Description: Formation Patch – British Commonwealth Occupation Forces (Japan) – BCOF
Condition: Very Good
Comments: Formation Patch – British Commonwealth Occupation Forces (Japan) – BCOF Worn from 1946 through to the early 1950s.
Participation in the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF) marked the first time that Australians were involved in the military occupation of a sovereign nation which it had defeated in war. BCOF participation in the Allied occupation force was announced on 31 January 1946, though planning and negotiations had been in progress since the end of the war. The main body of Australian troops arrived in Japan on 21 February.
The entire BCOF force totalled 45,000, from Britain, India, New Zealand, and Australia. About 16,000 Australians served in BCOF, including an infantry contingent of 4,700, base units consisting of 5,300, an air force wing of 2,200, and 130 from the Australian General Hospital. The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) also had a presence in the region as part of the British Pacific Fleet. For two-thirds of the period of occupation the Commonwealth was represented solely by Australians, and throughout its existence BCOF was always commanded by an Australian officer.
The BCOF area of responsibility was the western prefectures of Shimani, Yamaguchi, Tottori, Okayama, Hiroshima, and Shikoku Island. BCOF headquarters were located at Kure, the army was encamped at Hiro, the RAAF at Iwakuni, and the naval shore establishment at the former Japanese naval base at Kure. At the peak of its involvement the Australian component of BCOF was responsible for over twenty million Japanese citizens and 57,000 sqaure kilometres of country. Adjacent to the area of Australian responsibility were prefectures occupied by the 2 New Zealand EF (Japan), the British and Indian Division (Brindiv), and further away the US 8th Army.
The main Australian occupation component was the 34th Infantry Brigade, which arrived in early 1946 and was made up of the 65th, 66th, and 67th Battalions. The RAN ships that served were HMAS Australia, HMAS Hobart, HMAS Shropshire, and the destroyers HMAS Arunta, Bataan, Culgoa, Murchison, Shoalhaven, Quadrant, and Quiberon. Landing Ships Infantry Manoora, Westralia, and Kanimbla were used for transport.