Served 38 years.
Colonel, Sapper/Chief Engineer, Commandos & British SAS / Royal Marines.
Medals and citations:
- Military Cross because it recognised 3 Royal Australian Regiment (RAR) & my patrol mate(s) were highly competent
- American Combat Medal because it indicated that the Royal Australian Engineers had helped the armoured fighting vehicles (AFV) to move and to fight.
- The TSM (RVN) & Bar because it showed South Vietnam appreciated the service of Australians – particularly the RAE / Combat & Construction Engineers in South Vietnam.
Postings: Korea, South Vietnam, Malaysia, Malaya in combat.
Primary job: Sapper/Civil Engineer.
“The army is a fellowship in which men and women learn respect for one another to be a coherent fighting force, well trained, well paid, well fed, well accommodated and pensioned for life.”
- Always be fighting fit and fit to fight – never give up
- My father and uncles served in WW1
- Household environment – my father’s stories of Scottish Battles
- Was inspired by watching and meeting service men and women during my youth in WW 1 until I enlisted on 24 Feb 45 at RMC Duntroon; also as a 5 year old boy during a year in Scotland – remembering the Soldiers marching past on Mary’s Field on a commemoration day
Best advice/skill received: Respect your fellow men and women - “That man to man the world ore – shall brothers be for all that” – Robbie Burns.
What do you want people to remember about your service? The killed in action (KIA) and wounded in action (WIA) and economic impact proves “Australia must never go to war again”.
What was the best and worst 'military' food you were served, and why? Best – Xmas lunch overseas was the best of the best. The worst was dog food in US ration packs.
What effect did your military experience have on your life? It made me feel secure in my home and barracks. To respect my fellow men and women. To try hard – and never give up.
Funny recollection during time of service:
On returning from a patrol in Korea up a steep hill I noted a very bright “star” above me. When I said to Major Bruce Trenery who commanded the forward company through which I had to pass “Hey I saw a shooting star” He said “No you did not – one of my standing patrols threw a grenade at you”.
I was returning from a two-man patrol at dawn in Korea when I heard bullets whistling overhead. On entering the FDLs I said to the Company Commander – “Hey John (Waterton) your guys fired at me”. He said, “NO they did not, it was the enemy on Hill 227”.