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April – June 1959:

Exercise 'GRAND SLAM'.

(See article right)


9 -12 August 1959:

First Parachute Jumps.

(See article right)



10 August 1959:

Daily News Cartoon: Rigby Jumps.

(See article right)



19 August - 16 October 1959:

Exercise 'RAVEN'.

(See article right)





Exercise ‘GRAND SLAM’


April - June 1959: In April 1959 the 1st SAS Company boarded the train at Perth for the Eastern States. They initially concentrated at RAAF Williamtown in New South Wales for parachute refresher training.



Then 140 personnel boarded the newly acquired RAAF C130 – ‘A’ model Hercules aircraft for the flight to Mackay, Queensland. The operational phase of Exercise ‘GRAND SLAM’ lasted from 21 to 27 May 1959. The Chief of the General Staff, who was dismayed to hear the colourful language used by one of the SAS Sergeants – Ray Simpson (later a Distinguished Conduct Medal and Victoria Cross recipient) visited the SAS Company during the Exercise. He complained to the General Officer Commanding Northern Command (Major General Daly), who was controlling the exercise, that the SAS Company appeared to be lacking in discipline and should perhaps be disbanded.


Major General Daly directed the Commandant of the Jungle Training Centre to spend time with the Company, and he concluded that the Company was a well-disciplined and competent unit. There was no more talk of disbanding the SAS Company.


As with the previous Brigade exercise, the 1st SAS Company formed part of the enemy force known as ‘The Phantom Army'. The SAS Company performed well, but after nearly two years in existence, it still had not been exercised in its primary role – medium reconnaissance for the Brigade.


First Parachute Jumps


9 - 12 August 1959: The 1st SAS Company conducted its first parachute jumps in Western Australia. The jumps were made from a RAAF Dakota aircraft into a drop zone in the Safety Bay area to the south of Perth. The public took great interest in the parachuting and several hundred spectators gathered to watch.




Daily News, Monday, August 10, 1959:

Rigby Cartoon. "Y'see? It WILL open, wont it?"




Exercise ‘RAVEN’


19 August - 16 October 1959: Elements of the SAS Company with attachments, deployed by sea aboard HMAS Diamantina, and a road convoy, to the West Kimberley Region of Northern Western Australia. Their task was to prepare and mark eight helicopter landing zones and light aircraft landing grounds and to establish a track from Derby to Mount Elizabeth to link with the Gibb River – Kalumburu Track. The landing zones and landing grounds would be used to support mapping survey tasks to be conducted by Western Command Field Survey Section in 1960.




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