History of The Royal Australian Regiment

After World War II, it was decided that a small regular army be established and an Australian component be deployed to the British Commonwealth Occupation Forces (BCOF) in Japan.

For that purpose the 34th Infantry Brigade was raised on Morotai Island. It comprised the 65th , 66th  and 67th  Battalions formed mostly from volunteers from Australia’s World War II AIF Divisions and carried forward the outstanding traditions of our infantrymen.

On the 23rd of November 1948, the three battalions were designated the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions of The Australian Regiment.

On 10th March 1949, His Majesty, King George VI, granted the title “Royal” to the Regiment and thus The Royal Australian Regiment (RAR) was born comprising 1 RAR, 2 RAR and 3 RAR.

Over 150,000 men, volunteers and national service infantrymen, have served in The Regiment as part of Australia’s commitment to:

  • the United Nations in Korea; Australia, responded to the UN Resolution to defend South Korea by offering military assistance. 17,000 Australians served in the Korean War between 1950 and 1953, and they suffered 339 dead, and 1200 wounded. … They were called Korean Force (K-Force).
  • the Malayan Emergency; Australia’s commitment to the emergency lasted 13 years, between 1950 and 1963, with army, air force and naval units serving. Thirty-nine Australians were killed and 27 wounded.
  • Indonesian Confrontation in Borneo; This was a three-year conflict on the island of Borneo and the Malay Peninsula, with Australian troops involved as part of a Commonwealth force under British command.
  • the Vietnam War; Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War began with 30 military advisors in 1962, and for Australia’s military deployment ended on 11 Jan 1973. Approximately 60,000 Australians served in the war; 521 were killed and more than 3,000 were wounded.
  • Somalia; Operation Solace was the Australian Defence Force’s main contribution to the Unified Task Force (UNITAF) which was a United States led, United Nations sanctioned, multinational force which operated in the Republic of Somalia from 9 December 1992 to 4 May 1993.
  • Rwanda; Australian soldiers served as part of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda
  • East Timor/Timor Leste; Operation Astute was an Australian-led military deployment to quell unrest and return stability in the 2006 East Timor crisis.
  • Iraq; Operation Okra was the Australian Defence Force (ADF) contribution to the military intervention against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The force is part of Joint Task Force 633 in the Middle East. The operation commenced on 31 August 2014 and
  • Afghanistan, Since 2001 Australia’s contribution to the war in Afghanistan is in Operation Slipper and Operation Highroad. ADF operations has included two major areas of activity: Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf. Casualties: 41 killed, 261 wounded.

To date 706 RAR soldiers have died while serving overseas.

The Regiment’s three battalions, 1 RAR, 2 RAR and 3 RAR served in the Korean War.

 4 RAR was raised for service in Borneo.

The Vietnam War saw a The Regiment expand to a total of nine battalions. In that War national servicemen supplemented the regular soldiers in the battalions. These young men demonstrated the traditional fighting spirit of the Australian soldier.

After return from Vietnam in 1973 the number of the Regiment’s Battalions was reduced from nine to six by the linkage of:

  • 2 RAR and 4 RAR to form the 2 /4 RAR,  
  • 5 RAR and 7 RAR to form the 5 /7 RAR and
  • 8 RAR and 9 RAR to form the 8 /9 RAR.

The 1994 Defence White Paper identified the need for an additional Infantry Battalion to enhance the Army’s capability, which resulted in 2/4 RAR being delinked to reform 2 RAR and 4 RAR.

Later 4 RAR was re-roled and renamed 4 RAR Commando (Cdo).

In 1997, 8/9 RAR was deactivated but reactivated in 2007.

In 2006, 5/7 RAR was delinked to re-form 5 RAR and 7 RAR.

In 2009, 4 RAR (Cdo) was de-activated and renamed 2nd Commando Regiment.

Today, the seven Battalions of The Regiment are under command of Combat Brigades:

  • 1st  Brigade in Darwin with 5 RAR and 7 RAR  in Adelaide;
  • 3rd  Brigade in Townsville with 1 RAR, 2 RAR and 3 RAR; and
  • 7th Brigade in Brisbane with 6 RAR and 8/9 RAR.

Recent operations have seen elements of the Regiment involved with peace-keeping, peacemaking and active service operations in, Somalia, Rwanda, Bougainville, Cambodia, East Timor/Timor Leste, the Solomon Islands, and on a rotational basis in Iraq and Afghanistan. In all of these operations the RAR and its infantrymen have received international acclaim for their success, conduct and professionalism.

The Regimental motto is Duty First


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