HMAS LEEUWIN - JRTE - The Value of Mateship

 

Page 6..... JRTE -The Value of Mateship

 

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Above From Left - Tony Newlands, 'Shorty' Baker and Myself. Spencer Street Station, Melbourne, July 1969. Returning from our first leave ready to become the 2nd Highest Intake or 'Shit'.

 

No-one could adequately describe what life was like as a JR at Leeuwin. Some thrived on the discipline and routine, others only just coped and some didn't. Each JR dealt with it in his own personal way. And each Junior Recruit intake will tell you that they had a harder time of it than the intakes that came after them. Although one aspect was certainly true for all, sympathy was in short supply and if you had personal problems then you had better deal with them quickly.

 

There was never enough time. Whatever the expected time was to complete a given task, the navy reduced it by half. A sense of urgency prevailed every moment of the day in JRTE. Therefore one was always under stress, for the consequences of missing a class or muster, dressed in the appropriate, clean, crisp rig were dire not just for you, but your entire group or class.

 

The best form of survival was to have good mates. If you had a circle of good mates then you could handle mostly anything, for without them despair and despondency could set in at an alarming rate. To be labeled a 'grub', thief or other form of low life could see the individual being ostracized by his peers, this form of mental cruelty was perhaps the most dreaded of all fates.

 

Life did get easier as the months rolled on, as you climbed the 'corporate ladder', Intake-wise. For every three months you were elevated one rung higher as the never ending sausage machine pumped more JRs into the fleet. You settled in to the very familiar daily routine and understanding the language and rules more and more with each passing day. Also getting physically and mentally tougher as you met and triumphed over your daily challenges. The last three months as the Senior Intake were almost tolerable the main thoughts and focus being on passing final exams, selecting your future branch category and leave. By this stage all forms of " peer bastardisation" were gone, you were well informed and new the 'lurks' and you were extremely fit both physically and mentally.

 

leeuwin

Morrow Division JRs

 

One day late in our JR careers, we were the Senior Intake and 5 of us from the same class decided to 'skulk' or cut a Navigation Class. We holed ourselves up in the Toilet Block at the Academic School and were caught. We were charged with Skulking and the 5 of us were marched in front of the Commander and ordered to 'Off Caps' whilst we received punishment. The Commander's way of awarding punishment was that he walked down the line and stopped to ask each JR which State in Australia he was from. After each JR's reply the Commander awarded 7 Days No. 9s and 14 Days No. 10's. That is until he got to Fred Snyder. Fred was from Renmark in Sth Australia.
 

Fred said, in a loud clear voice "South Australia, Sir!".

 

He pushed his tortured face into that of Fred's and spraying him at close range with his spittle the Commander launched into a tirade of abuse citing that since he had been Commander of JRTE that South Australians, in his opinion, had proved themselves to be, on the whole, the worst. "Thieves, Malingerers, Liars, Bullies, Dirty, Contemptible, lazy individuals" he had ever met and doubled Fred's punishment from what the other 4 of us received to 14 Days No 9's and 30 Days No 10's (Stoppage of leave).

 

We were not to let Fred forget that and gained quite a great deal of amusement from the incident. We were also thankful to our parents for not having been born and raised in South Australia. Of course there was no form of appeal and no whinging, you copped it sweet. He was a good bloke Fred and none of us took the Commanders words seriously.