ForeverMissed
This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, James Truscott,
We will remember him forever

Please contribute to this memorial with memories and moments of Jim's life exploits.
Click on the Gallery Section to see pictures of Jim in many memorable moments.   

We would love for you to add your story in the stories tab. Your Words of Jim that you lived through, don't keep in your memory!

Express here for all of us to know/see how one man can have so many adventures!


Funeral Announcement - Correct as 14th 1030am MAY 
 Please see below for the LIVESTREAM link for the Funeral Service of James Francis Truscott at Pinnaroo Valley Memorial Park at 1.00pm on Monday 17th of May 2021.
Please take note of time difference. East coast 3.00PM


https://livestream.com/accounts/29307044/events/9669175

Watch IMP 2's James Francis Truscott on Livestream.com.
Bowra & O'Dea Funeral Service at Pinnaroo Valley Memorial Park

 Please note there are no logins or passwords required. Just click on the link and when we go 'LIVE' the livestream link will automatically go live.


All are welcome to celebrate Jim's life at a service held in the West Chapel Pinneroo commencing 1300 on 17 May 2021.A graveside burial will commence at 1430 within Pinneroo Valley Memorial Park Perth, Western Australia.
Following the service join the family in commemorating Jim’s life at “The House” from 1530.
Please RSVP to pamtruscott@hotmail.com please note there are no current limitations on attendance numbers.
Please find below directions.
"The House” Nightingale Road, Swanbourne WA 6010
A Live Stream link will be available, closer to the date.

For updated information details please see the memorial website.https://www.forevermissed.com/james-frances-truscott/about

In lieu of flowers the family request you make donations in Jim’s name to the Australian Himalayan Foundation.



Jim Truscott OAM passed away suddenly on the 28th April 2021.  At the time of his death Jim was on an unsupported push bike tour of the Mungo Loop with two close friends.  They were following the footsteps of the Burke and Wills expedition and were approximately 80km north of Balranald nearing the end of their first day’s ride when Jim collapsed.  They’d had a great day, perfect autumn conditions, much friendly banter, enjoying life to the full far from the madding crowd.  Jim passed as he lived – with his boots on, riding into the setting sun, on an adventure.  
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/inquirer/jim-trus...


 The family have also requested that in lieu of flowers you make a donation to The Australian Himalayan Foundation https://www.australianhimalayanfoundation.org.au in Jim’s name.  





Posted by Robert Te on May 17, 2021
Throughout our lives, numerous people we meet will subtly or overtly influence us, or give us motivation, or guide us forward, or help us get to the next level in our endeavours, or tangibly change the way we view something. They may have encouraged you onwards, set you challenges or influenced you to undertake activities you otherwise would never have done. One is extremely fortunate therefore, if they encounter, other than perhaps a life partner, someone who facilitated all of these effects in a very significant, enduring, positive, life changing way. In my life this was Major Jim Truscott OAM. 

Jim impacted me in all these ways and much more but he never let me believe “I had arrived”. There was always more to do, and more again after that. Bronze or Silver Standard did not exist, one always aimed for Gold. I first met Jim when he was posted to 2 SQN, The Pilbara Regiment in 1991 and was my OC. From the onset I was blown away by his energy, vision and tempo for making things happen. I had always been described in reports as a high achiever and was involved in and lead various pursuits, but in meeting Jim, I wondered what scale I had been assessed on – I knew I had met my match! Jim had a natural intelligence for analysing things from every angle and questioning the status quo - then vocalising this passionately, no doubt often to the chagrin of the chain of command. If something in the Army system needed fixing he wanted it so, and in Jim's words “We have to be ready for the next conflict now – not caught with our pants down as in the past!”

As a Squadron Commander Jim truly led by example and while pushing all personnel to greater efforts and higher standards, many believing they would die in the process, he was always approachable, fair and consistent regardless of someone’s rank. It is an understatement to describe Jim as an adventurer – he lived and breathed for adventure, all types of adventure, on a regular basis and had a knack for turning something “normal” into a memorable escapade. Jim’s enthusiasm was unstoppable and his conviction in what we trained for and how we trained was contageous. Realism!! And such was the realism we created in training, courses and exercises that more than once we were in the CO’s office together, receiving his size 11 boot. Happily this was usually tempered by the off- the record praise for the outstanding attendance of the Reservists and excellent feedback from participants.

It was inevitable Jim and I would become good friends. At some point I was at Jim’s house for dinner and met the lovely and highly organised Collete and a young David and even younger Sarah, Jess and Lisa. I saw them often, and me being a Bachelor, Collete thought it was better I went to their place for dinners, so I brought the “Reds”. I respected Jim so genuinely, it took him several dinners and a threat to get me to stop calling him "sir", when not at the Unit. Two New Year’s Nights were spent by the Truscotts at my place and we often went on picnics or trips together. One Saturday morning I was taking the the Truscott clan to abandoned Cooya Pooya Pastoral Station for a picnic. Just out of Karratha the two heavy duty batteries under Jim’s seat in my Land Rover started to short-out, as loud as gun shots, smoke streamed out and heat could be felt under him. Jim was also being zapped as his bare feet were on the metal floor, now intermittently electrified. I pulled up hard and before the Land Rover was stopped Jim jumped and almost did a perfect parachute roll. Through wide eyes he looked at us and said, “Now that was one adventure I hadn’t figured on”. Some minor repairs and we were on our way. 

As at least one smart Officer accounts in his memories of Jim earlier in this memorial, one had to be fearful of Jim because of “guilt by association”, not that I cared about that, our friendship came first, but also “if you got too close to him, you got dragged into his schemes and adventures.” Sensing how passionate Jim was and having taking a real liking to him, being roped-in was an early failing of mine. In particular, having never been a climber, and never inclined to climb, and having watched enough climbing movies to know I never wanted to climb, I found myself climbing up rock cliffs and features which did not allow one to turn around or chicken out. Jim, small frame, wiry and nimble would be up ahead moving around like a Rock Spider, talking to himself and yelling out all sorts of information I couldn’t make sense of. I would be the number 2, following Jim, taking out the climbing apparatus which Jim had inserted in holes and cracks as he progressed upwards. Over a period of 3 years we would grab a Zodiac from the Unit on a weekend and Jim and I, and on occasion a friend from the local SES Unit, would head out to the Burrup Peninsular. I enjoyed parachuting but this climbing business where I could see the jutting rocks and knife edges my head was going to crash into far below, if I fell, created some imaginings. After 2-3 climbs in a day and abseiling down after each, it was always a satisfying feeling. Jim had stretched me yet again.
He named each climb and recorded all the details, years later they were published. Jim was a prolific writer.

I found for Jim, whether in uniform or out, not a moment was wasted. Over the 31 years I knew him, time simply never stood still. Plans were always afoot. Then the action. Then more plans. I couldn’t believe my luck when after two years as my OC, Jim was then posted to remain in the Regiment as Operations Officer. Now in a more influencing role, Jim had Regional Infrastructure Patrols take on a whole new meaning and focus. Intelligence gathering activities included patrols including Customs, Federal or State Police or all three organisations. Defence Aid to the Civilian Community became common place. Naval Patrol Boats and Submarines became part of the repertoire of unit activities and as Senior Instructor Water Operations, I was as happy as a pig in mud. Army and Airforce aircraft were frequently on hand as part of an exercise regime - all indented for by Jim. Jim was simply driven in everything he undertook and more than anyone I ever met in the Army, he knew how to engineer things to happen.

In 1994 Jim ran me through a series of tests without saying why – Battle Fitness Assessment, Combat Fitness, 300m swim test in cams, webbing with rifle, 10 minutes straddling water. That was Jim – all was always on a “need to know basis”. I already had the Survival Course under my belt, but Jim then gave me the marine navigation test from hell! On passing all elements, having cleared it with the CO, Jim invited me onto Exercise Rimau Retrace – to be held in Indonesia to re-enact, on its 50th anniversary, the escape route taken by a small raiding force after a planned second raid on shipping in Singapore during WWII, but was compromised. Jim and five other Majors, myself as a Captain and the Chart based Navigator, and one Sergeant from Commandos retraced the exact 250NM route, in Army Sea Kayaks, of the original mission. Jim had the historical records and detailed knowledge of what happened where, on each island along the escape route. The excursion was living history with hardships and dangers from nature or people, at various intervals. Jim was an outstanding organiser and problem solver, and although expedition members had certain roles, Jim was the cement keeping all on mission. On about the fourth day after the hard slog of kayaking had begun and sleeping in the jungle each night endured (with thousands of insects completely covering our mosquito nets), we were once again up well before light, quietly collecting our gear in the dark, packing it into the hatches of the Kayaks by feel. Communication was by whisper. There was a sense of urgency. Suddenly, through the quiet one of the Majors called out loudly “Jim, what the hell are we doing – it’s not WW 2 and the Japs aren’t actually chasing us!” For Jim, a war was always just around the corner, one had to “Train hard and fight easy”, but after that morning, things did ease off a tad. Just a tad. But Jim was again correct, a few years later Australian Forces were in Iraq and after that Timor Leste.

In 1998 when I was posted Squadron Commander, many a time when writing a Field Exercise, planning a Patrol Schedule or running a Water Ops Course, I asked myself, where did this fit on the "JT" scale. Would he approve? Was I being bold enough? Had I obtained all the good resources I could to enhance the activity? Would it be memorable? Inevitably I added another dimension of realism, risk, value outcome. And afterwards I received the CO's size 11 boot.  

More than enough has been written on Jim’s post-military life and successes, other than to say Jim put the same vigour, intelligence, conviction and effort into those ventures, as he did his Army roles. Jim’s alternate perspective to almost everything and approaches to military problems proved their value in Iraq. His efforts and unique contribution and manner of operations in Timor Leste are well known and respected.

Jim was an exceptional man who lived life like few others seem able to, and held throughout it, the virtues of fearless honesty, integrity, humbleness and compassion. Jim balanced his adventures with keeping his family close. Jim was a real friend and a true mate as I know he was to so many others too. I read all of the entries here and many have been lucky enough to have known Jim since RMC. In reading these I smiled, I laughed and some made me cry, as they typified with clarity, the Jim I experienced. 

My thoughts are now with Collete, David, Sarah, Jess and Lisa, and all those who called Jim a friend.

Even though we periodically caught up and always emailed each other, just a couple of years ago I wrote to Jim and let him know he was unequivocally the most inspirational person I had ever met. Jim, my flag remains at half-mast for you. 

Mintu Wanta

Rob


 


Posted by Jillian Gorski on May 16, 2021
Jim and I did our bronze surf lifesaving certificate in the same group late last year - 2020 Floreat WA. Jim proved he was incredibly fit as we had to brave and struggle through some extreme ocean conditions, practicing our rescues and doing the required ‘run swim run’ every weekend for 6 weeks .
Following our wet drills, we would play out our dry first aid drills. Jim would throw in a story from his life experience . At first these stories sounded too incredible to believe. However as the group got to know Jim, we realised what a fascinating life and character he was.
Two weeks after completing our bronze I saw him on a current affair report speaking up on behalf of the armed services . It would have been good to have gotten to know him better at our club and hear more of his amazing experiences.
Posted by Michael Kelly on May 16, 2021
I met jim in grade 4 at marist brothers ashgrove. We finished school together in 1973 and started engineering together in 1974. Jim and I climbed together first at Kangaroo point(illegally) anchoring off the fence posts designed to keep us out, and then at Frog Buttress. One memory was climbing ships stern range without ropes. I fell 5m and broke my foot. Jim stayed with me for 5 hours as we got back to the car.
We kept in touch over the years and met Collette in 2018. They made us so welcome in Perth.
Jim was a great mate and will be sorely missed
Mick Kelly
Posted by Perry Gamsby on May 16, 2021
I served with this man at 1st Field Squadron (1 FER) and remember the lecture he gave on the Australian Contingent to the Commonwealth Monitoring Force in Rhodesia. I also acted as one of two radio operators for him on Ex Droughtmaster while we spent time strolling with the Infantry for a few days. He was extremely fit and when getting into shape for SASR Selection I can recall him running past the Lines every night, checking his watch, returning my salute with a nod as he jogged. His getting in to the Regiment was never in doubt; he was that sort of bloke. We were, of course, on a first name basis. He called me Sapper, I called him Sir...
Posted by marcus mcritchie on May 16, 2021
I've been wondering what I should write about Jim these last few days. His life was so rich as was his personality and take on the world. Maybe funny stories and anecdotes but the details allude me lost in time. The most intense period i spent with Jim was 1990-1991 when we worked together virtually every day for 18 months at 2 Commando Company in Williamstown, Melbourne. It was a long time ago now. I was his Adjutant/Operations Officer while he was in Command of the unit but it often felt like Watson to his Holmes. I had no preconceived notion of him before we met but quickly realized in some ways we shared a kindred spirit. Risk takers, passionate and wanting to make a difference.

His enthusiasm in that role was quite incredible and to that point in my working life it was the hardest I had ever worked. He drove everyone very hard which was polarizing and exhausting for many, particularly the senior regular staff. Yet the outcomes for the reserve soldiers we were there to serve and mentor were often phenomenal. They experienced an excellent level of training, exposure to environments and skills that I believe for many underpinned their future careers on operations in the Middle East in the years ahead. Tuesday nights, Friday nights and training weekends each month were a frenzy of high tempo activity. It was nothing over a 48hr period to find ourselves inter-State on RAN patrol boats, submarines, Zodiacs, Klepper canoes, RAAF aircraft, in vehicles, patrolling through scrub then suddenly back in Melbourne cleaning equipment. We all slept very well on Sunday nights. I remember one Friday evening attending a photographic show in East Melbourne where my wife was exhibiting, glass of wine in hand and then 6 hr later landing in soft sand in Cultana, South Australia parachute settling beside me. We were off and running.

Jim lived for these training activities and in his mind there was nothing to limit his imagination or what could be achieved. He took risks to make the training realistic and was often in strife with the headquarters in Sydney - he was not fussed. In his mind the focus on tough, dynamic close as you can get to warlike conditions was what mattered. For me as a young officer he showed me what was possible and trusted me to make it happen. It was exhilarating, exciting and we had a lot of fun. One of my many enduring images of Jim was walking into the Depot each morning past his office where without fail he was bent over his desk writing. Always writing. Smashing out a letter to someone, a concept paper for the next activity, an article for a journal or perhaps an explanation to the Commanding Officer in Sydney regarding an alleged misdemeanor. He always said to me it was brilliant to be so far away from Rome and left alone to get on with it. He loved writing as did i and in subsequent years he always asked me what i was doing and he'd share his latest piece with me. If i said i was doing a bit of this and that he'd say get off your arse and get it done - followed by a momentary death stare and wry grin before reaching for the bottle of red and pouring a glass. He was very proud of his published work.
During that period he insisted on keeping the spirit and connection of the Commando history alive. Once every few months we'd choose a pub in Melbourne and convene a Paratroopers Lunch with our senior staff. The guests of honour were legendary M and Z Special veterans. These were raucous and amazing occasions where these humble men would share incredible stories. Jim's knowledge on the history was rich and deep - he had a comprehensive library at home with all the published memoirs. Many of our training scenarios were based on real exploits and operations experienced by these men. The connection and continuum was tangible and these men appreciated the recognition by Jim

Since that time Jim and I stayed in touch. Our paths crossed in Australia or Asia and we'd catch up when we could. He tried very hard to get me involved in his Crisis Leadership business and though I was very interested I was otherwise committed - he made an extraordinary success of it. As time went on he insisted that like him i plan adventures, at least one a year so 'you don't get soft'. It was a mantra and it inspired me to plan early and ensure i kept that excitement and curiosity alive - forget tomorrow as you never know whats around the corner. He was always fun to catch up with to hear his latest stories, views on the world and adventures. Climbing of course was never far away and he was very proud of Colette and his children as they became adults and made their way in life with their own children.

What i feel now and what will remain with me is a sense of who he was - how he seized each day looking for meaning and purpose - he didn't take life for granted - it was to be lived and experienced without regret. He was someone I admired, respected and am proud to call a friend. He did make a difference and left the world a richer place. I will miss him terribly.

Posted by Christopher Davies on May 15, 2021
My first meeting with Jim was at a Business Continuity Forum in Perth. I immediately thought this guy was amazing. I did some research on him and could not believe such a man was a well respected officer of the SAS Regiment and how he set up Crisis Leaders.

Over time Jim encouraged me to give a talk on crisis management to a forum. He could have stopped my talk to a group of high paid lawyers a number of times, but he let me go and at the end made a comment of the nature - I love your dry sense of humour and that is what crisis management is all about. Its the greatest compliment I ever received as a public speaker.

Over the years we stayed in touch and discussed various crisis management issues and the work we were doing.

He was a great man - my deepest sympathies to his family - may he rest in peace.
Posted by Lindsay Morrison on May 15, 2021
Elizabeth and I were lucky enough to call both Jim and Colette friends. Having first met in the Pilbara in the 80's. We have managed to keep in touch ever since. Jim was my boss for a time and what a boss he was! It was at this point I believe we gained a mutual respect for each other. Later on I was able to employ the 'Crisis Leader' for the business in which I worked. A bit of a role reversal to say the least. I will miss greatly, being able to sit in the 'back yard' with Jim sharing a bottle of red and just talk. Onwards to the next challenge Jim. Our hearts go out to Colette and the rest of his terrific family.......Lizzy & Lindsay Morrison
Posted by Jon Hawkins on May 15, 2021
Deepest condolences to Collette and the entire Truscott family. Jim lived life to the fullest and was an inspiration to many with his energy and persistence. He was frequently ahead of his era, in military and business, generating concepts and plans that appeared farfetched to many but with the passage of time several of his notions became truths.

We have lost an inquisitive character, an eccentric, a man of passion! Jim’s life was rich, and he lived it well.

“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

RIP Jim

Irish
Posted by Mike Turner on May 14, 2021
As one of the fraternity we applaud your life and offer our sincere condolences to Collette and the family. Your positive mark has been stamped on many communities with Timor Leste now coming under the wing of others.
Thank you from all our members and friends across the globe now you have stood down. Mike Turner Tasmania
Posted by Bob Quodling on May 13, 2021
I would like to pass on my sincere condolences to Jim's wife, Collette, his children, grandchildren and many close friends. In particular, Harry and Rick who shared the last pages of the last chapter of his extraordinary life.

A great character who will be sadly missed. We all should think of him and remember him whenever times get tough. His can do, never retreat attitude to life was amazing.
An inspiration and reminder to get out there and have a go while we still can.
Vale Jim
Posted by Julia Mackay on May 13, 2021
I will never forget Jim coming along on my honeymoon to Rick (Min) Moor in 1984 as both fellas were not 'going to waste a week and not go climbing'. At least Jim slept in his own tent! When I stayed with Rick during the AAA Everest Expedition in 1988, Jim banged on our tent and said something encouraging to Rick about leaving our tent and getting part of his anatomy back up the mountain. Jim will forever be remembered as a true mate, a humble fellow, a much loved husband and father and a really wonderful person. Always loved. Never forgotten. 
Posted by Kenneth Webb on May 13, 2021
Rest in peace Taipan. You are an enduring inspiration that will always be there for the many who were fortunate to enjoy your mateship and mentoring. Dugite
Posted by Matt Rosser on May 13, 2021
What it was like to climb with Jim

Climbing was in Jim’s DNA - in his case a double rope rather than a double helix. 
He was always looking for potential new climbs. Scouring for hidden unclimbed rock that could possibly hold new lines. Jim was happy as Larry when climbing a new rock and penning a colourful description to record and locate the event. To establish a new climb to record an event in his own or his friends’ lives was an oft-pursued goal.
I remember a 7am pickup after a whisky and cigar evening. Driving to the bush included stops to vomit from the car. We marched in the summer heat through the parrot bush to find a rumoured rock and put up a new climb which Jim promptly named “Death by Cutty Sark” - a popular bottle the evening before…its legacy and the climb far less inspiring. 

Death by Cutty Sark 7m 20   
The overhang on the detached buttress at the LHE with 2BR. Sequency pull-ups, knee bars and heel hooks. M Rosser, J. Truscott 15 Aug 04’ 

Jim was a very vocal climber, helping someone with unsolicited advice as they ascended the rock, yelling enthusiastic instructions from the ground. ‘Left foot higher right hand lower. Push push push… take a breather’. 
When on the rope himself he would vocalise his way up. It was sometimes loud, often dramatic or funny. It was all absorbing. It was Jim. 
Jim always provided more than his fair share of the enthusiasm, but he also always carried his fair share of the load. At a recent trip to Wilyabrup when he was recovering from a hernia Danilo and I gave instructions to leave the gear and we would bring it on. Of course we found Jim at the car having hauled more than he should’ve and more than his share. 
One thing that was quite unique for someone who climbed as much as Jim was that he never climbed alone. Dedicated climbers often go through periods where they go alone with their ropes to develop an area or practice a climb. Not Jim. Always amongst others.
In years gone past , young Sarah, Jess and Lisa accompanied us out in the bush. The girls were a tight tribe with zero interest in our activities. An unconcerned Jim left them to their devices that would often include a hammer and a box of matches. Fellow climbers were always a little concerned but Jim had confidence that the girls would come to no harm, do no harm and that they would learn to enjoy the bush by being able to play in it.
David came climbing as he grew older. This showed a new side of the great man, known for his enthusiastic encouragement of others’ climbing feats. When his son was on the rock, though, the enthusiasm waned. It wasn’t easy for Jim to see David in risky situations. Although proud of David for serving in the ADF, he was mightily relieved when he returned to civilian life. 
Above all, Jim talked. About family, friends and life. 
For me, Jim gave me the opportunity to be in the company of a cheerful climber with a shared sense of humour. He was a great friend. Climbing with Jim was something I looked forward to and was often the highlight of my week. It is over too soon.
Matt Rosser
-------------------------------------------------

Remembering Matt’s friend and Collette’s husband
Deb Rosser

Sundays, Easters, Boxing Days, long weekends. Many of them sacrificed to Matt and Jim’s climbing trips. I found it a pain when the kids were younger and we only had two – Collette had four at home! And a husband who worked away. But during this inexplicable shared love of going up rocks the hard way, I saw my husband enriched by a firm and enduring friendship that would eventually, and tragically, culminate in a profound sense of loss.
But it was not always this sad. Through the decades we have known them, Jim and Collette have regularly practised random acts of kindness and generosity – oodles of food and slides at their place, dinners out, platters brought to yours. While each had their own spheres, fundamentally Jim and Collette were a team and that was how I thought of them – as co leaders of Team Truscott, revolving around family and including lots of friends.
My most frequent contact with Jim was in his role as Matt’s climbing buddy - part of that dreadful, scary, dangerous world of climbing that Matt loves so much. Jim would sit, shedding bush dirt, in my clean kitchen while Matt made them full fat Sunday snacks, chai tea and whisky and he would talk about this or that trip or adventure that he and Collette, or Collette and the girls, had undertaken. Sounds great, I’d say, how did that come about? Collette just pulls it all together, would be the response. 

When we first met Jim and Collette, they were living in an army house in Swanbourne. Collette was very matter of fact about Jim’s role and absences and not only managed to raise a close and loving family but also had a professional life and her own hobbies. She supported Jim in all his adventures, and made home a special place for him - somewhere he wanted to return to whenever his job or restlessness would permit.
While it’s clear that Jim had many friends, I years ago formed the opinion that he was an essentially solitary soul. As I came to know Jim better in later years, I felt that he understood his own idiosyncrasies and knew how very lucky he was in his best friend – Collette. I can’t remember Jim ever having anything but fond words to say about his kids or Collette. Of course his kids were the best, most interesting and capable people. Not in a bragging way – they just were. And his wife was the prettiest wife anyone could hope to have – and who looked much younger than her years, as she always had. Again, not bragging that he could pull such a fine bird - more enduringly surprised that he had and somewhat bemused and grateful that she’d stuck with him!
As hard as it is to lose Jim as a friend, my heart especially goes out to Collette. She has lost her best friend and life’s partner too soon and I am sure that for all Jim’s stated desire to go out in a blaze of glory, he would never have wanted Collette and the kids to have to endure this pain and grief.
Deb Rosser

Posted by Martin Hamilton-Smith on May 13, 2021
Jims family might like confirmation from an eye witness that it was love at first sight! Impressed with my match making skills after successfully introducing Mike Hindmarsh to my mate Debbie, I had Jim Truscott in my sights! I shared a house in Subiaco with two great girls, Shirley in business and Helen a nurse. My house mates were keen to meet some of these army boys. I thought they were mad and I warned them off, but over a few reds it was decided a blind date was in order. I rounded up Mick 'bady' Goodyear and Jim. Helen brought her friend and fellow nurse Colette. It must have been 1981. Out we all went. Colette took one look at me and 'bady' and could plainly see we were both lost causes and beyond redemption. Her attention was immediately drawn to the interesting bloke in the room, Jim. Its fair to say they didn't stop talking all night as two sparkling smiles, big hearts and bright minds met. It was clear to those who knew him Jim was gone immediately!! We all had a lot of fun.

Although clearly smitten, Jim never the less designed the 1/81 SASR Young Officers Prospective Wives Selection Course, which involved dragging poor Colette down the Franklin River (when no one else had thought of it) hauling boats, climbing, endurance walks with starvation and exhaustion thrown in. Few women would have suffered so...it was clearly love. Colette deserves a dozen medals and a Presidential Citation!@#!. At the time Jim probably thought he was putting Colette through her paces. In fact she was clearly calling the shots from the outset and was completely in charge! It has been a wonderful match. Jim was a rare gem, but when he found Colette he discovered the Crown Jewels. Jim was able to keep being Jim because he had you and the children as backup. His spirit will live on with all of you.
Posted by Lester Cornall on May 13, 2021
Jim was my friend and I miss him.

Jim and I discovered that we both loved rock climbing early in 1975, our third-class year at RMC. We pooled our gear and for the next 4 years almost every weekend and holiday was spent on the rocks, developing our ice climbing and mountaineering skills or skiing. At some stage we also embarked on scuba diving and caving just to have a break.
Jim was never content, and he always had visions of bigger, further and higher. With support from various Supervising Officers, we kicked off the RMC Mountaineering Club and instigated a revitalization of the Army Alpine Club which attracted a diverse group of like minded friends. We also gathered various sponsors and supporters to assist in our activities. His efforts in these bigger projects are well documented and I will leave to others to tell these stories.
Our first serious climbing activity was in Xmas 1975 with a trip to the Mount Cook region where we teamed up with some of my climbing friends. As far a NZ climbing seasons go, the weather held and we climbed Mt Footstool (2767m), Mt Green (2837m), Mt Darwin (2952m) and Hochstetter Dome (2810m). When the weather closed, we did some long bushwalks. Overall, a very satisfactory Xmas not-with-standing a near disaster on Mt Darwin where a member of our team got caught in a slab avalanche. These dangers were always present and mostly managed with some success. We formed an enduring friendship borne of these adventurous activities, shared risks and like mindedness.
Jim and I were discussing his upcoming plans last month and he brought up the “Major’s Creek Falls accident” near Braidwood some 43 years ago. We were at the bottom of the 200 ft falls looking for a line, we were climbing solo on the water worn skirting rocks leading to the base of the falls proper. Jim took a tumble, bounced a few times and ended up head first about 50 ft down, unconscious in the pool at the bottom. After a frantic climb down, some agricultural first aid, a long climb and run to the Majors Creek pub, a quick beer, the SES was organized and after 7 hours we had him up the falls and in the Braidwood Hospital for preliminary treatment.
I remember, about 3 weeks later, still in plaster, he joined us for a scuba trip at Jervis Bay, Torpedo Tubes. Time for a night dive and Jim, arm and shoulder in plastic glad wrap, insisted on diving, hanging off an emergency regulator. A good dive, but I’m sure that he used more than his fair share of air.
Work and family, developing interests and circumstance lead us in different directions but we always found time to talk about our activities a couple of times a year and get together less frequently. Jim and Collette were due in Darwin next month as part of a driving trip and I was looking forward to catching up.
Jim was a rare man, an adventurer, collaborator, focused, driven, visionary and with a knack for organising unusual activities. In many respects fearless but with an eye to risk management.

Most of all, Jim was my friend and I miss him.
Condolences to Collette and family and Jim's many friends
Posted by Paddy Ramanathan on May 12, 2021
It was shocking to say the least to receive the other day a fax from NSW Health about Jim's demise.
As his GP for nearly 20yrs, I found Jim to be 'challenging' but a delightful friend! He exchanged with me great stories of Army and the exciting trips to various places of the world delivering his management talks.
I have seen many patients in my 40+ medical career but Jim will be remembered as a special soldier and great family man. The bonding he created with his family through treks & mountaineering was special & amazing!
The copy of "Snakes in the Jungle" signed and gifted by Jim will be treasured.
May his soul Rest in Peace. My heartfelt condolences to Colette & the family.
Posted by George Walker on May 12, 2021
I didn’t know Jim well, but we had done some indoor climbing and were talking about a group of us going out to some of the WA classics. During one of the email chains he posted this under the title “The brotherhood of the rope.” From what I know and have heard of him, it seems a fitting tribute:

I looked at my bookcase full of interesting mountaineering books, factual discussions of survival, success and failure from all over the globe.

What happened to my climbing ambitions?

Climbing had in previous years opened up a new universe for me.

It involved all of my senses, the touch and feel of the various rock faces, the sounds of the mountains, whether listening for an approaching avalanche or the crunch of crystallized ice and snow underfoot; the smells from the summits as tiny spicules of ice crystals invaded my nasal cavities; blown there by a tormenting wind; the taste of the air; laced with fragrances from the valley flora; and finally the sights of almost indescribable beauty, of a perfect windless warm summit day contrasting with the savagery of an unrelenting storm front tearing its way through an unprepared camp.

The camaraderie that exists between climbers is unimaginable, the brotherhood of the rope binding all who travel together on it with the same set of un-written rules.

Occasionally, there is the opportunity to lay a path where no-one else has previously trodden. Along with all of these things there is an obsession with what the view will look like from the summit.

These were the reasons that I climbed.
Posted by Bjorn Aikman on May 12, 2021
I knew Jim first as a climber then as a soldier. In both arenas he was an outlier. Gifted, driven and forever challenging the establishment. For all his combativeness he was also humble, generous and encouraging of his subordinates or those less experienced. He put in many hours to establish the mechanisms to enable others to achieve both in the mountains and in the field. I owe Jim a lot for which I never got the chance to thank him but I suspect if I had he would just have given me one of those looks and said ‘get on with it’. 
Posted by Scott Terrey on May 12, 2021
Jim was the Orde Wingate of our times. He was a gloriously eccentric, driven, talented operator; a relentless searcher for adventure and, most of all, a steadfast friend. 

And we all knew him in such different ways; loving husband, proud father, larrikin brother, amazed grandfather, thoughtful commander; irreverent subordinate; uncontrollable optimist; unfathomable talent for mischief - and as one of his former clients described him, “a serial pest”.  Jim wouldn’t let “no” get in the way of doing what he thought was right!

There was another Jim too. The one that selflessly strode into great danger to serve his country in unnamed places at unacknowledged times and cheerfully accepted that none of those exploits would ever be recognised, let alone spoken of. 

My thoughts are with Colette and the family and also with Min and Harry who tried so hard to keep their friend alive and who, ultimately had to let him go.  Its apt that Jim died doing something in his usual manic style but so crushingly sad that it didn’t happen thirty years from now.

And so we will all remember him in our own ways. For me it will be this email that he sent a few short weeks ago,


“Scott

Push on to the summit

The definition of mountaineering is the ability to get out of bed in the morning and to keep putting one foot in front of the other

The definition of life is to put off the prospect of death as long as possible.

Regards
Jim”


- that and a cheeky grin coming at me in the small hours of a black tropical night and a pithy “How’s your morale”?
Posted by Joseph Lynch on May 11, 2021
I'm still in shock. Terrible news. Deepest condolences to Collette and family. Jim and I first met in kindergarten (Mater Dei School Ashgrove) and were in the same class all the way through school. We climbed together periodically throughout the last 40 years. He was an extremely decent person who packed several lifetimes of adventure into one. And Collette, you deserve a lot of credit for his amazing array of achievements. I'm sorry we never caught up as planned last year.
Posted by Peter Nicholls on May 11, 2021
RIP Jim I was shocked to hear you had passed away. Condolences to the family. It was great working with you every time we conducted our crisis management drills, we always got a lot out of it. Farewell Jim you will be missed.
Posted by Patrick Cullinan on May 11, 2021
Very saddened by Jim's passing. Deepest condolences to Colette, David, Jess, Lisa, Maria, Grandkids and family. Jim will be sorely missed. Jim was an extraordinary talent. Never satisfied with the status quo and always pushing forward. Jim was very clear on what was needed to succeed, to win in war or in business. He was very professionally honest and trustworthy, and generous in giving his time and expertise to raise the knowledge and conceptual level of others, regardless of rank. In planning and life, Jim would often observe things from a red team or devil's advocate perspective - often the only one in the group who would do this. Seeing Jim operate, I used to think; how can you measure that and how can you put a price tag on that? A unique and natural thinker, Jim will be sorely missed by both his adventurous and loving family, and by his very many friends and admirers. Rest in peace Jim, if that is possible. Hard to believe that you are no longer with us, but great memories and respect for you will always be firmly in place.
Posted by Bruce Armstrong on May 11, 2021
Jim Truscott, thrived in unconventional environments and often, right or wrong, tested and sometimes broke the boundaries in situations defined by rules. In the military and in business, he sort to write his own rules. He was a deep thinker with a soaring intellect. He challenged myself, and many others, to question our view on many issues, and our traditional thinking. Those he met in the military and in business often held a polarised view of Jim.  I personally greatly valued our friendship and communication, and at all times was proud to call him my mate. You will be greatly missed Jim. Colette, thank you for allowing and supporting Jim to live his extraordinary life. My condolences to you and the Truscott family. 
Posted by Jagdish Buch on May 10, 2021
While working at then CAIRN ENERGY PLC at Viramgam Oil Terminal, Gujarat, India, as site in charge of Administration of the terminal, I had the rare privilege to attend a safety related programme by Jim in 2011. We had great learning from him and cherish fond memories of the same. My sincere condolences to the bereaved family. May God grant him eternal peace.Om Shanti..
Posted by William Forbes on May 10, 2021
The Jim I knew was a driven man. He was guided by a strong personal commitment to get as much as possible out of life regardless of where or what it was. He was an unconventional thinker with great enthusiasm for alternative approaches - always thinking out of the box regardless of the body of evidence which suggested there was only one path to follow.

The Jim I knew had a never say die approach. He could be measured and thoughtful but bold and audacious was his preference. He was a traveller, an adventurer and entrepreneur always ready to climb a new rockface, paddle a new sea, advance a new idea or take on a new challenge.

The Jim I knew was a good friend to many.

Along with others we survived a lost aircraft event and came close to crashing into the Arafura Sea off Arnhem Land. We planned and conducted Ex Biltong Watcher which stretched the envelope for SAS operations in Northern Australia in new and challenging directions. We conducted a major Kidnap for Ransom exercise and there were other memorable events some of significance, some not.

I will carry Jim's memory with me always. He was strong, resourceful and optimistic and I feel a weight of sadness with his death.

As we endeavour to console ourselves we should remember short as it has been, Jim's life was a life well lived. We have all lost a good man.

My sincerest condolences to Colette and family.

RIP SeaGull - Bill
Posted by Shahid Gardezi on May 10, 2021
Indeed a very sad news for everyone who knew Jim. As a safety professional he made quite a mark in Northern Hemisphere as well. We at Eni Pakistan knew him as a very composed, experienced and knowledgeable gentleman. We considered him as our mentor in the field of emergency handling. He conducted so many successful exercises for us.

As a person he was energetic and down to earth. He was enthusiastic about his work and always went extra mile to help others. He will be greatly missed.

Heart felt condolences to his family and friends. May God Almighty grant him highest place in heaven. So long Jim
Posted by Neil Gledhill on May 10, 2021
It was a privilege to call Jim a friend. One of the wiliest, smartest guys I ever went climbing with and without a doubt one of the most passionate. His love for the sport and adventure came through in his actions and words. We had great fun tearing up the hills of Perth, setting fires, trespassing and going to the pub. Some how we also managed some climbing and plenty of ethical talk.

Jim's emails to stay in touch and share regular updates on his life's adventures and challenges were also welcome in my inbox and every one was a porthole into an amazing mind.

Not a moment wasted. Like many others have said and all are thinking. Jim, it has been a privileged.
Posted by Paul Prickett on May 10, 2021
I worked with Jim in 1989 during a suite of training run out of Swan Island. We spent about 10days in southern Victoria and then about 3weeks in a jungle setting in Nth Queensland. It was very challenging and innovative training demanding much of us all both physically and mentally. Jim was our team leader and mentor. He was tireless, determined and professionally flexible throughout this entire period. His calm and quiet approach kept the team focused and task worthy under trying conditions. I would follow Jim under any circumstances and will no doubt draft into his team somewhere on the other side when my time is up. Don't rest Jim, you still have mountains to climb. GWTT Taipan.
Posted by Leigh Alver on May 10, 2021
Back when we were young, we all believed ourselves to be invincible, courageous, and willing to take risks that others would never consider. Our confidence sometimes showed in our swagger or how we wore our beret. Then along came Jim Truscott, and frankly, he made us feel like pretenders. No objective was unachievable – no risk too high – no effort ever enough. He was dangerous, even to speak to, as there was every chance that you could be roped into his latest adventure. And if we felt threatened, can you imagine how the hierarchy saw this maverick. A career could be put at risk by no more than guilt by association. But it was Jim’s mind that defined him in my eyes. He was a deep thinker who questioned every problem and provided a solution. He was the soldier who never saw defeat no matter how stacked the odds seemed at first sight. If it could be done by anyone, it would be done by Jim. I am greatly saddened by his lost and send my deepest condolences to Colette and the family. If it is any consolation, Jim will be grieved by many, and much of what he was, came from his family.
Posted by Stefan Frodsham on May 10, 2021
Rest in peace Jim, you have done enough to fill three lifetimes. See you again upstairs.
Stef
Posted by Clay Kruger on May 10, 2021
Jim, I considered you a mentor...a true friend.

You were a remarkable man. Your energy and passion for life were truly inspiring, and those stories of your adventures were always so entertaining and just a joy to hear.

I will genuinely miss you...
Posted by Peter McKenzie on May 10, 2021
I knew Jim as a youngster and a classmate. Followed his adventures from afar, a great human being. A life well lived.
Posted by Ian Mansfield on May 10, 2021
I had not seen Jim for many years, but I had followed his work through his publications and word of mouth. We had served together at 1 Field Squadron way way back when. Jim decided it would be useful for sappers to know how to jump out the back of moving trucks - so his bemused troops spent the afternoon launching themselves out of perfectly good trucks. I had never been rock climbing so he offered to take me - big mistake, when I found myself hanging upside down from some impossible ledge. When Jim went away one time, he asked me to look after his beloved lime green Subaru ute which I enjoyed driving around (Jim told me he had once driven the ute from Broome to Perth - mainly along the beach!!). A great character who will be sadly missed.
Posted by Peter Bastable on May 10, 2021
A great loss of Jim who I've worked with since 2005 until a couple of years ago. For me, Jim was easy to work with as honesty was the best policy and caring about all and everybody is a blessing.
Being brave isn't easy but it publishes very much.
The important thing now is for the younger to achieve and for the older to stick by them, all of them.
Posted by Nadine Gibbons on May 10, 2021
To Jim's wife, children and grandchildren, extended family and all who honoured this wonderful gentleman. I was a librarian at Leuwin Barracks. A less likely looking Aussie soldier, scrawny almost bland looking, in fact the perfect member of the SAS, visited my library, once I knew he was a mountaineer, well that explained the almost greyhound look. Jim used the Defence library for many years advising me on desirable items for the collection - I was never able to acquire Sefton Blake, but I did have Lake Boga. From Jim, and a few other ex SASR members I expanded my own knowledge, as well as the collection. When it was broken up and the library closed, Jim still found people to fight for the finest collection of intelligence and counter intelligence open source material in Defence to be retained as close to the Regiment as possible. We were beaten by bureaucracy but we tried.
Jim, you have gone too early, as others have said. You have left a legacy via those you trained and worked with. I am glad you passed swiftly doing what you loved.
Vale Taipan.
Posted by Kevin Arlidge on May 8, 2021
Jim and I were class mates at RMC Duntroon - Class 1977. Big Jim was always larger than life and a great person. It is so sad that he has been taken so early. He will not be forgotten.
Posted by Harry Butler on May 8, 2021
From Jim:

Commended to me when I was proffering excuses for not signing up for one of his excursions: “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” ― Calvin Coolidge.

On canvassing your business: "Once you learn to handle rejection, life becomes easy."

And, with characteristic bluntness, on an uninviting morning about to set out for a day's climbing: "You've got to get out there. One day you're going to wake up dead."

Not a minute wasted. It has been a privilege.
Posted by Tony Webster-Smith on May 7, 2021
Well mate I guess dinner at my place is off but we'll catch up again. I'll miss the cups of tea, sharing the wins and losses. Always genuine and with good intent you always challenged. You proudly wore the leather out of the shoes, frenetically communicated and humorously remonstrated. I learnt to appreciate that no is a starting position and I always felt sorry for the person saying no.  I will miss your energy, enthusiasm, laughs and the bottles of red and the relaxed conversations with you and Collette on latest exploits and planned adventures. Being very Jim, you departed on adventure.
Posted by Martin Dransfield on May 7, 2021
I had the great privilege to meet Jim in Timor-Leste in 2019 and we exchanged a number of emails resulting from our shared love of Timor-Leste and its people. Moreover, he was intent on telling the story of 2/2nd Commando Squadron and ensuring that the Falantil story was captured before the veterans passed on. He also wanted to capture the Australian and New Zealand story from 1999.

His energy and passion for Timor-Leste and life was boundless. He was trusted by the Timorese and his vision was to produce a battlefield tour guide for veterans and their families to return to Timor-Leste.

It was an honour to have spent time with you Jim. Rest In Peace.

Posted by Guy Duczynski on May 7, 2021
A sad and much too early end to an amazing life of achievements in military, business and adventure. 
Rock climbing with Jim was always an exciting experience; you just never knew how the day would play out. On a visit to a mountain warfare course in the early 90's he was the first with his skis on, the first to knock up a hot brew, the first to get his tent up at the end of a long day and the first into his sleeping bag.
As a military thinker and challenger of the status quo he was unequalled.
RIP Jim
 
Posted by Marc Preston on May 6, 2021
I had the privilege of serving as one of your young Officers at 2 Coy and can say without equivocation you were one of the best OCs we had who was always focused on the mission, men and Unit capability - sometimes to the detriment of your career. I was also fortunate to have kept in touch with you since the 90's and being dragged in your wake with Crisis Leaders, reviewing you prodigious articles and books and of course the epic motorbike adventure through Timor Leste. You were a big influence on my life and career and will certainly be missed mate. RIP Jim
Posted by Jim Wallace on May 6, 2021
Jim was indeed a unique individual. 
His passion for unconventional warfare and combination of courage, intelligence and vision would have seen him standout and widely written about in conflicts at any other point of history. Truly remarkable person and missed. 
Colette, you and the family can be very proud of him.
Posted by christine helliwell on May 6, 2021
A great friend and tireless ferreter-out of the truth. Without his generosity my forthcoming book on Operation Semut would have been considerably poorer. So sorry that I now won't get the change to argue with him about it. Deepest sympathies to Colette and family.
Posted by Truck Sams on May 6, 2021
I first met Jim at the Army Parachute School where my first impressions of him were correct. He was indeed a true officer and a gentleman amongst his peers and always respected his fellow soldiers. I would have gladly served under him during peace time and operations. Rest In Peace my friend 

Truck Sams and The Long Ride Home Team
Posted by John Trevivian on May 6, 2021
Jim used to joke to me when we he was in his early 20's that it would be a miracle if he survived beyond 30 years of age. This indicated the drive he had to live life to the full, take (calculated) risks and enjoy what he wanted to do. He survived the 30 years milestone and Jim went on to cram as much as he could into life. I was always interested to find out what he was doing and he kept in periodic contact. I was very sad to hear the news.
Posted by Margaret Lyons on May 5, 2021
I did not know army Jim but I do know my cousin Jim’s intense gaze had thawed out over time.
Jim was driven but comfortable in his civilian suit and tie. He loved a challenge and relished using his life skill, wit and the pen to take on the corporate world in crisis.
Jim greatly cherished his wife, children and grandchildren. He was somewhat amused by the width and diversity of the wider family across the country and our Irish roots. He was currently researching the family tree, many of us receiving text messages and requesting information just days before his passing.
Jim relished the challenges of looking into past history, following up links to our convict past and rattling the bones of buried secrets.
Jim's passing is a reminder to all of us to make every moment count.
Margaret Lyons ( Unternaehrer) [First cousin of Jim on his maternal side]
Posted by Shane Cornell on May 5, 2021
Goodbye Sir, but never forgotten. Inspirational and challenging, you taught many the art of dancing with the tiger.


Posted by Mark Smethurst on May 5, 2021
“If happiness is the goal – and it should be, then adventures should be top priority.” – Richard Branson
I first met Jim when he was the operations officers at SASR and I was OC 3 Sqn in 1996. I will never forget the legacy that Jim left on many, he was truely a Special Operator who challenged himself and those around him. He never lacked energy or an opinion and his counsel was something many sort over their lifetime. Jim has lived a remarkable life and will be greatly missed by us all. My thoughts are with Jim's family and many friends who will be much affected by his loss. Mark
Posted by Richard Pelling on May 5, 2021
Good morning

I was tasked by H.E. the Prime-Minister Timor Leste (Jose Maria Vasconcelos aka Taur Ruak) to convene the following message to you and to the Family:
"It is with great sorrow that we hear the shocking news of the tragic passing of hour “Comrade in arms” Jim Truscott.
Mr. Jim was a good Friend, a good Military, and a beloved person who gathered many good Friends in Timor-Leste.
We remember His happiness, His strong commitment, dedication and sacrifice spirit, towards Timor-Leste Peace and Development
It is a great lost for all of us and we would like to convene to Friends and Family, our deepest condolences, our good prayers and wishes to God Almighty to assist you all in these hard moments
May God Bless Mr. Jim Truscott soul with His kindness and receive His Spirit back to Light! "
We will keep Mr. Jim Truscott alive with our good memories and among our prayers!
Thank you again for your message

Warm regards

Jose Fernando Real
Secretariat of GPM Timor Leste
Posted by Mike Trafford on May 5, 2021
We were truly shocked to learn of Jim's death. So fit, strong, energetic and filled with purpose, he seemed the least likely. I first met Jim with a mutual cricketing friend in Year 12. I recall being struck by a blazing intensity and, in hindsight, I think that was his impatience to get the world by the throat and wring every last drop of achievement out of it. Two years later, Jim arrived at the Royal Military College. His room was on the ground floor of Cork Block in Long Tan Company. His audacity, in leapfrogging the trials of 4th Class directly into 3rd, exemplified his attitude that nothing he believed should be done was impossible. Decades later, I worked for Jim on several Crisis Leaders jobs. His legendary energy, drive, belief and intellect overwhelmed some, but everyone was enriched by association. Jim's passing will leave a huge space in the lives of his family, friends and colleagues, but in time his legacy will fill it. Vale Jim
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Posted by Robert Te on May 17, 2021
Throughout our lives, numerous people we meet will subtly or overtly influence us, or give us motivation, or guide us forward, or help us get to the next level in our endeavours, or tangibly change the way we view something. They may have encouraged you onwards, set you challenges or influenced you to undertake activities you otherwise would never have done. One is extremely fortunate therefore, if they encounter, other than perhaps a life partner, someone who facilitated all of these effects in a very significant, enduring, positive, life changing way. In my life this was Major Jim Truscott OAM. 

Jim impacted me in all these ways and much more but he never let me believe “I had arrived”. There was always more to do, and more again after that. Bronze or Silver Standard did not exist, one always aimed for Gold. I first met Jim when he was posted to 2 SQN, The Pilbara Regiment in 1991 and was my OC. From the onset I was blown away by his energy, vision and tempo for making things happen. I had always been described in reports as a high achiever and was involved in and lead various pursuits, but in meeting Jim, I wondered what scale I had been assessed on – I knew I had met my match! Jim had a natural intelligence for analysing things from every angle and questioning the status quo - then vocalising this passionately, no doubt often to the chagrin of the chain of command. If something in the Army system needed fixing he wanted it so, and in Jim's words “We have to be ready for the next conflict now – not caught with our pants down as in the past!”

As a Squadron Commander Jim truly led by example and while pushing all personnel to greater efforts and higher standards, many believing they would die in the process, he was always approachable, fair and consistent regardless of someone’s rank. It is an understatement to describe Jim as an adventurer – he lived and breathed for adventure, all types of adventure, on a regular basis and had a knack for turning something “normal” into a memorable escapade. Jim’s enthusiasm was unstoppable and his conviction in what we trained for and how we trained was contageous. Realism!! And such was the realism we created in training, courses and exercises that more than once we were in the CO’s office together, receiving his size 11 boot. Happily this was usually tempered by the off- the record praise for the outstanding attendance of the Reservists and excellent feedback from participants.

It was inevitable Jim and I would become good friends. At some point I was at Jim’s house for dinner and met the lovely and highly organised Collete and a young David and even younger Sarah, Jess and Lisa. I saw them often, and me being a Bachelor, Collete thought it was better I went to their place for dinners, so I brought the “Reds”. I respected Jim so genuinely, it took him several dinners and a threat to get me to stop calling him "sir", when not at the Unit. Two New Year’s Nights were spent by the Truscotts at my place and we often went on picnics or trips together. One Saturday morning I was taking the the Truscott clan to abandoned Cooya Pooya Pastoral Station for a picnic. Just out of Karratha the two heavy duty batteries under Jim’s seat in my Land Rover started to short-out, as loud as gun shots, smoke streamed out and heat could be felt under him. Jim was also being zapped as his bare feet were on the metal floor, now intermittently electrified. I pulled up hard and before the Land Rover was stopped Jim jumped and almost did a perfect parachute roll. Through wide eyes he looked at us and said, “Now that was one adventure I hadn’t figured on”. Some minor repairs and we were on our way. 

As at least one smart Officer accounts in his memories of Jim earlier in this memorial, one had to be fearful of Jim because of “guilt by association”, not that I cared about that, our friendship came first, but also “if you got too close to him, you got dragged into his schemes and adventures.” Sensing how passionate Jim was and having taking a real liking to him, being roped-in was an early failing of mine. In particular, having never been a climber, and never inclined to climb, and having watched enough climbing movies to know I never wanted to climb, I found myself climbing up rock cliffs and features which did not allow one to turn around or chicken out. Jim, small frame, wiry and nimble would be up ahead moving around like a Rock Spider, talking to himself and yelling out all sorts of information I couldn’t make sense of. I would be the number 2, following Jim, taking out the climbing apparatus which Jim had inserted in holes and cracks as he progressed upwards. Over a period of 3 years we would grab a Zodiac from the Unit on a weekend and Jim and I, and on occasion a friend from the local SES Unit, would head out to the Burrup Peninsular. I enjoyed parachuting but this climbing business where I could see the jutting rocks and knife edges my head was going to crash into far below, if I fell, created some imaginings. After 2-3 climbs in a day and abseiling down after each, it was always a satisfying feeling. Jim had stretched me yet again.
He named each climb and recorded all the details, years later they were published. Jim was a prolific writer.

I found for Jim, whether in uniform or out, not a moment was wasted. Over the 31 years I knew him, time simply never stood still. Plans were always afoot. Then the action. Then more plans. I couldn’t believe my luck when after two years as my OC, Jim was then posted to remain in the Regiment as Operations Officer. Now in a more influencing role, Jim had Regional Infrastructure Patrols take on a whole new meaning and focus. Intelligence gathering activities included patrols including Customs, Federal or State Police or all three organisations. Defence Aid to the Civilian Community became common place. Naval Patrol Boats and Submarines became part of the repertoire of unit activities and as Senior Instructor Water Operations, I was as happy as a pig in mud. Army and Airforce aircraft were frequently on hand as part of an exercise regime - all indented for by Jim. Jim was simply driven in everything he undertook and more than anyone I ever met in the Army, he knew how to engineer things to happen.

In 1994 Jim ran me through a series of tests without saying why – Battle Fitness Assessment, Combat Fitness, 300m swim test in cams, webbing with rifle, 10 minutes straddling water. That was Jim – all was always on a “need to know basis”. I already had the Survival Course under my belt, but Jim then gave me the marine navigation test from hell! On passing all elements, having cleared it with the CO, Jim invited me onto Exercise Rimau Retrace – to be held in Indonesia to re-enact, on its 50th anniversary, the escape route taken by a small raiding force after a planned second raid on shipping in Singapore during WWII, but was compromised. Jim and five other Majors, myself as a Captain and the Chart based Navigator, and one Sergeant from Commandos retraced the exact 250NM route, in Army Sea Kayaks, of the original mission. Jim had the historical records and detailed knowledge of what happened where, on each island along the escape route. The excursion was living history with hardships and dangers from nature or people, at various intervals. Jim was an outstanding organiser and problem solver, and although expedition members had certain roles, Jim was the cement keeping all on mission. On about the fourth day after the hard slog of kayaking had begun and sleeping in the jungle each night endured (with thousands of insects completely covering our mosquito nets), we were once again up well before light, quietly collecting our gear in the dark, packing it into the hatches of the Kayaks by feel. Communication was by whisper. There was a sense of urgency. Suddenly, through the quiet one of the Majors called out loudly “Jim, what the hell are we doing – it’s not WW 2 and the Japs aren’t actually chasing us!” For Jim, a war was always just around the corner, one had to “Train hard and fight easy”, but after that morning, things did ease off a tad. Just a tad. But Jim was again correct, a few years later Australian Forces were in Iraq and after that Timor Leste.

In 1998 when I was posted Squadron Commander, many a time when writing a Field Exercise, planning a Patrol Schedule or running a Water Ops Course, I asked myself, where did this fit on the "JT" scale. Would he approve? Was I being bold enough? Had I obtained all the good resources I could to enhance the activity? Would it be memorable? Inevitably I added another dimension of realism, risk, value outcome. And afterwards I received the CO's size 11 boot.  

More than enough has been written on Jim’s post-military life and successes, other than to say Jim put the same vigour, intelligence, conviction and effort into those ventures, as he did his Army roles. Jim’s alternate perspective to almost everything and approaches to military problems proved their value in Iraq. His efforts and unique contribution and manner of operations in Timor Leste are well known and respected.

Jim was an exceptional man who lived life like few others seem able to, and held throughout it, the virtues of fearless honesty, integrity, humbleness and compassion. Jim balanced his adventures with keeping his family close. Jim was a real friend and a true mate as I know he was to so many others too. I read all of the entries here and many have been lucky enough to have known Jim since RMC. In reading these I smiled, I laughed and some made me cry, as they typified with clarity, the Jim I experienced. 

My thoughts are now with Collete, David, Sarah, Jess and Lisa, and all those who called Jim a friend.

Even though we periodically caught up and always emailed each other, just a couple of years ago I wrote to Jim and let him know he was unequivocally the most inspirational person I had ever met. Jim, my flag remains at half-mast for you. 

Mintu Wanta

Rob


 


Posted by Jillian Gorski on May 16, 2021
Jim and I did our bronze surf lifesaving certificate in the same group late last year - 2020 Floreat WA. Jim proved he was incredibly fit as we had to brave and struggle through some extreme ocean conditions, practicing our rescues and doing the required ‘run swim run’ every weekend for 6 weeks .
Following our wet drills, we would play out our dry first aid drills. Jim would throw in a story from his life experience . At first these stories sounded too incredible to believe. However as the group got to know Jim, we realised what a fascinating life and character he was.
Two weeks after completing our bronze I saw him on a current affair report speaking up on behalf of the armed services . It would have been good to have gotten to know him better at our club and hear more of his amazing experiences.
Posted by Michael Kelly on May 16, 2021
I met jim in grade 4 at marist brothers ashgrove. We finished school together in 1973 and started engineering together in 1974. Jim and I climbed together first at Kangaroo point(illegally) anchoring off the fence posts designed to keep us out, and then at Frog Buttress. One memory was climbing ships stern range without ropes. I fell 5m and broke my foot. Jim stayed with me for 5 hours as we got back to the car.
We kept in touch over the years and met Collette in 2018. They made us so welcome in Perth.
Jim was a great mate and will be sorely missed
Mick Kelly
his Life

Vale Jim Truscott OAM

Jim Truscott OAM passed away suddenly on the 28th April 2021.  At the time of his death Jim was on an unsupported push bike tour of the Mungo Loop with two close friends.  They were following the footsteps of the Burke and Wills expedition and were approximately 80km north of Balranald nearing the end of their first day’s ride when Jim collapsed.  They’d had a great day, perfect autumn conditions, much friendly banter, enjoying life to the full far from the madding crowd.  Jim passed as he lived – with his boots on, riding into the setting sun, on an adventure.
Jim was well known for his drive, enthusiasm and dogged determination.  He was in many ways a renaissance man – a very professional but unconventional soldier; intrepid and daring adventurer; somewhat reluctant engineer; amateur but respected historian and author; red wine connoisseur; highly successful businessman; and committed community member; but above all son, brother, husband, father, grandfather and friend.   
Jim first served in the Marist Brothers Ash Grove school cadet unit then the Queensland University Regiment before entering the Royal Military College (RMC) Duntroon as a third class cadet in 1975.  He graduated in 1977 and was awarded a BE (Hons) in 1978 (he later completed a BA out of interest).  Jim subsequently served as a Troop Commander in 1 Field Squadron of the 1st Field Engineer Regiment and as an observer with the Commonwealth Monitoring Force in Rhodesia attached to a mixed race field propaganda unit before completing selection and serving as the Operations Officer in 3 SAS Squadron. He along with his Officer Commanding will be long remembered for organising and overseeing “Exercise Biltong Watcher”, an epic in the Northern Territory that even included airstrikes by B52s operating from Guam.  Jim subsequently served as the Garrison Engineer in Newcastle and on the Operations Staff in Field Force Command, Army Headquarters and Headquarters Special Forces.  Following these postings he vowed to never again serve in the “Big Army” or as a “Staff Wally”.  He achieved legendary status as the Officer Commanding 2 Commando Company with his many innovative and realistic exercises often involving short notice call out.  He also served in the Pilbara Regiment as a Surveillance Squadron Commander then in the Northern Territory as a Civil Affairs Officer before returning to as the Operations Officer in SASR.  It is during this last posting that his ingenuity, knowledge and experience came to the fore as he led the regimental planning team for the deployment to the Middle East to enforce the no fly zone, the initial entry by the ADF into East Timor and the counter terrorist support to the 2000 Sydney Olympics.  But above all Jim’s core professional interest lay in Special Warfare.  Hestarred on the Special Warfare Course, taught himself jungle Bahasa Indonesia and studied in detail the activities of the Services Reconnaissance Department (SRD) during WW2.  He was a known “Friend of Z” and had befriended, supported and interviewed many of the original operatives.  He had also conducted a long distance sea kayak trip from Singapore through the Indonesian archipelago tracing the route of the escaping OP RIMAU party, spent two months walking through the jungles of Borneo retracing the steps of the OP SEMUT operatives and interviewing the few surviving guerrillas and their families and had recently travelled to East Timor to research a battle field guide covering the activities of the Independent Companies and SRD in WW2, TNI and Falantil during the Independence War and finally INTERFET and UNTAET post 1999.  As a Special Forces Officer, Jim was one of the few truly unconventional thinkers, and he pushed and prodded SASR and Commandos toward more advanced capabilities, often with complete disregard to his own career.  A subordinate at the time recounts that it was always a joy and terror to be a junior officer within his command or earshot.
Jim was also a passionate, committed and enthusiastic mountaineer, rock climber and Nordic skier.  As a cadet at Duntroon he was a founding member of the RMC Mountaineering Club, instrumental in the re-establishment of the Army Alpine Association (AAA) and the instigator of the famous RMC August Epic.  He was a fierce and dedicated climber and mountaineer his entire life. Anyone who knew Jim will have a favourite tale of his eccentricities, his at times manic drive and his fiery intellect, his endless energy, great projects and causes and his legendary wordsmithing. He was always driving hard, whether rustling up a team to tackle Carstenz’s Pyramid; signing off on C130 flights for Everest logistics or hitting up Big Ben Pies to sponsor an expedition to the remote volcano of the same name.  Jim’s list of achievements is lengthy. As a mountaineer and climber he first headed to the Southern Alps of New Zealand in December 1974.  He then spent many summers in the 70’s and early 80’s in the Southern Alps.  While recovering from a major injury incurred solo climbing near Majors Creek, Jim made an early ascent of Ball’s Pyramid, this in turn after a disastrous and near death experience attempting to sail to the remote sea stack.  In 1981 hesurvived an avalanche at Camp 2 on Ganesh IV (7102 m) in Nepal.  Tragically Dave Sloane was not so lucky and was swept to his death.  Jim was a member of the successful expedition to Broad Peak (8047 m) in Pakistan in 1986, at that stage only the second 8000 metre peak climbed by an Australian team. Jim was also a member of the successful 1988 Australian Bicentennial Everest Expedition, the second ascent of the mountain by an Australian team and the only ascent of the mountain accomplished without local high altitude porters. He was awarded an Order of Australia Medal and Chief of the Defence Force Commendation for his organising efforts and participation in this activity.  Subsequently, he climbed Aconcagua in Argentina (the highest mountain in the America’s) in 1990, Carstenz Pyramid in Irian Jaya (the highest mountain in South East Asia) in 1991 then Nanda Devi East on a multi-national expedition with the Indian Army in 1996.
He was also a voracious rock climber, putting up hundreds of new rock climbing routeswherever he was based from Kangaroo Point and Frog Buttress in south east Queensland, the Sydney Sea Cliffs and Blue Mountains in New South Wales, Arapiles and the Grampians in Victoria, the remote Western Australia northwest coast, to the Perth Hills and his beloved Southwest. Generations of future climbers will puzzle at his climb names and wonder at his route selection and bolting practices. Jim knew a quality route when he saw it, but didn’t mind putting up the odd scrappy climb – one climbing partner recalls getting told to bring a shovel when joining him on one of his Perth Hills new routing adventures.   Many a climbing partner will recall that it was always prudent to double check Jim’s belay stances and to be wary of his pick of climbs, as the call “your lead” would oft come at an inopportune moment.  They will also recall many a session in the Dugandan, Natimuk and Mt Vic pubs contemplating their failures, celebrating their successes and building Dutch courage for future ventures.  In the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s Jim was also a committed and competitive Nordic skier.  He organised and competed in many Inter-Service events, representing Army on numerous occasions and finishing in the top 30 in NSW state championships several times in the 1980’s.  On one occasion he, along with a friend, skied from Kiandra to Mt Kosciusko in 18 hours.  In 1989 he also led a ski mountaineering trip to Mt Shasta in California.  Jim had in addition to tracing the route of the OP RIMAU operatives conducted several remote sea kayak trips including to the Monte Bello Islands and two attempts to cross the Torres Strait.  He also rafted the Franklin in Tasmania before it became popular.  
Immediately following the Sydney Olympics Jim left the Army and entered business as a crisis management consultant, first with a British multinational company, before setting up his own firm “Truscott Crisis Leaders”.  After a lean start Jim through sheer determination and exceptionally hard work established a very successful consultancy with a clientele that included many of the world’s leading multi-national companies.  His straight forward and sometimes abrupt style was not everyone’s cup of tea but his advice and training was highly valued by many mining and off shore oil and gas companies operating in the remote corners of the world.  Jim was known to cover 10 countries in 7 days, conduct day trips to Singapore and travel to Europe for one day jobs.   His ideas, advice, guidance and training significantly enhanced the emergency response capabilities and safety of many work places around the globe.   
Jim was a prolific writer.  A cursory inspection of professional journals and newsletters will feature Jim Truscott.  Jim’s thoughts on Special Operations published under his nom de guerre “Taipan” while his accounts of his personal adventures not only inspired many but were in the finest traditions of mountain writing.  He was also a prolific reviewer and authored several books including his autobiography “Snakes in the Jungle – Special Operations in War and Business”, an account of OP SEMUT titled “Voices from Borneo – The Japanese War” and a business sales guide titled “Who Dares Sell, Wins - Mastering True Sales in Management”.  At the time of his death he was finalising a detailed “Battlefield Guide of East Timor”.  His writing was always erudite, often lengthy and sometimes unprintable.   As you considered his ideas and read of his adventures, as you listened to his proposals and stories, you were sometimes stunned by his audacity but more often left enriched by his grasp of history, military capabilities, mountain geography and business practices, giddy in the wake of his often preposterous ideas and actions, and unsettled by how boring your own mind and life appeared next to his.
Following the recent sale of his business Jim qualified as a Surf Life Saver and served as a hose man in the Darlington Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade.  He was also actively working with the 2/2nd Commando Company Association in an attempt to have the unit awarded a Unit Citation for Gallantry for their actions as an Independent Company in Timor in 1942 and the HMAS Armidale Association on a project to locate the wreck.
Above all, Jim was a family man, devoted to his wife, children and grandchildren.  He was a man to follow and learn from, both in his words and deeds. You had to be quick to keep up and follow his thinking, but he suffered fools better than he made out, and we are all the better for his friendship and life.   His passing not only brings a great sadness to his family and close friends but leaves an enormous gap for many across military, veteran, business and adventure communities. Vale Jim Truscott, gone but not forgotten.
Recent stories

Jim's quotes

Shared by danilo zonta on May 14, 2021
Found on my inbox these quotes from Jim;

- Adventure before Dementia.

- You do not stop climbing from growing old, you grow old from stopping climbing.
- The Art of happiness
It is good to come close to danger and death.
What you see there makes you feel alive.
You must hold into those feelings.
One who grows old without such memories has nothing.
Memories are our souvenirs from a lifetime of forgetfulness.
- The brotherhood of the rope
I look at my bookcase full of interesting mountaineering books, factual discussions of survival, success and failure from all over the globe.
What happened to my climbing ambitions?

Climbing had in previous years opened up a new universe for me.
It involved all of my senses, the touch and feel of the various rock faces, the sounds of the mountains, whether listening for an approaching avalanche or the crunch of crystallized ice and snow underfoot; the smells from the summits as tiny spicules of ice crystals invaded my nasal cavities; blown there by a tormenting wind; the taste of the air; laced with fragrances from the valley flora; and finally the sights of almost indescribable beauty, of a perfect windless warm summit day contrasting with the savagery of an unrelenting storm front tearing its way through an unprepared camp.

The camaraderie that exists between climbers is unimaginable, the brotherhood of the rope binding all who travel together on it with the same set of un-written rules,

Occasionally, there is the opportunity to lay a path where no-one else has previously trodden.
Along with all of these things there is an obsession with what the view will look like from the summit.

These are the reasons that I climb.

- I am keen for a big climbing trip somewhere on my 65th birthday on Wednesday 26 May 2021 Maybe even a new route somewhere !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- I can go anywhere, anytime and anyplace.



WHEN YOU ARE READY - Kokoda PNG 2017 - Jim and Son

Shared by David Truscott on May 14, 2021
WHEN YOU ARE READY

Very Slippery

By
Taipan, Python, Ray Nave and Billy Amuli

Look after David.. and look after each other!” With Colette’s parting words ringing in my head, our son David and I boarded the plane in Perth for the sabbatical that I had to have in the jungle of Papua New Guinea. I knew that I had left this Kokoda Track trip for far too long. Colette was full of wisdom when she had said, “You have always had a project. You have always been project driven.” Now I had one again, after 16 years of gut-sucking business.

Two of my uncles and a second cousin had served in Papua New Guinea in WWII although none of them had fought on the Kokoda Track. My father had also served in the 2nd/25th Battalion for a very short time but he had transferred to the RAAF before the Battalion went to the Middle East and subsequently to Papua New Guinea. Nevertheless though I have walked and paddled the routes taken by many other WWII operations across South East Asia, the Kokoda Track remained to be done.

So I left the computer at home for the first time in 16 years. Robert Kilsby said that to not put myself in my own diary was “really crazy” when you think about it. Walking the Kokoda Track would be a self-test to see if I could walk away from business and do something else. Would a short walk in the Owen Stanley Range clear my brain?
Three flights later we landed at Popondetta on the northern side of the Owen Stanley Ranges to be met by Henry Amuli, the Operations Manager of Kokoda Courage our trekking company, Ray Nave and Billy Amuli, Henry’s nephew, two gentle giants who were to be our erstwhile and ardent travel companions.
David and I had been physically training with heavy back packs walking up and down the many groomed trails leading to the summits of Reabold Hill in Perth but it was insufficient preparation for the six gruelling and wet days which were to come. Getting pack fit for Kokoda aided me in determining what I want to do for the rest of my life. At sixty years of age I realized that business had consumed me and that it would eat me up if I did not do something about it.
We were not your usual trekkers as we had brought our own food and we wanted to carry our own packs like the original Militia 39th Battalion. We had hired the obligatory guide to be legal in the eyes of the Kokoda Track Authority and we had allowed seven days to get to the road head at Ower’s Corner above Port Moresby. So far, so good.
After a few hour’s drive up the hill and across the Kumusi River we arrived at Henry’s trekking camp on the edge of the Kokoda plateau for a round table discussion. While Ray would be our guide, we were urged to take Billy as well; glad we did! So after a good night’s sleep we arose early to check out the small museum and memorials at the original Kokoda station before setting off with 20 kilogram backpacks in the humid jungle, generally following Eora Creek for the Isurava battleground.

Interestingly while the track’s name is associated with Kokoda, the initial delaying battle by an Australian company facing a Japanese battalion lasted only a few hours and in the subsequent advance, Kokoda was taken by the Australians, and unopposed by the Japanese.

The walk soon became a hard slog and I almost pulled a previously sore muscle from the exertion. Ray had opined that the first day would be the hardest and when we got to Deniki village he diplomatically suggested that David and I should offload some of our weight to him and Billy. It was disappointing to depart from our original plan, but there seemed no other alternative and by the time we stopped in the mid- afternoon rain it was with glad resignation that I pondered if we had taken on too much.
The first day had been much tougher than my past battlefield trekking experiences in Borneo, although I had been 20 years younger then and in Borneo we could rely on getting food at each kampung. The rain forest water in PNG tasted good, but it certainly stirred up the body gases from every orifice. There were many local people on the track that day heading back to Kododa village for carrier jobs at the start of the trekking season and the approaching ANZAC Day.
It was fascinating to see Billy nonchalantly walk in bare feet and for Ray to saunter along in an old pair of runners. The torn ligaments from an old rock climbing accident when I had broken my shoulder started to ache and I started popping anti- inflammatory pills well in excess of the recommended dose, which got me through the first long night’s sleep in our jungle hut and the next five days of ripped ligament pain.

Heavy but warm rain fell late afternoon and throughout the night. It stopped briefly before dusk to enable David and I to walk around the monuments at Isurava which were being made ready for ANZAC Day by the local people, including some of Ray’s family who lived a short distance up hill. It was pleasant to meet with several of his brothers and sister and to listen to their banter in their local language. We could also see Billy’s village on a distant hill.

Thanks to Bill James, the military historian and trekker, we were able to use the many images in his Field Guide to the Kokoda Track to roughly determine the battle positions of the Australian and the Japanese troops. Reg Yates who has also walked the track many times had advised us to take the guide book otherwise the trek would become a muddy blur and his advice was 100% correct.
The track largely ‘cross-grains’ the terrain the way that the advancing and withdrawing military forces sought to win or hold ground. Contouring was only for encirclement. While the current route does not always follow the original tracks, it is still possible to gain an appreciation of the vital ground, the approaches to ground of tactical importance and the enfilading and flanking tactics that are required by the attacking force.
For example a current land owner issue prevents trekking access to the long Mission Ridge which connects the lost battlefield above Efogi and Brigade Hill. Very few people have actually trekked the exact routes used by the Australian and Japanese battalions. None the less with a military background and eye for the ground it is possible to gain an intimate understanding of the horrendous conditions under which the Australian forces operated, supported by over 20,000 local people; the ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy’ carriers.
We started before dawn each day. My muscles had not cramped through the first night; we were doing well. Ray and Bill continued to carry about four kilograms of our gear much to my chagrin. The Kunda (cane) suspension bridge at Eora Creek had been washed away during the wet season and it was being rebuilt by some locals under the supervision of a Ranger from the Kokoda Track Authority. Without much ado we were virtually dragged and hand passed across the swollen creek by a chain of strong sure footed locals. I had not done anything quite so invigorating like this for ages. The Ranger even checked our trekking permit!
We passed a large trekking group that had started a day before us. We were not to see any other groups on the track for the remainder of our trip and the isolation was enjoyable. We detoured up a short side ridge to see a small collection of very rusty Japanese hand grenades, signal flares, a helmet and some weapon pits. The artefacts were interesting to see but it was really viewing the fall of the ground and contemplating jungle fighting that intrigued me most.
Most of my military career had been spent on the hoof in the jungle but David had mainly been involved in open and desert warfare in armoured vehicles. A PNG Defence Force helicopter had been flying overhead during the last two days and it was not until after the trip that we realized that they were rehearsing to bring the Australian Prime Minister to Isurava later in the week.
We climbed steadily throughout the second day towards Kokoda Gap and the highest point on the track. Climbing up was okay but the downhill sections were jarring to the knees forcing a strong focus on each foot placement on the often slippery and root covered sections. By now I had completely forgotten about consulting work.
Late in the day it rained heavily as we crossed Eora Creek again, this time on a sturdy single plank bridge to camp in huts at Templeton’s Crossing, a small WWII logistic dump. I stunk from sweat and it was pleasurable to have a full immersion just like one of Bill Tillman’s (famous early Himalayan mountaineer) memorable bathes in the Himalayas with the exception that the water was not cold.
We sat around the fire in the late afternoon watching the rain, and my brain had not been in neutral like this for many years. I realized that any helicopter evacuation in this terrain and weather would be parlous indeed. We had taken Army patrol ration packs which contained far more food than we could possibly eat and so we gave away many of the sweets to local children at every village. My leg calf muscles were sore and I could feel my right knee cap but we slept soundly even with the roar of Eora Creek. At least we could sleep dry unlike the WWII diggers and there was no piquet duty on the gun.
There had been no rain through the second night and on the morning of the second day we quickly climbed Mt Bellamy to subsequently trudge through the swampy moss and pandanus forest. There were still some small arms ammunition cartridges on the ground to be found even with the passing of time and the oozing mud to cover them up. We could only but imagine the running fire fights in 1942 as we trudged through the scenes of desperate fighting some 75 years earlier.
It was hard going as we crossed the Owen Stanley’s. The anti-inflammatory pill upset my guts, but so be it; better than pain in the shoulder from carrying a heavy pack. Ray had developed some blisters on his heel and Billy had cut his finger tip with his own machete during a fall, which we patched up.We stopped at Naduri village for lunch and met two Rangers from the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service who were on secondment to the Kokoda Track Authority. I suspected that they would learn more from the locals than what they could impart from their own experiences; maybe it was just a public servant jolly.
There was another equally exciting crossing of the Efogi River in the later afternoon before a stiff climb up small waterfalls to the village with a view and another memorable bathe to rinse our sweat ridden clothes. It was pleasant to chat with the owner of the hut about life and familiar challenges of the cost of sending children to school.
It was a beautiful third morning as the Kokoda Track Authority Rangers weighed Ray’s and Billy’s back packs before we set off on our fourth day. Their pack weights were inside the legal limit for carriers, but the Rangers may have been surprised if they had weighed ours as they assumed that we were standard trekkers.
By mid-morning we were on the grassy Brigade Hill in sunshine and perfect mountain weather with a PNG Defence Force helicopter flying overhead, this time with Prime Minister Turnbull on board. It felt like we were back on military operations. I can recall riding with the Brigade Commander of the 1st Brigade on his Leopard tank on a similar hill at Puckapunyal in Victoria and seeing the rest of the mechanized Brigade deployed around us. Now we could visualize the battle that ensued here as Brigadier Potts and his men, effectively only two battalions, were almost cut off by 6 to 8 Japanese battalions.
As we sat on the knoll about 30 local people walked past heading for carrier work at Kokoda. It was reminiscent of what the carriers in WWII bringing supplies forward and carrying back our wounded, close to the front lines.
It was a hard slog into Menari, quite a large village, where we stopped for lunch of pineapple and a bunch of bananas, looking back down at the sloping post-war airfield. I had sweat sores all over my back and the bit of my gut muscle that occasionally pops out of my stomach lining did so again just as I was bending over to fill a water bottle in a stream. Woe was me, as I pushed the protruding muscle back into my stomach.
The day continued through a slog in the mud and a wade across the Uga River in the rain to our night stop at Agulogo village. There were chooks everywhere and it just felt like one of those dank places in the Himalayas where surely you would get sick. David remarked that he would “go a whiskey,” but alas it was not to be as the roosters crowed out of synch through the night.
We had a delayed start on our fifth day as we waited for the nearby swollen Brown River to drop and for Ray’s mobile phone to recharge at the solar powered, Kokoda Track Authority HF radio shack. I changed my shirt and my jocks hoping that it may do something about the sweat sores on my back. My mind was now completely blank at all times and it has not been like this for years.
It was a racy river crossing this time with the assistance of a local as we bounced sideways and downstream, ‘ferry glide’ style, across the river. I hold these strong and highly capable people in high esteem and they would be well suited as SAS operators.
It was another challenging day of walking through swamps for hours with the inevitable steep hill and mid-afternoon rain followed by a steep descent and river crossing into Ofi village. It was my ‘annus horribilis’ day on the track and I surrendered another two kilograms of weight to Ray at his suggestion. These guys were tough and I was fading. I was physically exhausted at the end of the day with our constantly wet feet taking a beating. Ofi Creek was in flood and it was very noisy, but it did not stop us from having a heavy sleep.
I felt better in the morning on our sixth and final day despite fatigue setting in, and I had overcome my embarrassment of Ray carrying some of my gear. We crossed many creeks through the day, paused at Ioribaiwa village, the furthest point of the Japanese advance and lunched on the definitive Imita Ridge before wading Goldie River at the old WWII flying fox capstone and pushing on up the last hill to Ower’s Corner.
Imita Ridge is like a razor’s edge with some sheer granite cliffs and the defensive positions would have been literally backs to the wall. Interesting we found some old Japanese artefacts potentially from mountain gun ammunition. These may have been abandoned post-war by trekkers; no Japanese soldiers advanced beyond Ioribaiwa.
The Ranger Station at Ower’s Corner was closed on the Saturday afternoon and so Ray telephoned for a minibus from the nearby Sogeri Lodge and we were soon ensconced in the Trade Winds Hotel in Port Moresby just after dusk. I called Colette and Min Moor to cancel the search and rescue watch. With the very wet conditions, the track has been unforgiving and it had tested us all the way to the end.
It was a pleasure to also book Ray and Billy into the hotel with us and to repay the kindness and physical and moral support that they had shown to us. “When you are ready,they would politely say when they urged us to get up and get going, interspersed with the occasional “saddle up”. Ray would say to me “hold my handas he would literally pulled me up a steep step which was “very slippery.” Ray and Billy are ‘salt of the earth’ people, modern day fuzzy wuzzy angels, that David and I have had the pleasure to share a week of our lives with.
On our seventh day, now a rest day in Port Moresby, we visited the some 3,000 graves at Bomana war cemetery. We stopped at Private Bruce Kingsbury’s grave and pondered his charge, at the head of his mates with a Bren gun at Isurava for which he was posthumously awarded a Victoria Cross. 625 Australians died in the campaign, while thousands of other men were wounded or fell ill. Many of these men do not have graves and their names are recorded in the rotunda at Bomana.
I have been to Papua New Guinea several times on business but I am very pleased to have walked the modern day Kokoda Track on its 75th anniversary with my son.
Shared by Amy O'Sullivan on May 13, 2021
Some of my favourite childhood memories were visiting Aunty Colette and the gang during the school holidays and the various adventures Jim took us on, piloting the infamous white Tarago! 
As a kid, Jim never treated you like a "mere" child. He spoke to you just the same as the adults. At times, he probably allowed us an independence beyond our years; most likely to Colette's dismay! But when Jim was in charge, you felt a sense of confidence, maturity and a bit of excitement! A particular boat trip he took David and I on off Karratha when I was 12 immediately comes to mind! 
In more recent years, the Truscott family Christmas lunch stands out as really fond memories - listening to Cher and drinking a lot of wine!! I'll miss his cheeky sense of humour, which often resulted in a dig in the ribs from Colette. I'll also miss our many conversations about politics and business, it was always incredibly interesting to hear his personal accounts of both!
Im glad we had the chance to catch up recently. Jim was feverishly taking our details for the family tree, not wanting to let an opportunity pass to capture more information about the extended family. Gosh, what would he think about this tribute site just for him!! 
It really was a privilege to spend time with you Uncle Jim. You've left an impression on many, me included.