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From our detailed research we assert that previous Reviews, the latest being the 2003 – Review of Veterans’ Entitlements – (Clarke Report), were flawed because in applying the criteria for determining warlike service they inadvertently did not consider all the relevant facts and therefore incorrectly concluded that RCB service was peacetime service. Accordingly, we request that a further review be conducted to consider all the relevant facts as detailed in this submission.

From an analysis of all the data released to us on the subject, including that provided under the FOI Act from national sources, from international sources and applying that data to the Australian Government’s criteria for warlike service; the role, threat, rules of engagement and the expectation of casualties, we contend that RCB service was warlike and not peacetime service for the following reasons which are detailed in the following Parts of this submission:

  1. The RCB’s operational deployment was authorised by the Australian Government1 but not prescribed by the Governor General as an operational area at the time because of political sensitivities for both Australia and Malaysia. The specific area designated by the Five Power Defence Agreement (FPDA) and repeated in all Commanders’ Directives to the Officer Commanding (OC) RCB was the area within the Butterworth Air Base (BAB).
  2. The deployment was defensive “to protect Australian assets at the Butterworth Air Base” in a country, Malaysia, that was actively involved in armed operations (2nd Malaysian Emergency 1968 – 1989) against a real, clear and present danger from its enemy, the Communist Party Malaya/Communist Terrorist Organisation (CPM/CTO)’s terrorists who were being supported by China and North Vietnam.2 The Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF), were fighting under their active service classification.3
  3. The RCB’s security role in a military application is Defence. Defence is a specific phase of war, requiring specific deployments,

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1 Hansard 25th February 1969, pages 33-37: Australian PM John Gorton’s announcement to Parliament. 2 Book: My Side of History by Chin Peng – 2003
3 Letter dated 11th October 2004 from Lim Kui Lee, The Legal Department Ministry of Defence Malaysia.


  1. 1977

    He stepped from the plane
    the stench of decaying jungle
    and decomposing colonialism
    ambushed his lack of experience

    Just twelve months before
    he’d been a long haired
    comic book enlightened
    seventeen year old

    Now he was a
    Slouch-hat wearin’
    Machine-gun tottin’
    Aussie digger

    He was in a country with
    bunkered roadside check-points
    streets patrolled by police
    and soldiers carrying M16s

    Chin Peng’s insurgents
    were active
    they were setting bombs
    they were killing people

    Him and his mates went
    patrollin’ in the ‘J’
    they bumped a commie camp
    off course, rounds went up the spout

    But no war service entitlements for him
    his government called it
    ‘peacetime duties’
    just ‘training’ they said

    No, he was just another pawn
    in a secret game against Marxism,
    a pawn
    chucked on the political ‘barbie.

  2. I find it amazing how certain people can sit back and judge us who were apart of RCB and say it wasn’t like war like situation, if I remember rightly every time we went out on KP call outs we had live rounds with us and we were there for a reason not just one of our exercises, just because we were not contacted doesn’t mean we could have been, what does it take for recognition one of us to be shoot dead, the whole situation was real for a reason, we were infantrymen it was our job, they didn’t send some civilian security guards over there no it was trained soldiers who put there lives on the line, if this is about political money saving bloody shame on you, we ask for our recognition!!!!!!!!

  3. George Lovett says

    To all the mates I served with in 6RAR who did Singers and RCB. , I speak on behalf of you all.

    Many were Vietnam vets returned to Australia after the 2nd tour only to be redeployed to Singapore with 6rar with the tri nation force known as 28 ANZUK Brigade from 1971 to end 1973.

    Add to this a sprinkling of Nashos and Regs fresh from Australia, all green in terms of jungle warfare experience.Yet we all worked as a team to become a close cohesive infantry unit, the times spent in the jungles of Johore Baru traning, for me it was bit like doing 10 months at Canungra. Living and breathing in that rotten jungle along with its many inhabitants, snakes, black scorpions the size of a small plate, elephant tracks in the ” J” a very unusual sight along with the odd fresh tiger track.I can still recall waliking through the rubber plantations with the odd king Cobra sticking its head up above the leaves on the ground.The monkeys that dropped onto our hootchies in the middle of the night , the fireflys that looked like lanterns comming up a track at 3:00 in the morning whilst on sentry , who can forget the monsonal rain, we were always saturated either by rain or the humidity.the lightning strikes not far from our harbour position in the midst of night and where the ground shook as the lightning struck and lets not forget the lectures on being aware of mine or booby trap placements at all times placed by the CTS, look for the markers we were told.Lets not forget the close unarmed training we undertook whilst at Kangaw.This was after all only training.

    We then rotated as RCB and all that trainng came to the fore, ever alert, patrolling that perimeter fence in the night, or manning the front gate.I can only imagine how we would have responded to an attack on the airbase.Can still see the after burners of a jet as it took off as we patrolled.Thinking back now , the close unarmed combat training was drilled into us for a reason,in the event of a physical attack whilst patrolling as at Butterworth, it complimented the ROE.

    Whitlam came to power in Dec 72, as Nashos we were given an opportunity to jump ship and return to Australia on the next flight or remain with our unit.Many of us remained to finish our time as Nashos with 6RAR, it was not in our mindset to walk out on our beloved 6RAR, and our mates.

    Yet here we are today and this service is gradually being recognised for what it rightfully was and yet the politician have walked out on us. You should all be put in an infantry unit and see how long you would survive, especially patrolling the perimeter of Butterworth Air Base in the dark with an unknown force capable of attacking at any moment.

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