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|The Battle Honours on the
Queen's Colour are:
|The Battle Honours on the
Regimental Colour are:
|Malaya 1941-42||South Africa 1900-1902|
|SouthWest Pacific 1944-45||Ypres 1917|
|Liberation of Australian New Guinea||Polygon Wood|
|St Quentin Canal|
Note: The following is a brief resume of the history of the Scottish Regiment in New South Wales. A fuller history is contained in the books, Scarlet and Tartan by Martin J Buckley, a copy of which can be purchased from the Association, see the Memorabilia page, In all Things Faithful, complied by Tom Wade-Ferrell and published by Fine Arts Press Pty Ltd of Sydney and The History and Regimental Standing Orders of 30 Infantry Battalion compiled by its Commanding Officer, Lt Col Bill Crooks MBE. The Association acknowledges these publications as the source of the brief history that follows.
The first NSW Military Unit with a Scottish Association was The Duke of Edinburgh's Highlanders formed in 1868. The Unit wore a kilt of Black Watch tartan and became known as the Highland Brigade before it was disbanded in 1878, following a decline in numbers caused by curtailment of new enrolment by Sir Henry Parkes, then the Premier of New South Wales. Prior to this, the Volunteer Act of 1867 provided for the granting of 50 acres of freehold land to any volunteer who gave five years continuous efficient service. This system had given rise to abuse and it was this that led Sir Henry Parkes to stop recruiting. The system of Land Grants to Volunteers was finally abandoned in 1878, and with volunteers dwindling the Highland Brigade was disbanded.
Following the death of General Gordon in Khartoum in 1885, the NSW Government sent a special force to the Sudan. This aroused public reaction in the State, which led to the formation of a new Unit, to be called the Scottish Volunteer Rifle Corps in 1885. The name was later abbreviated to the Scottish Rifles and they first paraded in November 1885. The chosen uniform of the Scottish Rifles was to be a kilt of Black Watch tartan but as the Unit was not formally affiliated to the Black Watch (the Royal Highland Regiment), the tartan was adapted by adding a thin red line.
During the Boer War the Scottish Rifles was not involved as a Unit but some 85 members enlisted into those Australian contingents which did serve. As a result of the large numbers of Scottish members who enlisted, the Scottish Rifles received a Battle Honour, South Africa 1900-1902, and was granted a King's Colour (see photograph on the right).This Colour was laid up in Scots Church in Sydney on 28th November 1926, but during subsequent renovations to the church the Colour has been mislaid. On the pike staff of the Colour there is a shield that reads:
"Presented by His Most Gracious Majesty, the King Emperor, to 1st Battalion, New South Wales Scottish Rifle Regiment, formerly 5th Infantry Regiment, New South Wales, Scottish Rifles, in recognition of services to the Empire in South Africa, 1900-1902"
During the last years of the 19th century, the Scottish Rifles continued to grow, reaching a strength of 23 officers and 617 other ranks by 1900, with several Companies having been formed in country areas of New South Wales.
Following Federation the Commonwealth forces were reorganised and the Scottish Rifles was formed into two Battalions. The first Battalion was to have six companies in Sydney and two in Newcastle. There was to be a portion of a second Battalion on the Northern Rivers with one Company in Maclean, one at Lismore-Ballina and one at Lismore-Mullimbimby.
In 1908 the Scottish Rifles received the coveted honour of affiliation with the Black Watch (the Royal Highland Regiment).
In 1911, the Government announced that a new Citizens' Army involving compulsory service was to be formed and all existing Units would be absorbed into the militia. In 1912 this came into effect and all trainees were drafted into new Battalions, those in Sydney being the 25th and 26th Infantry and the Scottish Rifles ceased to exist.
Subsequent to the dissolution of the Scottish Rifles in 1912, strong attempts were made by Scottish Associations in New South Wales to have the 25th Infantry as a kilted Regiment, and in 1914, it was announced that the 25th Infantry was to be reorganised and named the 1st Battalion New South Wales Scottish Regiment, to be affiliated with the Black Watch and the kilt being supplied by the Government.
However this did not take effect, because war was declared on 4th August 1914, before the re-organisation was complete.
Within a few days of the outbreak of war, organisation of the First Division, Australian Imperial Force was started. Government regulations at the time prohibited existing forces to go overseas and existing members of the Army were required to volunteer into one of the new Units of the A.I.F. if they were to serve overseas. The greater part of the officers, NCOs and the old volunteers of the Scottish did volunteer, but the old Scottish Regiment did not take part in WWI as a Unit.
During World War I, the previous Units were not disbanded as such but remained in Australia as home Units and so at the end of the War, the 25th Infantry had remained in existence. After the War it was renamed the 2/4 Battalion, i.e. the second Battalion of the 4th Infantry, and was to continue the history of the 4th Battalion.
In 1920, for organisational reasons, the Government decided that it was inappropriate to retain second Battalions to an A.I.F. Battalion and the 2/4th was renamed 30th Battalion, New South Wales Scottish Regiment. This completed the plan established in 1914, but the Government did not grant permission for the kilt to be worn, nor would it provide money for it. The Unit was manned by compulsory enlisted men.
Subsequently, the new Unit formed a strong link with the 30th A.I.F Association, made up of members of the 30th Battalion of World War I .
On 8th February 1925, consecration and presentation of Colours to the 30th Battalion, bearing the Honours gained in the war, took place at Birchgrove Oval Balmain. The Honours on the Regimental Colour are listed at the top of this page, but in fact, 30 Battalion had gained five more honours than the ten on the Colour but only ten could be placed on the Colour. Those not on the Colour are:
Menin Road, Passchendaele 1917, Poel Cappelle, Mont St Quentin, France and Flanders 1916-1918.
At the time of the presentation, the Regiment was still not kilted.
In 1929, Compulsory Service was abandoned and a new Citizens' Army was set up to be known collectively as the Militia. As part of the reorganisation, and when Units were permitted to have distinctive uniforms and badges, the badge suggested for the 30th resembled that of the Black Watch.
In 1930, as the result of yet another re-organisation, the 30th Battalion was amalgamated with the 51st Battalion, with the combined Battalion receiving permission to wear the Glengarry.
In 1934, the authorities became more receptive to the wearing of the kilt and, as a result, action was taken by the Battalion, and the Highland Society of New South Wales, to seek re-approval from the Black Watch for the affiliation that had taken place with the Scottish Rifles in 1908. That affiliation was readily accepted by the Black Watch. Permission was granted for the 30th to wear the Black Watch uniform and adopt a badge similar to that of the Black Watch, although permission was not given for certain elements, such as the wearing of the Red Hackle and the adoption of the Royal Stewart tartan by pipers.
The items of Scottish uniform were not provided by the Government and a public fund was set up to receive donations for purchase of the relevant items. This fund was successful and the Regiment was issued with the kilt in August 1935.
In the meantime, the 51st Battalion had left the amalgamation, so at the time of the issue of the kilt, the Regiment consisted only of the 30th Battalion once again.
The first public parade of the Battalion in Scottish uniform occurred at the Highland Gathering on New Year's day 1936 when nearly 500 men paraded in the uniform of the Black Watch.
In the years before World War II, the Battalion continued to train, with a highlight being the Trooping of the Colour in 1938. A photograph of this occasion is included in our Gallery page. In the previous year the Battalion had been presented with the Commonwealth RSSAILA Infantry Efficiency Challenge Trophy and following the very successful Trooping of the Colour, the Regiment became known as the most efficient in the Commonwealth.
After the declaration of war on 3rd September 1939, the Government announced its intention to organise the 2nd AIF, with the first formation being the 6th Division (5 Divisions had served in WWI). The same Battalions were reformed with the prefix 2nd before the title.
Whilst this reorganisation was being planned, the 30th Battalion went into camp for war training and during the period after enlistment for the 2nd AIF had opened, at a Battalion parade the CO of the Battalion asked for volunteers to serve overseas. The 30th Battalion volunteered to a man.
However, with the possibility of Japan entering the war, the Government was unwilling to send Militia Units overseas as they would be required for home defence.
But when enlistment had opened members of the NSW Scottish were at the forefront of those volunteering. In one day all the officers, most of the NCOs and all the men of the Machine Gun Company volunteered as well as many from the other Companies.
As a result, the members of the New South Wales Scottish found themselves distributed through all the services and all arms. There was not a combatant Unit of the 2nd AIF that did not have a New South Wales Scottish representative and previous members of the Scottish fought in every engagement in which Australian forces participated. Of the first six decorations awarded to Australian troops in the war five went to previous members of the New South Wales Scottish Regiment. They were Captain Ian Hutchinson MC, Captain W.B.Caldwell MC,Captain R.W.F.McDonald MC, Lieutenant K.J.McPherson MC and Lieutenant A.C Murchison MC. All were awarded for gallantry at Bardia and Tobruk and two of these officers were later to command the 30th Battalion.
Unfortunately the Scottish also had the distinction of having the first Australian Officer killed in action, Lieutenant P.C.J Taylor who was killed at Bardia.
Meanwhile the 30th Battalion remained in Australia and 1940 saw the end, for the duration of the war, of the wearing of Scottish uniform.
When Japan entered the war the Militia Forces were called up and the 30th went to a war footing, with training concentrating on beach defence, and this saw the Battalion stationed at various times at Wallgrove, Frenchs Forest and Greta and then in Western Australia.
In 1942, Government decreed that if two-thirds of a Unit volunteered for overseas service, the Unit could be designated 2nd AIF. The 30th Battalion soon earned this honour. During the remainder of 1942 and most of 1943, the Battalion continued to train in Western Australia ready to serve as a garrison there should the Japanese invade. It returned to Sydney in September 1943 then embarked in November 1943 for the Atherton Tablelands for jungle warfare training.
In January 1944, the Battalion left for New Guinea.
On 22 April 1944, the Battalion joined the advance of the Allied Forces through Finschafen, Saidor, Madang to Alexishafen. During the advance the Battalion suffered its first casualties with five men being killed and three wounded by mines in the road.
30th Battalion had the honour of capturing and entering Madang during the advance against an enemy that was retreating fast.
The Battalion, with the other Units of 8 Brigade, then became part of a holding force in the Madang Alexishafen area, patrolling positions at Hansa Bay and remained at Siar Madang, until June 1945, when it embarked for Wewak, where it carried out aggressive patrolling in clearing the area until the end of hostilities in August 1945. It left Wewak in January 1946 for Brisbane, where it was disbanded.
The Battle Honours shown on the 30 Battalion's Colours are those earned by three Units:
30 Battalion, A.I.F. 1915 -1919
2/30 Battalion, A.I.F. 1940-1945
30 Battalion, 1941-1946
We have dealt with the history of 30 Battalion in WWII in the previous paragraphs, the paragraphs below provide a brief history of the 30th Battalion in WWI and the 2/30 Battalion in WWII.
Colour Patches worn by each the Units were:
The patch on the left was that of the 30th Bn A.I.F. in the First World War and 30th Bn, NSW Scottish, CMF, that in the centre by the 30th Australian Infantry Battalion in World War II and the one on the right by the 2/30 Battalion A.I.F.
The Battalion was formed at Liverpool NSW on 5 August 1915, with one-fourth of its members being ex-naval ratings who had originally enlisted for naval service but later volunteered for the Army. It was one of four Battalions of the 8 Brigade.
The Battalion embarked for Egypt in November 1915 and initially served in defence positions to protect the Suez Canal from the advancing Turkish Army, later being reinforced by troops evacuated from Gallipoli.
In February 1916, it moved for advanced training at Tel El Kebir, where coincidentally the Black Watch had fought during the Egyptian Wars. After extensive exercises in the desert, the Battalion, as part of 5 Division,embarked for France, where further training was carried out at Morbecque in Northern France. Its first exposure to enemy fire occurred in July 1916 in the Bois Grenier sector of the front line where it suffered its first casualties, with 2 men killed and 15 wounded.
Its first major action was the disastrous Fromelles attack where the role of 30 Battalion was to support one of the assaulting Battalions and then to dig a trench forward to the German lines. The attacking Units were devastated and Companies of 30 Battalion, whilst carrying out their support role, suddenly found themselves in the front line and were attacked from the flank, suffering the loss of 9 officers and 343 other ranks.
The Battalion was rested at Croix Blanche and then from July 1916 it continued periods of support, then front line duty, then a few days at rest billets, then carrying out raids into the German line.
In October 1916 the Battalion moved into the reserve line at Flers Trench in the Somme, where during atrocious weather it was subject again to a routine of 48 hours in the front line, road work, training and patrol until it relieved the 19th Battalion in the front line at Bapaume in March 1917. Here it was found that the Germans had retreated from their positions and the 30th was able to advance some 1000 metres with little opposition other than snipers.
A period of training then followed at Le Croquet to prepare for the Passchendaele offensive. In September the Battalion was again given a support role in the capture of Polygon Wood in the Menin Road battle. As the initial attack was successful 30 Bn was not required but moved up to occupy the positions taken and take part in mopping up operations. During this period the Battalion lost 66 men killed and 197 wounded. It was relieved in October 1917.
In November 1917, the Battalion was brought back into the line at Messines where again it suffered another winter. In March 1918, the Germans opened their last offensive and although 30 Bn was brought up to Albert to fill any gaps in the line,it was not needed, being relieved in May until it was once again brought into the line at Moriancourt in June. There several successful minor operations were carried out prior to the Battle of Amiens which was the start of the German defeat.
Amiens was the largest single Australian operation of the war and 30 Battalion, with the remainder of 8 Brigade, advanced through Warfusee Abancourt as the enemy retreated. The Battalion reached the Morcourt Valley and then moved to the rear at Aubigny. It then took part in an operation to penetrate beyond Morcourt Valley, reaching the Amiens-Peronne Road on 29 August. It then moved to Fontaine-les-Cappy where it spent some 10 days in early September cleaning out pockets of the enemy. Losses of 28 killed and 60 wounded were suffered in this phase.
In late September, the Battalion was brought into the final Hindenberg Line assault at Henvilly, for the first time fighting with the Americans. The Americans failed to reach their objective and the assault was unsuccessful. Despite this, elements of 30 Battalion were successful in clearing the village of Nauroy. A further 15 men were killed and 71 wounded here.
On 1st October the Battalion was relieved and moved to Roisel and then to Oisemont for rest.
After the Armistice was declared in November, the Battalion moved to Favrill and stayed there until 28 February 1919.
During World War I members of the 30th Battalion won 1 OBE, 6 DSO's, 22 Mc's,19 DCM's, 83 MM's and 2 bars to the MM as well as numerous MID's and French medals.
The Battalion was reformed again, in name, on 31st March 1921,as the New South Wales Scottish Regiment.
The 2/30 Battalion was formed at West Tamworth on 13th and 14th November 1940 with men selected from Training Battalions. Training at West Tamworth continued until February 1941, when the Battalion moved to Bathurst with the other Battalions of 27th Brigade, the 2/26th and 2/29th.
The Battalion sailed from Sydney on 29th July 1941, arriving in Singapore on 15 August, and then moving to Batu Pahat in Malaya, where its station was to be the Batu Pahat-Ayer Hitam-Kluang Jemaluang-Mersing Road. Further training was carried out in this region, until it was learned that the Japanese had landed in Malaya on 8 December. The Battalion immediately moved to Jemaluong where it waited pending being given a role in the further defence of Malaya.
On 9th January 1942 the Battalion was ordered to move to a defensive position at Batu Anam, in the State of Johore almost in the centre of the Malayan Peninsula, astride the main road coming from the north and then to set up an ambush on the road near Gemas, which was a strategic point on the junction of the Kota Bhura and west coast main railway lines.
After reconnaisance of the area, it was decided that the ambush area was better suited to a company, rather than the whole battalion, and on 11th January the 2/30th B company, under the command of Capt D.J.Duffy, took up a position on the Gemencheh Bridge on the Gemas-Tampin road ready to spring the ambush.
At 1620 hours on 14th January, a solid mass of the enemy riding bicycles preceding the main column was seen approaching and, after the leading group had been allowed to pass, the ambush was sprung when Capt Duffy gave the order to blow the bridge and attack the main body. Some 600 Japanese were killed.
Thus 2/30 Battalion became the the first Australian Unit to come into action against the Japanese in the war.
Battalion casualties were 17 killed, 55 wounded and 9 missing. In a Japanese history of the Malayan campaign, refrence to the action at Gemas said "The Australians fought with a bravery not previously encountered".
After the successful ambush B Company rejoined the rest of the Battalion four miles down the road.
After fighting a short engagement at Fort Rose Estate on 15 and 16 January, the Battalion withdrew to Yong Peng and then to Ayer Hitam some 58 miles from Singapore. Here some patrol clashes took place and despite an attack on B Company by two Companies of the enemy the position was initially held but eventually the enemy numbers were too strong and the Battalion withdrew to Simpang Rengam.
The same pattern followed over the next few days and the Battalion withdrew once again, this time to Ayer Bemban. At this stage a small enemy patrol was attacked by C Company and the Samurai sword worn by the Japanese officer in command of the patrol was souvenired after he was killed. This sword was eventually smuggled out of Singapore and many years later was presented to the New South Wales Scottish.
On 31st January the 2/30th crossed the Causeway onto Singapore Island where it was given the task of protecting the Causeway head. On 9th February the Japanese landed on the Island and after the Battalion was once again outflanked by the superior numbers of enemy troops it withdrew again and again until at 8.30 pm on 15th February the campaign came to an end.
The remaining members of the Battalion became prisoners of war and suffered the atrocities of Changi and the Burma Railway until the war finally ended and on 22nd September 1945 the Battalion left Singapore arriving home on 9th October 1945.
The campaign cost the Battalion 46 killed, 55 died of wounds, 32 were missing and 301 died as a result of imprisonment by the Japanese.
Members of the 2/30th were awarded 1 OBE,3 MBE's, 1 DSO, 2 MC's, 2 DCM's, 1 BEM and 16 Mentioned in Despatches.
The Gemas Memorial at the Pymble Multi-User Depot in New South Wales, features 5 palm trees representing the 5 companies of 2/30 Bn and 2 tank traps recovered from the jungle near Gemas in the 1970's.
In 1988 the role of a unit of the Australian Army named Rifle Coy, Butterworth at Butterworth, Malaysia was changed from defence of the airfield, which was also used extensively by the RAAF, to company-level training.
On 11 October 2007, a memorial service was held on the site of the Gemas action and in honour of the 2/30 Bn success at Gemas the Rifle Coy, Butterworth was renamed 2/30 Training Group. During the service new flag for the 2/30 Training Group was presented to the Commanding Officer by a member of the 2/30 Bn AIF Association
It may be of interest for readers to know that at the time of the 2008 Gemas celebration, one-third of the 2/30 Training Group was made up of trainees from 2/17Bn of which a number were from Alpha Company
In early 1948, the Government decided to reform the Citizen Military Forces on a voluntary basis, similar to pre-war, and 30th Battalion was one of the Units in the reorganisation. Interviewing of the officers commenced in May 1948 and senior NCOs in June, with general recruiting beginning on 1st July. Very soon some 580 all ranks had been enlisted and due to the large number of ex-servicemen who had enlisted, within twelve months the Battalion had reached a high level of efficiency.
Training consisted of an annual 14 day camp, bivouacs about every two months and weekly parades and this continued until the Battalion was disbanded some 12 years later.
In June 1950 the Korean War broke out and immediately several 30 Battalion officers volunteered to join the Australian forces sent to Korea, with one officer, Capt J Young, earning an MC and another officer, Lt K MacGregor, being badly wounded. In all some 56 members of the 30th volunteered and served in the Korean War.
In 1951 a compulsory National Service system was introduced where Army draftees were required to serve 98 days initial full-time training and then 2 years part-time training with a CMF Unit. In November 1951 30 Battalion received its first intake of National Servicemen, 26 members, all of whom had volunteered for service in the 30th prior to being called up for National Service.
In December 1951 the Battalion won and was presented with the Heath Trophy, which was awarded to the most efficient Unit in Eastern Command. The Trophy was won again by the Battalion the following year.
By 1954 the National Service scheme had reached its full effect and although intakes of as much as 200 had been sent to the Battalion, the years 1954 to 1957 were lean because possible volunteers had been called up. Parade nights were obligatory on only one night each month and this, with the reduction in volunteer numbers, mitigated against the spirit of the wholly voluntary nature of the Battalion. As well as this, the obligatory posting of numbers of National Servicemen to whom the wearing of the kilt had little appeal had an adverse effect on the Battalion. National Servicemen at the time were not permitted a wet Mess and the closure of the Corporals' Club and Mens' Institute was not popular with the remaining voluntary members.
In November 1957, the Regiment was given the honour of providing a Royal Guard for the forthcoming visit of the Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth, Colonel-in-Chief of the Black Watch, in February 1958. This is pictured on our Gallery page.
During the last quarter of 1959, the Commanding Officer asked the Black Watch for approval to change the name of the Unit to Black Watch of Australia, similar to the precedent in Canada, but before this approval could be given the Army was reorganised.
From its re-formation in 1948 until its disbandment in 1960, 30 Infantry Battalion occupied the Drill Hall at Carlow St North Sydney, although from time to time some Companies were based at Forest Lodge, Vaucluse and Pymble.
In November 1959, the Minister for the Army announced a complete reorganisation of the Army on the lines of the American Pentropic Divisions. The new Army was to be a CMF volunteer organisation, but with a reduction in the number of Units. It was decided to form two Divisions, the 1st in NSW/Queensland consisting of a mix of Regular Army and CMF Units and the 2nd in the other States, a wholly CMF formation.
The 1st Division was to include 5 Battalions, of which two were Regulars and three CMF. The CMF Battalions were to be formed into State Regiments and the 1std Battalion was to be formed by the amalgamation of 17/18, 45 and 30 Battalions into the 1std Battalion RNSWR and the country Battalions into the 2nd Battalion RNSWR.
It was officially suggested that the 1st Battalion was to be a Scottish Battalion as it was felt that this would encourage recruiting, but it was left to a Committee of the COs of the Battalions to resolve this. The Committee ultimately decided that the Battalion would consist of two Scottish companies.
The new organisation came into effect from 1st July 1960, but by this time it had been decided that there would be only one Scottish Company, Alpha Company of the new 2nd Battalion Royal New South Wales Regiment.
The final act in disbanding the New South Wales Scottish Regiment took place on 9th December 1962, when the Colours of the 30th Battalion were laid up at St Stephen's Presbyterian (now Uniting) Church, Macquarie St, Sydney, where they now reside in cases supplied by our Association.
This brought to an end the very proud service of the New South Wales Scottish Regiment, which had served New South Wales and Australia since 1888 and whose members had participated in every conflict since the Boer War.
The formative years of A Company were very testing as a new Army Order of Battle was put into operation. During these early stages A Company continued to wear the same uniform as the 30th Battalion in the 1950's including the 30 Battalion badge, whilst the other Companies of 1RNSWR wore the Infantry Corps Crossed Rifle badge. With the re-introduction of selective two year National Service many potential draftees chose to voluntarily enlist in the CMF and recruitment rose.
On 1 July 1965, there was yet another substantial reorganisation of the CMF and the Company became A Company, NSW Scottish, 17th Battalion, Royal NSW Regiment and relinquished the 30 Bn badge in favour of a new NSW Regiment badge and in the mid 1970s the Company received permission from the Black Watch to wear the Red Hackle.
By 1973, National Service had been abolished and recruitment dropped once again.
In 1981 a further reorganisation took place and this led the 17th Battalion RNSWR to become part of the 8th Brigade.
In 1987, the 17th Battalion joined with the 2nd Battalion to form the 2/17 Battalion New South Wales Regiment, and A Company became Alpha (Scottish) Company in the combined Battalion.
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