Papers in Australian Maritime Affairs: HMAS Leeuwin: The Story of the RAN’s Junior Recruits

Papers in Australian Maritime Affairs No. 29
Papers in Australian Maritime Affairs No. 29

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Brian Adams


This volume is a brief history of the approximately 13,000 boys aged 15 or 16, who entered the entered the RAN between January 1960 and December 1984 as ‘junior recruits’. The majority were trained for a year in the Junior Recruit Training Establishment located in HMAS Leeuwin, while some received their junior recruit training at HMAS Cerberus.

This is the story of their experience while under training and of how, late in the 20th century, the RAN still relied on boys to help crew its ships; the majority served in warships before turning 18, some experiencing active service in the Indonesian Confrontation and the Vietnam War. It is also a record of a unique training scheme that had its origins in the Royal Navy of Nelson’s day, one that is unlikely to be used in the RAN again.