arrival had rules all of their own.
We were addressed as Cadet, the lowest classification in the Army. Even “Recruit” seemed to have been senior. All others were at least Officer Cadet or some NCO rank or other. But to make sure we were conspicuous and to add a touch of pressure we had to double everywhere and had to wear the uncomfortable and annoying slouch hat. This was a form of headdress that I loathed and resisted wearing throughout my army career.
The Senior Class were allocated a Junior in a“father/son” system and it was the father’s job to make sure the son was up to speed by the end of the 100 days. Some fathers took this role very seriously while some played silly games and were less than useless. My father was a civilian entry and was content to supervise but largely ignore me.

Naturally there was no leave during this period so trips away for sport were precious. Even our first time out in the scrub was welcome. It came in the form of an introductory “non-tac” week on the Point to introduce us to the pleasures of “camping out” OCS style, ie clad in greens with only a khaki jumper worn under the shirt, no track suit bottoms or other gash gear, certainly no combat jackets (they came later for less hardy classes – lucky buggers.) The sleeping bags were of the blanket inner and outer style with the ridiculous and useless blow up mattresses to ease the shock of sleeping on the ground. Here it was plain how much ahead the ex-RAR guys were. Not only with respect to the civilian entries but also to those like myself that had had vehicles available to carry extra bits and pieces and to provide shelter. Watching Dave Procopis rig up a stretcher out of branches and thus elevate himself out of the wet weeds was very enlightening but as this was one of our few “non-tac” exercises the lesson was wasted, as we had neither the time nor the opportunity to do the same later on. For many it was the last time we bothered with blow-ups as they always went down and left you with some part of your body on the ground. Besides they made making a bed roll very difficult. It was easier to leave them behind and have an easy job in the morning packing up your gear, even if the first night was a bit uncomfortable lying on the ground with only a thin groundsheet and a flimsy lightweight “sleeping bag” to keep the Victorian nights at bay. The second and subsequent nights you were so tired that you could have slept naked on rolls of concertina wire.
It was also in a very real way the start of the bonding process that is still evident today. “One for all and all for one.” If someone had not already said it I might have been tempted to claim it as our motto. We were certainly all against the enemy, no matter whether staff or senior class, and were always prepared to help out a classmate if they were having a problem. Thus it was that we came to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and develop the teamwork necessary to ensure success. The number of us that graduated would be the measure of that success.

 

RECOLLECTIONS OF THE FIRST 100 DAYS

  • “During this critical time we were introduced to the discipline system but our fathers had to do the EDs for us in the first 15 days or so. I had managed to keep out of trouble until right up to the morning of the day we would have to do our own punishments. Running back from the parade ground after last period I went to secure the bolt from my rifle before dressing for mess and there it was gone. I had put it in my greens pocket and when running it had managed to jump out unnoticed by a Cadet who was trying to keep a good lookout for the enemy as he fled to the security of his room (or the monastic seclusion of your cells as Teeth Donohue would have it.) I tried to retrace my steps but no joy so it was a very despondent cadet that told his father and his Section Cpl what had happened before going gloomily in to dinner. The wording of a charge for ‘Conduct Prejudicial’ was already going through my mind when the CSM, Bruce Hampson, rapped
    for silence then asked if I would come forward.
    “Jesus,” I thought, “that was quick. He is ready to chew me up and spit me out already and I only told them less than an hour ago.” The CSM quietly handed me my bolt and, with a reminder to be more careful in the future told me to sit down. What a man!!” (H)
  • “Not long after we arrived we had to run a five miler around a circuit near the oval past a clump of tea-tree and then along some sandy track before coming back onto the oval. We had to do this twice as I recall and as I passed the tea-tree for the second time I had my first view of Frex Keenan. Frex was carrying a bit of weight and was chafing badly around the groin and backside area so was in the middle of discarding his underwear or jock strap when I came along. NOT a pretty sight!” (H)
  • “Day one and the first 100 days were hectic to say the least as we oriented ourselves. It was something of a blur.” (Trevor Gardiner)
  • “I was totally lost on Day one and on a steep learning curve with a great deal of physical activity over the remainder,” (Varmi ‘Yippie’ Geyl
  • “My feelings changed from shock, bewilderment even depression to finally one of enlightenment as I began to understand the army’s mysterious ways. From that point on I enjoyed it and went to it with a will.” (Steve Griffiths)
  • “We built up a close comradeship with our senior class during those 100 days.” (John Graham)
  • “My father put it all into perspective on Day One but the rest were a blur that finished with a good party.” (Ted ‘WE’ Harrison)
  • “Like the rest it was run, run; run until I was fitter than I had ever been. I remember waiting patiently for the RSM to kick himself in the arse with his heel every time he was on parade. The downside was putting up with some of the pathetic little runts in the senior class, who provided a good example of how not to treat subordinates.” (Frank ‘Speed’ Maloney)
  • “Loved the non-stop running.” (Ray ‘Smokey’ McCann)
  • “No trouble to a trained PTI.” (Lou O’Dea)
  • “DAY ONE: No bugger is going to make me paint this flagpole in my one and only suit. DAY 100: Bloody hell!! Another 200 days to go.” (Jungle Jim Parkin)
  • “We were constantly tired from training, especially sport training at 1645, and were still always hungry even though we smuggled ‘fudge’ from the canteen in our football boots to our room to eat at night.” (David Procopis)
  • “Day ONE: Clean up the beach. Yes sir, Warrant Officer Haley, sir.” (Ken Richardson – Newton)
  • “Driving through the gates into the unknown then doubling everywhere to ensure we were punctual. Thank God for the support of my father –Dave Gillett.) (Bob Sayce)
  • “The shattering news that my motor bike was not acceptable on the grounds. Had to stash it quickly in Portsea Township.” (Sam Smalley)
  • “Day one: We were all on parade and the RSM came along to me and told me to get rid of my green, slouch hat pugaree and uniform
    emblems on my shirt as I had just come from 28th Commonwealth Brigade in Malaysia. What a shame I thought, they looked quite good.” (David Procopis)
  • “I arrived more than a little dubious on Day one, as was the case with one or two of my NZ colleagues, and nothing much changed for the next 99 days.” (John ‘JT’ Thorn)
  • “I was informed that OCS was part of the Australian Army. Being a digger, I wondered which part? Which planet?” (John ‘Jazza’ Jasinski)
  • “We were all assembled on the parade ground and our names were being called out for allocation to platoons or whatever and when it was my turn I started out and the RSM WO1 Brian Tyrell, whom I had known as RQMS of 1 RAR, bellowed out, ‘Get your arms up, Host. You’re not in RAEME now.’ Obviously past friendships would not count for much.” (Jim Host)
  • “Total confusion reined and then there was always the lack of time.” (Russ ‘Peaches’ Smith)
  • “First seven days were the hardest I had ever and probably ever will experience. I really did not have time to enjoy a number two for about
    three days and that experience was interrupted to go for a 5 mile run. My guidance officer, one remarkable Warwick Smith, poked his head in my room on the first Sunday. My floor was covered in boots and I was covered in boot polish. I still hear his laughter as he went along the corridor.” (John Spurway)

“Could have been worse Spurs, as John Press (JC) found when someone threw open his door and a tin of burning boot polish redecorated him and his room. See left, photo, courtesy of Peter Montgomery and Bill Lawrie.”

  • “The practice of having intakes consisting of serving soldiers and civilians was one of the greatest attributes of OCS as it assisted in a smooth transition for the civilian entries. These serving soldiers knew their way around – they could put their gaiters on the correct leg, get the buckles on their belts on the correct side, wear their slouch hats correctly and even carry out drill movements with a degree of precision. Most of them excelled in less important skills such as weapon handling and fieldcraft. They also offered hope during our darkest times with comments such as “don’t let it beat you mate, this is not the real world, just wait till you get to a battalion/regiment/depot”. (Gary Jesser)

THE DISCIPLINE SYSTEM

The discipline ‘system’ was the illegitimate offspring of a childish infatuation with West Point that the founding fathers of RMC carried into their school and which then devolved to OCS. This ignored the fact that the original and its Australian Slave were intended for young boys just out of school with little or no life experience and was hardly suitable for adults, some of whom had served overseas and/or were married and had children. It was far removed from the discipline system that existed in the Real Army and thus was a real bone of contention for all with previous military experience.
The main problem was that its summary punishment system was too open to abuse and it only needed a staff member with a tiny amount of immaturity and some poor cadet would suffer. The punishments were also self-generating due to the fact that in a timeshort
environment any restriction, of itself, caused lapses that were then also punished.
The end result was a cadet might get a reasonable award for a misdemeanour and end up doing time for a felony as the punishment
regime kept piling ED’s or CB one upon the other. The result was that some cadets finished their senior term still owing punishment even though they had been on CB for up to 63-65 days at a time. As a training tool the preparation of your own charges had value and the honour system, another West Point idea, certainly had merit as it made you aware of the need to take responsibility for your own actions and be prepared to wear the cost of those decisions.

RECOLLECTIONS OF THE DISCIPLINE SYSTEM

  • “My first brush with the ‘system’ was early in the Junior term when I returned to my room to find my webbing moved from where I had placed it on the top of the chest of drawers, showing the dust that had been missed when I cleaned up before going out. In plain sight was a cryptic note that said, ‘Let the punishment fit the crime.’ And signed by my GO. Fair enough, I thought, I’ll remember to check more thoroughly next time and went down to the Billiard Room and found the Punishment book and dutifully gave myself two EDs, which I believed to be fair and reasonable. A few days later I found out that my idea of fair and reasonable and my GO’s were very different. I received a bollocking for not giving myself any punishment as ordered. He had looked in the book and did not see my name with what he considered fair and so assumed I had ignored him When I protested and showed him the two ED’S that I had not only entered as ‘punishment that fit the crime’ but by then had done; he was not short of a reply. “When I said let the punishment fit the crime I expected you to take 3 days CB.” So I had to give myself another punishment this time of 3 days CB. I was not as pissed off about that as I was for not getting a credit for the two EDs I had already done. (H)
  • “I felt it could have been improved. Many of us were married with young children. I found it hard being supposedly prepared for a
    demanding career with loads of responsibility while being treated like a recalcitrant school boy.” (Ken Hussell)
  • “Discipline was as one would expect, mostly consistent with normal standards with an appropriate amount of extra pressure/bastardisation superimposed. I guess I only got cheesed off for copping EDs for dust in my room when away on enforced absences. However, I won in the end by leaving still owing several EDs at graduation time.” (Trevor Gardiner)
  • “I thought the honorary system worked well and that the general system of ED’s and CB was applied fairly and kept us on our toes – which is what it was meant to do. I wonder if subsequently, any cadet exceeded my record at the time of 32 days CB straight. (EDITOR’S NOTE: I think we should ask Brian Strempel or Chris Pepper.) The initial award of 28 days was for being AWL by 2 hours and under the influence, one Saturday night. On the 28th day, I was awarded 2 more days for an invisible speck of dust on one of my boots and on the 30th day, I was awarded a final 2 days for an imaginary thread on my tunic. It was certainly challenging at the time, but I look back on it with amusement and some considerable pride at my endurance.”(Steve Griffiths)
  • “Different – it became an exercise in finding the most innovative way of ‘beating the system’.” (Ted Harrison)
  • “I have a lasting admiration of Chris Pepper and Brian Strempel who did a lot of the hard yards for all of us.” (Barry Johnson)
  • “Was it a rumour that Chris Pepper and I were the first cadets to graduate while still owing EDs? We could accumulate EDs
    without even trying. Some people got stripes – we got Eds. Swam around the fence one detention weekend and thumbed down to Rosebud for a swim. Spread the towel, lay down looked left, said hullo to Captain (??) who promptly sent me back and gave me further detention.” (Brian Strempel)
  • “As I graduated and left owing 100 EDs, I refuse to comment on the system.” (John‘Jazza’ Jasinski)
  • “Oh, if any of you are interested, I still have my "parade" AB Boots with the insteps spit polished. Some 'clown' made me do them
    after an extra drill parade inspection because they couldn't find anything else wrong – and also gave me more extras for not having done it in the first place - bloody unbelievable.” (Chris Jones)
  • “I was the first cadet in the class to cop 28 days CB. But not the last!” (Ray McCann)
  • “Was there a system? It appeared that every way I turned I copped it from the DS, the Senior Class or someone. Even that woman
    who ran the Dragon Squad had a go at me.” (Jim Parkin)
  • “Extra drills could sometimes be fun especially if they played the right type of music to march to). Some of the music had a good swing to it (St Louis Blues), so we could combine the foxtrot and regimental march. However, CB was a pain in the arse. I remember once I was in my good battle dress with field equipment and spit polished boots and Orville (Sgt Williams) made me run up the large sand hill twice. That not only stuffed me but also stuffed my spitties”. (David Procopis)
  • “I had to drill the ED squad the morning that the Staff Duty Officer decided it would be fun to march them over into the bay. What the
    lesson was in that still escapes me to this day. Genuine defaulters were fair enough but not that sort of nonsense.” (Frank Maloney.)
  • “Everyone remembers that ED march over the sea wall into the bay but has anyone worked out what the point of it was.” (Sam Smalley.)
  • “I got myself on the ED parade system quite early and then could not break the cycle. 42 days in a row. I remember that the first in the shower turned on all the taps and those on EDs would run from one end of the shower recess to the other and dry themselves on the way back to the room. Not much fun if you have to go through when only the hot taps are on and not the cold as well.” (John Spurway)

THE TRAINING

“If I find you have time to engage in activities other than those planned for you, I will find more for you to do.” Col STG Coleman, as told by John Graham.

Thus everything we did at OCS was training of some sort. Not only were we trained to be infantry platoon commanders, the basic aim; we were being trained to be Officers and Gentlemen as well.
The author of this section of the scrapbook, Ray McCann, has drawn on Neville Lindsay’s excellent book – ‘Loyalty and Service: the
Officer Cadet School Portsea’.
The Officer Cadet School, Portsea, existed for 34 years from 1952 to 1985 and during that time it turned out 2,825 junior officers for the
Army (40% of the total). This exceeded the RMC output of 2,022 over the same period.
The origins of OCS lay in the need for a substantial increase in the output of officers in the early 1950’s to support commitments to Japan and Korea and to provide junior officers to train the earlier National Service scheme recruits during their three months full-time duty. During our time at Portsea in 1964/65, the new conscription scheme and the expanding commitment to Vietnam created fresh need for Portsea graduates. Our training, therefore, was conducted in an environment of Army growth and increasing defence urgency. It was strongly focused on counter revolutionary warfare in a tropical setting that, fortunately for us as potential cannon fodder, was an area in which the Australian Army had considerable experience and expertise.

The aim of the OCS course was to provide a balanced, introductory education in basic military subjects and to foster in cadets the
mental and moral qualities on which leadership depends. The 44-week course included such diverse and exotic subjects as
battlecraft, etiquette, drill and ceremonial, logic, field training, social studies, weapon training, character development, navigation, current affairs, methods of instruction, P&RT, military history, tactics, military law, leadership, radio telephone procedure, operations, logistics and administration. No wonder our poor little brains were scrambled by the time we graduated.
During our time, OCS operated on the traditional, Spartan lines of high pressure, rigid discipline, restricted privileges and directed activities that were held to be the right environment for producing officers able to face the rigours of military life and provide leadership example as Regimental Officers. Consequently, all our waking activities at Portsea had a ‘training’ basis: e.g. eating in the Cadets Mess (social and military etiquette) and ‘leaps’ and wardrobe layout (personal organisation). In hindsight, one wonders whether sheer bastardry rather than training needs underpinned some of the more analretentive aspects of our indoctrination.

 

In some ways we were fortunate – the Army had recently been equipped with new weapons (SLR, GPMG M60) and new webbing, and
OCS had only just been provided with some new facilities (lecture hall, living accommodation) to meet the growing cadet throughput. But the benefits were not always so obvious – for example, who could ever forget field training in the snow in lightweight uniforms designed for the tropics. Regrettably, combat smocks and Howard Green pullovers had not yet been invented.

Our first six months of training was devoted to producing trained soldiers with the second six months to officer training. The pace was
frantic, particularly for civilian entrants who had to catch up with the serving-soldier entrants in terms of military skills and adjusting to military life.

Field training in the miserable weather conditions visited on Point Nepean during winter was a sheer delight especially for the PNG and Filipino cadets. Others joys included flotation and swimming tests in the icy waters of Port Phillip Bay, dragging one’s fundamental orifice up the Scramble Course,‘dancing’ lessons with the Dragon Squad and field training in the State Forests at Healesville and Gembrook.
We must have been a resilient and talented bunch because our course had the lowest failure rate on record at Portsea – 9.5% compared with 18% for the period 1952-1970, and 30% for the period 1971-1985. Some less charitable individuals might suggest that our low failure rate was more likely due to the Army expansion in 1965 and the consequent need for ‘cannon fodder’. We know better.
We were brought up in an era of foot-mounted infantry engaged on small-scale operations in close country. Our training was strongly
focused and we were not faced with the complexity of mobile/mechanized operations and advanced technology that our successors are now required to master. Life might have been simpler then, but it was certainly physically demanding.
It is appropriate to acknowledge here the contribution, professionalism and commitment of the OCS instructional and support staff.
We owe them a debt of gratitude not only for getting us through a difficult course but also for imparting the skills and knowledge necessary for our survival and further development. (Ray McCann)

FIELD TRAINING

Training varied in location to suit the lesson and we spent time alternating between class rooms, the mess, parade ground, gym, sports
ovals and out in the field.
Field training, thus, was a regular and essential part of our lives and varied from the pleasant“non-tac” in summer to the bloody miserable
“tactical” in the snow of Gembrook. No matter, whatever the location or even the climatic conditions it was still a testing time in all senses of the words and as such a time to keep your eyes and ears open and ensure the DS were not laying in ambush waiting for you to slip up-ask John Spurway. We were always playing at Platoon level and had various platoon appointments to perform. You could be OC, Pl Sgt, Section Comd, and Section 2IC or, if you happen to have worn an RA Sigs badge at some time, radio operator. Basically there were two main camp training periods, the first in your junior term where the junior class played at being diggers and the senior class filled the platoon appointments and then in your senior term it was your go. Both of the training exercises were broken down into Conventional warfare and Counter Revolutionary Warfare each with its advantages and disadvantages for the cadets. Few, for example, enjoyed the digging-in part of the Defence module. Similarly the seasons also had a bearing on how comfortable your time was in the bush. Apart from the obvious preference for dry warm nights, if it was not raining it was often better to be out in winter because the period between last light and first light stand-to was much longer and you got more sleep. Memories linger of a warm sleeping bag under a tight dry huchi; when you were not on the gun and some other poor soul had the duty.
In between these major exercises there were a number of patrolling exercises, navigation exercises and short attack or defence exercises
both in the Point Nepean area and in various snake and leech ridden state forests. These latter training areas were a source of dismay
and concern for the Kiwis much to the delight of the locals. Anyone seen any drop bears?


RECOLLECTIONS OF THE TRAINING

  • “As officers and gentlemen in the Australian Army we had to develop not only military skills but gentlemanly arts. These gentlemanly arts included dancing, mess etiquette, the correct method of introducing someone, how to write a letter, invitation or
    acceptance and even how to dress and act when on leave e.g. Do not walk down a street eating a pie or fish and chips. They were as much a part of the curriculum as the weapon characteristics and range safety procedures we learnt and the drill, range practices, contact and ambush drills and attack and defence tactics we practiced. Gentleman John Rawson had the unenviable task of trying to cast these pearls before the reluctant swine” (H)
  • “Naturally in Junior class we were more involved with learning our craft, and the testing was predominantly in Senior class. It
    seemed as if we had at least one or two tests a week each week we were in camp in the last six months. Not a problem for most but those on the punishment merry-go-round it was very hard indeed. If they had abided by the nolights after 2200 hrs or whenever rule they would never have passed.” (H)
  • “I always had the notion that when we had a cock-up it too had been planned, to teach us the effect such things would have on the
    soldiers we would soon have under command. If there was an alteration to the programme, a written amendment would always appear in our ‘box’, beforehand
  • .”“The preparation of the DS, for both indoor and outdoor activities was always thorough, and most had a good style of presentation. There is no doubt that the ‘system’ did its best to provide the highest standard of Officer/NCO instructor.”
  • “Who could not enjoy the dry humour of our‘drillies’? Still, today, I have a chuckle at some of the humour between WO2 Brighouse and us. I feel that he was a favourite of most cadets, and a gentleman in every sense of the word.” (Three above from John Graham)
  • “Nothing was ever cancelled, no matter what. Useful reminder for later on when called to exercise judgement – commonsense vs. resolve. (Bob Sayce.)
  • “The training was intense, relentless and of the highest quality. It was grim at times, but there was a marvellous camraderie and tremendous good humour amongst the cadets which enabled us to deal with it.” (Steve Griffiths)

RECOLLECTIONS OF FIELD TRAINING

  • “Gembrook must ‘house’ the world’s supply of tiger snakes and leeches. I had never before nor since seen so many snakes or had to remove so many leeches as was the case during our Junior class camp training. A favourite, even if nasty and mean, memory is of Senior classman Reg Elwood, a Kiwi naturally, it only happened to them. He climbed onto a large fallen log and looked over the other side at a tiger snake, turned right and walked to the end - another tiger snake, about faced and went to
    the left hand end. Yes another one. Finally he jumped onto a clear area and made a ‘nontac’ escape.” (H)
  • “Graeme Bolitho and his hypnotism act kept us all amused and somewhat amazed. It also meant we did not have to carry the gun for a while after he hypnotised Wally Knight and told him he could not let it go.” (David Procopis)
  • “Field Training was very demanding and a great challenge. At the end of it, one felt a true professional. Some of the endurance
    training was mind-boggling. I remember being several days in the snow at Healesville in shirtsleeves. It was very difficult to do up
    one’s buttons.” (Steve Griffiths)
  • “I shall never forget the last field training exercise where we marched all night, or the compulsory illicit cigarette smoked under a
    huchi and inside the helmet. Wonder we didn't choke.” (John Spurway)
  • “On our first field training exercise on the peninsular, Ross Miller knocked over the prize rice dish and some poor soul exploded the latrine. I suspect he was set up, probably by the same man who would demonstrate the firing of the mighty GPMG and immediately spit out white pebbles and tomato sauce.” (John Spurway)
  • “I remember the great sense of humour that members of our section displayed when I accidentally knocked over the evening meal
    that was being cooked on a ‘chuffer’.” (Ross Miller.)
  • “At Easter Dave Meade and I drove to Kosciusko to see the snow. could have saved the trip and waited until field training.” (Harry Shortt.)
  • “On one of the last sojourns to the field I really thought I had blown the lot and would be dismissed immediately. We were called to
    an ‘O Group’ as usual in the pitch black and rain and of course freezing cold. I thought that only cadets were there and so offered my advice that it was most unlikely that we would see any of the DS (I think I said Bastards) because we could see the huge and most warming fire they had established on the next ridge. You can imagine my shock when I heard Captain Clarke RAAC (from behind the tree I was leaning against) say that he would speak to that individual later. To my surprise and relief the fearsome Captain simply said,‘Remember Spurway that your enemy is always listening.’ Loved the man ever since.” (John
    Spurway)
  • “We were sitting by a track after a phase had finished and waiting for the DS debrief. The DS were sitting a short distance away. An
    Australian DS picked up a snake from the bush and proceeded to demonstrate how to crack its head off but lost his grip and let it go. Naturally, it landed in the lap of a Kiwi DS. I did not know Kiwis knew such words.” (Jim Host)
  • Why it always had to be conducted in adverse conditions – terrain, weather and unfriendly life forms is beyond me. I have never seen the benefit in being restricted to wearing tropical issue clothing whilst conducting infantry minor tactics training in the snow and/or rain. (Gary Jesser)
  • “Dave Procopis and I dug our pit the fastest so we got to bed first.” (Yippie Geyl)

VISITS

This section was contributed by Sam Smalley and is greatly appreciated.

Visits – just the word brought joy to the heart of every cadet. Any opportunity to get a bit of freedom from the pressure cooker was most
welcome; especially a chance to see the real Army at work.
Visits are conducted for a number of reasons of course. Where could our intrepid band of 64 – 65 go to maximise the experience? How
about Gettysburg or Chancellorsville to measure our sacred ten principles against those bloody fields of battle perhaps with a side trip to New Orleans. Well it is there and close at hand. That is probably a bit excessive for the military machine of the mid-60s. OK! How about the Malay Peninsular withdrawal and Changi with a side trip to Bangkok on the railway? Just to check out the bridges of course. No? Still too much? Townsville? Brisbane? Sydney? Canberra? Bandiana? What’s left? Of course, that shining jewel of military bases; the pinnacle and fantasy world of the Armoured officer sorry, I promised I wouldn’t do that, but they are different“Now, I’m not talking about the 4 RAR thing that was fun.

Nor the gun-firing thing, that was interesting
particularly the Artillery demonstration. How could you not be fascinated sitting on a dusty dirty wind blown hill in temperatures up in the silly region?

No, I’m talking about an opportunity to look and learn. What could the Army show us at Puckapunyal that would help us in our career
choices? Well, there’s always the RAASC vehicle water-crossing exhibition. The driver of that Austin Champ probably only missed the
fording point by an inch, but, you know what they say; an inch is as good as ……..! There’s a memory that has lasted 35 years. Anyone
thinking of going to RAASC immediately started swimming lessons. It’s a matter of historical fact that, sometime after this incident, RAASC divided (divorced?) into two separate parts one that was gleefully absorbed into RAAOC and the other that went to form the new RACT. Cannot help wondering if there was a connection.
Then we had the opportunity to be seduced by the Armoured Corps. Did say they were different? How best to convince future Officers to elect to wear a beret? Easy - take
them to the Armoured Corps museum and let them see all the toys.

Good idea but whoever plotted this forgot there was an exhibition that showed what various anti-tank rounds could do to Armour. Oh well! Back to the swimming lessons. That was it - THE VISIT. Well, we lived in interesting times (apologies to that Chinese bloke wot said it first). (Sam Smalley)


RECOLLECTIONS OF THE VISITS

“It was hot and dusty and the water in our canteens could have been used to make tea, the nearest cold drinks we thought was kilometres
and hours away but let us not worry; we have an artillery demonstration to watch. Next thing up the dusty track drives a utility with a big container that looked like a large hot water system on the back. Out jumps a smiling Salvo and he proceeds to hand out mugs of ice
cold lemon squash. A man of God indeed. My memory fails me here but I think that when we took a hat around back at OCS over £100
was raised. I do know I have always supported the Salvo’s since. (H)


SPORT and P&RT

The sport section has been provided by David Procopis, another recipient of my heartfelt thanks.
Sport was heavily entrenched in the OCS culture mainly due to the then Commandant Col Stan Coleman who was a sports fanatic. It was rumoured that the only criterion needed for admission to the College was to be a jock of some sort but preferably a rugby player.
Needless to say then our class was full of potential Olympians, Wallabies and All Blacks – even if only in our own minds. During the first fifty days, it was the smart cadet who volunteered for sport, as this was the only way to escape the confines of the barracks. However, it came at a price. Who could forget playing rugby in Melbourne near the MCG, in atrocious, muddy conditions and then having to suffer a freezing cold shower afterwards? Still it all seemed worthwhile when the bus back to Portsea stopped at a hamburger shop where the ever-hungry cadets purchased “real food” like burgers and chips or the odd meat pie.
Winter sport’s training, whatever the code, was played on the oval after the last scheduled lesson at about 1645 hrs. Naturally, this
involved the poor cadets running around in wet and wintry conditions. Tired, cold and soaked, they would then straggle back to the
quarters, but not before visiting the canteen to purchase chocolate bars or “fudge” as it was affectionately known. These were then hidden
from the DS in dirty football boots or socks and smuggled back to the rooms. Summer sport’s training, was more pleasant but just as tiring with repetitive training regimes to suffer after a hard day at the office.
The routine of smuggling goodies back to barracks from the canteen remained an essential part of the cadets’ life, however, as they never seemed to be able to satisfy the constant hunger pains. There were, as well, some memorable events at sports carnivals. For instance the Interplatoon Athletics competition, which was won by 2 Platoon by a solitary point, had one senior class cadet in tears. No names no pack drill, Baby John. The basketball competition was contested fiercely. Basketball was a minor sport in those days but played with great skill by the Filipino cadets in particular. Some of you might remember some fiery abuse dished out by one tall DS Infantry Captain at the referee our favourite PTI, Ray Keane. This “man” must have had a “chip” on his shoulder, pun intended.
There was also the great pleasure in watching some of our junior class in action, like PNG Cadet Kwago Guria, who could throw the
javelin out of sight and Moose Dunlop hurling the shot. We also saw the Australian Pole Vault record broken at Portsea during an
athletics meet between cadets and visiting clubs.

While we are on the subject of athletics, OCS triumphed that year winning the Interservice College Athletics Carnival (ISCAM) at Jervis Bay. OCS won the trophy on the last event from Duntroon when the top sprinter from the College of Knowledge pulled a hamstring in the 4x100 relay.

But the real excitement came after the event when the team flew back to Portsea in a broken down, WWII RAAF Dakota through particularly foul weather ensuring that most of the cadets were as green as an Irish beer.
Was this RAAF revenge for finishing last? However, the top prize at the time went to Jim Host who openly demonstrated (by numbers) to all around him that he had spaghetti for lunch My recollection of swimming was going to the
indoor pool in Melbourne and seeing some pretty good talent in action, particularly Alan Grant-Smith in the distance events and Trevor Gardiner in backstroke Another swimming event was our senior class jumping off the pier at graduation, something that we did not want to even consider replicating in June the following year.

Finally, top marks must go to Yippie Geyl for his great prowess in the gym achieving the highest standard of physical tests in record time. His achievements, and the constant encouragement by Ray Keane, were a great
inspiration for many of us to get off our bums and try that little bit harder.
Sport and P&RT Awards in the form of medals were presented at the end of the year and were much prized. The medal recipients for our class were:
P & RT – Yippie Geyl, Ken Hussell, Lou O’Dea, Steve Griffiths, Harry Mason,
Rugby - Eric Andrews, Swimming - Trevor Gardiner, and Tennis – John Spurway. (David Procopis)

RECOLLECTIONS OF SPORT and P&RT

  • “I enjoyed the extremely well organised sporting and physical training programme under the dynamic WO2 Ray Keane. I know we all admired Ray immensely for his extraordinary qualities as a trainer and as a human being and for his remarkable and colourful use of the English language. I was
    awarded the Bronze Medallion for sport and PT on graduating and still look at it on occasion. A fantastic memento.” (Steve Griffiths)
  • “Rugby was a good way of getting “outside the wall” to avoid ‘make-and-mend’, or for getting a break during field training.” (Ted Harrison)
  • “Fond memories of the Friday evening wrestling sessions with the local dance squad.” (Barry Johnson)
  • “Running the 2 miler with WO2 Ray Keane running right on my ankles shouting ‘ ….don’t you stop don’t you dare stop running….if you stop I will kill you…’ or words to that effect and then Chris Pepper holding me up by my
    webbing so I didn’t collapse while gasping for air after we had finished – having passed on first attempt. Thank you WO2 Keane.” (Chris Jones)
  • “I loved the P & RT sessions because having been a gymnast at school I found most of it pretty straight forward. Unfortunately we
    were not always in the gym and I came well and truly back to the field when we were required to run any distance. Like most cadets I found the 2-miler the most difficult test in OCS. But there was a tremendous incentive plan at OCS; if you did not pass the first time you kept trying until you did. I was determined to only suffer once – masochism being well down on my list of ways to achieve pleasure. WO2 Keane and a couple of other PTI took us out on to the bitumen road course and said we had to go to a turnaround point then back again. I set off at my best pace and was I think about second to the turn and then the fun started because I got slower and slower with everyone passing me and soon was in real strife. But, like others, I always had Ray Keane giving me support. Words like “You stop and I‘ll kill you.” or even worse, “You stop and I’ll take every A Pass from you and you can start again.” were sufficient encouragement. Scared to death I plodded on with Chris Pepper, I think it was, alongside and urging me on. I think I was second last of those that passed. I hope I had the breath to Ray and Chris later. If not I do so now.” (H)
  • “Some years later I did a work measurement course and determined that the 2 miler in 16 minutes was 125% of a man’s capability. I was shocked. Could have sworn it was 200% at least.” (H)
  • “We were in the gym for battle Pt, ie greens and boots and gaiters and bloody hard yakka tossing around large heavy objects. This time the large heavy objects were to be each other in some sort of wrestling match where the object was to lift your opponent’s feet off the floor. Ray Keane was supervising and selecting combatants of similar weight to have at it. Anyway I got bored or something and was stupid enough to start talking to someone.“Mason,” utterreth our Ray, “Out here!” Pepper “You too!” Now this was obviously a fair contest as I weighed about 10 stone, wringing wet in an army greatcoat and Chris Pepper was probably 16 stone in his jocks. Not to mention being about a foot taller. However, Chris was a nice man, as I said before, and did not hurt me. Thanks again Chris.” (H)
  • “The swimming squad received extra rations of fruit and milk to build us up for the meet against the RAAF, I don’t know if it improved our swimming but it was appreciated none the less. Any extra food was appreciated.” (Bob Sayce)
  • “Lou O’Dea running the full length of the rugby pitch semi-comatose.” (Russ Smith)
  • “OCS did not recognize God’s game so I had to play rugby. I also swam in cold pools and ran sprints. Unfortunately I could not beat Dave Procopis over 100 meters – 99 yes but not 100.” (Brian Strempel)

SOCIAL

The course at OCS was, as mentioned before, as much about making us into officers and gentlemen rather than simply turning out
Infantry platoon commanders. Therefore we had to learn how to behave and disport ourselves in an Officers’ Mess, at formal dinners, at balls and any other social occasion at which we were likely to find ourselves.
Therefore the main social occasions at OCS were a part of the training not that it meant we could not take advantage of the rare opportunity to relax and enjoy ourselves. Each term we had one or two Dining in nights, an informal ‘theme’ party and two balls, a Spring Ball in October, an Autumn ball in April and a Graduation ball in June and December. The balls were an excuse for the ladies to dress up in their finest and for us to similarly dress up in our splendour.




The Theme Party held on 7 November 1964 was a South Seas Night and to add to the atmosphere and adventure an island was
constructed in the quadrangle and I remember a few got castaway on it for most of the night.
We dressed for the occasion and enjoyed the opportunity to sample a little of the good life that we hoped was still outside the gate waiting
for us.
But we had to get through the Junior class first and then we would be able see the end of it all. First our Senior class had to graduate so there was an excuse for a party.
A feature of every function was the great suppers that were laid on. I can recall a few, but very few, to rival them, Oh, for the crayfish and oysters that were so plentiful then. The entertainment was usually provided by a very good dance band supplemented by our own wonderful musicians: Lou Malietoa vocal and ukulele, Ken Hussell cornet, Doug Kent and Brian Kowald, piano and various talented
Maori singers and guitar players from our junior class. They were special nights.


RECOLLECTIONS OF SOCIAL LIFE

  • “In the last few weeks of our course we had some function, a dining in night I think. At the conclusion it was decided by some that
    despite the hour more music was required. Not a problem they simply fired up the PA system and proceeded to play Bagpipe music for the entertainment of all. As mentioned previously the PA operated throughout the barracks and accommodation blocks so waking up all the student body seemed like a great joke at the time. Alas their reconnaissance was faulty for they failed to determine the extent of the coverage of the PA system. Unbeknown to the pranksters it was piped into the married quarter of the CI just up on the hill behind us. Although even if it had not been he would surely have heard the din. Anyway as the cadets were retiring to a pleasant sleep counting days to go instead of sheep World War III began. Phil Christ had risen if not from the dead exactly at least from a deep sleep and in pyjamas and dressing gown called everybody out on parade and tore a spare anal orifice in everyone, guilty or innocent, and put the whole school on stoppage of leave for the coming weekend. The miscreants sat and ‘thought’ about this turn of events and had another great idea.‘We will go and apologise.’ With that well appreciated plan in mind they trooped up to the married quarter door and rang the bell thus waking up a still angry CI from his now twice interrupted sleep. Good thinking, guys! (H)
  • “Inside OCS, meal times were a great occasion for banter and fun. I enjoyed dressing for dinner and talking about the day’s
    activities over coffee in the anteroom. There was always plenty to talk about and laugh about. The positive energy was incredible.
    The humour still tickles me after all these years. Outside OCS, I remember there were a few good sessions at the Portsea Pub, but I seem to recall that leave passes were fairly sparse.” (Steve Griffiths)
  • “Finding out that the Portsea Hotel had at least 1,000 rooms or, at least 1,000 room keys (for the after-hours patrons)”. (Ted Harrison)
  • “Being accused of having lipstick on my underclothes that I placed in the canteen for laundry was a social experience I would not
    mind owning up to but it was only dye from the sport shorts.” (Chris Jones.)
  • “Every Friday Night I fronted to the dancing classes with another sports injury. Mrs Hocking must have thought I was too lame to
    ever graduate. Now I regret not taking the opportunity to learn to dance.” (Bill Kingston)
  • “Mrs Hocking tried hard to put a bit of polish on rough stock and always tried to find us partners for the social functions. One
    memorable night she had arranged a partner for Smokey McCann and I drove him out to pick her up. Down the path coming towards us with the late afternoon sun streaming through her hair was Miss Universe. Smokey couldn’t believe his luck and muttered something about this being better than winning Tatts. However, he then got tongue tied and sat her in the back and jumped into the front with me.” (Frank Maloney.)
  • “Garth Hasell’s room being used for extracurricular Ball activities. Pun intended.” (Ross Miller.)
  • “Who entertained his lady friend on my bed whilst we were on final exercise? A real man would have found a gun emplacement, rocky outcrop or sandy beach.” (Lou O’Dea.)
  • “I wonder if it was the same so-and-so that stole the two bottles of VB I buried near the quadrangle near the end of the course.” (Lou O’Dea.)
  • “My only social event was in name only. Some one took out the Adjutant’s daughter and said their name was John Spurway. I
    wondered why the Adjutant used to look at me strangely on pay parade. I assume the guilty party will be at the reunion with his partner. Every dog has his day.” (John Spurway.)

MOST MEMORABLE CADET

Probably Steve Griffiths says it best: “I think all of us were memorable in one way or another. I have not since had the privilege of being so involved with so many people of excellence at one time.”

I agree and am pleased and proud to be counted in this company. Specific comments follow:

  • “There were many who were memorable. Chris Pepper, a big strong quiet achiever who was able to handle all that the discipline
    system could do and still remain calm and cheerful. It is unfortunate and sad that two of the other most memorable cadets for me are both listed amongst our Absent Friends, Garth Hasell and Lou Malietoa. Garth was a delight to have as a roommate in Junior class as he was always a source of fun and amusement. Lou made me green with envy at his marvellous voice and casual ability to see the humour in any situation. I could not think of a social function at OCS where we were not treated to Lou’s rendition of “Beyond the Reef” accompanied by the beautiful cornet of Ken Hussell and on occasions by the quality piano playing of Doug Kent, another Absent Friend.” (H)
  • “Duncan McLean impressed me with his excellent brain and flinty determination. John Graham, never short of an opinion and an
    indomitable humorist even under the most trying conditions. John Marsh was a true friend and a real gentleman. Frank Maloney,
    always good natured and very knowledgeable in the ways of the Army.” (Steve Griffiths)
  • “Abdul Aziz Bin Abdullah the only cadet there from Brunei and my son was the most memorable for me. His name was far too long
    for daily use so I nicknamed him FRED on day one and FRED it was until he graduated.” (Jim Host)
  • “A toss up between Lou Malietoa with his cultural adjustments and Lou O’Dea, who would die rather than let you down.” (Ken
    Hussell)
  • “I remember Lou Malietoa crossing the try line on the rugby field with five or six opposition desperately hanging on and trying to bring him down.” (Ted Harrison)
  • My father, Cuddles Kendall for surviving to graduate despite his level of fitness. Still I do recall once doubling down to the parade
    ground and being passed by Cuddles on crutches.” (Mal Pearce.)
  • “Garth Hasell – a gentleman of sober habits.” (Barry Johnson)
  • “There was a junior named Peirot (?) And his sport was chess. I guess the Commandant had a sense of humour.” (John Jasinski)
  • “Ken Hussell with his trumpet especially at formal functions when he would blast out the St Louis Blues with one of the DS
    accompanying him on Trombone” (David Procopis.)
  • “Tall and always solder-like, Bill Kingston was summoned by the DS when we were in the scrub. Bill immediately removed his helmet liner and placed the outer on his head to be supported precariously by his ears and his nose. He marched like a Guardsman across the broken ground “What a man! Definitely CGS material.” and crashed to a halt in front of the DS and said, “You rang?” So much for my ability to assess senior officer potential. (Ken Hussell.)
  • “Two come to mind: Lou O’Dea a quiet achiever and Garth Hassel for his sense of humour, capacity and recuperative powers.”
    (Bob Sayce)
  • “A close decision between Jim Parkins who graduated without learning to march and Lou Malietoa who deservedly gained legendary status by pouring himself out of a taxi early one Monday morning in front of the parade.” (Brian Strempel.)

MOST MEMORABLE DS

There is no prize for this except the undying gratitude of those cadets who were fortunate enough to have Instructors of such quality to
guide them through the most important 12 months of most of their lives.
The recollections that follow are in no particular order or precedence but just as they were received.

  • “Early in 1963, Major Phil Bennett arrived at the school as the new Senior instructor later promoted to Lt Col as the Chief Instructor. A well built man of medium height he had a rounded face and his forehead was broad and high. Phil Bennett was a most impressive officer and the best officer I had met.” (John Rawson)
  • “I doubt that the NZ exchange instructor, WO2 Graeme Brighouse would have any hope of recognising "Ish it Jesser or ish it Sayce" given their faces today - I can hardly distinguish them now either.” (Chris Jones)
  • “WO2 Hayley always seemed to choose the most remote 'stand' to conduct his lessons, invariably marching us down Ochilltree Drive under the Cyprus pines nearly down to No 1 oval just past the Sgt Mess on the road. For some reason I always seemed to end up in his squad and had to run back the extra five hundred yards to get to the next lesson on time! To this day I don't know what Ray McCann did. One second I was standing smartly to attention, eyes to the front with 'Smokey' in my peripheral vision and the next, Smokey had his rifle at the 'high port' and was running up the road with 'Super Soldier' after him waving his pace stick and yelling like a Banshee. I suppose there were actually some things during the course that were funny and I at least thought this was one, as Super Soldier wasn't after me!” (Chris Jones)
  • “Sgt Arnold was one of the weapons and field craft instructors. This actually has nothing to do with OCS per se but I have never thanked him. Sgt R Arnold was a Korean War veteran and he left the staff of OCS at the same time as we graduated. We both went to 2 RTB Puckapunyal, I ending up as OC 6 Pl B Coy and he, fortunately for me, as its Pl Sgt. A 19 year old 'boy bastard' second lieutenant really needed all the help he could get to keep his 'bum out of the fire'. Thank you Bob Arnold for being my mentor 38 years ago, it was then and is still very much appreciated.” (Chris Jones)
  • “And of course there was Ray Keane. He has got a few mentions through this and I think that on reflection he was one of the reasons why a few of us 'stuck it out'. Whether it was on the 2-miler run or fronting once a week to do tests, he got us to work together and encouraged us. Ray had the ability of being able to get the cadets to put in that little bit more effort to achieve. An example of this was one memorable "battle PT session". As a cadet I used to dread these periods as it meant physical exertion in boots and gaiters and jungle green dress - and usually long runs in sand. Well this day we were on strengthening exercises lifting telegraph poles. Remember it? Line up about ten to a pole, lift it to waist height then face the front while maneuvering it onto your right shoulder, then on the command"lift" raise it above you head and hold it until given ‘down’ where upon it was maneuvered
    down on the left shoulder. Well, on this occasion we had been doing this for some time and Ray began chanting "1" for lift and then"2" for down. When we were pretty obviously becoming tired (well at least I was) WO2 Keane progressed to "light as a feather"
    allowing more or less a direct pass of the pole over our heads to the other side. Some wag in the class replied "pigs arse" and when this was not checked it degenerated to the WO PTI standing before us shouting "light as a feather" for one movement and the class chanting, "pigs arse" for the return. I remember that several of the admin and officer training staff were standing on the car park side of the HQ verandah watching the proceedings. Anyway, very sneaky was Ray Keane. I reckon that he got about another 20 - 30 more rotations out of us than if he had just kept going with "up" and"down". I can still remember that the whole
    class was exhausted after the PT - but we were happy.” (Chris Jones)
  • “Here is another Ray Keane story showing another side of this remarkable man. It was early into Senior Class and the swimmers were back on running again having not had to run until after the RAAF Meet. Although a fairly hot day -in the 90s- Jock Jenvey decide he needed some exercise so took us all, unfortunately including the swimmers, with him for a little run in boots and greens. Down the beach we went through the sand then ‘Left Wheel’ into the tea-tree and on to the crosscountry course where we wandered around over hill and dale. Eventually we went past the assault course not over it, I don’t think so anyway, and along the sand track to the bitumen road that runs up past the cadet accommodation to the staff Married Quarters. Now there used to be a sign there that said something about RESTRICTED AREA but I cannot remember if it was warning cadets away from the Married quarters or visitors away from the School proper. Anyway this was the last thing I remember until I awoke in the RAP with a very concerned Ray Keane sponging me down with water and hoping I would recover and not ruin his whole day. We, apparently, had run past the sign and down to the oval then began to do a circuit of the oval when I took a course of my own and ended up in a heap in the middle of the oval. Ray was seriously worried about me and when it came up about six years later he admitted it
    was a bit scary.” (H)
  • The following ten are all memories of the DS
    provided by Russ Smith:
    - “Bones Bertram carrying vast numbers of rifles on a Fd Trg 'forced march' - may have been in our senior class.”
    - “The RSM's cow-kicking.”
    - “Super Soldier's dog, ‘Trained Soldier’”
    - “Tubby Windsor thinking that David Meade (I think) was going to shoot him with a GPMG.”
    - “Bill Bruce's quiet way of getting the message across - I served with him later in AATTV.”
    - “John Rawson's fatherly concern.”
    - “Padre Jock's lessons on life - suck a lemon and be careful.”
    - “Lionel McCombe's ability to get the best out of Cadets on the parade ground in final rehearsals for whatever.”
    - “WO2 Dummet's spit polished, patent leather gaiters.”
    - “Super's immaculately starched greens, always!!”
  • “Tony Hayley instructing us to watch the cadence is hard to forget.” (Trevor Gardiner)
  • “I was hugely impressed by WO2 Brighouse. His impeccable dress, his professional ism and his absolute devotion to his job was inspiring.” (Steve Griffiths)
  • “Phil Bennett regularly lived up to his nickname, Phil Christ.” (Ted Harrison.)
  • “A good few are worthy of a mention including: John McGuire, Jock Jenvey,‘Bones’ Bertram, Tony Haley and Ray Keane.” (Ken Hussell)
  • “Jock Jenvey for his earthy, straight forward unmistakable advice it was impossible to misunderstand him. I still regularly recall
    some of his words.” (John Thorn)
  • “Tony Haley (Super Soldier) – anyone who sings in the rain when it’s about 4 degrees and blowing a gale deserves to be remembered.” (Barry Johnson)
  • “Tony Haley who only laughed when someone hurt themselves would go close. I remember being in the front seat of a truck with him watching him change gears by numbers and thinking, “Is this guy brain washed or bullshitting?” but was not game to ask him.” (Jim Parkins)
  • “Could it be other than Tony Haley who was reputed to have broken a cadet’s back in unarmed combat and who tried to teach us to kill with one punch? He later inspired movies like Rambo and Rambo 2.” (Brian Strempel)
  • “The DS who marched us over the sea wall, or gave penalties to the pikers, as a demonstration of obeying orders no matter
    what; thereby teaching us to forever distrust dickheads.” (Brian Strempel)
  • “One DS, who will remain nameless, fronted up to us all rugged up in a greatcoat only to be told by Phil Christ to get dressed or more correctly undressed like the rest of us. What followed was an embarrassing scramble to change by the DS and a lesson for us.” (Ross Miller.)
  • ED NOTE: “If asked we would have saved him the embarrassment by all putting on greatcoats. No-one asked!” (H)
  • “Without a doubt it was Phil Christ as he instilled absolute fear in all the poor little cadets.” (Ray McCann.)
  • “Bones Bertram showed us what leadership was all about.”…Russ Smith

With many, many thanks to John Graham and the members of the Class of June 1965.