HMAS LEEUWIN - JRTE - The Daily Routine


Page 3..... HMAS Leeuwin - The Daily Routine

Normally 3 out of every 4 weeks were spent attending Naval and Academic Classes with the 4th week being 'Part of Ship' where for seven days you would be carrying out daily & nightly tasks from cleaning out grease traps to scrubbing out rubbish bins. All domestic duties were done by JRs under the supervision of members of the Ship's Company Staff, these duties included everything it was physically possible to do on a Naval Establishment, from painting to peeling onions.


Sport was compulsory every afternoon on completion of classes, then there were 'backward classes' (remedial) for those having difficulty coping with naval or academic subjects. Also for JRs not adept at swimming, backward swimming classes were also enforced. Plus kit upkeep, washing, ironing, polishing and mending. It was demanded that all items of kit be washed, ironed and placed neatly in your small locker at all times. Nothing was ever to be left 'sculling' i.e lying about, for it would be 'scranned', confiscated, whereupon money would have to be paid to retrieve the article when at certain times the scranbag would be opened and recovery of 'scranned' kit and personal items would be conducted under the supervision of Divisional staff.


bunksLeft: Bunks made up in typical fashion. Towels were hung upon the bunks end rail. Every morning each article of bedding including sheets would be taken off and folded neatly and laid out on the top of the bunk in the prescribed manner. Even the pillow case was removed and also folded. Bunks were then to be made up again each night before Pipe Down.


Out of working hours each accommodation block would have a Duty Able Seaman assigned to it who was responsible for the discipline of the block's inhabitants. Of a night in theaccommodation blocks lights out and 'pipe down' was at 2200. From completion of Dinner and evening rounds until 2200 you were somewhat 'free' to write letters home, attend to domestic chores in your cubicle aka 'donga' or or even 'skylark' with your mates. This was indeed of course if you were not working as a part of ship hand, studying for exams, learning to tie knots and splices, defaulters or attending remedial classes.



After lights out, which was strictly enforced, was generally when illegal activities took place. More on that later. Any breeches of discipline after Pipe Down even by only one individual would generally see the whole division turned out of their bunks, en masse, mustered on the parade ground in their pussers issue PJs and doubled, duckwaddelled or bunnyhopped endlessly around the 'Bull Ring'. No matter what the time. Be it 2AM or 5AM. The division I was in, Morrow, were notorious from day one and in my 12 months I reckon I can count on one hand the nights that were were not turned out either in front of the blocks to stand at attention in the freezing winter's night or taken to the parade ground for more physical treatment. It happened often when the Duty Blocks AB would return from the Ship's Company Wet Canteen, late, and if he happened to have a less than pleasant disposition look out, for you knew the lights would soon flash on followed quickly by an order to "CLEAR THE BLOCKS!". It did not matter whether you had been up and running around the parade ground most of the night, you still 'turned out' at 0530 or 0630 so as to begin another day.



Sick Call


The Leeuwin Sick Bay was situated 'up the hill" in an aging wooden building with linoleum covered floors, and I rarely loathed a place more than this during my stay at JRTE. Reporting sick was, to put it bluntly, a bloody nightmare. JRs reporting sick would muster outside the sickbay - there were no waiting rooms and no 3 year old Women's Weekly' magazines on the coffe table here.


When he felt like it the Leading or Able Sickbay Attendant (SBA) would appear on the balcony with a brew in hand and then, with the arrogant air of a Roman Emperor start barking oders at us to fall in three deep and keep silent, there we would 'dress by the right', number and open order march. Whilst we stood rigidly to attention he would carry out an individual inspection of us all, walking up and down the ranks like an Admiral reveiwing a Royal Guard. He would be meticulous to the point of being ridiculous and should he find anything wrong with your dress or bearing he would order you to go back to your block, pack your kit in your kitbag and return with it to be laid out on a blanket upon the ashphalt in front of the sickbay where he would carry out a formal kitmuster. Alternatively you may be ordered to get cleaning gear and on hands and knees scrub out the ward or dispensary. Just the ticket when you are feeling crook!


Most of the staff at the sickbay were mean and downright nasty in their language, attitude and treatment of JRs and I avoided the place at all costs - only if one had no other choice and was seriously ill would one venture within cooee of the place.


I can't stand to be around medical centres and hospitals even today. The mere smell of one reminds me of Leeuwin's Sickbay. Jan Anderson the Warrant Officer Wran Medic, when I paid off at Cerberus after 20 years service, reckoned I had the smallest medical file she had ever seen, is it any wonder. The legacy of JRTE left me with a severe loathing of hospitals and sickbays.