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Category: Army Today/State Regts

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Lineage

  • 1st NSW RIFLE VOLUNTEERS, 1854-1860

  • THE SYDNEY BATTALION 1860 1878

  • THE FIRST REGIMENT INFANTRY 1878 1911

  • THE FIRST BATTALION AIF 1914-1918

  • THE FIRST BATTALION (EAST SYDNEY REGIMENT) 1919 1944

  • 1st/19th BATTALION CITY OF SYDNEY REGIMENT

  • 2/1ST BATTALION AIF 1939-1945

  • THE FIRST INFANTRY BATTALION (Commando) CITY OF SYDNEY'S OWN REGIMENT

  • 19th AUSTRALIAN INFANTRY REGIMENT

  • 19th BATTALION AIF 1915-1918

  • 19th INFANTRY BATTALION (THE SOUTH SYDNEY REGIMENT)

  • 20/19th BATTALION

  • 19TH AUSTRALIAN INFANTRY BATTALION (AIF) 1943-1945

  • 2nd/ 19th AUSTRALIAN INFANTRY BATTALION AIF 1939-1945

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NEW SOUTH WALES VOLUNTEER RIFLES, 1855 Officer NEW SOUTH WALES INFANTRY, 1885

1st NSW RIFLE VOLUNTEERS, 1854-1860

In 1851, the Government of NSW, with the sanction of HM Imperial Government, authorised the establishment of Volunteer Corps in Sydney. Three years later in September 1854, during the Crimean War, the 1st NSW Rifle Volunteers was formed. It is from this Regiment that the present Unit claims direct decent. The first Commanding officer was Major Thomas Wingate. The original uniform was a dark green frockcoat with black velvet facings and black shoulder straps with trousers of similar material with a black bold stripe. A forage cap to match was worn with a numeral one and a bugle as a badge. The first known public appearance of the Regiment was on the occasion of the opening of an Industrial Exhibition at the Museum, when it formed a guard of honour for the Governor (Sir Charles Fitzroy). The Regiment also formed a Guard of Honour for the Governor at the opening of the Railway to Parramatta and attended the Queen's Birthday Review on which occasion they were brigaded with the Dorsetshire Regiment. Public interest in the Volunteer Regiment was slight and for some years the unit struggled for existence.


THE SYDNEY BATTALION 1860 1878

In 1869, during the Maori War in New Zealand, enthusiasm in the Regiment was revived as a result of public meetings and under the new title of "The Sydney Battalion" a considerable number of recruits were enlisted. At this time a change in the uniform was made, the newly adopted dress being grey with black facings, an infantry shako and brown belt. On 18th May, 1861, Lady Young, on behalf of the ladies of Sydney, presented the Regiment with its first Colours. In 1868, the regiment took part in The Review before HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. Shortly afterwards, an attempt was made on the Prince's life which caused great excitement in Sydney. As a result the Regiment had to supply many guards on public places. Another change was made to the uniform the following year, when scarlet tunics, dark blue trousers with scarlet piping were adopted. The shako was retained but some years later was replaced with a white helmet. The first volunteer encampment for continuous training in New South Wales was conducted during Easter 1873, at Ham Common near Richmond. Subsequent camps were held in the Campbelltown area.


THE FIRST REGIMENT INFANTRY 1878 1911

In 1878 a system of partial payment for volunteers was approved and the Sydney Battalion was absorbed into the First Regiment Infantry. During the peaceful years that followed, the purely metropolitan nature of the unit was extended to include companies at Goulburn, Wagga Wagga, Moss Vale & Mudgee. In 1885 a detachment of one officer and 75 other ranks from the First Regiment sailed with the contingent for the Soudan, the first occasion on which Australian troops served abroad. Although the contingent arrived in South Africa towards the end of the campaign, their activities were recognised by the inclusion in the First Regiment's Battle Honour of 

  • "SUAKIN 1885". 

Towards the end of the century the uniform was changed to khaki, although the scarlet uniform was retained for ceremonial purposes. The Regiment contributed twelve officers and ninety-one other ranks to the contingents which participated in the South African War. Major Watson, a member of the First Regiment, was the officer selected to demand the surrender of Pretoria. Private (later Captain) Dufrayer was awarded one of the four scarves knitted by HM Queen Victoria as an award for special gallantry. 

  • "SOUTH AFRICA 1889 - 1902"

 was added to the Regimental Battle Honours. In 1905, Lord Northcote, the Governor General and Honorary Colonel of the Regiment, presented Colours which subsequently were deposited in the Chancel of St Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney. In 1911 with the introduction of universal training, there was a change in the designation to 21, 24 and 26 Regiment.


THE GREAT WAR

Although records are incomplete, it is known that more than 100 officers who had trained with the pre-war First Regiment saw service in various AIF units. Among them were Major General Holmes, Brigadier General McLaurin, Brigadier General S.C. Herring, Brigadier General I. C. McKay, Brigadier General J. Heane. The history of the 1st Battalion during world war one is a history in itself. The Battalion sailed from Australia with the first contingent in 1914 and served with distinction at Gallipoli and in France. 

Three Victoria crosses are among the many decorations awarded to members of the 1st Battalion, AIF. The recipients were; Lance Corporal L. Keysor, Captain A.J. Shout and Corporal G.J. Howell.

Keysor VC Shout VC Howell VC


THE FIRST BATTALION (EAST SYDNEY REGIMENT) 1919 1944


In the years between the wars the Regiment was linked with a number of other Battalions and was known under various titles.
However it always reverted to the title granted in 1921, "The First Battalion East Sydney Regiment". In 1937 the City of Sydney by charter adopted the Battalion as "The City of Sydney Regiment" and at the outbreak of World War II the full title was "1st Battalion, City of Sydney Regiment".


1st/19th BATTALION CITY OF SYDNEY REGIMENT

On 1st July 1930 the 1st Battalion was amalgamated with the 19th Battalion under the title 1st/19th Battalion. Lieutenant Colonel C.H. Howard, OBE, VD was appointed the first Commanding Officer and he remained in command until 1st July 1934.


THE SECOND WORLD WAR 1939-1945

Prevailing policy at the time prevented units of the pre-war militia serving abroad. However a great many officers, NCO's and men of the pre-war 1st Battalion served with the three services during World War II. The Regiment was known under a variety of titles until it was disbanded in 1944. The 2nd/1st Infantry Battalion of the Second AIF served with distinction in the Middle East and Pacific Theatres. It participated in the first offensive on Libya, the defence of Greece and Crete, where the Battalion earned fame at Retimo. After its return to Australia in 1942 it moved to New Guinea where it participated in the advance across the Kokoda trail and the battle for Gona. In 1944 45 it took part in the Aitape Wewak campaign and was engaged in active operations when the war ended in August 1945. The following officers commanded the Battalion: Major General P.A. Cullen, AC, CBE, DSO, ED; Major General I. Campbell, CBE, DSO; Major General K.W. Eather, CB, CBE, DSO, ED, Colonel T. White.


THE FIRST INFANTRY BATTALION (Commando) CITY OF SYDNEY'S OWN REGIMENT

When the post war CMF came into being in 1948, the 1st Battalion was not re-formed. On the 25th June 1955 the 1st Commando Company was raised in Eastern Command. In 1957 it was decided that as this unit already incorporated the designation "1st" within it's title it would be a convenient framework on which to reform the old 1st Battalion. Accordingly on the 1st of December 1957 the unit was re-designated as 1st Infantry Battalion (Commando) City of Sydney's Own Regiment. The 1st Battalion City of Sydney's Own Regiment was granted Freedom of the City for Entry by the City of Sydney on 10th October 1959. This honour conferred the privilege on the unit of being able to "march through the streets with bayonets fixed, drums beating, bands playing and Colours flying." When the Citizens Military Forces were re-organized on 1st July 1960 the unit became the 1st Battalion The Royal New South Wales Regiment. On 16th October 1965 His Excellency Sir Roden Cutler, VC, AK, KCMG, KCVO, CBE, Honorary Colonel of the Royal New South Wales Regiment presented new Queen's and Regimental Colours to the unit.


19th AUSTRALIAN INFANTRY REGIMENT

This unit was formed in 1913 from elements of the 1st and 3rd Regiments and later in the same year, from part of the 18th Regiment. The new Regiment was based on the upper North Shore area of Sydney. In 1914 it was designated the 19th (Ku-ring-gai) Infantry Regiment. Upon the outbreak of the First World War it was decided that the existing units would not be sent overseas, and that a separate expeditionary force, the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) would be raised for that purpose. At the end of the war it was decided to incorporate the Battalions of the AIF within existing regiments forming the permanent establishment of the Australian Army, as 1st (Inactive) Battalion in each case. This re-organisation required the relocation of some units and the re-numbering of others. 19th Regiment was southern side of the harbour was re-designated as 19th Regiment. This began the long association of the unit with the South Sydney area.


19th INFANTRY BATTALION (THE SOUTH SYDNEY REGIMENT)

Arising from the Monash report of 1921 the Army was re-organised upon the divisional system of the AIF. This necessitated the reversion of regiments containing a number of battalions, to the single battalion system. 19th Australian infantry Regiment was re- designated 19th Infantry Battalion and part of 1st Infantry Regiment was incorporated in the new unit. Authority to carry King's and Regimental Colours was granted to all battalions of the AMF in 1923. The King's and Regimental Colours of the 19th Battalion were presented tot he Battalion (then commanded by Major J.M. Maughan, DSO) by the Governor of New South Wales at a parade held at Liverpool camp on 22nd March, 1925. 

Authority to inherit Battle Honours awarded to the 19th Battalion AIF was granted in 1927, and in the same year, the motto "FORTITER ET FIDELITER" (Boldly and Faithfully) and the Territorial Title "The South Sydney Regiment" were authorized. Drastic cuts imposed upon the Army by the Great Depression resulted in the decision to link 19th with 1st Battalion, as 1/19th Battalion. This link was severed on the eve of the Second World War, when 1st Battalion was re-constituted. On the same day, 1st September, 1939, 19th was linked with 20th Battalion as 20/19th Battalion. 

As the Japanese threat became more apparent the defences of Darwin were strengthened by the raising of the Darwin Infantry Battalion, which in November, 1941, was re-designated as 19th Infantry Battalion. The Battalion remained in Darwin through the period of the heavy air raids, until 1942. In July, 1943 the 19th Battalion moved to New Guinea in a defence role, moving finally to New Britain in December, 1944. From then until April, 1945, it maintained close contact with the Japanese in the Wide Bay area. 19th Battalion returned to Brisbane, where it was disbanded in July, 1945, to provide reinforcement drafts. 

During the period of its service in New Guinea, the Battalion became an AIF unit, and was designated 19th Australian Infantry Battalion (AIF). For its service in the South West Pacific area the Battalion was granted the following Battle Honours: 

  • LIBERATION OF AUSTRALIAN NEW GUINEA; 

  • WAITAVOLO; 

  • SOUTH WEST PACIFIC 1945

These Honours were inherited by the 19th Battalion (although not raised at the time) in 1961. The unit was not among those raised in 1948, when the Citizen Military Forces was re-constituted on a restricted establishment.


19th BATTALION AIF

The 19th Battalion AIF was formed on 27th April, 1915, by Lieutenant Colonel W.K.S. MacKenzie, DSO, VD a Sydney barrister and former Commanding Officer of the 25th Infantry, as a unit of the 5th Infantry Brigade, Second Australian Division. After training in Egypt the Battalion arrived at ANZAC cove on 21st August 1915 and entered the line at Hill Sixty the following day. From the 18th September until the evacuation the unit was responsible for the defence of Popes Hill, one of the most critical points in the ANZAC defence system. After re-organisation in Egypt 19th Battalion was moved to France early in 1916. The first major action for the Battalion was Pozieres which was notable for the fact that the German shelling was the most intense ever experienced by the AIF during the war and was accompanied by nearly continuous German counter attacks to recover their vital ground. 19th Battalion created a record by holding its sector for a period of 12 days. Casualties suffered by 1 ANZAC Corps in this battle amounted to 23,000 over a period of about 40 days. Possibly the most notable action of the 19th Battalion was it's capture and defence of the notorious 'Maze' defence system at Flers on 14th November 1916. The failure of flanking Battalions to reach their objectives left the unit out on its own, holding a salient deep within the German lines.


For two days and nights the 19th Battalion held this position against counter attacks and intense shelling, using German weapons so that their own .303 ammunition could be used to maintain their Lewis guns in action. Of the 451 all ranks who went into the attack, 381 became casualties. Other notable actions were at Second Bullecourt and at Third Ypres. It was towards the end of this latter battle that the Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel C.R.A. Pye, DSO was killed in action on 4th October 1917. Moved from the Messines area as a result of the great German break through on the Fifth Army front, 19th Battalion entered the line near Villers-Bretonneux on 6th April 1918.


The next day the unit launched a counter attack upon German positions in Hangard Wood and during the course of this action
Lieutenant P. V. Storkey won the Victoria Cross for a daring series of acts which enabled the attack to succeed. 19th Battalion was constantly in the line during the period prior to the great British offensive, which was spearheaded by the Australian and Canadian Corps in the Amiens sector, on the 8th August 1918. This action was described by the German commander, Ludendorff, as "the black day of the German Army" and on this day and the days that followed as the German Army retreated fighting tenaciously for every position, 19th Battalion played an effective part.


During the great advance to the Hindenburg Line 19th Battalion, as part of the 5th Brigade, rushed the great fortress area of Mont St Quentin which was defended by the Prussian Guards. General Rawlinson, commanding the British Fourth Army, described this as the "finest single feat of the war". The last action fought by the Battalion was the capture of the Beaurevoir Switch Line which breached the great Hindenburg line on 4th October 1918. The Australian Corps was then withdrawn for rest and re-organisation, which involved the disbandment of that Battalion in each Brigade which was numerically the weakest in order that the remaining Battalions could be brought up to strength. On the 10th October 1918 the 19th Battalion was one of eleven Battalions of the AIF to suffer this unhappy fate. Throughout the war the Battalion suffered 3,333 casualties.


For its service in the First World War the 19th Battalion AIF was granted 20 Battle Honours which were inherited in 1927 by 19th Battalion (The South Sydney Regiment). The Honours are:
  • SOMME 1916-18
  • POZIERES
  • BAPUME
  • BULLECOURT
  • YPRES 1917
  • MENIN ROAD
  • POLYGON WOOD
  • BROODSEINDE
  • POELCAPPELLE
  • PASSCHENDAELE
  • HAMEL
  • AMIENS
  • ALBERT 1918
  • MONT ST QUENTIN
  • HINDENBURG LINE
  • BEAUREVOIR
  • FRANCE AND FLANDERS 1916-18
  • SUVLA
  • GALLIPOLI
  • EGYPT 1915-16


The following officers commanded the Battalion: Lieutenant Colonel W.K.S. MacKenzie DSO VD, Lieutenant Colonel H. Beiers MC, Major J.M. Maugham DSO, Major W.J.R. Scott DSO, Lieutenant Colonel C.R.A. Pye DSO, Major J.J. Walker, Lieutenant Colonel W.J. Bateman, Major S. Middleton DSO.

The last appearance of the 19th Battalion AIF was the great parade held in the Sydney Domain on 14th August 1920 when representatives of the old Battalion (in company with parties from each of the AIF Infantry Battalions raised in New South Wales) received the Union Flag presented to them on behalf of HM King George V. This was then placed in the custody of the 19th Battalion, AMF, there present with its sister battalions on parade for this purpose. This flag was subsequently converted into a Kings colour for the 19th Battalion, AMF.


2nd/ 19th AUSTRALIAN INFANTRY BATTALION AIF

On 15th July, 1940, the officers and NCO's of the 2nd/19th Infantry Battalion went into camp at Wallgrove, NSW and within a few days the new battalion began to receive drafts. The unit was part of the 22nd Infantry Brigade of the 8th Australian Division; its first Commanding Officer being Lieutenant Colonel D. S Maxwell, MC. On 22nd February, 1941, 22nd Brigade arrived in Singapore and shortly afterwards moved up country into the jungles of Malaya, where intensive training in jungle warfare was carried out in the months remaining before the Japanese attack.

A platoon of 2nd/19th had the distinction of being the first Australian Infantry to engage the enemy at the village of Trong, in northern Malaya, on 27th December, 1941. On 18th January, 1942, 2nd/19th Battalion occupied the Baki area in the Muar sector, where contact was made with the advancing Japanese on the same day. As a part of the force holding the Western Trunk road, the Battalion went into action against the Japanese Guard Division the following day, and scored a series of significant successes against the enemy who were not expecting his opponents to show any proficiencies in jungle tactics. 


The necessity to conform to the movement of other forces, and the continued cutting of the Trunk road to the rear by the Japanese, made it necessary to commence withdrawal. In a series of fierce actions, from Bakri to the bridge at Parit Sulong, which was held by the Japanese, the Battalion fought its way clear of the closing trap.

For his gallantry during this period, the Commanding Officer,

<< Lieutenant Colonel C.G.W Anderson, VC, MC, was awarded the Victoria Cross. 

After re-grouping and further actions in the Johore state, 2/19th Battalion moved to Singapore Island, where it took place in the defence of the Island, from 8th February, 1942, until the capitulation on 15th February 1942. Thereafter the Battalion passed into captivity with the remainder of the British Forces, in the general surrender. For its gallant work in Malaya, 2/19th Battalion AIF was awarded the following Battle Honours

  • SINGAPORE ISLAND; 

  • THE MUAR; 

  • MALAYA 1941-42

These honours were inherited by the 19th Battalion (although not raised at that time) in 1961.

 

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