November, 1950 was the date of the raising of the 12 N S Trg Bn,
though the first trainees did not march in until 6th
August, 1951, at 1630hrs.
The unit was
raised as the direct result of the Commonwealth Government’s
decision to institute National Service for all young men of
Australia of 18 years of age. The Bn primarily trains for
Artillery and Armour.
The unit was
first commanded by Major E.G. McDonald from 18 December 1950 – 6
April 1951. He became 2IC of the Bn when it was increased to
four Coys. Lt Col D. L. B. Goslett, M.C., E.D., commanded from 6
April 1951 – 1 May 1953. He was succeeded by Lt Col A. R. Brown,
1 May 1953 – 17 October, 1953. When Col Brown became C.O. of 1
Field Regiment after only a brief period with 12 NS Trg Bn he
was succeeded by Lt Col E. L. Cook on 12 Oct 1953.
strengths of intakes (to 2nd Intake 1954) have been:
Intake 1/51 –
6th August – 11th November
Total Strength 989
Intake 1/52 -
2nd January – 8th
Intake 2/52 –
22nd April – 28th
Intake 3/52 –
12th August – 17th
Intake 1/53 –
6th January – 13th
Intake 2/53 –
28th April - 3rd August
Intake 3/53 –
18th August – 23rd
Intake 1/54 –
6th January – 13th
Intake 2/54 –
27th April – 2nd
member of the Bn was Capt R. McNamara who was appointed
Quartermaster and instructed on 2nd November 1950 to
establish and commence to organise 12 N S Trg Bn. Within a few
days he was joined by Staff Sgt McGuinness and Cpl Heaslip, both
of whom wedre still with the Bn when Capt McNamara marched out
to HQ 2 Div in June 1954.
It was at
first planned that the organisation would consist of two Coys,
one of Armour and one of Artillery, under a Major as C.O.
of the Bn was originally at Moorebank where stores were received
and where personnel who were to staff the Bn began to march in.
These personnel, however, were constantly being drafted to
school for NS Instructors such as those at the School of
Infantry (Seymour Vic.), the School of Armour (Puckapunyal,
Vic.) and the school of Artillery (North Head, N.S.W.)
Maj. E. G. McDonald’s appointment to command the Bn, in January
1951, the whole scheme for National Service began to take more
definite shape and it became obvious that the original plan for
only two coys would be inadequatehe plans were changed to allow
for Four Coys – one of Armour, two of Artillery and one
composite one made up of other Corps and Services and a new Bn
(13 NS Trg Bn) was raised at Ingleburn.
enlargement of the Battalion, Lt Col D. L. B. Goslett, M.C., E.D.,
was appointed Commanding Officer, Major McDonald remaining as 2
I/C until 23rd June 1952 when he became DAQMG Nthn
Command. With still further expansion of National Service an
additional Battalion for NSW was planned and in June, 1951, all
non-Artillery and non-Armour Corps and Services were unlinked
from 12 Bn for the raising of 19 N S Trg Bn at Moorebank.
With only six
weeks to the march in of the first trainees the decision was
made to move 12 Bn to Singleton, north of Newcastle, and 19 Bn
to Old Holsworthy. With very few personnel available, the move
to Singleton was a most strenuous time, the moving of stores
alone ( in Dept Supply trucks) took a fortnight. Cadre courses
for other personnel were organised at Singleton while the
remainder worked feverishly to get tents and marquees erected
for the trainees.
August, 1951, a Bn Parade was held, the Bn flag was presented
and unfurled and a special order from Lt Gen Bridgeford was read
by the C.O. The following day the first NS men arrived ay 1630
hrs and the unit diary for 8th August records “the
last NS man for the intake arrived and the strength of 12 NS Trg
Bn this day is 23 Officers, 228 OR’s (ARA), 979 National Service
Trainees” The entry for the following day simply says, “Visit by
the Commander of 2 NS training brigade, Brigadier Gooch. An
exceedingly windy day. Trouble experienced by companies in
keeping their tents from blowing down. In the period that the Bn
was at Singleton rifle shooting was done at Greta, the men
camping under two-man tents and being fed from Wiles Cookers.”
interesting diary entries, one for 14th September
1951, records the beginning of a notable side of the Bn’s
activity. The entry reads, “ A cheque for £561/3/0 was handed to
Legacy as a result of the Legacy Week’s effort.
attention to 12 Bn’s splendid record for philanthropy.
Prior to the
first gift to Legacy, £100 had been given to comforts for Korean
troops and it was followed by a donation to Prince Alfred
Hospital. The end of the year saw £313 given to a War Widows’
fund. Intakes 2 and 3/52 saw £2000 given to Legacy. A little
later £175 was given to a United Nations appeal. Intake 3/53 saw
£1200 given to Legacy while Intake 1/54 saw another £1125 given
plus £200 to the North Coast Flood Relief and gifts to the
Spastic Children’s Fund and Westminster Abbey Restoration fund.
Blood to the Red Cross Blood Bank has been generously given.
Intakes 2 and 3/52 provided 480 donors, 1/53-436, 2/53- 363,
3/53- 328 and 1/54- 605.
While 12 Bn
was at Singleton splendid work was done on several occasions in
fighting bush fires.
“first” of what was to become a regular feature was the Brigade
Gymkhana held on 20th October, 1951, at which 12 Bn
won the athletic events, being beaten only by ½ mark for the
aggregate. The following Gymkhana was won outright by 12Bn.
march out of the first intake the Bn moved to New Holsworthy to
the site of the old Remount Depot.
Royal Tour: The 12
NSTrg Bn played its part in the memorable Royal tour. Many
members of the Royal Household Guards were provided, including
the Officer of the Guard. In addition, one driver was supplied
for the Royal Car Coy. The Bn helped line the streets on the
occasion of the Royal progress through Sydney on both 3rd
February and 18th February.
On the first
occasion much pride was felt when Her Majesty noticed the Bn
mascot “DUKE” and drew the Duke of Edinburgh’s attention to the
registered name actually is “Rowley Park Don Juan”) is a highly
pedigreed black Timor pony who joined the Bn on 9th
December, 1953. One of Brigadier Gooch’s last acts as he
farewelled the Bn 28th February, 1954 on retiring
from 2 NS Trg Brigade, was to promote “DUKE” to be a Lance
The Bn policy
of tree planting and grassing has made this an outstanding
policy of making a special feature of Visitors’ Days has made a
real contribution to the understanding of National Service by
the general public. All proceeds from Visitors’ Days go to the
Battalion’s charitable fund and have made a valuable
contribution toward the total of £6,595 that has been
distributed up to date from the eight Intakes.