A story from a bridge too far

Here is an amusing story about a fellow I spoke with last week, (who will remain nameless). This story could also be titled – The beginning of the ‘Politically Correct Brigade’.

FILE PHOTO (2013): An F/A-18F Super Hornet flies low over the Story Bridge during the lead up to Riverfire 2013. File photo by Corporal Glen McCarthy.

This fellow spent some 22 or 23 years in the Australian Army, of which at least 19 were spent in an infantry battalion.

His service included Borneo and later Vietnam, both with infantry.

In the mid 1980s, this fellow leaves the Army and, after some thought, joined the fire brigade in Queensland. He thought he’d still be ‘active’ at least.

All went well for a few years and he coped with the shift-work rather well.

Early one Sunday evening, he was having dinner at home when he was called out by his fire chief.

He asked why he was called on a rostered weekend off, but the curt reply was that some fellow was up near the top of the Story Bridge threatening to jump and police and fire brigade were called, and our fellow was asked to attend as part of the fire squad.

On arrival, he was asked to climb up on the bridge and talk to this chap up there.

Our man questioned why they would send an ex-infantryman to talk to someone in that predicament.

He was simply told, “You’re the one – get up there”.

So, up on the bridge he went and sat next to this fellow.

“Well, are you going to come down with me or not?”

“No, I’m not coming down,” was the answer.

So, our ex-infantryman said to the man, “Look, I’ve got a baked dinner waiting for me at home, so I don’t give a shit whether you come down with me or not!  I’ll give you five minutes to make up your mind and if you don’t come down, I don’t give a shit whether you jump or not. You’ve got five minutes.”

In about two minutes, the fellow quietly came down with our ex-army hero.

Everyone went home and our man enjoyed his baked dinner.

The next day, when our man went to work, the chief called him in to speak about the previous night’s drama.

Unbeknown to the ex-infantryman, he had been fitted with a microphone so that the fire chiefs could analyse the case afterwards – and our ex-army hero, who saved a potential jumper’s life, was sacked.

Apparently, using bad language and being rude to a civilian was not acceptable to Queensland Fire and Rescue – no matter the outcome.


Kind Regards,

John C.
Sergeant – RAAF – Retired





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Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

4 thoughts on “A story from a bridge too far

  • 06/12/2019 at 7:07 am

    Fairy Tale BS. This didnt happen and is a made up story. QLD Fire don’t negotiate. Cops do.

  • 03/12/2019 at 7:01 pm

    This story is complete BS and never happened. First, if he served in Borneo he would have aged out before QFRS existed. They have mandatory retirement age, and the service didn’t exist until about 2004. Second, he didn’t realised he’d been wired up? In the 1990s and the technology from the 1980s…..really. Thirdly, you don’t get called up for a routine job like that, and they send police negotiators up- not firemen. I’m sorry, nothing in this story adds up, and it certainly didn’t happen post year 2000.

  • 01/12/2019 at 12:36 pm

    Bad language (read; Army banter) – if it is EFFECTIVE, then he may have saved a life that probably would be lost with someone using the BULLSHIT “PC” language! (I am so pissed of at PC crap, that if I was in the JUMPER’S position, I may have JUMPED just to get away from such crap! WE ARE ALL FED UP WITH PC BULLSHYTTE!

    • 01/12/2019 at 4:31 pm

      Ex-RAN Medical Officer, I’m in total agreement with Jacko. PC is unhelpful & unworldly BS.


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