Happy 50th Birthday 6RAR

 

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For our platoon, 1965 started with an exercise in New Guinea. Then in June 65, our training cycle went out the window when 2RAR split to add a new battalion, 6RAR to the order of battle.

Our beloved platoon ceased to exist and its warriors were scattered far and wide to help create sub units of 6RAR.  I remember those soldiers well and was very proud to have served with them.  Each and every one of them made a sound contribution in the development of their new unit. So many of them in later years rose to high rank and helped develop subsequent generations of warriors.

Those early days were Spartan and very busy. I can clearly remember seeing Harry Smith and Charles Mollison commanding their newly formed rifle companies and the seemingly endless arrivals of young conscripts flowing into the battalion.

The characters were many and never to be forgotten. Some became the RSM’s constant nightmare and who could ever forget the very first RSM, George Chinn, DCM. Then there was God himself, the Commanding Officer, Colin Townsend. He was a reticent man who never seemed to be fussed or bothered. I am personally convinced such traits became the hallmark of the battalion in subsequent generations. No fuss, no bother, just get on with the job at hand and if necessary, simply amend official military directives.

Those early days were very busy and to add to the challenge was that the battalion had been earmarked to serve in Vietnam, thus there was little time to preparing for war. Perhaps the greatest compliment was that within 12 months from genesis, the battalion was in Vietnam and its subsequent deeds are now proud history.

Happy 50th, you ugly magnificent bastards and now, the obligatory verse.

Happy 50th Birthday

Come travel with me as we open history’s door

Go back to the time where you were before

Seek your past and study blurred faces; who and where

Recall your first parade with other young warriors eager to dare

Oh the wonders of those yesterdays you will find

Confidence, love of country and mateship you did bind

As very busy Nashos and Regs, you quickly became as one

Drill, inspections, field firing, be it cold winter rain or searing sun

See again NCOs yelling and a beloved RSM with pace stick screaming

Because idle soldiers on parade were sometimes dreaming

How many larrikins would be reluctant heroes in their tomorrow?

Yet today doubling in full kit with more punishment to follow

To visit an empty space where those wooden barracks had been

To recall joyful singing where once stood a crowded canteen

The city march with cheering crowds then fond adieus at the shore

It was time to farewell sweet peace and welcome the drums of war

How many warriors since that very first day have there been

Who soldiered beyond the black stump, deserts and jungle green

In the Aussie bush yarning and laughing around campfires so bright

Or on foreign soil, alert and whispering in the blackness of night

On this special day, generations of military together side by side

As Colours with battle honours fly; ancient chests swell with pride

So evident are the genes as today’s centurions march by

The same spirit, purpose, badge and proud motto they cry

In peace and war, ever sharp are the unit’s swords and spears

Honed by mateship, pride and values the Regiment holds dear

No different is today’s generation of warriors with fiery torch in place

Salute them as they march into tomorrow with measured pace..

..George Mansford (Warie George)..

Comments

  1. Trevor Aldersea says

    Dear Sir,
    Richard Aldersea was the only WA KIA at long Tan 50 years ago, we are going to the service at Long Tan this year 4 brother David, Trevor, Michael and Colin Aldersea from Manjimup and Perth WA, we would like to wear 6RAR shirts as a sign of respect to our uncle and the unit he belonged to.
    I would like for 6RAR as a gesture of good will to supply them to us as a token those who gave there all like Richard, I request this as a few years ago I was at the service and the boys from 6RAR were there and they looked so sharp, I need 2x large and 2x 3xl, if at all possible?

    Regards,
    Trevor Aldersea
    512151 Pte T D Aldersea

    • Trevor Dixon says

      Trevor,
      Contact details for the 6RAR Association can be found on this link, they may be able to help with your request.
      “Lest we Forget”