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Marchers in World War II Australian uniforms, wearing the colour patch of the 2/8th Battalion. ANZAC Day Parade in Brisbane, Queensland, 25 April 2007. This colour patch was based on that of the 8th Battalion, 1st AIF, with grey trim to distinguish it as the colour patch of a unit of the 2nd AIF.

Unit Colour Patches (or simply known as Colour Patches)[1] identify the wearer as belonging to a military formation or unit.

It is believed that the Australian system of colour patches is based upon the small patches of colours or tartan worn on the puggarees of the pith helmets of members of a number of British Army units during the Second Boer War, the South African War of 1899–1902.[2] While some modern Australian colour patches are recent creations, many date back to World War I.

Banner representing the 60th Battalion of the 1st AIF. ANZAC Day Parade in Melbourne, Victoria, 25 April 2019. The banner design is based on the design of the 60th Battalion's unit colour patch. When raised in Egypt in February 1916 the 60th became the "sister battalion" of the 8th Battalion of the 1st AIF. This relationship was represented ceremonially by the 60th adopting the unit colour patch of the 8th, albeit rotated 90 degrees to stand upended on the sleeve. In practical terms the relationship was that a large number of veteran soldiers from the 8th with experience fighting in the battles of Gallipoli, including Officers and Non–Commissioned Officers, were transferred to the 60th to inject their expertise and knowledge into the new unit.[3]

The first approval for the use of distinctive unit colours for Australian army units came from Major General William Throsby Bridges for the 1st Division to fly flags to denote unit areas and lines in Egypt. C.E.W. Bean made the first reference to unit colour patches to be worn on the uniform, when he described Major General Bridges issuing 1st Australian Divisional Order No. 562 dated 8 March 1915, ordering that patches be worn, describing how they would look and ordering that they were to be worn on the uniform sleeve 1 inch (25 mm) below the shoulder. As this was an extension of the order for the posting of the colour flags to denote headquarters and unit lines, these flags were used as the basic design for 1st Division uniform colour patches.[4][5][6][7]

In total over 300 individual patches were eventually authorized during World War 1.[8]

Modern unit colour patches are approximately 40 millimetres (1.6 in) x 40 millimetres (1.6 in) in size and use a large variety of colours and shapes to distinguish the units they represent. Unit colour patches are currently worn on the slouch hat in the Australian Army. Wherever possible the features of modern colour patches reflect relationships between current units and their antecedents from previous wars. For example, modern and historical artillery patches are red and blue, and modern army aviation patches preserve the light blue background with red and blue bands of their World War 1 antecedents, while modern and historical engineer patches are predominantly purple. Some modern units reflect that they are direct descendants of World War 1 and 2 units. For example, the 8th/7th Battalion, Royal Victoria Regiment of rural Victoria uses the white over red horizontal rectangular patch of the original 8th Battalion. The shapes, colours and embellishments of unit colour patches therefore not only identify individuals as members of units, but they can also reflect the story of the unit.

Contents

First AIFEdit

The First Australian Imperial Force was involved in three major campaigns in distant lands, and a smaller campaign closer to home. The First AIF's first major battles were in the Gallipoli Campaign, followed by simultaneous involvement on the Western Front in France and Belgium and in the Middle East, particularly in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign. Meanwhile, Australian forces occupied German political possessions in New Guinea and on other islands of the Southern Pacific. All of these campaigns were distinct in character and made new demands upon the Australian military. The many challenges, losses and successes of the Australian military and its personnel helped forge the character of the new nation of Australia, which had only become the Federation of Australia on 1 January 1901. In the Gallipoli Campaign all Australian fighting units were formed up together on the Gallipoli Peninsula, with supply, medical and other services stretching back as far as Egypt and England. Subsequently, the First AIF was effectively split. For a new nation fighting a war so far from home this created many logistical and organisational challenges. There were many innovations in the organisation of the Australian military during this time. The alliance with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force and the creation of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and other ANZAC units were also important throughout most of World War 1.

The intent of the new unit colour patch system was initially to help with organisation and identification of individuals and units in the field. However, it became more than that, creating bonds between soldiers that contributed to the 'esprit de corps' and 'mateship' among the Australians.[9][10]


1st Division Unit Colour Flags 1914Edit

The first orders for unit colours were for flags 9 inches (22.86 cm) square, divided horizontally with the battalion colour over the brigade colour. Green, red and light blue were allocated as the colours for the 1st Brigade, 2nd Brigade and 3rd Brigade respectively, while the colours for the battalions in each brigade in the order of battle were originally black, yellow, brown and white, the battalion colour to be shown over the brigade colour. The 4th Brigade, raised separately, was allocate blue as the brigade colour.[11][12]


1st Divisional Unit Flags in Egypt, 1914
1st Brigade
2nd Brigade
3rd Brigade
Brigade Headquarters
 
Flag of 1st Brigade Headquarters 1914
 
Flag of 2nd Brigade Headquarters 1914
 
Flag of 3rd Brigade Headquarters 1914
Battalion first in order of battle
(Black)
 
Flag of 1st Australian Infantry Battalion 1914
 
Flag of 5th Australian Infantry Battalion 1914
 
Flag of 9th Australian Infantry Battalion 1914
Battalion second in order of battle
(Yellow)
 
Flag of 2nd Australian Infantry Battalion 1914
 
Flag of 6th Australian Infantry Battalion 1914
 
Flag of 10th Australian Infantry Battalion 1914
Battalion third in order of battle
(Chocolate brown)
 
Flag of 3rd Australian Infantry Battalion 1914
 
Flag of 7th Australian Infantry Battalion 1914
 
Flag of 11th Australian Infantry Battalion 1914
Battalion fourth in order of battle
(White)
 
Flag of 4th Australian Infantry Battalion 1914
 
Flag of 8th Australian Infantry Battalion 1914
 
Flag of 12th Australian Infantry Battalion 1914[13]

The Army Museum of Tasmania, Anglesea Barracks, Hobart has reproduced a photograph of the 12th Battalion flag from Mena. The flag is held at the Imperial War Museum. Glyde (1999) [14] does not describe writing on the battalion flags (only on the Artillery, Engineers and Medical flags), but writing designating the unit may have been displayed on some or all of the other flags.


Brigade Unit Flags in Egypt
4th Brigade
Light Horse Brigade
Brigade Headquarters
 
Flag of 4th Brigade Headquarters 1914
 
Flag of Headquarters Light Horse Brigade 1914
 
Flag of 13th Australian Infantry Battalion 1914
 
Flag of 1st Light Horse Regiment 1914
 
Flag of 14th Australian Infantry Battalion 1914
 
Flag of 2nd Light Horse Regiment 1914
 
Flag of 15th Australian Infantry Battalion 1914
 
Flag of 3rd Light Horse Regiment 1914
 
Flag of 16th Australian Infantry Battalion 1914
 
Flag of 1st Signal Troop, Australian Engineers 1914
 
13th Australian Infantry Battalion flag March 1915, colour changed because black and dark blue were difficult to distinguish.[15]
 
Flag of No. 5 Company, Australian Army Service Corps 1914
 
Flag of 1st Light Horse Field Ambulance, Australian Army Medical Corps 1914

Corps Colour PatchesEdit

Australian Corps Headquarters
 
Headquarters Australian Corps
 
AIF Administrative Headquarters 1916–1918
 
Headquarters Australian Imperial Force
 
Headquarters Desert Mounted Corps
 
His Majesty King George V congratulating Lieutenant General Sir John Monash KCB VD, General Officer Commanding, Australian Corps, after his investiture on 12 August 1918 as a KCB. The ribbon for the KCB can be seen around General Monash's neck and the unit colour patch for Headquarters Australian Corps can be seen on his upper left sleeve.[16][17] On 1 June 1918, the promotion of Monash to Lieutenant General and commander of the Australian Corps had been confirmed.[18] On 4 July 1918 Monash had successfully commanded the Australian Corps, with American troops under his command who were fighting in this war for the first time, at the Battle of Hamel.
Units of Headquarters AIF
 
Australian Corps Cavalry Regiment (13th Light Horse)
 
XXII Corps Cavalry Regiment
 
5th Divisional Mounted Troops 1916, and 12th Australian Light Horse Regiment 1916-1917[19]
 
1 ANZAC Corps Cyclist Battalion from July 1916-1918, Australian Corps Cyclist Battalion from 1918-1919[20]
 
2nd ANZAC Corps Cyclist Battalion[21][22]
 
1st Australian Light Car Patrol, Middle East 1917–1919
 
Corps Mechanical Transport Column
 
AIF Graves Detachment 1919[23]
 
Australian Veterinary Hospital Calais 1917–1919
 
1st Australian Veterinary Evacuating Station 1918–1919
 
Australian Mining Corps and Tunneling Companies[24]
 
3rd Australian Tunnelling Company 1917–1919
 
1st Australian Light Railway Operating Company 1918–1919
 
No. 17 (ANZAC) Light Railway Operating Company 1917–1918
 
No. 60 (Australian) Broad Gauge Railway Operating Company 1917–1918
 
Sea Transport Service
 
Railhead Supply Detachment
 
1st Mechanical Transport Company
 
1st Army Troops Company, Australian Engineers 1917–1919
 
1 ANZAC Corps Troops Supply Column and Australian Corps Troops Supply Column[25]
 
I ANZAC Corps Ammunition Park 1916–1917
 
II ANZAC Corps Ammunition Park 1916–1917
 
Siege Battery Ammunition Columns 1919
 
Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (New Guinea) 1916–1921
 
Australian Army Medical Corps, Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (New Guinea) 1916–1921
 
Australian Remount Unit, 1917–1919
 
No. 1 Aust. Remount Unit, 1916 and Australian Remount Unit, 1916 – 1917
 
No. 2 Aust. Remount Unit, 1916
 
1st ANZAC Topographical Section 1917-1918
 
Australian Electrical and Mechanical Mining and Boring Company 1917–1919
 
Australian Motor Transport Service, 1916 – 1919
 
Australian Flying Corps[26]
 
Australian Army Pay Corps Non-Divisional Troops[27]
 
Ordnance Company - Inspector of Ordnance Machinery Section 1918[28]
 
Staff Officer, Australian Army Service Corps (Motor Transport) AIF 1919[29]
Australian Army Engineers – Signals Service
 
Australian Wireless Section
 
Australian Corps Signal Company 1918–1919[30]
 
36th Australian Heavy Artillery Brigade Signal Sub-Section 1918-1919
 
Army Brigade Signals, Artillery
 
1st Australian Wireless Signal Squadron Mesopotamia 1918–1919[31]
Australian Army Medical Corps, Australian Army Dental Corps and Australian Army Nursing Service
 
1st Australian General Hospital 1916
 
1st Australian General Hospital 1916–1918
 
1st Australian General Hospital 1918–1919
 
2nd Australian General Hospital 1916–1918
 
2nd Australian General Hospital 1918–1919
 
Australian Dermatological Hospital
 
3rd Australian General Hospital 1916
 
3rd Australian General Hospital 1916–1918
 
3rd Australian General Hospital 1918–1919
 
2nd Australian Stationary Hospital 1918–1919
 
No.1 Australian Hospital Ship "Karoola"
 
14th Australian General Hospital 1917–1918
 
14th Australian General Hospital 1918–1919
 
1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station 1918–1919
 
2nd Australian Casualty Clearing Station 1918–1919
 
3rd Australian Casualty Clearing Station 1918–1919
 
Australian Army Dental Corps
 
Australian Army Nurses in England, France, Egypt, Salonika and India
 
Australian Army Nursing Service, India
 
Australian Army Nursing Service, Salonika
 
1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital 1918–1919
 
2nd Australian Auxiliary Hospital, 1918 – 1919
 
3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital 1918–1919
 
Sea Transport Sections Australian Army Medical Corps
 
Sea Transport Sections Australian Army Medical Corps 1918–1919
 
No. 1 Sea Transport Staff Australian Army Medical Corps
 
No. 2 Sea Transport Staff Australian Army Medical Corps
 
Base Depot of Medical Stores

Australia had two hospital ships during the First World War. HMAHS 'Karoola', No. 1 Australian Hospital Ship (6,705 tonnes), was requisitioned on 9 May 1915 and embarked for Egypt on 25 June 1915 carrying troops and general cargo. The ship later sailed to England and was converted to a 463-bed hospital ship. HMAHS 'Kanowna', No. 2 Australian Hospital Ship (5,481 tonnes), was first requisitioned as a transport on 8 August 1914, taking one contingent of troops to New Guinea. It was requisitioned again on 1 June 1915 and proceeded to England, where it was converted into a 452-bed hospital ship. For the next three years these two ships transported sick and wounded between England and Australia, making a total of 23 voyages to Australia between them. Commonwealth control of these ships ended in mid-1919.[32] Many Australian doctors, nurses, masseuses, orderly and ambulance staff were also stationed on English hospital ships.[33]

 
Australian Sanitary Section
 
1st Australian Sanitary Section, 1st Division
 
2nd Australian Sanitary Section, 2nd Division
 
3rd Australian Sanitary Section, 3rd Division
 
4th Australian Sanitary Section, 4th Division
 
5th Australian Sanitary Section, 5th Division
 
6th Australian Sanitary Section, Tell El Kebir Australian Imperial Force Training Base at the Suez Canal in Egypt, later moved to England with the Australian Imperial Force Training Centre[34]
 
7th Australian Sanitary Section, ANZAC Mounted Division
 
8th Australian Sanitary Section, Australian Mounted Division

Division Unit Colour PatchesEdit

Divisional Order 81 decreed a rectangular patch on the upper sleeve of the uniform1.25 inches (32 mm) by 2.75 inches (70 mm). Engineers were ordered to change the colour of their uniform patch from khaki to purple so that it was more visible when worn against the khaki sleeve of the uniform. Artillery were ordered to adopt diagonally divided red over blue patches. As further divisions created colour patches for their uniforms, the shape of the patch indicated the division.[35]

  • 1st Division had a horizontal rectangular patch,
  • 2nd Division had a diamond-shaped patch,
  • 3rd Division had a horizontal oval patch,
  • 4th Division had a circular patch (except the 4th Brigade, formed independently of 4th Division, which used a rectangle),[2]
  • 5th Division had a vertical rectangular patch, and
  • 6th Division had vertical oval patches. The 6th Division was raised in response to a request from the British Government to the Australian Government in February 1917, but was disbanded in September of the same year to provide reinforcements to other divisions. Therefore, the 6th Division did not see active service as a formation.[36][37]
  • Australian Mounted Division battle units had triangular patches or horizontal rectangular patches, with the colours bisected diagonally, while some of their support units had vertical rectangular patches.


Divisional Colour Patches
1st Division
2nd Division
3rd Division
4th Division
5th Division
 
1st Division Headquarters 1917–1919
 
2nd Division Headquarters 1916–1919
 
3rd Division Headquarters 1916–1919
 
4th Division Headquarters 1916–1919
 
5th Division Headquarters 1916–1919
 
1st Australian Divisional Engineers
 
2nd Australian Divisional Engineers
 
3rd Australian Divisional Engineers
 
4th Australian Divisional Engineers
 
5th Australian Divisional Engineers
 
1st Australian Divisional Signal Company (Australian Engineers Signal Service) 1915–1919[38]
 
2nd Australian Divisional Signal Company (Australian Engineers Signal Service) 1915–1919[39]
 
3rd Australian Divisional Signal Company (Australian Engineers Signal Service) 1916–1919[40]
 
4th Australian Divisional Signal Company (Australian Engineers Signal Service) 1916–1919[41]
 
5th Australian Divisional Signal Company (Australian Engineers Signal Service) 1916–1919[42]
 
1st Australian Divisional Cyclist Company 1916[43]
 
2nd Australian Divisional Cyclist Company 1916[44]
 
4th Australian Divisional Cyclist Company 1916[45]
 
5th Australian Divisional Cyclist Company 1916[46]
 
1st Machine Gun Battalion, with Vickers machine guns depicted in brass φ
 
2nd Machine Gun Battalion
 
3rd Machine Gun Battalion
 
4th Machine Gun Battalion
 
5th Machine Gun Battalion
 
1st Australian Division Machine Gun Company
 
2nd Australian Division Machine Gun Company
 
3rd Australian Division Machine Gun Company
 
4th Australian Division Machine Gun Company
 
5th Australian Division Machine Gun Company
 
2nd Machine Gun Battalion, with crossed Vickers machine guns depicted as a brass badge, also depicting brass ANZAC 'A' badge[47]
 
4th Australian Division Machine Gun Company, with crossed Vickers machine guns depicted in yellow cloth[48][49]

Representations of crossed Vickers machine guns were worn beneath the colour patches of machine gun companies and battalions. They could be depicted either as a brass badge, or as a cloth badge with the Vickers machine guns shown yellow.

 
1st Pioneer Battalion 1916
 
1st Pioneer Battalion 1916–1917
 
2nd Pioneer Battalion 1916
 
4th Pioneer Battalion 1916
 
5th Pioneer Battalion 1916
 
2nd Pioneer Battalion 1916 embroidered variation[50]
 
4th Pioneer Battalion 1916 embroidered variation[51]
 
1st Pioneer Battalion 1917–1919
 
2nd Pioneer Battalion 1916–1919
 
3rd Pioneer Battalion 1916–1919
 
4th Pioneer Battalion 1916–1919
 
5th Pioneer Battalion 1916–1919
 
1st Australian Division Train
 
2nd Australian Division Train
 
3rd Australian Division Train
 
4th Australian Division Train
 
5th Australian Division Train[52]
 
1st Australian Division Supply
 
2nd Australian Division Supply
 
3rd Australian Division Supply
 
4th Australian Division Supply
 
5th Australian Division Supply
 
1st, 2nd and 3rd Field Ambulance
 
5th, 6th and 7th Field Ambulance
 
9th, 10th and 11th Field Ambulance
 
4th, 12th and 13th Field Ambulance
 
8th, 14th and 15th Field Ambulance
 
1st Mobile Veterinary Section
 
2nd Mobile Veterinary Section
 
3rd Mobile Veterinary Section
 
4th Mobile Veterinary Section
 
5th Mobile Veterinary Section
 
1st Australian Division Army Ordnance Corps 1917–1919
 
2nd Australian Division Army Ordnance Corps 1916–1919
 
3rd Australian Division Army Ordnance Corps 1916–1919
 
4th Australian Division Army Ordnance Corps 1916–1919
 
5th Australian Division Army Ordnance Corps 1916–1919
 
1st Australian Division Army Pay Corps
 
2nd Australian Division Army Pay Corps
 
3rd Australian Division Army Pay Corps
 
4th Australian Division Army Pay Corps
 
5th Australian Division Army Pay Corps

Infantry Brigades and BattalionsEdit

Each Infantry Brigade within each Division was assigned a colour and the Brigade HQ colour patches were the Divisional shape in the Brigade colour. Each Battalion in each Brigade was then assigned a colour, and the patch was split horizontally with the Battalion colour across the top of the field and the Brigade colour across the bottom of the field.[54]

On 16 March 1915 the second battalion of each infantry brigade was ordered to change their battalion colour from yellow to purple.[55] One consequence was that it became practical for the 8th Brigade to use yellow as the brigade colour. The 14th Battalion and later the 46th Battalion retained yellow.

Light Horse, Artillery, Engineer and Medical units were also allocated colour patches. Light Trench Mortar Batteries were manned by infantrymen, and so showed the colour patches of the infantry brigades over the blue "bursting bomb", whereas medium and heavy trench mortar batteries were manned by artillery gunners and so showed the red and blue patch of their artillery brigade over the "bursting bomb".[56] Light Horse patches were divided diagonally.

Divisional Colour Patches – 1st DivisionEdit

1st Brigade
Green
2nd Brigade
Red
3rd Brigade
Light Blue
Brigade HQ
 
1st Division, 1st Brigade HQ[57]
 
1st Division, 2nd Brigade HQ
 
1st Division, 3rd Brigade HQ
Battalion first in order of battle
(Black)
 
1st Division, 1st Brigade, 1st Battalion[58]
 
1st Division, 2nd Brigade, 5th Battalion[59]
 
1st Division, 3rd Brigade, 9th Battalion[60]
Battalion second in order of battle
(Purple)
 
1st Division, 1st Brigade, 2nd Battalion[61]
 
1st Division, 2nd Brigade, 6th Battalion[62]
 
1st Division, 3rd Brigade, 10th Battalion[63]
Battalion third in order of battle
(Brown)
 
1st Division, 1st Brigade, 3rd Battalion[64]
 
1st Division, 2nd Brigade, 7th Battalion[65][66]
 
1st Division, 3rd Brigade, 11th Battalion[67]
Battalion fourth in order of battle
(White)
 
1st Division, 1st Brigade, 4th Battalion[68]
 
1st Division, 2nd Brigade, 8th Battalion[69]
 
1st Division, 3rd Brigade, 12th Battalion[70][71]
Light Trench Mortar Battery
(Brigade colour over bursting bomb)
 
1st Division, 1st Brigade, Light Trench Mortar Battery
 
1st Division, 2nd Brigade, Light Trench Mortar Battery
 
1st Division, 3rd Brigade, Light Trench Mortar Battery
Machine Gun Company
(Brigade colour over crossed Vickers machine guns)
 
1st Division, 1st Brigade, 1st Machine Gun Company
 
1st Division, 2nd Brigade, 2nd Machine Gun Company
 
1st Division, 3rd Brigade, 3rd Machine Gun Company

Divisional Colour Patches – 2nd DivisionEdit

5th Brigade
Green
6th Brigade
Red
7th Brigade
Light Blue
Brigade HQ
 
2nd Division, 5th Brigade HQ[72]
 
2nd Division, 6th Brigade HQ[73]
 
2nd Division, 7th Brigade HQ[74]
Battalion first in order of battle
(Black)
 
2nd Division, 5th Brigade, 17th Battalion[75]
 
2nd Division, 6th Brigade, 21st Battalion[76]
 
2nd Division, 7th Brigade, 25th Battalion[77]
Battalion second in order of battle
(Purple)
 
2nd Division, 5th Brigade, 18th Battalion[78]
 
2nd Division, 6th Brigade, 22nd Battalion[79]
 
2nd Division, 7th Brigade, 26th Battalion[80]
Battalion third in order of battle
(Brown)
 
2nd Division, 5th Brigade, 19th Battalion[81]
 
2nd Division, 6th Brigade, 23rd Battalion[82]
 
2nd Division, 7th Brigade, 27th Battalion[83]
Battalion fourth in order of battle
(White)
 
2nd Division, 5th Brigade, 20th Battalion[84]
 
2nd Division, 6th Brigade, 24th Battalion[85]
 
2nd Division, 7th Brigade, 28th Battalion[86]
Light Trench Mortar Battery
(Brigade colour over bursting bomb)
 
2nd Division, 5th Brigade, Light Trench Mortar Battery
 
2nd Division, 6th Brigade, Light Trench Mortar Battery
 
2nd Division, 7th Brigade, Light Trench Mortar Battery
Machine Gun Company
(Brigade colour over crossed Vickers machine guns)
 
2nd Division, 5th Brigade, 5th Machine Gun Company
 
2nd Division, 6th Brigade, 6th Machine Gun Company
 
2nd Division, 7th Brigade, 7th Machine Gun Company

Divisional Colour Patches – 3rd DivisionEdit

9th Brigade
Green
10th Brigade
Red
11th Brigade
Light Blue
Brigade HQ
 
3rd Division, 9th Brigade HQ[87]
 
3rd Division, 10th Brigade HQ[88]
 
3rd Division, 11th Brigade HQ[89]
Battalion first in order of battle
(Black)
 
3rd Division, 9th Brigade, 33rd Battalion[90]
 
3rd Division, 10th Brigade, 37th Battalion[91]
 
3rd Division, 11th Brigade, 41st Battalion[92]
Battalion second in order of battle
(Purple)
 
3rd Division, 9th Brigade, 34th Battalion[93]
 
3rd Division, 10th Brigade, 38th Battalion[94]
 
3rd Division, 11th Brigade, 42nd Battalion[95]
Battalion third in order of battle
(Brown)
 
3rd Division, 9th Brigade, 35th Battalion[96]
 
3rd Division, 10th Brigade, 39th Battalion[97]
 
3rd Division, 11th Brigade, 43rd Battalion[98]
Battalion fourth in order of battle
(White)
 
3rd Division, 9th Brigade, 36th Battalion[99]
 
3rd Division, 10th Brigade, 40th Battalion[100]
 
3rd Division, 11th Brigade, 44th Battalion[101]
Light Trench Mortar Battery
(Brigade colour over bursting bomb)
 
3rd Division, 9th Brigade, Light Trench Mortar Battery
 
3rd Division, 10th Brigade, Light Trench Mortar Battery
 
3rd Division, 11th Brigade, Light Trench Mortar Battery
Machine Gun Company
(Brigade colour over crossed Vickers machine guns)
 
3rd Division, 9th Brigade, 9th Machine Gun Company
 
3rd Division, 10th Brigade, 10th Machine Gun Company
 
3rd Division, 11th Brigade, 11th Machine Gun Company
Divisional Cavalry
 
3rd Division, 14th Australian Light Horse Regiment, first pattern 1916

Divisional Colour Patches – 4th DivisionEdit

(4th Brigade was raised separately so 4th Division color patches did not strictly follow the usual shape and colour patterns)
4th Brigade
Blue
12th Brigade
Blue
13th Brigade
Light Blue
Brigade HQ
 
4th Division, 4th Brigade HQ[102]
 
4th Division, 12th Brigade HQ[103]
 
4th Division, 13th Brigade HQ[104]
Battalion first in order of battle
(Light Blue or Black)
 
4th Division, 4th Brigade, 13th Battalion[105]
 
4th Division, 12th Brigade, 45th Battalion[106]
 
4th Division, 13th Brigade, 49th Battalion[107]
Battalion second in order of battle
(Yellow or Purple)
 
4th Division, 4th Brigade, 14th Battalion[108]
 
4th Division, 12th Brigade, 46th Battalion[109]
 
4th Division, 13th Brigade, 50th Battalion[110]
Battalion third in order of battle
(Brown)
 
4th Division, 4th Brigade, 15th Battalion[111]
 
4th Division, 12th Brigade, 47th Battalion[112]
 
4th Division, 13th Brigade, 51st Battalion[113]
Battalion fourth in order of battle
(White)
 
4th Division, 4th Brigade, 16th Battalion[114][115]
 
4th Division, 12th Brigade, 48th Battalion[116]
 
4th Division, 13th Brigade, 52nd Battalion[117]
Light Trench Mortar Battery
(Brigade colour over bursting bomb)
 
4th Division, 4th Brigade, Light Trench Mortar Battery
 
4th Division, 12th Brigade, Light Trench Mortar Battery
 
4th Division, 13th Brigade, Light Trench Mortar Battery
Machine Gun Company
(Brigade colour over crossed Vickers machine guns)
 
4th Division, 4th Brigade, 4th Machine Gun Company
 
4th Division, 12th Brigade, 12th Machine Gun Company
 
4th Division, 13th Brigade, 13th Machine Gun Company
 
16th Battalion colour patch on the upper left sleeve of 3399 Corporal Thomas Leslie Axford VC MM, who was born in South Australia and enlisted in Western Australia on 19 July 1915. On 4 May 1918 he was awarded the Military Medal, either for actions during the enemy's Spring Offensive, or during the allied counterattacks such as the Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux, to which the 4th Brigade was heavily committed. Axford received the Victoria Cross for actions on 4 July 1918 against an emplacement of several machine guns at Vaire Wood during the Battle of Hamel and for closely approaching enemy trenches in preparations prior to that battle.[118][119] He was wounded twice but survived the First World War.

Axford went on to serve during the Second World War at what was known at different times as Headquarters Western Australia Line of Communication Area, III Corps or Headquarters Western Command.[120][121]
 
16th Battalion
 
Headquarters III Australian Corps 1942–1944
 
Headquarters Western Australia Line of Communication Area 1942, Headquarters Western Command 1944–1949

Divisional Colour Patches – 5th DivisionEdit

8th Brigade
Yellow
14th Brigade
Green
15th Brigade
Red
Brigade HQ
 
5th Division, 8th Brigade HQ[122]
 
5th Division, 14th Brigade HQ[123]
 
5th Division, 15th Brigade HQ[124]
Battalion first in order of battle
(Black)
 
5th Division, 8th Brigade, 29th Battalion[125]
 
5th Division, 14th Brigade, 53rd Battalion[126]
 
5th Division, 15th Brigade, 57th Battalion[127][128]
Battalion second in order of battle
(Purple)
 
5th Division, 8th Brigade, 30th Battalion[129]
 
5th Division, 14th Brigade, 54th Battalion[130][131]
 
5th Division, 15th Brigade, 58th Battalion[132]
Battalion third in order of battle
(Brown)
 
5th Division, 8th Brigade, 31st Battalion[133]
 
5th Division, 14th Brigade, 55th Battalion[134]
 
5th Division, 15th Brigade, 59th Battalion[135]
Battalion fourth in order of battle
(White)
 
5th Division, 8th Brigade, 32nd Battalion[136]
 
5th Division, 14th Brigade, 56th Battalion[137]
 
5th Division, 15th Brigade, 60th Battalion. Disbanded 27 September 1918.[138]
Light Trench Mortar Battery
(Brigade colour over bursting bomb)
 
5th Division, 8th Brigade, Light Trench Mortar Battery
 
5th Division, 14th Brigade, Light Trench Mortar Battery
 
5th Division, 15th Brigade, Light Trench Mortar Battery
Machine Gun Company
(Brigade colour over crossed Vickers machine guns)
 
5th Division, 8th Brigade, 8th Machine Gun Company
 
5th Division, 14th Brigade, 14th Machine Gun Company
 
5th Division, 15th Brigade, 15th Machine Gun Company
 
Brigade colour patch, on a bust by sculptor Louis Laumen of Brigadier General Harold Elliott. Statue located at Elliott Gardens, in Elliott's birthplace Charlton, Victoria.[139] The inscription beneath this statue reads in part: HAROLD EDWARD "POMPEY" ELLIOTT (1878–1931) CB, CGM, DSO, Croix De Guerre, Order of St. Anne, MID, BA, LLB. Elliott is depicted wearing the vertical red rectangle of the Headquarters 15th Australian Infantry Brigade on the upper sleeve, the colour patch of the brigade he commanded from 2 March 1916 until the end of World War 1. He is wearing a slouch hat with the rising sun badge (third design) of the First Australian Imperial Force. Also depicted are the World War 1 rank insignia of Brigadier General (crossed sword and scroll) with the "AUSTRALIA" shoulder badge, and staff officer gorgets. Elliott's service record reads "slightly wounded in action at the Dardanelles" on 25 April 1915, the day of the ANZAC Landing at Gallipoli, where he had earlier commanded the 7th Battalion.[140] Elliott went on to become a Senator for Victoria in the Parliament of Australia.
 
Battalion colour patches shown on the statue entitled "Cobbers" by sculptor Peter Corlett at the Shrine of Remembrance Melbourne. The art work correctly shows battalion colour patches in obverse on the left sleeve and in reverse on the right. As the black or the white were the battalion colours of the colour patch (while red was the colour for the 15th Brigade), the black and white faced the front of the uniform on both sleeves. Since the colour patch system originated from a system of flags and cloth colour patches to identify units and their members in camp,[141] the patch on the left sleeve was displayed in the definitive orientation, as if it were flying from a staff showing the obverse side of a flag.[142][143] The statue commemorates the Attack at Fromelles carried out by the 5th Division (8th, 14th and 15th Brigades) on the night of 19/20 July 1916[144], with Elliott commanding the 15th Brigade during the attack. The attack at Fromelles was ill-conceived and, despite Australian officers including Elliott objecting, went ahead with the highest loss of life in one night in modern Australian history. The statue depicts Sergeant Simon Fraser of the 57th Battalion carrying to safety an unknown wounded member of the 60th Battalion after the battle.[145] Simon Fraser was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant but was killed in action at Second Battle of Bullecourt on 11 May 1917.[146][147]

Divisional Colour Patches – 6th Division ψEdit

16th Brigade
Green
17th Brigade
Red
Brigade HQ
 
6th Division, 16th Brigade HQ
 
6th Division, 17th Brigade HQ
Battalion first in order of battle
(Black)
 
6th Division, 16th Brigade, 61st Battalion
 
6th Division, 17th Brigade, 65th Battalion[148]
Battalion second in order of battle
(Purple)
 
6th Division, 16th Brigade, 62nd Battalion[149]
 
6th Division, 17th Brigade, 66th Battalion
Battalion third in order of battle
(Brown)
 
6th Division, 16th Brigade, 63rd Battalion
 
6th Division, 17th Brigade, 67th Battalion
Battalion fourth in order of battle§
 
6th Division, 16th Brigade, 69th Battalion[150]
 
6th Division, 17th Brigade, 70th Battalion
Machine Gun Company
(Brigade colour over crossed
Vickers machine guns)
 
6th Division, 16th Brigade, 16th Machine Gun Company
 
6th Division, 17th Brigade, 17th Machine Gun Company
Engineering and Signals
(Engineering and Signals colours
in Divisional shape)
 
6th Division, 6th Australian Divisional Engineers
 
6th Division, 6th Australian Divisional Signal Company[151]
Train
(Train colours
in Divisional shape)
 
6th Division, 6th Australian Division Train
 
16th Field Ambulance
 
17th Field Ambulance
 
9th Sanitary Section
 
6th Australian Division Army Pay Corps

ψ The 6th Division never became a battle formation, but was instead disbanded to provide reinforcements to other Divisions.[152][153]

§ In the colours that would have been assigned had the 69th and 70th Battalions belonged to an 18th Brigade. The 64th and 68th Battalions were never raised.

Artillery of the First AIFEdit

Sources:[154][155][156]

Corps Artillery Colour Patches
 
‘V’ Heavy Trench Mortar Battery, February 1918 and ‘A’ Captured Gun Battery, September 1918
 
1st Siege Artillery Brigade, April 1915 and 36th Heavy Artillery Brigade, April 1915
 
1st Siege Battery Ammunition Column, 1st Siege Artillery Brigade, March 1918 and 2nd Siege Battery Ammunition Column, 1st Siege Artillery Brigade, March 1918
 
3rd Field Artillery (Army) Brigade, January 1917
 
6th Field Artillery (Army) Brigade, January 1917
 
12th Field Artillery (Army) Brigade, January 1917
 
3rd Brigade Ammunition Column (2), 3rd Field Artillery (Army) Brigade, 20 January 1917
 
6th Brigade Ammunition Column (2), 6th Field Artillery (Army) Brigade
 
12th Brigade Ammunition Column (2), 12th Field Artillery (Army) Brigade
Artillery Colour Patches 1914–1915
 
Headquarters 1st Australian Divisional Artillery 8 March 1915 to 16 March 1915
 
1st Australian Field Artillery Brigade 1915–1919
 
2nd Australian Field Artillery Brigade 1915
 
3rd Australian Field Artillery Brigade 1915
 
1st Australian Divisional Ammunition Column, Formed Australia 1914, disbanded 6 May 1916
Divisional Artillery Colour Patches 1915–1919
1st Division
2nd Division
3rd Division
4th Division
5th Division
 
1st Australian Divisional Artillery 1915 – 1919
 
2nd Australian Divisional Artillery 1915 – 1919
 
3rd Australian Divisional Artillery 1916 – 1919
 
4th Australian Divisional Artillery 1916 – 1919
 
5th Australian Divisional Artillery 1916 – 1919
 
1st Australian Divisional Heavy and Medium Trench Mortar Batteries
 
2nd Australian Divisional Heavy and Medium Trench Mortar Batteries
 
3rd Australian Divisional Heavy and Medium Trench Mortar Batteries
 
4th Australian Divisional Heavy and Medium Trench Mortar Batteries
 
5th Australian Divisional Heavy and Medium Trench Mortar Batteries
 
1st Australian Divisional Ammunition Sub-Park 1916–1918
 
2nd Australian Divisional Ammunition Sub-Park 1916–1918
 
3rd Australian Divisional Ammunition Sub-Park 1916–1918
 
4th Australian Divisional Ammunition Sub-Park 1916–1918
 
5th Australian Divisional Ammunition Sub-Park 1917–1918

Mounted TroopsEdit

Sources:[157][158]

Colour Patches – Mounted Troops, Australian and New Zealand (ANZAC) Mounted Division and Australian Mounted Division
1st Light Horse Brigade
White
2nd Light Horse Brigade
Red
3rd Light Horse Brigade
Yellow
4th Light Horse Brigade
Blue (HQ Blue triangle)
5th Light Horse Brigade§
Red triangle
Brigade HQ
 
1st Light Horse Brigade HQ
 
2nd Light Horse Brigade HQ
 
3rd Light Horse Brigade HQ
 
4th Light Horse Brigade HQ
 
5th Light Horse Brigade HQ
Regiment first in order of battle
(Light Blue)
 
1st Light Horse Regiment[159]
 
5th Light Horse Regiment
 
8th Light Horse Regiment
 
4th Light Horse Regiment
 
14th Light Horse Regiment, second pattern 1918
Regiment second in order of battle
(Green)
 
2nd Light Horse Regiment
 
6th Light Horse Regiment
 
9th Light Horse Regiment
 
11th Light Horse Regiment
 
15th Light Horse Regiment[160]
Regiment third in order of battle
(Black)
 
3rd Light Horse Regiment
 
7th Light Horse Regiment
 
10th Light Horse Regiment
 
12th Light Horse Regiment
 
1er Régiment Mixte de Cavalerie du Levant
Machine Gun Squadron
(Purple)
 
1st Machine Gun Squadron
 
2nd Machine Gun Squadron
 
3rd Machine Gun Squadron
 
4th Machine Gun Squadron
 
5th Machine Gun Squadron
Field Ambulance
(Brown)
 
1st Light Horse Field Ambulance
 
2nd Light Horse Field Ambulance
 
3rd Light Horse Field Ambulance
 
4th Light Horse Field Ambulance
 
5th Light Horse Field Ambulance
Mobile Veterinary Section
(Dark red)
 
6th Australian Mobile Veterinary Section
 
7th Australian Mobile Veterinary Section
 
8th Australian Mobile Veterinary Section
 
9th Australian Mobile Veterinary Section
 
10th Australian Mobile Veterinary Section
Signals
(White)
 
4th Signals Troop
 
5th Signals Troop
Colour Patches – Mounted Troops, Imperial Camel Corps Brigade φ
 
1st (Australian) Battalion
 
British companies
 
3rd (Australian) Battalion
 
4th (ANZAC) Battalion
 
Australian Camel Field Ambulance
 
Australian and New Zealand Field Squadron Engineers, and 2nd Field Squadron Engineers
 
Australian and New Zealand Mounted Division Signal Service, and 2nd Mounted Division Signal Service
 
Australian Cavalry Divisional Signal Squadron, Mesopotamia, 1917–1918
 
Australian and New Zealand Mounted Division Train, and Australian Mounted Division Train
 
Australian and New Zealand Mounted Divisional Artillery 1916–1918 Ψ

Ψ Artillery support for the ANZAC mounted units was provided by British horse artillery, such as the Leicestershire and Somersetshire Batteries, Royal Horse Artillery[161][162]

§ 14th and 15th Regiments created using cameleer troops upon disbandment of the Imperial Camel Corps, July 1918. The third regiment of the 5th Light Horse Brigade was a French Colonial regiment, the "1er Régiment Mixte de Cavalerie du Levant"[163]

φ 2nd Battalion of the Imperial Camel Corps Brigade was a composite British yeomanry battalion[164]


Colour patch worn with brass unit badge
Upper sleeve and epaulets of a soldier of the 6th Australian Light Horse Regiment displaying brass (or oxidised copper) '6th Light Horse' (6 LH) shoulder badge, brass 'Australia' shoulder badge, the obverse (left side) 6th Light Horse colour patch,[165] metal horseshoe denoting the role of 'farrier'[166] and sergeant's chevrons. Although orders required that unit colour patches should replace other indications of belonging to a unit, such as shoulder badges, sometimes both were still worn until late in the war.[167]

Australian Army ANZAC "A" BadgeEdit

Colour Patches bearing the brass ANZAC A badge
3rd Australian Infantry Battalion patch with ANZAC "A" badge, as worn by Captain Albert McDermid who was wounded in the leg at Gallipoli in August 1915 and was transferred to No. 19 British General Hospital at Alexandria. In June 1916 McDermid rejoined the 3rd Battalion in France and went on to serve in the RAAF during World War 2.[168][169] Pair of 58th Australian Infantry Battalion patches with ANZAC "A" badge, as worn by Sergeant George Schofield Glover who landed with the 6th Australian Infantry Battalion at Gallipoli in August 1915. The patch on the left (for the right sleeve) is the reverse, while the patch on the right (for the left sleeve) is the obverse. By the time the wearing of the "A" badge had been authorised Glover with all his experience and knowledge had been transferred to the 58th Battalion, the "daughter" battalion[170] of the 6th Battalion. He wore the "A" badge over the 58th's patch even though the 58th did not serve at Gallipoli, because the entitlement was bestowed upon individuals, not units. Glover was wounded at the Battle of Fromelles in France, on 19th July 1916 and recovered. However, he received multiple shrapnel wounds on 11 May 1917 at Second Battle of Bullecourt and Died of Wounds on 14 May 1917.[171] 14th Australian Infantry Battalion patch with ANZAC "A" badge, as worn by Captain Albert Jacka VC MC and Bar who won his Victoria Cross at Courtney's Post, Gallipoli.[172] He later served with distinction as a Company Commander in France and became one of the most famous AIF soldiers. Likenesses of Jacka were used in recruiting campaigns. He was badly injured but survived the war and was later elected mayor of St Kilda in Melbourne.[173][174] 3rd Australian General Hospital patch, 1918 version, with ANZAC "A" badge, as worn by Sister Muriel Burbury. From Jericho in Tasmania, when Burbury enlisted on 18 May 1915 she was already a qualified nurse with experience in medical wards, surgical wards and operating theatres, including time as Sister in Charge. She embarked almost immediately for the war, on 20 May 1915. She served with 3rd Australian General Hospital on Lemnos Island from 9 August 1915 until 11 January 1916. She then served at Alexandria from January to August 1916, then later at Abbeville, France and in England. As was very common among the nurses, because of their exposure to sick soldiers in crowded hospitals[175], Burbury was hospitalised several times herself for sickness, including thirty two days in July–August 1917 for influenza. Sister Burbury embarked for Australia on around 9 August 1919 and was discharged from the Army on 16 January 1920.[176]

The ANZAC A badge was an insignia authorised by Lieutenant General Birdwood in November 1917 to be worn over the unit colour patch by individuals who served in 1915 as part of ANZAC Corps, 1st AIF, on the Gallipoli Peninsula. Later orders from Birdwood also authorised the badge for those people who served during the Gallipoli Campaign on the islands of Lemnos, Imbros and Tenedos, on the communication lines in Egypt, and on the transport ships and hospital ships standing off the peninsula. The authorised badge was brass but sometimes an embroidered version was worn.[177][178]

New Zealand UnitsEdit

Units of the Army of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the First World War displayed unit colour patches worn in the centre of the back of the uniform jacket, immediately below the collar.[179][180][181] The authority for the design and wearing of unit colour patches was from General Godley's orders dated 15 October 1917 No. 416.[182]

New Zealand Expeditionary Force Artillery Colour Patches
Field Artillery Division
 
1st Brigade New Zealand Field Artillery
 
2nd Brigade New Zealand Field Artillery
 
3rd Brigade New Zealand Field Artillery
 
New Zealand Field Artillery Divisional Ammunition Column
Field Artillery
 
Auckland New Zealand Field Artillery
 
Wellington New Zealand Field Artillery
 
Canterbury New Zealand Field Artillery
 
Otago New Zealand Field Artillery
Trench Mortars
 
1st Light Trench Mortar Battery
 
2nd Light Trench Mortar Battery
 
3rd Light Trench Mortar Battery
 
4th Light Trench Mortar Battery
New Zealand Expeditionary Force Infantry Colour Patches
1st New Zealand
Infantry Brigade (1916)
2nd New Zealand
Infantry Brigade (1916)
New Zealand (Rifles)
Brigade (1916)
3rd New Zealand
Infantry Brigade (1917)
1st in order of battle
 
1st Battalion Auckland Infantry Regiment
 
2nd Battalion Auckland Infantry Regiment
 
1st Battalion New Zealand Rifle Brigade
 
3rd Battalion Auckland Infantry Regiment
2nd in order of battle
 
1st Battalion Canterbury Infantry Regiment
 
2nd Battalion Canterbury Infantry Regiment
 
2nd Battalion New Zealand Rifle Brigade
 
3rd Battalion Canterbury Infantry Regiment
3rd in order of battle
 
1st Battalion Otago Infantry Regiment
 
2nd Battalion Otago Infantry Regiment
 
3rd Battalion New Zealand Rifle Brigade
 
3rd Battalion Otago Infantry Regiment
4th in order of battle
 
1st Battalion Wellington Infantry Regiment
 
2nd Battalion Wellington Infantry Regiment
 
4th Battalion New Zealand Rifle Brigade
 
3rd Battalion Wellington Infantry Regiment


New Zealand Expeditionary Force Cyclist Corps Colour Patch and Puggaree
 
New Zealand Cyclist Corps unit colour patch
 
New Zealand Cyclist Corps puggaree (hat band). The New Zealand Cyclist Corps trained as mounted infantry and wore the same puggaree as the mounted rifles.[183]


The Otago Mounted Rifles Regiment was a stand-alone regiment, not part of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade. It was never issued a unit colour patch.[184]

In the official history of the Otago Regiment written in 1921 appears the following[185]:

"SERGT. RICHARD TRAVIS. In the years still distant, and in the nearer times, when men who have fought side by side in the Great War foregather and, in reminiscent mood, go back in memory to those days of storm and stress, of great peril and blood-stirring adventure, the name of one man of the Otago Regiment will always be spoken of with pride and admiration, touched with something akin to reverence for the gallant spirit, around which centre stories of personal daring and adventure mediaeval rather than modern in the flavour of romance which they exhale. This was Sergt. Richard Travis, V.C., D.C.M., M.M., Croix de Guerre, a man of striking and outstanding personality even among the bravest of the brave men by whom he was surrounded."

Travis, a member of the 2nd Battalion of the Otago Infantry Regiment, was killed by a shell near Rossignol Wood in July 1918, one day after the exploits that later earned him the posthumous award of the Victoria Cross.


Other New Zealand Expeditionary Force Puggarees
NZEF Engineers, Tunnelers
and Signallers
 
New Zealand Engineers puggaree[186][187][188]
NZEF Artillery
 
New Zealand Artillery puggaree[189]
NZEF Infantry
 
New Zealand Infantry puggaree[190]
NZEF Medical
Corps
 
New Zealand Medical Corps puggaree[191]
NZEF Army Service
Corps
 
New Zealand Army Service Corps puggaree[192]
NZEF Chaplains
 
New Zealand Army Chaplains Department puggaree[193]

Citizen Military ForcesEdit

InfantryEdit

 
Corporal Albert Donald Bassett DCM, wearing the colour patch of the 60th Battalion. Bassett was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal as a member of the amalgamated 57th/60th Battalion, for his actions during a prolonged Japanese assault on Bougainville Island in 1945.[194][195]

At the end of World War 1 most Australian army units were disbanded. However, in May 1921 a reorganisation of Australia's part-time military forces led to the creation of the Citizen Military Force (CMF, or Militia). The units of the CMF were created upon the geographical locations of the World War 1 units, which enabled the perpetuation of the battle honours, numerical designations and colour patches of the 1st AIF. Many of these units were in continuous existence until the end of World War 2, a small number were disbanded, while others went through various temporary or permanent amalgamations with other units with similar roles located in nearby towns and suburbs or sharing history with each other. Yet others can be traced in lineage to units still in existence.

Military Order 206/21 in 1921 authorised the use of Unit Colour Patches for the Citizen Military Forces.[196] As this new organisation was based on the AIF, this order granted authority to the Citizen Military Forces to wear Regimental Colour Patches similar to those worn by corresponding units of the AIF. It also allowed for ex-members of the AIF serving in Citizen Military Forces to wear a miniature colour patch of the last AIF unit in which they served, worn above their current CMF colour patch.[196]

As an example of amalgamation, the 57th Battalion and the 60th Battalion, both formed in Melbourne's northern suburbs, amalgamated in 1930 to become the 57th/60th Australian Infantry Battalion. They retained the 57th/60th designation until demobilisation in 1946. Soon after Japan joined the war the unit adopted the colour patch of the 57th Battalion, the patch of the amalgamated unit higher in the order of battle. Similarly, amalgamations created the 12th/40th, the 14th/32nd, the 29th/46th, the 37th/52nd and the 58th/59th Australian Infantry Battalions.

The 12th Battalion, initially raised in 1914 from Tasmania, was also disbanded after World War 1 but re-raised in 1921. In 1936 it was amalgamated with the 50th Battalion becoming the 12th/50th Battalion and retaining the unit colour patch of the 12th Battalion. The 12th/50th served during World War 2 in a garrison role in the Northern Territory. In May 1945 before the end of the war the 12th/50th amalgamated with the 40th Battalion which was raised in 1914 from Tasmania and South Australia and was based at the time of amalgamation in Hobart, Tasmania. The 12th/40th Battalion still exists as the Royal Tasmania Regiment and retains the lineage and the unit colour patch of the original 12th Battalion of World War 1.

Light HorseEdit

In 1921 the Light Horse was organised into two divisions, each comprising three brigades of horse. Over the following two decades these regiments gradually became mechanised and armoured.

1st Cavalry Division
1st Cavalry Brigade
2nd Cavalry Brigade
4th Cavalry Brigade
 
2nd Light Horse Regiment
 
12th Light Horse Regiment
 
1st Light Horse Regiment
 
5th Light Horse Regiment
 
15th Light Horse Regiment
 
6th Light Horse Regiment
 
11th Light Horse Regiment
 
16th Light Horse Regiment
 
7th Light Horse Regiment
 
14th Light Horse Regiment
 
21st Light Horse Regiment
2nd Cavalry Division
3rd Cavalry Brigade
5th Cavalry Brigade
6th Cavalry Brigade
 
8th Light Horse Regiment
 
4th Light Horse Regiment
 
3rd Light Horse Regiment
 
13th Light Horse Regiment
 
17th Light Horse Regiment
 
9th Light Horse Regiment
 
20th Light Horse Regiment
 
19th Light Horse Regiment
 
18th Light Horse Regiment
 
23rd Light Horse Regiment

Permanent Military Forces after 1921Edit

 
Royal Australian Engineers 1921–1943
 
Royal Australian Garrison Artillery 1921–1927, and Royal Australian Artillery (Heavy) 1927–1942
 
Royal Australian Field Artillery 1921–1927, and Royal Australian Artillery (Field) 1927–1942
 
Australian Army Medical Corps (Permanent) 1921–1942
 
Australian Army Veterinary Corps (Permanent) 1922–1943
 
Australian Army Ordnance Corps (Permanent) 1928–1942
 
Australian Survey Corps (Permanent) 1935–1943
 
Australian Army Service Corps (Permanent) 1921–1935
 
Australian Army Service Corps (Permanent)(Motor Transport) 1934–1940, and Australian Army Service Corps (Permanent)(Supply and Transport) 1940–1942

Second AIFEdit

With the raising of the all volunteer Second Australian Imperial Force for overseas service during the early stages of World War 2, the concept of the unit colour patch was continued. A grey background of the same shape as the divisional patch denoted a unit as being of the Second AIF. Superimposed over the grey background were the colour patches of the units with the same number designations as those of the 1st AIF to which they were geographically related.[2] For example, at the beginning of World War 2 the all volunteer 2/12th and 2/40th Battalions were raised. They were distinct from the 12th/40th Battalion of the Militia, but the 2/12th displayed the unit colour patch of the original 12th over the grey background in the shape of the 6th Division patch while the 2/40th Battalion displayed the unit colour patch of the original 40th over the grey background and shape of the 8th Division. The 2/12th and 2/40th were disbanded after World War 2.

Colour patches of World War II were generally smaller than those of World War I, with the World War II square patch 38 millimetres (1.5 in) long on the sides, with an additional 5-millimetre (0.20 in) grey border if the colour patch had been used by the 1st AIF.[2] New shapes were used, for example many five-sided and six-sided shapes including the tank-shaped patches of some armoured units, the T-shaped patches instituted for units of the 9th Division in 1943 representing their key role in the 1942 Siege of Tobruk, the double-diamond of the commandos and independent companies, and the 11th Division arrowheads. Some representations of Australian birds and mammals began to appear. Over 800 separate patches were authorised during World War 2.[8]

New shapes for unit colour patches and their designs during WW2Edit

Namesakes of the 1st and 2nd AIFEdit

Below are colour patches of the 17th Battalion, originally of the 2nd Division in the 1st AIF. One of these patches shows the ANZAC "A" Badge, which was usually brass, worn by those members of the battalion who served at Gallipoli in 1915. The first colour patch of the 2/17th Battalion displayed the diamond–shaped (or lozenge–shaped) colour patch of the 17th Battalion. As the 2/17th was a unit initially raised within the 7th Division of the 2nd AIF, this patch was superimposed over the grey diamond shaped patch of the 7th Division. Once in the Middle East the 2/17th was transferred to the command of the 9th Division and as a result participated in the Siege of Tobruk. In 1942 authority was given for the T-shaped colour patch to replace the original colour patches for 9th Division units that participated in the siege. The T-shaped colour patch below was the 2/17th's Siege of Tobruk patch, also with the grey background of the 2nd AIF. Between 1940 and 1944 the 17th and the 2/17th co-existed as separate battalions.

Of the thirty two Militia infantry battalions that served during World War 2, twenty nine became 2nd AIF units when 65% of their number enlisted as individuals in the AIF. Many of these units saw action in Borneo and in the South West Pacific, including Timor, New Guinea, New Britain and Bougainville. The 57th/60th for example served in New Guinea and Bougainville. When these units joined the AIF they did not change their colour patch (in most cases, except for the 37th/52nd and the 61st). In other words, most did not adopt the grey background used by newly raised 2nd AIF units such as the 2/12th, 2/17th and 2/40th, but retained the patch they used when they had been Militia units (which they had inherited directly from World War 1 units). If they preserved the colour patch from the First AIF, this also meant that the colour patches of units that had transferred to the AIF from the Militia usually did not reflect the shape of the patch for the division to which they had been assigned as part of the Second AIF.

Armies, Corps, Headquarters and DivisionsEdit

For orders of battle and chains of command between armies, corps, headquarters and the divisions, see Structure of the Australian Army during World War II.

Sources:[201]

Armies and CorpsEdit

HeadquartersEdit

Headquarters units – Provost (Military Police)Edit

DivisionsEdit

A military journey - Major General Sir J.E.S. StevensEdit

Major General Jack Edwin Stawell Stevens, KBE, CB, DSO, ED served in the First World War, the inter-war years, the Second World War and in the post-war period.[204][205] In all, Stevens served with seven signals units, two infantry units and five headquarters formations.

Stevens enlisted on 2 July 1915 in the Australian Imperial Force in the Signal Corp and sailed for Egypt in November with the rank of corporal. He was promoted in March 1916 to sergeant with the 4th Divisional Signal Company, deploying to France in June, serving in the battles of Pozières and the Ypres salient. Transferred to the 5th Divisional Signal Company in February 1917, he was promoted to lieutenant in April, seeing action in the Battle of Polygon Wood. He was transferred to the Australian Corps Signal Company in March 1918. He was discharged from the Australian Imperial Force in Melbourne on 28 October 1919.

Rejoining the Militia in 1921, Stevens was promoted to captain in 1922 taking command of the 2nd Cavalry Divisional Signals, and to major in 1924. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in command of the 4th Divisional Signals (1926–29), the 3rd Divisional Signals (1929–35) and the 57th/60th Australian Infantry Battalion (1935–39).

Stevens was seconded to the Second Australian Imperial Force on 13 October 1939 and placed in command of the 6th Divisional Signals. He was chosen in April 1940 by Major General John Lavarack to command the 21st Brigade, and was promoted to temporary brigadier. He left for the Middle East in October. During the Syrian campaign against Vichy French forces in Syria and Lebanon he directed the battle of the Litani River on 12 June 1941[206] and the successful coastal advance towards Sidon.[207] After recovering from wounds he led the brigade's actions during the battle of Damour between 5 and 9 July 1941.[208]

Stevens returned to Australia in March 1942. He was promoted to temporary major general and given command of the Militia's 4th Division in April before being appointed commander of Northern Territory Force in August. He was given the additional command responsibilities of the 12th Division and the Northern Territory Line of Communication Area in December.

Promoted to major general and appointed the commanding officer of the 6th Division in April 1943, Stevens deployed to New Guinea in late 1944 for action in the Aitape–Wewak campaign. He was relinquished of command in August 1945, but was appointed general officer commanding the 2nd Australian Division between 1947 and 1950.[209]


 
Matron SX1491 Major Melna Isobel Brown, 2/2nd Australian General Hospital,[211][212] VX17 Brigadier Jack Stevens, commanding 21st Australian Infantry Brigade and VX20310 Major General John Lavarack, General Officer Commanding 7th Australian Division, in South Australia 1940 prior to departure for the Middle East and participation in the Syria–Lebanon Campaign.[213][214]
 
VX17 Major General Jack Stevens General Officer Commanding 6th Australian Division and NX8 Lieutenant General Leslie Morshead General Officer Commanding 2nd Australia Corps, in Queensland 1943 during a long period of preparation in Australia, prior to deployment of the 6th Division in November 1944 to the Aitape–Wewak campaign, New Guinea.[215]
 
2nd Australian Special Hospital 1940, 2/2nd Australian General Hospital 1940–1946
 
Headquarters 21st Australian Infantry Brigade
 
Headquarters 7th Australian Infantry Division
 
Headquarters 6th Australian Infantry Division
 
Headquarters 2nd Australian Corps 1942–1945
 
Major Brown later served with No. 105 (Adelaide) Military Hospital[216]
 
Colour patch of Headquarters 6th Australian Infantry Division on a seven-fold puggaree from an Australian slouch hat, as worn by Major General J.E.S. Stephens. Note the variant rectangular white inset[217]
 
6th Aust Division TAC (tactical) formation sign, or vehicle sign[218]
 
Banner of the 6th Aust Division, ANZAC Day March, 25 April 2019, Melbourne, Australia

Divisional units – Provost (Military Police)Edit

ArmourEdit

Divisional Carrier CompaniesEdit

Sources[219]

Armoured Brigades, Regiments and BattalionsEdit

The Australian armoured brigades were allocated a colour patch of a particular shape, which was also usually allocated to the regiments or battalions within each brigade (unless they had inherited a different one). The colours of each regiment (or battalion) usually included the brigade colour and a regimental colour that followed an order of battle pattern as for the infantry.


1st Aust Armoured Brigade
Red
2nd Aust Armoured Brigade
Yellow
3rd Aust Army Tank Brigade
Colours aligned with
vehicle markings
Brigade
Headquarters
 
Headquarters 1st Aust Armoured Brigade 1941-1944
 
Headquarters 2nd Aust Armoured Brigade 1941-1943
 
Headquarters 3rd Aust Army Tank Brigade 1942-1943
Regiment first in
Order of Battle
 
2 5th Aust Armoured Regiment 1941-1945
 
2 8th Aust Armoured Regiment 1941-1943
 
1st Aust Army Tank Battalion 1942-1943
Regiment second in
Order of Battle
 
2 6th Aust Armoured Regiment 1941-1943
 
2 9th Aust Armoured Regiment 1941-1943
 
2nd Aust Army Tank Battalion 1942-1944[220]
Regiment third in
Order of Battle
 
2 7th Aust Armoured Regiment 1941-1944
 
2 10th Aust Armoured Regiment 1941-1944
 
3rd Aust Army Tank Battalion 1942-1944
Other Units
 
2/2nd Aust Independent Light Tank Squadron 1942, 2/2nd Aust Armoured Brigade Reconnaissance Squadron 1942


4th Aust Armoured Brigade
Red
Brigade
Headquarters
 
Headquarters 4th Aust Armoured Brigade 1943-1946
Regiment first in
Order of Battle
 
1st Aust Army Tank Battalion 1943, 1st Aust Tank Battalion 1943-1944, 1st Aust Armoured Regiment 1944-1945
 
1st Aust Armoured Regiment 1945-1946
Regiment second in
Order of Battle
 
2/4th Aust Armoured Regiment 1944
 
2/4th Aust Armoured Regiment 1945-1946
Regiment third and fourth in
Order of Battle
 
2/5th Aust Armoured Regiment 1945
 
2/6th Aust Armoured Regiment 1943-1945
Regiment fifth
in Order of Battle
 
2/9th Aust Armoured Regiment 1943-1945
 
2/9th Aust Armoured Regiment 1945-1946
Other Units
 
2/1st Aust Armoured Brigade Reconnaissance Squadron 1944-1945
 
2/1st Aust Armoured Brigade Reconnaissance Squadron 1945
Other Units
 
1st Aust Amphibious Armoured Squadron 1945


6th Aust Armoured Brigade 1st Aust Motor Brigade
White
Brigade
Headquarters
 
Headquarters 6th Aust Armoured Brigade 1942-1943
 
Headquarters 1st Aust Motor Brigade 1943
Regiment first in
Order of Battle
 
2/8th Aust Armoured Regiment 1941-1943
 
5th Aust Motor Regiment 1943
Regiment second in
Order of Battle
 
2/9th Aust Armoured Regiment 1941-1943
 
11th Aust Motor Regiment 1943
Regiment third in
Order of Battle
 
2/10th Aust Armoured Regiment 1941-1944
 
2nd Reconnaissance Battalion 1942, 2nd Aust Cavalry Regiment 1942-1943


Infantry BrigadesEdit

φ This 25th Brigade patch (and the associated battalion patches) were issued in England without initial approval from Australia. The 25th Brigade patch was identical to the patch for the 24th Brigade until the 24th adopted the Tobruk design.

Infantry BattalionsEdit

This section shows an image of a deceased Aboriginal person.

Two highly honoured infantrymenEdit

 
VX12843 (later 337678) Lieutenant Reg Saunders MBE (left of picture),[228] member of the 2/7th Battalion, the first officer of Aboriginal descent in the Australian Army, with SX7964 Lieutenant Tom Derrick VC DCM, member of the 2/48th Battalion. In 1944 they both completed officer training as members of the same training squad, and were awarded commissions on the day of this photograph being taken. Unit colour patches are displayed on the upper sleeves and on Saunders' puggaree.

Saunders was of Gunditjmara descent, born on the Framlingham Aboriginal Reserve in western Victoria. He initially served in the 6th Division campaigns in North Africa, Greece and Crete, before later fighting in the Aitape-Wewak campaign in New Guinea. He went on to serve in Korea as Officer Commanding C Company with the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, including in the important Battle of Kapyong on 22 to 25 April 1951. In 1971 Saunders was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (Civil Division) for service to the Aboriginal community. Saunders' brother VX18629 Harry Saunders served in 9 Platoon, 2/14th Battalion in the Kokoda Track campaign (Killed in Action on 29 November 1942).[229][230][231]

Derrick was born in Adelaide, South Australia. He served with the 9th Division initially in North Africa, fighting in the Siege of Tobruk and the First and Second Battles of El Alamein. He earned the Victoria Cross during the Battle of Sattelberg in New Guinea. After being commissioned he continued to serve with the 2/48th Battalion and embarked for Tarakan Island in Borneo, where he was Killed in Action on 24 May 1945.[232]
 
2/7th Battalion
 
2/48th Battalion, Siege of Tobruk design
 
Royal Australian Infantry battledress flash worn sewn to the upper sleeve, as worn at the time of Australia's involvement in the Korean War and the Battle of Kapyong[233]

Machine Gun BattalionsEdit

Sources[234]

CommandosEdit

Sources:[235][236][237]

Squadrons:

Initially formed as Independent Companies (some remained so while others were placed under the command of regiments), the Commando Squadrons had a higher proportion of officers and included more members on strength than infantry rifle companies.

Commando Regiments and their predecessors:

Independent Companies in AustraliaEdit

Sources[241]

Sparrow ForceEdit

SignalsEdit

Sources[242]

Radio transmitter and receiver, make AWA, model Teleradio 3BZ, used by spotters of the New Guinea Air Warning Wireless Company. Museum collection displaying the unit colour patch.[245] Corporal R.G. Webb, member of New Guinea Air Warning Wireless Company, August 1945, displaying the NGAWW Company unit colour patch above that of probably an Australian Corps of Signals colour patch shown in right-sleeve reverse with 2nd AIF grey trim. NGAWW had been disbanded earlier in 1945 and its members had been posted to other signals units.[246][247] Australian Corps of Signals 1944–1948, Royal Australian Corps of Signals 1948–1951, shown in left-sleeve obverse with 2nd AIF grey trim.

EngineersEdit

Sources[248]

Royal Australian EngineersEdit

Topographical SurveyEdit