Subject to Crown copyright. Do not copy or use without approval
Category: Army today/RAR

Click to go up one level

Subject to Crown copyright. Do not copy or use without approval

Raised 8 August 1966
Battalion colour

Slate Gray (BCC 154)

Battalion nick-name Gray Eight (pronounced grrreat); 8 ballers
Battalion march Let's Go Click to hear a small selection
Current home Linked with 9RAR . 8/9 RAR disbanded

Tours of duty overseas.

Malaysia  24th August (and 6th November) 1967 till replaced by 1RAR  in
Viet Nam

The Queen's and Regimental Colours of 8 RAR Click to enlarge



The Eighth Battalion of The Royal Australian Regiment was officially raised at Enoggera, Brisbane, on the 8th August 1966. The present Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel J.0. Langtry, DCM, the Regimental Sergeant Major Warrant Officer Class One G.J.C. Lee and one hundred and fifty ex-members of the First Battalion of The Royal Australian Regiment, which had just returned from Vietnam, were included amongst the foundation members.

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.


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.


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.


The Battalion moved from Brisbane to Malaysia between 24th August 1967 and 6th November 1967 by sea and air.


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 1967.


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.


Phuoc Tuy Province, South Vietnam. 18 February 1970. Climbing mountains in a flak jacket and helmet is hot work for Private John Sandry of Richmond, NSW. 

His 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. 

C 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 week.


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 link.

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.


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 1939.


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.


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.


Statistics : Over 35 million page visitors since  11 Nov 2002  



 Search   Help     Guestbook   Get Updates   Last Post    The Ode      FAQ     Digger Forum

Click for news

Digger History:  an unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Forces