formation of the Royal Australian Regiment



© By Brian London OAM., DCM. Author: Brian London OAM DCM

The basis of the post-war regular army in 1947 was the infantry brigade then located in Japan. When the decision was taken to withdraw two of the battalions in 1948, attention turned to status and designation of the Australian Regular Army (ARA) battalions. Brigadier Hopkins was concerned, that despite the unit prestige and regimental spirit developed since October 1945, it would be undesirable to have ARA units the highest numbered, without battle honours or colours, and with precedence after militia units. It was therefore proposed that the 65th, 66th and 67th Battalions of the 34th Australian Infantry Brigade be designated; 1st Infantry Battalion, City of Sydney's Own Regiment; 1st Infantry Battalion, Royal Melbourne Regiment and the 1st Infantry Battalion, The Oxley Regiment respectively.

An alternate proposal was submitted by the Infantry Cell within the Directorate of Staff Duties ( the predecessor of the Directorate of Infantry) Suggesting that the 65th, 66th and 67th Battalions become the 1st Battalion, King GeorgeV1's Australian Rifle Regiment, Queen Elizabeth's Australian Footguards and Princess Margaret's Australian Infantry Regiment.

Ultimately it was decided to adopt a regimental system, along the lines of the British Army, and existing units were to be numbered sequentially as part of one regiment. The three battalions in Japan were designated 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the Australian Regiment (AR) with application made for a royal title. This was approved by His Majesty King George V1 and was announced on 10 March 1949.

The Royal Australian Regiment thus came into being as Australia's first regular regiment of infantry. Regimental Colours were presented in accordance with the new status. The Regiment did not adopt any existing battle honours. The Regiment now had the task of establishing its own traditions and was very soon to win its own Honours.

Badge of the Royal Australian Regiment
Badge of the Royal Australian Regiment

The design of the Regimental Badge was selected from a drawing submitted by Sergeant E. J. O'Sullivan (1RAR) and the motto "Duty First" was suggested by Major. K. B. Thomas MC (1RAR).
Although the badge was produced on Christmas cards in 1949, it was not until 1954 that the badge was issued to replace the rising sun badge.

Battalions of the Regiment
9RAR 2/4RAR 5/7RAR 8/9RAR

2nd and 4th Battalions were linked 15 Aug 1973, and were un-linked on the 1 Feb 1995.

1 Feb 1997 4RAR renamed:4RAR (Commando)

19 Jun 2009 renamed: 2nd Commando Regiment.

5th and 7th Battalions were linked on 3 Dec 1973 and were un-linked 3 Dec 2006

8th and 9th Battalions were linked 31 Oct 1973.

8/9RAR was disbanded 13 Jun 1997

Battle Honours of the Regiment
1950 - 53
South Vietnam
1965 - 72
Sariwon  Long Tan
Yonju Bien Hoa
Chongju Coral
Packchon Balmoral
Uijongbu Hat Dich
Chuam-ni Binh Ba
The Samichon