Josh Francis, Minister for Army, Hook area, Xmas 1951.

Josh Francis, Minister for Army, Hook area, Xmas 1951.
With B Coy 3 RAR

This was a reserve area which 3RAR adjourned to following the extrication of 6 platoon from HAM SANDWICH. Also just after the flap when 3 id got careless with their ownership of 355. The portly gentleman at center was Minister for Army, in the government of Bob Menzies.

Old Josh is mingling with the diggers around a 44 gallon drum, in which a warming fire was burning. Winter was just beginning and this was no place for thin blooded Aussies. The very latest cold weather gear had recently been issued, and it wasn't bad. For an example I shall use the gloves we wore. Seen on the digs are fingerless woolen under-gloves. Worn over the top of these were another thick pair which had a thumb piece, trigger finger piece, then the remaining three fingers enclosed in yet another section. They were so designed as to allow you to operate your weapon, without your skin contacting the freezing metal. Finally there was a very large pair of white, weatherproof gloves with just thumb separated from the four fingers. These still allowed you to do some work, and came up to the elbows. The two gloves were joined by a long length of tape, long enough to go across your shoulders. Thus if you needed to discard them in a hurry, they still hung in place over your shoulders.

Someone stole Josh's whiskey on this visit to keep the Diggers spirits up. To get the full story of his visit to the boys in Korea, read Tim Holt's 3 short stories: FESTIVE SEASON 1951. I still laugh at the memory of it all.

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