Australian Military Pass

Quite how an Australian military ID card turned up in West Yorkshire is something of a mystery, but tonight’s object did. This pass is made of buff card and was issued sometime after April 1968 when this batch of cards was reprinted:SKMBT_C36416080415191_0001 - CopySadly the officer who filled this out has appalling handwriting, so beyond knowing it was issued to 1202801 Recruit Jackson it is hard to make out much detail. A stamp detailing out of bounds areas is visible at the top of the card. The inside of the card has space to record a soldier’s leave and the instructions printed on the left indicate that he served on a base in Wagga Australia:SKMBT_C36416080415190_0001There are two major bases in the area one RAAF and an Army base Blamey Barracks at the Kapooka Military Area. The site that was to become ARTC was established on a property on the southern slopes of the Pomingalarna Reserve in 1942 as a direct result of defence needs during World War II. As a part of the Royal Australian Engineers Centre thousands of engineers were trained in basic soldiering skills as well as engineering duties. In addition 47,000 regular soldiers also trained at the barracks from 1942 to 1945. The location was also the camp for members of the Australian Women’s Army Service who acted as orderlies, drivers and hospital staff during that period of time.

Following the Second World War the barracks became the 1st Recruit Training Battalion (1RTB) which was established in November 1951 with Lieutenant Colonel V.E. Dowdy appointed as the first Commanding Officer. During 1952 and 1953, 1RTB was joined by 2nd Recruit Training Battalion in temporary buildings on the ridge south of the main camp.

The RAAF also had a base in the area and the following histroy of RAAF Base Wagga comes from the Australian Air Force’s website:

RAAF Base Wagga has been an integral part of the local Wagga Wagga community since 1940. RAAF Wagga delivers technical and non-technical initial employment and postgraduate training that is fundamental to the delivery of military air and space power in support of national objectives.

RAAF Wagga supports two key headquarters of Wings from Air Force Training Group; RAAF College and Ground Training Wing; along with four major training units; No 1 Recruit Training Unit (1RTU), School of Postgraduate Studies (SPS), RAAF School of Technical Training (RAAFSTT), and the RAAF School of Administration and Logistics Training (RAAFSALT).

Combat Support Group units also provide support to the base. No 31 Squadron is responsible for the military coordination of RAAF Base Wagga and provides combat support to operations and training activities for Australian Defence Force units operating from RAAF Base Wagga. Wagga Health Centre along with No 1 Expeditionary Health Squadron detachment provide high quality health services to Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel, as well as providing emergency response and first aid to the civil and defence community of the Riverina region if required. Their primary role is to support training and direct health support to the four major training units on RAAF Wagga.

The Royal Australian Air Force’s RAAF Base Wagga, in NSW’s Riverina region, is referred to as the ‘Home of the Airman’ due to the presence of Air Force recruit and trade training schools.

Returning to the leave card, we can see further space on the rear for more leave requests:SKMBT_C36416080415191_0001The soldier who was issued this card would have kept it on his person at all times in case he needed to present it to those in authority and it was used to allow him access to and from the military base.

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