ARMY APPRENTICES SCHOOL
The Balcombe Army Camp at Mount Martha, Victoria was opened on 2nd June 1948 for boys aged from 15-17.5 years as a live-in school to undertake a 3 year army trade qualification. In 1982 it was relocated to Latchford Barracks in Bongellia, near Wodonga. It closed in 1995.
The Australian Military Forces was the official name of the Army of Australia from 1916 to 1980, then afterwards known as the Australian Army.
This was the design used on the the army’s ’emblem’ (i.e. flag) from 1969-1992. (This design had also been used on badges instead of the ‘Rising Sun’ from 1954-1969.)
The button below has no makers’ mark. It seems to be a composite of white metal and plastic.
AUSTRALIAN ARMY AVIATION CORPS
This corps was formed in 1968 to take over from the No.16 Army Light Aircraft Squadron form in 1960. It uses helicopters for troop lifting, fire support and reconnaissance.
AUSTRALIAN ARMY BAND CORPS
This corps was formed in 1968 and has full and part time bands to “provides band capability to ceremonial and training activities conducted by the Army and other services of the ADF in support of various Regal, Vice-Regal, federal, state, territory and local government agencies.” according to the Army website. The design shows the ultimate song-bird and mimic, the lyre-bird, perched on crossed swords.
AUSTRALIAN ARMY CATERING CORP
This corp in, not surprisingly, responsible for the preparing and serving of food. Prior to 1939, the role of cook was a despised and lowly role, with poor quality food the result. In 1939 Sir Cedric Staton Hicks recognised the problem and set about improving the quality of supplies, equipment, and cooks. The later he achieved by raising their status, pay and training against considerable opposition, and on 12th March 1943 the Corps was raised with Hicks as the first director.
Post WW2 the Corps came under the control of the Royal Australian Army Service Corps until its disbanding in 1973. During 1990s there was outsourcing of training, and a reduction in numbers with the future of the Corps in doubt, but it continues to this day.
AUSTRALIAN ARMY EDUCATION CORPS
This corps has provided education and training as an ‘officer only’ corps since 1949. It was granted the Royal prefix in 1960. It took over from the Australian Army Education Service, and the earlier Australian Army Education Scheme.
AUSTRALIAN ARMY INTELLIGENCE CORPS
The current Corps was formed in 1939 and has been allied with its British counterparts since 1950. Its duties include intelligence, security, passport control, rail, air and shipping security, censorship, prisoner of war interrogation and data compilation.
The insignia, modeled on the British version, has a red and white Tudor rose flanked by laurel leaves.
AUSTRALIAN ARMY PSYCHOLOGY CORPS
According to the Army; “The Australian Army Psychology Corps provides support to Army on operations and in garrison, in the areas of specialist selection assessment, individual psychological assessment and counselling, advice to commanders on mental health issues, specialist training support, critical incident mental health support, psychology research and operational mental health screening.” It was formed in 1952, replacing the AA Psychology Service that had been in operation from 1949.
AUSTRALIAN MILITARY FORCES
The Australian Military Forces (AMF) was the official name of the Army of Australia from 1916 to 1980.
THE BYRON SCOTTISH REGIMENT
Precursors of this regiment had been formed in 1916, and before that from the Maclean Company and Byron Company of Scottish Rifles formed in 1899. A large number of Scots had settled around Grafton, Byron Bay and Maclean.
Post WW1 the Battalion went through amalgamations and splitting, disbanding and reforming until in 1960 in became the ‘E’ (Bryon Scottish) Company, 1st battalion, Royal Queensland Regiment. It is now an infantry Battalion of the Army Reserve, the 41st Royal New South Wales Regiment, which retains the right to wear a kilt because of the linage from the Byron Scottish Regiment.
ROYAL ARMY SERVICE CORPS
In 1886 an “Ordnance and Commissariat and Transport Corps of Victoria” was raised. In 1889 the ordnance function of this corps ceased. A similar corps was started in New South Wales in 1891. In both states the corps evolved into Army Service Corps then soon after federation the Australian Army Service Corps (AASC) was formed.
The Corps served in WW1, WW2, The Occupation of Japan, the Malayan Emergency, Korea and Vietnam. Despite the importance of supply to an Army in the field, after WW1 the Corps was neglected, with lack of training, men and resources. During WW2, they played an active role in the defense of Tobruk. The Royal prefix was bestowed on 31st December 1948. The Corps was disbanded on 31st may 1973 with a new corps taking over road, transport, air dispatch and postal duties; the Royal Australian Corps of Transport. The Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps took over provision of foodstuffs and fuel.
ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE
3 versions of RAAF buttons by Stokes & Sons.The bird is meant to be a Wedge-tailed eagle. Now this is Wedge-tailed eagle …
Compare with the King’s crown version:
The older buttons have the profile side on, whereas the newer have the eagle facing towards the viewer, with less emphases on the body and neck. Most of them don’t get the wedge shaped tail at all.
Canada and New Zealand have similar insignias for their airforces. In Canada it is meant to be a Golden eagle, in New Zealand a Haast eagle. They too have funny looking eagles on some of their buttons! According to Cossum, the eagle design changed from a “Canadian” to a “Australian” one around 1970. However, I have a Stokes & Sons (i.e. pre 1962) in anodised gilt so I think he was in error.
ROYAL AUSTRALIAN ARMY ARMOURED CORPS
Australian Tank Corps was formed in 1928. In 1941 it became the Australian Army Armoured Corps. Due to the changing times, the Light Horse were absorbed into this corps. The Royal prefix was received in 1948.
ROYAL AUSTRALIAN ARMY CHAPLAINS DEPARTMENT
This is a non-combatant, all officer department with Christian and Jewish Chaplains to minister to army personnel. The Royal designation dates from 1948.
ROYAL AUSTRALIAN ARMY MEDICAL CORPS
ROYAL AUSTRALIAN ARMY DENTAL CORPS
Prior to 1943 dentists were part of the Australian Army Medical Corps. The Corps gained the Royal prefix in 1948. (I guess dragons need good teeth to fight.)
ROYAL AUSTRALIAN ARMY NURSING CORPS
Formed in 1951 from the preceeding Royal Australian Army Nursing Service that had existed from 1903 due to the success of nurses that served during the Boer War (Australian Army Nursing Service). The Royal designation was given in 1948.
Vietnam war era uniform.
ROYAL AUSTRALIAN ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS
This is one of the Army’s largest corps, started in 1902. It supports the Army, Navy and Airforce with tasks including parachute maintainance, warehousing, laundry and salvage. The button shows three stacked cannons, symbolising the role of Ordnance in supplying weapons. The motto ‘Sua Tela Tonanti’ translates as ‘To the Warrior his Arms’.
ROYAL AUSTRALIAN ARMY PAY CORPS
This Corps provides pay and financial services to the army. They served overseas in both World Wars. The Royal title was granted in 1948.
ROYAL AUSTRALIAN ARTILLERY
The Royal Australian Artillery took over post Federation from the colonial artillery units. It 1962 became the Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery.
ROYAL AUSTRALIAN CORPS of MILITARY POLICE
This corps was formed in 1916 as the Australian Army Provost Corps, disbanded post war then reformed for WW2. The name changed in 1974. According to Wikipedia, it is responsible for battlefield traffic control, security duties, prisoner of war handling, the investigation of service offences, maintaining discipline and the running of military prisons.
ROYAL AUSTRALIAN CORPS of TRANSPORT
This corps has been responsible for transport of personnel and equipment visa road, rail, sea and air and also postal services. It was formed by the merging of the Royal Australian Army Service Corps(RAASC) and the Royal Australian Engineers Transport service. (Some functions of the RAASC were taken over by the RAA Ordance Corps.
ROYAL AUSTRALIAN ELECTRICAL and MECHANICAL ENGINEERS (RAEME)
The Royal of Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers is a corps of the Australian Army that has responsibility for the maintenance and recovery of all army electrical and mechanical equipment. It was form in 1942 from the combined repair services of the Ordninace and Service Corps. It was given the Royal prefix in 1948 by His Majesty King George VI. On 1st December 2006, the last independent RAEME Workshop was disbanded. RAEME soldiers continue in their role to provide support through attachment to other units in Tech Support Troops, Sections or Platoons.
ROYAL AUSTRALIAN ENGINEERS
The RAE was formed from the merging of the colonial engineer corps in 1902. They provide engineering, construction and technical support to the defence forces.
ROYAL AUSTRALIAN INFANTRY CORPS
Established in 1948, this is the parent corps of all the infantry regiments, and the major combat element of the army. Queen Elizabeth II is the Colonel-in-Chief.
ROYAL AUSTRALIAN NAVY
Naval Dockyard Police/Naval Police/Naval Police Coxwains
The Naval Police formed in 1913, called at that time the Naval Dockyard Police, although they were civilians, and had no real police powers, but did guarding duties. During WW1 they took on counter espionage. They did not cease to be a civilian organisation and become auxiliary of the Navy until 1923, when they also were given statuary powers. They remained an auxiliary until 1972 when they become part of the navy proper. They were then renamed Naval Police. In 1991 they were amalgamated with the Coxwains to become the Naval Police Coxwains (NPC).
ROYAL AUSTRALIAN SURVEY CORPS
The Royal Australian Survey Corps was formed in 1915 to perform the surveying and mapping required by the military. It was integrated with the Royal Australian Engineers in 1996.
According to the defence department “(Staff officers) manage (an) office in a way that enables (the) boss to make decisions. (They) coordinate staff effort across the Branch, similar to a Chief of Staff. A Staff Officer’s role is broad and varied – correspondence, preparing presentations and briefs, calendar management, travel bookings, administrative tasks and chasing returns. The ADC and/or EA is invaluable for travel and day-to-day coordination which allows the MA to focus on correspondence, briefs, staff coordination and planning.”
1/15th NSW LANCERS
The origin of this Australian Army Reserve Light Cavalry unit (which currently means using armoured vehicles) was the Sydney Light Horse Volunteers in 1885. The current name was adopted when the 1st Royal New South Wales Lancers and 15th Northern River Lancers were amalgamated in 1956.
2ND INFANTRY BATTALION, NEWCASTLE REGIMENT
According to the Australian War Memorial “On returning to Australia after the First World War the Australian Imperial Force, including the 2nd Infantry Battalion, ceased to exist. In its place was formed The Citizens Military Force (CMF), also known as the militia. These new units maintained the structure of the AIF and kept the same numerical designations. The militia units were also distributed in the same areas the original AIF units were raised. Consequently, militia units were known by the name of their shire. Thus the 2nd Infantry Battalion became the ‘City of Newcastle Regiment’.” The regiment was made into a company of the Royal New South Wales Regiment in the 1960 restructuring. The British Newcastle regiment was nick-named ‘The Lambs’ due to the white coats of their uniforms, which may explain the rather muscular lamb on this button.
3rd INFANTRY BATTALION, WERRIWA REGIMENT
The 3rd Battalion was raised in 1914 and sent to Gallipoli before serving in France and Belgium. It was disbanded in 1919, then re-raised in 1921 as part of the militia, based west of Sydney. In 1942 the regiment was mobilised and sent to Port Moresby then onto Kokoda. It was disbanded in 1943. In 1948 it was re-established as part of the militia based around Canberra. From 1960 until 1987 it underwent various incarnations, finally becoming part of the 4th/3rd Battalion, Royal New South Wales Regiment.
3rd /9th LIGHT HORSE/SOUTH AUSTRALIAN MOUNTED RIFLES
Formed in 1948 to carry on the tradition of South Australia’s previous Light Horse Regiments. It has gone through armour, anti-tank, cavalry and light cavalry incarnations, and was reduced to a squadron in 1976.
5th INFANTRY BATTALION, VICTORIAN SCOTTISH REGIMENT
The Victorian Scottish Regiment started as a volunteer unit in 1898, being absorbed into the Commonwealth Military Forces in 1902.
Many men of this unit served in the 5th Battalion during WW1, so post war the regiment was designated as the 5th Battalion.
The battalion was called up for 3 months compulsory training early during 1940 before performing garrison duty in WA and NT. The photos below are likely to have been taken during the 1940 training.
They continued until 1960, becoming the 1st Royal Victorian Regiment and are now remembered as part of the 5th/6th Battalion, Royal Victoria Regiment.
6th BATTALION (ROYAL MELBOURNE REGIMENT)
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.
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!
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.
Along with the 5th Infantry Battalion, this unit is remembered as part of the 5/6th Infantry Battalion, the cap badge which is below. I don’t believe they have an unique button design.
8th/13th VICTORIAN MOUNTED RIFLES
This was a armoured regiment of the Australian Army reserve from 1948 until 1992 when it was merged with 4th/19th Prince of Wales Light Horse.
11th INFANTRY BATTALION, CITY OF PERTH
The Battalion was first raised in 1915 and disbanded in 1919. There have been various reincarnations of this unit; the current version being the 11/28th Battalion, Royal Western Australia regiment.
12th INFANTRY BATTALION, LAUNCESTON REGIMENT
The battalion was raised as part of the AIF within three weeks of the declaration of war in 1914, comprising volunteers from Tasmania, Western Australia and South Australia. It was disbanded in 1919.
It was re-raised in 1921 and titled ‘The Launceston Regiment’ in 1927. Following mergers and disbandment, it was reformed as part of the CMF in 1948. Further merging and demerging followed. Currently, it continues as part of the merged 12/40th Battalion of the Royal Tasmania Regiment, part of the Australian Army Reserve.
For more of its convoluted timeline, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/12th_Battalion_(Australia)
12/16th HUNTER RIVER LANCERS
This is an Australian Army reserve regiment formed in 1948 with links back to cavalry volunteers in 1885. These cavalry became part of the NSW Lancers, then the Australian Horse. After Federation the Light Horse were reorganised; the 4th Hunter River Lancers became the 6th Light Horse (Hunter River Lancers).
Many of these men served in the AIR during WW1. In 1927 the 6th became the 16th Light Horse (Hunter River Lancers). The men were drawn from Maitland, Singleton, Dingog and other northern towns. They evolved to be armoured division in 1936. In 1948 the 12/16th Armoured Regiments (Hunter River Lancers) was raised as part of the Citizen Military Force (CMF), and renamed in 1949 as the 12/16th Hunter River Lancers.
13th INFANTRY BATTALION, MACQUARIE REGIMENT
The button displayed on Cossum page 43 has the Queen’s crown above the number 13 in Roman numerals.
The battalion was initially raised at the start of WW1, then demoblised in 1919.
It was re-raised as a militia unit from 1921, then amalgamated with the 33rd Battalion in 1942.
it was re-re-raised during 1942, with the name changing from the Maitland to the Macquarie regiment in 1952. In 1960 it became part of the Royal NSW Regiment.
30th INFANTRY BATTALION, NSW SCOTTISH REGIMENT
The Battalion was raised during WW1 then disbanded. Like for many others, there was a series of re-raising, merging and demerging. At this stage they adopted the designation of the New South Wales Scottish regiment to reflect the heritage of the unit.
It served in new Guinea during WW2.
Post war it was disbanded, then re-raised from 1948 until 1960, then absorbed into the Royal NSW Regiment.
34th INFANTRY BATTALION, ILLAWARA REGIMENT
This is another unit raised during WW1, disbanded, reformed, merged, disbanded then reformed again before being amalgamated into the Royal NSW Regiment in 1960. In 1927, when territorial designations were introduced, the battalion adopted the title of the “Illawarra Regiment”.
38th INFANTRY REGIMENT, NORTHERN VICTORIA REGIMENT.
The original infantry battalion was raised from 1916-1919. The inter-war years saw it re-raised as a part-time military unit. This regiment was merged in 1960 with the Victorian Scottish, Royal Melbourne, Melbourne Rifles, North West Victorian and the Hume Regiments, to form the Royal Victorian Regiment. The initial two battalions were increased to four then merged into the 5/6th and the 8/7th Battalions.
42nd INFANTRY BATTALION, CAPRICORNIA REGIMENT
This regiment began as part of the post WW1 militia. During WW2 it served both in Australia, New Guinea and Bougainville. It was disbanded in May 1946. In 1948 it was re-raised as a militia force based in Rockhampton and Maryborough. In 1960 it was absorbed into the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Queensland Regiment.
43rd/48th INFANTRY BATTALION, HINDMARSH REGIMENT
This infantry unit was raised for service during WW1.
It was disbanded, re-raised, then merged in 1930 with the 48th Battalion. When territorial designations were introduced in 1927, the battalion adopted the title of the “Hindmarsh Regiment”. It was briefly re-raised during WW2, disbanded, re-re-raised, re-merged with the 48th until absorbed in 1960 into the Royal South Australian Regiment.
59th INFANTRY BATTALION, HUME REGIMENT
This is another unit raised for service in WW1 then disbanded, only to be re-raised. The territorial title of the ‘Hume regiment’ was adopted in 1938. In 1942 it was merged with the 58th Battalion. Thus merged, they served in Bougainville and New Guinea .
The 59th was re-raised in 1952 and absorbed into the Royal Victorian Regiment in 1960.
WOMEN’S ROYAL AUSTRALIAN ARMY CORPS (WRAAC)
In WW2 the Australian Women’s Army Service was raised.
Many senior personnel from this transferred to the WRAAC in 1951, which was raised in response to the shortage of manpower that occurred due to both the Korean conflict and a period of full employment. Recruitment started in 1953. The women were trained separately, but could be deployed either to WRAAC units or male units. It was disbanded in 1984 as women had begun to be integrated into the general army from the late 1970s.
WOMEN’S ROYAL AUSTRALIAN NAVAL SERVICE
The service was started in January 1943 to help with manpower shortages, eventually being absorbed into the navy proper. The following article summarises its history.
This article written on the retirement of Captain Joan Streeter provides a good history of women serving in the Navy. It was published in the Royal Australian Navy News, 27th April 1973 page 3.
Captain Streeter pioneered the return of women after marriage into the WRANS in 1968, reducing the entry age of recruits from 18 to 17 years. Unlike the WRAAC and the Women’s Air Training Corps, the WRANS did not have a distinct button design, just the RAN design.