At 8.00 a.m. on the 1966, the
General Officer Commanding Northern Command, Major General T.F. Cape,
CBE, DSO, reviewed the Inauguration Parade.
UNDER COMMAND 6 TASK FORCE
On the 2nd December 1966, a parade at
Enoggera was reviewed by the Commander 6 Task Force, Brigadier R.L.
Flughes, DSO, to mark the occasion of the Eighth Battalion coming under
command of 6 Task Force. The Battalion remained under command 6 Task
Force until September 1967.
PREPARATION FOR SERVICE IN MALAYSIA
Early in 1967 the Eighth Battalion was
warned for service in the Far East Strategic Reserve. Battalion training
for this role was completed by the Battalion's first birthday on the 8th
August 1967. In fact, the birthday celebrations themselves were limited
to a post exercise party in the Rockhampton training area, Queensland.
Following a brief leave period, a
Farewell Parade, reviewed by Brigadier R.L. Hughes, DSO, was held at
Enoggera on the 1st September 1967.
MOVEMENT TO MALAYSIA
The Battalion moved from Brisbane to
Malaysia between 24th August 1967 and 6th November 1967 by sea and air.
UNDER COMMAND 28 BRIGADE
On 16th October 1967, the Battalion
officially came under command of the 28th Commonwealth Infantry Brigade.
Brigadier P.L. Tancred, OBE, the Commander, reviewed a parade by the
Eighth Battalion at Canberra Lines, Terendak Garrison, on 24th November
PREPARATION FOR VIETNAM
While the Battalion was completing its
tour in Malaysia, the Australian Component was at work, gathering men
and equipment in preparation for the Vietnam tour of duty. The 13th
National Service intake joined the Battalion on the 6th of January 1969,
and the 14th on the 28th of March 1969. The 15th National Service intake
began its Corps Training at Greenbank on the 6th of April 1969.
Training for the unit began in earnest
after the Battalion returned from leave. This commenced with specialist
courses for the Anti-Tank, Pioneer, Mortars and Signals platoons. The
rifle companies concentrated on minor infantry tactics and marksmanship.
The Royal Australian Engineers conducted a valuable mine warfare course
commencing on the 30th of June.
The companies of the Battalion then
commenced cycling through a month's intensive training at Canungra and
Wiangaree, finishing with Exercise Schaden Freude. The Command Post
Group trained at Enoggera, and joined each company at Wiangaree to
control its final exercise.
Infantry/Armour training began on the
11th of August at Wide Bay with B Squadron 1st Cavalry Regiment, and was
followed by helicopter familiarisation. A and B companies participated
in Exercise Tune Up at Spring Mountain, while C and D companies started
a week later on the the 1st of September. Exercise Fix Fast followed a
week later. This was the first full Battalion exercise, and it was held
in the Mount Byron State Forest area.
The unit's training finished with
exercises at Shoalwater Bay, where the area was designed to represent
Phuoc Tuy Province. Exercise Tropic Glow began on the 27th of September,
followed by Straight Kris.
The Battalion began pre-embarkation
leave on the 15th of October, returning to Enoggera for a final Church
Parade at the end of the month. A large crowd saw HMAS Sydney leave
Hamilton Wharf at 12:00 on 17th November, with the main body of the
Battalion on board. The Advance Party flew out the following day,
arriving in South Vietnam to greet the Battalion's arrival at Nui Dat.
Tuy Province, South Vietnam. 18 February 1970. Climbing mountains
in a flak jacket and helmet is hot work for Private John Sandry of
unit, C Company of 8th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment
(8RAR), was sweeping through a section of the Long Hai mountains
searching for Viet Cong caches during Operation Hammersley.
Company found many weapons and ammunition caches in the caves
scattered throughout the mountains, other caches were uncovered by
the severe bombardment that the Long Hai mountains received after
a clash between C Company and a strong force of enemy earlier that
LINKING THE BATTALIONS
The withdrawal from Vietnam, and the
reduction of the size of the army to 38,000 made changes inevitable. The
opinion of the Colonel Commandant of the Royal Australian Regiment,
Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Daly, and the Regimental Colonel, Colonel
A.V. Preece was that the cuts might well be temporary, and that instead
of disbanding battalions, they should link, with a view to separating in
due course. Current locations largely determined which battalions should
On the 25th of May, 1973, Colonel
Preece mandated the linking of the Second and Fourth Battalions at
Townsville, the Fifth and Seventh Battalions at Holsworthy, and the
Eighth and Ninth Battalions at Enoggera.
The linking of the units was a
sensitive issue, given the pride that all members had, and have, in
their Battalions. Lieutenant Colonel Essex-Clark, Commanding Officer of
the Ninth Battalion advised that unit that the Eighth/Ninth Battalion
would adopt as its mascot the ram Private John Macarthur. Lieutenant
Colonel Adrian Clunies-Ross spoke with the senior non-commissioned
officers of the Ninth Battalion to assure them that the linking would
not simply be a case of their coming to his battalion. Both he and
Essex-Clark arranged that the new Battalion would have officers and
soldiers from both Battalions evenly distributed throughout its ranks.
It was the end of an era. On the 31st
of October Lieutenant Colonel Essex-Clark read the lesson at a church
service to commemorate the Ninth Battalion's dead and then wept as the
colours and a reluctant mascot passed through the battalion gate for the
last time. They joined the Eighth Battalion on its parade ground, where
chaplains conducted a simple inauguration ceremony. Lieutenant Colonel
Clunies-Ross then addressed the men as the Eighth/Ninth Battalion of the
Royal Australian Regiment. The Eight Battalion was no more.
ASSOCIATION WITH OLDER EIGHTH
On the 11th November, Remembrance Day,
a parade has been held each year to mark the association of the present
Eighth Battalion with the 2/8th Battalion (AIF) Association and the
Eighth Battalion (1914-1918) Association. This tradition commenced in
1966 when Colonel J.E.M. Hall (Retired), representing the 2/8th
Battalion Association, attended the parade at Enoggera and presented to
the new Eighth Battalion a replica of the silver bugle which the Eighth
Battalion (1914-1918) had presented to the then new 2/8th Battalion in
ALLIANCE EIGHTH BATTALION THE ROYAL
AUSTRALIAN REGIMENT AND THE PARACHUTE REGIMENT
In early November 1966 the Battalion
were hosts to the visit to Australia by the Third Battalion of The
Parachute Regiment ("The Red Devils"). Subsequently Her
Majesty The Queen approved the official alliance between the Eighth
Battalion The Royal Australian Regiment and The Parachute Regiment on
the 8th December 1967. Recently, in July 1968 the Second Battalion of
The Parachute Regiment visited the Eighth Battalion at Terendak during
the Second Battalion's brief stay in Malaysia.
ALLIANCE ROYAL AUSTRALIAN REGIMENT
-ROYAL MALAY REGIMENT
Her Majesty The Queen approved the
alliance between The Royal Australian Regiment and The Royal Malay
Regiment on 9th May 1966. Since the Eighth Battalion's arrival in
Malaysia, there have been many friendly exchanges between the Battalion
and Battalions of The Royal Malay Regiment. In particular, a close bond
has been formed with the Eighth Battalion The Royal Malay Regiment.