Customs and Traditions of the RAAOC

Roll of Honour

A total of 854 AAOC and RAAOC members have so far given their lives in providing support to the Australian Army, or whilst prisoners of war, in the wars and conflicts since World War 1. The RAAOC Memorial Park has been established at Bandiana to commemorate the memory of the AAOC and RAAOC fallen.

The Corps Badge

The RAAOC badge design has been developed from that of the now disbanded British RAOC and consists of the following four elements:

Crown • the King or Queen’s Crown

Garter • the Order of the Garter bears the Latin inscription: 'HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE' which when translated means 'evil to him who evil thinks' and dates back to King Henry VIII.

Riband • This scroll bears the words 'Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps'.

Shield • Depicting three field cannons and three cannon balls. This shield forms part of the Coat of Arms granted to the Board of Ordnance in 1823. The cannons depict the first equipment that the King's men controlled, and the cannon balls represent the explosives which came under the control of the ordnance artillerator to the Tower of London. When RAAOC collar badges are worn the cannon muzzles must face inwards towards each other. These badges are issued in pairs for this purpose.

Corps Identifying Colours

In recognition of its valuable service to the 1st AIF during World War 1, Corps identifying colours were granted to both the British RAOC and our own AAOC in 1918. The Corps identification colours consist of three vertical scarlet/royal blue/scarlet bands of equal thickness.

Corps Embellishments

Items of uniform, embellishments and insignia have a long evolutionary history dating to 1903, taking into account AAOC items introduced during WW1 within the 1 AIF, and the specific design badges and buttons for the AAOC Militia and PMF which were first approved in 1928 and introduced for wear with the AAOC uniform in 1930. During WW2 all Army personnel were required to wear the 'Rising Sun' badges and AMF buttons, however, following the formation of the Australian Regular Army (ARA) in 1949 each Corps set about introducing their own embellishments.

Corps Motto

In 1928 the British War Office in London (with the express permission of King Edward VIII, the then Colonel-in-Chief of the RAOC and later Duke of Windsor) gave approval for the AAOC to adopt the same Corps motto as the British RAOC which is taken from the coat of arms of the Ancient Board of Ordnance, that being the Latin phrase 'SUA TELA TONANT!' (translation - TO THE WARRIOR HIS ARMS).

As a consequence it was tradition for AAOC officers and early RAAOC officers to tie the Ordnance corps tie with a Windsor knot in acknowledgment, and it is hoped that this tradition will be revived and maintained by present RAAOC personnel when wearing their Corps tie.

Granting of the Title 'Royal'

On 25 November 1948, His Majesty King George VI granted the title 'Royal' to the Corps in recognition of the valuable service that the AAOC gave in support of the 1st Australian Imperial Force (AIF) and 2nd AIF during World War 2.

On 27 October 1953, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II accepted the appointment of Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps and continues in this appointment today.

Sovereign's Banner

During her Silver Jubilee celebrations, our Colonel-in-Chief, Her Majesty The Queen graciously bestowed a Sovereign's Banner on the RAAOC. This Banner was formally presented to the Corps by the (then) Governor General of Australia, Sir Zelman Cowen, at a large parade which was held at Bandiana on the 4th of December 1981.

RAAOC Regimental March

The RAAOC Regimental Quick March is based on the ballad of ‘The Wild Colonial Boy’. In 1995 the Corps March was rewritten to include a Corps slow march, previously for parades the slow march music was borrowed. This new march now incorporates 'The Quartermasters Store'. Previously the tune 'The Village Blacksmith' was our wartime link with the British RAOC. The Corps toast and salute are derived from this music.

Corps Birthday

Although General Military Order No. 104 dated 8 July 1902 authorised the establishment of an Ordnance Stores Corps into the Australian Army with effect 1 July 1902, the RAAOC has until recently traditionally chosen the 25th November each year as it's Corps Birthday to commemorate the granting of the title 'Royal' to our Corps by King George VI on that date in 1948. In 1995 the RAAOC Committee determined to commemorate the RAAOC Birthday on its inaugural date, 1 July to commemorate its founding on 1 July 1902.

The Corps School

The Army Logistic Training Centre (ALTC) was established on 1 December 1995 by integrating a number of Logistic Corps Schools located in Bandiana, Puckapunyal, Portsea, Bonegilla and Sydney, this included the RAAOC Centre. The ALTC Headquarters is located in Gaza Ridge Barracks at Bandiana Victoria. The name given to the Barracks occupied by the former RAAOC School, and now the ALTC, was so named because the first AAOC depot established overseas during WW2 was at Gaza Ridge in Palestine in January 1940 with the arrival of the 2/1st Stores Coy which accompanied the 6 AUST DIY advance party of the 2 AIF to the Middle East. The first Ordnance School was established overseas within the 1st Australian Base Ordnance Depot (or 1 AUST BOD) at Barbara in Palestine in July 1940 to train AAOC re-enforcements which were being sent in large numbers 'off the street' to serve in the Middle East to support the 2nd AIF The AAOC School in Australia (re-titled RAAOC Centre in 1969) was first established at the Royal Park Zoo in Melbourne (Carlton) in early 1941. This school was relocated from Royal Park to Broadmeadows in 1943 before moving to its present location at Bandiana in December 1960.

RAAOC Lanyard

The RAAOC shoulder lanyard is coloured scarlet and was introduced in 1948. The AAOC (Militia) lanyard pre-1914 was royal blue, however in the period 1925 until the outbreak of WW2 the colour of the AAOC lanyard was white and plaited, the same as that worn by instructors of Artillery, due to AAOC association with guns, ammunition, coastal defences etc.

The Lanyard (whistle braided) that all Australian Army members wear today originated in the British cavalry. The mounted soldier wore the lanyard around his neck with the end fastened into his pocket. The lanyard was used by cavalry soldiers for a variety of purposes, such as attaching to the butt of a pistol, a whistle or penknife so that the items were not lost due to the severe movement of their horses which occurred during horse riding manoeuvres.

The lanyard was also used to fasten forage for the horse to the saddle horn in the desert regions where natural grazing was not possible, such as in India, the Sudan, Egypt, Palestine etc. The lanyard today is coloured to distinguish the respective corps or regiments and is worn on the appropriate shoulder and is fastened as originally intended into the breast pocket.

Radio Callsign

The radio appointment title for RAAOC is ‘RICKSHAW’.

The RAAOC Prayer

Almighty God

Who hast made ready for us the Sword of the Spirit against the evil one, and the Shield of Faith to resist his devices. give. we pray Thee, to the Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps, whose service is to support our brethren in the day of battle, faithfulness in this our duty: and assist us to put on Thine armour, that we be ready in Thy warfare. for the sake of Jesus Christ, Our Lord. AMEN.

The RAAOC Flags

There are three authorised flags for the RAAOC, these are the Corps Flag, the Ordnance Small ships Ensign and the Ordnance Depot Pennant.

The Corps Flag is a rectangular flag featuring the Corps colours of Scarlet, Royal Blue and Scarlet vertical stripes of equal proportion, with the RAAOC badge affixed centrally on the blue section. The Corps Flag was flown over RAAOC Units or Sub-Units. Today it is flown on Corps occasions and carried with pride on Corps parades.

The Ordnance Small craft Ensign. The Ordnance Ensign was introduced in 1945 and was issued to all AAOC (and later RAAOC) small craft Parks along the east coast of Australia. The Ensign was flown on vessels or boats being sailed under Ordnance charge undergoing sea trials or on Ordnance charge enroute for delivery.

The Ordnance Depot Pennant. The Ordnance Corps Pennant was first introduced into the British Army more than 160 years ago by the then (civilian) Ordnance Stores Department (the RAOC not being raised as a Corps until 1896). The Ordnance Depot Pennant is triangular in shape, is dark blue in colour, onto which is sewn a scarlet red circle (representing a flaming cannon ball) centrally fixed. The first time that the Ordnance Depot Pennant was flown over an AAOC unit was on the beaches of Gallipoli immediately after the initial dawn landings when LTCOL J.G. Austin hoisted the pennant to signify the ammunition replenishment point for the Australian Infantry heavily engaged against the entrenched Turks. The bullet and shrapnel ridden Ordnance Pennant which was flown over our stores depot on Gallipoli is on permanent display at the Australian War Memorial. RAAOC subbunits used to occasionally fly the Ordnance pennant.

The Corps Centre Piece

The RAAOC is proud of its silver Corps Centrepiece which was purchased in 2000 to replace the original Centrepiece which is now on display at the Army Museum Bandiana. The new Centrepiece is available for loan to units/Corps Associations for regimental dinners and significant Corps functions with transport costs to be met by the borrower. The contact for Centrepiece bookings is the S02 Corps Heritage on (02) 6055 2428 or email rodney.norman@ defence.gov.au

The Head of Corps - RAAOC

As a consequence of the many re-organisations that the Army has endured over the past ninety years, the Head of Corps of the RAAOC has previously been titled the Director of the Ordnance Services, the Director of Supply, the Director General of Supply - Army and more recently with the transfer of the head of corps functions to be co-located with Corps schools, the title was the Director of Ordnance. Since 1903 the Head of Corps for Ordnance has resided in a number of locations, including Melbourne, the Middle East (in WW2), Canberra and on 7 December 1992 the Directorate of Ordnance was re-located to the home of the Corps, Bandiana, where the RAAOC has held a strong presence since 1940. On 1 December 1997 all Corps Directorates were disestablished with their previous responsibilities being spread to other sections of the Army. The Head of Corps - RAAOC is now given to a RAAOC Brigadier or Colonel as an extra appointment.

The RAAOC Historical Collection

The RAAOC Historical Collection is now a part of what was previously the RAAOC Museum at Bandiana. It was originally commenced in an old lecture room in the RAAOC Centre in 1972, and moved to its present location near the entrance to Gaza Ridge Barracks at Bandiana in 1976. The Museum is of considerable size, totalling 144,000 square metres of covered accommodation in a single World War Two building with additional outdoor displays. The Museum serves to preserve the history of not only the RAAOC but other Logistic Corps, and traces the activities of the Army, and the types of vehicles and equipment that were issued by Ordnance to the Army as a whole.

The Museum is one of the key places of interest for tourists to the region as it boasts an excellent array of WW1, WW2 and post war vehicles, uniforms, ammunition, weapons and military memorabilia. Trainee officers and soldiers on their initial training at the ALTC are expected to visit the Museum as part of their education to both the history of the Corps and the Army in general.

The RAAOC Committee

The RAAOC Committee and Regional Committees were established in 1980 with the primary role of fostering Ordnance tradition and esprit de corps in the RAAOC.

The RAAOC Committee, commonly referred to as the Corps Committee is established under the direction of the Head of Corps - RAAOC.

The Committee consists of ten RAAOC members and acts as a management committee and advisory body, responsible for any matter of Corps interest. Meetings of the Corps Committee are required to be convened at least bi-annually. Items discussed at such meetings can include:

• advice on the management and use of RAAOC property for the benefit of the Corps as a whole; and

• to publicise the activities of the Corps and create an awareness of its traditions and history.

Regional Committees. In most Military Regions and in the ACT, regional committees have been long established for the purpose of:

• providing advice on Corps matters related to their respective regions; and

• organising Corps commemorative activities and social gathering in their region, particularly for past members of the Corps to keep in touch with Corps happenings. The Chairman of each Regional Committee is normally the resident Honorary Colonel, or in their absence the senior RAAOC representative. Other members of the Committees include both ARA and ARES officers and warrant officers or SNCOs.

Meetings of both the Corps Committee and Regional Committees are conducted within the guidelines of the Rules of Procedure and minutes, accounting procedures for monies and Corps property are as for that accepted by normal Service practices.

The Corps Committee and the Regional Committees welcome ideas and suggestions from both units and individuals on any matter pertaining to the ideals of the Committee, which is to foster tradition and esprit de corps. Submission by units and individuals should in the first instance be referred to the respective regional committee and may well include for example, ideas for social activities.

Membership of Regional Associations.

Membership of Regional Associations is encouraged for both serving and exxserving members of the Corps, including civilian members that as public servants served in RAAOC units.

The Broad Arrow

The identification mark for items belonging to he Ordnance Department, and currently the Department of Defence is the symbol of an upright arrow with the letters DO added for the Department of Defence. This ancient symbol which has been in use by the British Army and Colonial Governments for more than two and a half centuries is also used by the Australian Army. The symbol is affixed to most non-expendable Defence items of equipment and is distinguished by the mark DC;:D. In earlier days condemned stores were marked with an additional inverted opposing arrow a which indicated that these stores were to be disposed of by public auction to the highest bidder.

The RAAOC Memorial Park

In order to commemorate in a tangible way the memory of the 854 AAOC and RAAOC officers and soldiers who paid the supreme sacrifice on active service in all conflicts since World War 1, the RAAOC Memorial Park has been established at Bandiana, and its development has been closely linked to the development of the Army Museum Bandiana (previously the RAAOC Museum). Soon after the Museum moved to its present location in 1976, its Curator, Mr Colin La Motte, conceived the idea of establishing a Park befitting the memory of our fallen, and a rudimentary park and open space was commenced directly opposite the Museum. In 1984 formally planned work began on the Park as an on-going project, and even whilst only partially developed it was already proving to be popular with thousands of visitors to the Museum. Many people from a number of Bandiana based units have willingly contributed both funds and labour to the Parks construction over the nine years that it took to complete the project.

The Park was officially opened in November 1993 with a dedication parade of RAAOC Centre personnel.

The main features of the Park are the Breavington & Gale Memorial Fountain and the Memorial Rose Garden. The Breavington and Gale Fountain is dedicated to the memory of two brave AAOC soldiers who were the first Australians in World War 2 to be executed by Japanese firing squad (at Selarang Beach, Singapore on 2 September 1942) for attempting escape. CPL Rod Breavington was a senior Constable in the Victoria Police when he enlisted and as a consequence an affiliation has developed between the RAAOC and Victoria Police, and a combined service is held at Northcote Police Station on 2 September each year to perpetuate his memory, and to present the annual Breavington Trophy which is awarded to the most outstanding young policeman or policewoman. The Memorial Rose Garden inside the Park is dedicated to the 854 AAOC and RAAOC personnel who have so far given their lives for their country on active service.

The Memorial Rose Garden

The Breavington & Gale Memorial Fountain

The garden is also used as a repository for the ashes of past members of the Corps who request that their ashes be returned to the home of Ordnance.

The Park represents a tranquil setting in which there are covered brick electric barbeques, covered picnic tables and seats, drinking fountain, children's play area and toilet facilities. These amenities are enjoyed by the hundreds of visiting tourists, families and groups to the Museum each year. The overall facilities, memorial plaques and the tranquil atmosphere within the Park is a most practical and fitting memorial to all past members of the Corps and is well worth a visit whenever you are passing Bandiana.

The 'Domesday' Book

The RAAOC 'Domesday' Book is an exquisite, leather bound book which was kindly donated to the Corps in 1955 by our first Representative Honorary Colonel and former Master General of the Ordnance, MAJGEN L.E. Beavis, CB, CBE, DSO for the purpose of maintaining an ongoing 'Historical Record of the RAAOC'. This book is housed in a dustproof display case located in the RAAOC area of the Army Museum at Bandiana.

When he presented the 'Doomsday' Book to the Corps on 5 September 1955, MAJGEN Beavis wrote the following Preface:

As the years roll on, so will this record of the activities and the achievements of the Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps.

Measured in years, the traditions of the Corps, in this year of 1955, are limited but the achievements of the Corps and the service rendered during the first and second world wars, and in Korea and Japan, provide a heritage of no mean order. Prior to 1939 the civilian Australian Army Ordnance Department served the peace-time needs of the Army, and was responsible for equipping the initial units raised for the 2 AlP. The militarised services owe much to the Department and those many members who joined the Corps, and it is hardly necessary to enlarge on our debt to the Royal Army Ordnance Corps of the United Kingdom. Much is also owed to the pre-war Citizen Military Forces Ordnance Corps units which provided many officers and men for the Ordnance units of the 2 Alp, especially at the beginning, in 1939 and 1940 when even partially trained and experienced personnel were worth their weight in gold, and more. My first association with the AAOC was to raise and assist in the training of the initial Citizen Force Stores and Ammunition Companies formed in NSW in the middle twenties.

With relatively little field organisation, training or experience to cope with the tremendous expansion of the Army, and under conditions calling for the most strenuous effort to make a success of duties so vital to the efficiency of the Army, the Ordnance Service became an efficient and smooth-running machine. The display of the qualities of courage, discipline, determination and devotion to the spirit of service alone made this possible.

With this heritage, and if the lusty infant fulfils all that it now promises, this record will be one which members of the Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps will be able to regard with just pride'.

All RAAOC personnel who have suggestions or have memorabilia which is associated with some significant event, or in their opinion is worthy of recording along with the rest of our Corps history, please send your contribution to the Curator at the Army Museum Bandiana.

Purchase of the Published History of the RAAOC

A comprehensive written and pictorial history of the Ordnance Services in the Australian Army has already been published. The book was written by Major John Tilbrook, CSM, RFD and is titled 'To the Warrior His Arms' which you will recall is our Corps Motto.

'To the Warrior His Arms' is a hard covered book totalling over 700 pages and includes some 200 historical photographs tracing the history of Ordnance in Australia from the arrival of the First Fleet until 1988. The book was researched and written as the Corps bi-centennial project and the task was undertaken as a voluntary 'labour of love' by our Corps Historian (RAAOC), Major John Tilbrook, CSM, RFD who continues to serve in this capacity in the ARES.

The completed works was published in 1989 and was publicly launched at a regional Corps gathering at the National Press Club in Canberra on 13 December 1989. The book may be purchased from the shop in the Army Museum Bandiana at a cost of $35. Orders for the Book can be made by telephone by contacting the Curator of the Museum during business hours on (02) 60552525 or Fax (02) 6055 2886.