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RAEME Bribes the Wharfies

By 41961 WO1 (Bob) R.C. Thompson (Ret)
Bob Thompson
Bob Thompson

Colonel  G.S. Allen was the Commander of 3EME group in 1972 when I was on his staff at Victoria Barracks Melbourne. He called me into his office and told me that the Ship called Canada Bear was in port and the Wharfies were refusing to unload it. On board were a number of APC’s, Armored Personnel Carries and that the shipping people had told the Army the APC’s would have to be returned to the US if they were not unloaded in the next two days. Col. Allen told me to go down to the wharf and see what could be done to have them unloaded.

At that time I was a WO1 and also the PMC (President Mess Committee) of the Sgt/WO’s mess at Vic Barracks, Melbourne. On arrival at the wharf I sort out the foreman and the union rep and asked them what would it take to have the APC’s unloaded. After a chat about local Aussie Rules and I find out they are Collingwood supporters, I put it to them I would be prepared to give them an 18Gallon Keg, if the unloading could be done.

In the end they both agreed to allow the APC’s to be unloaded as long as they didn’t leave the wharf until the strike was over. The deal was done and as I was the PMC of the mess I immediately went back to the mess and had an 18Gallon keg of ‘Courage Beer’ put into the back of one of EIS’s ( Equipment Inspection Services) utes and the keg was delivered within the hour and we had the APC’s on the wharf that afternoon.

After the action was carried out Col. G.S. (Gubby) Allen (pictured) was very pleased but a bit bewildered how the Army was going to pay and account for the keg. He tried to have the Army pay, but eventually he paid it out of his own pocket.

There is no limit to what RAEME can achieve.