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2nd/17th Battalion, Royal New South Wales Regiment
Cap badge of the Royal New South Wales Regiment
Active 1987–present
Country  Australia
Branch Army
Type Reserve Infantry
Part of 8th Brigade, 2nd Division
Garrison/HQ Pymble
Motto(s) Nulli Secundus (Second To None)
Facta Probant (Deeds Prove)[1]
LTCOL Stephen Brumby
Colonel in Chief HM The Queen
(Australian Infantry Corps)
Unit Colour Patch 50px
Tartan Government[dead link]

The 2nd/17th Battalion, Royal New South Wales Regiment (2/17 RNSWR) is a reserve infantry battalion of the Australian Army. Currently part of the 8th Brigade, attached to the 2nd Division, the unit currently consists of a headquarters and four rifle companies spread out across a number of depots throughout the state of New South Wales. The unit was formed in 1987, following a reorganisation of the Australian Army Reserve which saw the amalgamation of a number of Reserve units across Australia. Through the 2nd Battalion and the 17th Battalion, the unit can trace its lineage back to 1860 and today it carries battle honours from both of these units, as well as the units of the Second Australian Imperial Force which fought during World War II.

History[edit | edit source]

The 2nd/17th Battalion, Royal New South Wales Regiment was formed on 5 December 1987 when the 2nd and 17th Battalions were amalgamated during a ceremony held at Newcastle, New South Wales.[2] This was part of a re-organisation of the Royal New South Wales Regiment that took place at the time, which saw two battalions in each brigade linked in order to respond to the declining size of a number of units.[3]

Upon formation, the battalion was assigned to the 8th Brigade,[4] and allocated a recruitment area that stretched from the centre of Sydney to the New South Wales Central Coast.[5] At this time also, the battalion adopted the battle honours and traditions of its predecessor units, perpetuating a lineage that can be traced as far back as 1860, and includes active service in the Mahdist War, the Boer War, World War I and World War II.[6]

In 1988, the newly formed battalion marched through the municipality of Ku-ring-gai, after it was granted the Freedom of Entry to the town.[5] In 1990, 2/17 RNSWR was called upon to provide disaster relief in the wake of Newcastle earthquake and the Nyngan floods. Following this, the battalion was relocated to Silverwater, New South Wales while Suakin Depot was being refurbished. The battalion did not return until 13 April 1996, when they once again marched through Ku-ring-gai and returned to Suakin, taking up residence along with the 7th Field Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery.[5]

In July 1994, as a result of a re-organisation of the 2nd Division, two of the battalion's rifle companies—those based at Orange and Bathurst—were transferred to the 1st/19th Battalion, Royal New South Wales Regiment. At the same time, the battalion gained a company that was based at Arncliffe from the 4th/3rd Battalion, Royal New South Wales Regiment.[4] In 1997, as a result of a re-organisation of the Ready Reserve Scheme, the battalion gained a company (designated 'D' Company) from the 6th Brigade, although in 2000 this company was relocated to Blacktown.[4] The previous year, 'B' Company was moved to Erina.[4]

Throughout the late 1990s, 2/17 RNSWR took part in a number of large-scale exercises. These included Kangaroo '95, which was a multinational exercise that was undertaken in northern Australia. Later, in 1997, the battalion took part in a brigade-level exercise at Broken Hill along with units from the South Australian-based 9th Brigade, while a company was sent to the Battle Wing at Canungra, Queensland.[5]

Alpha Company traces its lineage to the NSW Scottish Rifles unit which was affiliated with the Black Watch (the Royal Highland Regiment).[7] Until late 2010, Alpha Company members paraded in a khaki balmoral with a Black Watch tartan and RNSWR cap badge complete with red hackle; the ceremonial balmoral being navy blue. The khaki balmoral was presented to the qualified infanteers of the company upon completion of their second and final infantry module. Whilst the ceremonial balmoral is still in use, due to a directive by the Chief of Army, all berets and head dress Army-wide are to be replaced by the use of the Slouch hat, although this directive does not extend to SOCOMD.[8][9]

Khaki Balmoral

Current structure[edit | edit source]

  • Alpha Company based at Pymble.
  • 4 Platoon based in Erina.
  • Charlie Company based in Newcastle.
  • Delta Company based in Blacktown.
  • Echo Company based in Rockdale.
  • Headquarters Company based at Pymble.

Battle honours[edit | edit source]

2/17 RNSWR carries the following battle honours, which it inherited from its ancestral units:[10]

  • Suakin 1885;
  • Boer War: South Africa 1899–1902;
  • World War I: Somme 1916 & 1918, Pozieres, Bapaume 1917, Bullecourt, Ypres 1917, Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Broodseinde, Poelcappelle, Passchendaele, Hamel, Amiens, Albert 1918, Monte St Quentin, Hindenburg Line, Beaurevoir, France and Flanders 1916–18, Suvla, Gallipoli 1915, and Egypt 1915–16;
  • World War II: North Africa 1941–42, Defence of Tobruk, El Adem Road, Alam El Halfa, El Alamein, South West Pacific 1943–45, Lae–Nadzab, Finschhafen, Scarlet Beach, Defence of Scarlet Beach, Jivenaneng, Kumawa, Liberation of Australian New Guinea, Sio, Borneo, Bruinei and Miri.

Commanding officers[edit | edit source]

The following is a list of officers that have served as 2/17 RNSWR's commanding officer:[11]

  • Lieutenant Colonel L.A. Wood (1987–1989);
  • Lieutenant Colonel A.S Morrison (1989–1991);
  • Lieutenant Colonel D.D Shearman (1991–1993);
  • Lieutenant Colonel G.N Oakley (1994–1996);
  • Lieutenant Colonel A.Henderson (1997– ?)

Alliances[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. "2/17th Battalion, Royal New South Wales Regiment". Department of Defence. Archived from the original on 30 August 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20070830185419/http://www.defence.gov.au/army/2_17rnswr/intro.htm. Retrieved 28 December 2010. 
  2. 2/17 Battalion History Committee 1998, pp. 332–333.
  3. 2/17 Battalion History Committee 1998, p. 332.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "History of the 2nd/17th Infantry Battalion, RNSWR". Department of Defence. Archived from the original on 30 August 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20070830185403/http://www.defence.gov.au/army/2_17rnswr/. Retrieved 28 December 2010. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 2/17 Battalion History Committee 1998, p. 333.
  6. Harris, Ted. "Royal New South Wales Regiment Battalions Off Orbat". Digger History.org. http://www.diggerhistory.info/pages-army-today/state-regts/rnswr-off-orbat.htm#17%20RNSWR. Retrieved 15 May 2009. 
  7. "History of NSW Scottish Regiment". NSW Scottish Regimental Association. http://www.nswscottish.org.au/history.html. Retrieved 21 November 2011. 
  8. Collerton, Sarah (23 September 2010). "Army beret ban 'smacks of pure elitism'". ABC News. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2010-09-23/army-beret-ban-smacks-of-pure-elitism/2271148. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  9. Oakes, Dan (19 August 2010). "Soldiers rebel against loss of cherished beret". Sydney Morning Herald. http://www.smh.com.au/national/soldiers-rebel-against-loss-of-cherished-beret-20100819-12s4b.html. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  10. 2/17 Battalion History Committee 1998, front page.
  11. 2/17 Battalion History Committee 1998, p. 334.

References[edit | edit source]

  • 2/17 Battalion History Committee (1998). What We Have We Hold: A History of the 2/17 Australian Infantry Battalion, 1940–1945. Loftus: Australian Military History Publications. ISBN 1-876439-36-X. 

External links[edit | edit source]

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