16th May 2023

6th Infantry battalion, The Royal Melbourne Regiment








The 6th battalion was raised from Melbourne and surrounding suburbs within 2 weeks of the declaration of war in 1914. They served in Gallipoli, Egypt, the Somme, Pozieres, Ypres and other battle; not surprisingly they suffered heavy casualties.

After WW1 as the Australian Imperial forces were demobilised, various battalions were merged as the numbers dwindled. In 1921 it was decided to honour the previous AIF battalions by adopting their numerical and battle honours in the new Citizen Force. These were organised to preserve the regional identities of the battalions whose memory they upheld. Thus the 6th Battalion was re-raised from various units. In 1927 territorial titles were adopted, with the battalion becoming the 6th Battalion, City of Melbourne Regiment. In 1935 it was re-designated as the Royal Melbourne Regiment on the approval of King George V during his jubilee.

Daily Examiner (Grafton, NSW), 3rd June 1935 page 5.

During WW2 the militia served as home guard, and the 6th battalion served garrison duties. due to changes in politics and the economy, this and other units were disbanded. However, in 1948 the Citizens Military Force (CMF) was established, with the 6th re-re-raised!

The Age (Melbourne), 16th April 1948 page 3.

From 1960-1965 the adoption of the Pentropic divisional structure of the Australian Army resulted in the amalgamation of several units including the 6th, into the Royal Victorian Regiment (RVR). However, further changes in military philosophy/structure saw the 6th split off as the 6th Battalion, RVR in 1965. Declining numbers saw the amalgamation with the 5th Battalion from 1975 til 1982 as part of the 1st Battalion, RVR. The Russian invasion of Afghanistan prompted the expansion of the CMF, with the 5/6 RVR again split off as a second Victorian battalion.

Army newspaper, 28th July 1983 page 13.

The button above is anodised gilt, so could date from 1953 ( when Stokes introduced the anodising technology into Australia) until 1960, when unit was swallowed into the RVR. After 1962 Stokes & Sons became Stokes (A/Asia) limited, so it does not belong to later incarnations.

The Age (Melbourne), 3rd June 1953. “A scene during the Royal Melbourne Regiment’s Colour trooping.”

Australian Army newspaper, 8th October 1959 page 15.

To watch footage of the centenary of the regiment, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXcS2B0J9Ns

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