A chance conversation with a new soldier led to Private Harry Ramsay securing a coveted spot on the Army Beach Team, responsible for personnel and equipment arriving at landing beaches.

“I was telling him how things work at the unit and I told him if you work hard, they’ll look after you,” Private Ramsay said.

It turned out, the soldier was actually a new lieutenant and the next day Private Ramsay was offered a position on the beach team.

The Bundaberg local had family at Tobruk and New Guinea in World War II, he grew up seeing soldiers in Afghanistan on the news and decided it was the job for him. 

Private Ramsay joined the Army Reserve in 2015 at 17 because his mother wouldn’t let him join full-time.

Two years later he became a full-time Army cargo specialist, posted to the 35th Water Transport Squadron in Townsville.

As part of the beach team, he regularly guides soldiers, armoured vehicles and cargo on and off landing craft.

He said it suited his desire to avoid a 9-5 life.

“I might be driving a truck down to Rocky and the next thing, I’m taking the zodiacs out for a burn, or I’m out working on the beach for three weeks,” he said.

The job took him to 14 different countries in the Pacific and South-East Asia during 2019.

“I’m always on a different beach, different ship, different country,” he said.

The second oldest of six children, Private Ramsay has the best stories to tell his family at Christmas.

“One brother works at Bunnings and the other is a teacher. I feel bad because I have all these exciting stories and he might say ‘I’m teaching year five next year’,” Private Ramsay said.

Private Ramsay was deployed on Exercise Sea Explorer which was held from June 11-16 at Cowley Beach in Queensland.

Images from the exercise can be viewed on the Defence image gallery.