Immediately after the name 1st Cavalry Regiment was adopted, a Squadron competition was held to design a distinctive badge for the Regiment. Since the unit was intended largely to carry out the role of reconnaissance ("the eyes of the ADF") a bird of prey seemed the logical emblem. The Australian Wedge Tailed Eagle, with its keenness of sight and its ability to roam over large distances, was finally selected as the model for a badge. A competition was run within the unit and won by the orderly room corporal, Corporal T. C. Burgess. Early in 1967, the 2nd Cavalry Regiment received its new badge, a wedge tailed eagle swooping, carrying a lance bearing the motto "Courage" in its talons.
In ancient days, rallying signs or standards were introduced to distinguish families, tribes and races and to show the position of the commander amid the confusion of the battlefield. Their evolution can be traced from the metal standards of the Roman Legions through the banners of medieval nobility, to the Standards, Guidons, Colours and Banners of today.
The Guidons of the RAAC are patterned on those of the British Army and are only carried by an RAAC Squadron Sergeant Major (SSM), with an escort of two Senior Non Commissioned Officers (NCO). The Sovereign personally approves the design of the Guidon and either presents it, or is represented, at the presentation. The Guidon is rectangular with rounded swallow tails, is made of crimson silk damask and bears the Regimental crest, title and motto. These are surrounded by a wreath of wattle leaves under an Edwardian Crown. The pike is a single length of ashwood and is topped with a gilt crest.
The first guidon was held by A Squadron after manufacture, awaiting formal presentation. Presentation was originally planned for early 1971 and initial plans included the movement of B Squadron from Enoggera for the presentation, using A Squadron 3rd Cavalry Regiment to hold ground. The Guidon was to be shared between A and B Squadrons. These plans were made before RHQ was raised. Delays due to the protocols of presentation meant that by the time presentation dates were confirmed considerable changes had occurred to the Regiment, with B Squadron becoming A Squadron 4th Cavalry Regiment, and A Squadron 3rd Cavalry Regiment becoming B Squadron 2nd Cavalry Regiment. The Queen's representative in NSW, the Governor, Sir Roden Cutler, VC, KCMG, KCVO, CBE presented 2nd Cavalry Regiment with its first Guidon on 5 August 1972, at a parade in Holsworthy West. This original Guidon was not saved when the Officers Mess was tragically razed by fire on 4 February 1990. The Regiment's current Guidon was presented to the Regiment on 20 November 1990, on a Regimental Parade on the 1st Brigade Parade Ground, Holsworthy, by Lieutenant General Coates, who was the CGS at the time. Although custom dictates that the Guidon be housed in the Officers Mess, the Regiments Guidon is now lodged in the foyer of RHQ. All members of the Regiment now have the opportunity to see the Guidon. It is customary to salute the Guidon on entering RHQ.
|Guidon on Parade|
|TPR Courage on promotion|
As a result of the selection of the eagle for a badge, and after viewing a documentary film dealing with wedge tailed eagles, members of the unit decided an eagle as a mascot was a sensible idea. The members of the unit petitioned the 2IC (Captain A.J. Hull) to make a representation to the Wild Life Division of the CSIRO to obtain an eagle as a mascot. A series of letters were exchanged until 26 October 1967 when a suitable eaglet was located.
On 14 November 1967 the new mascot, Trooper Courage, then six weeks old, was presented to the unit. The first ceremonial activity that Courage took part in was a Beating of the Retreat at Victoria Barracks Sydney in 1969. Courage paraded with the Regiment on nearly every ceremonial occasion since that time including the presentation of the guidon on 5 August 1972, when she won much praise by the then Governor of NSW, Sir Roden Cutler. The highlight of her career was in February 1974 when she took part in the house guard for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Courage was promoted through the ranks to Sergeant, and became a very tolerant mascot, even attending dinners in the Sergeants Mess.
On 2 April 1987 Sergeant Courage died. Her death was commemorated with a memorial service and a special edition of Routine Orders was published.
A new mascot, a male wedge tailed eagle, hatched at Taronga Park Zoo on 14 August 1987, and was presented to the Regiment on 15 October 1987. On 25 January 1988 Trooper Courage was a part of the Royal Guard for the arrival in Australia of HRH the Prince of Wales, who was representing the Queen during Australia's Bi-Centennial celebrations.
Courage is trained to fly to his handler, a skill which has made him a feature of several parades. Courage flew onto parade at the presentation of the Guidon, and the opening of Waler Barracks.
On Friday 17 November 1997 Corporal Courage was participating in flight training with his handlers on the Regimental parade ground. Late in the afternoon he refused to co-operate with his handlers and flew away. He was not found until 1600 hrs on Sunday 8 November, four kilometres from the guard room. An extensive search had taken place over two days, involving the guard and other soldiers of the Regiment. Charged with AWOL, he was reduced to Trooper. Due to good behaviour and commendable service he was promoted to the rank of Corporal again on 2 July 1998.
Meritorious Unit Service Award
The 2nd Cavalry Regiment received a Meritorious Unit Service Award from the Government of New South Wales, in recognition of the contribution by the members of the Regiment, in the operations that followed the Northern Suburbs Storm on 21 January 1991. The Award now hangs in RHQ.
Darwin Freedom of Entry
In 1992, the 2nd Cavalry Regiment was the first post war combat unit to move to Darwin and was set the task of establishing a rapport with the Darwin community. Subsequently on a parade through the streets on 24 April 1995 the Regiment was granted the Freedom of Entry to the City of Darwin.
To perpetuate and symbolise the traditions of past Light Horse and Cavalry units which were traditionally linked to 2nd Cavalry Regiment through 4th/19th Prince of Wales Light Horse, approval was sought and gained for selected members of the Regiment to carry lances and wear bandoliers on ceremonial occasions. Official approval was granted in February 1974 for Warrant Officers Class 2, Staff Sergeants and Sergeants to wear bandoliers and carry lances on ceremonial parades and guards. This form of dress was first worn officially by the left and right guides of the Guard provided for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Parliament House, Canberra in February 1974.
|Members of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment wear bandoliers and carry lances when they undertake formal parades|
With the general wearing of the slouch hat across the Army, colour patches were reintroduced in the early 1990s. The reintroduced colour patches were based on the designs of the 1st and 2nd AIF colour patches. The design and colour of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment colour patch is based on that of the 4th Light Horse and is light blue over dark blue, divided diagonally from lower to higher, on a rectangular patch. This design was chosen because of links with A Squadron 4th/19th Prince of Wales Light Horse (descended from 4th Light Horse) and is worn on the right side of the puggaree on the slouch hat by all members of the Regiment (including those from other Corps).
|Slouch Hat with Plumes|
From its earliest days, the Regiment wore the black beret as dress of the day, on ceremonial occasions and in the field. This was consistent with the dress of the 2nd AIF Armoured units and it was understandable that the Regiment would wear the beret of the Royal Tank Regiment, given the source of the personnel who first formed A Squadron 4th/19th Prince of Wales Light Horse. With the introduction of the kepi cap and crewman helmet, the beret was sensibly replaced as field dress. When Army Standing Orders for Dress (ASOD) were introduced in the 1990s there was a greater emphasis placed on the wearing of the Australian slouch hat in the Army. For RAAC units that had direct links to the ALH, emu plumes were an essential accoutrement to retain the Light Horse traditions. All RAAC personnel were given authority to wear plumes in the slouch hat with the brim up or down in 1996. The black beret is retained for Regimental and other ceremonial occasions. Personnel from other Corps who are posted to the Regiment wear the black beret (with their respective Corps badge) and wear emu plumes in their slouch hat.
On 20 November 1970, Lieutenant Colonel Keldie assumed control of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment (Reconnaissance). It was this appointment date that determined the birthdate of the Regiment. The Regiment's birthday is 20 November although, in the development of unique traditions it is celebrated on 31 October, which is Beersheba Day. This date was chosen to celebrate the Regiment's birthday, since it was a successful Australian battle and retained links with the Light Horse. A Squadron 4th/19th Prince of Wales Light Horse, who were later redesignated as A Squadron 2nd Cavalry Regiment, were the recipients of the 1st Australian Imperial Force 4th Light Horse battle honours, so the choice of Beersheba Day as the date for the celebration of the Regiment's birthday seemed only fitting. The Regiment's birthday is typically celebrated every year with a parade and a dining in night.
2nd/6th Cavalry (Commando) Regiment.
This Regiment was formed with the outbreak of World War II and developed a proud tradition during that conflict. The Regiment was the first armoured unit formed at Ingleburn on 3 November 1939 as 6th Australian Division Cavalry. B Squadron made history when it attacked Port Gearnon 12 December 1940 which established it as the first AIF unit action against land forces in the war. The regiment fought against all the nations of the Axis Powers - Italy, Germany, Vichy France and Japan. In doing so it won the following battle honours:
- North Africa 1940-41
- Bardia 1941
- Capture of Tobruk
- Syria 1941
- South West Pacific 1944 –45
- Liberation of Australian New Guinea
- Anub River
- Wirui Mission
2nd Cavalry Regiment was chosen by the past members of the 2nd/6th Cavalry (Commando) Regiment to hold and preserve these Battle Honours. On 9 October 1971 at a ceremonial parade the Regiment was presented with a scroll and bronze plaque affiliating the two Regiments. The scroll hangs in RHQ and the plaque is fixed to a large sculptured rock at the base of the Regiments flag pole. The book ‘To The Green Fields Beyond', written by Shawn O'Leary details the 2nd/6th Regiment's history.
United States 2nd Armoured Cavalry Regiment (2 ACR)
On 21 August 1974 Brigadier General Charles P. Graham (a past Commanding Officer of 2nd Armoured Cavalry Regiment) visited Jordan Lines for the establishment of a ‘Bond of Friendship' between 2nd Cavalry Regiment and 2nd Armoured Cavalry Regiment. The 2nd Cavalry Regiment presented him with a plaque and a photo album, filled with photographs of his visit and received in turn a plaque from 2nd Armoured Cavalry Regiment which now hangs in RHQ.