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1st Battalion
The Royal Australian Regiment

RAR logo

Active Service
Korea
1952-1953

 

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DEPARTURE & MOVE TO KOREA

Mon 3 Mar 52
1 RAR vacated G Block, Ingleburn Military Camp thence to Liverpool and Central Railway Stations by bus and train. After a cut-lunch (our last meal in Australia prior to embarkation) the unit at 1220 hrs departed Prince Alfred Park, Sydney led by a Section of NSW Mounted Police followed by our unit mascot "Septimus", our 1 RAR Band - the CO, Lt Col I. HUTCHISON DSO MC ED, then A,B,C,D, Support and HQ Coys with a detachment of 130 NZ troops. 38 officers and 848 OR embarked HT "Devonshire" on completion of our march through the city.

At 1610 hrs the "Devonshire" left No 2 East Circular Quay but, due to engine trouble, left Sydney Harbour in darkness.

1 RAR Advance Party led by the unit 2IC Maj DG SHARP with QM and 1 other officer and 14 OR departed Mascot for Iwakuni, Japan by QANTAS at 2100 hrs.

Fri 7 Mar
Advance Party arrived Iwakuni and proceeded by water to Kure Harbour thence to Kaitaichi to prepare 1 RAR staging area.

Mon 10 Mar
"Devonshire" berthed at Manus Naval Base to take on 500 tons of water then sailed at 2200 hrs.

Tue 18 Mar
At 0800 hrs Maj SHARP and QM boarded "Devonshire" from the pilot boat. At 1135 hrs, "Devonshire" berthed at Kure and 1 RAR disembarked from 1300 hrs - 1530 hrs and proceeded to Kaitaichi to rekit for operations in Korea.

Tue 25 Mar
Advance Party Flt 1 led by Maj SHARP with Capts CHA EAST, RB ROGERS and HT SAYERS MM and Lt EJ MULHOLLAND, W02 NITSCHKE and 14 OR departed Iwakuni by RAAF for YONG DUNG P0, South Korea.

Wed 26 Mar
Advance Party Flt 2 consisting of Capts MORAHAN, EVANS and ANDERSON and 17 OR (Including Sgt GA GRAY) followed Flt 1.

Wed 2 Apr
At 0715 hrs 1 RAR Main Body led by Maj SP WEIR MC embarked on "Empire Longford" and departed Kure, Japan at 0800 hrs.

Thu 3 Apr
At 0830 hrs "Empire Longford" berthed in Pusan Harbour, South Korea where 1 RAR disembarked and proceeded at 1100 hrs by rail to our bivouac area at NAM-MYON south of Line Kansas.

DEPLOYMENT & COMMITMENT

Sat 5 Apr - Sun 15 Jun 52
1 RAR began moving on 5 Apr into unprepared reserve positions on Line KANSAS (the third Line of Defence, WYOMING being the second and JAMESTOWN the front). A Ech on 11 Apr and B Ech on 12 Apr 52 moved to their tactical positions. During this period. 1 RAR consolidated its position on KANSAS, underwent familiarisation tactical training with elements of 25 Canadian Inf. Bde. PPCLI (Princess Pat's Canadian Light Inf), RCHA (Royal Canadian Horse Artillery) and A Sqn 5 RD (Royal Iniskilling Dragoon Guards). The highlight in this period was our participation with 3 RAR, 1 KOSB, 16 Fd Bty RNZA, buglers of 1 KSLI (Kings Shropshire Light Infantry) and members of the TURKISH Bde in our observance of ANZAC Day 25 Apr 52. The battalion also operated in Area B, SANDOK.

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COMMITMENT

Mon 16 Jun
1 RAR Advance parties moved in Line JAMESTOWN to relieve 1 RL (Leicesters).

Tue 17 Jun
D Coy 1 RAR came under enemy artillery fire - our first sub unit to be engaged by the enemy.

Thu 19 Jun - Tue 8 Jul 52
WANGJING-MYON, NORTH KOREA. LEFT FLANK BATTALION OF 29 BRIT INF BDE, LINE JAMESTOWN

Thu 19 Ju[n]
At 2251 hrs 1 RAR assumed operational control of this position vice 1 RL. Earlier our MG Pl engaged one enemy thus having the honour to be 1 RAR's first to engage the enemy in North Korea. 1 RAR came under command of 29 Brit Inf Bde wef 16 Jun 52.

Sun 22 Jun
At 2227 hrs Pte LA ETHERIDGE of D Coy was KIA whilst on ambush patrol - our first battle casualty in North Korea.

Mon 23 Jun
A Coy at 0215 hrs secured a SL for B Coy 1st Bn. The Welch Regt who attacked Hill 227 above A Coy 1 RAR position.

Wed 2 Jul
Op "BLAZE" A company attack made by A Coy 1 RAR and led by the OC Maj DS THOMSON commenced at 0900 hrs. No enemy PW was taken. Flame throwers were used in the enemy positions. Our casualties -

A Coy2 KIA1 DOW25 WIA
B Coy  2 WIA
Sp Coy  5 WIA
HQ Coy1 KIA 1 WIA

Tue 8 Jul
1 BW (Black Watch) relieved 1 RAR at 2400 hrs.

During this period 1 RAR maintained aggressive patrolling and raiding. The enemy subjected the battalion to heavy shelling and mortar bombardment; at one stage D Coy was convinced the enemy were using a new type of projectile which turned out to be discarded heating elements and lids of British Army soup tins issued to 1 RL before us and blown up during normal shelling.

Enemy Artillery Activity in our Area:

Shells- 
Mortar bombs- Figures unavailable
Unidentified- 
TOTAL- 


Our Battle Casualties Suffered:

KIA4
DOW1
WIA38
TOTAL43

The unit bivouacked for a day's rest.

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Mon 9 Jul
The battalion commenced relieving 1 KOSB (Kings Own Scottish Borderers) patrols.

Tue 10 Jul - Tue 25 Sep 52
NAECHON, NORTH KOREA, RIGHT FLANK BATTALION OF 28 BRITCOM INF BDE, LINE JAMESTON.

Tue 10 Jul
1 RAR assumed operational control of the NAECHON area from 1 KOSB at 0048 hrs and reverted back to being under command of 28 Britcom Inf Bde. 3 RAR on our Left and 1BW on our Right.

From 2300 hrs 12 Jul - 0100 hrs 13 Jul 52, 1 RAR was subjected to heavy shelling by the enemy - 400 (+) rounds fell in our position.

Intensive patrolling continued by us despite heavy flooding rain. 114 bunkers collapsed, one accidentally killing Pte KENDRICK of D Coy on 27 Jul 52 by suffocation. 46 bunkers were condemned as unsafe. Elements of 1 RAR involved in improving reserve positions in the PINTAIL bridge area over the IMJIN. On 30 Jul 52, TEAL bridge closed leaving PINTAIL the only one available to the Western Front.

Mon 6 Aug
Friendly aircraft hit by enemy ground fire, pilot parachuted but drifted into enemy lines too close to extricate him.

Thu 23 Aug
At 0230 hrs our Aslt Pnr P1 fencing party led by Capt PJ GREVILLE was ambushed by patrol of 12 enemy resulting in our casualties of 2 MIA (later confirmed taken PW) - Capt GREVILLE & Pte CONDON - 1 KIA and 3 WIA.

Fri 14 Sep
A patrol led by Lt PN CLIFF made contact with enemy resulting in our first enemy being taken PW - a Chinese. Peter CLIFF was KIA leading another night patrol on 22 Sept 52.

Tue 25 Sep
At 0100 hrs 1 DLI (Durham Light Infantry) relieved 1RAR in the NAECHON position.

Enemy Artillery Activity in our Area:

Shells1959
Mortar bombs2865
Unidentified414
TOTAL5238


Our Battle Casualties Suffered:

KIA14
DOW3
WIA51
PW2
TOTAL70

Wed 26 Sep - Tue 30 Oct 52
YONG DANG, NORTH KOREA. LEFT FLANK POSITION 1 COMWEL DIV WITH 1 US MARINE DIV ON OUR LEFT. AREA 1 OVERLOOKING THE SAMECHON VALLEY.

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1 RAR moved into this position on 25/26 Sept 52. The position is regarded as a "rest" or "quiet" area with only one company (B Coy 1 RAR) disposed in a part defensive role. We remain under command of 28 Britcom Inf Bde.

Wed 10 Oct
1 RAR celebrated quietly our 7th Anniversary. (Such is recorded in the War Diary although later there seems to be doubt and it is thought that the battalion anniversary is 12 Oct - the 65 Aust Inf Bn (from which we originated) being formed at MOROTAI on 12 Oct 45 according to LtCol RH MARSON DSO (deceased) our original CO).

Sat 20 Oct
LtCol M. ("Bunny") AUSTIN assumed command of 1RAR. LtCol HUTCHISON now to act as Adm Comd of 28 Britcom Inf Bde vice Brig T. DALY on leave wef 21 Oct 52.

Sat 27 Oct
A US Marine fighter-bomber hit by enemy ground fire crashed into forward positions of A Coy 1 RAR - pilot KIA.

There was a little wiring on the "LOZENGE" feature in this period - the covering position for Line KANSAS (Area 8).

Fri 30 Oct
1 R22nd R (Royal 22nd Canadian Regt - "VAN DOOS") relieved 1 RAR in this position.

In this position we were not involved in patrolling other than normal standing patrols, we had NO enemy contacts, were NOT subjected to enemy artillery or small arms fire and suffered NO casualties. Preparations underway to relieve 1 RCR (Royal Canadian Regt) on Hill 355 - "LITTLE GIBRALTAR" by 1 Nov 52. We could hear 1 RCR being shelled by heavy enemy fire and learnt that the Chinese attacked 355 in strength on 23/24 Oct 52.

Tue 1 Nov - Sat 29 Dec 52
KOWANG-SAN, HILL 355 (LITTLE GIBRALTAR) DIVISIONAL VITAL GROUND. RIGHT FLANK BATTALION POSITION WITH 15 ROK REGT OF 1 ROK DIV (THE ELITE "CAPITOL" DIV) ON OUR RIGHT & 3 RAR ON OUR LEFT. STILL UNDER COMMAND 28 BRITCOM INF BDE.

Tue 1 Nov
At 2130 hrs 1 RAR relieved 1RCR on 355. The nights were freezing here in Korea's mid winter with temperature at night well below 0° to 16° below - the winds from the Manchurian-Mongolian steppes hitting the high exposed position on the heights of 355. (A copy of 1 RCR's handover to 1 RAR is included in this paper extracted from our War Diary courtesy of the AWM).

Wed 7 Nov
Snow fell for the first time this winter leaving a 3 inch blanket over the area.

Intense patrolling was undertaken to regain supremacy of the real estate to our front. Minefield traces received from 1 RCR showed inaccuracies of location and gaps in them. All sub units were also involved in the repair of defensive works following the enemy's artillery barrages in support of an estimated regimental attack on 1 RCR in late Oct 52.

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Tue 13 Nov
Lt. John L. SEATON of B Coy was KIA, when his patrol made enemy contact.

Sat 17 Nov
One of our standing patrols clashed with enemy patrol resulting in our casualties of 3 KIA, 1 MIA and 4 WIA. 5 enemy KIA actual body count.

Tue 11 Dec
A company-sized attack on enemy positions 2-3 kilometers to the north of our position was led by OC B Coy 1 RAR - Maj AS (Joe) MANN. The B Coy Op codenamed "FAUNA" did NOT return with a PW. Our casualties were 2 MIA and 22 WIA. On 12 Dec 52, Pte YOUNG (MIA from "FAUNA") returned with D Coy 1 RAR patrol.

Sat 22 Dec
Brig DALY (Commander 28 Britcom Inf Bde) had his slouch hat hoisted atop Hill 355 - other defenders usually hoisted their unit/regimental flags.

Mon 24 Dec
Despite 1 RAR's aggressive patrolling, our minefield wire-checking parties early this morning discovered enemy (Chinese) propaganda material - banners, stockingette bags with Christmas cards, diaries, jade charms, safe conduct passes etc. left hanging on our forward wire by the enemy during the night. Enemy also broadcast assorted music (?) saying they knew we were Australians and telling us to go home to our loved ones etc. True to their earlier statement they did NOT engage our positions with small arm or artillery fire during Christmas Day.

Sat 29 Dec
At 0430 hrs 3 RAR relieved 1RAR on Hill 355.

A copy of 1 RAR INTREP NO 58 dated 31 Dec 52 (included in this paper) showed that 1 RAR conducted a total of 242 patrols whilst in this position - not included were additional tasks undertaken by Aslt Pnr P1 and Int Sec re minefields and wire.

Enemy Artillery Activity in our Area:

Shells1124
Mortar bombs1523
Unidentified845
TOTAL3492


Our Battle Casualties Suffered:

KIA18
WIA74
MIA3
TOTAL95

Sun 30 Dec 52 - Wed 30 Jan 53
MISAN-MYON (AREA 6 ) LINE WYOMING. UNDER COMMAND 28 BRITCOM INF BDE

Sun 30 Dec
1 RAR re-deployed in rest position. Worked at familiarisation in its counter attack role on Hill 355. Also digging in Area 15 and engaged in general "make and mend".

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Tue 1 Jan 53
1 Comwel Div Artillery made a noisy event at midnight heralding in the New Year by firing a special "HATE" on enemy positions on our front.

Wed 30 Jan
9 Bn THAILAND of 34 Regt, 2 US INF DIV relieved 1 RAR in Area 6 (this position). NO casualties and NO enemy shelling.



RECUPERATION AND RELIEF

Wed 30 Jan - Thu 21 Mar 53
TONG DU CHON - NI, SOUTH KOREA. CAMP CASEY NON-OPERATIONAL REST AREA

Wed 30 Jan
1 RAR joined the remainder of 28 Britcom Inf Bde and 1 Comwel Div at Camp Casey. This is the first occasion that 1 Comwel Div has been "out of the line".

The battalion set about conducting NCO Cadres, re-kitting, resting, winding up leave to Japan, drilling, preparing for our relief by 2 RAR whose advance party arrived Camp Casey on Mon 25 Feb 53. 1 RAR personnel whose tour of duty in Korea was not complete were transferred to 2 RAR.

Thu 21 Mar
1 RAR's flag lowered for the last time in KOREA and 2 RAR's raised in lieu signifying our relief. This was also the first occasion that all three battalions of the Royal Australian Regiment had been together since formation. The last occasion that the three had paraded together was in the BCOF days as 65, 66 and 67 Aust Inf Bns of 3rd Aust Inf Bde in Hiro, JAPAN. (It is significant that the three battalions have NOT yet paraded together in AUSTRALIA....)

The 1 RAR then moved to TOKCHONG and entrained for PUSAN leaving at 1100 hrs.



GOING HOME

Fri 22 Mar
1 RAR arrive PUSAN, SOUTH KOREA at 0600 hrs and moved to SEAFORTH Camp.

Sat 23 Mar
We proceeded at 1400 hrs by MT to TANGOK UN WAR CEMETERY for Memorial Services for our Dead (32 KIA and 5 DOW according to battle Casualty Table in 1 RAR War Diaries held at the Australian War Museum, CANBERRA) where crosses were identified by Garter Blue with Black ribbons for 1 RAR, and Green with Black ribbons for 3 RAR (many of whom had originally served with 1 RAR).

Sun 24 Mar
At 0915 hrs 1 RAR moved to Pier 1 PUSAN Wharf and embarked on "NEW AUSTRALIA" which sailed for KURE, JAPAN at 1545 hrs en route SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA.

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Tue 26 Mar
Having berthed yesterday at KURE, JAPAN we departed KURE at first light and arrived Circular Quay, SYDNEY AUSTRALIA on 9 Apr 53.



STATISTICS EXTRACTED FROM 1 RAR WAR DIARIES COVERING PERIOD MARCH 1952 TO MARCH 1953 DURING THE UNIT'S ACTIVE SERVICE IN KOREA AS PART OF THE UNITED NATIONS FORCE.

1. BATTLE CASUALTIES - 1 RAR

TypeOffWOSgtORTOT
KIA2  3032
DOW  235
MIA   33
WIA725152166
PW1  12
TOTAL1027189208

(Note: The total of Australian casualties for action in Korea is 339 KIA, 1226 WIA, PW 29: TOTAL 1584)



2. UNIT COMPOSITION BY STATES (ON RETURN)

StateOfficersORTOTAL
QLD 1 (Padre) 121 122
NSW 8 340 348
VIC 3 139 142
SA   33 33
WA 1 67 68
TAS 1 22 23


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3. TOTAL PERIOD IN THE LINE WITH 1 COMWEL DIV - 24 WEEKS

4. ENEMY ARTILLERY ENGAGEMENTS IN OUR POSITIONS

Position,
Dates
Shells,
Mortar
Unident-
ified
TOT
WANGJIN MYON
19.6-8.7.52
Figures Unavailable
NAECHON
10.7-25.9.52
1959
2865
414 5238
HILL 355
LITTLE GIBRALTOR
1.11-29.12.52
1124
1523
845 3492
TOTAL 3083+
4388+
1259+ 8370+


5. HONOURS AND AWARDS - 1 RAR

A copy of 1RAR Special Order of 24 Jun 53 by the Commanding Officer Lt Col M. AUSTIN DSO, is included in this paper.

aDSO2(1 immediate)
bOBE2 
cMBE3 
dMC7(2 immediate)
eMM7(3 immediate)
fBEM1 
gMID20(2 immediate,
3 posthumous)


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QUIZ

1. What was your embarkation number going up on "Devonshire"?

2. On what shoulder did we wear our lanyards then?

3. How many days made up our R&R to Tokyo? How many nights????

4. What was 1 RAR's wireless/telephone Codename?

5. What item of military attire did our officers and WO's wear going up as part of their dress that they did not wear on return?

6. Do you recall your first instinctive reaction to the sound of "one of theirs" coming in?

7. Who was "Charlie"?

8. Where did you have your first beer (a) in Tokyo?, (b) On return to Australia?

9. Turn back the clock, how did we stand the cold????

10. Did you recognise all, most, some or none of your mates from 1 RAR this time??

11. Should we make this an annual event to coincide with 1 RAR's Anniversary??

12. Should we try and have the State and City Council(?) erect a modest size tablet in the vicinity of where No.1 East Circular Quay stood recording 1 RAR's departure and return???

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1st BATTALION

THE ROYAL CANADIAN REGIMENT

1 Nov 52

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

This is to certify that KOWANG-SAN, FEATURE 355 otherwise known as LITTLE GIBRALTER and attached real estate has been handed over complete, slightly worse for wear and tear, but otherwise defendable.

CertifiedPR Bingham
signature
(P.R. BINGHAM) Lt Col.
Commanding Officer
1 RCR
AcceptedW Austin
signature
(W. AUSTIN) Lt Col.
Commanding Officer
1 RAR
Time &
Date
2138
1 Nov 52
of signature

Dist
1 RAR   1-2
1 RCR   3-4

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CERTIFIED TRUE COPY

1 RAR
31 Dec 52

1 RAR INTREP No. 58

1. This INTREP is published in order to promulgate details of patrols and hostile Shelling during the period 28 Oct / 28 Dec 52.

2. PATROLS (2 Nov - 29 Dec 52)

 FIGHTING
incl prot.
RECCE
LAY-UP
AMBUSH
TOT
A Coy 31 12
2
4
49
B Coy 23 23
-
3
49
C Coy 35 22
3
11
71
D Coy 42 13
1
6
62
A tk  8
-
1
9
Snipers  1
1
-
2

In addition to the above the Aslt Pnr P1 and lnt Sec pers carried out numerous recces of minefd in the area. Aslt Pnr dets accompanied three fighting patrols to blow caves in the NUNGANDI loc.

3. SHELLING (2 Nov - 29 Dec 52)

(a) Total in sub unit locs.

 ShellsMorsMixed
LEFT fwd 415 891 376
CENTRE 193 428 135
RIGHT fwd 348 101 200
Res 37 29  
A tk pl 81 54  
Mor pl 50 20 134
Total 1124 1523 845

(b) Total by sub units.

 ShellsMorsMixed
A Coy 111 214 80
B Coy 214 627 296
C Coy 178 421 135
D Coy 495 187 200
A tk pl 76 54  
Mor pl 50 20 134
Total 1124 1523 845


SIGNED NT SAYERS for
Capt
Adjt 1 RAR



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AUSTRALIAN MILITARY FORCES

RHQ SPECIAL ORDER

by

LIEUTENANT COLONEL M. AUSTIN, DSO

COMMANDING 1st BATTALION ROYAL AUSTRALIAN REGIMENT

ENOGGERA

FRIDAY 26 JUN 53



115. HONOURS AND AWARDS - 1 RAR KOREA - 6 APR 52 - 24 MAR 53

The GOC Northern Command desires to convey his personal congratulations to the under mentioned members and ex-members of 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, granted awards by Her Majesty The Queen for service in KOREA, recipients of The Queen Elizabeth II 1953 Coronation Medal, and recipients of Commander-in-Chief's Commendation Cards:

DISTINGUISHED SERVICE ORDER
Lieutenant Colonel M AUSTIN  
Major ASMANN (Immed­iate)
OFFICERS OF THE ORDER OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE
Lieutenant Colonel I HUTCHISON, DSO,MC,ED
Major DG SHARP  
MEMBERS OF THE ORDER OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE
Chaplain PA SHINE (RAA?D)
Captain (QM) KVP McDERMOTT  
Warrant officer II LE BRENNAN  
MILITARY CROSS
Major DS THOMSON (Immed­iate)
Lieutenant WB JAMES (Immed­iate)
Major CD TAYLOR-THOMSON
Major BB HEARN  
Lieutenant GJ LUCAS  
Lieutenant JH SKIPPER  
Lieutenant PH WILLIAMS  
MILITARY MEDAL
Sergeant LE TAYLOR (Immed­iate)
Sergeant D McCARTHY (Immed­iate)
Sergeant EJ McNULTY (Immed­iate)
Corporal RJ McCRINDIE  
Corporal O MENE  
Corporal JF THOMAS (RAAMC)
Lance-Corporal GC RALSTON  
BRITISH EMPIRE MEDAL
Sergeant WG WATKINS  

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MENTION-IN-DESPATCHES
Sergeant RD RUTTLEY (Immed­iate)
Corporal EG DOWELL (Immed­iate) (RAAMC)
Major EH SMITH  
Captain RB ROGERS  
Lieutenant PN CLIFF (Post­humous)
Lieutenant JL SEATON (Post­humous)
Lieutenant AE PEARSE  
Lieutenant CN KHAN  
Lieutenant JMD BURKE  
Warrant Officer II R STEVENSON  
Sergeant CJ EVELEIGH, MM.
Sergeant GD NICOL  
Sergeant D CORCORAN  
Sergeant AN GOUGH  
Corporal LA CARTER (Post­humous)
Corporal W CROTTY  
Corporal WJ HARROLD  
Lance Corpora1 NJ BERESI  
Private TR NELLIGAN  
Private KR SMITH  
Private KB WITHERS  
C-in-C COMMENDATION CARDS
Private FC ISON  
Private NA BONELL  
Private R McCALLUM  
QUEEN ELIZABETH II 1953 CORONATION MEDALS
Lieutenant Colonel M AUSTIN, DSO.
Major SP WEIR, MC.  
Captain PJ COOK  
Warrant Officer I WRH SMITH  
Warrant Officer II ES NITSCHKE  
Sergeant EJ O'SULLIVAN  
Sergeant R MAIDEN  
Sergeant TG PETERSON (AACC)
Sergeant A FRANZ (RAAMC)

M Austin
Lieutenant-Colonel,
Commanding Officer.

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