Rabaul, Wau and South West Pacific
Archival documents show that Major Dick Newman, as CO PNGVR, initiated the first official correspondence on the matter of Colours for the Regiment to Northern Command Headquarters at Victoria Barracks in Brisbane. Dick Newman became CO on the 15th of March 1962, taking over from COL Ralph Eldridge (later Brigadier PNG Command and OBE), who was then also Area Commander PNG.
In seeking a beginning for this story, we need to go back to July 1961, when, as a result of a NGVR Battle Honours Committee submission, Colonel Eldridge authorised a memorandum to Northern Command making a claim for Battle and Theatre Honours for NGVR, covering operations in the South West Pacific 1942-43, RABAUL and KAVIENG. The response was that PNGVR was awarded NGVR Battle Honours for South West Pacific 1942-43, RABAUL and WAU; the award was promulgated in PNGVR Routine Orders Part 1 of the lst of June 1962, less than three months after Major Newman became CO.
Here are details of some significant documents, from the unit archives, which are germane to this story:
Area Command PAPUA/NEW GUINEA Murray Barracks,
BATTLE AND THEATRE HONOURS FOR THE
SECOND WORLD WAR (1939-45) - NGVR
1. Herewith is a claim for Battle and Theatre Honours for the Second World War (1939-45) submitted by NGVR Battle Honours Committee.
2. It has been extremely difficult to assess the strength of the NGVR component engaged in operations in RABAUL and KAVIENG. However, page 46 of South West Pacific Area First Year, by Dudley McCarthy, gives a fair indication of the arrangements for the raising of NGVR. Strength of sub-units are known to have fluctuated considerably during the existence of
3. Furthermore, it is apparent that it was intended, eventually, to employ NGVR by sub-units where and as required.
Note: This incomplete memorandum was raised when Colonel Ralph Eldridge was Area Commander and CO PNGVR
PAPUA AND NEW GUINEA VOLUNTEER RIFLES BATTLE HONOURS
Extract from PNGVR Routine Orders Part 1 Serial 6/62 of 1st
Members of Papua and New Guinea Volunteer Rifles will be proud to learn that their unit has been awarded the following Battle Honours. The authority for the award being 'Aust Army Order 135/61'.
South West Pacific 1942-43 RABAUL, WAU
The fine traditions of service which have been handed on to PNGVR from the original New Guinea Volunteer Rifles will serve as a constant reminder to all ranks of the standard which must be achieved.
(Signed) R. D. NEWMAN MAJ