Commentary – Soldiering in the The 51st Battalion in the Space Age

In early 1916, the 51ST Battalion, AIF was raised in Egypt. Its original members being Gallipoli veterans and recent reinforcements from Australia.  Today it is an integrated unit comprising ARA and Reservists with the role of conducting reconnaissance and surveillance within the vast isolation of Far North Queensland and the Torres Strait Islands.

The proud history of this unit is readily available from the internet.

Clearly, the nature and composition of this unit today is yet another example of using reservists with regular army support to maximum effect on varying security tasks within their own respective regions.  After all, it’s a big country with limited military resources, and besides, it provides a challenging sense of purpose for young warriors, which they and their leaders readily seek.

Soldiering in the 51st 

Born on the sands of Egypt, christened with rum, then issued 303s
Your sacred Cloths now stitched with proud deeds for all to see
And as you guard the Colours ‘neath sun and bright stars
The ghosts of the 51st are watching from afar

As a troubled world reaches out for tomorrow
Changes to our way of life will surely follow
Respect, pride, and other social values may erode and alter  
Be on your guard; your military standards must never, never falter.

Thus, proud tales will still be told with great ado

Mid campfires, corroborees and deep echoes of didgeridoos 

Of duty by the 51st to nation, in peace and war

And among the Regiment’s clear footprints, will be yours

The ghosts of 51 linger each morn, to hear the bugle sound 

To watch with pride, as you go to seek and master new ground

Go now, with powerful strides into a new page of history

Shoulder to shoulder, and resolute, whatever the unknown may be

From the oldest to the youngest in the column, each and every day

Be you in the field, barracks, office and factory, or at play

 I will wager “London to a brick” and with confidence say  

Often, will be your proud past whispering;Ducit amor patriae” **

George Mansford ©July 2021

**My love of country leads me