Radschool Association Magazine - Vol 43

Page 18

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Where are they??



    Where are they now?




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John Monkhouse


Roger Bailey wrote, he said:  “I was reading Vol 35 and I noticed a photograph on page 14 of people who were at the 2011 Anzac Day parade and I saw a photograph of John Monkhouse.  He was an armourer and I don't see his name in the members list. Do you have any details of how I could contact him?  Was this photo taken in Brisbane?”


Yes Roger, it was taken at the Port Office hotel and if anyone knows where John is please get in touch with us and we’ll pass on the details to Roger.





We’ve been looking for two blokes for many years and remarkably, last month, we found both of them – or more accurately, they found us through the magazine.


First was Terry Horsley. We hadn’t seen Terry since a bunch of us left Laverton back in 1967, after completing 41 RTC (below). Terry is now living in the US and loving every minute of it, but, unfortunately, still following Collingwood.



We spoke with Terry, he says:  “After I graduated from 41 RTC in '67, I spent a few years in Townsville with 10 Sqn (and there are some stories from that time). In 1971, I was posted back to Radschool as an APS31 radar instructor. The RAAF Instructional Techniques course and RADTECH course set me up for an engineering career with Wang Laboratories after I left the RAAF.


I’m now I’m living in the USA, been here since 1982, but still have a large family back in the Sydney area that I come home for a visit every so often. I stumbled across the Radschool Association recently and found many old friends, acquaintances and stories. 


I’m into Sailboats these days. I first got into bigger boats back in 1989 with my then girlfriend, who was a sailing nut at the time.  We shared finance on a 33’ Morgan sloop, which we called “Hasten Slowly”.  To simplify the transaction we decided to get married.  Not a good reason to get married! but the upside of that is that 3 years later when we separated and divorced, I inherited the permanent floating condo and learned to be a live-aboard downtown in Boston for the next 7 years.  What a great life for a guy that turned out to be!  Although being locked inside the boat after an ice storm could have been disastrous.  I got out by melting the ice around the hatch with a hair dryer – I had power – took hours.  Whoops!  If I start telling war stories this will go on for 130 pages or more!  I’ll try to minimise the embellishments, they should be saved for a get-together with a lot of beer (agreed!).


I moved up in ’98 to a much grander boat, a 41’ ketch, a Morgan Out Islander, commonly referred to as an Outhouse. I called mine “Sweet Pea”. She had a big diesel, 85HP, and two masts.  I got laid off and went solo sailing south for the winter to Florida, ending up in Key West.


Sweet Pea had radar, autopilot, a 4kw diesel generator, air conditioning, 4 burner propane stove, fridge, all the stuff that you don’t need when you’re sailing the islands and that you spend most of your life head down, bum up fixing it.  Kept living as a boating bum for about 6 years, roaming the Florida Keys and the Bahamas and ending up broke, working at a marina in Baltimore for $10 an hour.  Loved it!  Finally snagged a consultant job back in Rhode Island and went back into the electrical power industry for a few years until I got laid off again at the age of 62.  I sold Sweet Pea in 2006 and was retired and boatless. 

The boat I have today is a Soverel 37’ centerboard coastal cruiser.  Her current name is “Full Circle” but I plan to rename her “Sea Horse 2” to keep her in the Horsley family.  She’s a fiberglass sloop that draws 4 feet, and 9’6” with the 500lb. board lowered.  She has a Yanmar 3 cylinder diesel, 24 HP, fresh water cooled, that (now) runs like a swiss watch. 


She was originally rigged as a cutter, which means that she has a single mast with two forestays to fly two jibs, but I only use one jib/forestay, so she’s a regular sloop (referred to by some as a slutter,  sloop/cutter).


I like her bottom.  The board is tucked up in the keel trunk. She’s narrow, at 9’6” beam which makes her pretty quick, and there’s enough headroom for a  6 footer like me down below.  She has an autopilot, GPS, fishfinder, VHF, and, while I lived on her, a 120V fridge and microwave.


I found her on eBay three years ago, and put a bid on her just for laughs – there was a good surveyors report on her and no-one was bidding-she’d been sitting at a dock in Hampton VA (near the US Navy port of Norfolk) for a few years and was pretty old (1972), but in good nick.  Well, I snagged her, which was a complete surprise to me – I hadn’t counted on being back on board again after selling my previous boat.  That meant driving 1200+ miles round trip every week or so to work on her so that I could eventually bring her back to Newport, Rhode Island, which I did via the Intracoastal Waterway, up the Chesapeake (another story on its own!), outside into the Atlantic from Cape May, past Atlantic City to Sandy Hook, NY, through to the East River, via the Statue of Liberty, along Manhattan and up through the famous Hell  Gate and into Long Island Sound, then a 100 mile run to Narragansett Bay and an anchorage in Newport. 


I’d done this run over the years three times, and have many stories to tell about these trips.  For example, (uh oh! Another war story!) I rescued a guy out of the East River near Hell Gate while I was sailing solo from south to north in a tide flow of 5 knots.  This hellish current was rushing him and his out-of-gas wave-runner downstream towards Hell Gate – aptly named.  After struggling with the guy to get a line on his tipped over wave-runner for half an hour (he was exhausted by this stage) I heard a barge tug trumpeting as it entered the turn in the river under the Hell Gate bridge.  I’d already Mayday’d over the VHF, but you know New Yorkers – not a sausage of a response.  A 20,000 ton barge (40,000 tons after a few beers!) was being pushed against the tide by a huge elevated-bridge tugboat as it came bellowing around the bend.   Finally the drownee, who was in the water, couldn’t board the wave-runner, got a line tied from my stern to his tipped over waterbike and  scrambled up onto Sweet Pea by climbing on my rudder and dragging his little vessel out of the way of the chundering wall of the barge that was descending on us.  The barge missed us by about three feet.  We shared a warm beer or two after that. 



I could go on forever about these little stories…Back to the subject of living aboard.  In my Sweet Pea days in Florida and the Bahamas, I always lived on the hook at anchorages, with a good, big dinghy to taxi me around the harbor at zero cost.  In the colder climates, when working a regular 9 to 5, in Boston or Baltimore, I’d be at a marina, which is as good as, if not way better than living in a harborside condo and cheaper.  Free parking, cable TV, power, swimming pool, great neighbours, many of them global sailors, writers, doctors, architects, single females……Lots of parties.


My consultant job in RI made it impractical to live aboard for long, dinghying to and fro at all times of the day and night, and the anchorage is restricted to 3 or 4 days only (Summer marina dockage is astronomical in Newport).  Winter, you’re dealing with snow on deck, on the docks, storms, etc.  Inevitably, it’s got more expensive, and my boat is not set up for full time living aboard any more.  Besides, I’m old and comfortable in my apartment in Jamestown, RI.  BUT, I still have the boat and I’m almost ready to go again……


I have a bunch of pics from rookies in Edinburgh and Townsville (10 Sqn) that might be of interest to some old hands. (Yes please mate – looking forward to getting them – tb)



If you get an email telling you that you can catch ‘swine flu’ from tins of ham,

delete it - it's spam.




The other bloke we recently found, also from 41 RTC, is Peter Kensett. Pete was on the move for a number of years, living in various states, but is fit and well and has settled down in southern Tassie. Like Terry, Pete has also gone marine (he never bought that Cooper S), he bought a yacht from a marina in Brisbane, had it shipped to Tassie and it is now home.


He is currently fitting it out and hopes to one day go cruising.




Bob Mead.


Dick “Stix” Chambers wrote, he says:  Howdy folks, in the latest Radschool News, Reg Wood was looking to get in touch with Bob Mead ex Radtecha. Sadly Bob passed away many moons ago.




Flt/Lt Ken BAFF


Alan Hall says: “I understand your privacy rules ... but if you have an email contact for Flt/Lt Ken BAFF 10 Squadron would you please pass on my email address to him.  I have been searching for him as he has some research on the first WWII RAAF fatalities (Walrus) which I am also looking at.”


If you can help, please let us know and we’ll pass on the info. 





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