BIO - Brigadier John Essex-Clark

To complete your file on me: My regimental number was 311479,   I was a ‘311’ because I enlisted in the UK because I was attending the British Staff College at Camberley at the time. The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was dissolved I was a member of its army and could have been out of a job by the end of the year.  The Australian Army was looking for officers to complete the Pentropic organisation so the Australian DS at Camberley took me to Australia House in London where the Australian Army staff enlisted me at a lower rank while still serving in the Rhodesian Army. I came to Australia posted to 1RAR as 2IC of B Coy. From there you know my story, but the ‘311’ number didn’t mean that I was a Pom. My nickname in the Rhodesia was ‘Digger’ and I was commanding an independent rifle company of the RLI, as a major,  in the Congo before I went to Camberley, and I’d already been BM (S3) of Rhodesia’s IS Ops Bde before then.

In 1RAR I served under Sandy Pearson, Don Dunstan, Lou Brumfield, and Paddy Outridge, as Bn 2IC, before leaving to instruct at Canungra.

My jobs in 1RAR were 2IC then OC B Coy, then GSO2(ops) then OC support Coy and ‘Battle Major’ / Ops Offr/ S3 (US); then Bn 2IC when we got home from Vietnam.

I’m sorry to bore you with all this guff: but once you said that you had a file on our time with the RAR, I was hooked. I also commanded 9RAR from Sep 1971 to Dec 1973 when we were linked with 8RAR. Then went to DINF before commanding the Infantry Centre at Singleton: enough said!

 

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