History

5th/7th Battalion (Mechanized), The Royal Australian Regiment

Linking of the Battalions

At Tobruk Lines, Holsworthy on 3 Dec 73, 5 RAR and 7 RAR linked to form the new battalion, 5/7 RAR. Soldiers, non-commissioned officers and officers were drawn from both battalions to form the new battalion. The 5 RAR mascot, then SGT Quintus, and the 7 RAR Pipes and Drums were adopted by 5/7 RAR.

Rifle Company Butterworth

Throughout 1974, the battalion was involved in individual and collective company training. Charlie Company spent the period Mar – Jun 74 in Malaysia supporting the RAAF at Butterworth. The Rifle Company Butterworth commitment would continue to provide valuable training with a company being detached almost every year until the Battalion was delinked 33 years later in 2006.

Cyclone Tracey

On 13 Jan 75, the battalion received a warning order from 1 TF to form the major part of Field Force Group Darwin (FFGD). The task of FFGD was to assist the civilian population of Darwin in the clearing of houses damaged by Cyclone Tracy, which had struck Darwin on Christmas Day 1974. The Commanding Officer, LTCOL E.J. O’Donnell, MC was appointed Commander of FFGD. The reconnaissance group arrived in Darwin on 15 Jan 75 and the main body arrived from 18 Jan 75.

On 8 Mar 75, CO 5/7 RAR handed over command of FFGD to CO 6 RAR, and the Battalion returned to Holsworthy. During 5/7 RAR’s tour, it cleared 3288 blocks of land, 26 schools, two warehouses, one recreational ground, four shops, one hospital and re-roofed 136 houses.

Mechanization Trial

In 1976, 5/7 RAR began a mechanized infantry trial. The trial was sponsored by Field Force Command and directed by 1 TF. 5/7 RAR accepted its first armoured personnel carriers from 2 Cav Regt at a parade on 17 Sep 76. The trial continued for just under two years until Jul 78. The CO during the trial, LTCOL M.P. Blake, MC, concluded that “… a mechanized battalion has the capacity of three infantry battalions.”

Hilton Bombing

In an impressive demonstration of speed and flexibility the battalion responded to a short notice call out to secure the route from Sydney to Bowral following a terrorist threat to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sydney in Feb 78.

Towards full mechanization

At the completion of the trial, the battalion returned the majority of its APCs. A company allocation and a limited number of headquarters and specialist vehicles remained and these were rotated annually between companies to keep alive the skills learnt during the trial.

Exercises during the following years often included the use of carriers from the Divisional Pool at Puckapunyal. Major activities in this period included Exercise ‘DROUGHT MASTER’ in western NSW in 1980, umpiring and exercise control tasks during ‘KANGAROO 81’, a deployment of the battalion (minus) to Tasmania in early 1982 to assist with bush fire fighting and participation in the overload trial of HMAS Tobruk in 1982.

In 1983, it was decided to equip a second mechanized Company (Delta Company). The battalion was authorised to re-equip to its full peace time establishment of APCs in June 1984 and the battalion adopted the suffix “(Mechanized)” from that date. APCs continued to arrive to complete the new establishment until November 1984. The first battalion level mechanized exercise was ‘TASMAN WARRIOR’ conducted at Shoalwater Bay in late 1985.

Full mechanization

The next 15 years were demanding years of peace time soldiering, with the battalion generally afforded a lower priority for manning and equipment than the units of the newly established Townsville based Operational Deployment Force (ODF). The battalion sustained the hard won Battle Group mechanized skills required for the higher levels of war, and in response to changing strategic direction, in the 1990s gained additional skills in widely dispersed operations necessary for Defence of Australia operations in Northern Australia. The battalion supported a wide range of trials of developing concepts and some equipment, most notably in 1998 when the battalion was committed to the trials associated with the Restructure of the Army.

Training at Battle group level was conducted at least annually, and occasionally at brigade level. The routine of mechanised training at Puckapunyal and Cobar; and later at Shoalwater Bay, Woomera and the Northern Territory, was interspersed with periodic three month company deployments to Butterworth in Malaysia in support of the Five Power Defence Agreement. Typically these deployments involved exercises with the Royal Malay Regiment in Sabah, the use of urban training facilities in Singapore, live firing at Pulada and local jungle training near Sik. During the 1993 Butterworth tour of Bravo Company, five soldiers were killed in a vehicle accident at Pulada.

Through the 80s and 90s the battalion supported a series of company level exchanges of four to six weeks with allied armies under the auspices of North Star / Southern Cross with the British Army, Pacific Bond with the US Army, and Tasman Exchange with the New Zealand Army. Numerous junior officers and NCO participated in individual exchanges for periods of three months with the British, US and NZ Armies.

The 5th/7th Battalion maintained one of only three pipe bands in the Australian Regular Army. The pipes and drums were inherited from the 7th Battalion in 1973 at the amalgamation. Initially, the pipes and drums had no tartan, until in 1979 the Gordon tartan was adopted in recognition of the battalion’s alliance with the Gordon Highlanders. In 1992, the new Australian Macquarie tartan was adopted. The Pipes and Drums served as combat medics, primarily driving the fleet of M113 ambulances.

As a lower priority battalion than those of the ODF, the battalion was frequently tasked to support the Army’s major exercises through the 80s and 90s. The Kangaroo series of exercises (K1, K2, K3, K81, K83, K86, K89, K92 and K95) drew heavily on the battalion for umpires and enemy support. In K89 the battalion fielded a mechanized Combat Team as part of the Blue Force for the first and only time. In K95, the battalion led the Red Force Land Component in a series of demanding air landing and raiding operations from the Kimberleys in WA to the Gulf in western Queensland.

In addition to these tasks the battalion was a frequent visitor to Canberra providing guards of honour for visiting Heads of State and military chiefs, a task in later years to be performed by the Australian Federation Guard. In 1988 the battalion made a significant commitment to the conduct of the Bicentennial Military Tattoo which for six months redirected the battalion’s efforts from training to drill and ceremony.

Through this period, the battalion supported a series of operational deployments by small teams. 15 officers and NCO deployed in January 1980 to Rhodesia/Zimbabwe as part of the Commonwealth Monitoring Force. In 1983-84 several NCO deployed to Uganda as part of the Commonwealth Military Training Team Uganda (CMTTU) to train and discipline the Ugandan National Liberation Army, which was formed after the overthrow of Idi Amin. About 90 soldiers of the battalion served in the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia in 1992-93, most serving as Regimental Signallers. In 1995 six men from the battalion deployed to Rwanda as part of Operation TAMAR in support of the UN. In providing crews for the M113 of the Australian contingent’s Quick Response Force, they marked the first operational deployment from the battalion requiring mechanized skills.

Mascots

In 1986, Delta Company was presented with a bush piglet by staff from Land Command Battle School, Tully who was subsequently named ‘Willis’ and became the unit’s unofficial ‘live-in’ mascot recognising the ‘pig’ tradition of 7 RAR. Renowned for his massive bulk and appetite for apples, ‘Willy’ resided in a wallow not far from the back kitchen door of the ORs Mess. He wandered freely in the battalion area but always returned for meals. Willis died of old age not long before the battalion departed for Darwin, perhaps he knew the quarantine rules would prevent him from going North.

WO2 Quintus, the original mascot inherited from 5 RAR, having taken discharge on 2 Dec 85, died in 1988. His replacement, Quintus Secundus, a Bengal Tiger, was housed at Bullens’ Animal World. Enlisted on 3 Dec 85 and promoted to CPL on 9 Sep 88 he was retired on the move of the Battalion to Darwin. Quintus Septimus, a resident of Crocodylus Park in Darwin was enlisted as the Battalion’s new mascot in 2004.

Army Presence in the North (APIN)

In 1992 the battalion was advised that it would in time relocate to Darwin as part of the Army Presence In the North (APIN) project. In 1998 the final planning was completed for the relocation of the Battalion from its home of 25 years to Robertson Barracks, Palmerston, 30 km south of Darwin. The farewell to Holsworthy parade was held in September 1998 and within one week families began the move to the Top End. This was a complex task given the need to move over 1200 people, 200 vehicles and the fact that parts of our new home were not ready for occupation at the time.

INTERFET/UNTAET

In early 1999, at the same time that Tobruk Lines, Holsworthy were being handed back, the Minister directed the 1st Brigade to become part of the Ready Deployment Force, in response to the deteriorating security situation in East Timor. So began the Battalion’s work to achieve reduced readiness notice, whilst still trying to settle in to the new lines – named as Binh Ba Lines and officially opened on the 31 Mar 99 by Brigadier Colin Khan, former CO 5 RAR.

The Battalion was put though several long and demanding exercises to test its deployment and operational capabilities. New military equipment and personnel arrived almost on a daily basis and within a compressed timeframe the Battalion was declared ‘ready’. With the possibility of a deployment to East Timor becoming more likely, the Battalion’s training became tightly focused and the Battalion Group was formed, with: 103rd Medium Battery providing a forty man Civil-Military Liaison Group; 2nd Field Troop (Mechanized) from 1st Combat Engineer Regiment providing mobility support; and a 2nd line logistic Company from 1st Combat Service Support Battalion in direct support making up the larger attachments. The three mechanized rifle companies were at full strength and Support Company restructured with Mortar and Reconnaissance Platoons to become Patrols Company.

The Battalion Group was warned for active service on 23 Sep 99 and deployed to Dili by a combination of C130 sorties, RAN and civilian shipping over the period 7 to 20 Oct 99. The initial task for the Battalion was to relieve both 2 and 3 RAR of their AOs centred on the capital. This task was complete by 11 Oct 99, with the enhanced mobility, communications, firepower and protection allowing the Battalion Group to undertake wider security tasks than the two light battalions.

The Battalion group was allocated from under command HQ 3rd Brigade to under command of DILICOMD from 11 Oct 99 (commanded by Brigadier Martin Dunne of the NZ Army) where it was the primary unit responsible for the security of an expanding AO CITADEL. These security tasks were essentially conducted by the sub-units within their designated TAOR (all named after previous COs of 5, 7 and 5/7 RAR – a method that stayed with the battalion throughout its tour). Companies performed these responsibilities through extensive and continual patrolling on foot, supported by the vehicles. On a typical day the Battalion Group was involved in approximately 40 patrols throughout the AO, in addition to the required key point security tasks. The Civil-Military liaison and intelligence functions in support of the security tasking were coordinated through Battalion

The Battalion Group continued operations in AO CITADEL until late December when it conducted simultaneous reliefs in place to hand-over its central responsibilities to Kenyan and Italian units, whilst taking over 2RAR’s responsibilities on the border with West Timor. This task was complicated by a short notice surge activity in Dili on New Years Eve, when the Battalion was ordered back on the streets to counter a predicted attack on key East Timorese leadership. Delta Company and Patrols Company were hastily returned to patrolling and key point security tasks within the capital, further highlighting the flexibility of the Battalion to rapidly change its point of main effort when required.

On 3 Jan 00 the Battalion assumed responsibility from 2 RAR for the northern sector of the border region, having redeployed from Dili in a combination of RAN Landing Craft, Blackhawk and Russian MI26 helicopters together with a road move by the echelon. AO ROBERTSON covered 57 kms of ill-defined border, more than 1600 sq kms of rugged hill country and approximately 20,000 souls. With the Battalion Group Headquarters and Echelon situated at the ‘infamous’ town of Balibo, the sub-units were dispersed throughout the AO, centred on major villages of Batugarde, Maliana, Aidabaleten, and Tonibibi. Again the modus operandi saw sub-units responsible for their own TAORs, with Battalion Headquarters coordinating the Civil-Military liaison, enhanced information gathering assets, quick reaction elements and assigned special forces. Sub-units held responsibilities within a TAOR for six weeks before being relieved.

The Battalion was again assigned to under command of HQ 3rd Brigade, now styled as WESTFOR, with 2/1 RNZIR as our neighbouring battalion. With the draw down of Australian troop commitments in Jan/Feb, the Battalion Group remained in position and worked to Commander SECTOR WEST, Brigadier Duncan Lewis. On 21 Feb 00, the Battalion donned ‘blue berets’ to become the first Australian infantry battalion to be permanently assigned to a UN force since the Korean War. Importantly, the Battalion now had very real responsibilities to the local UN Administrator and had to set the standard for educating the locals on the primacy of the civilian authority, a circumstance that they had not necessarily been witness to before.

The border region lent itself to hostile activity by the militias, now predominantly based in West Timor. Incursions across the border by these groups continued throughout February, March and April. Most of these were ineffectual due to the aggressive patrol program of the Battalion. However in early March a Patrols Company post came under direct grenade and rifle fire whilst they were at Memo and, later that month, a patrol from ‘Pegasus’ Platoon (Attachments from 3 RAR permanently allocated to Patrols Company) encountered a militia patrol and fired shots at the infiltrators. The uneasy relationship with the Indonesian battalion monitoring the West Timor side of the border, 432 Airborne Battalion, ensured that things were never dull on the various junction points, particularly when the Battalion conducted the weekly reunion visits at Junction Point Alpha.

The Battalion worked extremely long hours, with little rest, to maintain a high profile for the rest of the tour and was instrumental in seeing the return of the population in the Maliana/Bobonaro District to 37,000 people, with community facilities and agriculture activity returning. Technical Support and Administration Companies were able to maintain 95% availability for the APCs which proved themselves time and time again as a versatile and effective vehicle in all terrain despite a heavy wet season.

After a memorable Anzac Day service at which the Administrator of the Northern Territory, Dr Neil Conn, was the honoured guest, the Battalion handed over to 6 RAR who became AUSBATT II. After a short refurbishment period in Dili, the Battalion departed East Timor on 1 May 00 by HMAS JERVIS BAY. So ended the Battalion’s first operational tour, having made a significant contribution ‘to helping the people of East Timor’ – our primary mission throughout the seven months.

During the remainder of 2000 the battalion received reinforcements to again bring it back to strength following its return from East Timor. The major activity for the rest of the year was leave, courses and re- building the battalion and its readiness.

Operation RELEX

In October and November 2001, elements of the battalion were committed to OPERATION RELEX in support of the RAN in the interception and marshalling of illegal immigrants. This difficult and sensitive task was dealt with in a way that brought great credit to the battalion and the Australian Army. Concurrent with this task, the Battalion was preparing to return to East Timor.

UNTAET

The 5/7 RAR Main Body deployed on its second tour of East Timor on 13 Oct 02. The Battalion assumed the role of AUSBATT VII from 3 RAR (AUSBATT VI) on 25 Oct 02. The deployment was OP CITADEL as part of The United Nations Mission in support of East Timor (UNMISET). A Government decision saw the Battalion raise and train an Army Reserve Company for the deployment. The Company spent a year with the Battalion. The Battalion’s tour was characterised by continuing security operations and the development of the East Timorese security agencies as the UN Mission commenced to wind down.

The Battalion undertook a major repatriation of excess stores and equipment and commenced the closure of former bases within the AO, including Bobonaro, Batugade, and Balibo. The battalion’s AO also increased significantly with the unit taking over the responsibility for an additional two districts. This involved setting up a new base at Gleno where the Battalion had elements during its first tour. The men of Delta Company were warmly welcomed with shouts of “Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi”

During its tour the Battalion also took under command a Fijian Rifle Company, trained and built the fledgling Border Patrol Unit and embarked on a humanitarian project that built/rebuilt schools, churches, provided basic sanitation, and built a major Government services facility near Batugade to house the East Timorese Police, Border Patrol Unit, Customs and Immigration personnel.

The Battalion had the last contact of the UNMISET Mission with a group of armed ex-militia that infiltrated from West Timor and murdered some bus travelers within the AO. The Battalion mounted a full cordon and search operation and was rewarded within three days when the Fijian Reconnaissance Platoon detected the ex-militia and called on them to surrender. In the ensuing contact, one ex-militia was KIA and one wounded. Importantly the information gained from the questioning of the wounded man was passed to TNI and within two weeks the other members of the group had been arrested by Indonesian authorities in West Timor. The Battalion also captured a former militia Company Commander in the vicinity of the border. The battalion handed over to 1 RAR on 20 May 03.

The return to Australia saw the battalion reconstitute the mechanized capability with Charlie Company whilst the remainder of the Battalion completed the necessary courses. On 4 Dec 03 the Battalion was presented new colours by the His Excellency Major General Michael Jeffery, AC CVO MC; Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia. The old colours were subsequently laid up in the Soldiers Chapel at Kapooka. The new colours were a single set, emblazoned V/VII, replacing the two sets of 5 RAR and 7 RAR.

RAMSI

In March 2004, Spt Company HQ and a Platoon from Charlie Company deployed to the Solomon Islands as the Response Force for OP ANODE. The Regional Assistance Mission Solomon Islands (RAMSI) began in July 2003 when the Solomon Islands Government requested assistance from the Pacific Island Forum in restoring law and order. Along with our diggers, were soldiers from Tonga, PNG and New Zealand, along with members of the Australian Federal Police and police from 13 other Pacific nations.

SECDET

In May 2004 the Battalion commenced the first of two four-month long company minus rotations to Iraq as part of OP CATALYST. As the Security Detachment located in Baghdad, along with a troop plus from 2 Cav Regt, they provided security for the Australian embassy and its officials. Concurrently, a number of officers and NCO were deployed to the Australian Army Training Team Iraq (AATTI) for a six month tour to assist in the training of the new Iraqi Army.

Whilst the Battalion provided forces for ongoing operations it remediated the Battle Group mechanized capability with a test exercise on EX Predator’s Gallop 04 and became the online Deployable Battle Group.

AMTG I

In February 2005 the Prime Minister, Mr. Howard, announced that the Australian Government had agreed to a request from the British and Japanese Governments to assist with the provision of a secure environment for Japanese reconstruction work in the southern Iraq province of Al Muthanna. In response to the Government direction the ADF created the Al Muthanna Task Group (AMTG), an Army combined arms Battle Group based on units from 1 Bde. AMTG, through the Australian Army Training Team – Iraq, was also tasked to train and mentor the Iraqi 4th Brigade, 2nd Division.

The first AMTG (AMTG 1) deployed in April 2005 and was based upon 2 Cav Regt with Bravo Company, 5/7 RAR providing the infantry company, known as Combat Team Tiger. A number of other personnel from the Battalion deployed with AMTG 1 to round out the HQ and logistics. Combat Team Tiger worked from a combination of ASLAV armoured recon vehicles and Bushmaster infantry mobility vehicles. Operating from CAMP SMITTY (named after a British soldier KIA) CT Tiger provided security to Japanese and other reconstruction activities, conducted counter threat security patrols and secured the AATTI during their mission.

AMTG II

AMTG 1 handed over to the 5/7 RAR led AMTG 2 in early Nov 2005. AMTG 2 consisted of the Battalion’s Headquarters, Charlie Company (Combat Team Quintus), Logistics Company (including Technical Support Company which had amalgamated with Admin Coy earlier that year), elements of Support Company, a squadron from 2 Cav Regt (Combat Team Courage) and contributions from other units across Australia but largely 1 Brigade. AMTG 2’s operations were similar in nature to AMTG 1. AMTG 2 handed over to AMTG 3 (2 RAR lead) in late Jun 2006.

The Al Muthanna province was part of the British area of operations and had previously been secured by the Dutch. Al Muthanna was a very large but relatively poor rural province, mainly populated by the Shiite community. The regional capital, As Samawah, was a city of approximately 250,000 people. The Province was one of the more stable locations in Iraq but the security situation remained unpredictable as local militia considered the British and Australian forces as obstacles to achieving political and economic influence. During the 5/7 RAR led tour, the British and Australian forces recorded 42 contacts yet managed to achieve their operational tasking whilst maintaining the Province’s character as ‘relatively peaceful’.

OOBG II

Back in Darwin, Delta Company continued to maintain the mechanized capability for the Battalion, learning and re-learning hard won experience in the conventional operations that had of necessity been undermined by constant security operation deployments. With the short notice deployment to Timor in May 2006 of the 3 RAR led RAR Battalion Group (with companies from 1 RAR and 2 RAR), Delta and Bravo companies commenced working up to ensure that there was a reserve capability available to respond to any other immediate operations.

In November 2006, Delta Company deployed to southern Iraq as part of the 2 Cav Regt led Operational Overwatch Battle Group (West) Two (OBG(W)). The OBG(W) was a flow on from AMTG and operated out of the US led Tallil Air Base in Dhi Qar Province. The Battle Group was responsible for providing security in depth by maintaining a presence within Al Muthanna and Dhi Qar Provinces as the Iraqi security forces took the lead for providing their own ecurity. The Battle Group continued to train and mentor Iraqi forces through the AATTI.

Delta Company’s deployment to southern Iraq marked the last operational deployment for the 5th/7th Battalion prior to de-linking. Since East Timor in late 1999, the Battalion was continually operationally deployed or preparing for deployment up until the time of de-linking. With its organic mobility and inherent flexibility to be able to adopt other mobility platforms or deploy dismounted, the Battalion became a ‘highly preferred’ option for operational deployments.

RTF 1

Bravo Company deployed to Uruzgan province in southern Afghanistan in August 2006 as part of OP SLIPPER, providing force protection for the 1 CER led Reconstruction Task Force (RTF 1). Operating from the Dutch led base at Tarin Kowt, Bravo Company patrolled on foot, in Bushmaster IMV and supported by LAV 25; to provide security for the engineers undertaking reconstruction tasks in support of the provincial government. They would return to Australia in April 2007.

Hardened and Networked Army

The Battalion had returned from AMTG 2 to see the “Hardening The Army” Plan reshaping the combined arms capability of the Brigade. The plan would see the Leopard MBT of 1 Armd Regt replaced with Abrams M1 MBTs, the introduction of the Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter into 1 Avn Regt, among many other developments. Most significantly, on 24 August 2006, the Prime Minister, Mr. Howard, announced that the Battalion would be de-linked, with 5 RAR and 7 RAR both to be established as mechanized battalions, initially in Darwin, until new facilities were established for 7 RAR in Adelaide. Charlie Company immediately began training IETs in the Battalion to provide for the necessary reinforcements.

Delinking

The de-linking occurred on the Brigade Parade Ground at Robertson Barracks, on 3 Dec 06, the anniversary of the founding of the Battalion. In Afghanistan, Bravo Company would pause whilst on operations to acknowledge the end of an era. After a simple ceremony in Darwin, the colours were marched off separately, bringing to an end 33 years of loyal and faithful service to the nation and the Regiment. The colours of the Battalion would later be laid up in the Soldier’s Chapel at Kapooka. Both events were witnessed by Colonel Paul Greenhalgh, AM, Retd, the founding CO of the Battalion.

In its relatively short history, thousands of men passed through the Battalion; some for short tours, for others their service would encompass almost the entire history of the Battalion. Whether their service was short or long, most would agree with the celebrated summation made by Jo Gullett [1] of his service in an infantry battalion:

‘An effective battalion, in being, ready to fight, implies a state of mind–I am not sure it is not a state of grace. It implies a giving and a taking and a sharing of almost everything–possessions, comfort, affection, trust, confidence and interest. It implies a certain restriction, and at the same time, a certain enriching and widening of the human spirit. It implies doing a hundred things together–marching to the band, marching all night long, being hungry, thirsty, exhausted, filthy; being near but never quite mutinous. It involves not the weakening but the deferment of other bonds and interests; the acceptance that life and home are now with the battalion. In the end it is possible to say ‘the battalion thinks’ or ‘the battalion feels’ and this is not an exaggeration.

In assisting other Australians to recover from disaster: cyclone, fires and floods; in conducting stabilization operations in Zimbabwe, East Timor and the Solomons, peacekeeping in Cambodia and Rwanda, and war fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the 5th/7th Battalion served the nation with distinction in war and in peace.

The men of the battalion inherited a proud tradition of soldiering and service from those of 5 RAR and 7 RAR at the linking in 1973. They sustained that tradition through the long and meagre years of peacetime soldiering in the 70s and 80s where Holsworthy, Puckapunyal and Sydney Field build another generation of soldiers and their leaders ready for the challenges of operations in the 90s and a new century. In 2006 they returned that tradition to where it belonged, not only sustained, but embellished; to be honored and sustained with pride in the new 5 RAR and 7 RAR.


Commanding Officers

Period Commanding Officer
3 Dec 1973 – 12 Jan 1975 LTCOL P.N. Greenhalgh
13 Jan 1975 – 10 Jan 1977 LTCOL E.J. O’Donnell, MC
11 Jan 1977 – 7 Nov 1978 LTCOL M.P. Blake, MC
8 Nov 1978 – 11 Dec 1980 LTCOL G.C. Skardon
12 Dec 1980 – 9 Dec 1982 LTCOL P.M. Arnison
10 Dec 1982 – 13 Dec 1984 LTCOL P.L. McGuinness
14 Dec 1984 – 12 Jan 1987 LTCOL J.A. Jones
13 Jan 1987 – 15 Jan 1989 LTCOL J.R. James
16 Jan 1989 – 14 Dec 1990 LTCOL R.J. Margetts
15 Dec 1990 – Dec 1993 LTCOL P.A. Pedersen
Jan 1993 – Dec 1994 LTCOL G. Byles
Jan 1995 – 18 Dec 1996 LTCOL C.G. Appleton
19 Dec 1996 – 18 Jan 1999 LTCOL W. T. Bowen, SC, AM
19 Jan 1999 – 19 Dec 2000 LTCOL S.C. Gould, DSC
20 Dec 2000 – 15 Jan 2003 LTCOL M.G. Tucker, MBE
20 Jan 2003 – 15 Jan 2005 LTCOL M.D. Lean
16 Jan 2005 – 3 Dec 2006 LTCOL P.J. Short, DSC

Regimental Sergeants Major

Period Regimental Sergeants Major
3 Dec 1973 – 21 Jan 1976 WO1 D.M. Palmer
22 Jan 1976 – 23 May 1978 WO1 B. G. Burnett, OAM
24 May 1978 – 11 Dec 1978 WO1 J. H. Chisolm
12 Dec 1978 – 11 Dec 1980 WO1 B.A.J. Hassall, OAM
12 Dec 1980 – 12 Dec 1982 WO1 D. G. Holmes (Deceased)
13 Dec 1982 – 13 Dec 1984 WO1 G. W. Hanson
14 Dec 1984 – 6 Jan 1987 WO1 W. T. Wills
7 Jan 1987 – 16 Jan 1989 WO1 P. A. Hill
17 Jan 1989 – 8 Dec 1990 WO1 B. T. Boughton, OAM
6 Dec 1990 – 20 Jan 1993 WO1 R. D. Campbell, OAM
Jan 1993 – Dec 1994 WO1 B. S. Burton
19 Dec 1994 – 9 Dec 1996 WO1 D.C. Dockendorff, OAM
10 Dec 1996 – 17 Jan 2000 WO1 D.A.Siggers
18 Jan 2000 – 7 Dec 2001 WO1 R.H.Speter
8 Dec 2001 – 16 Aug 2002 WO1 R.L.Wilhelm
13 Sep 2002 – 16 Jan 2005 WO1 C.M. Moffat
16 Jan 2005 – 3 Dec 2006 WO1 K.M. Ryan, OAM

RCB Tours

Period Company Commander
Mar 1974 – Jun 1974 C COY MAJ Green
Nov 1976 – Feb 1977 D COY MAJ Terry Nolan, AM
02 Sep 1979 – 02 Dec 1979 D COY MAJ David J. Mead
02 Jun 1981– 09 Sep 1981 B COY MAJ ‘Blue’ Craze
07 Dec 1982 – 23 Feb 1983 D COY MAJ Ron P. White
22 Feb 1984– 22 May 1984 C COY MAJ Peter A. Pederson
05 Mar 1986– 04 Jun 1986 B COY MAJ Patrick MacIntosh
04 Mar 1987– 03 Jun 1987 D COY MAJ Mark P. Sampson
03 Jun 1989– 10 Sep 1989 C COY MAJ Wayne T. Bowen, SC
01 Jun 1990– 08 Sep 1990 D COY MAJ Jeffery M. Quirk
03 Sep 1991– 06 Dec 1991 C COY MAJ I.T. Campbell
02 Jul 1993– 01 Nov 1993 B COY MAJ Ross M. Jacob
01 Nov 1993 – 01 Mar 1994 D COY MAJ Neill Marshall
05 Mar 1995– 29 Jun 1995 C COY MAJ Mark Mathews
07 Feb 1997– 08 May 1997 D COY MAJ Roy Bird
03 May 2001– 02 Aug 2001 B COY MAJ John Dempsey

Allied Regiments

The Welsh Guards and The Gordon Highlanders
5/7 RAR (Mech) has maintained the alliances between 5 RAR and the Welsh Guards and 7 RAR and the Gordon Highlanders.

Battalion Associations
5/7 RAR (Mech) maintains close links with the 5 and 7 RAR Associations. Members of these associations regularly attend Battalion functions and the Battalion sends representatives to annual church services and similar functions.

‘Gabby Hayes’
CPL J.F. ‘Gabby’ Hayes was a section commander in A Company, 7 RAR. He was
killed in action in South Vietnam on 6 Aug 67. He left a sum of money in his will to be used
to drink a toast each year on the 7 RAR birthday.

To provide a lasting memorial to Gabby, the Sergeants’ Mess purchased silver in his name with the money. Each year on ‘Gabby Hayes Night’, the corporals of the Battalion visit the Sergeants’ Mess and join its members in drinking a toast to the ‘Australian Infantryman’.

The toast is funded by the mess in memory of CPL Hayes.

Affiliated Army Reserve Battalion
5/7 RAR (Mech) maintains an affiliation with 8th/7th
Battalion, The Royal Victoria Regiment. Soldiers from 8/7 RVR have participated in a
number of RCB tours and several have served on full time duty with the Battalion.

Marching Songs

Marching song for quick march is DOMINAISE, a combination of 5 RAR’s quick march song DOMINIQUE and 7 RAR’s quick march song AUSTRALAISE

Battalion Song

‘Who is the man with the big red nose’

[1] Gullett HB (Jo) ‘Not as a Duty Only – An Infantryman’s War.’ Melbourne University press, 1976, p.1.