Reflections on training and leadership: an interview with Lieutenant-Colonel Ben O'Dowd (In retrospect)

Accession Number F04842
Collection type Film
Measurement 109 min
Object type To be confirmed
Physical description Colour/U-matic high band/sound
Maker Australian War Memorial
Training Technology Centre Australian Army
Place made Australia
Date made September 1992
Conflict Korea, 1950-1953
Second World War, 1939-1945
British Commonwealth Occupation Force, 1946-1952 (Japan)

Item copyright: Commonwealth of Australia copyright


This oral history focuses on the training Lieutenant Colonel O'Dowd underwent when he enlisted in 1939 and examines aspects of training during his career. The subjects of the battlefield stress and leadership are also addressed. It is a thought provoking presentation of Lieutenant Colonel O'Dowd's attitudes and beliefs on the training and leadership rather than a historical record of the campaigns in which he fought. Aspects of training, battlefield stress and leadership have been selected from various, relevant points during his career. 57509 (WX377) Lieutenant Colonel Bernard Shelley. (Ben) O'Dowd, MBE (Ret'd) was born on 2 June 1918 in Perth Western Australia. Prior to his enlistment Lieutenant Colonel O'Dowd had worked a machinist and cook in Perth and "bogger" on the goldfields. He enlisted in the AIF on 7 November 1939. He was allocated to infantry and served with the 2/11th Battalion throughout World War II. At the end of World War II he joined the occupation forces in Japan. He qualified for a regular commission after attending RMC Duntroon. He then joined 3 RAR in Japan at the outbreak of the Korean War. Lieutenant Colonel O'Dowd was promoted temporary major on 23 December 1950 and commanded "A' Company at the battle of Kapyong. After the Korean War Lieutenant Colonel O'Dowd was posted to the British Jungle Training Centre at Kota-Tinggi, Malaysia as an instructor. Between courses, he went on patrol operations with British Gurkha, Fiji and Malayan forces. Lieutenant Colonel O'Dowd was Mentioned in Despatches by the British for distinguished service during these operations. Returning to Australia in November 1954, Lieutenant Colonel O'Dowd was posted to Canungra and appointed Senior Instructor, Battle Wing. At the Jungle Training Centre he trained infantry battalions in jungle warfare for the Malayan Emergency. He was posted to Army Headquarters in 1957 and retired in June 1973, having served in a wide range of staff appointments in Australia and overseas.

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