1st Armoured Regiment

The Regiment's history began with the formation of the 1st Armoured Car Squadron on 21 July 1946. It was the first regular armoured unit to be raised after the Second World War and it formed part of the occupational forces in Japan. The Squadron was equipped with Staghound Armoured Cars and Canadian Scout Cars.

On 7 July 1946, six months after the Squadron's return to Puckapunyal, the unit was re-designated the 1st Armoured Regiment. This date is celebrated as the Regiment's birthday. Shortly afterwards the Regiment was equipped with Churchill Tanks.

On 30 June 1951 an affiliation was made with the Royal Tank Regiment.

Although a regiment in name, it was not until 1952 that equipment and men became available to allow for the raising of HQ Squadron and Regimental Headquarters in addition to a tank squadron. It was also in 1952 that the Regiment received the first of its Centurion Tanks.

In September 1952 another tank squadron was raised, designated Nucleus Squadron, and based in Holsworthy, New South Wales. It was intended at the time to be the nucleus of the 2nd Armoured Regiment.

In 1953 Lieutenant General Sir Horace Robertson presented the Regiment with the Paratus Cup. This cup is competed for annually and is awarded to the best tank troop. It was also during this year that the Regiment was authorised to wear its own badge bearing the motto 'Paratus' in place of the General Service Badge.

In 1954 the Regiment was equipped with the Ferret Mk I Scout Car and this enabled Reconnaissance Troop to be raised. During the following year the Regiment was equipped with the Saracen Armoured Personnel Carrier. At this time it was decided not to raise the 2nd Armoured Regiment and Nucleus Squadron returned to the Regiment as C Squadron.

Approval was given for the Regiment to carry a Guidon and on 6 February 1956, the then Governor General Field Marshal Sir William Slim, presented the Guidon at a Regimental Parade held at Puckapunyal, Victoria.

Also in 1956 the Regiment was equipped with the Centurion Armoured Recovery vehicle. Until this time the Churchill Recovery vehicle had been retained.

In September 1959, the Regiment officially moved into its new home, Kapyong Barracks.

With the expansion of the Royal Australian Corps in 1960, A Squadron of the Regiment was disbanded and the majority of the personnel involved formed regular squadrons of the 4th/19th Prince of Wales Light Horse Regiment and the 2nd/14th Queensland Mounted Infantry Regiment. These squadrons subsequently became part of the 1st Cavalry Regiment, which was re-designated the 2nd Cavalry Regiment and which in turn provided the nucleus for the 3rd Cavalry Regiment.

On 4 November 1963 the Governor of Victoria, Major General Sir Rohan Delacombe, KCMG, KCBO, KBE, CB, DSO, KSTJ, accepted the appointment of Honorary Colonel of the Regiment. He relinquished his appointment on returning home to England in 1974.

1964/65 saw the Regiment providing most of the men from 1 Troop, A Squadron, 4th/19th Prince of Wales Light Horse Regiment. This troop was equipped with the new M113A1 Armoured Personnel Carrier and in May 1965 was deployed on active service to South Vietnam.

The Vietnam conflict together with the requirement to train National Servicemen, seriously depleted the Regiment of its experienced officers and senior NCOs and it was not until early 1967 that the Regiment was at a satisfactory state of operational readiness. On 17 October 1967 the Regiment was warned to provide a tank squadron for active service in South Vietnam. C Squadron was selected and was fully operational in that theatre by mid 1968.

Squadrons of the Regiment were rotated on a twelve month cycle with A and B Squadron each completing one tour of duty and C Squadron two.

The tanks acquitted themselves extremely well. Noteworthy engagements in which tanks predominated were:

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The tank squadron was withdrawn from South Vietnam in 1971 and the Regiment returned to peacetime service.

1972/73 saw B Squadron re-designated the Medium Tank Trials Unit and carrying out extensive user and technical trials on the US M60A1 and FRG Leopard MBTs to evaluate the replacement for the ageing Centurion.

1972/73 was also a traumatic time for the Regiment in that the abolition of National Service depleted the Regiment's strength to the point where training was severely restricted until reinforced during 1974.

On 9 August 1974, the Governor General of Victoria, the Honourable Sir Henry Winneke, KCMG, KCVO, OBE, KSTJ, QC, became the Regiment's Honorary Colonel.

1976 saw the introduction of the Leopard AS1 into the Armoured Regiment. This inclusion gave the Regiment a state of the art Medium Battle Tank, and it remains in service today.

On 21 April 1981, His Royal Highness, Prince of Wales, Prince Charles presented the unit with the Regimental Standard. This standard, with the battle honours presented or actions in Vietnam now hangs in the foyer of the Regimental Headquarters.

In 1982 His Excellency Rear Admiral Sir Brian Murray, KCMG AO, became the Honorary Colonel.

In 1986 Major General Mark Bradbury, AO, CBE, was appointed Honorary Colonel.

In preparation for the Regimental relocation to the north of Australia a Tank Troop was established in Darwin, attached to 2nd Cavalry Regiment, in 1994. This troop detachment, known as D Squadron operated with 2nd Cavalry Regiment to gain a better understanding of tank operations in the tropics of Australia.

In 1995 the Regiment conducted its move to Darwin to the current location, Chauvel Lines, Robertson Barracks, Palmerston, Northern Territory.

The current Honorary Colonel is Lieutenant Colonel Laurie O'Donnell, AC, who took up the appointment in 1991.

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