by John Hain 1971-72
An article on how the National Service scheme operated, can be found on the War Memorial website .(click here)
Before we left Australia we were given a brief for all new RAAEC instructors to PNG command. View the document by clicking here.
RAAEC Sergeants were paid as group 17 Sergeants. A copy of the pay scale follows:
Note: click on schedule to enlarge the view.
While in PNG, Doug Rathbone and Tony Johnstone organised a number of air charters that allowed us to see a lot of the country for about half the price of regular flights. Some of their pamphlets follow:
The 1/71 intake was discharged in July 1972 after the government decided to reduce National Service from 24 to 18 months. The decision was announced while we were in recruit training and it meant that our time in PNG was reduced from 12 to 7 months.
However, discharge was not the end of the story. Nine years later many of us were recruited into the control group for the Australian Veterans Herbicide Studies, which had been set up after pressure from the Vietnam veterans. They strongly believed that they were suffering from their exposure to Agent Orange, a herbicide that was sprayed widely in Vietnam to deforest areas and make it more difficult for the Vietcong to hide. As we were not exposed to Agent Orange, many PNG Chalkies were used in the control group to see what health differences comrades who served in Vietnam suffered. The study was abandoned a few years later as its results were inconclusive. However, the government did eventually recognise their claims. Click here to view most of the correspondence that I received.