THE CASTLE By Chris Laurenson, 8/9 RAR SGT (Pipe Major)

“Beating The Retreat”… The word was out!… 8/9 Battalion was going to have one of the most complicated parades to execute – Beating The Retreat. A feeling of dread swept over the battalion as the Old Soldiers remembered the many agonising hours involved in rehearsals on a stinking hot parade ground. Suddenly the sick queue […]

SANDBAGGED By Colin Brock, 1 RAR East Timor 2000-2001

Another Sec Comd, CPL Dave B, informed me that our platoon had to fill 800 sandbags for a retrans position (signals det) near Balibo, which was about an hour-round trip while he was on his way to tower piquet. I thought, ‘Why do we have to fill these for the Sigs? The platoon won’t be […]


I’d been attached to company headquarters (CHQ) during one operation. Anyway, I was sitting beside my hutchie, reading a paperback and just relaxing. All of a sudden I felt a horrible itch when I breathed out. And the normal human reaction? I picked my nose. Halfway through the nose picking, a shadow fell over me. […]

“OH! DEER” By Everett Ryan, 3 RAR & 4 RAR

I remember one particular operation I was on; it was the last day in the bush for me with 3 RAR. We were patrolling in some extremely dense jungle, full of ‘wait-a-while vines’. Everyone just wanted to get the day over and done with, then back to Nui Dat. Some of us had discussed the […]

BATH TIME By Bob Wilkie, 4 RAR/NZ

Operating with the Australian Armoured Corps brought many benefits. One was that they sometimes carried an excess of water in “Jerry” cans. After many weeks of only having enough spare water in your water bottles to wash under your armpits, private parts, feet, hands and face, not necessarily in that order, it became one of […]

SORGHUM ROLLS By Greg Hopgood, 2 Section C Coy 1 RAR, Somalia

Whilst serving as a forward scout in 2 Section 7 Platoon Charlie 1 RAR, I had a very uncomfortable eight-hour night patrol. It all started one mid-afternoon when our platoon sergeant came back with some homemade sorghum rolls made in the local market place. We were always warned not to eat ANY local food as […]

SHIFTY By Michael Dench, 5 RAR ’68-’70

Over the years I’ve had my share of company commanders. Some of them, like Major… (the Eskimo) are hardly worth a second thought and of course I’m sure that we’ve all experienced (and tried to forget) an Obie or two. But for every dud, there’s got to be an outstanding one or two. High on […]


After seeing a member of the platoon leave yet again on the re-supply helicopter, (this had happened a number of times during a long and exhausting operation in the jungle), I approached our platoon sergeant, Kevin Philp, and enquired in a somewhat indignant manner on the reason why he was so special and why I […]