LIEUTENANT COLONEL JOHN ARTHUR WARR DSO
1 SEPTEMBER 1965 ~ 17 NOVEMBER 1967
Prior to being appointed as
the Commanding Officer of The Fifth Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, John already
had his "Baptism of Fire;" he served with the British Commonwealth Occupation
Forces (BCOF) in Japan and with the renowned 3rd Battalion, The Royal
Australian Regiment (3 RAR) in Korea, where he was badly wounded. He also served with the
Canadian Army as an exchange officer (1960 - 62).
Colonel John Warr retired from
the army in 1972. After his resignation, he spent two years as an adviser to the Senate
Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence, investigating the Australian Army's
future role. Colonel John Warr was the President of the 5 RAR Association up until his
death in May 1999.
Colonel John Warr was an
inspiration to his men in battle and in peace. His dedication to the Australian
Army, his soldiers and the 5 RAR Association will never be forgotten.
CITATION TO THE DISTINGUISHED SERVICE ORDER
Arnold Warr was commissioned into the Australian Army in 1947, after graduation from the
Royal Military College , Duntroon. Since that time he has either served with the Royal
Australian Regiment or held staff appointments in Australia or abroad. When the Fifth
Battalion was formed, Lt. Col Warr was Second in Command until September 1965, when he was
appointed Commanding Officer and the unit was warned for overseas service. As Commanding
Officer he was responsible for the training and welding together of both regular soldiers
and national servicemen into an efficient combat unit in a short period of time. During a
year's service in Vietnam the Fifth Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, was in almost
continual action with the enemy whilst conducting offensive patrol tasks, search and
destroy missions and cordon and search operations. The techniques for these latter
operations were developed so successfully by Lt. Col Warr that they were accepted as
standard procedures in the First Australian Task Force.
Lt. Col Warr was
responsible for the planning and execution in detail which is so necessary for the
successful operations by a battalion group in air mobile operations. His thorough
preparation and orders, his sound tactical knowledge, his calmness and leadership under
fire was largely responsible for the accomplishments of the Fifth Battalion, The Royal
Australian Regiment, in Vietnam.
who served under Colonel Warr's
command, penned this poem about his boss.
A kind man, a gentle man, a leader born and bred;
A soldier's soldier, an officer, a man among the men.
The Fifth Battalion respected him, even loved him, it was said,
In our hearts he still lives on, just as he did then.
Our Commander with his mission clear,
always spoke of his "Diggers" with pride;
He was badly wounded in South Korea,
Where from the shrapnel he nearly died.
Known as "Wingy" with his shattered arm,
He worked for the common good;
Throughout our tour of South Vietnam,
he led us well, starting with "Hardihood."
To South Vietnam the Battalion was sent,
Where "Reg" and "Nasho" fought side by side;
Warr's "Diggers," the "Tigers" of the Regiment,
Now always speak of him with pride.
ROBERT. S. KEARNEY.
(One of "Wingy's" Diggers)
Brian London OAM., DCM.
For the list
of COs and RSMs of 5RAR, go the 5RAR history page