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My Time as a "Part Time Digger" in
National Service and the Citizen Military Forces
by Hugh Williams

1948 to 1964

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I joined the school Cadets at Brighton Technical School in Victoria, February 1948 and served as a cadet for one year until chosen to attend an NCO camp at the Balcombe Military Camp in Southern Victoria. In my second year I was promoted to Corporal. After only 3 months, the position of CSM, (Company Sergeant Major) became vacant, this posting I held till the end of 1949 when I was again chosen to attend a training camp at Queenscliff, in southern Victoria for Cadet Officers, (see picture at right.)     >>>>>>>>>>
On completion of the course, I was to receive a Vice Royal Commission and held the rank of 'Cadet Lieutenant'.
I was very proud to be able to wear the same gold 'Pips' (see below) that my father had worn as a Cadet Lieutenant prior to World War One in 1914. As you would gather, I was very proud to follow in my father's footsteps.
I held the position of 2-I/C of the Cadet unit and in 1950 commanded a Guard of Honour at the celebrations at the anniversary of 25 years of the Brighton Technical School, the guest of honour was the then Victorian State Governor, Sir Dallas Brooks.

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Cadet Hugh at 13 years of age (early 1948) and training to become a Cadet Lt. at Queenscliff.
in January 1950. 
(2nd from the right in dark trouser.)

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Brighton Technical School Cadet Badge and the gold 'Pips' worn by
my father in 1914 and myself in 1950

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Cdt. Lt. Hugh & W.O. Ray Upton
Brighton Technical School 1950

Royal Australian Engineer's Badge
Cpl (3/64086)

Victorian Scottish Regiment
Cpl. (3/750370) 1954-9


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On the firing Range R.A.E.

Bailey Bridge Construction R.A.E

  The end product. R.A.E

On leaving school and starting work in January 1951 as an electrical apprentice with the Melbourne City Council Electricity Supply Department, I enlisted in the Royal Australian Engineers, 3 Field Engineer Regiment in Swan Street Richmond as a CMF cadet.
Due to holding the rank of Cdt. Lieutenant in the school cadets I was immediately made a Cadet Sergeant, the most senior cadet in the unit. On turning 18 years of age, Transferred to the Regiment as a full Corporal, this rank I held until called up for National Service in January 1954.
While in the Royal Australian Engineers I was trained in basic Infantry and Engineering, such as Bailey Bridge Construction (See above). January 1954 soon came around and I was called up for National Service where I served as a Cpl (3/750370) in the 15th National Service Battalion in Baker Company, 7 Platoon at Puckapunyal Victoria.
As the result of my previous training and a short refresher course I was again sewing on the stripes of a corporal. This rank was only for the duration of training.
After the initial basic training of three months we were posted to various Citizen Military Forces units throughout the state. I was then posted to the Victorian Scottish Regiment where I ended up in the Signals platoon, again as a Corporal, doing maintenance on their electrical equipment, this work I continued until the end of my National Service obligation.

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I heard the call of Army life again in 1962 and re-enlisted in 3 Divisional Signals Regiment in South Melbourne, here I served as a Signals Corporal (368512), being an Instructor and Driver Operator on some of the larger radio equipment.
I was driver/operator for Major General Vickory, Commanding Officer, 3 Division. This introduced me into the world of movie making as the General had a Movie camera and this aroused my interest in movie making that has lasted to this day.

Due to ill health I was discharged in 1964, my army life was over, or I thought it was! In early 1995, 31 years later, my interests were again raised when I heard about the
National Servicemen's Association and there is another story.

Getting the Message through!
Cpl (368512) 1962-65

Updated Wednesday, 31 December 2008                                                                                       Back to Hugh's page