Retired Army Officers
A reunion of army officers who trained for their careers at the Officer Cadet School at Portsea in Victoria 60 years ago has been held in Canberra.
raise final salute
The fourth course to be conducted at OCS Portsea was held in 1953 and its 2013 reunion attracted 15 of its 52 graduates with many coming with their partners of 50-years-plus from all over Australia and each bringing a lifelong collection of memories and reminiscences of their military and civilian achievements.
Convened by former class members, Colonel Bill Smith and Lieutenant Colonel John Clarke, the dining-in night celebration was to be the Class's final formal farewell and as such was attended by all but a couple of the graduates well enough to travel.
Two apologies were received from class members already travelling on holiday cruises in the middle east and unable to break their journeys for the event.
A highlight of the reunion was a special message to the graduates from Her Majesty the Queen, congratulating them on their long and faithful service and recognising the contribution they had made to the Australian Army in many theatres of operations over many years.
Another highlight was the presentation by the class's former instructor at OCS, Colonel John Church, of special certificates of recognition signed by the Governor-General, Quentin Bryce.
In a special address to the reunion, former cadet, Lieutenant Colonel Bill Overstead recalled the tragedies of losing comrades on training courses and lamented the lack of recognition for trainees killed while training for war.
"It's a tremendous number of people," Lt Col Overstead said.
"They should be remembered."
He called on his colleagues to support a national memorial to soldiers killed in training.
"It should be somewhere close to the Australian War Memorial."
Highest-ranking officer to emerge from 4 Course at OCS was former Brigadier Brian Cooper who led the retired officers in a moving round of personal recollections from their days at OCS Portsea and beyond.
* A record of the reunion can be found on this week's PS News In Focus pages at this PS News link.
Edition 381, 1 October 2013 2013