Gary Oakley - Living in the past

Running time
1 min 39 sec
Date made
Place made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


I can remember on ships, there were guys on ships who'd served in the Second World War and Korea, you know, very rarely did you see a set of Vietnam ribbons. I can remember see more guys wearing Korean War medal ribbon bars than Second World War ribbon bars.

We used to have these things, they used to call them Queen’s calyx or King’s calyx, Queens calyx, they were leading seamen, they'd been in the Navy for so long, that was all they were going to be, they were given that rank. And these guys you know, had three, four ribbon bars because they'd been in the bloody Second World War, in Korea.

And the thinking was the same and when I trained at Leeuwin you were trained with film footage and documentation from the Second World War and Korea. So, the thinking is still living in the past, it was still very much in the past so all the damage control stuff was done from training films, which were made in the Second World War about British ships, how to save ships if they were sinking.

Your equipment on ships, like the Duchess and the Sydney was all Second World War stuff, so we were still, it was a different way of thinking. Soldiers were different too. I mean, you see a soldier today and they’re bulked up, you know, they carry a lot of equipment, they're bulked up, I mean, most of these guys they were eight stone ringing wet with all the equipment on them. It was a totally different defence force and a totally different, we were still stuck in that Second World War frame of mind and we still had those people on board the ships.

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