Introduction

1. This short history of Central Command Workshops covers, from unit records and information locally available, the origin and build up to its present state. The history includes developments of interest to the present time and significant events with which it has been associated.

2. The last paragraph lists by name, known past COs/OCs and their periods of command.

Military District Workshop

3. In the years up till 1942 the workshop facilities in SA, then 4 Military District, were maintained by Ordnance. Their main workshop being 4 Military District Workshop. This workshop, initially scattered, was gathered under one roof at KESWICK in 1939. It expanded with the war. In September, 1941, the workshop was renamed the South Australian Line of Communication Workshop.

4. In 1942, when Ordnance tradesmen became a separate Corps, the South Australian Line of Communication Workshop was again renamed the South Australian Line of Communication Workshop Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. This was the beginning of the Central Command Workshop, RAEME.

Central Command Workshop

5. The end of the war saw the workshop acting as a holding unit for demobilisation under the name of South Australian Area Workshop. On the 11 March, 1949, it was redesignated 4 Military District Area Workshop and later in the same month 4 Military District Workshop. It was subsequently changed to Central Command Workshop on 1 January, 1950.

6. 1947 saw a Long Range Weapons Project increment added to the Workshop. This increment was removed from the workshop establishment and became the Electrical and Mechanical Engineers component of Long Range Weapons Experimental EstablishmentWOOMERA.

7. Central Command Workshop, which was built in 1939, had until 1948 contained offices for the Headquarters of the workshop. After this date the Headquarters occupied a small building which was situated across the road from the workshop. This was previously used by the Small Arms Section which had been moved into the workshop for ease of control.

8. Trade Repair Control which formed part of the establishment of Central Command Headquarters was transferred to Central Command Workshop in April 1954. In 1954 approval was given for the provision of 19 temporary positions for various designations to be added to the establishment of Central Command Workshop. The strength of the workshop at this stage was 122 all ranks. This was reduced to 98 all ranks by July 1955.

9. On 22 Mar 58 the Workshop was almost completely destroyed by fire. The city fire appliances and firemen were hampered by low water pressure and the fire soon gained a firm hold on the building, which had a large area of wooden flooring. Most of the valuable machine tools, vehicles and equipment which were in the workshop were either damaged or destroyed by fire, and consequently the Workshop was dispersed into several areas which contained various Workshop sections. FORT LARGS, now the South Australian Police Academy, became the Workshop headquarters and several temporary buildings were erected at LARGS BAY to accommodate the general engineering sections. The Trade Repair Section was situated in the KESWICK area at the rear of 2 Line of Communication Provost Company building, and the vehicle section was transferred to the Service Station at ST. PETERS and at LARGS BAY. A new Light Workshop was erected in KESWICK Barracks, facing ANZAC HIGHWAY which was completed in 1961. The Workshop strength had been reduced to 42 soldiers and 26 civilians, due to re organisation of the Army which finally reduced the strength to a total of 52 personnel in 1962. In 1961 the Deputy Assistant Director of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and the Officer Commanding Central Command Workshop became one appointment.

10. Early in 1960 it was proposed to provide accommodation for C Comd Wksp at WARRADALE with alterations and additions to existing buildings which had become vacant with the posting of the Engineer Construction Squadron from C Comd. In addition to this the Light Workshop at KESWICK Barracks would have required structural changes to the building to accommodate other sections. If these works were carried out arrangements would have been unsatisfactory as C Comd Wksp would still be divided into two separate sections. It was proposed by AHQ that a new workshop be built at WARRADALE to house C Comd Wksp. On the completion of the new Workshop, the CMF RAEME Training Depot would move to KESWICK Barracks from KILKENNY and take over the Light Workshop as a Training Depot. The new Workshop was built on the NORTH WESTERN corner of the WARRADALE Barracks area by HANSEN 7 YUNCKEN (SA) PTY LTD under the supervision of Department of Works at a cost of $429,749.00. The building was commenced at 12 Jul 65 and was completed approximately three months ahead of schedule, and handed over to the Department of Army on 23 Jun 66. The major machines and equipments had been transported from KESWICK and LARGS BAY and installed at WARRADALE. The C ComdWksp was officially opened by Major General C.E. LONG CBE, Master General of the Ordnance, on 3 Aug 66.

11. Apart from the normal workshop role Central Command Workshop has been involved in some unusual tasks over the years. In 1955 it modified jeeps, fitting exhaust spraying equipment to fight grasshoppers for the Department of Agriculture. A 50 ton centurion tank was hauled 550 miles across Australian from EMU PLAINS to WHYALLA, and on 17 Jul 64, 2 x 4 ton Recovery vehicles, a Workshop garage loading vehicle and one Landrover and trailer, helped Mr. DONALD CAMPBELL to break the land speed record on LAKE EYRE.

12. The building of a new complex including a Small Arms Test Range, Small Arms Repair Section, Phosphating Room and Storage accommodation was commenced on 27 Sep 70 by the contractors D.GMADIN PTY LTD under the supervision of the Department of Works at a cost of $68,860.00.

13. The new complex covering approximately 5500 sq ft was erected on the North Western Corner of the Workshop area bounded by Oaklands and Morphett Roads.

14. The new test range has eliminated the need to test weapons at Dean Range which is situated about 12 miles from Warradale Barracks. A great deal of attention has been given to the reduction of noise with the firing point of the range and exterior noise nuisance to the neighbouring Glengowrie High School and other nearby residents. The repair of small arms is carried out in the new repair shop leaving the old repair section available for an additional secure area.

15. The keys of the building were handed over to the OC Central Command Workshop on 21 Jun 71 by the Accommodation, Works and Engineers Board (AWE) HQ C Comd. On 1 Jul 71 at 1530 hrs the first round was fired from a 7.62 mm in the Test Range by MAJC.V.CLAXTON, OC C Comd Wksp.

16. An additional building has also been added to the POL store to accommodate paint, lacquer and thinners from the RAAOC Stores Section. These items are now stored in a building specially designed to house flammable liquids previously kept in the main workshop building.

17. On 1 Jun 73 C Comd Wksp was renamed SA Wksp Coy and the new Establishment included personnel from C ComdEIS and DADEME staff from HQ C ComdDADEME staff moved from Keswick to Warradale Barracks on 29 Jun 73 and were accommodated in the Administrative building, No 120. EIS moved from 107 Fd Wksp Keswick to Warradale Barracks on 13 Aug 73 into the Workshop Officer's office in building No 121. Telephone and intercommunication services were altered to provide for the requirements of the incoming personnel.

18. Following the Government's decision on the size and shape of the ARA, the Military Board approved a 31,154 man ARA to be achieved by 30 Jun 74. This resulted in a general reduction of soldiers and civilians in RAEME non Field Force units. The revised establishment for Adelaide Workshop Coy was received on 30 Nov 73 resulted in a reduction in workshop strength by a half (approx) of the previous establishment

19. SA Wksp Coy 6 x Offrs, 18 x WO, SSGT & SGT, 20 x R & F and 46 civilians total 90. AWC 3 x Offrs, 10 x WO, SSGT & SGT, 10 R & F and 23 civilians total 46). Under the army reorganisation, Central Command was renamed 4th Military District with Adelaide Wksp Coy's next superior headquarters being HQ Logistic Command located at St James Plaza, Melbourne, and the workshop being under command HQ 4 Military District for local administration, the Workshop is now under command of HQ 4th Military District for all matters.

20. An allocation of apprentices has been made to this unit comprising of 8 x Mechanics Vehicle. There are four 4th Year and four 3rd Year apprentices who will be under the watchful eyes of Apprentice Master CAPTA.G. TURNER and deputy WO2 R.O. MATTHEWS.

21. The Commanders The OCs to date are listed below with their period of command:

1939 40 LT S. REEVES   1954 55 MAJ G. MILLS
1940 41 LT H. CLARKE   1955 61 MAJ G. JOHNSON
1941 43 CAPT G. MACHIN   1961 64 MAJ A. MACLEOD
1943 44 MAJ J. SILCOCK   1964 65 MAJ K. GIBSON
1944 45 CAPT M. DOIG   1965 68 MAJ W. WOOLSTON
1945 46 CAPT M. SANDERS   1968 70 MAJ F. MILLAR
1946 48 CAPT H. HENDERSON   1970 73 MAJ C. CLAXTON
1948 52 MAJ C. MILLS   1973 76 MAJ S. MEIKLEJOHN
1976 78 MAJ A. LEE      
1978 MAJ R. LAW      

22. The introduction of the Rapier SAGW system into the Australian Army will place additional responsibilities on to the Workshop for Base Support to the Weapon System and field repair to associated equipment. The establishment has recently been amended to include a Rapier Base Repair Facility Detachment, a Calibration Section and additional general repair and infrastructure personnel. In Jul 78 a further Establishment amendment is to be promulgated to authorise 5 x Rapier positions currently on the War Establishment. The Establishment will then total 83 (5 x Offrs, 17 x WO, SSGT and SGT, 39 x R & F and 22 civilians).

23. In addition to the Rapier SAGW System, current planned major activities include field and base repairs to Small Arms (SLRs) in a rebuild programme. There are 2500 weapons in storage awaiting introduction to the programme with more equipment repairs planned later.

24. Like all facilities at present the Workshop cannot be utilised to its maximum potential due to resource restrictions, particularly manpower. Unfortunately this Workshop has to rely heavily on trade repair which in itself is financially restricted.

General

268. This history is up to date to June 1965. Changes occur in establishments and personnel continuously, and during war time it is not always possible to determine accurately unit moves, changes in establishment and transfers in and out of units.

269. The information contained in this history has been obtained from archives, records, and by personal approach to members of units mentioned. It is hoped that it is a reasonably true account of the history of RAEME in SOUTH AUSTRALIA.

270. The corps of RAEME is expanding continuously and with the advent of newer, more complex equipments and more reliance being placed on mechanical and electronic aids and devices, RAEME tradesmen will be required to keep abreast of current equipments and techniques to enable them to do what they have done in the past, that is, to keep the maximum amount of equipments serviceable and with the owner units.

HISTORY OF RAEME IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA

1. The History of RAEME in South Australia originated from a directive from H.Q. C. COMD, 27 December 1962 (ref: 274 2 13), History of the Army in South Australia'.

2. Australian Archives in Adelaide hold a two part file which covers nearly all units in South Australia (AP1012, Box 110, file 707 Cl 1).

3. There is an indication that a Major A.BHASTINGAust. Intelligence Corps, C. Comd, has examined and compiled a list of these records.

4. Major A.N. MACLEOD was nominated as officer responsible for compiling the History of RAEME in SA, this being in 5 stages with following officers doing a stage.

Stage 1: Lt. G. OAKES Corps Background prior to 1939.

Stage 2: Capt. A. McDONOUGH War time Locations and Activities

Stage 3: Capt. C. CAMPBELL Activities Post War Period 1946 - 48.

Stage 4: Lt. G. ROBINSON Period from 1948 - 1965

Stage 5: Lt. R. BROWN List of DADEME periods served
List of OC Comd Wksp
List of OC 107 Inf Wksp

5. Local Amateur historian for AEMERAEMEAssoc, and Adelaide Workshop Company Mr. R.S.J. GLASS was given approval to gain access to Commonwealth Archives and A.W.M. to extend his research on the History RAEME in South Australia.
Reference: 534/15/8 HQ 4MD 9 June 1983.

6. This research is still going on with a great amount of information being held by AEMERAEMEAssoc., South Australia

 

153. After the end of the war, the following Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers units were in SOUTH AUSTRALIA:

  1. South Australian Area Workshop KESWICK
  2. Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers attached to 4 Base Ordnance Depot KESWICK
  3. Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers attached to 147 General Transport Company PLYMPTON
  4. Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers attached to the Proof and Experimental Establishment 4th Military District Army Inspection Staff PORT WAKEFIELD.

154. The South Australian Area Workshop was virtually a holding unit for personnel awaiting demobilisation or re allocation. On 11 March 1946 it was redesignated 4 Military District Area Workshop and later in the same month 4 Military District Workshop. It was subsequently changed to Central Command Workshop on 1 January 1950.

155. In 1946, 147 General Transport Company commenced to run down. On 28 November 1946 twelve Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers tradesmen were transferred from this company to 4 Military District Workshop. This then left 147 General Transport Workshop with only two Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers tradesmen attached. These two craftsmen accompanied the unit to its new home at HAMPSTEAD on September 1947. 147 General Transport Company was redesignated 104 Transport Platoon in December 1948 and the two craftsmen remained with this renamed unit.

156. In 1947, three Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers tradesmen were attached to Long Range Weapons Research Establishment at WOOMERA. It was soon discovered that the workload was far in excess of the available labour force, so a Long Range Weapons Project Increment was added to 4th Military District Workshop. On 9 March 1948 Captain CRAGO took charge of this increment and with five tradesmen, moved to WOOMERA. Their first workshop was a marquee and their task to repair all transport in the area. This increment was removed from 4 Military District Workshop establishment and on 21 May 1948 became the Electrical and Mechanical Engineers component of Long Range Weapons Experimental Establishment (WOOMERA) (Army Component) (4 Military District).

157. On 1 May 1948 Citizen Military Forces training was re introduced and 4 Military District Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Training Depot was opened at KESWICK. The Adjutant was Captain V.AMOSTYN, Quartermaster Lieutenant J. TRELOAR, Company Sergeant Major Warrant Officer Class 1 C.VCLAXTON, and Company Quartermaster Sergeant Warrant Officer Class 1 G.A. ROBINSON.

158. The Citizen Military Forces units were:

  • 107 Infantry Workshop Major E.HCOLLEY
  • 14 Light Aid Detachment Lt. S.FSHIPP
  • 31 Light Aid Detachment CaptL.G. CAMPBELL.

 General

159. At the Proof and Experimental Establishment PORT WAKEFIELD the sole permanent Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers representative was Warrant Officer Class 2 W. GORMAN. His task was the preparation of guns for firing and proofing of ammunition. The supervision of civilian telecommunications technicians was carried out by visiting Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Officers from Army Headquarters, mainly Captains DEAN and SEFTON.

160. From 1948 onwards many Citizen Military Forces units were formed or reformed and Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers began to expand. The following information is given in chronological order as far as possible.

14 L A D, Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers / 13 Field Regiment L A D

161. 14 Light Aid Detachment Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers was reformed in July 1948 with Warrant Officer Class 1 (later Lt) S.F.SHIPP as Officer Commanding. Recruiting did not commence until September 1949 when private recruit A.LLeLUE was posted to the L A D. Later, on 21 January 1950, Lt SHIPP marched two corporals and seven craftsmen in to WOODSIDE Camp to support 13 Field Regiment Royal Australian Artillery. The camp was completed on 3 February 1950.

162. 12 February 1951 was the beginning of another camp of continuous training, but this time Lt SHIPP had two sergeants, three corporals and four craftsmen. The Light Aid Detachment supported the Regiment and returned to ADELAIDE on 23 February 1951. A Routine Order dated 17 September 1951 changed 14 Light Aid Detachment, Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers to 13th Field Regiment Royal Australian Artillery Light Aid Detachment and on 7 February 1952 the strength of the Light Aid Detachment was increased to twenty four, when ten craftsmen were transferred from 107 Infantry Workshop RAEME. On 1 December 1952 a further ten craftsmen were transferred from 107 Infantry Workshop RAEME and the strength of the Light Aid Detachment was increased to one officer and thirty two other ranks.

163. Camps were held subsequently at CALOOTE and MURRAY BRIDGE and on 11 February 1954 Lieutenant G.LBRAYANT was transferred from 107 Infantry Workshop, RAEME and appointed Officer Commanding the Light Aid Detachment. This appointment was followed by the transfer of Lieutenant SHIPP to 107 Infantry Workshop on 26 March 1954.

164. On 24 April 1954 Lieutenant BRYANT commenced a camp of continuous training at MURRAY BRIDGE with 23 other ranks. Lieutenant BRYANT was transferred to 2 Royal Australian Artillery Workshops RAEME Southern Command on 25 August 1954 and was replaced by Lieutenant N.M. STEWART who was transferred from 107 Infantry Workshop; however, this transfer did not take place until 17 May 1955. During 1955, National Service trainees were added to the strength of the Light Aid Detachment. Lieutenant STEWART remained with the Light Aid Detachment until January 1958 and later transferred to the permanent forces. He was replaced as Officer Commanding the Light Aid Detachment by Lieutenant D. TREMETHICK on 21 October 1957 and he remained with the unit until December 1959.

165. In 1960, although some RAEME personnel remained with 13 Field Regiment, they were not under the command of a RAEME officer. Warrant Officer Class 1 W. GORMAN was attached to the Light Aid Detachment for the duration of the 1960 camp of continuous training.

166. During the training camp 1961, Corporal KOVACS assisted by Regular Army RAEME tradesmen, supported 13 Field Regiment. Corporal KOVACS was transferred temporarily from 107 Infantry Workshop for this purpose.

167. Field Regiment Royal Australian Artillery LAD was reformed on 2 September 1962 with Lieutenant B.J. COULTER as Officer Commanding. The LAD was re formed at KILKENNEY and did not move to KESWICK until 30 November 1962. The strength at that time was six. Lieutenant COULTER has raised the strength to 11 and with that number he supported 13 Field Regiment during the 1963 camp at EL ALAMEIN. During this camp the Light Aid Detachment carried the distinction of being the first Citizen Military Forces RAEME unit to be supplied with spare parts by air drop. Two Regular Army Armament Artificers from Command Workshop assisted the Light Aid Detachment armament fitters for the duration of the camp. On 1 January 1964 Lieutenant COULTER was transferred to Central Command Workshop Detachment and replaced by Lieutenant G.H. KING, who was transferred from 107 Infantry Workshop RAEME and is the present Officer Commanding.Central Command Workshop RAEME.

Central Command Workshop

168. Early in 1948, the Central Command Workshop was commanded by Captain M. SANDERS, then later in that year Captain H. HENDERSON was appointed Officer Commanding. He was followed in the next year by Major G. MILLS. In 1952 Major A. OTTASOFF, who returned from JAPAN, became Officer Commanding.

169. Central Command Workshop, which was built in 1939, had until 1948 contained offices for the headquarters of the workshop. After this date the headquarters occupied a small building which was situated across the road from the workshop. This was previously used by the Smalls Arms Section, which had been moved into the workshop for ease of control.

170. It was proposed in 1949 to introduce Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Service Stations into the Army for the purpose of carrying out servicing to Army vehicles. When the Mumzone factory of Payneham Road ST PETERS was brought for Department of Army, it was decided to modify the small workshop, which was situated across Payneham Road opposite the factory, into a service station. In 1953 the new Army Service Station began operating with Warrant Officer G. JUGGINS in charge. Later Corporal W. DICK took over for a short term and then Warrant Officer J. YATES, who had returned from JAPAN, remained with the service station until 1960. When the new Light Workshop was completed at KESWICK, the service station was transferred to this new building. 1 Royal South Australian Regiment took over the service station when it was vacated by the Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.

171. Trade Repair Control, which formed part of the establishment of Central Command Headquarters, was transferred to Central Command Workshop in April 1954. This Section, which had been located in the Deputy Assistant Director of Electrical and Mechanical Engineer's office, moved to Central Command Workshop Headquarters. It is interesting to note that in 1950, #11,400 was spent on the repair of Army vehicles and equipment, and in 1964 about #78,500 was spent by Central Command Workshop.

172. RAEME tradesmen, mainly from Central Command Workshop RAEME, were attached to Commonwealth Forces in JAPAN and KOREA. The first SOUTH AUSTRALIAN officer to be sent was Lieutenant A.N. MACLEOD, who was posted to BRITCOM BASE Workshop in KURE, JAPAN, in March 1952, and subsequently to 16 BRITCOM Infantry Workshop REME in KOREA.

173. Other SOUTH AUSTRALIAN members were Captain McDONOUGH, Craftsman DITTMAR, Sergeant PHILLIPS, Corporal GROGAN, Sergeant TUCKWELL, Sergeant WEAVER, Warrant Officer Class 1 OAKES, Warrant Officer Class 1 WOODS, Sergeant McMURTRIE, Corporal SMART, Corporal BLACK, Warrant Officer Class 2 BRITTEN, Craftsman EMSLEY and Sergeant BISHOP. Most of these soldiers served in JAPAN, in BRITCOM Base Workshops. Here vehicles and equipments were reconditioned and in many cases rebuilt. As an example, well over 1000 Jeeps were completely rebuilt. The major unit assemblies were reconditioned at KURE and the vehicles were stripped of components and rebuilt at HIRO. In KOREA RAEME were mainly with 16 BRITCOM Infantry Workshop, although some were attached to other units, eg., 1, 2 and 3 Battalions.

174. In 1954 approval was given for the provision of 19 temporary positions for various designations to be added to the establishment of Central Command Workshop. The Workshop at this time had a strength of 122 all ranks which included 6 Royal Australian Ordnance Corps personnel who formed the Stores Section, which was attached to the Workshop. This same year, a large recovery task was carried out by the Command Workshop. A Centurian tank, which weighed about 50 tons, was to be transported EMU PLAINS in CENTRAL AUSTRALIA to WHYALLA, a distance of approximately 550 miles. The recovery was carried out in two parts, the first task was to recover the tank to WOOMERA, a distance of 400 miles. This task was completed in two weeks by Warrant Officer J. YATES, Corporal B.DITTMAR and Driver R. JONES in December 1953. The final stage of transporting the tank to WHYALLA was carried out by Staff Sergeant S. PHILLIPS, Craftsmen JONES, CURNOW and THOMPSON using a 40 ton and 20 ton transporter and an Allis Chalmers tractor. The recovery was carried out in extremely hot weather and twenty four tyres had to be replaced during the journey. The tank was finally loaded at the bulk loading wharf at WHYALLA in March 1954, where it was shipped to MELBOURNE. At this stage Major G. MILLS was posted to the Workshop as Officer Commanding and Major OTTASOFF was transferred to Southern Command Workshop.
In October 1955 South Australian Mid North agricultural areas were attacked by hordes of grasshoppers. The Department of Agriculture asked for assistance from the Army to supply four wheel drive vehicles equipped with sprays to kill the grasshoppers. Central Command Workshop modified several Trucks 1 1/4 ton 'Jeeps' with exhaust sprays, which were used under the direction of the Department of Agriculture. These vehicles with Army drivers did a magnificent job in saving large areas from being eaten bare of vegetation by these pests.

175. Major G. JOHNSON took over the command of the workshop in July 1955 and at this stage there were 78 regular soldiers and 20 civilian members. In January 1957 the Army was called to give assistance to civil authorities to repair damage which was caused by the River Murray flooding. The Royal Australian Engineers had been working on the construction of levee banks at MANNUM when one of their 3 ton vehicles becamed bogged. The levee bank collapsed under the pressure of rising waters and the vehicle was practically submerged. A call was made to Centra Comman Workshop to recover the vehicle. Major G. JOHNSON, Warrant Officers G. ROBINSON and D. DUCK, Staff Sergeant S. PHILLIPS, Craftsmen R. VARNEY with skin diving equipment, Private JONES, recovery driver, a four ton recovery vehicle and two amphibians made up the recovery team.

176. After a difficult recovery exercise, which was watched by a large number of local residents, the vehicle was finally attached to the recovery vehicle in readiness to be towed to KESWICK.

177. On 22nd March 1958 Central Command Workshop was almost completely destroyed by fire. The City fire appliances and firemen were hampered by low water pressure and the fire soon gained a firm hold on the building, which had a large area of wooden flooring. Most of the valuable machine tools, vehicles and equipment which were in the workshop were either damaged or destroyed by the fire. A black cat, which was a workshop pet, was badly burnt when her home under the workshop floor became too hot to be comfortable. But the animal was coaxed back to life, after using most of its attributed nine lives in the process. Because of the fire the Workshop was dispersed into several areas which contained various Workshop sections. FORT LARGS, now the South Australian Police Academy, became the Workshop headquarters and several temporary buildings were erected at LARGS BAY to accommodate the general engineering sections. Trade Repair section was situated in the KESWICK Area at the rear of 2 Line of Communication Provost Company building, and the vehicle section was transferred to the Service Station at ST PETERS and at LARGS BAY.

178. A new Light Workshop was erected in KESWICK Barracks, facing Anzac Highway which was completed in 1961. The Service Station, Trade Repair Section and Headquarters from FORT LARGS moved into the new Workshop in June 1961. The Workshop strength had been reduced to 42 soldiers and 26 civilians, due to a re organisation of the Army which finally reduced the strength to a total of 52 personnel in 1962. In 1961 the Deputy Assistant Director of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and the Officer Commanding Central Command Workshop became one appointment. Major A.N. MACLEOD took over the dual appointment in August 1961, when Major G. JOHNSON became Officer Commanding 101 Infantry Workshop.

179. Warrant Officer Class 1 B.ATUCKWELL was selected to join the Military Technical Training School at BANGKOK, THAILAND. He was seconded to the Department of External Affairs under South East Asia Treaty Organisation agreement and he sailed on 15 January 1962, duly arriving at BANGKOK on 31 January. After a two year posting, he returned to Central Command on 23 February 1964, where he was posted as Artificer Vehicle with Equipment Inspection Section.

180. Early in 1963 Mr. Donald CAMPBELL from the UNITED KINGDOM selected LAKE EYRE in SOUTH AUSTRALIA as a suitable site for his attempt on the world land speed record in his car 'BLUEBIRD'.

181. On 13 April 1963 he, together with his team of assistants, arrived at MULOORINA Station near LAKE EYRE, where he set up his headquarters. The car 'BLUEBIRD' was moved to LAKE EYRE on 24 April 1963 for the attempt on the land speed record.

182. A team of RAEME tradesmen, comprising Warrant Officer Class 1 C.HFERNE, Craftsmen R.A. ETHERIDGE and KENNEDY, moved from KESWICK on 18 April 1963 with the following vehicles:

  • 21 ton Coles Crane
  • 4 ton Recovery Vehicle
  • A workshop garage loading vehicle
  • One Landrover and trailer

183. Their task was to maintain the fleet of Landrovers used by the S.A. Police Force, who assisted in the project, and to help Mr CAMPBELL whenever possible.

184. It was found that the 21 ton Coles Crane was too heavy for travelling on the salt crust covering the Lake, therefore a further 4 ton Recovery vehicle was sent from KESWICK.

185. These Recovery vehicles were stationed one at each end of the prepared track during all speed trials; their task was recovery of 'BLUEBIRD' if required. When the Recovery vehciles were driven on to the Lake dual front wheels were fitted.

186. Rain delayed the speed attempt and after the Lake became flooded the attempt was temporarily suspended. Inspector BREBNER, who was also Captain CMF OC Central Command Provost Company, feared for the loss of Army equipment which was still on the Lake when it became flooded with water up to 18 inches deep, and requested that Major A.N. MACLEOD be sent to LAKE EYRE to assist with recovery.

187. The S.A. Police at LAKE EYRE, together with the RAEME members, combined in this recovery operation, and all Army equipment, together with the 'BLUEBIRD' project equipment, was recovered to the bank of the Lake. As it was feared that the vehicles used for the recovery might break through the salt crust on the Lake, they were moved out in extended line, loaded, and returned to shore in the same manner.

188. A track was cut along the bank of the Lake, 'BLUEBIRD' was loaded on to a timber jinker whose prime mover was a 'no goer', and the whole load was towed by a 4 ton Recovery Vehicle to higher ground.

189. During the move to MULOORINA a small grader and a small front end loader moved ahead of the complete convoy of vehicles; their task was to grade the rough portions of the track and fill in pot holes. As 'BLUEBIRD' was balanced precariously on the jinker, it was feared that a jolt could cause it to fall off. As the track was mostly covered with water, it was practically impossible to guage where holes were. Warrant Officer FERNE is to be congratulated for his handing of the 4 ton Recovery Vehicle and its load during this hazardous trip.

190. Major MACLEOD sent a section of men ahead of the convoy to build a ford over the river between the convoy and MULLOORINA. It was virtually a race between the convoy arriving at the ford and the floodwaters arriving there. The convoy eventually arrived safely atMULOORINA with only one hour to spare before the ford became flooded.

191. Mr. CAMPBELL returned to LAKE EYRE on 10 June 1964 with his team of assistants, but found that the prepared surface of the Lake was now useless. A new track was prepared, on which 'BLUEBIRD' finally attained a speed of 403 mph on 17 July 1964, and thus the world land speed record. At that time the RAEME team comprised Warrant Officer Class 1 DITTMAR, Craftsmen R.A. ETHERIDGE, K.W. SIMS, J.L. GLOATER and J.VMcNAMARA. They eventaully wound up the RAEME side of the project and returned to ADELAIDE on 7 August 1964.

192. From 1st Dec 1942, DADEME Central Command were:
Maj L B CUNNINGHAM 1 Dec 42 28 Jul 44
Maj G H MACHIN 28 Jul 44 8 Mar 45

193. Mr CAMPBELL spoke very highly of the efficient manner in which the RAEME team carried out their task, and further stated that they proved invaluable with their assistance, particularly with recovery.

194. It is proposed to build a new workshop at WARRADALE in 1965, at an estimated cost of $195,000, for Central Command Workshop. This workshop will bring the Command Workshop personnel together for the first time since the original workshop at KESWICK was destroyed by fire. A change of command took place in November 1964, when Major K.A. GIBSON took over the dual role of DADEME and OC Workshop from Major A.N. MACLEOD. He has since been replaced by Major W.AWOOLSTON q.s.

Headquarters Central Command

195. A CMF position of ADEME formed part of the establishment of Headquarters Central Command. This position was filled by Lieutenant Colonel J.J. EDWARDS, OBE,MC, ED. His CMF assistant was Staff Captain R.TMATTISONMBE.

196. A small Headquarters was formed in the DADEME ARA office and it was decided by that Headquarters to group all CMF units at 107 Infantry Workshops Depot, KILKENNY. This was to enable all CMF RAEME units to be trained technically. Equipments were to be drawn and kept in instructional cages. OC/CO parent units objected to this and required their RAEME units to be with them, therefore the idea was short lived.

197. Lieutenant Colonel EDWARDS was eventaully transferred to CSTU and Captain MATTISON became O C, 107 Infantry Workshop RAEME.

198. From 1st Dec 1942, DADEME Central Command were:

  • Maj L B CUNNINGHAM 1 Dec 42 28 Jul 44 
  • Maj G H MACHIN 28 Jul 44 8 Mar 45

199. From 1 December 1942, DADEME Central Command were:

  • Maj L.B. CUNNINGHAM 1 Dec 42 28 Jul 44
  • Maj G.HMACHIN 28 Jul 44 8 Mar 45
  • Maj W.B. BROWN 9 Mar 45 28 Nov 45
  • Maj M.RDOIG 28 Nov 45 24 Apr 46
  • Maj S.E. REEVE 6 Feb 46 7 May 47
  • Capt M.H. SANDERS 7 May 47 27 Oct 48
  • Capt H.H. HENDERSON 27 Oct 48 24 Mar 49
  • Maj G.RMILLES 24 Mar 49 26 Nov 53
  • Maj G.S. ALLEN 2 Feb 54 4 Sep 56
  • Maj G.CMAGENIS 29 Aug 56 5 Sep 61
  • Maj A.N. MACLEOD 23 Aug 61 22 Nov 64
  • Maj K.AGILSON 23 Nov 64

8 Transport Company(General Transport)Workshop RAEME

200. 8 Company Royal Australian Army service Corps was formed in November 1948, at the same time as a workshop platoon Royal Australian Army Service Corps. This platoon operated until early 1952 when it became a Light Aid Detachment, Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, and the first Officer Commanding was Lieutenant A.R.BRITCHER.

201. On 2 July 1953 Lieutenant BRITCHER transferred to the Reserve of Officers and until February 1964 the Light Aid Detachment was without an Officer Commanding. He returned to active duty with the unit on 25 February 1954 and served as Officer Commanding until 1 July 1955, when he again transferred to the Reserve of Officers.

202. Warrant Officer Class 2 E.JTREMETHICK was then transferred from 107 Infantry Workshop to take command of the unit until 6 August1956, when Lieutenant R.DMcCOLL took over command of the unit in a camp at EL ALAMEIN and served with it until 26 August 1957. For the camp period of 1957 the parent unit and the Light Aid Detachment were divided between two camps, one half of which went into camp under command of provisional Lieutenant J. STOCK. Lieutenant STOCK became Officer Commanding the unit after Lieutenant McCOLL, but left after a short period. Again the Light Aid Detachment was without an Officer Commanding, and for the camp period of 1958 Lieutenant E.JTREMETHICK administered command, then for the camp period 1959 Warrant Officer Class2 B.R.SAYERS of 107 Infantry Workshop administered command.

203. During the period 5 November 1959 to 8 November 1961, the Light Aid Detachment was under command of Lieutenant L. LAMBERT, and late in 1960 the Light Aid Detachment moved from its parent unit locationat HAMPSTEAD to the Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Training Depot at KILKENNY. The next Officer Commanding was Temporary Captain G.D. MEAD, from 8 November 1961 to 28 June 1962.

204. The Light Aid Detachment as it then existed was disbanded, its location was shifted to PORT LINCOLN, then the unit was reformed as a workshop. The first Officer Commanding was Lieutenant G.SHAW, who remained with the unit until he joined the Australian Regular Army 1 March 1963. From that date Warrant Officer Class 1 B. DITTMAR administered command of the Light Aid Detachment until 14 March 1963, when Lieutenant H.J.HAYTER became Officer Commanding of the Light Aid Detachment.

Army Guided Weapons Trials Unit

205. In 1948 a small Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers group of vehicle mechanics and fitters and turners under Captain A.ACRAGO were operating a small workshop at WOOMERA. Three Telecommunication mechanics were attached to this workshop, but they worked separately from it, mainly at SALISBURY. Then in 1949 Composite workshops were formed, and Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineer tradesmen were allocated to these workshops according to their trades. Vehicle mechanics were operating in a Motor Transport Workshop which was commanded by Captain GERTH (Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers). The vehicle mechanics were made up from Royal Australian Navy, Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, and civilian tradesmen. The engineering workshop was set up under Lieutenant FOGARTY (Royal Australian Navy)to which the Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers engineering trades were attached, together with Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force personnel.

206. An electronics group was raised under Lieutenant Commander G.NEALERAN. This comprised Royal Australian Navy, Royal Australian Air Force and Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers personnel. Two radar mechanics under Warrant OfficerClass2 G. WEBBER worked mainly on the Bombing Range for ballistic tests, maintaining Radar Anti Aircraft No3 Mark7 and Plotting Tables.

207. In 1950 a Missile Range at Range 'G' at WOOMERA was commenced and the establishment was similar to that of the previous year, excepting that the percentage of civilian workers in the workshop was increased. One radar mechanic, Corporal A. BECK, maintained the Radars at the Missile Range and the other mechanic serviced those at the Ballistic Range.

208. 1951 saw gradual thinning out of Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers personnel at WOOMERA. Captain TREVOR came to the Vehicle Workshop with Warrant Officer Class 2 C. CHAMBERLAIN and Warrant Officer Class2 Barney BENTLEY, who was later replaced by Warrant Officer Class 2 Mick PROUD. An interesting fact of BENTLEY's service to Supply was that after years of service with Department of Supply at WOOMERA he served with the Ministry of Supply (UNITED KINGDOM) as a maintenance artificer for Atomic Bomb Testing at EMU PLAINS (X200)for which services he received the MBE. Warrant Officer Class 2 George MILLWARD replaced Warrant Officer Class2 WEBBER on the Balistic Range and was himself replaced in 1954 by Warrant Officer Class 2 George TROTTER. The establishment was increased to Captain, Warrant Officer Class 1 and 8 radar mechanics, and the Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers vehicle mechanics and fitters were replaced by civilian Department of Supply tradesmen.

209. In 1959 the Instrument Section was taken over by Warrant Officer Class 2 Bob SLOCUM from Warrant Officer Bruce ROBINSON and a complete base repair was carried out on ASKANI A theodolites for the first time on the Range. An optical tracker which was used for general acquisition of targets and missiles was manufactured by Warrant Officer SLOCUM and Craftsmen Ron MATTHEWS at the Range. Warrant Officer SLOCUM carried out the duties of a launch officer for six months and worked on such missiles as MALKARA, BLOODHOUND. THUNDERBIRD, LONG TOM, SKYLARK and SEASLUG. SGT. Colin WALLER an electrical fitter, has won two MAIL newspaper medals for fairest and best Australian Rules football player during his four years at WOOMERA.

210. In 1962 three Mark 9 Radars (STINGRAY or Type 83) were added to the equipments to be maintained by the Radar Troop

211. The present equipments which are maintained by the establishment of one officer and fifteen other ranks, include three Mark 7 and three Mark 9 Radars, four Mark 7H Stations and Acoustic ranging equipment. This latter equipment is a device used in missile recovery vehicles for showing a cartesian reference on a map grid in the travelling vehicle. At the time of writing, the Officer Commanding the Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Detachment of the Army Guided Weapons Trials Unit (AGWTU)is CaptainK.BEATTY.

Proof and Experimental Establishment PORT WAKEFIELD

212. In 1948 Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers attached to Proof and Experimental Establishment were one Artificer Gun and one Artificer Radar. The Artificer Gun, Warrant Officer Class1 (later Captain)W.J. GORMAN, was assisted by a civilian chief examiner and two senior examiners in maintaining Naval, AirForce and Army armament. Warrant Officer Class 1 John NEWTON (later Lieutenant) NEWTON was assisted by a civil senior supervisor, Mr Vin TOLSON, in the repair of Radar and Telecommunication Control Equipment.

213. There was little alteration to the establishment until 1961, when it was increased by one Artificer Radar, one Vehicle Mechanic and a Technical Storeman to control the receipt and issue of technical equipment.

214. In 1962, the Artificer Gun had two new equipments to maintain, the 105 mm M2A2 and the 105mm AMERICAN 81mm Mortar and Pack Howitzer which were used in the proving of ammunition, fuzes and the equipment itself. One of the 105 mm was totally destroyed in 1963 during the proofing of cartridge when a round burst in the barrel. There was a similar occurrence in 1964, when a 105 mm was extensively damaged during proving of ammunition.

215. Warrant Officer Class 1 Bill GORMAN was the senior RAEME Aftificer Gun from October 1951 to August 1954. He was followed by Warrant Officers Class 2 Ted SHARPE and Warrant Officers Class 1 Bob REYNOLDS and Ron AMBROSE. Artificer Radar Warrant Officer Class 2 John NEWTON was replaced by Warrant Officer Class 1 Harry HOPPER and now Warrant Officer Class 1 George MILLWARD is serving in that appointment. Both HOPPER and NEWTON have been awarded M.B.E.s for their services during their appointments with Proof and Experimental Establishment.

4 Base Ordnance Depot

216. Group 14 BOD was situated at PENFIELD from 1946 to 1961. A timber and iron workshop measuring 60 ft by 30 ft was used by RAEME attached to 4 BOD and was located near the centre of the Vehicle Park. A wooden vehicle ramp was positioned adjacent to this workshop. A vehicle servicing building, similar to the workshop, with a dirt floor and very little technical servicing equipment, was used to service six hundred and twelve vehicles.

217. Lieutenant OAKES, (later Captain), was posted to the Electrical Mechanical Engineer appointment in May 1959 when 4 BOD took over two RAAF hangers at MALLALA. These buildings were ideally situated for the storage of vehicles, but the distance of about twenty miles from PENFIELD and thirty-four miles from KESWICK was a disadvantage when inspections were required to be carried out.

218. In October 1961 establishments were reviewed and in June 1962 the establishment of the RAEME attached to 4BOD was reduced to:

Captain Electrical Mechanical Engineer
Warrant Officer Artificer Vehicle
Sergeant Vehicle Mechanic
Corporal Vehicle Mechanic
Craftsman Vehicle Mechanic
Staff Sergeant Artificer Gun
Corporal Fitter Small Arms

219. A start was made to transfer the Vehicle Park from PENFIELD to WARRADALE in October 1960 and the move was completed in April 1961. All major machines and technical items were replaced with new equipment, which was installed in the Tyre Repair Shop, Service Station, Battery Room and the Equipment Cleaning Room at WARRADALE. All wheeled vehicles for 1961 Annual Citizen Military Forces Camp were issued from PENFIELD and returned to WARRADALE.

220. The WARRADALE Workshop is approximately of the same size as the one at PENFIELD and is adjacent to the Service Station with a servicing ramp for carrying out technical inspections. A separate office for the senior non - commisioned officer is included and the whole arrangement is an improvement on PENFIELD.

221. In December 1960 a fitter small arms was posted to RAEME attached to 4 BOD. A repair section for the Armourer of four hundred square feet was converted from the old 4 BOD Wagon Sheds at KESWICK which, though unsatisfactory, was the only available space at that time. The section was moved to Shed 8 at KESWICK in February 1961 where small arms were stored. This building was suitable for work after minor alterations had been carried out. RAEME completed the modification of the Treatment and Packaging section of 4 BOD in March 1961 by installing degreasing, de-rusting and water displacement tanks with additional heated tanks for various treatment procedures.222. A new office with a floor area of 200 square feet was built for the Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and occupied in April 1964.

223. During 1960 62 new arms and equipments were issued to units; this called for extensive work during this period, as inspection, classification to revised repair limits at Returned Stores Depot were applied.

224. When El Alamein Camp at PORT AUGUSTA was established, the unit held its camps in EL ALAMEIN. From 1961 onwards the unit has been located in the Cultana area for Annual Camps.

225. The current establishment of the RAEME attached to 4 BOD is:

Establishment 1964

  • Lieutenant Electrical Mechanical Engineer
  • Staff Sergeant Artificer Gun
  • Sergeant Vehicle Mechanic
  • Corporal Vehicle Mechanic
  • Corporal Fitter and Turner

107 Infantry Workshop RAEME

226. When National Service Training was in operation, the Workshop was at full strength. The Unit was able to concentrate on technical training and at the end of National Service Training the workshop was in a better position to carry out its role than at any other time in its history. Initial drafts of trainees were selected for transfer to units by district of abode, , with no thought of selecting tradesmen. This situation was rectified by a selection team visiting 16 National Service Battalion at the start of each intake and from than on the Unit received a balanced intake of tradesmen. . It is interesting to note that some of the keenest members of the Unit, both officers and non commissioned officers, , joined 107 Infantry Workshop RAEME via National Service draft.

227. The unit was raised at KESWICK Barracks on 1 May 1948 with a cadre staff of Captain V.A. MOSTYN, Lieutenant J. TRELOAR, Warrant Officer Class 1 V. CLAXTON, Warrant Officer Class 2 G. ROBINSON and Corporal W. TASKER. The Officer Commanding was Major E.H. COLLEY,M.B.E.

228. Initially the unit had offices and Quartermaster Store accommodation in the Signals Training Depot(now Women's Services Training Depot) KESWICK Barracks. Vehicle Storage was in the rear part of the RAASC Supply Depot, now the site of the Sergeant's Mess. Later, the offices were moved to huts adjacent to the Medical Training Depot(now 2 Line of Communication Provost) and at the end of the 13 Field Regiment Depot.

229. In 1951 the unit was relocated at the SOUTHWARK Training Depot in Cawthorne Street, SOUTHWARK. A garage and vehicle ramp were installed to increase accommodation and facilities. This Depot also accommodated 4 Royal Australian Army Pay Corps and 9 Infantry Brigade Light Aid Detachment. A large portion of this depot was burnt out in December 1954 and the unit was moved to KILKENNY Training Depot, Jane Street, KILKENNY, in 1956 after its vacation by 3 Field Squadron Royal Australian Engineers.

230. Although giving much more space than previous locations, this depot proved inadequate, as it also accommodated 13 Field Regiment Light Aid Detachment, 8 Transport Company Workshop, 3/8 South Australian Mounted Rifles Light Aid Detachment, 107 Ordnance Stores Section and, for a period,9 Medium Workshop RAEME.

231. At the present time 107 Infantry Workshop RAEME is the sole occupier of the Depot the Light Aid Detachments having returned to parent units, 8 Transport Company to PORT LINCOLN, 107 Infantry Workshop Stores Section is at SOMERTON Training Depot, and 9 Med??? Workshop disbanded.

232. The first camps were held at WOODSIDE where the Workshop vehicles were sited in and around the Camp Workshop building. In 1950 the Annual Camp was held at ELDERSLIE FARM, an Army Remount Depot located on the NAIRNE Road. In succeeding years Annual Camps where held at CALOOTE, MURRAY BRIDGE and HAMPSTEAD Barracks.

233. Until the reorganisation to the Pentropic Division, the unit operated in support of Headquarters Central Command Service Training the Workshop was in a better position to carry out its role than at any other time in its history. Initial drafts of trainees were selected for transfer to units by district of abode, with no thought of selecting tradesmen.?????? This situation was rectified by a selection team visiting 16 National Service Battalion at the start of each intake and from then on the Unit received a balanced intake of tradesmen. It is interesting to note that some of the keenest members of the Unit, both officers and non-commissioned officers, joined 107 Infantry Workshop RAEME via National Service draft.

234. Possibly the most outstanding unit activity was the combination of a Heavy Equipment Recovery Course with the digging of swimming pools for the towns of EUDUNDA and OAKBANK. Practical experience was gained and much social activity enjoyed, as well as goodwill established. In the charity field, the Unit held firework displays and picture evenings for orphan children in conjunction with RAEME birthday; this was at KILKENNY Depot.

235. One of the most outstanding personalities of the unit was Warrant Officer Class 2 'Donald' DUCK, Australian Regular Army Company Sergeant Major, who was with the Unit at SOUTHWARK. He was 6 foot 4 inches of solid muscle: judo expert, ex-Commando, soldier of fortune, and his feats of strength, coupled with his ever ready help for all members, ensured a lasting memory in this history of this Unit.

236. The Unit attended Annual Camp in February/March 1964 at the CULTANA Training Area. Strength of Workshop site was 52 all ranks with a further 26 personnel detached to the Recruit Training Wing. Activities were normal workshop role in day time, with night training and patrolling.

237. The 24 year old Workshop vehicles have finally disappeared from the Unit and it is understood that they are to be replaced with lightweight vehicles and equipment. One Truck 1-1/4 ton Automotive repair and trailer is at present with the unit.

238. Officers Commanding 107 Infantry Workshop were:

 

Rank Name From To
Maj E.H.COLLEY,MBE 1.5 48 14.10.54
Capt(T/Maj) L.C.CAMPBELL,MBE 24.1 55 11.12.56
Capt(T/Maj) C.G.C.FLECKER 11.12.56 12.9.57
Capt(T/Maj) L.C.CAMPBELL,MBE 12.9.57 22.12.58
Capt(T/Maj) J.E.D.DRURY 22.12.58 30.6.60
Capt(T/Maj) A.N.MANDERS 20.6.60 21.5.62
Maj K.J.RODDA 21.5.62 22.2.64
Capt(T/Maj) R.T.MATTISON,MBE 22.2.64  

 

3/9 South Australian Mounted Rifles Light Aid Detachment

239. Captain L. CAMPBELL was the original Officer Commanding 31 Light Aid Detachment when it was raised in September 1948. The parent unit was 3 Reconnaissance Regiment equipped with 'Staghound' scout cars. The Light Aid Detachment vehicles consisted of 'Blitz' workshop vehicles, 'Jeeps' 1-1/4 ton, two Diamond 'T' recovery vehicles, and a 40 ton Diamond 'T' tank transporter. The Detachment was the first of the Light Aid Detachments in Central Command to accompany its parent unit during Annual Citizen Military Force camp at WOODSIDE in 1949. The Annual Camp of 1950 was held at RABILLA, which is situated about 7 miles East of MURRAY BRIDGE. Unit tradesmen brought their private tool kits to 1949 1950 camps because there were insufficient Army tools issued.

240. In June 1949 the parent unit changed its role and was named 3/9 South Australian Mounted Rifles, but it was not until 1951 that the detachment took the parent unit's name and became 3/9th South Australian Mounted Rifles Light Aid Detachment.

241. During this year, the annual camp was held on the site of the old Remount Farm at ELDERSLIE, where the present married quarters at WOODSIDE Camp are situated, and named INVERBRACKIE. 1952 and 1953 camps were held at CALOOTE and PORT WAKEFIELD respectively and the following year EL ALAMEIN area near PORT AUGUSTA. This was to be the future area for annual camps. n 1954, 3/9 South Australian Mounted Rifles with the Light Aid Detachment and a Detachment from Royal Australian Army Service Corps, were the first units to train in the new area at EL ALAMEIN. The camp was located about two miles East of the present location of EL ALAMEIN. During the camps of 1955 56 the Light Aid Detachment constructed and maintained mobile targets for 37 mm anti tank weapons. Captain CAMPBELL was appointed Officer Commanding 107 Infantry Workshop and Lieutenant SHIPP became Officer Commanding the Light Aid Detachments.

242. In 1957 the parent unit changed its role to Anti Tank and was issued with 6 Pounder weapons. Prior to the 1860 Annual Camp the role was again changed to an Armoured Replacement Group and the unit continued to use Staghound armoured cars and in addition Ferret Mk 1 and 2 scout cars.

243. In 1959 the Light Aid Detachment was disbanded and two Australian Regular Army RAEME tradesmen were attached to the parent unit. A composite Detachment and Recovery Section was formed from 107 Infantry Workshop personnel, to accompany 3/9 during 1960 Annual Camp. This was the last camp when the heavy KENWORTH Recovery vehicle was used before being sold through disposal sales.

244. The Light Aid Detachment was reformed in 1960 and located at KILKENNEY with 107 Infantry Workshop. Lieutenant R. MATTISON was appointed Officer Commanding. The parent unit was equipped with 120 mm Battalion Anti Tank weapons and 17 Pounderequipments.

245. Lieutenant B. SAYERS was posted as Officer Commanding in 1961 and he remained with the Detachment until 1963. During this time the unit was relocated with 3/9 South Australian Mounted Rifles at UNLEY. The parent unit's armament was again changed, and the 106 mm Recoil less Rifle mounted on 1- 1/4 ton Landrover became the main unit weapon.

246. Captain P. HOARE was appointed Officer Commanding the Detachment in 1963 and is still serving at the time of this writing.

24 Light Aid Detachment (Headquarters 9 Brigade Light Aid Detachment)

247. This unit was formed from elements of 107 Infantry workshop RAEME in 1948, the first Officer Commanding being Lieutenant A.N. MACLEOD, (later to become DADEME Central Command). He attended the camps at WOODSIDE and CLARE in 1950 and 1951.

248. After Lieutenant MACLEOD transferred to the ARA in 1951, Lieutenant John STOCK became Officer Commanding and whilst he was absent, Warrant Officer Class 2 J. CONN administered command of the unit.

249. Lieutenant D.KTREMETHICK commanded the unit from 24 March 1954 to 21 October 1957; Lieutenant N. McSTEWART from 21 October 1957 to 10 August 1959, and Lieutenant (later Major) R. MATTISON from 10 August 1959 until the Light Aid Detachment was disbanded under the new reorganisation on 1 July 1960.

Headquarters Central Command Equipment Inspection Section

250. Previous to 1951, when the Equipment Inspection Section was raised in Central Command, unit inspections were carried out by the Equipment Inspection Section from Southern Command. Temporary Captain A.MMcDONOUGH was posted to Equipment Inspection Section in March 1951 while he was still serving in JAPAN. In November 1951 the Equipment Inspection Section, which occupied an office in Central Command Workshop Headquarters, consisted of Captain A.MMcDONOUGH, Warrant Officer Class 2 R. REYNOLDS, Craftsman W.G. DICK and Mr. L. BURTON. Later, the Officer Commanding the Section became the Command Inspector and occupied the Deputy Assistant Director of Electrical and Mechanical Engineer's office and Central Command Headquarters.

251. Later, the Section moved to three small offices behind the building now occupied by 2 Line of Communication Provost Company, where they remained until 1960. The strength of the Section had by then been increased to:

  • Captain Command Inspector
  • Warrant Officer Class 2 Artificer Vehicle
  • Warrant Officer Class 2 Circuit Armourer
  • Warrant Officer Class 2 Artificer Gun
  • Corporal Vehicle Mechanic
  • Civilian Clerk

252. Captain R.M. WEBBER was appointed Officer Commanding when Captain A.MMcDONOUGH was transferred to 4 Base Ordnance Depot in May 1956.

253. On the completion of the new workshop and service station at KESWICK Barracks in June 1961, the Inspection Section occupied portion of Planning and Control Office in the new building. There was a reduction in the establishment of the Inspection Section to:

  • Command Inspector,
  • Artificer Gun,
  • Artificer Vehicle,
  • Fitter and Turner, who replaced the Circuit Armourer
  • Civilian clerk.

254. The following officers were posted to Equipment Inspection Section from 1959 to 1964: Lieutenant C.V. CLAXTON, Lieutenant H. JANKOVKIS, Lieutenant G.A. ROBINSON and Captain A.MMcDONOUGH.

255. The Equipment Inspection Section carry out inspections of technical equipment for units which are located in the metropolitan and country areas, as far distant as RENMARK, PORT LINCOLN and MOUNT GAMBIER. Visits of inspection are made annually to 8 Army Engineers at BROKEN HILL and to units of Northern Territory Command, DARWIN.

104 Transport Platoon RAASC

256. 104 Transport Platoon RAASC was formed at HAMPSTEAD Barracks from 4 Military District Transport Platoon RAASC when it was disbanded in 1947. The establishment of 104 Transport Platoon included one attached RAEME vehicle mechanic. In 1948, before a mechanic was posted to the unit, Sergeant M. FREEMAN and Craftsman F. McENTEE were detached from Central Command Workshop to carry out unit repairs to wheeled vehicles. Craftsman M. CURNOW was the first Vehicle Mechanic to become attached to the unit, and he remained there from 1951 to 1953. Craftsman R. BACH was attached for two years and Corporal CURNOW returned for a three year posting until 1958. Corporal P. C. SMITH was transferred to HAMPSTEAD and remained with the unit until 1960. The last vehicle mechanic to be with the unit, until the attachment was discontinued, was Corporal R. THOMPSON, who was there from 1960 to 1961.

5 Central Ammunition Depot.

257. 5 Central Ammunition Depot GLADSTONE have one RAEME vehicle mechanic attached to the unit, to carry out unit repairs to the unit's equipment and supervise vehicle servicing. 5 Central Ammunition Depot was without this attachment for a number of years, due to a shortage of RAEME vehicle mechanics. During this time the maintenance and repair of vehicles and equipment was carried out by local civil contractors. Some repairs, which are beyond the capacity of the Vehicle Mechanic, are being carried out by contractors when it is uneconomical to have them repaired in Central Command workshop.
16 National Service Training Battalion RAEME Platoon.

258. The 16 National Service Training Battalion was raised at WOODSIDE in May 1951 and a RAEME Platoon was included in the establishment. There were two ARA RAEME instructors attached to this Platoon. Towards the end of each intake, tradesmen from the Platoon were employed with Central Command Workshop RAEME for one week's Corps Training. Members of National Service were required to serve with the CMF for a period of not less than two years after they had completed their training at WOODSIDE. In July 1959 National Service was discontinued.
8 Army Engineer Regiment Light Aid Detachment.

259. In September 1955 it was proposed to raise 8 Army Engineer Regimental Light Aid Detachment at BROKEN HILL. The new training depot was under construction at the time. 8 Army Engineer Regiment indicated that they would transfer sixteen electrical and mechanical tradesmen from the Regiment to the Light Aid Detachment. Approval was given for an increment of one Officer Commanding (Lieutenant) to be added to the establishment. Second Lieutenant R.W. BIRRILL, and engineer with the Zinc Corporation BROKEN HILL, was appointed on 27 June 1957. The unit was raised about September 1957.

260. In 1959 the unit, which travelled by road convoy from BROKEN HILL, attended the annual Citizen Military Force camp at CULTANA. Lieutenant E.JTREMETHICK administered command to the unit, which comprised approximately twenty other ranks, during the camp. In 1960 the Light Aid Detachment was disbanded.

9 Medium Workshop RAEME

261. Approval was given to raise 9 Medium Workshop at KILKENNY Training Depot in August 1956. Major L. C. CAMPBELL, MBE was appointed Officer Commanding the Workshop, with Captain A.N. MANDERS as Administrative Officer. The Australian Regular Army Cadre Staff consisted of the following personnel:

  • Quartermaster Lieutenant R.J. OAKES
  • djutant Lieutenant A.J. HOGAN
  • Company Sergeant Major Warrant Officer Class 2 L. STEELE
  • Instructor Warrant Officer Class 2 C. ROBERTS
  • Storeman Sergeant S. MAUDE
  • Storeman Lance Corporal B. JONES

262. About thirty National Service trainees and several senior non commissioned officers were transferred from 107 Infantry Workshop in November 1956 to 9 Medium Workshop RAEME.

263. The Workshop attended its first camp at EL ALAMEIN in 1957 and during the camp 9 Medium Workshop, with approximately 180 other ranks, carried out repair and recovery tasks while 107 Infantry Workshop was engaged in field training.

264. The disbandment of the unit began in August 1957 and was completed by 28 October 1957. Some of the technical equipment was transferred to 107 Infantry Workshop and the remainder returned to 4 Base Ordnance Depot. The National Service personnel were transferred to the National Service Inactive List and the Citizen Military Force Officer and other ranks were posted to 107 Infantry Workshop. Lieutenant OAKES was posted to Central Command Workshop and Warrant Officer ROBERTS and Sergeant MAUDE were transferred to 107 Infantry Workshop RAEME

2 Field Ambulance

265. In May 1960, 2 Field Ambulance was posted to WOODSIDE. The existing workshop at WOODSIDE was used for unit repairs on vehicles and equipment by the three RAEME vehicle mechanics who were attached to the Unit. Sergeant PETTIT was the senior RAEME mechanic with the Unit. He was posted to 4 RAR when that unit replaced 2 Field Ambulance at WOODSIDE.

2 Line of Communication Provost Company

266. The 2 Line of Communication Provost Company was formed at KESWICK in September 1960. The establishment included four RAEME tradesmen who were: one Corporal and two Craftsmen vehicle mechanics and one Craftsman electrical fitter. None of these vacancies have been filled since the unit was formed.

4 Battalion Royal Australian Regiment

267. 4 RAR was raised in SOUTH AUSTRALIA in January 1964 and commenced training at WOODSIDE. The unit has on its establishment eight attached tradesmen, which includes five vehicle mechanics and three fitters and turners. Sergeant George PETTIT (vehicle mechanic) was transferred to 4 RAR from 2 Field Ambulance and Sergeant Dave MOON (fitter and turner) was posted from Central Command Workshop RAEME to 4 Battalion.

4th Military District Ordnance Workshop Detachment (ALICE SPRINGS), 2nd Line of Communications Workshop, 2nd Australian Motor Transport Workshops

62. The first recognised Ordnance Workshop detachment to move NORTH was formed from the 4 Military District Workshop in February March 1941. This consisted of 1 officer and 30 other ranks and was comprised of motor transport repair tradesmen and a few ancillary trades with Major W. DUNCAN as Officer Commanding and Warrant Officer Class 2 C. JACKSON as 2nd in Command.

63. The remaining members were:

WO2 D. RADKE Motor Transport
SSGT G. TIVER Motor Transport
SGT A. McDONOUGH General Engineering
CPL C. HUGHES Electrician
CPL L.H. HARRINGTON Clerk
CPL McMASTER Storeman
PTE WEDDING Motor Transport
PTE OATES Motor Transport
PTE HEAD Panel Beater/Welder
CPL SIMMONS Cook
PTE SPARROW Batman/Driver
CPL BISHOP Carpenter



64. The detachment moved to ALICE SPRINGS on 4 March 1941, and was originally located in open ground on the WESTERN side of the railhead. After the detachment was set up, Major DUNCAN left the area and Captain John SILCOCK became Officer Commanding in June 1941. The unit expanded, and a new workshop, consisting of Motor Transport and General Engineering facilities was erected in the Department of Interior area in the centre of town. At a later date this was further expanded, and another building was erected on property next to the Police Station in the same area.

65. In July 1941 the detachment became known as the 2nd Line of Communication Workshop. Captain SILCOCK remained as the Officer Commanding, with Lieutenant C. ANGAS as second in charge, the unit strength then being increased to two officers and 130 other ranks.

66. Because of the build-up in the area, the 2nd Line of Communication Workshop proved inadequat3e, and a further site was proposed. A new Motor Transport Workshop was then built next to the ALICE SPRINGS Racecourse, about six miles NORTH of the township.

67. The building commenced in late 1942, and was fully operational in early 1943 with the strength increased to 7 Officers and 196 other ranks. The 2nd Line of Communication Workshop then became known as the 2nd Australian Motor Transport Workshop, Australian Electrical Mechanical Engineers.

68. Captain SILCOCK was promoted to Major in September 1942 and remained as Officer Commanding with the following officers under his command:

  • Captain G. ANGAS
  • Captain J. C. TAYLOR
  • Captain A. A. WHITE
  • Lieutenant A. E. BROWN
  • Lieutenant J. DINGLE
  • Lieutenant K.A. MILNE

69. 2nd Australian Motor Transport Workshop was mainly a Motor Transport Workshop and it consisted of 5 main buildings with a machine section (General Engineering), Heavy Motor Transport section, Light Motor Transport section, Tyre Retreading section and Ancillary Trades section. The Ancillary section carried out carpentry work, textile and tent repairs and all the boot repairs for the area.

70. In August 1943 Major ELLIS was posted from 4 Military District and took over as Officer Commanding from Major SILCOCK and the workshop continued to operate until the end of the war. In 1945 46 it was finally closed down by Captain Cyril JACKSON, who was the senior Warrant Officer in the original Ordnance Workshop Detachment.

105 Independent Brigade Workshop

71. 105 Independent Brigade Workshop was formed at the WAYVILLE showgrounds in early 1942; the strength was 3 officers and 130 other ranks. The officers were Capt. H. BROOKS, Officer in Charge, Lieutenant A. CRAGO, a former Permanent Military Force non commission officer, and Lieutenant TIVER, who was promoted from Warrant Officer within the unit.

72. After forming, the unit moved to SPRINGBANK, SOUTH AUSTRALIA, and in July 1942 left that location and moved to BELMONT COMMON near GLENELG in VICTORIA. The unit functioned at that location for approximately three months, then moved to PUCKAPUNYAL and became part of the newly formed 6 Australian Armoured Brigade Work

275 Australian Light Aid Detachment

73. 275 Australian Light Aid Detachment was raised at KESWICK in late 1941 and was organised to serve with an Infantry division headquarters.

74. Lieutenant F. FLINT formed the unit with 13 other ranks and was posted as Officer in Charge. In February 1942 the unit moved to NORTHERN TERRITORY and was located at WINNELLIE, 8 miles SOUTH of DARWIN. After 3 months, a further move was carried out to the 45 mile Mark on the North South Road.

75. In March 1943 the unit equipment was handed over to a WESTERN AUSTRALIAN unit and the personnel returned to SANDY CREEK in SOUTH AUSTRALIA. Here they took over the equipment of the WESTERN AUSTRALIAN Light Aid Detachment, and after reforming, moved to STUART in NORTHERN QUEENSLAND in April 1943. The Light Aid Detachment operated at STUART until March 1944, when it returned to BRISBANE and was disbanded

106 Independent Brigade Group Workshop

76. This unit was formed at WAYVILLE Showgrounds between January and March 1942. The strength was approximately 120 all ranks and the majority were South Australians with a few Victorians. It was formed by Captain R. FORSTER and was later taken over by Captain A. A. WHITE.

77. In early March 1942, Captain FORSTER left with an advance party and moved to NORTHERN TERRITORY. The main body moved there in late March and was located at NOONAMAH by April 1942. During the following month the unit moved to 44 mile, ADELAIDE River. In September 1942 a further move was made to a new site at "38 mile" MANTON GAP.

78. Shortly after this, four sections were formed (1,2,3 and 5) and became known as the 12 Australian Motor Transport Workshop. The 106 Independent Brigade Workshop then became known as No 3 Section of the 12 Brigade Workshop, and Captain E. PATRICK, an original member of 5 Recovery Section, became Officer Commanding.

79. No 3 Section moved again in the latter part of 1943 to WONDECLA on the ATHERTON Tableland, where it became the 135 Independent Brigade Workshop with Captain PATRICK as Officer Commanding. Later Major A. TAYLOR took over from Captain PATRICK as Officer Commanding and remained until October 1944, when the unit embarked for NEW GUINEA. A further change of Officer Commanding was made, Captain (Temporary Major) W. HALL, the original Officer Commanding of 2/36 Australian LADS, replaced Major TAYLOR.

80. On arrival in NEW GUINEA, the workshop operated in the AITAPE area until May 1945, when it moved to WEWAK and remained with Major HALL as Officer Commanding, until the end of the war. It was finally disbanded in BRISBANE in early 1946.

219 Australian Light Aid Detachment Att
13 Field Regiment Royal Australian Artillery

81. 219 Australian Light Aid Detachment was formed at WOODSIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA during February 1942. The Light Aid Detachment was commanded by Captain H. M. WALKINGTON and commenced with two non commissioned officers, Warrant Officer Class 2 F. SMITH and Sergeant A.MMcDONOUGH, and six craftsmen.

82. During March of 1943 the Light Aid Detachment moved to WAYVILLE where the strength was increased to one officer and fifteen other ranks, and issues of stores and equipment were made, including:

  • 1 Garage vehicle
  • 1 Binned Stores vehicle
  • 1 Recovery vehicle
  • 1 Stores truck 3 ton
  • 2 Utilities.

83. On 25 April 1942 the Light Aid Detachment embarked on the SS 'GLENPARK' at PORT ADELAIDE en route to SYDNEY and five days later assembled at INGLEBURN in NEW SOUTH WALES, where an intensive training programme was undertaken. Training continued until the Light Aid Detachment embarked on the MV 'MACDHUI' on 8th June 1942 bound for PORT MORESBY.

84. The Light Aid Detachment arrived at its destination on 26 June 1942 and joined 13 Field Regiment at the four mile mark outside PORT MORESBY. The Regiment was engaged in coastal defence duties with troops at MINLNE BAY and BUNA, and the Regimental Headquarters at PORT MORESBY. 49 Battery was equipped with 18 pounders and 50 Battery was equipped with 4.5 Howitzers.

85. 48 Battery remained in Australia as Depot Battery at HOLDSWORTHY School of Artillery; they were equipped with 25 pounders, and did not go to PORT MORESBY until after the Light Aid Detachment joined the Regiment. In August 1943 the Regiment was relieved and returned to AUSTRALIA, accompanied by the Light Aid Detachment.

86. On arrival in AUSTRALIA, the Light Aid Detachment was given leave and did not re assemble until December 1943. On this occasion the unit was located at TOOWOOMBA in QUEENSLAND and further training was carried out.

87. During May 1944 the Light Aid Detachment moved to ATHERTON in NORTH QUEENSLAND with the 13 Field Regiment and remained with it until it prepared to embark in 1945. However, embarkation plans were cancelled due to cessation of hostilities. The period of training at ATHERTON was devoted to intense training for jungle operations, including the use of the short barrel 25 pounder, which had been introduced for air drop and jungle operations.

88. The original members of the Light Aid Detachment were:

  • Captain H. M. WALKINGTON
  • Warrant Officer 2 F. SMITH
  • Staff Sergeant A.MMcDONOUGH
  • Corporal P. FLOOD
  • Private G. GASK
  • Private C. BARTRAM
  • Private W. BROWN
  • Private W. CLEELAND
  • Private H. COLLINS
  • Private F. DONOVAN
  • Private R. EARLE
  • Private L. INVERARITY
  • Private D. HALL
  • Private J. MILLICH
  • Private L. WEBSTER
  • Private K. ROBINSON


89. Captain H. WALKINTON was Officer Commanding for the entire period that the Light Aid Detachment operated.

90. In 1942, Australian Electrical Mechanical Engineers was formed, and the Light Aid Detachment had all the vehicle mechanics and gun fitters transferred from the 13 Field Regiment to the Light Aid Detachment. After the transfer, the Light Aid Detachment strength became one officer and 46 other ranks. It then consisted of a Headquarters, with a percentage of personnel attached to each battery.

91. The original 16 members were all from SOUTH AUSTRALIA, with the exception of one Victorian, Private W. CLEELAND.

92. From the commencement until disbandment, a total of 57 personnel passed through the unit. Of this total members were from:
 

SOUTH AUSTRALIA 32
VICTORIA 10
QUEENSLAND 1
NEW SOUTH WALES 13
WESTERN AUSTRALIA Nil
TASMANIA 1

93. Unit re unions were commenced in 1953 and carried on until 1957. The re - unions consisted on an ANZAC Night Dinner at the Central Hotel, ADELAIDE. Because of the shortage of numbers, the re - unions lapsed in 1958, but some members still meet annually with their parent unit 13 Field Regiment Royal Australian Artillery.

5 Recovery Section (2/2 Army Field Workshop)

94. 5 Recovery Section was formed in ADELAIDE in May 1940 from personnel from the AIF recruit depot at WAYVILLE, who had been trade tested at 4 MD Workshop at KESWICK.

95. Staff Sergeant A. GANNON and Sergeant E. PATRICK were originally in charge of forming the unit, but later command was taken over by Captain R. BRINKMAN with Lieutenant McGILLIVRAY as 2IC.

96. By September 1940 the unit's establishment was complete, ie 2 officers and 71 other ranks. They left ADELAIDE with 6 Recovery Section and sailed on the ship ‘NEW HOLLAND' from MELBOURNE on 15 September 1940. 4, 5 and 6 Recovery Sections formed the recovery element of 2/2 Army Field Workshop.

97. 5 Recovery Section disembarked on 15 October 1940 in the SUEZ CANAL at EL KANTARA. From there they moved to IKINGI MARUIT, which is approximately 16 miles from ALEXANDRIA.

98. In late November 1940 portion of the Recovery Section moved into the desert, while the remainder operated in the ALEXANDRIA area.

99. Later, in January 1941, members of 5 Recovery Section were brought together and in late February the complete Section embarked on the cargo ship 'DEVIS' at ALEXANDRIA and sailed for GREECE. At this time Lieutenant McGILLIVRAY was replaced by Lieutenant R. WEBBER, a Permanent Military Force Officer.

100. After operating in GREECE for about four weeks, evacuation of our forces commended, equipment was destroyed, and 5 Recovery Section was split up and left GREECE, some for ALEXANDRIA and some for CRETE. Some members reached ALEXANDRIA, but others were in a convoy which was recalled to CRETE.

101. Ten members were taken prisoner in “GREECE, including Lieutenant R. WEBBER. Those members who went to CRETE were used as infantry for about four weeks. A further evacuation was then carried out and a further ten members were captured.

102. The unit was re formed in BARBARA in PALESTINE as was located near the aerodrome. As no equipment was available, tradesmen of 5 Recovery Section were employed in a field workshop located in that area.

103. In August 1941 the unit was moved to SYRIA, where they rejoined 6 Recovery section and on 12 March 1942, together they embarked at TUFIHR and eventually reached AUSTRALIA in mid August. The unit was disbanded and members were subsequently absorbed into other workshop units.

65 Australian Light Aid Detachment.

104. 65 Light Aid Detachment was formed by Captain R. BRINKMAN at WAYVILLE Showgrounds in May 1940. In June 1940 the Officer Commanding was changed and Lieutenant E.H. COLLEY, who was assisting in forming 5 Recovery Section, changed positions with Captain BRINKMAN. Unit strength was 1 officer and 12 other ranks. The unit stayed at WOODSIDE until late June and during this period training was carried out at MURRAY BRIDGE with the Royal Australian Engineers on pontoon and bridge training.

105. The unit then moved to PUCKAPUNYAL in VICTORIA. Here they joined their parent unit 2/3 Australian Corps Field Park Company Royal Australian Engineers, who formed part of Corps Engineers.

106. Training was carried out at PUCKAPUNYAL and in February 1941 the Light Aid detachment embarked at MELBOURNE on the SS MAURITANIA. The ship stayed for three days at FREMANTLE and a similar time at BOMBAY, where the unit was transhipped to the ship WESTERNLAND. The unit disembarked at SUEZ and was transported by rail to ED MAGDAL in the GAZA area, where they camped at Hill 69. The unit took an active part in the SYRIAN campaign and also operated in EGYPT, PALESTINE, JORDAN and LEBANON until December 1941.

107. In February 1942 the unit left the SUEZ area for COLOMBO in the ship SUTLEJ, which formed part of a convoy. Lieutenant E.H. COLLEY was posted and Warrant Officer Class 2 V. RESEIGH became acting Officer Commanding the unit. SUTLEJ was too slow to keep up with the convoy which headed for JAVA, so she was diverted to FREMANTLE, where she took on provisions. The ship reached PORT ADELAIDE, where the unit disembarked at the Electricity Trust of South Australia wharf on 22 March 1942.

108. The unit, including transport and equipment, was railed to EAST OAKLEIGH, VICTORIA, when an Engineer dump was set up. Lieutenant C. SMITH was appointed officer commanding and he took over from Staff Sergeant A.W. MARSH, who had been the senior non commissioned officer of the unit. The unit was refitted and training was carried out. One task was to assist a newly formed Signal Unit which moved by road from RINGWOOD, VICTORIA, to GROVELLY Camp, BRISBANE, with 205 vehicles and 100 motor cycles. After the Light Aid Detachment returned to EAST OAKLEIGH by road, it packed in readiness to move to the ATHERTON Tablelands, QUEENSLAND. Part of the unit moved by road and the remainder by ship to CAIRNS. The unit was then located at ROCKY CREEK on the Tableland area.

109. The unit, with Lieutenant ROSBOROUGH appointed Officer Commanding, embarked from CAIRNS for NEW GUINEA on 18 October 1943, and landed at BUNA. It then moved by road to FINCHHAVEN, SCARLET BEACH area and back to FINCHHAVEN. After two months the unit embarked for AUSTRALIA, but at LAE it took over from another Engineer unit which returned to AUSTRALIA. The unit again embarked for AUSTRALIA on 9 June 1944 and disembarked at TOWNSVILLE, then proceeded to BRISBANE. At KAPOOKA, Royal Australian Engineers Training Centre, it underwent a 15 weeks course and then continued with further training.

110. The war ended in 1945, the unit was refitted and ready to return to NEW GUINEA from its location at WONGABELL, QUEENSLAND. Before moving to CHERMSIDE, BRISBANE, the unit was engaged in carrying out demotion tasks at Artillery Practice Range. In February 1946 the unit was disbanded by Warrant Officer A.W. MARCH at CHERMSIDE.

2/63 Australian Light Aid Detachment (Attached 2/7 Field Regiment RAA)

111. 2/63 Australian Light Aid Detachment was formed at WAYVILLE in June 1940. When assembled, they moved in August 1940 to WOODSIDE and became attached to the parent unit, 2/7 Field Regiment RAA. The Light Aid Detachment strength was one officer, Captain W. HALL, and 14 other ranks. The senior non commissioned officer was Warrant Officer Class 2 L. HEFFERNAN, a Permanent Military Forces soldier. Training was carried out at WOODSIDE and on 18 November 1940 the Light Aid Detachment embarked and sailed with the parent unit on the SS STRATHEDEN from OUTER HARBOUR. After a seven day stay in PERTH, they left AUSTRALIA and arrived at KANTARA in the MIDDLE EAST on 17 December 1940.

112. During the next twelve months the unit served at AMRIA from April 1941, MERSA METRUH from May 1941, and SIDI BARRANI from September 1941.

113. On 19 February 1942, 2/63 Light Aid Detachment became part of the newly formed 9 Division and were located at ALEPPO in SYRIA. From there they moved to EL ALAMEIN in July 1942.

114. On 5 December 1942, movement was carried out, with the destination PALESTINE, but in January 1943 they again return to EGYPT.

115. In 1943 orders were received for the 9 Division to leave the MIDDLE EAST, and after embarking on the 'NIEW HOLLAND' on 31 January 1943, they sailed for AUSTRALIA on 1 February and arrived in MELBOURNE on 25 February.

116. After a leave period, the Light Aid Detachment assembled on the ATHERTON Tableland at KAIRI by 20 April. Extensive training in jungle conditions was then carried out over a long period, with the unit located at RAVENSHOE.

117. The second overseas commitment for the unit arrived, and the embarked at TOWNSVILLE on the USS GENERAL H. W. BUTNER on 8 April 1945, and sailed to MOROTAI.

118. Captain W. HALL, the original officer commanding, had been replaced by Lieutenant RIDLEY in SYRIA, and on 8 April 1945 Captain P. C. O’SULLIVAN was appointed officer commanding.

119. In May 1945 action was carried out in TARAKAN and the unit served in this area until hostilities ceased.

120. 2/63 Australian Light Aid Detachment finally returned to AUSTRALIA and was disbanded in November 1945.
2/4 Army Field Workshop

121. 12 Recovery Section was formed at WAYVILLE in January 1941 with Captain J. McKECHNIE as officer commanding and Lieutenant H.C. MOORE as 2IC.

122. The Section moved from WAYVILLE to BALCOMBE in VICTORIA in April 1941, then to PUCKAPUNYAL in VICTORIA in May 1941, where it became part of 2/4 Army Field Workshop together with 10 and 11 Recovery Sections. Captain McKECHNIE was promoted Major and became Officer Commanding 2/4 Army Field Workshop.

123. This unit embarked at PORT MELBOURNE on the ship MARNIX VAN SINT ALDEGONDE on 31 July 1941 and sailed for SINGAPORE, arriving there on 15 August 1941. It moved into camp at ANSON ROAD, SINGAPORE, into the 2/4 Motor Transport Unit area, which was commanded by Major J. HARRIS, then subsequently moved to JOHORE BAHRU in MALAYA in October 1941, where it changed its unit identification to 27 Independent Brigade Group Workshop.

124. After the JAPANESE attack on SINGAPORE, the unit was again moved, this time to KLUANG in December 1941, and operated NORTH of that area in independent sections until it moved back to SINGAPORE in early February 1942. Vehicles were withdrawn from the unit, which then dug in a defensive position around TANGLIN Barracks. On 13 February Captain MOORE and 10 specialist members of the unit were moved to JAVA SUMATRA. Captain MOORE was killed during this move.

125. SINGAPORE fell on 15 February 1942 and unit members were captured and moved to SELARANG Barracks in the CHANGI area. Officers and other ranks were separated, but the other ranks managed to keep together until 14 April 1942, when working parties named A to H Forces were formed by the JAPANESE.

126. A Force was sent to BURMA (TAVOY aerodrome), MERGUI (VICTORIA POINT) and kept moving whilst they built a road and railway from the 15 Km mark to the 105 Km mark. Some members were sent to BUKIT TUMAH to build a shrine to the JAPANESE dead.

127. B Force moved to BORNEO, where all members were lost. No record can be found of C, D and E Forces, but F Force moved to SIAM and BURMA and G and H Forces to SIAM. F, G and H Forces worked on the BURMA SIAM Railway.

128. Prisoners were released from CHANGI, BANKOK and PETCHABURI on 28 August 1945 and returned to AUSTRALIA between September and October of that year.

129. Of the unit strength of 2 officers and 71 other ranks, casualties were 20 dead.

301, 302, 303 Australian Light Aid Detachments

130. 301, 302 and 303 Australian Light Aid Detachments were raised at WAYVILLE in February 1942 for the purpose of carrying out unit repairs for units of the 6 Cavalry Brigade.

The Officers Commanding were:

  • 301 LAD Lieutenant J. GLENN
  • 302 LAD Lieutenant R. HALLETT
  • 303 LAD Lieutenant A. BRUCE

131. These Light Aid Detachments never actually operated with their parent units because soon after being raised, they moved to GEELONG, VICTORIA, and in July 1942 were disbanded and the equipment and personnel absorbed in 105 Independent Brigade Workshop, which then moved to PUCKAPUNYAL to form the 6 Armoured Brigade Workshop.

6 Recovery Section (2/2 Army Field Workshop

132. 6 Recovery Section was formed at WAYVILLE between May and August 1940. The personnel were drawn from AIF recruiting and consisted of 2 officers and 71 other ranks. The Officer Commanding was Captain J. REDPATH with Lieutenant P. FOOKS as 2IC.

133. This Recovery Section formed part of the Recovery Element for the 2/2 Army Field Workshop, with 5 Recovery Section (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) and 4 Recovery Section (VICTORIA).

134. On 13 September 1940 the unit moved to MELBOURNE, and on 15 September embarked on the ship NIEW HOLLAND, together with the remaining recovery elements of the 2/2 Army Field Workshop.

135. After calling at PERTH and COLOMBO, disembarkation was carried out near the SUEZ CANAL at EL KANTARA on 15 October and the unit moved into camp at HELWAN the following day.

136. During the next eighteen months 6 Recovery Section operated and served in the MIDDLE EAST and were located at various times in ALEXANDRIA, SIDI BARRANI, BARDI, TOBRUK, MADELELINA, MERSA MATRUH, JORDAN VALLEY, KHASSI, HAIFA and BERUIT.

137. During the period of service in the MIDDLE EAST, much time was spent on the recovery and repair of enemy equipment which was captured and eventually used by our own forces.

138. The Section was separated from the parent unit, the 2/2 Army Field Workshop, for long periods, including one spell of eight months. One task of note carried out by the 6 Recovery Section was after the capture of TOBRUK. A Welding Section was sent out in a vehicle and moved with the protection of tanks. The purpose was to recover another tank damaged during action. The task was completed, and as a result three members of the unit, Sergeant Bill ALLISON, Private Scotty SMITH and Private Ossie DUNNING, were awarded the Military Medal for their gallant action.

139. With the entry of JAPAN into the War, changes were made and on 12 March 1942 the unit embarked at TAFIHR on the Dutch ship WESTERNLAND and sailed for COLOMBO, where they were located until mid July.

140. The return to AUSTRALIA was carried out when the unit embarked at COLOMBO on the British India ship EKMA, and after calling at PERTH, arrived in PORT MELBOURNE in mid August.

141. All members were granted leave to their home states, and later assembled at SINGLETON (NEW SOUTH WALES) with the 2/2 Army Field Workshop in September 1942.

142. The Recovery Sections were disbanded at this stage, and the personnel were absorbed into newly formed Independent Brigade Workshop and other existing workshop units.

274 Australian Light Aid Detachment.

143. 274 Australian Light Aid Detachment was formed at WAYVILLE by Lieutenant E. WILLIAMS in January 1942, and had a strength of 1 officer and 15 other ranks. After being raised, the unit was attached to 6 Cavalry Brigade and located at SPRINGBANK (SOUTH AUSTRALIA).

144. In May 1942, 273 Australian Light Aid Detachment was required for movement, but as it was not completely formed, 274 Australian Light Aid Detachment changed identification, and became known as 273 Light Aid Detachment (AIF).

145. At the end of May, this unit moved from SPRINGBANK, and joined its parent unit, 12 Division Signals, in NORTHERN TERRITORY in mid June 1942. From this date until August 1943, the unit remained in NORTHERN TERRITORY before returning to ADELAIDE.

146. After the unit members returned from leave, the unit moved to HOMEBUSH in NEW SOUTH WALES, and was again attached to Signals. On arrival at HOMEBUSH, the officer commanding was changed to Captain H. DAY, and Warrant Officer 2nd Class W. BAILEY became 2IC.

147. In April 1944 the parent unit, with the Light Aid Detachment, was located at NARELLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) and about the end of June 1944 it was disbanded at NARELLEN, and all personnel were re allocated to other existing AEME units.

Headquarters 9 Australian Anti Aircraft Ordnance Workshop.

148. In late 1942, two ANTI CRAFT BATTERIES, RAA and two ANTI CRAFT SEARCHLIGHT COMPANIES, RAE, were located in SOUTH AUSTRALIA, with a Battery and Company each at WHYALLA and DRAPER.

149. Workshop facilities were required to carry out first and second echelon repairs for these units, and consequently the following Workshop units were formed, each taking the title of the parent unit, and were known as:

  • 12 Australian Anti Aircraft Ordnance Workshop
  • 26 Australian Anti Aircraft Ordnance Workshop
  • 58 Australian Anti Aircraft Searchlight Workshop
  • 69 Australian Anti Aircraft Searchlight Workshop


150. 12 Anti Aircraft Workshop was located at ALBERT PARK with Lieutenant C. JAMES as Officer Commanding, whilst Lieutenant J. LAPIDGE commanded the 26 Anti Aircraft Workshop at WHYALLA.Lieutenant A. LAKE was officer commanding of 58 Anti Aircraft Searchlight Workshop at ALBERT PARK and The Workshops units were formed at WAYVILLE in late 1942 and moved to ALBERT PARK in February 1943 26 AA Wksp and 69 AA Wksp then moved to WHYALLA. These units operated until late 1944.

151. The Workshop units were formed at Wayville in late 1942 and moved to Albert Park in February 1943. 26 AA Wksp and 69 AA SL Wksp then moved to Whyalla. These units operated until late 1944.

152. During this period, a variety of tradesmen were responsible for First and Second Echelon repairs to the AA guns including Bofors (Light), 3.7 in AA guns (Heavy), searchlights, instruments, vehicles and ancillary equipment. During the initial stages, the workshops were also responsible for the installation of the guns and equipment in the DRAPER and WHYALLA areas.

153. Although these four workshops were independent units, they all came directly under HQ 9 Aust AA Ord Wksp, which was responsible to the DADEME in the HQ SA L of C area.