#MeetTheResidents – Richard (Maranatha)

We look forward to celebrating Richard’s 100th birthday on April 11th.  I am pleased to re-introduce a long serving member of the AACC, 4064 Corporal Richard S. Richard joined the Army when his number came up for National Service in February 1941 and was sent to  Gaythorne in Brisbane to commence his first posting.

In 1941, Richard was able to select his preference for employment and requested employment as a cook. Richard continued employment as a volunteer cook from 1941 to 1942 (Gaythorne is now Enoggera Barracks).

Richard has many great memories using the Wiles Cooker and other wood fire ovens in the various Messes at Gaythorne. He enjoyed working with the team of volunteer cooks in his early days as a private soldier. The groups worked long hours together and built a good rapport with each other. All the cooks would stick together and you could trust someone would cover for you if there was a problem.

Richard can recall a particular time, back in 1942, when Army announced it was going to commence recruiting for personnel to create a Corps for catering. Richard was one of the first soldiers to ask about joining the new Corps for cooking and food service.

Richard clearly remembers the bright sunny day he was called into his commanders office. Richard was presented with a formal invitation to join the new Corps to be named the Australian Army Catering Corps. Richard accepted the offer on the spot and he became one of the first soldiers to join the Catering Corps. Very soon after, towards the end of 1942, Richard received orders and new Corps embellishments to commence work in the Catering Corps. It was months prior to the Catering Corps being officially raised as a Corps in early 1943. Richard remembers seeing presentations from Sir Stanton Hicks during the creation of the Corps and shortly after he became the first Director of Catering.

As a member of the Catering Corps, Richard completed operational service in the Korean War. Towards the end of the conflict, Richard and his team of Catering Corps cooks were working long hours in the field. At a particularly busy time, the cooks were required to make up 200 hot box meals ready for the C Company troops whenever they returned from patrol.  The cooks were making a lot of noise finishing the hot boxes when Richard and two others suddenly looked up and noticed they were face to face with North Korean troops who were looking back down at them.

It seems the enemy troops had been observing them for some time and were set and ready to conduct whatever they had planned. It was just luck that Australian troops started returning at that time and they were focused on getting to their food. Richard thought it was strange because the returning Australian soldiers were overly casual, considering they had just completed a tough patrol. Richard discovered from the soldiers that the armistice had been announced and there was a complete cease fire.

The North Korean soldiers had disappeared when the Australian soldiers returned, much to the relief of the cooks. Richard next served with the occupation Forces in Japan. He worked as a Catering Corps cook in the main Officers Mess with Japanese cooks and staff. Richard did menu planning and some cooking in the Senior Officers Mess, mostly for very senior ranking officers; General MacArthur and other senior officers associated with the Supreme Commander.  Richard had worked as an Army cook for 10 years, including two overseas tours, before the system finally caught up with him and he was required to undertake training as a cook for the first time. He was sent on the first intake of the inaugural cooks course at Wacol, Queensland in 1951. He remembers it being an enjoyable course but most of his course mates wanted to do the requirements and return back to their units.

After his cooks course, Richard completed all of his postings in Queensland. Richard was considered too old to go to Vietnam and finished up in the Army at Victoria Barracks Brisbane in 1975.

Richard turns 100 years old on 11 April 2020. He has requested to participate in the next ANZAC Day march with the AACC Association in Brisbane. Richard also asked if I could get him on the mailing list to receive the Corps journal, as he hasn’t been receiving it but would like to still be connected with the Corp.

I presented Richard with an AACC Queensland Association badge, making Richard the newest member in the AACC Association Queensland. He was proud to receive the badge and showed it to all the other residents in the Aged Care facility.   Richard’s full story will appear on podcasts that are to be released as we approach the AACC 80th celebrations. His full story will also be included in a special edition book of our Corps history, the book to be completed for our 80th celebrations.

I will continue to visit Richard as much as possible. He would also love to see any Catering Corps members. Any Corps or former serving members are welcome to visit him anytime without notice. Similarly, if you are travelling past, heading north from Brisbane, Richard would enjoy you stopping in for a coffee and saying hi!

Written by Kim Schneider – Colonel Commandant