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2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment

Royal Australian Regiment The 2nd Royal Australian Regiment is not designated a "Marine Corps", but are probably the closest Australia has. Out of the Australian Army's regular infantry battalions, 2RAR does the most training with RAN and existing amphibious capability (Exercise Sea Lion etc) and are clearly continuing on with this, as at RIMPAC.

The 2nd Royal Australian Regiment will probably be tasked with providing the "permanent" rifle company that will be deployed on aboard the forthcoming Canberra Class LHD's. These ships will have a rifle company attached to which ever vessel is at the highest readiness state, and at a minimum whenever they are at sea. Exercises and deployments will see a larger force embarked, but the LHDs will always have a rifle company and probably a special warfare operations detachment.

2 RAR had its origins as 66 Aust Inf Bn, which was raised on 16 October 1945 at Labuan in Borneo before joining 34 Aust Inf Bde on the island of Morotai in the Molluccas archipelago of Indonesia. Volunteers for the Battalion came mostly from men of the 9thDivision, 2nd AIF. 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 and Borneo 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.

The Battalion was the first Australian unit to serve in Malaya since World War II. It was also the first time for Australian troops to become members of an overseas, operational part of the British Commonwealth Far Eastern Strategic Reserve. RAR embarked in Brisbane in Oct 55 and moved to Penang as part of 28 COMWEL Ind Inf Bde. It is noteworthy that the formation in which the Battalion served had the longest title in any Commonwealth Army: "28 British Commonwealth Independent Infantry Brigade Group' (North Malaya Sub-District)." On 31 October 1957 the Battalion returned to Australia.

2 RAR remained at Enoggera until it embarked for operational service in South Vietnam on 19 May 1967. On that day the unit sailed on the troop carrier HMAS Sydney to relieve the 6th Battalion serving with the 1st Australian Task Force. During this tour two companies of New Zealand Infantry were placed under command and 2 RAR became an ANZAC Battalion. 4 RAR relieved the Battalion 01 June 1968. On 15 May 1970, 2 RAR officially relieved 6 RAR and resumed the title of ANZAC Battalion with New Zealanders again under command. The Battalion returned to Lavarack Barracks where it linked with 4 RAR on 15 August 1973.

As a result of the 1994 Defence White paper 2/4 RAR was unlinked on 01 February 1995 to form 2 RAR and 4 RAR. The officers and soldiers of 2/4 RAR formed 2 RAR and remained part of 3 Brigade in Samichon Lines. In 1994 the Australian Government approved the commitment of Australian troops to provide humanitarian support to the UN forces deployed in Rwanda. A Company were deployed to protect the Australian Medical Support Force.

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Page last modified: 10-01-2012 19:30:30 ZULU