16th Battalion, Royal Western Australian Regiment

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16th Battalion, Royal Western Australian Regiment

Post  Sean on Sun 31 Mar 2013, 6:33 am

The colour party of the Scottish Company of 16RWAR.
They were descended from the Cameron Highlanders of WA and wore the same tartan and accoutrements.

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Re: 16th Battalion, Royal Western Australian Regiment

Post  Phil Rutherford on Thu 25 Apr 2013, 9:24 pm

Until 1961 it was known as the 16th Battalion, the Royal West Australian Regiment (Cameron Highlanders of WA). During the disastrous Pentropic experiments (1961-1965) the regiment was amalgamated with other West Australian units to become 1st Battalion Royal West Australian Regiment. The history, dress and traditions of the 16th Bn were continued by B Company of that unit. With the disbandment of Pentropic battalions the 16th Bn was reraised but only B Coy retained Scottish traditions (although all of the Bn wore the bonnet).

Dress: There have been three 'Cameron' units in West Australia (and another one in Queensland). The first was a Company formed by railway workers in the late 19th century. A regiment known as the Cameron Highlanders of West Australia was formed around 1897 and wore the same uniform as their Scottish counterpart, only with the white Universal Pattern helmet rather than feather bonnet. They also wore a similar badge on their sporran and glengarry but with the Roman numerals XVI below the figure of St Andrew. This unit was disbanded after WW1.

16 RWAR is descended from another regiment with the same name that was formed 1933. During WW2 many members transferred to the 2nd AIF and formed the 2/16th Bn AIF serving in Palestine, Egypt, and Papua New Guinea. 2/16th was disbanded in 1945. 16th Bn continued throughout the war and is still in existence today.

Dress: Tartan - Cameron of Erracht. All accoutrements same as original Scottish Cameron Highlanders. Side by side members are identical with the Scottish regiment except for Tam o shanter (Australian version is a woollen bonnet) and shirt (Australian issue polyester).

Up until the 1950s they used to wear the cross of St Andrew with St Andrew similar to that worn by the Camerons but with Roman numerals XVI below. (Up until 1945 there was also a Cameron Highlander regiment in Queensland. They wore the same tartan and accoutrements but with black and red diced hose.) Original Cameron Highlanders of WA wore a red doublet but unit formed in 1933 wore khaki similar in cut as British regiment. Officers wore a green doublet as mess dress up until the mid 1960s then wore the same as the rest of the Army. (Green doublets were handed over to 16RWAR Pipes and drums who wore them until 1980s).

Except for the shirt and belt (black nylon or Same Browne) everything else is purchased out of regimental funds. When the regiment decides to stop paying for its upkeep this uniform will disappear. Mess dress is scarlets or white mess jacket and cummerbund. There is no cold weather jacket. Jumper is worn in lieu (not a pretty sight when worn with medals).

(This is my old regiment so it is good to see them given space on this forum)

Phil Rutherford

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