Historia Productions 4Books


© N.R. Lindsay 2018
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under the Berne Convention


















Loyalty and Service
The Officer Cadet School Portsea


The need for adequate training for the Australian permanent officer corps was the subject of wide consensus from the mid-1880s, but practicalities precluded consummation of this goal until the expansion under Universal Service brought establishment of the Royal Military College Duntroon in 1911.


This satisfied the need until the establishment of a substantial Regular Army after World War 2, followed by reintroduction of National Service in 1951 with a consequential expansion of the Citizen Military Forces. These all demanded an officer structure which could not be met through the four-year Duntroon pipeline.


The Officer Cadet School Portsea, with an initial six-month course, was the solution to bridge a critical deficiency in regimental officers. But the ongoing expansion of the Regular Army, and its widening commitments in South East Asia, created a longer-term demand which outlived the National Service requirement: an expansion of the horizons of Portsea’s graduates as an integral part of the career officer mainstream led to extension of the course to a full year to match that of Duntroon without the latter’s tertiary academic content.


The overall result saw the Portsea graduates take their full place in the command, training and administration of the Army, graduates serving with distinction at home, abroad and at war in all arms of the service. But after nearly thirty years of operation, the opening of the Australian Defence Force Academy to provide a tri-service college for academic studies reduced the role of Duntroon to that of Portsea, and both obviously could not survive. As the oldest institution, Duntroon remained, with the Officer Cadet School tradition absorbed into it, just as both their graduates had merged in the Army. The spirit of Loyalty and Service lives on.













Equal to the Task
Volume 1-The Royal Australian Army Service Corps


The Royal Australian Army Service Corps and its earlier manifestations provided the sinews of war to the Australian Forces for over three quarters of a century. The hard-learnt concept of the indivisibility of the vital supplies – food, fuel, ammunition – from their delivery system survived the 1973 concentration of all supply into the Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps, and the concentration of transport and movement into the new Royal Australian Corps of Transport.


With this vital combat support role, together with general transport and supplies tasks, the Corps faced exacting demands on it: there was no place for the 'to follow' or 'the customer doesn't understand our problems' mentality tolerated in some other corps. Men must eat to live, equipment must have fuel to operate, forces without ammunition surrender, and mobility is the other factor to firepower in an army's combat power.


This book is an account of how the 'galloping grocers' responded to this challenge, earning their deservedly respected place within Australian military history. It records how they set a high standard which their successors will have to live up to.













Equal to the Task
Volume 2-The Movement and Transportation Services


The Movements and Transportation Services of the Australian Army mostly existed as an adjunct to the Royal Australian Engineers. While completely neglected in time of peace, where survival of the Engineer units took primary importance, its services of Movement, Movement Control, Water Transport, Terminal Operations and Postal Services grew to major proportions in time of war as an essential element of deploying and supporting the field army. With a major war gone and forgotten, the services languished or virtually disappeared.


While propping up low priority services is not an attractive idea, if it is allowed that the function of an army in peace is to prepare for future war, then all the elements should be prepared to ensure that the army can be sustained when called for. The Transportation services were denied this position, at best having to resurrect themselves from a small base, at worst having to start again from a zero base.


That they managed to do so in the heavy demands of World War 2, particularly in the Pacific theatre, where the customary British support structure on which previous efforts had leant simply didn't exist, is a tribute to the energy and dedication of the officers and soldiers who met the challenge. With the usual post-war relapse, elements had to be reactivated to meet the lesser contingencies which arose against the low priority given by its sponsor corps.


With the amalgamation of the services into the newly formed Royal Australian Corps of Transport in 1973, the Transportation services at last found a home in which they were recognised on an equal footing.













Equal to the Task
Volume 3-The Royal Australian Corps of Transport


This book is the third in a series covering the transport arm of the Australian Army. Volume 1 was the Royal Australian Army Service Corps, Volume 2 the Movements and Transportation Services, and this Volume 3 the Royal Australian Corps of Transport.


The RACT was formed from the RAASC and RAE (Transportation) in 1973 as a result of the usual habit of following the British Army, which had formed the RCT in 1965. An ancillary purpose had been to establish a single supply service to eliminate the severe shortcomings of the separate Engineer and Medical supply services driven home in in Vietnam, and into this RAAOC vortex were also drawn the RAASC functions of foodstuffs and POL supply and ammunition delivery.


So in 1973 the transport elements came together in the RACT. It was initially a not particularly happy marriage, as is ever the case with compromises and Old Guards who resent change, nor was the upper structure of the Army particularly helpful in its unthinking meddling with command structures and the unit titles of units with long and distinguished war records. However, a new generation came forward which neither knew nor was interested in old supposed grievances, and the Corps was cemented into one which matched the achievements of its predecessors.


This success has been demonstrated in the deployments in the past two decades in UN, Coalition and Allied peacekeeping and peacemaking operations, and the increasing and diverse prominence of Corps members in the non-corps activities of the Army, maintaining and building on the Equal to the Task motto which it inherited from its predecessors.