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Papua New Guinea Volunteer Rifles (PNGVR) Epaulette pair (Green/Blue)

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Description: Papua New Guinea Volunteer Rifles (PNGVR) Epaulette pair (Green/Blue)

Condition: Very Good

Comments: Papua New Guinea Volunteer Rifles (PNGVR) Epaulette pair (Green/Blue).

The New Guinea Volunteer Rifles (NGVR) was an infantry battalion of the Australian Army. It was initially raised as a unit of the Militia from white Australian and European expatriates in New Guinea upon the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, before being activated for full-time service following the Japanese landings in early 1942. NGVR personnel then helped rescue survivors of Lark Force from Rabaul in February and March 1942. Between March and May, the NGVR monitored the Japanese bases which had been established in the Huon Gulf region, being the only Allied force in the area until the arrival of Kanga Force at Wau in May. The battalion subsequently established observation posts overlooking the main approaches and reported on Japanese movements.

Later, it inflicted significant casualties on the Japanese in a series of raids, and led them to believe that they faced a much larger opposing force. On 29 June, the NGVR and the newly arrived 2/5th Independent Company carried out a highly successful attack on the Japanese garrison in Salamaua, killing at least 113 men. When the focus shifted to the Milne Bay and Kokoda Track battles of August and September, the NGVR continued to man its posts overlooking the Japanese base areas. The Japanese were subsequently defeated in the Battle of Wau in January and February 1943, relieving the pressure on the NGVR. The battalion was disbanded in April 1943 due to attrition.
In the years immediately following the war the Australian Army considered re-establishing a military presence in Papua New Guinea (PNG), although there was some opposition among white settlers to the raising of native units. As an interim measure, the re-establishment of the NGVR was approved in July 1949. The unit reformed as the Papua New Guinea Volunteer Rifles (PNGVR) on 16 March 1951, initially as a whites-only reserve unit of the Citizen Military Forces (CMF). In March 1951 a PNGVR detachment assisted in relief operations following the eruption of Mount Lamington, which killed 3,466 people and left more than 5,000 homeless. Between 1951 and 1953 PNGVR elements were established in all the main centres of Papua New Guinea.
Meanwhile, in addition to its other responsibilities the PNGVR fostered the raising of the regular Pacific Islands Regiment (PIR) and Headquarters Area Command Papua New Guinea. During the mid-1960s the enlistment of Papua New Guinean and Chinese personnel had finally been authorised, with the unit evolving into a multi-racial battalion. By 1969 only one-fifth of PNGVR members were Europeans. Yet amid concerns about the ability of the fledgling nation of PNG to finance a large military capability on its own, and with the need to maintain a CMF-type unit in the army of an independent PNG being questionable, the PNGVR was ultimately disbanded in 1973, shortly before independence, leaving the PIR as the only infantry unit in the new Papua New Guinea Defence Force.

  • Model: AM08626

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