On 10th March 2017 the Corporation lodged a submission on behalf 1AR through the Corps to have the BH Coral-Balmoral emblazoned on the 1Armd Regt Standard.
A legislative anomaly was found and used to great effect. The submission was approved on 28/3/17 and action was to be commenced by AHQ to correct the error and make it consistent the relevant D-I(A).
In May 2017 the Corporation lodged a second submission through the Corps to have the remaining BH for the 3 Cav Guidon emblazoned.
Approval was granted in late November 2017.
I was informed at that time by telephone of that fact by the then Corps RSM.
I asked him if it was possible to let all know and he said he’d check with HOC.
He then rang back and informed me that HOC has asked that I not inform anyone until the emblazoning which was under the purview of the RSM SOA until the emblazoning had been completed.
That has now been done and Both Colours with their new emblazoning will have their first public airing on Sunday 13 May 2018 as part of the Colour Parties assembling in Canberra to commemorate 50th anniversary of the battles of Coral-Balmoral.
Noel Mc Laughlin
Continuing the story of the emblazoning of the Coral-Balmoral battle honour, the following is the submission Bruce Cameron MC sent to the then Minister of Veterans’ Affairs on 7 February 2018
Submission Seeking Approval to Emblazon the Battle Honour
‘Coral-Balmoral’ on the 1st Armoured Regiment Standard.
Following the First World War, a British/Imperial Battle Honours Committee (BHC) decided that emblazoned battle honours should be limited to ten per regiment (because of constraints on the available space on colours etc.). The same constraint was imposed following the Second World War.
Because of differences in scale, the limit set for Korean War battle honours was one theatre honour and one battle honour. This decision was initially accepted by the Australian Army. Twenty years later, however, it was considered that the Battle of Maryang San was so important that the BHC edict would no longer be complied with — both Maryang San and Kapyong Battle Honours would be emblazoned.
The limit of one theatre honour and two battle honours was maintained by the Vietnam BHC.
1st Armoured Regiment was awarded three battle honours for Vietnam, but only Hat Dich and Binh Ba are emblazoned on its Standard. Despite Coral-Balmoral’s overwhelming importance in terms of the Australian Army’s military heritage, the battle honour is not able to be emblazoned.
Is it not time to question a policy founded in the days of Empire which denies an Australian unit the right to proudly proclaim all its battle honours?
This submission argues that the use of the First and Second World Wars as benchmarks on which to base the number of battle honours able to be emblazoned on the colours etc. of today’s Army, is outdated and completely inappropriate in terms of acknowledging the service to the Nation selflessly given by Australian soldiers in modern conflicts.
Authorisation Already Exits. It could be argued that there is no need for this submission. Current Army policy as set out in DI(A)-Admin 38-3, Administration of Australian Battle Honours, Theatre Honours, Honour Titles and Honour Distinctions, states that up to ten battle honours can be emblazoned.
It has been suggested, however, that this is a ‘known error’. If so, it raises the question: why has no amendment been made? Presumably this is a matter that is already recognised as requiring further consideration in light of the very different circumstances in which today’s Army operates.
This is not the only reference at variance with a limit of two battle honours. Christopher Jobson spent thirty years in the Army. Prior to retirement, he was RSM Ceremony and Protocol and an acknowledged expert in the subject. In his 2009 book, ‘Looking Forward, Looking Back: Customs and Traditions of the Australian Army’, he states that there is no limit on the number of battle honours that can be emblazoned on colours etc. today.
Precedent for Re-evaluating Convention. A precedent has been set in which the Australian Army acted contrary to Imperial directions and authorised a battle honour to be emblazoned because of the extent of bravery displayed by Australian soldiers in the action concerned. Those soldiers, it was decided, had earned the right for their sacrifice and gallantry to be formally acknowledged. There is no doubt that gallant efforts of those who fought at FSBs Coral and Balmoral deserve no less.
Nature of Modern Warfare. As the Second World War was different to the First World War, so are modern conflicts different again. Why should the extent to which today’s soldiers can be honoured be based on circumstances from over 70 years ago?
Why should those former members of 1st Armoured Regiment who fought and earned three battle honours for Vietnam, only be able to see two of them emblazoned on their Regiment’s Standard? Why should members of that Regiment today, not be able to fully appreciate the significance of all the battle honours their forebears were awarded?
Wider Implications. What would be the implications of endorsing the existing provisions of DI (A) Admin 38-3? Three more battle honours would be able to be emblazoned on the Colours of the Royal Australian Regiment and the Guidon of 3rd Cavalry Regiment; one more battle honour would be able to be emblazoned on the Standard of 1st Armoured Regiment.
Timing. The emblazing should be carried out as soon as possible. It will further boost unit morale, provide enhanced public profile of the gallantry of soldiers who fought during those iconic battles, and boost the public profile of Army’s heritage. Furthermore, for the ever decreasing numbers of veterans who participated in the battles and are still alive, it will be seen as public acknowledgement of their job well done before they all succumb to the ravages of time.
Today’s Army fights different wars to those of 1914-18 and 1939-45. The basis on which the gallantry of today’s soldiers is honoured should be determined on current circumstances, not those of more than 70 years ago.
The existing provisions of DI(A)-Admin 38-3, Administration of Australian Battle Honours, Theatre Honours, Honour Titles and Honour Distinctions, which state that up to ten battle honours can be emblazoned on colours etc., should be strongly endorsed, rather than any thought being given to reverting to benchmarks set last century. The Battle Honour, “Coral-Balmoral”, should be emblazoned on the Standard of 1st Armoured Regiment as soon as possible.