Title: Sydney University Regiment
Author: Lilley, Alan B
Condition: Very Good +
Edition: 1st Edition
Publication Date: 1974
Cover: Soft Cover without Dust Jacket – 81 pages
Comments: The history of the Sydney University Regiment.
The University Volunteer Rifle Corps (UVRC) was raised on the 17th of November 1900, as part of the colonial Military Forces of New South Wales. The University of Sydney was the colony’s only university at the time, and two of its professors, T. W. Edgeworth-David and J. T. Wilson. VD, a former officer of the East Surrey Regiment, and employed as a teacher of physics at the University, encouraged the formation of a volunteer military unit. Military training commenced in early 1901 with one hundred volunteers. The volunteers held their first parade in uniform later that year, when visited by the Duke of York, later to become His Majesty King George the Fifth. The UVRC appeared in public for the first time at a review ceremony in Centennial Park to mark the occasion of the coronation of His Majesty King Edward the Seventh.
In 1903, the UVRC changed its name to the Sydney University Scouts (SUS) and the establishment had by then doubled to two rifle companies. When universal conscription was introduced in 1911, the Scouts numbers increased and it became a militia battalion. At this time it also became responsible for the training of boy soldiers, the forerunner of today’s Australian Cadet Corps, during their attendance at camps. On the outbreak of the Great War, over sixty percent of the Scouts enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF).
Members of the Scouts served widely within the AIF. In mid 1918 a University Company was recruited from students at the University of Sydney for active service in the AIF. The war ended before it mobilised for service.
The SUR Pipes and Drums were raised in 1925.
In 1927 the Scouts were renamed the Sydney University Regiment (SUR). In recognition of its members’ service in the Great War, Lieutenant General Sir Harry Chauvel was pleased to present the Regiment with its first Kings and Regimental Colours.
In 1929, His Majesty King George the Fifth approved the SUR’s affiliation with the 60th Regiment, The King’s Royal Rifle Corps (KRRC) and consequently the regiment’s embellishments and badges of rank became black with a red felt backing. These distinctive arrangements continue and are unique in the Australian Army. This alliance is maintained with The Royal Green Jackets of the British Army, the successor regiment to the KRRC.
During the Second World War the SUR went into hibernation. However, as in the Great War, many serving and former members of the SUR enlisted in the Second AIF and served with distinction in all theatres of war.
A most notable and distinguished soldier of the SUR was Sir Arthur Roden Cutler, who had enlisted in the Transport Platoon in 1936. He enlisted in the Second AIF and was awarded the Victoria Cross on the 28th of November 1941 ‘for most conspicuous and sustained gallantry, and for outstanding bravery from 19th June to 16th July in Syria.’ Sir Roden later served as Governor of NSW and was Honorary Colonel of the Regiment between 1966 and 1985.
In 1948, the Citizen Military Forces were re-raised and the SUR was reformed as an infantry battalion. At this time New England University (NEU) Company was raised at the University of New England at Armidale. The reintroduction of National Service between 1952 and 1960 saw a rapid increase in the strength of the Regiment to 1 900 members at its peak. A field engineer troop was raised in 1956,and an artillery battery in 1958.
In 1959, The Governor of NSW, Lieutenant General Sir Eric Woodward, presented the Regiment with a new set of Colours, and in 1960 the old Colours were laid up in the Great Hall of the University of Sydney. In the same year the regimental headquarters of the SUR, near Number 2 Oval, was destroyed by fire and most of the regiment’s records were lost. A new training depot was built on University grounds at City Road, Darlington, and the headquarters of the Regiment have remained there since 1964.
Regimental strength again increased in the period 1965 to 1972, during the period of ‘selective’ National Service. The Australian National University Company of the SUR was raised in 1965. Since 1960, the SUR has been specifically tasked with the provision of first appointment training for potential officers of the Army Reserve. The Unit structure is based on Company’s providing administration, operational training, course management and counselling to the SCDT’s. The Unit is supported by transport and medical elements, Pipes and Drums, Trained Soldiers to support the SCDT and RMC training and a Cell to deliver training to Officers of Cadets in the Australian Cadet Corps.
In 1997, the Regiment came under command of the Royal Military College of Australia. It presently conducts training that prepares part-time officer cadets for their final attendance at the College. In addition the SUR supports the Australian Cadet Corps by the provision of management and leadership training for its Officers of Cadets.
New Colours were again presented to the Regiment in 1994, by the Governor of NSW, Rear Admiral Peter Sinclair, and the old ones laid-up in the Great Hall at the University of Sydney. In 2000 the regiment celebrated a centenary of service to the Crown and Australia by a parade on the front lawn of the University of Sydney on the 3rd of December, at which the Governor General of Australia was the reviewing officer.
In 2002, the regiment raised two new detachments: the Charles Sturt University Detachment at Bathurst, and the Riverina Detachment at Wagga Wagga with the aim of placing 10 SCDTs in training at each location in 2003. The New England University Company was transferred to the University of New South Wales Regiment in November 2001, ending a half-century association with the Sydney University Regiment.