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Battalion colour

Black (BCC 220)

Battalion nickname Second to none
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Tours of duty overseas.

Japan See below
Korea See below
Malaya See below
Viet Nam
East Timor
Click to enlarge Taken at Kuala Kangsar in Malaya in 1956, the officers of C Company 2RAR are shown from left to right:
  • Lt Brian William McFarlane, Royal Australian Infantry, Commander 7 Platoon
  • Lt Harry Arthur Smith, Royal Australian Infantry, Commander 9 Platoon 
  • Maj Laurence Creswell Chambers, Royal Australian Army Service Corps (seconded to Infantry), Officer Commanding C Company 
  • Lt Michael Warren Meredith, Royal Australian Corps of Signals (seconded to Infantry), Commander 8 Platoon
Ten years after this photograph was taken, in South Vietnam on 18 August 1966, whilst Officer Commanding D Company 6RAR, Major Smith commanded the Australians on the battlefield at Long Tan. Major McFarlane, Officer Commanding C Company 6RAR, was nearby at the time, his company holding the battalion's base during the battle, then leading the follow-up of the enemy on the next morning. Major Smith was awarded the Military Cross for his heroic stand against overwhelming odds at Long Tan.
2rar-captured-weapons.jpg (76149 bytes) Vietnam. 1967. Members of 2nd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (2RAR), examine webbing and weapons captured by the battalion during an operation. Holding the Russian AK-47 assault rifle is Sergeant Jules Bavell of Stafford Heights, Qld (centre), while Corporal Bob Hose of The Valley, Qld (right), displays an SKS Simonov rifle, and Private Ross Wilson of Punchbowl, NSW, holds captured Viet Cong webbing.
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Time and tide wait for no man. Above 2Plt A Coy 2RAR (2nd tour). Below, in the same relative positions, the older, wiser versions. Photos by Ian Cavanough 2 Pl A Coy 2 RAR Vietnam 70/71

Medallion put out by 5 Victor Company who served as part of 2 RAR/NZ (ANZAC) 1970/71

2nd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment in Korea

In 1945 Australia sent three units to Japan as part of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF). Originally known as the 65th, 66th and 67th Infantry Battalions, they were raised from Australian divisions stationed in New Guinea at the end of the Second World War. On 23 November 1948, the battalions were renamed the First, Second and Third Battalion, The Australian Regiment, respectively. The prefix “Royal” was granted by King George VI on 31 March 1949.

2RAR returned to Australia in 1948 and was stationed at Puckapunyal, Victoria, when the Korean War began in 1950. Some 2RAR members volunteered for service with 3RAR and 1RAR, as these two battalions saw service earlier than 2RAR. 2RAR was bought up to strength with volunteers that enlisted under the K Force recruiting campaign.

The battalion trained for Korea at Puckapunyal. It embarked for Korea on 5 March 1953 on board MV New Australia, arriving in Korea on 17 March. It joined the Commonwealth Division on 21 March, replacing 1RAR at Camp Casey near Tongduchon, South Korea.

2RAR was primarily deployed in patrolling the no man’s land to the north of the UN lines. This involved making small advances, defending its position, capturing prisoners, collecting intelligence, and maintaining minefields and trenches. The work was monotonous and dangerous, with many casualties caused by mines.

The conditions of this phase of the war, often referred to as the “static phase”, created an additional burden. In winter it was not uncommon for top temperatures to be below zero, and troops had to take precautions against frost-bite and trench foot. At the other extreme, summer was humid, with heavy rain that often flooded the trenches. Added to this were possible attacks from the enemy coupled with shell and mortar fire.

2RAR patrolled sections of the Jamestown line, in the area of the Imjin and Samichon Rivers. On 9–10 July 1953, 2RAR with 3RAR were given the task of holding the line to the west of the Samichon River. 2RAR was stationed on the left forward position of a hill that was commonly referred to as the “Hook”.

On the night of 24 July 1953, the Chinese forces attacked 2RAR and a US Marine Regiment. The attack was launched in consecutive waves over the nights of both 24 and 25 July, with heavy artillery and mortar attacks during the day. 2RAR held firm against the assaults, and on the morning of the 26 July, the Chinese abandoned the attack. About 3,000 Chinese dead lay in front of the Hook. 2RAR had lost five killed and 24 wounded. The armistice came into effect at 10 pm the following evening.

After the armistice, 2RAR was involved in training and border patrols. It was replaced by 1RAR in April 1954 and returned to Australia. Text by AWM

2nd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment in the Malayan Emergency

In 1945 Australia sent three units to Japan as part of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF). Originally known as the 65th, 66th and 67th Infantry Battalions, they were raised from Australian divisions stationed in New Guinea at the end of the Second World War. On 23 November 1948, the battalions were renamed the First, Second and Third Battalion, The Australian Regiment, respectively. The prefix “Royal” was granted by King George VI on 31 March 1949.

The Australian battalions sent to the Malayan Emergency formed part of the 28th Commonwealth Infantry Brigade Group (CIBG). CIBG was part of the British Commonwealth Far East Strategic Reserve (FESR). FESR comprised British, Australian and New Zealand troops. Australian officers commanded the Australian battalions in Malaya, although operations were part of a larger strategy, requiring co-operation between FESR units. Efforts were directed against the Communist terrorists.

2RAR arrived in Malaya on 19 October 1955. While in Malaya, the battalion was stationed at Minden Barracks, in the foothills on the eastern side of the island. Although Minden was the nominal home of the battalion while it was in Malaya, it rarely spent any length of time there. Operations through the jungle lasted for days or even weeks at a time, and breaks between operations were brief.

When 2RAR arrived in Malaya, its participation in Malayan operations had not been approved by the Australian government. As a result, the battalion did not start operations until 1 January 1956. It began with Operation Deuce, a search and security operation in Kedah. It was typical of activities carried out by the battalion during the Emergency. These intense, lengthy patrols involved tracking the communists through the jungle. Often there was little or no result. The work was tiring, demanding, and monotonous. Deuce ended on 30 April, and responsibility for the area was handed over to the 1st Battalion of the Royal Malay Regiment.

2RAR was redeployed to Perak for Operation Shark North in early May. Shark North aimed at destroying the communist influence in the Kuala Kangsar and Upper Perak districts. On 22 June, a five-man patrol was ambushed by communists about 400 metres north of the Sungei Bemben reservoir. The noise of heavy fire drew other Australian patrols to the area, and after some contact, the communist ambush party dispersed. It was the most intense action Australians were engaged in during the Emergency, costing three dead and three wounded. It became known as the “pipeline ambush”.

In mid February, 1957, the battalion withdrew from Shark North to take part in Operation Rubberlegs. This was a search mission in the narrow jungle salient in the Kuala Kangsar/Kinta districts. On 7 March the battalion returned to Perak and Operation Shark North.

Operation Eagle Swoop took place as part of Shark North. Eagle Swoop was a search based on information provided by a surrendered terrorist. The purpose of the operation was to find a communist camp that had been operating on the Thai–Malay border. However, when the camp was discovered the terrorists had moved on.

In August, 2RAR was withdrawn from operations in Perak and began “major warfare training” before its return to Australia. The battalion departed on 15 October. Text by AWM

Casualties 14 killed, no wounded figures available

Decorations 2 MBE 1 MC 3 MM 14 MID

A Short History Of The 2nd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment

In May 1945 when the Japanese were nearing the point when defeat was inevitable, the Australian Government decided that a force would be raised of volunteers from the Infantry Divisions then in operations against the enemy as part of the Occupation Forces in Japan.
At the cessation of hostilities the 9th. Division was then in Borneo and on the call for volunteers for this force, those from the 9th. Division congregated on the island of Moratai in a newly formed Battalion, the 66th. Australian Infantry Battalion, (later 2 RAR

Joining them to form 34 Brigade were volunteers of the 7th. Division to form the 65th. Australian Infantry Battalion, (later 1RAR)

and those from the 3rd, 6th. and 11th. Divisions to form the 67th. Australian Infantry Battalion, (later 3 RAR)

After much waiting the Brigade was to arrive in Japan in January 1946 to take up occupation duties in the Hiroshima prefecture.

Late in 1948 the three battalions were renamed 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions, the Australian Regiment, and with the winding down of the duties in Japan the 1st. Battalion and the 2nd Battalion returned to Australia in December, the 2nd Battalion to Puckapunyal, and the 1st. Battalion to Ingleburn. In March 1949 the Royal prefix was approved and the Battalions became the battalions of the Royal Australian Regiment.

In those days, however, the 2nd Battalion was a mere shadow of its former self with many members staying in Japan with the 3rd Battalion and many others taking their discharge; and it became a training battalion for new recruits to Infantry.

With the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950, Australia committed several navy vessels and the RAAF's 77 Squadron to the United Nations forces set to oppose the North Korean invasion of the south. In September 1950 3RAR joined 27th. Commonwealth Brigade in the land war which saw a rapid advance to the Chinese border and as rapid a withdrawal to south of the South Korean capital, Seoul.

By 1952 the 1st. Battalion had joined the 3rd in operations, and later in that year 2RAR was warned for service in Korea. Throughout 1950-1952 thousands of special enlistees (K Force) had passed through Puckapunyal and the Battalion in training as reinforcements for 3RAR and later 1RAR. This role was taken over by the formation of 4RAR in 1952.

In March 1953 the 2nd Battalion sailed for Korea and took over from 1RAR, and thereafter till the Armistice on 27th. July 1953 fought with tenacity and outstanding steadfastness particularly at the Battle of the Hook from 24th. to 26th. July where it earned the Battle Honour "Samichon".

The Battalion returned to Enoggera, Queensland in 1954 and in 1955 was warned for service in the Malayan Emergency and arrived there on 19th. October 1955. The counter terrorist operations engaged in by the Battalion were taxing, but the two year tour of duty was a totally new experience for members of the Battalion, and they performed these tasks with the same outstanding solidarity as they had in Korea.

The Battalion trained at Holsworthy from the time of its return from Malaya in 1957. It had been very much reorganised into and out of a pentropic organisation, and sailed from there to Malaysia taking over from 1RAR in October 1961 for its second tour of duty with the Far East Strategic Reserve where it more than lived up to the traditions of Australian infantry, undertaking the same difficult task of winkling out communist terrorists from jungle hideouts.

The Battalion returned to Australia in 1963 and this time was stationed again at Enoggera, Queensland. 

Here the emphasis was still on training for jungle operations and in 1967 the Battalion was warned for service in Vietnam where it arrived in May of that year. 

Their arrival began a close association with the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment where a company of New Zealanders served the last six months of their overseas tour with the Australian Task Force, and a company of 1RNZIR became a 2RAR rifle company. 

During the year 1967/68, the Battalion conducted or took part in 23 major operations and numerous minor operations. It returned to Townsville and gradually rebuilt till warned for service in Vietnam where it landed in May 1970, conducting five major Battalion operations and being involved in numerous combined operations again as an ANZAC Battalion.

The Battalion returned to Australia in May 1971 where it settled in Townsville.

In 1973 the government decided to reduce the armed forces and 2RAR became linked with 4RAR as 2/4RAR. In 1993, as part of the operational deployment force, a company of 2/4RAR was directed to assist 1RAR in its operations in Somalia.

In late 1994 the Battalion was involved with the protection of Australian medical personnel in Rwanda with a company of men, during which time a de-linking occurred in February 1995 and 2RAR returned to the Order of Battle.

The 2nd Battalion has a fine record, both in war and peace in the defence of Australia, and continually lives up to those special conditions of an infantry unit, courage, initiative, intelligence and tenacity. 2nd Battalion had
72 Australians killed overseas as well as 10 New Zealanders and 4 others (one Australian, two Koreans and one Vietnamese) who were attached for service with the Battalion.

Seventy four Awards and Decorations have been presented to serving members of the Battalion between 1945 and 1995 with 30 for Korea, 15 for service in Malaya/Malaysia, 27 for service in Vietnam, and 2 for service in Rwanda.

History prepared by 2nd Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment Association Inc. PO Box 1097
Toombul 4012 Phone 07 3268 6375


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