The Gloucester Cup is the common name for three awards of the Australian Defence Force. Formally referred to as the Duke of Gloucester Cup, the three awards are presented to the most efficient infantry battalion of the Australian Army, ship of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), and squadron of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) during the previous year. The awards were created by Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester in 1946, while he was serving as the Governor-General of Australia, and were first presented in 1947.
The regular infantry battalions of the Royal Australian Regiment compete against each other for the Gloucester Cup in an annual military skills competition. To compete for the Gloucester Cup, each infantry battalion sends a team to the Lone Pine Barracks at Singleton. These teams participate in a five-day competition demonstrating their training and endurance, from which the winning battalion is determined. First held in 1947 between the Australian battalions then in Japan as part of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force, the inaugural cup was awarded to 67th Australian Infantry Battalion (now the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment). Between 1951 and 1971 the competition was not held due to operational commitments. Competition recommenced on a regular basis between 1972 and 1998; however, was again ceased as a result of operations in in East Timor. The competition recommenced in 2003.
The RAN Gloucester Cup was initially assessed on the gunnery accuracy of RAN ships, based on the number of sleeve targets hit as a proportion of shells fired. This was quickly found to be impractical, and the criteria for the award was changed to "overall proficiency", based on each ship's level of operational efficiency during a calendar year; husbandry and seamanship; supply and administration; officer and sailor training; divisional systems, morale and discipline; and equipment reliability, maintenance and resourcefulness. As well as the silver trophy, a winning ship is allowed to paint a yellow star on the superstructure of the ship, which remains until the Cup is passed to a new winner.
Royal Australian Air Force
The RAAF's Gloucester Cup recognises the most proficient flying squadron during a calendar year. The winner is announced at the Air Force Awards night, held in April or May annually.
The unit to have been recognised the greatest number of times is No. 38 Squadron, with 6 awards (1947, 1954, 1974, 1975, 1987 and 2003), followed by No. 1 Squadron and No. 36 Squadron with 5 awards each. In 1991, No. 2 Airfield Defence Squadron became the first non-flying unit awarded the Cup.
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