- Crew, J.D.V.
- Ship histories and stories, History - Between the wars
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- March 1981 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
But alas, I found them fundamentally the same, if not worse, because the first crowd did at least know their job to a certain extent, whereas this one was devoid even of that virtue.
They were slack, slovenly, shambling along always as though next year would do. The living example of ‘Time is on our side’.
These New World Democrats I found in many ways far more autocratic than most of the Old World ever knew how to be.
Their continuous self-advertisement irritated me beyond description. Why acclaim to the world in general with every sentence, the land of their birth? Wasn’t it obvious enough without? Why, wherever they went, must they advertise their presence by smashing the place up and making general nuisances of themselves?
Professionally, technically, they were greener than I had dreamed anyone could be. As seamen they were hopeless, had not even the rudiments of the job. So, filled with foreboding, I commenced the commission. But slowly and surely my spirits rose. I noticed, as each job of work came along, embarkation of torpedoes and ammunition, etc., that it was being performed willingly and efficiently without the driving supervision which I had thought would be necessary and is necessary with RN personnel.
Gradually it dawned on me that this ship was for very many of my shipmates their first, that a few months previously they had been in ‘civie street’, that what training they had received was only wartime shortened courses.
During most inclement weather, in a desolate area, under difficult conditions, I saw these Diggers, whom I was so wont to belittle, work with such keenness, such willingness, such spirit indomitable that I have yet to meet elsewhere. Given a job of real work to do, a job that reeks with necessity, they’ll do it more expeditiously with less supervision than any I know.
It has been a novel experience for me to be prevented from doing my turn of duty by my messmates whenever my wife was accessible. There was never any question of my getting a substitute, I simply went ashore.
Since joining this ship, I have compared my lot with that of my RN contemporaries serving in RN ships. The stories of their experiences with raw, untrained, inexperienced personnel render my conversion complete No, if he’s got to be raw, green, inexperienced, then give me an Australian. He at least has the spirit that makes him do the job of real work to the best of his ability in a most trustworthy manner. When he doesn’t know, he shows a keenness to learn that is a joy to be seen.