response to requests from QURA
President, Trevor Luttrell, for
members to provide details/reminisces
from their service in QUR, Trevor has
received an article from a former QUR
member, Toby St George. Below is
part I of Toby's article.
HISTORY PROJECT - Contribution by Toby
Toby St George
enlisted into QUR 14 May 1950. Recently
he commenced writing about his military
service. Rather than spending time
attempting to get a very precisely
worded document he has quickly jotted
down the memories in no particular
order. The document below is the first
of many of his contributions. The rest
will follow in future newsletters.
For some time I have been encouraging
QURA members to contribute to the
written history of QURA by simply
writing of their time in QUR. Just write
short paragraphs of your memories. As
you think of them write them down. They
do not have to be great literary
masterpieces. All they need to be is
short statements, stories or memories.
Send them to me as a series of short
paragraphs. They do not have to be
linked. As you read the work done by
Toby you can see what I mean. The
recording of the time of members in QURA
is a valuable insight of the history of
QUR. Please help me to record this area
of QUR history as I complete the next
update of the “History of QUR”. We need
personal glimpses of what it was like
serving in the Regiment I need members
from all years to write of their
I am writing of my period of service…..
what is your excuse??
Historical Writings of Toby St George -
I was in Churchie cadets but did not get
to cadet officer or sergeant. Most of
the school was in the cadets on Friday
afternoons and a short camp was held
each year. One at Frazers Paddock
formerly part of the Enoggera complex
area was memorable in 1946. Wartime
cooks –very rough incl stirring oatmeal
porridge with a hairy arm. In the
afternoon the porridge was still
entangled in the hair.
We had a regular 3 inch mortar team do a
demonstration with smoke bombs. This set
a grass-fire that rapidly spread. It was
heading for the live ammunition stacks
that were still around from WW2. The
regular warrant officer next to me
yelled come on and I followed him in a
dash to the edge of the flames and
stamped out the bad edge of the fire as
it went under a large stack of grenade
boxes. We looked around and we were
alone. The whole school cadet unit plus
regulars was disappearing over the
ridgeline. A water tanker and crew dealt
with the rest of the fire a few minutes
I lived at Wynnum North. Very few people
owned cars and a lot of them were junk.
New cars had to be ordered about a year
in advance. This applied until the
mid-fifties though petrol rationing
ceased by1949 or so. To get to parade I
had to train to South Brisbane, tram to
West End ferry and walk to the St Lucia
Campus. We got our fare money with our
pay. This was revoked later.
There were almost no casual jobs. All
such were filled by permanents who left
school at 14. There were 160 in my
primary school and less than a quarter
went on to secondary or tertiary
education. Most of QUR had school cadet
backgrounds. Commonwealth Scholarships
were available in over-supply
The long St. Lucia central building was
there and two buildings in the horseshoe
were under construction. QUR had a Q
store in a hut. Half the grounds were
undeveloped and used for vehicle
training incl Bren Gun Carriers.
I heard on the bus at 8.30 am about QUR
and enlisted the same day on 14 May
1950. I got my papers at midday at the
George St QUR HQ in a hut in the Domain
from a S/Sgt. I went home after lectures
and got my parents signatures. Train and
trams to Kelvin Grove barracks to 9 Bn
for a brief medical. One other potential
recruit was with me. He said he had a
glass eye but a good memory so I should
read the eye chart very loudly. He was
examined by the doctor then his eyes
were tested. Unfortunately, the doctor
put his hand over the good eye and he
reeled off the chart. The doctor said
very good – now try it facing the chart.
I was sworn in at the 9 Bn orderly room
and given a shilling. I was told to get
kit the following Sunday at St.Lucia.
We had an English Dean who disapproved
of QUR turning up to lectures in
SMLE .303 Rifle and bayonet, web belt,
shoulder straps, basic pouches, small
and large packs , enamel water bottle in
carrier, Service dress WW2 pattern.
Khaki long pants and shirts, tan hobnail
boots, leather laces, gaiters,
groundsheet, greatcoat, kit bag and
shoulder patches to sew on. Rifle was
taken home. My trousers were obtained from
cadets as I was too small.
Camp dates 22 May - 4 June 1950
We gathered on Saturday morning at Roma
Street, trained to Wacol, and marched
the short distance to the camp area.
9and 25 Bns plus artillery and a vehicle
unit were in camp. We were issued with a
towel, shelter halves, rough working
dress, blankets and razor blades plus
We had no cooks. After settling into 6
man tents , we had lunch.
After lunch Corporal Pat Shanahan (later
Judge) drilled the half dozen recruits.
He had a sore head from the advance
party rum and did not last long. The
officers were Captain Parslow and John
Scanlan (Med student). We saw them
erratically and all training was done by
Jim See CSM, Stephen and John Pozzi and
Guy Ethell (Med student) . I have
forgotten the CQMS's name. Three platoons.
We shot Austens on a 25 metre range.
Lousy weapon that needed a magazine
filler. Lots of stoppages. PIAT inert.
Redbank rifle range was used for a day.
Ammunition plentiful. No ear protection.
Threw M60 fgrenades rom very, very small
gullies. My first one landed very close
and John Pozzi grabbed me and flattened
me as it went off about 2 metres away.
We had no practice grenades.
Section training was done in the
bushland which was plentiful back then.
The confidence course caused the first
casualty as it was done with fixed
bayonets. Someone hesitated and got
stabbed in the backside. Mess duty was a
day. Hygiene moderate. Freezing 5
blanket weather at night. You can see
that my training before participation in
live firing exercises was minimal.
Another event was a Sunday formal parade
of the two Bns plus a pipe band and a
brass band in different tempos. Parade
was a shambles.
Leave on one Saturday night was to
Ipswich on trucks to a local unit
organised dance. Almost no-one there so
a few of us went to see The Red Shoes
film. When we came out trucks had gone.
We had to walk back to Wacol. No traffic
on the dark winding narrow road.
Fortunately my mess duty was next day.
Monday we embarked on a convoy for
Noosa. Trucks were open articulated WW2
vintage. Slow hot trip on basic winding
Bruce Highway. Lunch at Nambour
showgrounds. Cold cuts and bread. Field
rations then were a third of a small can
of Bully Beef and a packet of rock hard
biscuits plus water. We arrived at
Noosaville about 4 pm. Small issue of
hot stew served from Sawyer Stoves. We
then reloaded and travelled to Golden
Beach and pitched our two man shelters.
Sand comfortable and warm. Some form of
cooked breakfast. Lunch Bully Beef in
In the mornings we did dry runs of
section, platoon and company attacks.
Later live rifle rounds plus overhead
Vickers machine guns and overhead 25
pounders. I heard the creaking of shells
passing over for the first time. On the
Thursday the RAAF Mustangs turned up and
the area near Coolum was bombed,
napalmed, and strafed from west to east.
I am unsure if it was in coordination
with one of two battalion attacks. By
the time we reached the “peanut” feature
the bombed area was blackened and
vegetation in a bad way. Early Friday
morning we had to search for and mark
blinds. Fires still burning.
After Training we swam at Golden Beach
and the life savers had a Bren and ball
ammunition shoot. Deserted beach so no
We were packed and into loading groups
for trucks. We then watched WO1
Holland putting unexploded grenades on a
post and shooting at them. Someone
stopped him when fragments flew too far.
QUR unit was loaded and sitting in
trucks when the fires flared up with a
breeze. 9 Bn were not loaded and they
were ordered to put out the fires. A voice
boomed out from one 9 Bn soldier - ”Why
don’t you get them educated bastards to
help”. On the trip south one corporal
had a water bottle full of rum. It was
hot in the open trays. He drank rum and
then ordered me to share my water. Two
or three big soldiers intervened. He was
made to suffer all the way back to
Return trip to Wacol the convoy got lost
in the Wilston area and we passed and
repassed trucks heading in the opposite
direction. Someone sorted it out and we
arrived at Wacol after dark.
Home training was a mix of Sunday
parades mostly in terms 1 and 2 and odd
bivouacs. There is no record of my
attending a specialist course in August
vacation to learn signals specialisation.
This was on the St.Lucia campus. We
slept in the gym in the main building. I
have no recollection where the cooks
My vague recollection that our ARA
instructor was WO1 Scotty Armour who I
had met when in Signals platoon in
Cadets. We did have some WW2 walkie
talkie sets on crystal frequencies. We
learned to operate. He took us to WW2
training films in the auditorium of the
Catholic Church in Paddington that had a
projector. We had to learn to climb
poles and join sig wire. It was WW2
vintage in appalling condition. Bill Catchpool became the signals sergeant.
In January I joined a few other QUR
members as instructors. Sergeant Guy
Ethell was one. I was appointed a L/Cpl
to allow this. Cadets were keen and very
Training reopened at the start of Ist
term 1951 at St.Lucia. Admin remained in
the Domain on the George St Campus.
I went to a course conducted at Kelvin
Grove Barracks, a weekend and 5 nights
on Methods of instruction. An ARA
touring team lead by Captain Grant
produced an excellent course. I
encountered him later in 1RVR pentropic
as 2IC and CO of 6 RVR, when the change
back to normal battalions occurred.
I will follow up this though as it had
effects on my army career. After a
couple of years on the reserve due to a
job in the USA, I joined CSIRO in
Melbourne. I could not return to active
service until a shoulder reconstruction
for damage due to a jeep smash in QUR in
1955 and a dislocation in 1958 in 27 Bn
in 1958, when I saved a soldier from
drowning in a river crossing exercise at
I went to 1RVR HQ in Swanston St
Melbourne, the HQ Depot. Lt Colonel
Grant interviewed me. He said I can’t
find any record of you in the stud book.
I produced my commission signed by Sir
William Slim. He then agreed to take me
and the CO concurred, I was appointed as
2IC of C Company located there. Every
move I made was reported to him. HQ
interfered with lots of things outside
the chain of command.
First clash at annual camp 1962 in the
Victorian Alps in a freezing May. I was
detached from C Coy to run the central
HQ area handling cooks and getting
hygiene under way etc. The Pioneer Lt
said the meat supply was off and
contacted Grant. Grant came to me and
said to destroy it. I said it is
perfectly okay and just needs a rinse
before cooking. Grant said the Pioneer
Lt had done a meat inspection course by
correspondence. I said I have a vet
degree and have considerable experience
in abattoirs inspection and taught meat
inspectors. Stalemate. The CO, the very
formidable Colonel George Warfe joined
the argument. He said to the cook cut me
a piece of steak and cook it. He then
ate the lot and said the meat is okay.
The Pioneer LT said he had already given
instructions to his company to destroy
it. I hastened to that kitchen and found
the meat had been dumped down one of the
many mine shafts in this old gold mining
area. They had poured petrol down after
it. I watched as they had just given up
one dropping lighted matches down and
floated down a wad of lighted newspaper.
Two peered over as edge as nothing
happened then caught a blast that
removed their eyebrows. The toilet lids
on adjacent mineshafts blew up a mess.
An investigating team on the meat came
up from AHQ and heard evidence and
pronounced the remaining meat excellent.
I had one or two other minor
disagreements with Lt Col Grant when he
bypassed me to junior lieutenants in
front of my troops. The final event was
at the army reserve near the Port
Phillip Heads on a bivouac weekend. The
ocean side, Cheviot Beach, consumed
Harold Holt, later. The inside of the
headland had a small safe sandy bay. A
swim parade was organised early one
morning for my company and I was giving
orders on not going out too far, when Lt
Colonel Grant intervened. He said I have
appointed the Pioneer Lt to supervise
safety as he has a Bronze Life Saving
Certificate. I said I will see he does
as I have a Silver and a First Class
Instructors Certificate. The naked
company burst out laughing. The next
week I was transferred to the new 4 TF
HQ as staff-captain A and met some
fellow transferees. Bar the Ordinance
Captain they were first class.
Camp 1951 21 May -5 June in the
This camp was held at Pomona on week 1
and Golden Beach week 2. This was the
first time the unit was split with some
left at Pomona.
The CO was Lt Colonel Gus Gehrman . OC A
Coy was Captain Tommy Parslow. RSM WO1
Bruce. We camped in the Pomona
Showgrounds. (9 Bn were at Cooroy). Our
Bren gun carriers were detrained at
Cooroy and driven to Golden Beach. I
remained at Cooroy in the first week
though the rest of the Bn except most of
the Sig Platoon were elsewhere. Radio
set 122 in poor condition but could
communicate with the forward Bn set.
Kitchen provided by another unit. Mess
in show pavilion. Lived in 2 man tents.
Quite warm. Mosquito nets essential.
Able to go to a film at Pomona theatre
one night on local leave. Minor training
under Bill Catchpool, our sergeant. He
went to navy, later.
One evening Harry and I were in our tent
and ready for sleep when an Aldershot
grenade was bowled into our tent by Bill
Catchpool as he exited the camp. I
rolled up in the wool blankets and Harry
rolled out as the mosquito nets and tent
that exploded in flames. Both uninjured.
Fire piquet quickly stopped the fire. I
was a corporal and Harry a Lance
corporal. No officers were around. I was
very annoyed but Harry collected our
burned clothing items and gear and
exchanged them for those in the
sergeant’s tent. No further action.
On the weekend the balance of the
Signals Platoon joined A Company HQ at
Golden Beach. We were visited by some
brass from Brisbane. One day there was
an excercise where vehicles and the Bren
Gun carriers were transported on army
rafts across Lake Wyeba. It was
generally shallow but tidal variation
considerable. The raft grounded a bit
before the shore on a sandbank. The
visiting regular general was impatient
and said I want to see it ashore.
Sergeant Albie Wyatt said , “The water
is too deep in the gutter, sir.” The
general said “Cant you follow orders.
“Albie pinched his nostrils together
held on and said “Driver Forward The
carrier and crew disappeared under the
water and floated up. Engineers
recovered the carrier later.
pounders had a shoot with targets backed
to the sea. The first shot was followed
by a couple of powerboats heading for
South America. This was followed by
Mustangs strafing followed by napalm.
Later in the week we dug in, in the sand
just south of Golden Beach. I was Tommy
Parslow’s signaller. During the night we
were attacked largely by our drunken
regular adjutant and mates. They threw
half sticks of gelignite around for
sound effects. One came very close to
the HQ pit. Tommy called the adjutant
over. He then loaded his Very pistol,
cocked it and said “Have ever seen what
one of these flares does to a man’s
guts? Drop all your gelignite and Go!”.
We had a bonfire and burnt all the
gelignite. The adjutant was living in
the Laguna House Guest House and not
with the unit. A later CO lived outside
The mortar shoot was held up next day as
the Chief Safety officer from Victoria
Barracks was hung over until close to
midday and could not get out of bed.
The unit went back to Pomona and cleaned
up and packed gear. On the Sunday we
marched to Pomona Station. We travelled
back in dog box carriages to Roma Street
station. They were attached to a
scheduled civilian train. A pit stop was
at Landsborough station. We dispersed at
the station so must have been paid at