VD is something the army has always taken seriously right from Roman times. Rampant infection depletes the force, loads up the medical resources and generally downgrades the efficiency of the whole army.
At the same time they are not stupid or budding Catholic Priest celibates (now there is an oxymoron) and realise life goes on. There have been attempts at various punishments, bans and declaration of self-inflicted-wounds (a death sentence at various times in history) but this never works. The more educated officers suffer lower rates of VD than the soldiers but this is because they can afford visits to higher class establishments with better health checks.
As a result of the shocking numbers during WW1. armies all over the world started on education and preventative measures such as unlimited condom issues, officially medically checked approved soldiers "venues", official government brothels and even working ladies attached to major units on the government pay roll. At all times, even to this day they had to work around the wowsers in the community keeping these programmes low profile or even secret from the public badly hampering the full results required.
My father had an Italian car salesman, Charlie Chiarelli, working for him who was a great bloke with a good sense of humour. He was an Italian infantry officer captured in North Africa and sent to Australia as a prisoner of war. He charmed the pants off a farmer's daughter at Cobram where he had been sent to work, married her and never went home, becoming an Australian citizen.
When I was about 16 Charlie told me about the official prostitutes the Italian Army had. These girls were volunteers on the payroll (plus tips from the boys) not sex slaves such as the Japanese "comfort women". The problem for Charlie was like all armies you had to be on the roll allotted to a unit to get accommodation, food and pay. Even the Italians did not openly talk about the girls to the public for fear of upsetting a Pope who could see no reason why half a million young men could not go without sex for 4 years or casting doubt in the minds of the wives of married soldiers.
Newly arrived Second Lieutenant Charlie Chiarelli stood in front of his platoon on his first big battalion parade in Bardia (where he was captured). On this day the General had actually come down to have a look at his boys and stood in front beside the Colonel. Each platoon commander reported his strength in turn " Number One Platoon, 1 officer, 4 NCO's, 23 OR's on parade, 2 OR's in hospital Sir!" etc down the line.
Despite the presence of the General the entire battalion roared with laughter as innocent Charlie read from his roll book ' Number 4 Platoon, one officer, 4 NCOs, 27 OR's on parade, 12 prostitutes at work, Sir!"
Charlie said the Colonel called him over after the parade and started to rip him up as being a smart arse but when he realised Charlie was so clueless he started to laugh and sent Charlie on his way. His mates though he was pretty game mentioning the girls on parade because everyone knew they "didn't exist" and they were never to be mentioned officially or in letters home .
Well, you learn something every day!
I have my shoulder to the wheel,
my nose to the grindstone,
I've put my best foot forward,
I've put my back into it,
I'm gritting my teeth,
Now I find I can't do any work in this position!
The following user(s) said Thank You: cobbadog, overlander, PaulFH
After WW1 a VD hospital was set up on Milson Island in the Hawkesbury River to care for returning servicemen. Later turned into a rabbit eradication experimental station, before becoming under the control of The Master of Lunacy as an asylum. After it closed it became Milson Island Prison before it too closed and the island was, I believe, turner over to either Dept of Sport and Recreation or National Parks. A fairly checked history for such a tiny speck on the map.
The following user(s) said Thank You: cobbadog, Lang, overlander, PaulFH
Indeed it did have a checkered career, Milson Island.
My late father was a keen fisherman on the Hawkesbury, he and I spent many a time fishing around the island, not all that far from Brooklyn.
There was an old Corvette or the hulk of what was left of it, I always believed it to be the remains of the WW1 ship, HMAS Parramatta.
Just upstream from the island.
Someone told me the bow of the corvette was salvaged and now resides in a park in the city of Parramatta.
I'm going back to when it was a mental institution, reason I heard it was closed was when all that excreta hit the air conditioner over "deep sleep therapy", a-la-one flew over the cuckoos nest electric shock treatment, late sixties?
Dunno how true any of this is, but makes a good yarn.
It, (Milson Island) had a small jetty which at the time was serviced by the "mail boat" which went a fair way up river.
My father told me about the time him and a cupla mates were fishing off the Island and just as the mailman was leaving, an escapee came hooking down the track, ran off the end of the jetty and struck off towards the boat!
Didnt get far, father said, wasnt a good swimmer and soon rounded up!
A braver man than I, that area and around to Berowra Waters well known for sharks!
The following user(s) said Thank You: cobbadog, PaulFH
When I was based at Butterworth, Malaysia in the late 70's, many of the single blokes ( & a few married ones) would visit medical Monday mornings to see Dr Dan.
Dr Dan was the "skin specialist" employed by the RAAF to treat certain skin infections. I was married at the time so I never had to see him.
MOVED FROM CAIRNS TO VICTORIA & STILL TRYING TO WORK OUT WHY
Dave, you are right about the HMAS Parramatta being up on the rocks just north of Milson Island. It and another vessel were bought from the Government by a guy with the intention of mooring them in the Hawkesbury as fishermen's accommodation. Apparently one sank on the way up from Sydney and the Parramatta blew up onto the rocks in a storm.
It was unable to be salvaged due to the expense and I believe the owner went bankrupt so she was cut up for scrap. And yes the bow section was removed and placed in Parramatta park in the early '70s.
During the '70s and '80s, I was stationed at Brooklyn in the Water Police and the island was part of our patrol. It was known as the Irish Prison because after the last liberty boat for prison officers left and the inmates had been all fed, the three remaining guards would lock themselves in their quarters, while the inmates cleaned up and put themselves to bed.
During any Warders strikes, we were assigned to keep the security intact, 24/7. Officially, we were supposed to continuously patrol around the island. Unfortunately, being a slack bunch, we would tie up at the wharf, settle back and either enjoy the day or settle in for the night, if on the late shift. The relief crew would come by Quintrex at change of shift and and the cycle would start again. All our meals were taken in the general mess hall with the Officers and inmates. Could have been risky I guess, but none of us ever got poisoned and we always served ourselves to avoid what you guys are thinking.
The following user(s) said Thank You: cobbadog, Dave_64, Lang, PaulFH
Twice in the 70's they required EVERY person regardless of rank or marital status on the Army mapping surveys to fly across from Sumatra on the regular RAAF DC3 courier to Butterworth to do a blood test. The travel order to return to Australia would not be issued until a clear result.
During my time two blokes (I think one Army and one RAAF) and both married were unfortunately required to stay at Butterworth on special assignment for 90 days. Bloody great pragmatic and sensible thing to do. Just think of the repercussions and indeed destruction of families if a bloke brought home a souvenir for his wife from Indonesia.
So little all these political military reformers and equal rights advocates know about the Profession of Arms and how armies really work looking after each other. How could they when they believe the annual Christmas office party in the canteen is an indicator of the "fabulous camaraderie" of the Public Service.
The following user(s) said Thank You: PaulFH, wee-allis
I had Family that built boats and sailed/motored tem from Windsor to Brooklyn plus one was a the station master at Brooklyn railway station. A lot of land out Windsor way was owned by them too and over the years it was all sold off.
Cheers Cobba & Cobbarette
Coopernook, The Centre of our Universe
Working on more play time.