History in Detail
9 RAR was the final battalion raised for The Royal Australian Regiment. LTCOL Alby Morrison formed it on 13 November 1967 in South Australia.
The Battalion trained at Cultana, near Woodside, South Australia, and in the Flinders Ranges. The Battalion’s specialist platoons trained in New South Wales. In order to meet the deadline for departure to South Vietnam, the Battalion found it necessary to complete, in unit lines, the basic-to-corps-training of its 140 national servicemen. As a result, these men were trained and allotted to companies some seven weeks earlier than they would have been had they followed the normal training system — a very valuable saving of time. All soldiers underwent compulsory individual training at Canungra, and the Battalion successfully completed its final exercise at Shoalwater Bay in Queensland.
The unit, fully trained and operational, left Australia in the aircraft carrier HMAS Sydney for service in South Vietnam in November 1968. The Battalion had thus been raised and had completed its training in just 9 months, the shortest period in which any Australian infantry battalion has ever gone to war.
The Battalion had many heavy contacts with the enemy during its tour of duty and, sadly, 35 of its members were killed and over 150 were wounded in action. The Battalion’s service in South Vietnam resulted in the award of a Distinguished Service Order, two Military Crosses, seven Military Medals, and eleven members of the Battalion were Mentioned in Dispatches. 9 RAR continued on operations until it left South Vietnam on the 25 November 1969, once again in HMAS Sydney.
Upon returning to Australia in December, the Battalion reformed at Enoggera in Queensland. In January 1970 it was again warned for active service; it was listed as “next to go” when Australia’s commitment in South Vietnam finished. The Battalion was presented with its original Queen’s and Regimental Colours on 21 April 1971. These are now laid up in the All Saints Chapel at Enoggera.
The Battalion remained at Enoggera until the 31 October, 1973 when it merged with 8 RAR to become the 8th/9th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (8/9 RAR). On parade 8/9 RAR always carried the Queen’s Colours of both Battalions. A second set was presented (with 8 RAR’s) at Enoggera on the 1 October 1989.
On 18 June 1997, the Queen’s and Regimental Colours of 9 RAR along with those of 8 RAR were laid up at the Royal Australian Infantry Corps Museum at the Infantry Centre, Singleton, NSW.
On 12 September 2008, a Colour Rededication Parade was conducted by 8th/9th Battalion to bring back into service the Queen’s Colours and the Regimental Colours of the 8th Battalion and the 9th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment.