Left: Australian soldier Captain Chris Jaunay at Lashkar Gah
Australian soldier Captain Chris Jaunay has unknowingly joined the same British Army regiment his great grandfather served in 95 years ago.
Chris knew of his family’s Scottish roots when he was seconded to the 1st Battalion Scots Guards but, since deploying with them to Afghanistan, he has discovered that his great grandfather, William Wilson, also served with the regiment.
‘I deployed a couple of months ago and while I was out here my father wrote to me, telling me that my great grandfather on my mother’s side had also served in the 1st Battalion Scots Guards during World War I,’ said Chris.
‘I was one of 40 Australian Infantry Officers who could have been posted as the Guards’ Exchange Officer on this tour. It is considered one of the top Captains’ positions in the Australian Army and is contested for by many.
‘The fact that I was lucky enough to win the exchange position is fantastic, but to be told I was going to be a part 1st Battalion Scots Guards and then to trace this link to my own heritage is quite remarkable.
‘I feel very honoured and proud to know that my great grandfather served in the same Battalion that I am now posted to as an Australian Exchange Officer,’ said Chris.
Chris was born and grew up in Adelaide after his mother’s family emigrated to Australia from Kilwinning, Scotland, just after World War II. He still has family in Beith whom he has visited in recent years.
Chris was posted to the Scots Guards in January this year and works as their operation officer in charge of running the current operations cell for the Lashkar Gah area of Helmand Province.
The main effort of the Combined Force in Lashkar Gah is directed at supporting the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) in stabilising the province and protecting the local people from insurgent activity as well as winning trust and support for GIRoA’s Governance Outreach Programme.
Chris came to the UK with his wife Majella and his five-month old daughter Lucy who are now based at the Battalion’s permanent home in Catterick, North Yorkshire.
Having joined the Army in 1993, as a Rifleman in the infantry corps, Chris progressed through the ranks and commissioned as an Officer in 2005. He has previously deployed three times to East Timor and this is his second tour of Afghanistan.
The Jaunay family are still trying to find out more information about his great grandfather William Wilson and his military service.
‘We are trying to find out as much detail as possible through the Regimental Archives in London and from family members in Australia. All we know right now is that he was born in Beith in 1886,’ said Chris.
Left: Chris’ great-grandfather, William Wilson
‘William joined the Army in London as a drummer aged 15 and had been in the 1st Battalion Scots Guards about 14 years or so before he deployed in WWI. We also know that he was injured by small arms fire and suffered shrapnel wounds in an explosion.’
Captain Jaunay is enjoying his time with the Scottish Battalion and will serve with 1 Scots Guards for the next two years.
Re-printed with permission from the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence website.
There is something so pure about an initial training graduation. The raw emotion of the graduates and the beaming pride of the family and friends just can't be beaten. Most of these smiling, happy graduates will never have a prouder ceremonial moment—because first graduation is the one military parade where it’s all about you. Other parades will be in honour of someone else's achievements or to commemorate the arrival of a dignitary.
So in search of that ‘first time excitement’ I headed on down to RAAF Base Wagga to experience a No 1 Recruit Training Unit (1RTU) graduation for myself.
I was lucky enough to chat to Aircraftman Nathan Aquilina on the day. Nathan is a 30 year old machinery instructor from Richmond NSW who joined the RAAF as a Reservist. Being a more mature man, I was interested to see just how he found the whole experience.
So Nathan, how does it feel now that this first bit is all over?
It feels great. I can't believe the time passed as quick as it did! I don't think I've ever felt such a sense of achievement like this before. It’s a proud moment that I will remember for the rest of my days!
What did you find to be the hardest part of it all?
Left: Recruit Nathan Aquilina (left), Our intrepid reporter (Centre) and Recruit Deon Jones (Right)
In terms of friends, have you made some of those 'life long' ones during this time?
Yes! I made a lot of good friends, but two mates I really clicked with. Hatch and Heath. Hatch is a Melbourne based fella that I'll try to catch up with a few times a year and Heath is fellow Sydney boy and I can see myself catching up with him on a regular basis .
Obviously a lot of your course-mates are younger than yourself. Did you find it adolescent at all? Or did that not seem to be an issue?
I didn't mind the younger people on course. I was aware that I had to assume a type of role-model relationship for some of the younger ones. Some of them at times had their moments, but over all, they were okay.
I don't think they had been to an event like it before. They all are very happy and proud, especially my Mother, Sister and Brother. They still can't believe what I achieved and that I had stuck with it till the end.
Above: Flight Sergeant Ken MacDougall and his newly graduating son Recruit Callum
What advice would you give to a mature member of the community that was thinking about dipping their hand into the Reservist option?
It's a great new adventure that can open plenty of new options in your life, that come with long term benefits, respect, top job satisfaction, great working locations and more. But in saying that, it’s not for everyone.
Any chance of going full time?
At this stage no, but you don't know what could happen in the future. It is some thing I can always go back to or even change my career.
Thanks a lot Nathan, I wish you the best in your future involvement with the service.