The following article was published in the Brisbane Telegraph (newspaper) on 4 June 1942 and held at the Australian War Memorial, AWM 60 185/1/111
MP is Guide, Philosopher and Friend to the Soldier
By P.A. Rayner (Special Staff Writer)
The next time you see a Military Policeman you can say there goes a soldier who is doing one of the most important jobs in the Army.
He looks the same as any other Australian soldier, but he wears the armband bearing the letters "MP". He is the custodian of military discipline. He is part of the Line of Communications Provost Company which has been established for the protection of the soldier as well as the civilian. It would be well to remember that because a little civilian co-operation at times might be very helpful.
A soldier does not always become an MP by choice. It is a way they have in the Army that, when a man is asked to do a certain job, whether it demands extreme bravery, involves great danger, special skill, or distasteful, he goes about that job willingly and to the best of his ability.
So far as the First Line of Communications Provost Company is concerned anyway, the men selected to undergo special training as MPs are thoroughly investigated for their self reliance, initiative, tactfulness, aptitude, physique and general character.
Theirs is not always a pleasant job, especially when they must mediate in others troubles. As in police duties generally, nobody wants a constable until there is trouble. Then they know where to go for help.
The young MPs who are doing duty throughout the whole of Queensland today, and those who are being trained to augment an already hard-worked Company, know they undertake their onerous task under the stigma that was left by some "jacks" in the last war. Every soldier knows the type. He was arrogant, blustering and bullying.
These are the traits that the Assistant Provost Marshal (Captain Woods) and his staff are most careful to avoid in the First Line of Communications Provost Company. Today the MP graduates from a special course of study and training that qualifies him to become the guide, philosopher and friend of the soldier. If he does not qualify in every detail there is no room for him in the Company and he is unhesitatingly eliminated.
Above all things the MP must be diplomatic, particularly where Allied troops are side by side, and he must be exemplary in demeanor. He should be a pattern of courage, character and dress, resourceful and calm in the midst of chaos. Like the Queensland policeman in remote places who must at times be anything from cleric to second cousin of everybody's bit of trouble, the MP must try to be the best man in any situation and it is the aim of the Provost Company in Queensland to win the reputation for being a kind of society of friends for soldiers.
They have many duties. There is more to being an MP than simply wearing an armband. Internees, evacuees and refugees - all come within their province. And not the least of their tasks in these times of fast moving armies on wheels is their part in convoy work and traffic control as well as ARP duties in general.
T enable big convoys of Army equipment, stores and men to pass through cities and townships as speedily as possible they must know the safest and most direct routes. They must know how to avoid delays and bottle-necks when cities are crowded with the bustle of ordinary business or thrown into turmoil by the havoc of battle. They must be versed in elementary military law; they must maintain the National Security; they must be skilled in unarmed combat; they must be full of understanding for their fellow soldiers; they must be able to take their place in the ranks as brothers-in-arms.
All these things are expected of the MP in Queensland's Provost Company. They must be doing what is expected of them because they are earning the reputation for being the soldiers friend. That is all they want to be. They ask no greater reward.