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History of 113 Workshop Company

113 Workshop Company is the current WA based Mechanical and Electrical Logistic support element for 13 Brigade. The Workshop provides both 1st and 2nd line support to the Brigade.

Strictly speaking, however, this designation is incorrect as a Workshop Company in RAEME doctrine is a third line logistic support element, whereas a Field Workshop is first and second line, hence the name 113 Field Workshop is preferred by the purists.

The workshop has however had many names over its current life – being originally formed on 1 October 1948 as 2 Medium Workshop under the command of LTCOL A.F.C. McKechnie.

It is also unique within the Australian army as having a direct forebear within the British Army - 17 Mobile Workshop – which was raised in England to provide logistic support to commonwealth forces on the Western Front. These were common units so Australian tradesmen were seconded into them. As this unit became virtually entirely Australian it was transferred to the AIF as 2 Mobile Ordinance Workshop (Medium) in November 1918.

With the disbandment of the 2nd AIF in 1947 and before the Permanent Army as well as the CMF were founded, Australia was served by its “interim” Army. To support the units in WA an AEME pool was established on 1 Jul 1948 at Karrakatta. This became the CMF’s 2 Med Wksp in 1948 and was based in the old 16 RWAR current tech support sheds at Karrakatta, while a new purpose built facility was constructed next door. Unfortunately this facility was “stolen” by XLH on completion where it became their EsSalt lines and the workshop was transferred to Artillery Barracks in Fremantle in 1957. This is where the workshops stayed for the next 35 years. Upon the move to Artillery Barracks the workshop was renamed and re-rolled to 113 Infantry Workshop, carrying on the number (113) of the 2nd AIF’s 113 Independent Brigade Workshop which was raised in Port Moresby and later moved to Bougainville.

Returning From Exercise to Artillery Barracks Circa 1980

Returning From Exercise to Artillery Barracks Circa 1980

Following another army reorganisation 113 was again renamed in 1966 to 113 Field Workshop. It remained with this designation until 13 Bde was disbanded in 1975 where it became a Western Command Unit of 2 Task force as 5 EME Services Unit and officially lost its 2nd line functions. Following the re raising of 13 Bde in 1989, the workshop again reverted to 113 Field Workshop and with the disbandment of the Regular Army 22 Construction Battalion, the workshop returned to Karrakatta in 1992 occupying 22 Construction’s old tech support lines, which were renamed McKechnie Lines after our first CO.

113 Workshop Company at Karrakatta 2015

113 Workshop Company at Karrakatta 2015

With the formation of the BASB in 1995, 113 lost its independent status and became 13 BASB Maintenance Company (113 Fd Wksp) and this nomenclature persisted until 2006 whereupon it again reverted officially to 113 Workshop Company under the command of 13 CSSB. The workshop has deployed as a unit numerous times in WA to such places as Bindoon, Northam, Exmouth and Karratha but its biggest deployment to date was in 1996 where the entire workshop was deployed to the Army Logistic Training Centre in Bandiana Victoria for a 2 week courses camp.

MAJ Perry Beor

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