8th/7th Battalion, Royal Victoria Regiment
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|8th/7th Battalion, Royal Victoria Regiment|
|Part of||4th Brigade, 2nd Division|
|Anniversaries||9 August 1858 (Battalion Birthday)|
|Engagements||Second Boer War, World War I World War II|
|Battle honours||Boer War: South Africa 1899–1902
World War I: Landing at Anzac Cove, Somme 1916–1918, Bullecourt, Ypres 1917, Polygon Wood, Ameins, Albert 1918, Mont St Quentin, Hindenburg Line.
World War II: Bardia 1941, Capture of Tobruk, El Alamein, Greece 1941, South West Pacific 1942–1945, Bobdubi, Finisterres, Hari River, Borneo.
|Unit colour patch|
The 8th/7th Battalion, Royal Victoria Regiment (8/7 RVR) is an infantry battalion of the Australian Army. It is one of two battalions that make up the Royal Victoria Regiment (RVR), with its sister unit being 5th/6th Battalion, Royal Victoria Regiment. It can trace its history back to 1854 and the battalion has existed since maintaining an unbroken record of service, albeit in varying forms and under various names. The present day unit traces its lineage from a number of previous units, including 8th Battalion (City of Ballarat Regiment), 59th Battalion (The Hume Regiment), 7th Battalion (The North and West Murray Regiment), and the 38th Battalion (The Northern Victoria Regiment). Today the battalion is part of the 4th Brigade and is responsible for most of the rural areas of Victoria and protecting vital assets in the north of Australia. The battalion maintains an affiliation with the 5th/7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, with whom many members of 8/7 RVR have undertaken periods of full-time service in recent times.
The Ballarat phase of the battalion's history was formed as the Ballarat Volunteer Rifle Regiment on 9 August 1858 as a result of the Crimean War, coupled with the withdrawal of the British Army in 1857. In the years between its formation and the outbreak of War in 1914, the battalion went through a series of name changes as follows:
- 1854 – Earliest units of the RVR formed ( Melbourne Volunteer Rifle Regt. )
- 1858 – Ballarat Volunteer Rifle Regiment (later Rangers)
- 1884 – 3rd Balarat Ballarat Infantry
- 1892 – 1st Battalion, 3rd Victorian Regiment
- 1898 – 3rd battalion, Victoria Infantry Brigade
- 1901 – 3rd Battalion Infantry Brigade
- 1908 – 1st Battalion 7th Australian Infantry Regiment
- 1912 – 70th Battalion (Ballarat Regiment) including Geelong
- 1912 – 71st Battalion (City of Ballarat Regiment)
Further to the north the following evolution was taking place (encompassing the Bendigo/Castlemaine and Murray river areas):
- 1858 – Bendigo Rifle Regiment
- 1860 – Bendigo Volunteer Rifle Corps
- 1870 – Castlemaine Corps of Rifles
- 1872 – Mount Alexander Bn of Victorian Rifles
- 1883 – 4th Battalion of Infantry
- 1887 – 4th Mount Alexander battalion of Victorian Rifles
- 1893 – 2nd Battalion, 3rd Victorian Regiment
- 1898 – 4th Battalion, Victorian Infantry Brigade
- 1903 – 8th Australian Infantry Regiment
- 1908 – 1st Battalion, 8th Australian Infantry Regiment
- 1912 – 66th (Mount Alexander) Infantry
When war broke out in 1914, the 8th Battalion was recruited from the Ballarat and Ararat areas and the 7th Battalion from the North Western and Murray areas. Both battalions became well known and respected for their actions in the Gallipoli campaign and later in France, earning numerous Campaign and Battle honours, some of which are emblazoned on the Royal Victorian Regiments Colours, with the remainder being held in trust by the Regimental council.
After World War I, further restructuring took place in the Ballarat and North-Western Regions. At the outbreak of World War II in 1939, both the 8th and 7th Battalions were again raised, and the two battalions served alongside by side during the most significant campaigns and battles of that war.
Following World War II, the 8th and 7th Battalions were amalgamated to form the 8th/7th Battalion, the North Western Victorian Regiment. The battalion retained its name until 1960, when Pentropic Divisions were formed and the battalion became 2RVR, absorbing the 8th/7th, 38th and 59th Battalions.
On 14 November 1987, the battalion was officially retitled the 8th/7th Battalion, The Royal Victoria Regiment. It has adopted the white (8th Battalion) and brown (7th Battalion) lanyard and wears the 8th Battalion colour patch (rectangle white over red). The Battalion Flag consists of the regimental badge on a diagonally split background of brown above white.
Activities and Equipment
The current Commanding Officer (CO) is Lieutenant Colonel Tom Biedermann. The battalion usually parades from early February until mid December, taking part on parade nights (Tuesday 7:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.), with one weekend a month and a two-week continuous training exercise taking place throughout the year. There are several training periods per year, including several sub-unit (company) based exercises, normally run quarterly, and a range week, of which the battalion undertakes several days of weapon training. This compliments the 4th Brigade run Exercise Hamel at the Cultana training area in South Australia in September, allowing training in combined/support arms tactics, with access to the full resources of the entire Brigade.
The Battalion is light infantry based, and as such uses all the weapon platforms commonly found within an Australian infantry battalion, including the standard issue F88 Austeyr rifle (5.56 mm), F89 Minimi machine gun (5.56 mm), M72 Short Range Anti Armour Weapon (66 mm), M18A1 Claymore anti-personnel device, F1 & F3 Hand Grenades, MAG 58 machine gun (7.62 mm), 84 mm Carl Gustav rocket launcher, using the standard infantry battalion composition of four companies comprising three platoons, each containing a section of nine soldiers, with a support section held at company level.
8/7 RVR is located in the state of Victoria, with the following depots:
- Battalion Headquarters (BHQ), Ranger Barracks, Sturt Street, Ballarat
- Combat Service Support Company (CSSC), Ranger Barracks, Sturt Street, Ballarat
- Alpha Company Headquarters (A Coy), Newland Barracks, Myers Street, Geelong
- Bravo Company Headquarters (B Coy), Ranger Barracks, Sturt Street, Ballarat
- Charlie Company Headquarters (C Coy), Passchendaele Barracks, Atlas Road, Bendigo (Junortoun)
The battalion also has regional depots located at:
- Somme Barracks, Sobroan Street, Shepparton
- RAAF Williams, Kidbrook Road, Laverton
- Kiarivu Barracks, San Mateo Avenue, Mildura
- Messine Barracks, Gray Street, Swan Hill
- Tel el Eisa Barracks, Pertobe Road, Warrnambool
- Testing & proving ground, Melbourne-Lancefield Road, Monegeetta
The Royal Victoria Regiment has the enviable honour of having inherited the most battle honours of any other Infantry Regiment of the Australian Defence Force. 8/7 RVR currently holds the following battle honours:
- Boer War: South Africa 1899–1902.
- World War I: Landing at Anzac Cove, Somme 1916–1918, Bullecourt, Ypres 1917, Polygon Wood, Ameins, Albert 1918, Mont St Quentin, Hindenburg Line.
- World War II: Bardia 1941, Capture of Tobruk, El Alamein, Greece 1941, South West Pacific 1942–1945, Bobdubi, Finisterres, Hari River, Borneo.
- "The Ranger: The Annual Journal of the 8th/7th Battalion, Royal Victoria Regiment" (PDF). Department of Defence. 1999. Retrieved 13 February 2010.