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Army June 6, 2013
THE medals that recognise the
leadership and organisational skills
of Lt-Gen Sir Horace Robertson
have been presented to 1 Bde for
display at the barracks named in his
CO 1 Bde Brig John Frewen
said the medals would be displayed
at the HQ building at Robertson
Barracks in Darwin, which was
named in recognition of Lt-Gen
Robertson's success creating
Australia's first fully mechanised
armoured brigade in 1942.
The medals were presented by
Lt-Gen Robertson's family to Brig
Frewen at Victoria Barracks in
Sydney on May 13.
"Lt-Gen Robertson was an
extraordinary soldier with an excep-
tional career," he said.
As a junior officer in WWI, he
led actions at Hill 60 at Gallipoli
and at Romani in Palestine.
In WWII he was a brigade
commander at Tobruk in Libya,
a divisional commander in New
Britain, and famously accepted the
surrender of the Japanese at Wewak
"It is a great honour to accept
these medals, which speak elo-
quently of these seminal events in
our military history and also world
history," Brig Frewen said.
Commanding the 1st Armoured
Division in April 1942, Lt-Gen
Robertson oversaw the creation of
Iconic medals for brigade
Australia's first fully mechanised
formation, which had long-lasting
benefits for Army.
His medals include the Knight
Commander of the Order of the
British Empire, the Distinguished
Service Order, the Order of the Nile
(Egypt), Legion of Merit (US), the
Order of Military Merit (Korea),
and campaign medals for Gallipoli
and Palestine in WWI, as well as
the Western Desert, New Guinea
and Occupation of Japan in WWII,
and for the Korean War.
Lt-Gen Robertson's nephew,
Bruce Robertson, said he decided to
present the medals to "where they
"I had them in a bank safe for
many years, but a spell of poor
health made me realise that they
would be better where people and
soldiers can appreciate them," he
"I could think of no better place
than HQ 1 Bde, where the barracks
are named in honour of my uncle, in
recognition of his achievements in
WWI, WWII and Korea."
Mr Robertson said he was
bequeathed the medals after Lt-Gen
Robertson died in 1960, aged 66.
Three generations of the
Robertson family joined 20 officers
and soldiers from HQ Forcomd to
witness the handover of the medals.
Piece of history: Bruce Robertson, nephew of Lt-Gen Sir Horace
Robertson, presents his uncle's medals to 1 Bde commander Brig
John Frewen at HQ Forcomd in Sydney.
Photo by LS Brenton Freind
Cpl Max Bree
NEXT time you log on to the DRN
overseas or plug your radio into existing
antennas, you can thank the signallers
from 127 Sig Tp, the newest addition to
1 Sig Regt.
The soldiers build towers, fit antennas,
install cabling and communications cabi-
nets for IT and radio infrastructure that's
ready to go when the operators move in,
according to 127 Sig Tp OC Capt Dan
"The operators provide the radios and
laptops, they install
the servers and eve-
rything else is done
by us," he said.
"We're a 25-man
team to support the
rest of the ADF."
The troop often
deploys force instal-
lation teams (FIT) to
tions and informa-
tion systems (CIS)
Australia and the
While signal regiments deploy into
new theatres with deployable military
CIS, at some stage during prolonged
deployments, those detachments and
equipment will come home to reform their
contingency forces for the three manoeu-
vre brigades or the Deployable Joint Force
HQ.This is where 127 Sig Tp steps in,
replacing deployable systems with more
permanent "white communications" fleets.
"We have it all packed and sent over-
seas where our guys will fly in, install
the equipment and infrastructure and fly
back," Capt Groves said.
"But to get a FIT overseas in a particu-
lar time requires a significant amount of
lead time to procure and test the kit. It also
takes a significant amount of time to arrive
in country because of its size."
Apart from setting up gear in a hurry,
127 Sig Tp also maintains the base radio
facility communications infrastructure at
30 Defence sites around Australia.
"Some are exposed to harsh weather
conditions; they can be in bad shape and
parts need to be ordered and replaced to
maintain that capability," Capt Groves said.
towers, and corrosion on the antennas.
"We've never had
anything fall over,
that's for sure."
feel right at home
working at height on
top of antenna towers
and masts, according
to Capt Groves.
"All the guys
have completed a
number of special-
ist courses including
the advanced riggers
course," he said. "Sometimes they're up
there working at heights for many hours.
"They're used to it. They train hard
and they've got the fitness behind them to
go up and down all day but it's not for the
The troop moved from Sydney to its
new base with 1 Sig Regt at Enoggera on
January 1 as part of a longer term plan to
create a general support signals regiment.
A two-month FIT has just been
completed in Shoalwater Bay and
Rockhampton in preparation for Ex
Talisman Sabre, with another task gearing
up to upgrade the Tongan Defence Forces'
communications and information systems
In it for the
Sig troop sets up major comms infrastructure
High-rise: Sigs from 127 Sig Tp establish a semi-permanent comms capability on a base used by
Australian personnel in the MEAO.
All the guys have
completed a number
of specialist courses,
-- Capt Dan Groves, OC 127 Sig Tp
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