HMAS LEEUWIN - JRTE - Crime and Punishment


Page 7..... JRTE - Crime and Punishment

No. 9's Punishment Routine:

1. 0530 Shake MUPs (Men Under Punishment) - slang "Chooks".
2. 0600 MUPs Muster and Fall in at the Gangway, names called work detailed.
3. 0645 MUPs Secure. Clean, Breakfast. Carry On with daily duties.
4. 1230 MUPs Muster Gangway - Doubling on the parade ground, work details.
5. 1300 MUPs Secure from MUPs - fall in with class carry on with daily duties.
6. 1630 MUPs Muster Parade Ground - normally Extra Drill, doubling
7. 1800 MUPs Secure. Clean into dress of the night, Dinner.
8. 1830 MUPs Muster at place of duty and clean up for rounds
9. 1900 MUPs Muster Gangway fall in for rounds and work details
10. 2100 MUPs Secure
11. 2200 Lights out - Pipe Down.


As you can see this was an extremely hard routine on top of all your other daily activities. This punishment was generally administered in lots of 7 or 14 days and was very, very common. Although in certain instances more or less could be awarded. Once placed on No. 9s Punishment it could be extremely difficult to get off , especially if you were new and unfit. In the space of very few days one could become so exhausted that one would eventually miss one of the many musters through sleeping in or just by being 30 seconds late. This would see you 'Run In' again and having your sentence added to. Consequently you were digging yourself further into an inextricable hole where usually only your strength of will and some very good mates could get you out of it.


Tiredness was extreme and how many times I was to fall asleep in Classes I cannot count. On top of that you were always starving hungry, not that the food wasn't any good in JRTE but your daily body calorie consumption was enormous. Food was only available at the prescribed meal hours in the Dining Hall and was forbidden to be kept in accommodation blocks, this included beverages and any appliances for making same. A JR caught with food in the block would be 'Run In'. Also if the food happened to come from the Dining Hall you would be charged with theft or misappropriation. It was also Illegal for any JR to drink coffee, if caught drinking coffee you would also be 'Run In'.


Caught sleeping in classes also had consequences depending on the type of class and the Instructor. Some methods of keeping you conscious or maintaining class discipline were:

Seamanship School - Rowing a one ton whale boat up and down the Swan River, or doubling around the school with an 50 pound joggle shackle above your head.

Academic Classes - Doubling up and down the School's small compound - up and back a distance of perhaps only 30 metres, it was monotonous and could go on for hours.
NBCD Classes - Being made to sit on a Fire Hose Spray Jet Nozzle, (use your imagination), most uncomfortable and no hope of sleeping. Doubling around the Rugby Field with a 2 Gallon fire extinguisher above your head whilst wearing an Anti Gas Respirator.


Gunnery/Parade Ground Drill - What can I say? These blokes were unbelievable and it was their job to instill discipline, and smartness of brearing into us. This they did with great zeal and much physical and mental torture. The customary doubling around the parade ground with rifles above our heads was routine. Kicks to the shins with hobnailed boots, twisting of noses, screwing of ears, punches to the solar plexus, pulling of the short hairs at the temple or back of the neck were all added at no extra charge. It fell upon sailors like this to 'toughen us up' and this they did. It was not done for a JR to cry, but by god many did. We learnt a whole new language from these blokes. I was called things I had never heard before, in many instances we found their insulting, sarcastic vocabulary almost humourous. As is the same with recruit training schools all over the world, these instructors are the first people you are handed over to on arrival. First things first - you have to learn Parade Ground Drill before anything else in the military. It isn't so much about learning to march as it is about learning team discipline and taking and responding to orders.

P.T. Classes - These were the most feared and were called 'Shakeups'. Indescribable physical punishment, almost torture. Shakeups for the entire class were awarded for such things as one JRs failure to have spotlessly cleaned (white) service running shoes, un ironed white singlet or shorts, not standing correctly at attention i.e fingers outstretched inline with seam of shorts instead of the normal parade ground style of fingers clenched at the first knuckle. Almost anything could get the class a 'shakeup' and if it was due to one individual then he had better look out when he got back to the blocks for his exhausted and disgruntled classmates would certainly be most unforgiving.




Kitmusters, Above: These were another form of punishment. Although a common service practice and routine. They were also conducted as punishment. A JR could be ordered to "Lay his kit out" anywhere, anytime, in all weather, on the parade ground, in the drill hall or in front of the block. It was laid out in strict order and format. All kit items were checked for proper name marking as well as their presence. This form of punishment was hated by everyone, a real pain in the arse! Note in the picture that even boots were turned upside down to check for excessive wear. Woebetide the sailor with dirty, missing, improperly marked or unkempt improperly maintained kit.


For the more sadisitc there were 'Running Kitmusters' this actually involved physically dressing in the nominated 'rigs' as ordered.. There were many classes and types of dress, winter, summer, working, ceremonial, stepping ashore, sport/PT etc, each style had its own number - No 10's, No. 10As, No. 8's, No.2's, No.1's, No.2A's, No. 4's, No.6's, No. 7A's. Each time the JR would report, at attention, to the Instructor he would be ordered to go away and 'Clean into' the next style of dress. This caused alot of extra work in having to virtually wash, iron and pack every item of kit away again. Finding the spare time to do it from somewhere.

One of my stints on No 9s punishment was early in our period of being the Senior Intake. Five of us were awarded punishment for Skulking a Navigation Class (see previous page), each receiving a quota of No. 9's and No.10's Punishment.

What follows is an accurate description of events and was considered fairly normal routine.


Late in November on a very hot Western Australian day. Men Under Punishment fell in on the Parade Ground at 1630. There were not many perhaps only 10 JRs. All of us except one were extremely fit 'old hands', one was a pretty unfit 'New Grub'. The supervising Petty Officer Gunnery Instructor unlocked the armoury, issued rifles and fell us in, single file on the parade ground. Half a dozen of us were Top Shit, very fit and very cocky. He strode up and down the line stopping at each one of the Senior Intake, getting into our faces, screaming at us, telling us that this would be the time he would once and for all 'break us', break us in mind , body and spirit. We silently scoffed at this, we were at this point of time 'unbreakable'.


He turned us in single file, ordered our rifles be lifted above our heads, arms outstretched and to 'Double March!' Around and around we ran, 4 laps to a mile. Everyone constantly struggling to keep their rifle over head for it wasn't long until every muscle and sinew in your arms cried out in pain. Strung out in single file we doubled on. Then with each blast on the PO Gunnery Instructor's whistle the rear man would have to peel off and sprint to the front of the line. We would have to endure one and a half hours of this. This went on everyday in JRTE and was considered normal.


Sometimes with large numbers of MUPs it would even take on a form of public entertainment similar to that of the Roman Coliseum days.


This day our unfit 'New Grub' was doing it pretty hard and us more senior blokes were trying to lift him, verbally encouraging him to keep going. Trying not to let the bastard win. Unfortunately the poor bloke on one of his sprints to the front of the line, collapsed, running himself full on his face into the rough surface of the parade ground shedding some facial bark in the process. We doubled around him and kept going. The PO Gunnery Instructor screamed threats at the New Grub from the sideline. But he was unconscious and could not hear him. The PO became exasperated and walked over to the prostrate JR and commenced 'laying the slipper' into the boys abdomen, screaming for him to get up and resume. We kept doubling but used this diversion to lower our rifles and give our arms a brief rest.


Just then a Commander was leaving his office and walked out onto the Parade Ground on his way home for the evening. He stopped as he saw us doubling and PO Poole nudging this young, unconscious bloke in the guts whilst screaming at him.


He ordered the PO to report to him and instructed him to have the prostrate JR removed from the Parade Ground and carried to sickbay for recovery. He also instructed the PO, since it was so hot, to cease doubling for today and only to Quick March the Defaulters. The saluted and said "Yes


Sir!" We were then broken in to the quick March with our rifles carried at the shoulder arms position. Two JR's were detailed off to carry the blubbering, incoherent, New Grub to Sickbay. As soon as the Commander's vehicle was seen by the PO to leave the depot we were immediately broken into the double again with rifles above our heads. Continuing on to 1800 when we secured from MUPs, spirits unbroken and still fully conscious. Another day in the life at JRTE.


I was to serve later with this same bloke (the PO Gunnery Instructor) on two different ships on two different occasions, directly sharing our small Action and Defence Quarters, for I too became a Gunner. There was never any hard feelings from my point of view and he was quite a good bloke. We were actually what I would call pretty good shipmates. Those of you who have not experienced service life may find this attitude strange however I don't feel I can adequately put it into words. The Navy certainly wasn't a good place for a person who wanted to bear a grudge - Life on a warship didn't permit it.