Title: 1st Australian Armoured Car Squadron Group – British Commonwealth Occupation Force Japan
Format: Digital Download (E-Book) – 70 pages
Comments: Regimental Books is delighted to present the ebook version of rare and highly sought after history of the 1st Australian Armoured Car Squadron Group attached to the British Commonwealth Occupation Force – Japan (BCOF).
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The Australian 1st Armoured Car Squadron was an Australian Army unit formed as part of Australia’s contribution to the occupation of Japan (British Commonwealth Occupation Forces – BCOF). Upon its return to Australia in 1948 the Squadron was expanded and re-equipped to form the 1st Armoured Regiment.
The 1st Armoured Car Squadron was raised at Puckapunyal, Victoria in January 1946 to form part of the Australian 34th Brigade which was forming at Morotai in the Netherlands East Indies prior to its deployment to Japan. The Squadron was manned by volunteers from the 4th Armoured Brigade and was equipped with 18 Staghound armoured cars and 8 Canadian Scout Cars. After a brief period of training the Squadron embarked for Japan in late March 1946, arriving at Hiroshima on 12 April 1946. It was commanded by Major Cecil Ives between January 1946 and July 1949.
Following the arrival of its armoured cars in early June the 1st Armoured Car Squadron began conducting patrols across the 34th Brigade’s area of responsibility. These patrols were generally uneventful and, like almost all of the Allied occupation force, the Squadron did not experience combat. Due to the unsuitability of the Staghounds for Japan’s roads the Squadron was completely re-equipped with Canadian Scout Cars in 1947.
The 1st Armoured Car Squadron returned to Australia in December 1948. In July 1949 the Squadron was expanded and re-equipped with Churchill tanks to form the 1st Armoured Regiment.
The British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF), was the name of the joint Australian, Canadian, British, Indian and New Zealand military forces in occupied Japan, from 21 February 1946 until the end of occupation in 1952. At its peak, BCOF comprised about 40,000 personnel, equal to about 25% of the number of US military personnel in Japan.
While US forces were responsible for military government, BCOF was responsible for supervising demilitarisation and the disposal of Japan’s war industries. BCOF was also responsible for occupation of the western prefectures of Shimane, Yamaguchi, Tottori, Okayama, Hiroshima and Shikoku Island. They were also supported by the Women’s Auxiliary Service (Burma). BCOF headquarters was at Kure.
For most of the occupation period Australia contributed the majority of the BCOF’s personnel. The initial BCOF presence included the Australian 34th Infantry Brigade, British 5th Infantry Brigade, Indian 268th Brigade and the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force (in J-Force). The position of commanding officer was always filled by Australians: Lt Gen. John Northcott, February to June 1946; Lt Gen. Horace Robertson, June 1946 to November 1951, and; Lt Gen. William Bridgeford from November 1951 until the end of the occupation.
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