RAR Nominal Roll
AS ONLY AN RSM CAN
Submitted by Lt Roger Wickham, Platoon Commander, 11 P1 D Coy and Assistant
Adjutant 4RAR 1964-1967
Roger Wickham c.1966
Warrant Officer Class I L.E. (Paddy) Brennan MBE was my RSM at the Officer Cadet
School, Portsea (OCS) and when I marched into 4RAR early in February 1964, I did
the only thing that a new, intelligent, career minded, young 2Lt would do when I
discovered that my new RSM was the same Paddy Brennan, I hid!!!!!
A South Korean general was due at Terendak and it was decided to have a combined
ANZAC Guard to welcome him. I carried the Regimental Colour of 4RAR and Lt Jim
Brown MC, carried the I RNZIR Regimental Colour.
Paddy trained the guard of about 60 all ranks. Initially Paddy shunned and
unshunned and turned us left, right and about until the Kiwis got the grasp of
his method of giving orders. We were left at attention when suddenly Paddy
smartly marched off to the end of the parade ground, some 100 metres away. Not
surprisingly, we could only just see him but we could hear him well enough. He
then gave us some orders which left us back at attention.
He then bent forward as if to get a better look at us. He then yelled, "Sometin's
not right with you girls!" Two more orders, then, "Nah! The whole t'ings out of
balance. One of you sheilas is screwin' up ma guard." Then he leaned forward
again, "I t'ink it's one of you Kiwis! Prove da girl whose stuffin' up ma
guard!" Naturally there was much murmuring among the Kiwis. "Hey, boy. Who is
this lunatic talking about?" "Quiet back there!!" said Jim brown, no less
puzzled than the rest of us.
Finally Paddy yells, "No 2 in the rear rank, prove!" and a Maori snaps out his
left hand. "Sir!!" "One pace left front march!" Bang, bang!! "No 3 in the rear
rank!" "Sir!" "Check out No 2, he's lopsided!" (Man, what is this boy talking
about?) "Well??", yells Paddy. "He seems OK to me sir!" "Nah, nah! Dere's
sometin' wrong! Check his puttees and
pockets!" This was done with much low-key mumbling. "Well??" yells Paddy."Yes
sir. He's got a back pocket button undone, sir!"
"I tort so!!!" screams Paddy. "Messing up ma guard! Do it up girlie! And Mr
Brown, sir?" "RSM!" answers Jim. "I'd appreciate it if you would dress your
guard before you bring `em over here in the morning!" "I certainly will RSM. My
Needless to say, the Kiwis were floored and so were the Diggers. How on earth
did this mad Irishmen see an undone BACK pocket button from 100m away? There was
only one Paddy Brennan. God rest his soul.
The incomparable Scotsman Jock Richardson, CSM B Coy, who went on to become RSM
of the OCS, was also one of my instructors at OCS Portsea and the mustachioed
Welshman, Tony Toghill, RSM 4RAR, could throw his hat into the ring with any of
the legendary RSMs.
My unique English platoon sergeant, 53298 Sergeant (later WO2) Neville Denis
Cook of Royal Marines and SAS fame, recently deceased and may he rest in peace,
always assured me that the Australian Army was a "bluudy good army stooffed up
by a few bluudy Australians'".
Not to be outdone by some Irishman, Warrant Officer Class One A.C. (Tony)
Toghill MBE, now RSM, lined up the first defaulters for CO's Orders after our
return from Borneo. There were seven of them, all Nashos who came direct from Oz
to Terendak. On their first night in camp, the old sweats took them out for a
night on the tiles. They were left unbriefed (in more ways than one) and
ignorant in a brothel and sure enough at midnight, in walked the Redcaps and
rounded them up.
So, on day two in country, our heroes are completely perplexed as to how they
got to be with no hats, no belts, under escort, lined up, standing at ease
outside the RSM's office and invited to have morning tea with the CO.
Continued page 4
After five months service in Borneo in 1966 with West Brigade (99 Gurkha
Brigade) and to recognise the close relationship which had developed between
4RAR and the Gurkha battalions, particularly the 7th Duke of Edinburgh's Own
Gurkha Rifles, Brigadier Cheyne gave permission for 4RAR to wear the 99 Gurkha
Brigade tie, a rare honour indeed.
(From Brian Avery's
Book, Our Secret War.)
You should have in your library, every book that was written by every 4RAR
member. Your descendents should know what you did.
We regretfully and
sadly report that Theresa Palmer, the wife of Kevin `Lofty' Palmer, passed away
in August 2005.Our thoughts are with you Lofty in this sad time and please
accept our sincerest, though belated, condolences.
Thank you to all those who contributed your stories and warries. Curley's Diary
will commence in the next issue but I'm sure that there are many more stories
out there. Don't worry about literary genius, just write and send.
Click to page 4