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Infantry Battalions of the Second Australian Imperial Force

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Battalions with BCOF Japan Machine Gun Battalions
Parachute Battalion Pioneer Battalions

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Infantry Battalions of the Second Australian Imperial Force

For AIF Infantry Brigade HQ patches see Australian Infantry Unit Colour Patches 1921-1949

By mid December 1939 a decision had been taken that the infantry battalions of the 6th Aust. Division would adopt the colour patch of their corresponding numbered battalion of the old AIF, superimposed on a background of battleship grey. ( Minute, Secretary of the Military Board, dated 21.12.1939. AA(Vic): MP 508/1, item 36/756/2.)  As this division was organized on the old establishment of three brigades, each of four battalions, the original system of brigade and battalion colours could be used without modification. 

In February 1940 however, following the decision to form the 7th Division, and to organize both divisions on the British establishment of three battalions per brigade, it no longer became possible to adhere to the original scheme, particularly in relation to continuity of numbering of units. 

The 7th Division was allocated a diamond; thus the 19th Aust. Infantry Brigade, as the senior brigade of the 7th Division, was allotted a green diamond, its three battalions, the 2/4th, 2/8th and 2/12th, being allotted black, purple and brown over the green to identify them as the first, second and third battalions of the 'first' brigade of the 'second' division of the Second AIF. This system was extended to the 8th Division when approval was given for its formation in May 1940.

While this was a logical system of identification from the military point of view, and was in fact the basis on which the whole colour patch system was designed from its inception in 1915, the Military Board failed to take into account the immense desire of the new Second AIF units to identify themselves completely with their corresponding numbered battalion of the original AIF.  It is evident that while some units recognized the reasoning behind the initial allocation of their particular colour patch, others simply assumed that an error had been made. 

The history of the 2/16th Battalion records that "The form of the original patch had been decided on the basis of establishment .... being the second battalion of the brigade and the brigade being the second [sic] (At the time this colour patch was allotted, the 21st Brigade was actually the third brigade of the division. It became the second brigade circa August 1940.) of the division, the original colours were a purple triangle over a blue triangle, thus forming a diamond (1, 000 Men at War, Uren, p. 21.) The 15th Battalion AIF Association were not quite so considerate in referring to the purple and red diamond being worn by the 2/15th Battalion, and in a letter to the Minister for the Array on the matter stated that the battalion was wearing the wrong colour patch and, "Members ... consider that this is a slight on the original Battalion..". (Letter, Senator W.J. Cooper, to Brigadier, the Hon. G.A. Street, dated 4.8.1940. AA(Vic): MP 508/1, item 36/756/63. The former 15th Battalion Association, the 'Angels Remembrance Club', was even more vitriolic after the adoption of the 'T' shaped colour patch by the 2/15th Battalion in late 1942.)

Considerable representation was made by units, and former AIF unit associations, to both the Military Board and prominent Members of Parliament for the introduction of a system which would allow  2nd AT infantry battalions to wear the same colour patch as was worn by the corresponding numbered battalion of the old AIF. On 19.8.1940, consequent on the tabling of the matter in Federal Parliament, the Military Board considered a proposal that 2nd AIF battalions wear the colour patch of the corresponding numbered battalion of the original AIF superimposed on a grey background in the shape of the division to which the battalion belonged. The adoption of the revised system, at an estimated
cost of 1,000 Pounds, was agreed to by the Military Board, and the concurrence of the GOC 2nd
AIF, then in the Middle East, was received on 4.9.1940.

It would appear that the primary consideration for the revision of the scheme was that of sentiment, both from the point of view of the public and returned services associations, and the units themselves. It was also pointed out that regimental colours carried the unit colour patch, and that if another patch was allotted some difficulty in relation to this might arise after the war. The most telling point however was made by the Adjutant-General, who stated that the system in use had already broken down due to the re-allotment of battalions within divisions which had occurred. He considered that it was not essential that the colours of the battalions within a division be uniform, formation affiliation being indicated by the shape of the grey background, which would be that of the division to which the unit was allocated.

The earliest reference to the adoption of the new scheme appears to be a memo dated 13.9.1940 from the Minister of the Army advising that it was being prepared. The first authority in regard to the matter has not been located by myself, however an AHQ memo dated
30.9.1940, to HQ Southern Command in relation to the colour patch approved for the 2/40th Battalion, states that action was then being taken to ensure that the colour patches of units of the old AIF were allotted to the corresponding numbered battalion of the new Force, (AHQ(DPS) Memo No. 65386,30.9.1940. AA(Vic): MP 508/1, item 36/756/63.)  while a memo dated 30.10.1940 on the same subject provides the following statement;

"... I am directed by the Master-General of the Ordnance to advise that the distinguishing colour patches of all infantry battalions of the 2nd A.I.F. will be the colour patch of the original A.I.F. Battalion, superimposed upon a light battleship grey background. This background being of the present Divisional shape." (ibid, AHQ(DOS) Memo No. 72347, 30.10.1940.)

While no reference is made to the use of a half size patch of the old AEF battalion on a full size grey background in these memos, it is evident from associated correspondence that this was the original intention. An MGO minute dated 5.9.1940 states that arrangements could be made for future issues in this format, and suggests that it include those issued to battalions of the 6th Aust. Division to retain uniformity throughout the force. Patches for units other than infantry battalions and infantry brigade headquarters would not be affected, and full size patches already in stock for brigade headquarters would continue to be issued until those stocks were exhausted. Brigade headquarters were to retain the green, red and light blue colour system to denote their seniority within the division.

While no formal authority appears to have been promulgated prior to 30.10.1940, it is apparent that several units began changing to the new scheme well before this; the history of the 2/16th Battalion records that their new colour patches were issued on 9.10.1940, in time for their final march through Perth the following day. It was not however until early 1941 that all battalions received their quotas of the new colour patches. 

Patches to the new designs, including those for units of the 6th Division, were manufactured and issued in Australia to units which had not proceeded overseas, or to reinforcements for units which were already serving overseas, (see note 125) several changes being required when the organization of divisions in the Middle East was altered in February 1941. In the Middle East however there seems to have been little effort by units to conform with the provisions of AHQ Memo No. 72347, regardless of the formation to which they belonged. 

Note 125. It was the practice to allot reinforcements to units of the AIF as required when they were drafted to training battalions in Australia. They were issued the colour patch of the unit to which they would subsequently belong during their period with the training battalion. AA(Vic): MP 508/1, 36/756/103.

Thus fifteen battalions retained colour patches approved under the old system, while others made no attempt to change the shape of the background on transfer from one formation to another. In extreme cases members of some battalions may be seen wearing two different shaped grey backgrounds, i.e. members on the strength of a unit prior to its transfer from one division to another retained the background shape of their previous formation, while reinforcements who had joined the unit from Australia after it had changed formation were wearing backgrounds in the shape of the new formation which had been approved and issued in Australia. 

The situation was never resolved in a satisfactory manner, and following the return of the 6th and 7th Divisions to Australia in early 1942, GRO 36/1942, dated 22.5.1942, directed that where complete AIF units were transferred to a new formation they would not change their colour patch.

The 9th Aust. Division, faced with an identical situation during its extended stay in the Middle East, resolved the matter by designing a completely new shape, and reverting to the basis of the original system adopted in December 1939, i.e. green, red and light blue for each of its brigades; black, purple, and in this case white, identifying the first, second and third battalions of each brigade.

Although the new designs did not conform to the colour patches borne by corresponding battalions of the old AIF, and were not initially readily accepted within some units for that reason, they came to represent the pride these units took in their own achievements in the Middle East and later the South West Pacific Area. The extent to which this pride was fostered might be best illustrated by the 2/15th Battalion, the members of which, following a bitter campaign by the 15th Battalion AIF Association for the restoration of the brown over dark blue colours to the battalion, overwhelmingly indicated their desire to retain their 'T' shaped green and purple colour patch not six months after they were first issued. For the 2/13th Battalion, 

"The..['T' shaped colour patch] .... soon became accepted as warmly as if the Unit had been enlisted under it..,,. (Benghazi to Borneo, Fearnside, Second Edition, p. 3 10.)

It may well be that, had colour patches to the original system based on seniority within the brigade and division been first designed and issued overseas in 1940, and the units been engaged in active operations soon afterwards, the same affection for, and pride in their colour patch, regardless that it might not have represented the original AlF battalion, might have developed amongst battalions other than those of the 9th Division. After all the 2/3 1st, 2/33rd, and for a period the 2/32nd, Battalions, improvised from personnel of all Arms in 1940, never appeared to have any difficulty in identifying with their 'original system' colour patches, which throughout the war identified them simply as the first, second and third battalions of the second brigade of the 'fourth' division of the Second AIF, although the majority of the war was spent as the third brigade of the 7th Division.

  • 913. 2/1st Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1939-1945: Raised on 13.10.1939, disbanded in
    December 1945.
  • 914. 2/1st Aust. Infantry Battalion: Allotted in October 1940, no example yet sighted.
  • 915. 2/2nd Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1939-1945: Raised on 13.10.1939, disbanded in
    December 1945.
  • 916. 2/2nd Aust. Infantry Battalion: Approved in October 1940 and issued in Australia
    only. CCF manufacture, superseded by No. 915.
  • 917. 2/3rd Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1939-1946: Raised on 13.10.1939, disbanded in
    January 1946.
  • 918. 2/3rd Aust. Infantry Battalion: Approved in October 1940, no example yet sighted.
  • 919. 2/4th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1939-1946: Raised on 13.10.1939, disbanded in
    January 1946.
  • 920. 2/4th Aust. Infantry Battalion: Allotted in June 1940, consequent on this unit's
    transfer to the 19th Brigade, however there is no evidence that it was ever issued or
    worn.
  • 921. 2/4th Aust. Infantry Battalion: Approved in October 1940 and issued only in
    Australia. Superseded by No. 919.
  • 922. 2/5th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1939-1945: Raised on 13.10.1939, disbanded in
    November 1945.
  • 923. 2/5th Aust. Infantry Battalion: Approved in October 1940, no example yet sighted.
  • 924. 2/6th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1939-1946: Raised on 13.10.1939, disbanded in
    March 1946.
  • 925. 2/6th Aust. Infantry Battalion: Reference to this colour patch appears in Long, To Benghazi, Appendix 4, stating "...and to this day there may still be men who maintain that the colour patch of the 2/6th Battalion, for example, was royal blue over red ....... While there were some difficulties in distinguishing between dark blue and purple shades of cloth provided for colour patches it is doubtful if this affected the initial issue to the battalion from the CCF. All examples noted to date by the author are in fact of NSW manufacture in compressed felt, and probably comprised one batch only.
  • 926. 2/6th Aust. Infantry Battalion: Approved in October 1940 and issued only in
    Australia. CCF manufacture, and superseded by No. 924.
  • 927. 2/7th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1939-1946: Raised on 13.10.1939, disbanded in
    March 1946.
  • 928. 2/7th Aust. Infantry Battalion: Approved in October 1940, no example yet sighted.
  • 929. 2/8th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1939-1946: Raised on 13.10.1939, disbanded in
    January 1946.
  • 930. 2/8th Aust. Infantry Battalion: Allotted in June 1940 after the unit was transferred to
    the 19th Brigade however there is no evidence that it was ever issued or worn.
  • 931. 2/8th Aust. Infantry Battalion: Approved in October 1940 and issued only in
    Australia. CCF manufacture, superseded by No. 929.
  • 932. 2/9th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1939-1945: Raised on 13.10.1939, disbanded in
    December 1945.
  • 933. 2/9th Aust. Infantry Battalion: Approved in October 1940 and issued only in
    Australia. CCF and at least one other manufacturer noted, superseded by No. 932.
  • 934. 2/10th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1939-1945: Raised on 13.10.1939, disbanded in
    December 1945.
  • 935. 2/10th Aust. Infantry Battalion: Approved in October 1940, and issued only in
    Australia. CCF manufacture, superseded by No. 934.
  • 936. 2/11th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1939-1945: Raised on 13.10.1939, disbanded in
    December 1945.
  • 937. 2/11th Aust. Infantry Battalion: Approved in October 1940, no example yet seen.
  • 938. 2/12th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1939-1946: Raised on 13.10.1939, disbanded in
    January 1946. First issued in February 1940.
    (Of Storms and Rainbows, Graeme-Evans, Vol 1, p.21. Certainly issued prior to the 20th of that month.)
  • 939. 2/12th Aust. Infantry Battalion: Allotted in June 1940 when this battalion was
    transferred to 19th Brigade, however due to the unit's diversion to the United Kingdom
    it never formed part of this brigade, and this colour patch was not issued or worn.
  • 940. 2/12th Aust. Infantry Battalion: Approved in October 1940, issued only in Australia.
    CCF manufacture, superseded by No. 938.
  • 941. 2/13th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940: Raised on 26.4.1940 and disbanded in
    December 1945. Issued in late June 1940, certainly by the 22nd of that month, and was
    superseded by No. 942 in November 1940. See also No's 1010 and 1011.
  • 942. 2/13th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940-1941: Approved in October 1940, first issued
    in late October or November of 1940 while the battalion was en route to the Middle
    East by sea, and was superseded by No. 943 on 26.2.1941.
  • 943. 2/13th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1941-1942: First issued on 26.2.1941 consequent
    upon the battalion's transfer to the 9th Division. Initially members cut the diamond
    shaped backgrounds of No. 942 into circles until supplies of this patch became
    available. Superseded by No. 944 in December 1942.
  • 944. 2/13th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1942-1946: Auth. GRO 225/1943, 12.3.1943.
  • 945. 2/14th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940: Raised on 26.4.1940, disbanded in February
    1946. This patch was superseded by No. 946 circa October 1940.
  • 946. 2/14th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940-1946: Approved in October 1940.
  • 947. 2/15th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940: Raised on 26.4.1940, disbanded in February
    1946. These patches had been issued prior to August 1940, and were superseded by No. 948 circa November 1940.
  • 948. 2/15th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940-1941, 1942: Approved in October 1940, first
    issued in November. Superseded by No. 949 in late 1941 until early 1942, and by No. 950 in December 1942.
  • 949. 2/15th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1941-1942: First issued in Australia soon after
    February 1941, and by October 1941 is noted being worn in the Middle East in lieu of No. 948. Superseded by No. 948 again during 1942.
  • 950. 2/15th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1942-1946: Auth. GRO 225/1943, 12.3.1943.
  • 951. 2/16th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940: Raised on 26.4.1940 and disbanded in
    December 1945. Issued at the end of August 1940 and superseded by No. 952 in
    October 1940.
  • 952. 2/16th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940-1945: According to the battalion history, this
    colour patch was issued on 9.10.1940.
  • 953. 2/17th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940: Raised on 26.4.1940, disbanded in January
    1946. Promulgated in Unit Routine Orders Part I dated 30.7.1940, and was superseded
    by No. 954 in November 1940.
  • 954. 2/17th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940-1942: Ref. Unit Routine Orders Part I dated
    27.11.1940, although it was actually already in wear when the battalion disembarked in
    the Middle East on 26.11.1940. Superseded by No. 956 in December 1942.
  • 955. 2/17th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1941: Issued in Australia to the battalion's
    reinforcements soon after February 1941, and is believed to have been briefly in use in the Middle East where it was worn in conjunction with No. 954 during late 1941.
  • 956. 2/17th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1942-1946: Auth. GRO 225/1943, 12.3.1943.
  • 957. 2/17th Aust. Infantry Battalion: NSW manufacture, example in the J.A. Ryan Collection, AWM. Never issued to this battalion and was possibly a manufacturing error circa late 1940.
  • 958. 2/18th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940: Raised on 1.7.1940, captured in Singapore in
    February 1942. Superseded by No. 959 in October 1940.
  • 959. 2/18th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940-1945: Issued in January 1941.
  • 960. 2/19th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940: Raised on 1.7.1940, captured in Singapore in
    February 1942. Issued on 1.9.1940 and superseded by No. 961 in October 1940.
  • 961. 2/19th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940-1945: First issued in January 1941.
  • 962. 2/20th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940: Raised on 1.7.1940, captured in Singapore in
    February 1942. Superseded by No. 963 in October 1940.
  • 963. 2/20th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940-1945: First issued in January 1941.
  • 964. 2/21st Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940: Raised on 1.7.1940, captured on Ambon, NEI,
    in February 1942. Superseded by No. 965 in October 1940.
  • 965. 2/21st Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940-1945: Issued late December 1940 or early
    January 1941.
  • 966. 2/22nd Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940: Raised on 1.7.1940. Many members of the
    unit were captured on New Britain in January 1942, and the survivors and  reinforcements were absorbed by the 3rd Aust. Infantry Battalion in March 1943 to form the 3rd/22nd Aust. Infantry Battalion. Disbanded in July 1943. Ibis patch was superseded by No. 967 in October 1940.
  • 967. 2/22nd Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940-1945: This patch was retained by personnel
    serving with the 3rd/22nd Aust. Infantry Battalion.
  • 968. 2/22nd Aust. Infantry Battalion: A CCF manufactured sample supplied as an
    example with an MGO minute paper dated 5.9.1940 relating to the proposed revision of
    2nd AIF infantry battalion colour patches.
    (AA(Vic): MP 508/1, item 36n56163, "Patches, distinguishing colour, Infantry Battalions A.I.F.")
  • 969. 2/23rd Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940: Raised on 1.7.1940 and was disbanded in
    January 1946. Superseded by No. 970 in October 1940.
  • 970. 2/23rd Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940-1942: Superseded by No. 972 prior to
    September 1942.
  • 971. 2/23rd Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1941-1942: Issued in Australia from mid to late
    1941 and was worn in the Middle East in conjunction with No. 970. Superseded by
    No. 972 prior to September 1942.
  • 972. 2/23rd Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1942: By September 1942 this design was the only
    one on issue in the Middle East, superseding No's 970 and 971. Superseded by No.
    973 in December 1942.
  • 973. 2/23rd Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1942-1946: Auth. GRO 225/1943, 12.3.1943.
  • 974. 2/24th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940: Raised on 1.7.1940, and disbanded in March 1946. This patch was allotted in August 1940 and was superseded by No. 975 in October 1940.
  • 975. 2/24th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940-1942: Superseded by No. 977 prior to September 1942.
  • 976. 2/24th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1941-1942: Issued in Australia during mid to late 1941, superseded in the Middle East by No. 975.
  • 977. 2/24th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1942: By late 1942 this was the only design on issue
    to the battalion. Superseded by No. 978 in December 1942.
  • 978. 2/24th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1942-1946: Auth. GRO 225/1943, 12.3.1943.
  • 979. 2/25th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940: Raised on 1.7.1940 as part of 24th Brigade,
    was transferred to 25th Brigade in April 1941, and disbanded in February 1946. This patch was superseded by No. 980 in October 1940.
  • 980. 2/25th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940-1946: Approved in October 1940 but not issued until mid December. It will be noted that the colour patch chart included as Appendix 4 of To Benghazi, by Gavin Long, shows a diamond shaped grey background to this colour patch in the First Edition. Later reprints have been corrected to show a circular background.
  • 981. 2/25th Aust. Infantry Battalion: While there is some doubt regarding the authenticity
    of the only example seen to date, the design itself was tentatively approved for the battalion until early October 1940, when its parent brigade (the 24th) was transferred to the 9th Division. On the basis that it was not until November 1940 that the initial order for the supply of patches to units of 24th Brigade was submitted to the CCF, it is unlikely that this patch was ever officially manufactured or issued.
  • 982. 2/26th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940-1945: Raised on 17.10.1940 and was captured
    in Singapore in February 1942. Although HQ 8th Aust. Division was advised of the design for this unit on 23.11.1940 it was not until February 1941 that the initial order for supply (MGO Order No. 932) was placed with the CCF.
  • 983. 2/27th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940: Raised on 26.4.1940 and was disbanded in
    April 1946. Superseded by No. 984 in October 1940.
  • 984. 2/27th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940-1946:
  • 985. 2/27th Aust. Infantry Battalion: Example, Military Heraldry Collection, AWM. There appears to have been no justification for the existence of this colour patch and it may be a manufacturing error.
  • 986. 2/28th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940: Raised on 1.7.1940 and was disbanded in
    March 1946. Superseded by No. 987 in October 1940.
  • 987. 2/28th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940-1942: The initial issue of these colour patches
    was undertaken in early December 1940, the first batch being dispatched from the CCF
    on 27.11.1940 as a result of MGO Order No. 828. Superseded by No. 988 in December 1942. Long, To Benghazi, Appendix 4, incorrectly shows this patch with dark blue.
  • 988. 2/28th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1942-1946: Auth. GRO 225/1943, 12.3.1943.
  • 989. 2/29th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940-1945: Raised on 17.10.1940, and captured in
    Singapore in February 1942. First issued in early 1941.
  • 990. 2/30th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940-1945: Raised on 17.10.1940, captured in
    Singapore in February 1942. First issued in early 1941.
  • 991. 70th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940: 
    • 2/31st Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940-1946: Raised in the United Kingdom on 26.6.1940 and was redesignated on 28.10.1940. Disbanded in February 1946. This colour patch was issued in the UK in 1940 without reference to AHQ.
  • 992. 2/31st Aust. Infantry Battalion: Approved in October 1940 and issued only in
    Australia to unit reinforcements. Superseded by No. 991 in the Middle East. CCF and
    at least one other supplier noted.
  • 993. 71st Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940: 
    • 2/32nd Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940-1942: Raised in the United Kingdom on 26.6.1940 and was redesignated on 28.10.1940. Disbanded in January 1946. This patch was on issue prior to the end of 1940 and was approved without reference to AHQ. Superseded by No. 995 in December 1942.
  • 994. 2/32nd Aust. Infantry Battalion: Approved in October 1940 and issued only in
    Australia to unit reinforcements. Superseded by No. 993 in the Middle East. CCF
    manufacture.
  • 995. 2/32nd Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1942-1946: Auth. GRO 225/1943, 12.3.1943.
  • 996. 72nd Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940: 
    • 2/33rd Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940-1946: Raised in the United Kingdom on 26.6.1940 and was redesignated on 28.10.1940. Disbanded in February 1946. This patch was approved and issued in the UK without reference to AHQ.
  • 997. 2/33rd Aust. Infantry Battalion: Approved in October 1940 and issued in Australia
    to the battalion's reinforcements. It was superseded by No. 996 in the Middle East. CCF and at least one other manufacturer noted.
  • 998. 2/34th Aust. Motor Battalion: Ref, AHQ(DOS) Memo No. 14520, 7.3.1941. This
    unit was allotted to the 1st Aust. Armoured Brigade but was not subsequently raised. A
    full quota of colour patches was supplied for the unit, and was still held in 2nd BOD in
    January 1947. NSW manufactured examples have also been noted, including one in
    the J.A. Ryan Collection, AWM.
  • 999. 2/37th Aust. Motor Battalion: Ref. AHQ(DOS) Memo No. 14520, 3.7.1941. This unit was allotted to the 2nd Aust. Armoured Brigade but was not subsequently raised. A full quota of patches was supplied, and was still held in 2nd BOD in January 1947.
  • 1000. 2/40th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940: Raised on 1.7.1940, and was captured on
    Timor in February 1942. The first order for the supply of this colour patch was placed on 1.8.1940 (MGO Order No. 496). Superseded by No. 1001 in October 1940.
  • 1001. 2/40th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940-1945: The battalion history (Doomed Battalion, Peter Henning, p. 15.) states that this colour patch was issued in early August 1940, however this is considered unlikely, as the battalion themselves did not raise the issue with HQ Southern Command until late August, and approval for No. 1001 was not communicated to
    them until 30.10.1940. The first batch of 550 pairs was air freighted to Tasmania on 3.12.1940.
  • 1002. 2/43rd Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940: Raised on 1.7.1940, disbanded in January 1946. Superseded by No. 1003 in October 1940.
  • 1003. 2/43rd Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940-1942: Issued in early December 1940, superseded by No. 1004 in December 1942. Long, To Benghazi, Appendix 4, incorrectly shows this patch with dark blue.
  • 1004. 2/43rd Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1942-1946: Auth. GRO 225/1943, 12.3.1943.
  • 1005. 2/43rd Aust. Infantry Battalion: The only example of this colour patch noted to date is a reproduction, however this design was accepted for the battalion prior to early October 1940, when it transferred to the 9th Division. It is shown for collectors interest, although there is no evidence that it was ever manufactured or issued. 
  • 1006. 2/44th Aust. Motor Battalion: Ref. AHQ(DOS) Memo No. 14520, 7.3.1941. Allotted to Support Group, 1st Aust. Armoured Division, although it was not subsequently raised. A full quota of colour patches was supplied for the unit and was still held in 2nd BOD in January 1947.
  • 1007. 2/48th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940: Raised on 1.7.1940 and disbanded in November 1945. This colour patch was superseded by No. 1008 in October 1940.
  • 1008. 2/48th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940-1942: Superseded by No. 1009 in December 1942. It has not been possible to ascertain whether this colour patch was ever issued with a circular grey background.
  • 1009. 2/48th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1942-1945: Auth. GRO 225/1943, 12.3.1943.

Note: In addition to any authorities and references quoted in the preceding text, the following references also exist to colour patches for 2nd AIF infantry battalions:

MGO Branch Line Drawings, pp 11, 12: No's 913, 915, 917, 919, 922, 924, 927, 929, 932, 934, 936, 938, 944, 946, 950, 952, 956, 959, 961, 963, 965, 967, 973, 978, 980, 982, 984, 988, 989, 990, 992, 995, 997, 1001, 1004,1009.
 
Appendix 4, To Benghazi: No's 942, 948, 954, 972, 977, 987, 991, 993, 996, 1003, 1008.

AWM colour patch file card register: 945, 998, 999, 1006.

  • 1010. 2/13th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940: An unofficial colour patch supplied to the battalion at the end of April 1940 and worn until late May. Superseded by No. 1011.(Reference to No's 1010 and 1011 are given in Bayonets Abroad: Benghazi to Borneo with the 2113 Battalion, AIF, pp. 507-8, 'Evolution of the Colour Patch'.)
  • 1011. 2/13th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1940: An unofficial colour patch supplied to the
    battalion at the end of May 1940 and worn until late June 1940, being superseded by
    No. 941 prior to June 22nd. Examples are of compressed felt.
  • 1012-1015. Reserved.

Infantry Battalions of the Australian Component, B.C.O.F., Japan

Raised on Morotai in October 1945 as part of 34th Aust. Infantry Brigade Group for occupation duties in Japan, recruiting from units already serving in the South West Pacific Area. In late 1948 these battalions were directed to cease wearing colour patches and to replace them with woven titles bearing the Roman numerals 'LXV', 'LXVI' and 'LXVII' in gold on a maroon ground. The 65th, 66th, and 67th Aust. Infantry Battalions were redesignated the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Battalions, The Australian Regiment, on 23.11.1948, becoming part of the Australian Regular Army, and were designated the Royal Australian Regiment on 10.3.1949.

  • 1016. 65th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1945-1948: Auth. GRO 292/1945, 23.11.1945. Raised
    on 11.10.1945 from volunteers drawn from units of the 7th Aust. Division, and from the 12th/40th Aust. Infantry Battalion. Still exists as the 1st Battalion RAR.
  • 1017. 66th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1945-1948: Auth. GRO 292/1945, 23.11.1945. Raised
    on 26.10.1945 from volunteers drawn from units of the 9th Aust. Division and 1st Aust.
    Corps Troops. Linked with the 4th Battalion RAR on 15.8.1973, and unlinked to form
    the 2nd Battalion RAR on 1.2.1995.
  • 1018. 67th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1945-1949: Auth. GRO 292/1945, 23.11.1945. Raised
    on 21.10.1945 from volunteers drawn from units of the 3rd, 6th, and 11th Aust. Divisions. Still in existence as the 3rd Battalion RAR. Former members of BCOF, Japan, recall that the first sick and wounded personnel of this battalion returning from Korea in 1950 were still wearing this colour patch on the puggaree of the khaki felt hat.
  • 1019. 67th Aust. Infantry Battalion, 1948-1949: Shoulder title adopted as a result of an
    AHQ directive in late 1948. It was intended to replace No. 10 18, but did not entirely,
    instead being worn on the sleeve head on both arms of the shirt and jacket, with the
    colour patch being retained on the left arm of the jacket. As far as is known this unit
    was the only one to adopt this form of title, the other two battalions arriving back in
    Australia in December 1948. Examples appear with either yellow or white embroidered lettering, or gold wire lettering which was locally supplied in Japan.

Parachute Battalion

  • 1020. 1st Aust. Parachute Battalion, 1943-1946: Ref. MGO Order No. 4141, dated 19.5.1943. Placed with the J and J Cash Australian Weaving Company Ltd for the initial supply of 2,000 patches. A further order, No. 4840, was placed with the same company on 14.9.1943 for a further supply of 4,000 colour patches. First issued on 13.9.1943 and worn on the left arm only in both full size and miniature. A left arm design was worn on the right hand side of the puggaree by the company group detached to Singapore during late 1945. Raised on a restricted basis of Battalion HQ, HQ Company, and two rifle companies in May 1943. A third rifle company was raised in late 1943 primarily from personnel of the 2/8th Aust. Independent Company.
  • 1021. 1st Aust. Parachute Battalion: Example held in a private collection in NSW, and is
    believed to be a manufacturer's sample.
  • 1022. 1st Aust. Parachute Battalion: A sample submitted to LHQ by HQ First Aust. Army in July 1944, with a request from the battalion that this design be adopted. The request was not approved, the sample now held in the Australian Archives, Victorian Regional Office. (AA(Vic): MP 742/1, item 36/2/76.)
  • 1023. Reserved.

Machine Gun Battalions

  • 1024. 2/1st Aust. Machine Gun Battalion, 1939-1946: Auth. Colour chart promulgated
    with AHQ(DOS) Memo No. 70030,21.10.1940. Raised on 13.11.1940, disbanded in January 1946.
  • 1025. 2/2nd Aust. Machine Gun Battalion, 1940-1942: Auth. Colour chart promulgated
    with AHQ(DOS) Memo No. 70030, 21.10.1940. Raised on 1.5.1940, disbanded in March 1946. Superseded by No. 1026A in December 1942.
  • 1026A. 2/2nd Aust. Machine Gun Battalion, 1942-1946: Auth. GRO 225/1943, 12.3.1943.
  • 1026B. 2/2nd Aust. Machine Gun Battalion: Manufacturers error, appears in full size and miniature examples.
  • 1027. 2/3rd Aust. Machine Gun Battalion, 1940-1946: Auth. Colour chart promulgated with AHQ(DOS) Memo No. 70030, 21.10.1940. Raised on 1.7.1940 and disbanded in January 1946. Captured on Java in March 1942 but reformed from a nucleus that had reached Australia.
  • 1028. 2/4th Aust. Machine Gun Battalion, 1941-1945: Ref MGO Branch Line Drawings, p. 12. Raised on 23.10.1940, captured in Singapore in February 1942.
  • 1029. 5th Aust. Machine Gun Battalion, 1943-1944: Auth. GRO 92/1943, 22.1.1943.
    Raised in September 1942 from the 'E' (Machine Gun) Companies of the 33rd, 45th,
    46th, 52nd and 59th Aust. Infantry Battalions. Disbanded in May 1944.
  • 1030. 5th Aust. Machine Gun Battalion: Variation, Military Heraldry Collection, AWM.
  • 1031. 6th Aust. Machine Gun Battalion, 1943-1944: Auth. GRO 92/1943, 22.1.1943. Raised in September 1942 and disbanded in June 1944.
  • 1032. 7th Aust. Machine Gun Battalion, 1943-1944: Auth. GRO 375/1943, 7.5.1943. Originally raised in November 1942 from the 'E' (Machine Gun) Companies of the 3rd, 36th, 39th, 49th, 53rd and 55th Aust. Infantry Battalions, and was unofficially designated the New Guinea Force Machine Gun Battalion. Disbanded in March 1944. Full size draft GRO drawings show a I and 5/8ths; inch equilateral triangle, however CCF supplied samples are 2 and 1/2 inch equilateral triangles.
  • 1033. New Guinea Force Machine Gun Battalion: Example, J.A. Ryan Collection, AWM. This design was submitted to LHQ by HQ New Guinea Force for approval in November 1942 but was rejected. The history of the 7th Aust. Machine Gun Battalion refers to this patch however, stating that it was approved immediately prior to the redesignation of the unit in December 1942. An examination of the correspondence between LHQ and NG Force in relation to the matter does not support this statement and there is no evidence that it was ever issued. (AA(Vic)): MP 742/1, item 61/13/74.)
  • 19th Aust. Machine Gun Battalion, 1942-1944: Raised in August 1942 from the 19th Aust. Machine Gun Regiment and 'E' (MG) Company, 48th Aust. Infantry Battalion. Retained the colour patch of the former 19th Light Horse Regiment. See AUST. LIGHT HORSE, No. 465.

Pioneer Battalions

  • 1034. 2/1st Aust. Pioneer Battalion, 1940-1946: Auth. Colour chart promulgated with
    AHQ(DOS) Memo No. 70030, 21.10.1940. Raised on 1.5.1940, disbanded in
    January 1946. This colour patch was also worn by the 2/1st Aust. Special Pioneer
    Company during 1942, see AUST. ARMY LABOUR SERVICE.
  • 1035. 2/2nd Aust. Pioneer Battalion, 1940-1945: Auth. Colour chart promulgated with
    AHQ(DOS) Memo No. 70030, 21.10.1940. Raised on 1.5.1940 and disbanded in
    November 1945. This unit was captured in Java in March 1942 but was reformed
    from a nucleus which had reached Australia. This colour patch was also worn by the
    2/2nd Aust. Special Pioneer Company during 1942, see AUST. ARMY LABOUR
    SERVICE.
  • 1036. 2/3rd Aust. Pioneer Battalion, 1940-1946: Auth. Colour chart promulgated with
    AHQ(DOS) Memo No. 70030, 21.10.1940. Raised on 1.7.1940 and disbanded in
    March 1946.
  • 1037. 2/3rd Aust. Pioneer Battalion: Example, J.A. Ryan Collection, AWM. Approval for the adoption of this design to represent the shape of the 9th Aust. Division, to which the battalion was then attached, was sought by HQ First Aust. Army on 9.8.1944. Approval was not given, nor was this patch issued and worn, although the battalion association has stated that it has been the subject of lively discussion amongst its members in the past, and it is noted that it is carried on the Pioneer Association banner in Queensland on Anzac Days.
  • 1038. 2/3rd Aust. Pioneer Battalion: Variation, Military Heraldry Collection, AWM.
  • 1039. 2/4th Aust. Pioneer Battalion, 1941-1946: Ref. AHQ(DOS) Memo No. 53722,
    28.7.1941. This memo advised that the initial order for the supply of this colour patch
    had been placed with the CCF. Raised on 1. 1. 194 1, disbanded in January 1946.
  • 1040. 20th Aust. Pioneer Battalion, 1945: Auth. GRO 187/1945, 13.7.1945. Formed by the
    reorganization and redesignation of the 20th Aust. Motor Regiment in February 1945,
    and disbanded in September 1945.
  • - Torres Strait Pioneer Company, 1944-1945: Raised in mid 1943 from indigenous
    Torres Strait Islanders and was disbanded in January 1945. A request for the allotment
    of a colour patch was submitted to LHQ in February 1944 and it is believed that No.
    409 was then issued and worn by the unit.
  • Special Pioneer Companies, 1942: See AUST. ARMY LABOUR SERVICE.

The material on this section of the site is drawn from "Distinguishing Colour Patches of the Australian Military Forces 1915-1951" by Keith Glyde. ISBN 0-6460-36640-8  

 

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