Exercising New Zealand
Military Exercise in New Zealand
To the best of my recollection it was almost Winter, probably about late April or May 1975 that I was selected with a few other men from my unit, the 1st Signal Regiment based at Ingleburn at 104 Signal Squadron based at Holsworthy in Sydney to attend a Joint Exercise with the New Zealand Army in New Zealand.
We were to provide signals support to a small force of Infantry from 5 RAR and I think there were two (?) detachments, with most likely the standard crew of 3 men. There may have been other elements from other units such as Transport or such but I don’t remember. We sailed over to New Zealand on the HMAS Sydney and disembarked at Wellington on the North Island. From there we were trucked in the back of Bedford trucks up to the Waiouru Army Base from where the exercise was launched.
We completed the exercise in bitterly cold conditions. It’s the first and only time I’ve ever been issued a rum ration following a “Stand To” just after dawn. I had to pay for it when we returned back to Waiouru. I can still remember the line of sunshine on the ground just a metre away from me but I had to stay hidden tactically in the shadows. Nothing much happened where I was located except for a bit of drama one night when somebody thought the “enemy” was hovering nearby, but it turned out to be just a wild pig or deer.
After the exercise some members took off to see the geysers and volcanic area of Rotorua. I didn’t go myself and glad I didn’t. In my opinion they had to pay far too much for the day’s outing and didn’t think it was worth it. From Waiouru we again travelled by convoy further north to Auckland where we had some local leave, then boarded HMAS Sydney for return to Australia.
I wasn’t much of a photographer at the time but here are some I took from old slides. Some of them have suffered with age and mould, and some were so badly affected they can only be shown in black and white.