Description: 51st Battalion (The Far North Queensland Regiment) – Brass Hat Badge – 1930 to 1942
Maker’s Name: N/A
Condition: Very Good
Comments: 51st Battalion (The Far North Queensland Regiment) – Brass Hat Badge – 1930 to 1942. Complete with two lugs.
Guaranteed to be 100% genuine.
In 1921, Australia’s part time military force was reorganised. Where possible an effort was made to raise battalions in the locations from where they had drawn the majority of their personnel during the war. As a result, the battalion was reformed at this time at Subiaco in Western Australia, however, the following year it was moved to Launceston, Tasmania, and then to Sydney, in 1924, where it was attached to the 8th Brigade, which was part of the 1st Division. In 1927, the battalion was regimented as 51st Battalion, Field of Mars Regiment. During its period in New South Wales, as a result of austerity measures imposed upon the military due to the economic hardships of the Great Depression and the lack of manpower that resulted from the end to compulsory service, the battalion was twice amalgamated, firstly with the 30th Battalion in 1930, then with the 18th Battalion in 1935. In 1936, the 51st Battalion, Far North Queensland Regiment was formed at Cairns, Queensland, on 1 October, taking on the lineage from the original 51st Battalion. At this time Major (later Lieutenant Colonel) Hubert Harris was appointed commanding officer of the battalion.
World War II
The battalion was a Militia unit at the outbreak of World War II, attached to the 11th Brigade. After the government decided to raise a separate force, the Second Australian Imperial Force (2nd AIF), for service overseas due to the provisions of the Defence Act (1903) which precluded sending the Militia overseas to fight, many members of the Militia volunteered for service with the 2nd AIF. As a result, the 51st Battalion’s numbers fell, however, in 1940 the national service scheme was reintroduced in effort to improve the nation’s overall level of military preparedness and the battalion, its numbers swelled by an intake of conscripted soldiers, undertook a period of continuous training at Miowera, near Bowen.
In 1941, following Japan’s entrance into the war, the battalion was mobilised for war and placed on full time duty with the task of defending the area between Port Douglas and Gordonvale. Later they were sent to Townsville, where they experienced Japanese air raids, before being sent to Cairns as preparations were made to deploy the battalion overseas. In 1943, however, a manpower shortage had developed within the Australian economy as a result of an overmobilisation of the military. Subsequently, the government released a large number of rural workers from their full time military commitment and decided to disband or amalgamate a number of Militia units. As a result, the 51st Battalion was forced to amalgamate with the 31st Battalion, Kennedy Regiment on 12 April 1943.
The new 31st/51st Battalion was deployed to New Guinea with the 11th Brigade, where it formed part of Merauke Force and was subsequently designated as an AIF battalion in 1944. Following this, and a return to Australia, the battalion was then deployed to the Solomon Islands, where it saw its heaviest fighting of the war at Tsimba Ridge and Porton Plantation, on Bougainville. The battalion was finally disbanded on 4 July 1946. During the course of the war, the 31st/51st Battalion lost 61 men killed in action or died on active service, while a further 168 men were wounded. Members of the battalion received the following decorations: one DSO, one DCM, three MCs, 10 MMs, one British Empire Medal (BEM) and 27 MIDs.