12 October 1945
Garter Blue (BCC 132)
Pony Soldiers; Big Blue One; First To Go
Lavarack Barracks, Townsville, Qld
Shetland Pony; "Septimus"
Now operates as the Ready
Tours of duty overseas.
||As part of British Commonwealth Occupation
Force (BCOF), 1946 1948
||2 tours during the Korean War, 1952/53,
||During the Emergency, 1959/61
||2 tours; 1 with US 173rd Airborne; 1 with 1
ATF, 1965/66, 1968/69
||With 28 Commonwealth Infantry Brigade, 1969
||As part of ANZUK, 1970
||Operation Morris Dance to evacuate
Australian civilians, 1987
||Operation Restore Hope, 1992/93
The insignia of the
American Meritorious Unit Commendation awarded to 1RAR by the US Secretary
of the Army for it's service while attached to the 173rd Airborne Brigade
(Separate) United States Army, 5 May 1965 to 16 May 1966.
Battalion Mascot, Septimus the Shetland Stallion and his handler Cpl
1st Battalion Royal Australian
Regiment in Korea
|In 1945 Australia sent three
units to Japan as part of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force
(BCOF). Originally known as the 65th, 66th and 67th Infantry Battalions,
they were raised from Australian divisions stationed in New Guinea at the
end of the Second World War. On 23 November 1948, the battalions were
renamed the First, Second and Third Battalions, The Australian Regiment,
respectively. The prefix “Royal” was granted by King George VI on 31
1RAR was in Australia when the Korean
War began in 1950, having returned from Japan at the end of 1948. The
battalion was bought to strength with volunteers from 2RAR and new
enlistments resulting from the “K Force” recruitment campaign. It
trained in Australia at Puckapunyal, Victoria, before departing for Korea
on the troopship Devonshire on 3 March 1952. It arrived in South Korea on
6 April, joining the 28th Brigade on 1 June.
1RAR was not involved in any of the
major battles of the Korean War, but did participate in many lesser known,
but just as dangerous, patrolling operations. In July of 1952 it was
detached to the 29th Brigade, relieving other battalions on Hills 159, 210
and 355. It took part in general patrolling along the Jamestown line,
which involved securing defences, repairing minefield fences, and
undertaking reconnaissance of enemy positions to gather information on
Other major operations that 1RAR took
part in usually aimed at capturing a prisoner or destroying enemy
defences. Operation Blaze (2 July) was 1RAR’s first major action. It
involved a raid on Hill 227 to capture a prisoner. Although it failed in
its objective, the operation did give the brigade important experience
against a strong enemy.
On the night of 13–14 September a
fighting patrol from 1RAR encountered the enemy, and it captured its first
prisoner. In early December 1RAR took over defences on Hill 355. The
position had been poorly maintained and it took 1RAR ten days and 50
casualties to secure the area and regain control of the approaches. The
battalion also supported the Royal Fusiliers in Operation Beat Up (25–26
November) by launching a diversionary attack on Hill 227.
The last action 1RAR engaged in during
the war was Operation Fauna (11–12 December). The purpose of the
operation was to capture a prisoner and destroy enemy defences. It did not
achieve its main objective, but did succeed in destroying the enemy
position code-named Flora. Nearly a third of the force became casualties,
with 22 wounded and three missing. Operation Fauna shows the risks
associated with prisoner-capturing operations, as they were rarely
successful and often resulted in heavy casualties.
On 21 March 1953, 1RAR was relieved by
2RAR at Camp Casey, near Tongduchon, and returned to Australia later that
month. The battalion returned to Korea in April of 1954, and was involved
in training and border patrols. In March 1956, 1RAR ceased its operations
in Korea and returned to Australia. Text by AWM
- 42 killed No information on 1RAR
- 2 DSO
- 2 OBE
- 4 MBE
- 6 MC
- 7 MM
- 1 BEM
- 20 MID
1st Battalion Royal
Australian Regiment in the Malayan Emergency
|In 1945 Australia sent
three units to Japan as part of the British Commonwealth Occupation
Force (BCOF). Originally known as the 65th, 66th and 67th Infantry
Battalions, they were raised from Australian divisions stationed in New
Guinea at the end of the Second World War. On 23 November 1948, the
battalions were renamed the First, Second and Third Battalion, The
Australian Regiment, respectively. The prefix “Royal” was granted by
King George VI on 31 March 1949.
The Australian battalions sent to the
Malayan Emergency formed part of the 28th Commonwealth Infantry Brigade
Group (CIBG). CIBG was part of the British Commonwealth Far East
Strategic Reserve (FESR). FESR comprised British, Australian, New
Zealand, and Malayan troops. Australian officers commanded the
Australian battalions in Malaya. However, the operations that 1RAR
carried out were part of a larger strategy that required cooperation
from the FESR and the Malayan army. Efforts were directed against the
1RAR arrived in Singapore on 2 October
1959. It began operations in Malaya on 9 November after spending a month
training and acclimatising. The battalion was stationed at Minden
Barracks, located in the foothills on the eastern side of the island.
Although Minden was the nominal home of the battalion while it was in
Malaya, it rarely spent any length of time there. Operations could last
for days or weeks at a time, and breaks between operations were brief.
During its period of service in Malaya, the battalion operated with
three rifle companies, instead of the usual four.
The first operation 1RAR took part in
was Operation Bamboo, which began on 9 November. Bamboo was a deep
jungle search in Upper Perak on the Thai–Malay border. 1RAR remained
in the jungles of the border area for 18 months, working to eliminate
small groups of terrorists. It was monotonous and frustrating work. It
was not uncommon for rain to wipe out tracks that were being followed,
or for the terrorists to cross over the border into Thailand, where they
could not be followed.
Operation Magnet began in April 1960.
This operation was the first time that FESR units were able to track the
terrorists across the Thai border. They then attempted to drive the
terrorists into Malaya, where units from the 28th Brigade were waiting
in ambush. Unfortunately, the operation did not result in any
Operation Jackforce began in June. It
used the same approach that was employed during Magnet, except this time
the 28th Brigade crossed the border while the Malayan units waited in
ambush. This resulted in one contact with the terrorists.
On 31 July 1960, the Malayan Prime
Minister Tunka Abdul Rahman signed a proclamation declaring that the
emergency was over. Although this was the formal end of the Emergency,
1RAR continued on operations in Malaya until the end of its tour of duty
in October 1961. It departed for Australia on 29 October, 1961. Text
2 killed in action, no wounded figures available
Presented to the Battalion by the Officers, Viet Nam 1965
Unofficial, commercially produced
patch for the "Pony Soldiers"
1960. Unidentified members of B
Company 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (1RAR), resting and
preparing meals at a temporary bivouac. B Company was on a long range
patrol in Northern Malaya near the border with Thailand. Each member of
the patrol constructed hammocks with overhead cover each evening from
plastic sheeting acquired privately as satisfactory material was
unavailable through official sources. (Donor
B. Betts) note...such a temporary
bivouac could be set up in about 2 hours and might be used for 1 night
or several days. Sentries were always posted during set-up.
Ba, South Vietnam. 1968-04.
Troops from 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (1RAR), patrol
a rubber plantation during Operation Pegasus. The one day operation was
staged in and around Binh Ba rubber plantation, seven miles north of the
1st Australian Task Force (1ATF) Base at Nui Dat.
Support Base Coral, Bien Hoa Province, Vietnam, 1968-05. The
hutchie or temporary shelter occupied by Neil Ahern, a member of 102
Field Battery, Royal Australian Artillery (RAA), supporting 1RAR at Fire
Support Base (FSB) Coral. At the front of the hutchie Ahern's rifle,
uniform and kit form a rough pillar topped by his helmet. Directly
behind the hutchie artillery shell casings are stacked or strewn on the
ground. In the background the development of the FSB is marked by an
array of trucks, tarpaulins and sandbags. (Donor N. Ahern)
1966-01-17. Private Brian Duncan of Fairfield, Sydney, NSW, tries out
the telescopic sight on a sniper's rifle captured by the 1st Battalion,
The Royal Australian Regiment (1RAR), in an operation against the Viet
Cong. The rifle was one of more than a hundred weapons taken by the
Australians from a vast Viet Cong underground tunnel complex uncovered
during Operation Crimp.
Director of Infantry, Colonel DS Thompson MC addresses 1RAR on it's 24th
Birthday Parade (held 3 October 1969 at 0845 hours). The Battalion CO,
Lt Col J B M Ternary to the right rear on the dais. Sports after
included, Wood chop, Grenade throwing, Sgts v Officers Tug of War, Wives
egg and spoon race, Over 35 handicap 100 mts, 3 legged relay, Sack of
potatoes relay, Sack race, Gourmet Competition, Boat race (beer), Catch
a greasy pig.
1969. In the
old days the Band acted as Stretcher Bearers during action and were
unarmed. They were killed in their hundreds. Now the Battalions have
Combat Medics who are armed and dangerous. In-between these two groups
was this mob. The Rifleman/stretcher bearers. We were infantry men with
a basic training in first aid and health problem prevention. It worked
in practice and a Combat Medic is now an established part of any
Platoon. Left to right, back row. 'Dutchy'
Holland, Ted Harris, (your humble web master), Paul Hartas, forgive me-memory fails,
Bob 'Dolly' Dyer. Front row, forgive-me-that
memory again, 'Pommy' Taylor.
1993-03-16. Members of `C' Company, 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian
Regiment (1RAR) taking prisoner a Somali bandit who was later taken to
Burhakaba for questioning about the murder of a camel herder and his
family. The soldiers are serving with the Australian contingent to the
Unified Task Force in Somalia (UNITAF).
joined the US unit, 173rd
Airborne Brigade (the "Herd")
in May/June of 1965 in SVN when the two line Battalions of the Brigade
were the 1/503rd and 2/503rd. When 1RAR joined up, they became the third
battalion of the Brigade and remained so till they left to go home to
When they were replaced, the leadership in the U.S. saw
that the Brigade's third Battalion (1RAR ) had left and so replaced
them with the 4/503rd. So for a long time there was no 3/503rd. This was later rectified.
of B Coy 3rd Bn 503rd Infantry
bayonet is used to refer to the brigade and being borne by the wing
alludes to the brigade's airborne status. Red, white and blue are the
USA national colours
The insignia of the South Vietnamese
award, the Cross of Gallantry with Palm. I believe that this was awarded
by SVN but never approved by the Australian Government.
head, and shed a tear,
sons, who serve so dear
Guts and Rifle Butts,
trail, of blood stained dust.
here we are, Where we belong,
So proud and strong
your head, and hold it high,
is passing by.
Diggers, Fight with us too,
First" they say, Their words are true
Jungles deep, They showed us how,
say "VC come fight us now".
here we are etc
upon, Their sun-burned brows,
shown them how
"D" we met our test,
Delta, We are the best.
here we are etc
Dat, the "Tigers" came,
"HERD" the won great fame.
Dak To and
Tet, We won and died,
of screaming souls" the NVA cried.
here we are etc
who waits, at home so true,
this song, my dear for you.
son that I fight Brave,
Freedom Land which we must save.
here we are etc
Written in Vietnam by a
BRIEF HISTORY (1945 to
The 34th Australian Infantry Brigade was formed in 1945 and consisted of three battalions gathered from the 6th Division, but included elements of the 5th, 7th, 9th and
These Battalions, once formed, were designated the 65th, 66th and 67th Australian Infantry Battalions.
Personnel from the 65th Battalion, later redesignated Ist Battalion, were drawn from elements of 7th Division.
They were brought together as a formed unit on 12th October 1945 which is now celebrated as the Battalion's Birthday.
Lieutenant Colonel R. H. Marson, DSO, assumed command of the Battalion which commenced immediate preparations for redeployment to
Moratai, where 34th Infantry Brigade was being concentrated. Every member of the unit was a volunteer for service in Japan where the Battalion served from February 1946 until its return to Australia in December 1948.
The unit was redesignated 'Ist Battalion, Australian Regiment' in November 1948. January 1949 saw another change when the unite was redesignated
'Ist Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment' (1 RAR) following the granting by King George VII of
Royal Assent to the formation of the Royal Australian Regiment (RAR).
The Korean War began in 1950 and 3 RAR was quickly dispatched to assist Australia's allies. 1 RAR, then located in Japan, was tasked to receive, train and prepare reinforcements for the Korean threat. 1 RAR did not reach Korea until March 1952. It was to be two long months before the Battalion saw action for the first time. On this occasion, 1 RAR was subjected to heavy concentrations of enemy mortar and artillery fire.
1 RAR returned to Australia in April 1953, having suffered 43 men killed and 170 men wounded in action. The Battalion conducted a second tour of Korea commencing March 1954 and saw many intensive actions prior to returning to Australia in April 1956.
The Battalion conducted extensive retraining in the period April 1956 to September 1959, then embarked for service in Malaya. In the two year tour that followed, 1 RAR participated in numerous anti-communist counter-insurgency operations as part of a joint Commonwealth programme in support of the Malaysian Government. 1 RAR then returned to Australia in October 196 1.
The Australian Government's response to the communist threat in South Vietnam resulted in 1 RAR being dispatched for two tours of duty in that country., the first, from May 1965 to June 1966 and the second from March 1968 to February 1969. The Battalion achieved significant operational success during both tours, receiving a Unit Commendation during the first from General W. C. Westmoreland (Commander U.S. Forces, South Vietnam) and in winning great distinction during the second for its efforts in defence of Fire Support Base 'Coral' (12th-16th May, 1968). 1 RAR returned to Australia with the combined losses of 54 men killed and 295 wounded in action. Enemy losses were considerable.
In 1969 the Battalion departed for garrison duties in Malaysia and then in December 1969 moved to Singapore where it remained for a further seven months prior to deploying to Townsville in 1970.
On the 23rd May, 1987 the Battalion deployed a Company Group on Operation Morris Dance to assist, if necessary, with the evacuation of civilians from Fiji following the military coup. This was the first operational deployment of Australian
troops since Vietnam.
On the 17th December 1992, the Battalion was warned for duty in Somalia to provide the basis of a Battalion Group in support of 'Operation Restore Hope'. 'me Battalion Group conducted over 1100 foot patrols resulting in seven Somalian KIA, four WIA and 70
Somalians handed to the auxiliary security forces. The Battalion confiscated 935 weapons of various types and ensured safe delivery of 83 11 tonnes of humanitarian relief supplies. The Battalion returned to Australia on 22nd May 1993, and marched through Townsville to a rousing welcome home by the people of the city.
Throughout this time the Battalion has been actively involved in major exercises throughout Australia, overseas military exchanges and has on
occasions provided much needed assistance to the North Queensland community in times of emergencies such as natural disasters.
The Battalion continues to develop the skills and techniques to
fulfil its present role as part of the Operational Deployment Force of the Australian Defence Force.
to go to a dedicated 1RAR page