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4th Battalion (Commando), Royal Australian Regiment
Royal Aus Regt.JPG
Badge of the Royal Australian Regiment
Active 1 February 1964 – 19 June 2009
Country Australia
Branch Army
Type Special Forces/ Special Operations Force (SOF)
Role Commando
Part of Special Operations Command
Garrison/HQ Holsworthy
Nickname 4 Commando
Motto Duty First
March Inverbrackie
Engagements Indonesian Confrontation
Vietnam War
International Force for East Timor
War in Afghanistan
Iraq War
Decorations Unit Citation for Gallantry Australian CoG Streamer.JPG
Colonel-in-Chief HM The Queen (Australian Infantry Corps)
Unit Colour Patch 4RAR UCP.PNG

The 4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, (4RAR) was an Australian Army infantry battalion and part of the Royal Australian Regiment. The battalion was formed on 1 February 1964 and was renamed the 2nd Commando Regiment on 19 June 2009.




The raising of a regular battalion

On 18 January 1952, a Royal Australian Regiment Depot was raised as a training unit for special establishment on the Order of Battle. The depot was later renamed 4 RAR on 10 March 1952. This renaming was necessary because government approval had been given to raise a battalion and not a ‘Depot’. The primary function of 4 RAR at the time was to train and hold infantrymen for service in Korea. On 24 March 1960, the unit was incorporated into the School of Infantry as ‘Depot Company, Royal Australian Regiment’. The two units comprised resulted in the formation of the Infantry Centre.[1]

The political decision to raise the fourth battalion of The Royal Australian Regiment was made in 1963.[1] Consequently, instructions for the raising of the battalion were issued on 13 January 1964. The official raising of 4 RAR on 1 February 1964 was the first time a regular infantry battalion had been raised on Australian soil.[2] Additionally, it was stated that this battalion was a new battalion and not a resurrection of the old 4 RAR.

With the reorganisation of the Army during 1973 due to the cessation of National Service, 2 RAR and 4 RAR were linked on 15 August 1973, to form 2nd/4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (2/4 RAR).[3]

2/4 RAR was charged with the task of preserving the traditions, associations, museums and proprietorship of the two original battalions from which it was formed until such time as the linking was annulled. Because of this, all ranks of 2/4 RAR were aware of the history of both 2 RAR and 4 RAR and jealously preserved these traditions, whilst working hard to establish a distinctive image for their battalion.

Between 1977 and 1979 2/4 RAR concentrated on conventional warfare including night and mounted operations. On 1 July 1980, the unit was re-organised on light scales and trained as part of the Operational Deployment Force (ODF) in close country and conventional warfare operations.[4]

On 1 February 1982, with the official replacement of the title 'Task Force' with 'Brigade', 2/4 RAR became a unit of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Division. The battalion was placed on operational readiness in 1987 and 1990. On each occasion the battalion was prepared to evacuate Australian citizens from Pacific region countries experiencing civil disturbance.

From 1990 to 1993 many individual soldiers from the battalion served with the United Nations in Cambodia. In 1993, 52 soldiers from the battalion were detached to 1RAR for operational service in Somalia as part of Operation Solace.[5] In May 1993, 2/4 RAR was tasked to provide a Rifle Platoon for Operation Gemini in Cambodia. 12 Platoon Delta Company, deployed to Cambodia tasked with providing local security for Australian Army Aviation Assets.[6]

It was during the battalion's deployment to Rwanda on Operation Tamar in 1994, that the government made the decision to unlink the 2nd/4th Battalion. This was a result of the 1994 Defence White Paper that identified the need for an additional infantry battalion to enhance the Army's capability to meet strategic guidance requirements.[3] The 2nd/4th Battalion was unlinked by the Chief of the General Staff, LTGEN J.C. Grey, AO on a parade at Samichon Lines, Lavarack Barracks, Townsville at 1500 hrs on 1 February 1995.[7] During the early 1990s, soldiers unable to complete parachute training at 3 RAR were typically posted to 4 RAR.

From infantry battalion to special forces

In 1996, a decision was made to convert the Battalion to a Special Forces unit and on 1 February 1997 was renamed to 4 RAR (Commando).[8] Regular serving members were given the opportunity to undertake special forces training provided mainly by 1st Commando Regiment or elect a posting to a conventional forces unit. General Reserve positions existed in the new structure and reserve members discharged or posted to GRes units.

The initial years were busy creating a structure and recruiting members suitable for commando training. Bravo Company was raised first followed by Charlie Company in 1999, both taking 2–3 years to reach full maturity. The pace of battalion life during these development years was hectic with capability development, equipment acquisition and training, focussing every member’s attention. Today the unit is regarded as a Tier 1 special forces unit and is highly regarded within the special operations communities abroad, the unit has lost members in Afghanistan and has also been awarded citations for bravery and also the meritorious citation.

On 19 June 2009 the battalion was renamed the 2nd Commando Regiment. Regardless, the name 4 RAR remains on the Army's order of battle and its history, colours and traditions have been preserved, ready to be re-raised as a regular light infantry battalion in the future if required.[9]



  1. ^ a b "History of 4 RAR, Annex D to Chapter 6, RAR Regimental Standing Orders". Australian Army. http:// Retrieved 2009-06-22.  
  2. ^ Horner 2008, p. 119.
  3. ^ a b "History of 2/4 RAR, Annex J to Chapter 6, RAR Regimental Standing Orders". Australian Army. Retrieved 2009-06-22.  
  4. ^ Horner 2008, p. 265.
  5. ^ Horner 2008, p. 282.
  6. ^ Horner 2008, p. 289.
  7. ^ Horner 2008, p. 295.
  8. ^ Horner 2008, p. 298.
  9. ^ Department of Defence (19 June 2009). "New Name for Sydney Commandos". Press release.  


  • Horner (ed), David (2008). Duty First: A History of the Royal Australian Regiment. Second Edition. Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 9781741753745.  

External links

Coordinates: 33°58′15″S 150°57′14″E / 33.97084°S 150.95387°E / -33.97084; 150.95387


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