RAAF Telstechs Association

The Association's Purpose

The Purpose of the RAAF Telstechs Association, is to bring together those people who served in the Royal Australian Air Force as Telecommunications Technicians (Telstechs) between 1953 and 1989. Our aim is to hold reunions at regular intervals, hopefully in different localities each time, and to encourage those in remote areas e.g. Darwin and Perth, to hold reunions of their own with people from their own area.

The Associations President is Group Captain Bob Scrivener, Treasurer is Neal Miller, Secretary (General Dog's Body) is Neil Hunter, and committee members are Wayne Morris and Tony Reeve.

Annual subscription to the Association is $10.00, with the membership year being from 1 March to 28/29 February the following year. $100 will give you Life Membership. Money will be used to defray postage cost for those who are not on the Internet, and to pay for the use of our own Internet domain name (www.raaftelstechs.au.com) and domain name hosting.

Send subscriptions to:

NOTE NEW ADDRESS
and NAME CHANGE to DEFENCE BANK

Neal Miller
RAAF Telstechs Association
P.O. Box 4329
HAWKER ACT 2614

Make cheques and Money Orders out to:

RAAF Telstechs Association

or make an electronic funds transfer using the following info:

BSB No. 803205
Acct No. 2060 9660
Acct Name. RAAF Telstechs Association
Acct held at. Defence Bank

History

The mustering of Telstech (Telecommunictions Technician) was formed to manage the new mechanised telecommunications equipment (Teletype) and up to date mechanical cryptographic equipment which was being introduced to the RAAF in the early 1950s. Previous to this, the new equipment was looked after by Radio Servicemen, but the RAAF saw the need for a specialist mustering, which was in the first instance, called Telegraphist Technician. The Telstech mustering dragged behind the Radio Serviceman (soon to be called Technician) mustering in many ways, the greatest of which was the disparity in pay levels. It took quite some years for the Telstechs to be given equal pay (1965) with the Radio Technicians (Radtechs), and a few more years to become completely autonomous (read get rid of the Radtechs who had been trained on new crypto equipment installed in the 60s, instead of Telstechs).

The Telstech mustering came into being in 1953, and during that year several courses were completed, one at Ballarat, and the others at the PMG School at Annandale in Sydney. Members of these courses were not the first Telstechs, the honour going to remusters from other musterings (Wireless Operator Mechanic, Telegraphist Supervisor, Radio Serviceman) - who were the first Telstechs is unknown at this time.

The Telstech mustering grew as newer and more complex equipment was installed. Personnel numbered up to 250 in the mustering's heyday in the 70s and early 80s, with new Telstech courses commencing regularly. By the mid 80s, new telecommunications technology was being considered, which would sound the death knell for the mustering, and on 30 November 1989, all serving Telstechs were remusterd to Radtech (Ground) (Radtech(G)), much to their disgust. The stigma of being called a Radtech (G) was not to last long, when a new mustering was formed to manage all ground telecommunications equipment. This mustering was called Communications Electronics Technician (CETech), and was the amalgamation of the Telstech, Radtech(G) and Telsrig (Linesmen) musterings. The CETech mustering has 23 Warrant Officers, 50 Flight Sergeants, 112 Sergeants, 159 Corporals, and 205 AC/LAC/ACW/LACWs at last count. CETechs are posted to all RAAF bases in Australia, and selected overseas posts.

A reunion was held at Glenbrook over the weekend 29/30 November 1999, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the closure of the Telstech mustering. The various activities over the weekend were attended by about 100 people - read the report below.

Where is Everyone?

A complete list of all Telecommunications Technicians (Telstechs) is available here. This list includes their title, initials, christian name (and what the person was know as), address, Email address, and comments pertinent to the person.

The Internet and our site.

If you are reading this at "www.raaftelstechs.au.com', then you know that the site is up and running again. Ron Daley (26TTC) has stepped into the void left by our previous hosting people, who simply disappeared, but we had a good run with them, costing us only the initial $14.95. We are now up for a little more than that, but I'm sure the service will be outstanding. Those who have paid for membership of the association have ensured that we can afford this expense, so thankyou.

Photos

Those old photos are up again - Have a look at the rogues gallery.

What happened on that weekend (November 27/28 1999)

Things kicked off at Penrith Panthers Club on Friday night, with lots of renewing old acquaintances and meeting people whose names were familiar, but whose paths had never crossed. Festivities carried on until the wee small hours, and because some had not had enough, started again at breakfast time - good luck to them. Jack Beggs turned up early in the night to wish us well, but left before all could get to say hello.

Saturday started off dull and grey (who said Sydney gets all the good weather), and by the time the river cruise was due to set sail, things hadn't improved much - there we were standing around like stale bottles waiting for the stragglers who never did turn up - by the bar at Panthers seemed just that much better. 44 of us made the cruise and what a pleasant 2 hours it was, visiting parts of the Nepean Gorge I hadn't been to, and I come from the area. Lunch was various meats and salads followed by strawberry cheese cake - all very nice, all washed down with your favourite beverage.

Things kicked off at about 3 o'clock at Glenbrook, with more refreshments, served very ably by Shane Browning (Ciscon) and his assistant. More stories (or was it lies) were told, and even more beverages were consumed interspersed by quick glimpses of the cricket. Tours of the new facilities at Glenbrook were organised, just to show us old timers how much this modern day Air Force had changed.

Time for more beverages, and to welcome those who had decided to attend at the last minute - John Goddard, Mick Osborne and Grahame Miles turned up unannounced, and were generally rubished by all who saw them walk through the door.

7 o'clock and it was sit down time to a very well presented meal, plus of couse more beverages of choice. As the meal was consumed, appropriate words of wisdom were given, and finally a toast to our departed comrades was offered by Bob Scrivener. After the meal, a group photo was taken by Fritz van Amstel, with the usual confusion associated with these things.

After a quick presentation of an 8mm movie of days gone by at Fairbairn (including a very young Blue Rhodes) by Alan Mewha, it was time for more beverages and more remeniscing ( or is that bull sh_t). Gary Butler did a swan dive off the back steps of the mess and 'retired hurt' (the hour was fairly late) ,and then when Mike Golden went to look for him, Mike fell off the edge of the pathway (well it was dark you know) and damaged a few ribs.

Next morning the messing staff prepared a great breakfast, just the thing for a hangover, and while we were filling our stomachs, Gary Meyers appeared, still fully booted and spurred, wondering where Block B was - he couldn't find it the night before, and had collapsed somewhere that looked like a bed, and he still doesn't know where he slept.

As if we hadn't had enough the night before, the BBQ at Londonderry Txers started at 10am, with copious quantities of snags and of course more beverages. By about 2o'clock everyone had decided enough was enough and slowly wandered off into the distance - the parting words were "See you at the next one in Wagga".

Special thanks must go to Neal Miller and Greg Smith for their efforts in organising what was a very enjoyable couple of days - I know I had a wonderful time seeing people I hadn't seen for up to thirty years.


REUNIONS

USELESS INFORMATION

The Corporals Club at Laverton is no longer!!!!! Although the Corporals Club closed some time ago, the building was retained for a general activities/meeting venue, and was used a while back by the Laverton Sergeants' Mess while the mess was being refurbished. It is now a vacant block of land - So passes another piece of history!!!!!


Updated 29 August 2014


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