HMAS LEEUWIN - JRTE - Leave & Family Sponsorship

 

Page 9...... JRTE - Leave & Family Sponsorship

 

Tony Newlands and Me Passing Out Night
Ready for the Fleet! Tony Newlands and myself . "Passing Out' night at JRTE. If you think we look happy you are right. Three months from now would see us in South East Asia on our first overseas deployment

 

Leave

 

One thing that was drummed into us very early was that "Leave is a privilege - not a right!"
It can be taken away from you at will.

 

Wearing of Naval Uniform (correctly) was compulsory at all times when ashore. It was an offence to be in possession of civilian clothes.

 

We were kept confined to the Establishment for the first 6 weeks after arrival at JRTE, when after that time we would be allowed out for our first Liberty. Providing of course we had behaved ourselves. Leave was granted on Saturdays and Sundays for all those not required for duty or under punishment. On Saturdays libertymen fell in at the Gangway at 0900 and again at 1100, if you missed these musters then it was bad luck, you stayed onboard. On Sundays leave was granted after compulsory Church Parade at 1100.

 

Before proceeding ashore all JRs were fallen in and meticulously inspected, any sign of slovenliness would see you sent back to the blocks to correct the problem. All bags were searched for civilian clothes or 'Tiddly Gear'.

 

Tiddly Gear = pretty smart looking, but illegal items of non- service uniform, made by civilian tailors.

 

All leave expired at the gangway at 2359 (1 minute to Midnight), commonly known worldwide as Cinderella Leave. Consequences for being adrift being very severe.

 

'Now a word from our Sponsors'

 

The R.A.N. and JRs in Western Australia had a great 'Sponsorship Programme'. The wonderful people of Western Australia opened their hearts and their homes to JRs. A family could sponsor a JR or JRs for weekends in their home.

 

Families could volunteer and apply to become 'sponsors' of JRs and after being checked out by Naval Welfare Authorities would then be allocated a JR to 'adopt'.

 

This meant a JR could spend Saturday nights in the charge of his sponsor thus not having to return onboad at midnight. Some families sponsored generations of JRs over JRTE's 24 years of operation.

 

Many lifelong friendships were formed, and many JRs fell hopelessly in love with Western Australia. A lot even retired from the navy in latter years and settled in the West. Long weekends such as Easter were a bonus to JR's with sponsors.

 

Every week all the JR had to do was to get his sponsor to sign a 'chit' stating that they agreed to sponsor him for the next period as shown on the chit. I feel that had this scheme not been in existence many JRs would have found it hard to cope with their 12 month stay in JRTE. It provided respite from the rigours of the week and thrust many back into a loving more gentle family environment which some boys missed greatly. It added a touch of sanity to their otherwise insane existance in JRTE.

 

Wearing naval uniform at all times did also have its drawbacks when ashore . For that during the 'unpopular' era of the Vietnam war we often found ourselves on the receiving end of abuse from certain Anti-War elements of the public. Being spat upon and accused as 'Baby Killers' could and did have long lasting effects on how we viewed certain elements of the civilian population.

 

My final Report From JRTE
End of Year Report JRTE