Verses and Recollections from W.A.G.S.

From one exam, to another, we’ve battled through the course;

We’ve struggled with our theory and battled with our Morse:

We’ve wrestled with procedure, and with prac. we fiercely fought,

And instructor’s threats and curses sometimes seemed to go for nought.

We were frozen in the Winter; Spring we never knew:

But we beat them all and came right through, and now we’re Wireless Ops.

And in the future you will find that Forty three’s the tops.

By ‘ Bobby’, member of WAGS course 43   


While stationed up at Ballarat

And freezing half to death

We were trying hard to make it as a W.A.G;

We twiddled knobs on radios,

The circuits we learned too,

And we’d help each other should spirits deign to sag.

However, when the course was finished

And all the final tests were done

It was sad to find that one or two must fail,

But the rest of us were happy

As we hopped aboard that train

And went off to do our gunnery course at Sale.

Extract from W.A.G. Tales, by Gordon Russell [W.A.G course 52B]



Forty trainees housed in one long hut,

Corrugated iron all around,

Except for windows which iced right up

When heavy frosts spread o’er the ground;

But with stray pallaise and three blankets each

We fought a running battle with that cold,

And the folding of blankets which evolved

Was a marvel to behold.

Extract from bitter Blast at Ballarat by Gordon Russell, W.A.G. Course 52B



“ More recently, in 1993, returning from a trip to Adelaide, staying overnight at   

Ballarat, I went to look for the old base and transmitting station. I was in the

general area but was surprised that none of the locals I asked seemed to know

exactly where it was. Eventually I found what was left of the old WAGS but there

is no sign of any part of the transmitting station. I was surprised at how much

closer to town it now appears to be, that is, it is closer than I was those nights

when I missed the last bus!

Reminiscence of Don Brown, Ex RAAF No 50021



“ Life at No 1 W.A.G.S. was much like that anywhere in the armed forces, except for

the Ballarat Winter, which included one of our group to wear his flying boots to

bed. There was the usual petty discipline, strict but so easily circumvented.”

Extract from memories of Ken Sillcock 36-37 course



“ About this time a move was made to the new Station a few miles out of town.

Sheer luxury, sleeping on a bed in a modern hut- an ocean of hot water – the

rediscovery of Mr Crapper’s invention, a modern mess, well-lit airy class rooms

and so on. But something was missing, indefinable, intangible or whatever –

the new station had no character – it wasn’t even bloody cold.”

Extract from the memories of P.A. Haynes, ex Fl/Lt 406039



National Archives of Australia - 1 WAGS BallaratUBC Web Design - 1 WAGS BallaratCity of Ballarat - 1 WAGS BallaratAPCO Alfredton - 1 WAGS BallaratDepartment of Veterans Affairs - 1 WAGS BallaratAustralian War Memorial - 1 WAGS BallaratRSL Virtual War Memorial - 1 WAGS Ballarat