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Thursday, 14 May 1942


Mr FORDE (Capricornia) (Minister for the Army) . - by leave - Within the last few weeks, I have been asked questions in this House by several honorable members, and have received many letters and inquiries, regarding the wearing of colour patches by members of the Australian Imperial Force.

I have ascertained that recently, when certain members of the forces who had volunteered for service with the Australian Imperial Force were allotted to a unit of the Australian Military Forces, they were ordered to discontinue wearing their Australian Imperial Force colour patches. They refused to obey this order and in consequence were charged with disobedience and fined. They should have obeyed the order, and then made a complaint. The matter, however, is being investigated by the CommanderinChief of the Allied Land Forces in the

South-west Pacific, General Sir Thomas Blarney, and if any injustice has occurred, it will be rectified.

The position in regard to the wearing of colour patches has been considered further, and I have made the following decisions, which are based on recommendations made by General Sir Thomas Blarney : -

1.   Personnel of the Australian Imperial Force, including reinforcements, who have proceeded overseas and have returned, and who are posted to Citizen Military Force units, will wear the colour patch of the Citizen Military Force unit to which they are posted, and, in addition, will wear in miniature the colour patch of the Australian Imperial Force unit with which they last served. This applies also to former members of the Australian Imperial Force now on the strength of Citizen Military Force units ;

2.   Personnel of Australian Imperial Force units, who have remained in Australia, will retain their Australian Imperial Force colour patches; but if posted to Citizen Military Force units, they will wear the colour patch of the Citizen Military Force unit to which they are posted and also in miniature their Australian Imperial Force colour patch ;

3.   Personnel accepted as reinforcements for the Australian Imperial Force who have not been despatched overseas, but who are allotted to Citizen Military Force units, will wear the colour patch of the Citizen Military Force unit concerned with the Australian Imperial Force battle-grey background of the same shape ;

4.   It is proposed also that members of the Australian Imperial Force who have had active service overseas shall be eligible to wear chevrons on their sleeves, of battle-grey colour, on the basis of one chevron for each completed year of service.

It will be remembered that some time ago an Australian Imperial Force reserve was created. In general terms, this meant that members of Citizen Military Force units who wished to enlist for Australian Imperial Force service had their names placed on an Australian Imperial Force reserve list, but remained with their Citizen Military Force units.

Favorable consideration is now being given to the completion of the Australian imperial Force reserve, so that the personnel on the reserve may be regarded as members of the Australian Imperial Force. Furthermore, any other members of the Australian Military Forces who desire to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force will be accepted as such so soon as the necessary arrangements can be made, and will be similarly treated in regard to the wearing of colour patches. Advice of these decisions will be sent out in the ordinary way to military units.







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