Grand Reunion Ball – VIP after dinner speaker, five nominations, none available, Tingira organising committee scratch heads.
“I have an idea” says Secretary Dixie Lee .
“How about the five lads from the Cerberus intakes; get them up, a question on early days as a JR, see what develops?”
Tingira Patron, Vice Admiral, Russ Crane, centerstage, on microphone and quite prepared to run with the idea, what could go wrong. Let’s face it, Russ just lost a 15 minute speech!
The dinner … And with that, the main meal was consumed and the VIP’s were invited to take a chair centre stage, all looking a little nervous as they had been informed about 30 minutes prior that this was happening.
Russ fires off the first question to Jeff Dalgliesh and hopes he has about a 30 second answer. Five minutes later, Russ slots a question to Eddie DeVere, as Jeff finally runs out of steam, his story was interesting and set the agenda and pace.
The lads continued to lament on that first 24 hours, first week at HMAS Cerberus. There were moments of laughter, sadness and questionable outcomes. to their stories.
Then last but not least, Vern Pasfield was given the microphone for his impression of early days in JR uniform at HMAS Cerberus.
“Well my story is similar but how I got to Cerberus was more exciting. Most lads saw a navy recruiting poster or advertisement, my introduction was way left of traditional.
“Working on the Snowy Mountains Scheme with my father as a young 15 year old, I found myself in a ‘House of Pleasure’ one night with a few of the older chaps. Then suddenly bang, crash, thump, we are busted by the local cops, great!
“Next morning I’m in front of the district judge. He is not the problem in my eyes at this stage, my dad is going to kill me
I enter in the courtroom after a night in cells, shit dad is in the front row, I’m dead!
“Well, well, well” said the judge, looking down his glass at my father in the front row.
“Boy of adventure Mr Pasfield, I have something special for your young lad!
“I’m sending him to Sydney to meet my brother, the Recruiting Officer for the navy Junior Recruit program!
The rest is history, dad was happy, best punishment I’ve ever had, no regrets with life in the navy!
The room was full of laughter and joy as Jeff and the lads had stolen the show with their stories, Russ was more than impressed. He then honoured each of them with an Honorary Gold Life Membership to the Tingira Australia Association, smiles all round.
“Great idea Dixie, well received” said smiling Russ Crane.