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27 Intake RATS 1973

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Intake Organiser: Dutchy Holland EMAIL or 0499 229911

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Website: None

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27 Intake RATS Members Page

The Back to Wagga Binno Bash takes place over ANZAC Day weekend 2021. currently there are 31 RATS and partners attending. Give Dutchy a ring on 0499 229911 if you are thinking about attending.

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27 Intake 45th Reunion Gold Coast 2016

27 Intake was inducted into the Royal Australia Air  Force (RAAF) between the 3rd and 5th of January 1973. We made our way to  RAAF School of Technical Training Wagga by various means. Those from  Sydney or Melbourne came by train, others were given a ride in an A Model Hercules transporter, the first of many trips that we would do during  our air force careers.

As was the convention, the intake that joined the year  before us, 26 Intake, nicknamed us the RATS.

On admission there were  154 boys aged between 15 and 16 years of age. That nimber would whittle down over the next 90 days as boys took the opportunity to elect discharge.  After 90 days you were there until you got thrown off course or graduated.

On arrival we were marched to L Group (Clothing store) to get our kit comprising of (amongst other gear):

  1. Kit Bag,

  2. Uniform Dress 1A,

  3. Hat Fur Felt,

  4. Overalls Blue,

  5. Kit Shaving, even though most of us had little more than bum fluff on our faces,

  6. Boots Drill, the toe caps of which we would all shine to an almost mirror finish,

  7. Underwear, (or Bombay Bloomers) which most of us never wore and were used in later times to polish our cars.

Pretty much everything a young boy would require to live.

Once kitted out we were marched to the accommodation  blocks. As we marched past the Apprentices Club a huge roar erupted.  Little did we know what the senior apprentices had in store for us  later. We were assigned a room and were told to drop off our kit and  form up outside the blocks for dinner.

The Airman's Mess was a massive dining hall that catered for 800 or so apprentices, adult trainees and base support staff below the rank of Sargeant. The food was not like Mum's and it took some getting used to but it was filling and there was always plenty. One of the RATS, "Dasher" Dyball got his nickname because he was always the first to the mess doors at lunchtime. Dasher loved the RAAF food so much he stayed in for nearly 40 years. But I digress...

After dinner we made our way back to the blocks to find out what the senoir apprentices had been planning. We had been 'rumbled'! All of our gear including beds and personal effects had been upended by the senior apprentices. Members on upper floors found their gear strewn on the lawn below.

Welcome to the RAAF Apprentice School!

Day 2 dawns (about 0500 hours) and we were woken by the drill instructors going through the blocks and waking us all for breakfast. We were told to shower, dress in overalls and boots.

After breakfast we formed up (if that was the description) outside the blocks. We were broken up into 6 Flights of about 20 then introduced to our drill instructors whose job it was to teach us everything RAAF apart from our trades. Mostly though it was marching. For the first six months we marched every day, Rain - Hail - Shine we marched, Left-Left-Left-Right-Left. And we got good at it too.

Alongside the marching we attended school or the RAAF equivalent. Some of us were poor in maths so they were schooled in Math. We did other subjects too but mostly we spent our time learning how to be tradesmen. The Basic Training hanger was on the other side of the railway line which bisected the base. It was hot in summer and freezing in winter. The trainers were amazing. Together they taught us to use hand tools, drill presses, lathes, welders and we were even taught blacksmithing.

More to Come

We marched and marched

Photo Gallery

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Graduating Apprentices

Our Apprenticeships were done

but the Friendships remain forever

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