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Australian Militia Forces, New South Wales, Outline of Military Structure, 1900 Topic: Militia - Inf - NSW
Australian Militia Forces
New South Wales
Outline of Military Structure, 1900
Attestation of new recruits
The following article and photographs were published in the Town and Country Journal, Saturday, 6 January 1900, pp. 30, 32, 33, and 36.
THE VOLUNTEER INFANTRY FORCES, HOW THE MEN ARE TRAINED.
The dispatch, of troops from Australia and Canada for-service with the British forces operating in South Africa, and the splendid wave of patriotism passing over the colonies, have, not only provided an object lesson to the world at large, but have proved beyond doubt that if ever the Empire were in danger it would only be necessary, in the words of Sir Wilfred Laurier, to "let the bugles' sound, and the fires be lit on the hills, and then, in all parts of the colonies, though we might not be able to do much, whatever we can do shall be done by the colonials to help her." Another, and more important, effect of the acceptance by the mother country of assistance from the colonies, is that it has, aroused a great and wholesome public interest in the local forces, and now that this hail-been done, there is some prospect of our citizen soldiers receiving tho encouragement they deserve.
The military forces of New South Wales are divided into three distinct branches-permanent, partially-paid, and purely volunteer forces. The former consists of the Headquarters, General, and Permanent Staffs, "A" Battery, Royal Australian Artillery, three complete companies of garrison artillery, and a sections of Engineers (Submarine Miners), Army Service Corps, Army Medical Corps, and corps of staff clerks; the second consists of the New South Wales Lancers (four squadrons); Mounted. Rifles (four squadrons), "B" and "C" Batteries Field Artillery, four garrison companies of artillery, four companies of Engineers (two field companies, one company, submarine miners, and one company of electricians), the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Infantry Regiments (each ten companies strong), two companies Army Service Corps, two companies Army Medical Corps, and: the Veterinary Staff Corps; while the purely volunteer forces consist of the 1st Australian Horse (four squadrons), the 5th Infantry Regiment - Scottish Rifles (five companies), the 6th Infantry Regiment - Australian Rifles (six companies), the 7th Infantry Regiment-St. George's Rifles (six companies), the 8th Infantry Regiment - British Rifles; (five companies), and the National Guard. In addition to these forces there is one half squadron of Lancer cadets, and one company of Infantry cadets, attached to the Lancers and 1st Regiment respectively.
The first rifle drill
HISTORY OP THE LOCAL FORCES.
It is with the purely volunteer regiments and corps only that the series of illustrations in this issue deal, but before referring to these forces in detail. It may be of interest to say a few words concerning our defence forces of the past.
From its foundation in 1788 until 1870 New South Wales was garrisoned by British troops, the last Imperial infantry regiment stationed in New South Wales being the 2nd Battalion of the 18th (the Royal Irish) Regiment, now the Royal Irish Regiment. This regiment landed about 1000 strong at Auckland in 1863, and was present at most of the engagements during the war, and remained in New Zealand till 1870. The battalion arrived in Sydney in February and March, 1870; and remained in the colony until August, in which; month the regiment, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Elliot, embarked for England.
For portion of the years 1870 and 1871 the colony was without, regular troops, its defence being entirely in the hands of the volunteer forces. Soon after the withdrawal of the Imperial troops, a colonial regular force, consisting of a battery of field artillery and two companies of infantry, was raised. In the following year, however, the latter were disbanded, and four years later another battery was added, and in 1877 a third. Submarine miners and mounted infantry were added to the permanent force in banded, its place being, taken by a fourth battery of artillery, and about the same time a medical staff corps (now the Army Medical Corps) was raise Sydney, naturally, was the cradle of the volunteer movement in New South Wales, and as early as 1854 raised a mixed force consisting of one battery of field artillery, one troop of cavalry, and six companies of infantry, the latter being known as the 1st Regiment of New South Wales Rifles. The Crimean War was responsible for this display of patriotic enthusiasm, and it is not; surprising that when peace was; established, the forces gradually dwindled away, and practically: ceased to exist.
A few years later, in 1860, a second force was enrolled consisting of one troop of Mounted Rifles, three Batteries of artillery, two being stationed at Sydney, and one at Newcastle-and twenty companies, of infantry, fourteen of which were recruited from Sydney and its suburbs; and six from the country. districts, the total strength of all arms being about 1700 men. The existence of the Mounted Rifles was brief; for they were disbanded in 1862 and more artillery raised in their stead. In the following year a Naval Brigade was enrolled to assist in the defence of the colony by sea. In 1868 the military force was reorganised under the Volunteer. Regulation Act, passed towards the close of the previous year. To stimulate volunteering in the colony the Legislature had recourse to a novel method. For continuous and efficient service; for five, years each man received a grant of 50 acres of land. This rule continued in force until 1874; this appears to have answered its purpose for while it prevailed the force reached a strength of 2,884. On the abolition of land grants a system of partial payment came into vogue, and in 1878. a further reorganisation of the volunteer troops of the colony took place In accordance with a plan drawn up by Sir William Jervois, and the present force is serving under the act of 1867 as amended in that year. A corps of Naval Artillery Volunteers, who were to receive no remuneration, but only an allowance for instruction and incidental expenses, was raised in 1882, and it was followed a few years later by numerous bodies of military reserves, comprising all the principal arms, on the same footing; but all were gradually disbanded or merged in the partially-paid forces of the colony. For many years - in fact, until the end of 1895 - the Sydney Scottish Rifles was the only effective purely volunteer corps in the colony. In the beginning of 1896, however, there was an outburst of patriotism and military enthusiasm in Sydney, almost simultaneously with Dr. Jameson's ill starred expedition, and the German Emperor's cablegram of congratulation to "Oom Paul." This outburst resulted in the subsequent organisation of the St. George's Rifles, the Irish Rifles, the Australian Rifles, and the National Guard.
Camp Life - Cooking the Midday Meal
For some time after formation the Irish Rifles and St George's Rifles, with the Scottish Rifles, formed the 5th (Union) Regiment, but the St. George's were withdrawn from the "Union," and formed into a separate regiment - the 7th the Australian Rifles having meanwhile come into existence under the designation of the 6th Regiment. The 5th Regiment is now the senior volunteer regiment of the colony, the Irish Rifles having recently (in June, 1899) been withdrawn from it, and formed into the 8th Regiment. The Scottish Rifles consists of five companies, three being stationed at Sydney, one at Newcastle, and one at Maclean. Another company is to be formed at Maclean. The officer commanding the regiment is Lieutenant-Colonel G. R. Campbell, who has served in the New South Wales forces for thirteen years. In 1898 Colonel Campbell visited the Soudan, but though not at the time on active service, he was permitted by the Sirdar (Lord Kitchener of Khartoum) to proceed as far as the advanced post of Merawl, where he had an opportunity of studying the organisation of the British troops. Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell received his first appointment on March 16, 1886, being promoted captain the same year, major November 16, 1894, and lieutenant-colonel January 1, 1898. The second in command pf the regiment is Major W. Robertson. The date of his first appointment was July 2, 1887, and he has, therefore, like his chief, enjoyed exceptionally quick promotion. The acting adjutant is Lieutenant C. W. Lamb, of the Royal Australian Artillery. Mr. Lamb was appointed "to the Artillery on June 26, 1890, and received his present appointment "on August 2, 1899.
Camp Life - Cleaning up for Parade
The next regiment in point of seniority is the 6th (Australian Rifles). Three companies of the regiment are stationed at headquarters at Sydney, and there is one company at Goulburn, one at Newcastle. 6th Regiment is under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel F. A. Wright, M.L.A., who has as his second in command Major H. Passmore. Colonel Wright is no stranger to volunteering, having come from a good instructional quarter - the partially-paid force. For some years Colonel Wright held a commission in the 1st Regiment, and was a major on the retired list when he accepted his commission in the Australian Rifles. Major Passmore has held a commission in the 6th since April 29, 1897. The adjutant of the regiment is Lieutenant G. J. Grieve, who is now on special service with the forces in South Africa. Mr. Grieve is a very energetic officer, and is held in the highest esteem by the officers and men of not only his own regiment, but the whole of the Volunteer forces. Mr. Grieve was originally a volunteer officer in the Scottish Rifle's, from which Corps he was transferred to the permanent stand on August. 24, 1897. He was appointed adjutant of the 6th Regiment on September 1, 1897. During Lieutenant Grievers absence on service the duties of adjutant are being carried out by Captain E. C. Cooke, the officer commanding the Hornsby company. The 6th Regiment, though now second in seniority of the volunteer regiments, is one of the youngest of the colony's corps, but it compared favorably with the older regiments, a result which is chiefly due to the determination of the commanding officer and his adjutant to do away as much as possible with ornamental barrack square drills, in favor if practical evolutions in the field. The effect of this is that all ranks have retained interest in the regiment, and it is to be hoped that other commanding officers .will follow Lieutenant-Colonel Wright's example. The rank and file of the regiment consists' of about 90 per cent, of Australians.
The 7th Regiment (St. George's Rifles) is commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel J. C. Neild, M.L.A., the second in command being Major J. C. Waine. Shortly after Its formation, this regiment promised to be not only the most popular, but the most efficient volunteer regiment in the colony. Lieutenant Arthur Holmes is the adjutant of the regiment. One of our illustrations shows portion of the regiment formed up in Quarter column in rear of the Garrison Hospital, at Victoria Barracks. Both Colonel Neild and Major Waine have been connected with the St. George's since its formation in June, 1896, both officers receiving their present appointments on April 27, 1898. Lieutenant Holmes received his first appointment in August, 1897.
The 7th Regiment in Quarter Column
Though junior in seniority, to the 8th Regiment (Irish Rifles) is due the credit of having revived the purely volunteer movement in the colony. The Irish Rifles ceased to form part of the Union Regiment in June last, and received the designation of the 8th Regiment. The "Sons of Erin" are under the command of Major J. H. P. Murray, while the adjutant of the regiment is Lieutenant A. Tower. Major Murray received his first appointment in May, 1896, and has held his present rank since January 1, 1898. Lieutenant Tower was formerly a second lieutenant in the 1st Infantry Regiment (partially-paid), from which he resigned in 1887. He then joined the Army Service Corps, and remained with this branch of the service till May, 1896, when he was transferred to the General Staff.
"Cavalry" 8th Regiment, Irish Rifles
Last in seniority, but not the least Interesting, is the National Guard, consisting pf men who have had previous military training. The corps, which is commanded by Captain Sir G. R. Dibbs, K.C.M.G., is remarkable for the number of veterans it embraces, many of them, as may be seen in our illustration, taken in Government House Grounds, Sydney, being the holders of medals. In former years, it must be confessed that volunteers as such have failed repeatedly in New South Wales, but in these days of "guns and drums," as Dowell has it, it appears that, provided the Government will do its share in the matter, the volunteer movement will expand, and achieve the great success which has been attained by the force in England, From long experience, it is certain that one of the first conditions for success is in obtaining suitable officers, gentlemen who do mot join the force for the sake of the rank they may receive, but determined that they will fit themselves for any rank they may hold, and qualify themselves for it by the necessary course of training. In this manner, officers obtain the respect and esteem of those under their command.
The next important condition is the selection of the rank and file. One is apt to think that one man enlisting is as good. as another. As Major General French pointed out in a recent report, this is a grievous mistake. The men wanted are those who are likely to remain. To the hard worked laborer or artisan, who enlists in a fit of enthusiasm, pay would be an object, but the volunteer regiments have none to offer him, direct or indirect. Therefore, the men who are wanted are those to whom pay is not a primary object, but to whom physical exercise is. And these men must be selected from those, whose ordinary occupations are indoors, and of a sedentary nature. To them the drill is a useful exercise and recreation, and. such men are likely to remain in the corps.
ENLISTING AND TRAINING RECRUITS.
Our illustrations include pictures of the training of recruits. After the recruit has been: examined, and found eligible for enlistment, lie is sworn-in. This ceremony is usually performed by the adjutant of the regiment. The oath of allegiance is as follows: "I A.B. do sincerely, promise and swear that I will, be faithful, and bear true allegiance to her Majesty Queen Victoria as lawful Sovereign of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of this Colony of New South Wales dependent on and belonging to the said United Kingdom; and that I will faithfully serve her said Majesty .in .the colony for the defence of the same against all-her enemies and opposers whatsoever, So help me God." Having signed this document, and taken the oath in the usual manner, the "rookey" is handed over to a staff-sergeant, under whom he remains for. three months. Towards the end of this period, the embryo citizen soldier undergoes, a course of, musketry, and. then receives his uniform and is "dismissed drill.”
Australian Rifles Officers under instruction
HOW THE OFFICERS ARE APPOINTED.
The officers of our volunteer forces are appointed by the Governor, as Commander-in-Chief of the forces, by commission. Any corps may recommend to the Governor any enrolled member for appointment to a rank not exceeding that of captain of such corps, but not to the Permanent Staff. It is to be noted, however, that this power of election or recommendation conferred by the act has been so modified under the new existing regulations as practically to have fallen into desuetude. The tenor of such regulations is briefly to the following effect, viz: All appointments, promotions, resignations, must be submitted to the Governor by the officer commanding volunteer force, and inserted in the "Gazette.” All candidates for first commissions must have passed the Civil Service examination of this colony, or an examination of higher degree. Exceptions, however, may be made, on the recommendation of officer commanding volunteer force, subject to the approval of the Governor, in the country corps, where it is frequently found that persons are candidates for commissions, who, although holding responsible positions, may not have passed the Civil Service examination. For commissions in the Reserve Corps, the educational qualification necessary should, if possible, be as high as that. of the Civil Service examination, and must be such as in the opinion of the officer-commanding volunteer force is sufficient to entitle the applicant to appointment, which may be made upon recommendation of that officer, subject to approval of the Governor. Except in the case of persons possessing special military experience, candidates will not be eligible for appointment as subalterns if over 30 years of age, in the volunteer force, or 35 in the Reserve, or as captains or field officers, if over 40 in the volunteer force, or 50 in the reserve. Officers above 60 years of age will be called upon to resign, unless specially recommended by the officer commanding volunteer, force, as capable of remaining with advantage to the public service. Officers have to supply every article of military clothing and equipment. In one of the volunteer regiments the approximate cost to an officer joining as a second lieutenant being £40. An officer draws annually £3 from the Capitation Fund of the regiment, towards the up-keep of his uniform, etc. if efficient for the year, and on passing his first examination receives £10.
Camp Life - Officers' Quarters
An officer must pass an examination for his first commission within twelve months of date of same. There are two subjects:
"A," regimental duties, i.e., the volunteer act and regulations, etc., general and standing orders;
"B," drill, both practical and theoretical.
The officering of the Australian Horse has been conducted on a sound principle, and it is a matter for regret that officers of the volunteer Infantry regiments were not appointed in the same manner. In the Australian Horse, the Immediate appointment of inexperienced captains an d majors was avoided, and no regimental officer was given higher rank than lieutenant, and officers are not promoted till their qualifications for promotion are apparent. One of our illustrations shows the officers of the 6th Regiment (Australian Rifles) receiving instruction, apparently in. the theoretical principles of musketry, from the adjutant of the regiment, Lieutenant G. J. Grieve. The officer on the right of Mr. Grieve in the picture is Major Passmore, the, second in command: of the regiment.
THE NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICERS.
Other illustrations show types of the warrant and non-commissioned officers of the Permanent Staff, and the non-commissioned officers of the 8th Regiment (Irish Rifles). "The backbone of the, army, the non-commissioned man," as Kipling sings, is certainly correct in the volunteer forces, as well as in the regular forces, and a volunteer regiment with good non-commissioned officers--competent men, who take an interest in their work-is sure, to progress. In the regular forces the proficiency of a regiment depends, to a considerable extent, on the non-commissioned officers, but In the volunteer forces most of this work falls on the shoulders of the Permanent Staff. In the centre, of the first picture appears Warrant-officer H. Naghten, who was. until recently sergeant-major of the 7th Regiment (St. George's Rifles), but who was lately appointed sergeant-major of the 4th Regiment; while on his right and left respectively are Staff-Color-Sergeants Clarke and Pearce, attached to the same regiment. The-latter-illustration shows Lieutenant A. Tower, adjutant, of the 8th Regiment, inspecting the non-commissioned officers before the parade is formed up. Mr. Tower is the, officer wearing the helmet, while the officer on the extreme left of the picture wearing the Sam Browne belt is Major J. H. P. Murray, the officer commanding the regiment.
Inspecting the Non-Commissioned Officers
The rule throughout the British service Is that the officers wear the sash over the left shoulder, while the sergeants wear their symbol of. authority over the right shoulder. There is, however, one exception. The non-commissioned officers of the old 13the Regiment, or Somersetshire Light Infantry has a peculiar right in that they wear their sashes on. the left shoulder, instead of on the right. They wear them, in fact, the same as commissioned officers, an honor they owe-as regimental tradition alleges-to the fact that on one occasion all the officers were killed or wounded, and the regiment was brought out of action by its non-commissioned officers.
HOW THE FORCE IS ARMED.
The whole of the volunteer infantry regiments with the exception of the 7th Regiment and the National Guard, are at present armed with the .303in Martini-Enfield rifle. For the Information of those not acquainted with recent military weapons it may. be stated that the Martini-Enfield has a barrel similar in every respect to the British magazine rifle, but it is a single loader with Martini breech action. The same ammunition is used for both rifles, and many of the advantages of the magazine arm are secured in the single loader at a greatly reduced cost. The Martini-Enfield is a shorter rifle, than "the Martini-Henry. While the Lee-Metford and Lee-Enfield magazine rifles are the most up-to-date British infantry weapons, the Martini-Enfield is considered to have an immense superiority over the old Martini-Henry. To begin with cordite (smokeless powder) Is used, giving a greater range and increased velocity, with practically no recoil. The result is, what military experts term, a ."flat" trajectory, which means that the bullet during its flight through the, air at decisive ranges is never a very great distance from the ground. On account of this the exact determination of the range is not quite as important as with older weapons. It is the aim of all practical designers pf small arms and even machine guns to make the flight of the bullet as "flat" as possible.
The type of bayonet used with the magazine rifle is quite different from the long triangular "skewer" of the Martini-Henry, and is in the shape of a short sword, with a blade 12in in length. The Martini-Enfield rifle bayonet is similar to that used with the Martini-Henry, but whereas the bayonet is "locked" on the right of the Martini-Henry rifle, it fits underneath the barrel of the Martini-Enfield. This is another improvement, for in the case of firing from the Martini-Henry rifle with the bayonet fixed the weight of the bayonet on the side of the rifle would tend to throw the bullets in that direction, while with the Martini-Enfield the tendency would be to cause the bullets to fall low.
Nordenfeldt Machine Gun
MACHINE GUNS IN MODERN WARFARE.
The part played by machine guns in almost every recent campaign, whether great or small, has been important. They; have been conspicuous both on account of their extreme mobility and alarming destructive power. As an adjunct to ' infantry, they are invaluable, and one or two Maxims are now attached to almost every regular battalion at home, as well as to the majority of militia and volunteer regiments.
Here, in New South Wales, our citizen army has had no experience of the king of machine guns, beyond that the gun detachments have undergone a course of instruction in the mechanism and drill of the gun. Our forces have to be content with the .45in 5-barrel Nordenfeldt machine gun, a weapon of this type being attached to most of the volunteer regiments. While the Nordenfeldt has been superseded by the deadly Maxim, the effectiveness of the former cannot be denied. The Maxim, a single-barrelled rifled, gun, sighted up to 2000 yards, and capable of belching forth between 600 and 700 rounds a minute, has been aptly described as one of the most marvellous machines of modern warfare. The Maxim was recently referred, to by a London service paper as being just the weapon "for quarrelsome savages or cantankerous neighbors," and this has already been demonstrated, particularly in last year's campaign in the Soudan, stopping with deadly certainty the fierce rushes of the "Fuzzy Wuzzies." A special feature of this machine gun. is its automatic action, the recoil being utilised in withdrawing the empty cartridge case and placing another cartridge in the chamber.
The rapidity of- fire, without any exertion on the part of the firer, and without any of the difficulties in keeping the gun steady, sets up a terrific heat, and to prevent the barrel from becoming heated, it is. cased with a gun-metal water-jacket. The heat engendered in the barrel when firing rapidly speedily boils the water in the jacket. Six hundred rounds fired in one minute makes the water boil and one and a half pints are evaporated with every thousand rounds. The gun is led by means of a belt containing the cartridges, and is fired by pressing a firing button in the rear. The Nordenfeldt machine gun, the weapon illustrated in the centre of the double-page of pictures, consists of five barrels, placed in a horizontal position, and fired by means of a hand lever on the right side Of the gun. The Nordenfeldt is fed by means of a distributor and hoppers placed on the gun, and while the feeding arrangements are probably very satisfactory the excellent target the distributor and hopper would make for an enemy is undeniable. This gun is capable of firing between 500 and 600 rounds a minute, all depending on the smartness of the person working the hand lever. It was recently announced that the. New South Wales authorities had decided to allow every efficient machine gun detachment 1000 rounds of ammunition per year for instructional. purposes. This announcement, though the. quantity of ammunition involved is only a trifle, was received with satisfaction by the machine gun detachments of the various regiments, and a few weeks ago the 7th Regiment detachment carried out some very satisfactory practice to the south of the Randwick Rifle Range. It is a matter for regret that the machine guns of our volunteer regiments are not used more on field days, as is done in England, where at any manoeuvres these deadly weapons may be seen careering over hill and dale at "the double" drawn by draft animals of the. human species, coming into action, and then moving on to another position of vantage. The military authorities might also imitate, with advantage to the efficiency of the gun detachments, periodical machine gun competitions as now held in England. This would also tend to increase the interest taken by all ranks in the "lead pumps" under their charge.
Signalling with flags; familiarly terms "flag wagging," is of very great assistance in the field and at manoeuvres. The rapid transmission of early and accurate information in the field is laid down as one of the fundamental principles governing military tactics, and to attain this object various methods have to be resorted to. The field telegraph cannot be ubiquitous, and thus "visual signalling" is an indispensable auxiliary to or substitute for it. Visual signalling is, in clear weather, an accurate and rapid method of communication, and requires: little transport. It has the advantage as compared with the electric telegraph of great mobility, and offering few points of attack, to the enemy; but on the other hand, it has the distinct disadvantage of being useless in thick or foggy weather. The system, employed in every apparatus, semaphore excepted, has but two simple elements, called a dot and a dash; and these are combined in groups to make up the signals necessary to form an alphabet, the alphabet used being' that invented by Morse. The various apparatus employed in signalling are flags, heliograph, and semaphore by days, and by night the oil and limelight lamps; The flags are of two sizes, the smaller and most commonly used being 2ft square, with a pole of 3ft 6in in length, and either dark blue or white, to ensure a strong contrast with either a light or dark background, which, of course, adds considerably to the distance at which signals made with them can be seen. The dots and dashes are made by short and long waves of the flag from the left side of the signaller's head, across and parallel to his body, the flag being held up as high as possible with both hands, so that it may be visible to the greatest extent. With a service telescope, messages sent with the large flag, which is 3ft square, can be read at from up to seven miles, the range of the small flag being between three and four miles under the same conditions. An idea of the importance of visual signalling in the army may be obtained from the fact that during the Tirah expedition nearly 600 officers, non-commissioned officers, and men were employed in this branch of signalling.
BAYONET AND PHYSICAL DRILL EXERCISES.
The value of these exercises cannot be over rated, for while both serve as means for the physical training of the soldier, the former teaches him to properly use and rely on a weapon which he has always with him for defence at close quarters. In the complete bayonet review exercise there are twenty-eight different movements following, one another in rapid succession. The great test of excellence in the display is that every movement should be correctly and vigorously performed, exactly simultaneously through out the squad. In the British service this exercise has always been considered of great importance, because it is expected that our battles will, end in a glorious bayonet charge. Events in South Africa have proved this. Even the introduction of rapid loading arms of precision has not destroyed the value of the instruction. The illustrations include picture of bayonet and physical drill teams from the 5th Regiment, the former at "the engage," and the latter at the right lunge.
Major MM Boam
MAJOR M. M. BOAM
The officer charged with the administration of the volunteer forces is Major Boam, who holds the appointment of "Staff-officer for Unpaid Volunteer Forces." Major Boam, who has held his present appointment since Sept. 1 last, was born on October 15, 1847. In 1871, he joined a corps known as the New South Wales Permanent Infantry. Two years later, this corps was disbanded', and Major Boam was then appointed Instructor on the Volunteer Permanent Staff. In 1880, he was attached to the infantry in the northern district, which then consisted of but two companies, one at Newcastle and the other at Maitland. When, in 1884, the infantry of the northern district was increased to the strength of a regiment, under the designation of the 4th Regiment N.S.W. Volunteer Infantry, Lieutenant Boam (as he then was) was appointed adjutant of the regiment. In 1885 he accompanied the Soudan Contingent to Egypt as quartermaster, receiving the medal and clasp, and the Khedive star. He was promoted captain on October 26, 1887; brevet-major, January 9, 1896; and major, July 30, 1898. During the absence of Major M. W. Bayly, on special service in South Africa, Major Boam is also discharging the duties of deputy-assistant-adjutant-general at headquarters.
"Square" 6th Regiment, Australian Rifles
THE FUTURE OF AUSTRALIAN TROOPS.
"l am credited with, being, a strict disciplinarian, so you will perhaps credit me when I assure you that throughout the three years I commanded the New South Wales troops I never heard an insubordinate word or saw an insubordinate gesture, nor among the militia or volunteers can I recall a single instance of drunkenness or misbehavior in camp or otherwise. No man, be he a Cromwell or a Napoleon, could drive Australian troops, but a strong and capable leader, no matter how strict, could lead an Australian army to emulate aye, and surpass if need be-the finest and most heroic deeds recorded in the annals of British arms." - Major-General E. T. H. Hutton, C.B., A.D.C. to the Queen, late Commandant N.S.W. Military Forces.
In concluding this article let us hope that, when Australia has to face an invasion, a "strong and capable leader" may be in command of our forces, and that Australian troops may achieve the success predicted by Major-General Hutton.
On November 11th 1896, the Chief Secretary announced that authority had been given under the fifth section of the Volunteer Force Regulation Act of 1867 for the formation of a volunteer corps of "Australian Rifles" to be designated "The 6th Volunteer Infantry Regiment" such corps to be under the volunteer system. The establishment was fixed at 424, comprising regimental staff, band, and four companies. This announcement was followed by the transfer Major F.A.Wright from the retired list to be Major commanding the new corps. No time was lost in getting the regiment into working order, and the first inspection by the State Commandant, Major General French, took place on June 19, 1897. In the same year authority was given to increase the establishment to 629 of all ranks which carried the addition of two companies. These new companies were enrolled at Goulburn and Hornsby in August 1897 and for several years were very successful.
The Goulburn company which was commanded by Captain J. McShane was handicapped by the existence of a militia company in the town, and the experience of other places where a militia and a volunteer company existed side by side was repeated in this case and the militia unit lived while the volunteers languished. The result was that towards the end of 1903 it was decided to transfer the headquarters of this company from Goulburn to Gosford where it has since remained.The Hornsby company from it Is inception, and for some time afterwards, was one of the best in the regiment, alike as to enrolment, physique, and efficiency, but after a few years interest flagged, and it was decided to remove the company to headquarters in Sydney, where it remained until September, 1908, when, an application having been made for the formation of a company of the Australian Rifles at Manly, another change was made, and "F" Company is now recruited from Manly and it's neighbourhood.
The Regimental headquarters was at first situated in part of the old Immigration Barracks (now demolished) at Queen's Square, Sydney, but in July 1905, a fine Drill Hall was completed at Victoria Barracks, to which the headquarters of the Australian Rifles was then transferred, and where it still remains.
The command of the regiment was as stated, first held by the late Lieutenant-Colonel (then Major) FA Wright, who relinquished the command in January, 1902, and "in recognition of his long and meritorious services in the New South Wales military forces" he was appointed it's Honorary Colonel. The command of the Regiment then passed to Captain (afterwards Lieutenant-colonel G. Michaelis, who retained it until his transfer to the unattached list on July 1, 1906, when he was succeeded by the present Commanding Officer Lieutenant-Colonel E.C.Cooke. The Regiment has now a full complement of Officers made up as follows: Lieutenant-Colonel Cooke, Commanding, Major L. Dobbin second in command; Major S.B.Dowsett, Adjutant; Captains J. H. E.Booker, G.A. Roberts, E. Dawson, C.J.K.Boyd, F.R.Arthur and R.C.Dawson; Lieutenants W.J.Rowland, P.P.Cox, B.F.Parker, P.F.Horley, W.J.Crichton, M.R.Shannon, E.J.Bosch, H.V.Carr, and J.R.Whinfield; Second lieutenants C.F.Horley, A.C.Blacklow, H.C. Eade, A. W. Sewell, W.P.Legge, H.J.Salier, J.A. Stafford, L.J.Hempton and S.P. Pincombe.
"The Australian Rifle Regiment" regimental badge
The original title of the Regiment,"The 6th Volunteer Infantry Regiment (Australian Rifles)" was altered upon the transfer of the military forces to Commonwealth control in 1903 to "The Australian Rifle Regiment". The regimental badge is an Emu, surrounded by a wreath of Waratahs, surmounted by a Crown, with the motto, "For Home and Country".
The outbreak of the South African War and the despatch of contingents from New South Wales, led to volunteering for active service by many of the members of the Australian Rifles. The first contingent from this State, a company of infantry, included 13 members of the regiment, or whom 2 were killed in action. The regiment also lost it's Adjutant, Lieutenant G.J. Grieve, of the permanent staff, who proceeded to South Africa as a special service officer, and was killed in action at Paardeberg. Altogether 63 members of the regiment enlisted in the various contingents.
Any reference to the Australian Rifle Regiment would be altogether incomplete without allusion to it's shooting records. From the first it was recognized by the commanding officer that the efficient use of his weapon is one of the primary duties of an infantry soldier; therefore in August 1897, a meeting was held and a regimental rifle club formed at headquarters. The result has been highly satisfactory and records of continuous advancement have been gained by the regiment which almost invariably takes a high place in the prize lists at any of the metropolitan rifle meetings. Some of the performances of the members may be quoted. In 1903 won the "B" grade matches in the New South Wales Rifle Clubs Union, in which competition the highest score was put up by the regimental representatives. In 1904, won the gold medals in "C" grade matches, and two members won the aggregates in "A" and non grades; won Rawson Cup and Sargood Trophy 1905, champion medal of N.R.A. and champion medal of Victoria won by a regimental representative. 1906 won champion medal of N.R.A. 1907 won King's Prize in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane; the representative, Sergeant S. Edwards, having been one of the original members of the Goulburn Company; 1908 won A.N.A. Trophy, Dewar Trophy, Governor's Cup and Company Challenge Bugle; 1909 won Governor's Cup and Lady Rawson Cup; 1910 won Governors Cup, Lady Rawson Cup and Champion Medal of N.R.A.
With a view of encouraging an interest in rifle shooting, it was decided by Lieutenant-Colonel Cooke and his officers in 1907 to inaugurate a system of sending the best shot in the regiment to compete at the annual meeting of the British National Rifle Association at Bisley. An exhaustive test is made in April or May of each year of those members who have obtained the best shooting records for the previous nine months, and are able, if selected, to undertake the trip. The expenses, including fare and a reasonable amount for maintenance at Bisley, are borne by the commanding officer, the officers and their friends. Representatives have thus been despatched to Bisley in 1907, (Capt. R.C. Dawson), 1908, (Sergeant S. Green), 1909, (Sergeant C. Edwards) and 1910, (Corporal M. Fannon). There is thus set up for any ambitious young shot a goal which is not attainable under similar conditions in any other military unit or civilian rifle club throughout the Commonwealth, and the only requirements are that his shooting shall be of proved merit, and that in every way he shall be likely to prove a creditable representative of the regiment both on and off the rifle range.
The present is a fitting occasion to allude to the history of the Australian Rifle Regiment, as with the New Year it was converted with the other volunteer units into militia. As volunteers a little has been accomplished in the face of many difficulties and discouragements. The future is bright, and there is every reason to anticipate a high standard to be attained under the new order of things by this well known shooting regiment.
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