RCB recognition


Abalinx 25 November 2022

I am not a lawyer but just a simple bloke who sees life for what it is and my opinion for what it is worth may have some relevance to the current RCB Tribunal debate. My aim in all of this is to assist those who served at Rifle Company Butterworth between the period 1970 to 1989.

For the record, apart from being deployed to 6 Royal Australian Regiment stationed in Singapore, I was also deployed on two occasions [1973 & 1978] to RIFLE COMPANY BUTTERWORTH (RCB) Penang, Malaysia. Yes, the time spent there was a mixture of hard training, guarding and other hard yakka such as physical activities, patrolling, having the occasional beer with mates during our rest periods. But all the while taking our job seriously according to our strict Rules of Engagement.  Many thanks to James Thorpe for providing me with the documents below: Copy of the Inquiry into Medallic Recognition for Service with Rifle Company Butterworth – Hearing Pack may be downloaded here: Inquiry into Medallic Recognition for Service with Rifle Company Butterworth – Hearing Pack

As stated above, I am merely adding my point of view as someone who has been deployed to Asia. 

  1. Any nation that deploys a force outside its on geographical borders does because of the following:
  2. War against a known enemy.
  3. Train with its allies to test capabilities.
  4. Peace deployments to belligerent nations.
  5. Hostile environments
  6. All peace time activities are conducted on the nations home soil unless that nation is under attack and in that case, it is war like.
  7. There is no such category as serving peace time on the soil of another especially when that nation is constantly on the alert or engaged in sporadic battles with known and unknown insurgents.
  8. The troops deployed to RCB were highly trained keen, adventurous and ready to do their bit, come what may.
  9. Troops were deployed under War Service which is a euphemism for Officer Commanding to have the powers of a Commanding Officer.
  10. Troops deployed carried weapons of destruction to be used if necessary.
  11. The Rules for Engagement were for war like conditions and not peace time activities.
  12. The host nation was still battling Communist Terrorists while our troops guarded the airfield against known and unknown enemy activity
  13. Live ammunition was also carried with strict ROE which if errors of judgement occurred if challenged the outcome may have been disastrous.
  14. There is sufficient known and secret intelligence to demonstrate that RCB conditions were war like.
  15. Penang and its surroundings were known to be a hostile environment.

Therefore, as a bloke who has been monitoring the hard work by those standing up for us, I can only come to the conclusion, that RCB service was closer to War Like Service for some of the above reasons.

My question to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) is how can a host nation that is that it is under constant threat of war not be seen as war like. All those who served fighting the CT’s (Communist Terrorists) were recognised and awarded accordingly.

Furthermore, New Zealand if I am correct has taken a different road to that of Australia. Why cannot our politicians and ADF do the same. Why are Australian veterans treated differently?

In closing, I would like to say that as young men, we were super fit, keen as mustard, ready for anything, highly trained and wanted adventure. Politicians and the ADF should not discard our service and apply the ladle NON-WARLIKE just because their point of view of what those conditions were differ to that of their own. On reflection, I find those responsible Politicians and members of the ADF un-Australian. Fair crack of the whip!

Applying Non-War Like conditions to RCB is scandalous and tantamount to seriously undermining our nation’s military ethos.  As always, be strong, never give up and fight the good fight. With some luck we may obtain the recognition we so richly deserve before we all die. A copy of this article may be downloaded here:RCB – FAIR CRACK OF THE WHIP

Additional articles regarding Rifle Company Butterworth may found as shown below:

Rifle Company Butterworth 1970 – 1989
RCB – A blast from the past
Jimmy Mills – RCB 1978
Old soldiers do but the memory live on

Peter Adamis is a Writer/Journalist and Social Media Commentator. He is a retired Australian military serviceman and an Industry organisational, Environmental & Occupational (OHS) & Training Consultant whose interests are within the parameters of domestic and international political spectrum. Website: abalinx.com