PERMANENT MILITARY FORCES
1921 - 1943
Created on 1. 10. 1920. (See
note 78) to comprise officers, other than
Quartermasters, appointed to substantive commissioned rank in the
Permanent Military Forces for duty with the Administrative and
Instructional Staffs, Royal Australian Artillery Regiment, Royal
Australian Engineers and the Australian Army Service Corps (Permanent).
Officers of the Aust. Staff Corps were directed to wear the colour patch
of the unit or formation headquarters of the Permanent or Citizen Forces
to which they were allotted for duty. Auth. MO 495/1921,
Note 78 Statutory Rule 198, approved 21st October
1920, gazetted on 25th October 1920. Amendment to the Australian
Military Regulations 1916 promulgated in MO 482/1920.
The current Army Standing Orders for
Dress, Volume 2, Chapter 36, Appendix 3 to Annex B, advises that the
scarlet and dark blue triangular patch worn behind the Royal Military
College headdress badge is the colour patch of the Australian Heavy
Trench Mortar Battery. This patch was worn behind the RMC badge on the
right hand side of the helmet puggaree prior to the Second World War by
staff cadets, and was used in lieu of a colour patch as part of the
vehicle unit markings applied to the doors of motor vehicles allotted to
RMC during this period (see Appendix VI on page 223). As however there
is no evidence that it was approved for wear by either staff or students
of the RMC as a colour patch for unit identification, it has not been
depicted as such in this book. Members of the Corps of Staff Cadets did
not wear a colour patch on the uniform until after graduation and
posting to a unit.
Formed in April 1921 (MO
344/1921, 14.4.1921.) and comprised all
Quartermasters, most Warrant Officers and an NCO cadre of the Permanent
Forces. Members of this Corps were allotted to units of the Permanent
and Citizen Forces for administrative and instructional duties, and to
units of the Permanent Forces for regimental duties. Personnel of the
AIC were directed to wear the colour patch of the unit of the Permanent
or Citizen Forces to which they were allotted for duty. Auth. MO
The separate branches comprising the
Royal Australian Field Artillery and the Royal Australian Garrison
Artillery were reunited in July 1927 as the Royal Australian Artillery
Regiment. In 1949 this regiment was amalgamated with the Royal
Australian Artillery (Militia) to form the Royal Australian Artillery.
- 380. Royal Australian
Field Artillery, 1921 - 1927; and
- Royal Australian
Artillery (Field), 1927 - 1942: Auth. MO 495/1921. It
was also worn by personnel allotted as storemen to the Royal
Military College, and as gun and M.T. storemen to field and
medium brigades and 1st Artillery Survey Company of the Citizen
Forces in 2nd MD. The RAFA had originally comprised three
batteries but was reduced to one in mid 1922.
- 1st Battery RAFA, 1921-1927;
- 1st Field Battery RAA, 1927-1930;
- 1st Field Cadre RAA, 1930-1939;
- 'A' Field Battery RAA, 1939-1942.
- 'A' Field Battery was absorbed
into the establishment of the School of Artillery soon after the
outbreak of the Second World War as its depot battery, being
reformed in August 1943 as 2nd Aust. Mountain Battery. It was
reorganized in November 1945 for the Australian component of
BCOF, Japan, by absorbing the 6th Aust. Independent Field
Battery, and in April 1946 was redesignated as 'A' Field
Battery, Royal Australian Artillery Regiment. It is still in
- 382. Royal
Australian Garrison Artillery, 1921 - 1927;
- Royal Australian Artillery
(Heavy), 1927 - 1942:
Auth. MO 495/192 1. In addition to heavy batteries, AA cadres,
and heavy brigade headquarters, this patch was also worn by
personnel of the RAA Regiment allotted to the following: as gun
and M.T. storemen to field and medium brigades, anti-aircraft
batteries and 2nd Artillery Survey Company of the Citizen
Forces; as Drivers, M.T., with Base MT Sections AASC(P),
1930-1932; the Tank Section, Small Arms School, 1930-1932;
Artillery Schools of Instruction; (Renamed
the School of Artillery in April 1933.) and
as artillery clerks and storemen to RMC and the Command and
Staff College. From 1941 it continued to be worn by RAA(P)
personnel serving with heavy artillery units of the fixed
defences but was gradually superseded by No. 616. See also No.
- In 1921 the heavy branch
comprised two coast artillery brigade headquarters
and ten heavy batteries, with the addition of an anti-aircraft
cadre in 1929. By the
outbreak of the Second World War it had expanded to comprise
three heavy brigade
headquarters, thirteen heavy batteries, five anti-aircraft
cadres, and one anti-aircraft
battery headquarters. These units were gradually absorbed into
the expanded fixed
defences from early 1941, losing their numerical identities. The
Coast Branch was
reestablished in 1946 but by the end of 1953 its units had been
disbanded, the members
being posted as cadres for coast batteries of the CMF or to the
Coast Artillery Caretaker
and Maintenance Staff. The Coast Branch was abolished in October
1962. The Anti-
Aircraft Branch was reestablished in 1949 with the formation of
Battery, which is currently still in existence as 111th Air
Defence Battery (Light).
- Darwin Mobile Force, 1938 -
1940: Raised on
14.11.1938, comprising a headquarters wing with artillery,
mortar, reconnaissance, and machine gun groups, and an infantry
company, a total establishment of eleven officers and two
hundred and nineteen other ranks as at 1.2.1939. As the Defence
Act strictly limited, in peacetime, the formation of units of
the Permanent Forces to administrative and fortress troops,
personnel recruited for the DMF were enlisted in the Heavy
Branch, Royal Australian Artillery Regiment. Officers were
appointed from the Australian Staff Corps.
- No colour patch was
specifically approved for the DMF and it is understood
that they were issued No. 382 on formation in 2nd Military
District, although as
woollen articles of kit were withdrawn from personnel prior to
them proceeding to
Darwin, or any other tropical station, it seems highly unlikely
that they were worn in
7th Military District. A former member of the Darwin Infantry
Battalion recalls in R. J.
Rayner, 71e Army and the Defence of Darwin Fortress, p.60, that
on formation the
Darwin Infantry Battalion temporarily inherited the D.M.F
colours, suggesting that a
patch was definitely allotted to the original unit. On 23.8.1940
the DMF was
disbanded, forming the 18th Field Battery RAA, and a nucleus of
the Darwin Infantry
Battalion, substantial reinforcements for the latter unit being
drawn from militia
personnel in Northern and Eastern Commands.
- Australian Coronation
Commenced formation in December 1936,
embarking from Melbourne on 16.2.1937 to represent Australia at
Ceremonies in Great Britain. It comprised 25 all ranks each from
the RAN and RAAF,
and 101 all ranks of the AMF, drawn from the PMF, CMF, and
former AIF personnel.
In addition there was a detachment of seven members of the AANS
who embarked on
various dates from the 10.3.1937.
- All personnel, other than the
AANS and those selected from the PMF, were enlisted in the Royal
Australian Artillery Regiment for a period of six months. The
AMF detachment commenced disembarking in Australia from
22.6.1937, the AANS from 1.8.1937, and the contingent was
- Although they were in most
cases part of the RAA Regiment, it has not been possible at this
stage to confirm that the members of this contingent wore any
colour patches, either in full size or miniature. Colour patches
were not worn in full dress by the PMF and it is likely that
this was the dress worn while the contingent was overseas.
Comprised Regimental and Works
Branches, and until 1932, the Survey Section RAE. The Works Branch
became the General Duties Section in 1930, and the Engineer Services
Branch in 1936. In 1936 the Regimental Branch was reorganized into seven
fortress companies, which included personnel attached as storemen to
fortress companies and field engineer units of the RAE(M), and to units
of Aust. Corps of Signals. Two further fortress companies were approved
in February 1940. The RAE carried the sole responsibility for fortress
signals communications until the formation of militia fortress signals
units in 1939. Anti-aircraft searchlight sections were provided for in
the establishments of the 2nd and 7th Fortress Companies RAE at Sydney
and Darwin respectively, and approval for an AA company, raised
eventually as I st AASL Cadre, was also given in February 1940.
- 383. Royal
Australian Engineers, 1921 - 1943:
Auth. MO 495/1921. This patch continued to be worn long after the
units and personnel of the Corps had been absorbed into the fixed
defences and RAE (Works). Examples will be noted with grey
Formed in 1932 by redesignation of the
Survey Section RAE, and was absorbed by the Australian Survey Corps in
June 1943. This Corps had previously been in existence as part of the
Permanent Forces, having been formed from the Survey Section RAE in
1915, reverting back to this title in 1920. In 1940 the Corps comprised
four survey sections, one geodetic section, and a cartographic section.
- 384. Australian
Survey Corps (Permanent), 1935 - 1943:
Auth. SO Dress 1935.
Comprised the Supply and Transport
Section, and the Remount Section. The various remount depots were
absorbed by remount squadrons in 1942, while motor transport companies
and depots, and supply sections, formed the nucleus of line of
communication area AASC units. It will be noted that no provision was
apparently made between 1935 and 1940 for personnel of remount sections
to wear a colour patch. It seems likely however that these personnel
retained No. 385.
- 385. Aust.
Army Service Corps (Permanent), 1921 - 1935;
A.A.S.C.(P)(Supply), 1935 -1940; A.A.S.C.(P) (Remounts), 1940 -
1942: Auth. MO 495/1921, SO Dress 1935, and
AHQ (DOS) Memo No. 11754, 28.2.1940.
- 386. Aust.
Army Service Corps (P) (Supply and Transport), 1928 - 1935:
333/1928, 28.7.1928. This
order stated that members of District Supply and Transport
units would wear the colour patch authorised for AASC Details by SO
Dress Part III,
1925. Cancelled by AAO 49/1935, 28.2.1935. The only such units in
existence in the
AMF at the time were the Supply and Transport Sections AASC(P)
located in the 2nd
and 3rd District Bases and there is no evidence that this colour
patch was actually worn
- 387. Aust.
Army Service Corps (P) (Motor Transport), 1934 - 1940;
- A.A.S.C.(P)(Supply and
Transport), 1940 - 1942:
Auth. AAO 180/1934, 31.8.1934, and AHQ
(DOS) Memo No. 11754, 28.2.1940.
This patch was also worn by the Tank
Cadres AASC(P) (designated Mechanization Depots in 1940) which
formed part of the
MT Companies in the 2nd and 3rd District Bases. It was worn by
members of some
auxiliary horse transport companies during 1942. (AQMG
minute to Director Supplies and Transport, 10.7.1942. AA(Vic):
MP 508/1, item 36/7021/260.) and
was also worn by Eastern Command Vehicle Reception Depot until
its disbandment in late 1942.
- Examples appear with grey
backgrounds, while one example with a 2nd Aust. Corps green
background in addition to the grey background is also
understood to exist. An order for 200 pairs of this patch
for 6th Military District was placed in January 1941,
suggesting that it was also issued to personnel serving on
full time duty with 6th MD MT Depot and 9th Vehicle
Comprised small details allotted to
District Bases, AHQ, RMC, Darwin Defences, and Darwin Mobile Force. In
1939 the total establishment of the Corps was one officer, the
Director-General of Medical Services, thirteen warrant officers of the
AIC, and thirty three other ranks of the AAMC. No units as such existed
in the Corps.
- 388. Aust.
Army Medical Corps (Permanent), 1921 - 1942:
Auth. MO 495/192 1.
Personnel of this Corps were allotted
only to AHQ, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th District Bases. In 1924 the establishment
of the Corps was one officer and three other ranks of the AAVC(P) and
two warrant officers of the AIC. By the outbreak of World War Two this
had only increased to the extent of two additional officers.
- 389. Aust.
Army Veterinary Corps (Permanent): Auth.
MO 495/1921. It is unlikely
that this patch was ever supplied or issued.
- 390. Aust.
Army Veterinary Corps (Permanent), 1922 - 1943:
Auth. SO Clothing Part III, 1922.
The AAOC(P) was established on
1.7.1928 as a Mechanical Engineering Branch and an Inspection Branch.
Ile Army Ordnance Services were actually controlled by the Aust. Army
Ordnance Department, staffed by the civilian Public Service, which
resisted any attempt at direction by the military, and proved totally
inadequate for the purpose during wartime. The original Mechanical
Engineering Branch of the AAOC(P) was organized into District Ordnance
Workshops in 1938, amalgamated with Ordnance Workshop Companies of the
AAOC(M) on mobilization, and became part of the Corps of Australian
Electrical and Mechanical Engineers on 1.12.1942. A Regular Army
component of the RAAOC was created in 1949, the Aust. Army Ordnance
Department being disestablished.
- 391. Aust.
Army Ordnance Corps (Permanent), 1928 - 1942:
Auth. MO 495/1921.
Initially raised in 1912 as the
Universal Training Provost Staff, becoming simply known as the Provost
Staff in 1930. In 1939 the establishment of this Staff was only five
provost sergeants-major and seven provost sergeants. No formed units
existed and the personnel were absorbed by the Aust. Army Provost Corps
when it was raised after the outbreak of the Second World War. No colour
patches were approved for issue or wear by provost staff, personnel
being distinguished by a blue, later black, armband bearing the letters
'MP' in red.
In June 1941 the Master-General of the
Ordnance recommended that personnel of the Permanent Forces wear the
colour patch of the Arm to which they were posted for duty, and that the
wearing of distinctive Permanent Forces colour patches should cease for
the duration of the war. (Minute, MGO to AG,
17.6.1941. AA(Vic): MP 508/1, item 36nO2/62.)
There is no doubt that some members retained their patches until well
into the war, in many cases after enlistment in the AIF, and enquiries
relating to the use of No. 382 in particular were still being received
at LHQ in mid 1944.
As will be noted in Appendix 1, personnel of the PMF did not wear colour
patches in full dress, nor on khaki drill after the early 1920's. As
some form of identification was required, particularly in khaki drill,
it was decided to reintroduce brass shoulder titles to Corps of the PMF,
although a title had been in use by officers of the Staff Corps as early
as 1921. The first approval for the use of titles by other ranks of the
various Corps was given on 26th May 1933, the same authority indicating
that orders had been placed for supply. (AA: CRS
P618, item 415/1 and 415/2. Entries in relation to the subject are dated
18.4.1933, 26.5.1933, 2.6.1933 and 19.9.1934.)
It is known however that they were in
use by the AASC as early as 1930, and in the RAA by 1932, although a
sealed pattern of title for the RAA was not notified until l8th April
1933. 'Me majority were in fact identical to those worn between 1903 and
1921, of which ordnance stocks probably still remained.
Shoulder titles which were approved,
manufactured by Stokes and Son, and H. Arendsen, both of Melbourne,
Staff Corps (1921)
Australian Artillery (1932)
Australian Engineers (1932)
Survey Corps (Permanent) (1934)
Army Service Corps (Permanent) (1930)
Army Medical Corps (Permanent) (1933)
Army Veterinary Corps (Permanent) (1933)
Army Ordnance Corps (Permanent) (1934)
These were produced in an
oxidised finish from January 1940, however approval for members of the
PMF to wear metal titles was withdrawn by Sec. Military Board Memo No.
28410 of 19.3.1942.