Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 6 2011 Contents DEFENCE MAGAZINE
PEOPLE IN DEFENCE
Logistics team take on
By Tracey Hyde
The great work of the Army suppor t
crews in East Timor provided logistical
support and the National Critical
Care and Trauma Response Centre
(NCCTRC) provided a full medical
response team to all participants.
Injuries ranged from dehydration to
cuts, broken bones and heat stress.
The tour was both physically and
mentally challenging for Karen and Col,
with none of the comforts of home.
Each night they had to put their tents
up – sometimes in the dark, line up for
cold showers – hoping there was water
left, and the ablutions left a lot to be
An evening meal cooked by East
Timor locals consisted of cold rice and
noodles – was supplemented by their
own rations, to rejuvenate energy levels
for the next day’s stage.
One of the positives of entering a
race of this nature is the new friendships
forged through mutual respect of
Half century of
Royal Navy, relocated to Australia, and
joined the RAN in 1976.
After his promotion to Sub-Lieutenant
in August 1982 and subsequent to his
OfficerTraining at HMAS Creswell,
Lieutenant Commander James was posted
back to HMAS Cerberus for weapons
electrical engineering training where he
was awarded the Peter Mitchell Prize for
academic excellence in February 1984.
Lieutenant Commander James served
on six ships in the RAN.While serving on
HMAS Swan from 1991 to 1993, the Swan
berthed at Chennai (formally Madras,
India).Whilst alongside, the ship provided
medical and technical assistance to the
APS members of Joint Logistics Unit-North, Col
Smith and KarenWilson, during the Tour de Timor.
Raymond ‘Taffy’ James have
celebrated his 50 years of
combined service in the
Royal Navy, Royal Australian
Navy and Royal Australian
Lieutenant Commander James has
had a remarkable career, including being
part of the Armed Escort for the funeral
of SirWinston Churchill – not for some
distinguished characteristic, but rather
he was the right height.
Born inWales, United Kingdom,
Lieutenant Commander James joined the
Royal Navy in 1961, after hearing endless
sea stories from his uncles and brother, who
were in the Royal Navy and Royal Marines.
He served on eight ships in the Royal Navy
from 1961 to 1976, including HMS Duchess,
a ship which was transferred to the RAN
following the tragic sinking of HMAS Voyager.
In 1969, Lieutenant Commander James
was involved in the ‘Icelandic CodWar’
between the United Kingdom and Iceland
over fishing rights in the North Atlantic.
During a routine transfer from HMS
Sirius to a British trawler to assist
with an electrical problem, Lieutenant
Commander James was swamped by a
North Atlantic wave, suffered extreme
hypothermia and almost lost his life, but
fixed the trawler’s problem.
In a lighter moment, during a visit to
Puerto Rico, Lieutenant Commander
James enjoyed a couple of beers
with his childhood hero Lord Louis
Mountbatten, last viceroy of India under
Britain and a former First Sea Lord.
In April 1972, Lieutenant
Commander James was seconded to the
Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and served
at HMAS Cerberus, where he instructed
in all areas of weapons electronics.
While in Australia, he had a taste
of the good life and decided to follow
in the footsteps of his family, who
moved to Australia in 1969. Lieutenant
Commander James discharged from the
MITHRA Orphanage (Madras Institute
to Habilitate Retarded and Afflicted
Children). Lieutenant Commander James
and the crew of HMAS Swan provided
games and activities for the children and
became friends with the orphanage nun,
Sister MaryTheodore OAM, a Catholic
nun originally from Australia.
In March 2000, he discharged
from the RAN to the Reserve, where
he still serves. Lieutenant Commander
James works in Infrastructure Asset
Development Branch in Defence
Support Group’s Infrastructure
Division, continuing his solid,
dependable and dedicated service.
Two of Joint Logistics
Unit - Nor th’s (JLU-N)
civilian members, Col
Smith and Karen Wilson,
participated in the 2011
Tour de Timor, completing
distances of between 60km
and 136km per day.
Preparation began three months prior,
with training most days and sometimes
up to three hours before work.
Both Col and Karen were supported
by their work mates, for their
‘sometimes’ later than usual workday
starts, smelly clothes in the change
rooms and the occasional complaints of
sore leg muscles and butts.
Training for Timor was a c hallenge as
Darwin has no hills to train on; this was
cer tainly felt in the first stage as the
first mountain climb took three hours
to get through.
Lieutenant Commander Ray ‘Taffy’ James cuts his
The race was tough and finishing all
six stages was a challenge in itself, with
many competitors withdrawing due to
varying states of illness and injury.
From 420 competitors who started
the Tour, Col finished in 187th place
and Karen was runner-up in the 40+
category, bringing home a silver medal.
This amazing feat was made more
inspiring as Karen had contemplated
not entering due to a family tragedy the
week prior to the tour.
Karen’s mum tragically lost her life
in a house fire in NSW and Karen had
to travel to organise the funeral and
didn’t think she would travel to East
Timor due to a combination of the
funeral and return flights to Darwin.
However, with extensive suppor t from
Col, Karen was able to travel to NSW
while he prepared and packed her gear,
camping and food requirements.
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