Bob Semple - The importance of training

Running time
2 min 19 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


A lot of the deeds that were done by people, you know, and your own actions at times when you've got to make a decision on certain things. What comes to the top, I suppose, is like milk and cream. If you've got good product knowledge and a lot of the things.

I went to a number of British schools in the Middle East. I did a number of schools and one of the best I went to was not long after we landed in the Middle East.

The commanding officer said 'You're a bit of an expert on machine guns.'

I said 'Well I was an infantry trained bloke before doing the artillery.'

And he said 'Right. I want you to take charge' for the period of time we were teaching these blokes about machine guns. This was before we went overseas.

Well when you see these things happen, there's a lot, there's a requirement for instant reaction. It can only be performed well with constant study and familiarity.

It can be contemptible after a little while if you're not careful, too familiar with the thing but if you've got the skill, the product knowledge, I like to call it and I shall never forget some of those British army instructors we ran into in the British schools in the Middle East. Some of them were very, very good soldiers and had been in the army twelve years and served in Hong Kong and China, the North West frontier in India and these places. I'm talking about Afghanistan and that type of country. They had the skills that went with that and they'd actually been there and they'd come back.

Some of these instructors were the greatest friend you had and as soon as the whistle blew and you were in a class, you'd reckon you had malaria or something or leprosy. They'd cut you to pieces but they insisted on product knowledge and when it comes to an emergency, that's when it comes out.

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