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Category: Army Today/State Regts

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12th/40th Battalion, 

Royal Tasmania Regiment


  • Tasmanian Volunteer Rifle Regiment 1878
  • Tasmanian Infantry Regiment
  • Tasmanian Bushman, Boer War
  • Derwent Infantry Regiment (Derwent Regiment)
  • 12th Infantry Regiment (Launceston Regiment)


Sub category Index

  • Tasmanian Rangers
  • 12th Battalion AIF
  • 40th Battalion AIF
  • 12th Battalion CMF
  • 40th Battalion CMF
  • 2/12th Battalion AIF
  • 2/40th Battalion AIF
  • 12th/50th Battalion

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Hat Badge of the Tasmanian Rangers
  • 12th/40th Battalion
  • 12th/40th Battalion CMF
  • 1st and 2nd Battalions, The Tasmania Regiment
  • The Royal Tasmania Regiment
  • The Launceston Company and The Derwent Company, Royal Tasmania Regiment
  • 1st Battalion, The Royal Tasmania Regiment
  • 12th and 40th Battalions The Royal Tasmania Regiment
  • 12th and 40th Independent Rifle Companies (IRC)
  • 12th/40th Battalion, The Royal Tasmania Regiment.

Brief History  Also see 12/40 RTR's Battle Honours

The unit's lineage can be traced to the Tasmanian Volunteer Rifle Regiment of 1878, which was raised in the North and South of the State. In 1896 three battalions were raised. 

  • They were the 
    • 1st Battalion, Tasmania Infantry Regiment (in the South),  
    • 2nd Battalion TIF (in the North) and  
    • 3rd Battalion TIF (in the North-West).


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Click to enlarge In 1899 the first contingent of Tasmanians departed for the Boer War. The first two Victoria Crosses to be awarded to Australian Infantrymen were won by Pte Bisdee and Lt Wylly of the Tasmanian Bushman, in the same action near Warm Bad in 1900. For this campaign and following contingents, the Regiment holds the Honorary Distinctions of South Africa 1899-1902 and 1900-1902. In 1903 the titles of the Battalions were changed; in the South to the Derwent Infantry Regiment (Derwent Regiment), in the North to the 12th Infantry Regiment (Launceston Regiment) and in the North-West to the Tasmanian Rangers.

During WWI the 12th and 40th Battalions were raised as part of the Australian Imperial Force and served with distinction overseas. Their sacrifice earned the two Battalions three Theatre Honours and 25 Battle Honours. After the war the two Battalions were demobilised and reformed as Militia units.

At the outbreak of WWII the 2/12th and 2/40th Battalions were raised and once again deployed for overseas service. During the war the Battalions earned two Theatre Honours, a Campaign Honour and 13 Battle Honours. The 2/12th Battalion was present at the Defence of Tobruk and also at Milne Bay where the first defeat on land was inflicted on the Japanese. 

The 2/40th Battalion gave distinguished service but was captured in Timor and suffered tremendous hardship in various prisoner of war camps. Read a personal account of this time at Timor POW.

The militia was maintained during WWII and the direct descendant of the 12th Battalion, the 12th/50th Battalion, served in York Force and the Northern Territory. During this same time the 40th Battalion served in Darwin. On 2 May 1945 the 12th/50th Battalion was amalgamated with the 40th Battalion and became the 12th/40th Battalion. This Battalion formed the bulk of Timor Force that accepted the surrender of the Japanese forces from the commander of the 48th Japanese Division at Koepang on 3 October 1945. It returned to Australia on 19 March 1946 and was disbanded on 29 May 1946.

On 1 July 1948 the 12th/40th Battalion was raised again as part of the Citizen Military Forces. On 30 June 1951 this Battalion was separated and became the 1st and 2nd Battalions, The Tasmania Regiment. On the 1 July 1960, The Tasmania Regiment was granted the Royal prefix and became The Royal Tasmania Regiment. In 1960 a reorganisation of the CMF reduced the Battalions to two companies: The Launceston Company and The Derwent Company. In January 1965 both Companies were amalgamated to form the 1st Battalion, The Royal Tasmania Regiment, however, in 1972 this Battalion was split and formed the 12th and 40th Battalions. In 1975, as a result of the Miller Report on the CMF, they were reduced to the 12th and 40th Independent Rifle Companies (IRC). These two units continued to operate until 30 November 1987.

With effect from 1 December 1987, 12 IRC and 40 IRC amalgamated and were joined by soldiers from disbanded units (12 Fd Sqn - RAE, 146 Sig Sqn - RASigs and 6 Int Unit Field Force) to form the 12th/40th Battalion, The Royal Tasmania Regiment.

Royal Tasmanian Regiment hats badges


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