Junior Recruit Memorial Project
Newsletter Number 5
The project has been reviewed against the planning milestones set by the committee and at this time I am happy to report that we are on track. The progress can sometimes become a little ragged whilst we await responses from various organisations that we need to consult with. Often these minor time delays can compound and frustrate matters but we are obliged to use snail mail so to speak when seeking formal approvals.
We have had a positive response from the Minister for Veteran’s Affairs and he has referred us to DVA for further assistance. The National President of the RSL has also given us his endorsement that we now place with others such as the Naval Association of Australia on file to be used in future applications for assistance to the project.
We have had approval from Leeuwin Barracks to place the memorial at that site and have access to our preferred location that is near the ensign staff immediately inside the ceremonial gates.
Submissions have been received from a number of memorial masons and foundries with quotes to undertake the work. These quotes will be reviewed by the committee in time and a final decision will be made sometime late in 2009 at which time we expect construction to begin.
The memorial will be constructed to form three grey granite panels each of 1500 mm x 1000 mm. The left hand panel will be engraved with the dedication in gold lettering and this is to be surrounded by a gold rope.
The centre panel will have a bronze sculpture attached to it. This will be a full sized head and torso embossed image of a Junior Recruit (waist up). It will include the Tingira flash on the left shoulder and represent full winter uniform features such as silk, lanyard, tapes, collar etc. The embossed image will be in the centre of a circular bronze disc (500 mm) and include a rope surround with a figure of eight knot at the bottom.
The right hand panel will have etched into it the crests of Leeuwin and Cerberus and as such be representative of all Junior Recruits. The forecourt area will be paved in a similar colour to the grey granite in the panels.
This drawing represents the structural details in terms of size and layout and was supplied by one of the companies providing quotes for the work. (see below)
Leeuwin Barracks has been helpful in meeting our request for use of the land at our preferred location near the ceremonial gates. At this time there is another memorial located near where we propose to locate the JR Memorial. The existing WWII memorial will not be relocated; we will locate ours to the rear of this and closer to the Drill Hall. The location is presently used for ANZAC Day ceremonies by Leeuwin Barracks, it is envisaged that the ex JR community could use this location for the same purpose in future years.
The site for the memorial
The bronze centre piece for the memorial is being designed to represent a Junior Recruit in uniform and the artist is being asked to ensure that both the uniform features such as lanyard, silk scarf, collar etc are true in every detail. We are also seeking to have the facial features representative of a young man of the appropriate age and no we will not include the acne.
Discussions are presently underway to determine the feasibility of having a memorial medallion manufactured in bronze or similar metal that is a replica of the memorial centrepiece, the reverse of the medallion will have the dedication engraved and if there is sufficient support also have the name and number of the purchaser included in the engraving.
Similar medallions were made for the centenary of the Scout movement and a photo of their medallion is below.
We are having options for this type of thing costed at this time and our decision to proceed will be determined by the level of the responses we receive. There are costs in setting this type of thing up and we can only undertake it on the basis that there will be full cost recovery. We are not in a position to use donated funds to support this concept.
How much will they cost? The example shown above which is 48 mm in diameter and 4 mm thick (quite heavy) in a bronzed metal with a velvet lined leather case will cost $85. Of this about $25 would go to the memorial fund. Less expensive options are being explored at this time with the assistance of SALT, which is the outlet for RANCCF items. Jak Goudman (ex JR and WOSN) is looking into our options with that organisation.
Would you buy one and how much would you pay?
In terms of family heritage you might ask “would your family buy one and have it as a permanent keepsake of your service in the RAN”? Can I recommend that you bring this to the attention of your family, I am more than sure that they would like to have a valued memento of your service
Your feedback on this is requested. It goes without saying that we will not proceed unless there is sufficient support. If we can get indications for a demand of 100 or more then we can proceed
A bank account has been set up with the Devonport branch of Westpac. The account name is the “Junior Recruit Memorial Fund Inc.” (BSB 037 604 Account 22 7096) and deposits can be made electronically with the bank or by cheque made out to the fund and remitted to JR Memorial Fund Inc. 75 Lovett St Devonport Tas. 7310
Please do not remit cash or cheques made out to anyone other than the fund.
Donations have slowed somewhat since we started the project, at this time we only have $5,000 and the target is to raise $25,000 and whilst we will get some funds from DVA there is a significant gap in what comes from grants and what we need to get it done. Just $10 from each ex JR will get us there and all of this will not happen without your support.
Some History of HMAS Leeuwin
The history of the RAN in Fremantle goes back to 1st July 1911 when a District naval Officer was appointed at Fremantle primarily to administer Reserves enrolled for compulsory training. The first district naval officer was captain C.J. Clare and the Naval Staff Office was established in a disused Post Office in Cliff St Fremantle.
In 1913 a building known as King’s Warehouse was leased from the Customs Department for use as a drill hall. This remained in use for 13 years until a new drill hall was constructed in an area bounded by Mouat St, Croke Lane and Cliff St. On the 1st October 1926 the new buildings were occupied by the District Naval Officer and his staff and King’s Warehouse was vacated. At this time the establishment was known as HMAS Cerberus V.
The Naval Control of Shipping Service was established on 1st September 1939 and the next day the Port War Signal Station on Rottnest Island was manned and mobilisation commenced. The Croke Lane Depot was commissioned HMAS Leeuwin on 1st August 1940. During 1941-42 much development occurred including the building of the new and present depot at Preston Point to provide torpedo maintenance facilities for allied submarines and gunnery training for the RAN. This land had previously been partly WA Government Railway property along with Gallop’s farm on the Preston Point Road side. This was occupied in 1942 following the appointment of NOIC Fremantle, the first being Commodore JA Collins. After the war and prior to Junior Recruit Training starting in 1960 the depot was mainly used in the training of Reserves and National Servicemen.
The Naval Board decided to proceed with Junior Recruit Training in 1959, HMAS Leeuwin that had existed in rundown state since the end of National Service was the choice for the new scheme. By the end of 1959 HMAS Leeuwin again took on the appearance of a naval establishment and facilities were restored to provide the accommodation and training of Junior Recruits.
On the 18th July 1960 the first 155 trainees entered HMAS Leeuwin. A total of 141 went on to graduate on 16 June 1961 in the first Passing Out Parade that was reviewed by the late Vice Admiral Sir Henry Burrell, KBE, CB, RAN, and Chief of Naval Staff.
The number of Junior Recruits under training grew steadily in the 1960’s reaching 619 in 1965 and eventually peaking to just over 800 in the early 1970’s. The largest intake was the 50th in 1974 consisting of 276 entries of which 229 went on to graduate.
A long-term development plan was commenced in 1965 in a sweeping rebuilding program that saw virtually all of the temporary structures replaced by modern buildings. Sadly the 1980’s saw the decline of the JR Scheme and the graduation of the 86th intake on 4 December 1984 was the last. A total of 13,340 JR’s entered the scheme between 1960 and 1984, of that number 12,074 graduated.
(The information in this article comes courtesy of Vic Jeffery)