Glossary

Army
In its generic meaning, the land forces. An army was also a higher formation of the Army, comprising two or more corps. Both meanings are used, usually distinguishable by the context and by the use of, (eg) 1st Army for the formation.

Australian Imperial Force
Voluntary expeditionary forces raised for service Overseas in World Wars 1 and 2 to circumvent the Defence Act’s prohibition on service outside Australian territory; see Australian Military Forces and Militia.

Australian Military Forces
The term has changed meanings and nuances. It was and continued to mean the land and air forces raised under the Defence Act, and should have encompassed all, but the raising of AIF, ANMEF, 2nd AIF and RAAF resulted in those forces being separated from that generic title for those periods. It incorporated elements known by formal and colloquial names – Citizen Forces, Militia, Citizen Military Forces, Volunteers, Permanent Army, Australian Regular Army.

Australian Staff Corps
Established in 1911, it incorporated the permanent, then regular army officer corps, except for those in proscribed specialist corps. In the Australian Regular Army period officers were sub-allotted to a functional corps until reaching the rank of colonel when they lost specialist corps identity. The Staff Corps was terminated for no obvious reason in the early 1980s, eliminating a long-standing cost-free tradition in a style unfortunately all too well known in the Australian Army.

Citizen Forces, Citizen Military Forces
See Militia, Australian Military Forces.

Corps
The word is used in several meanings:

  • a body of troops formed for a particular purpose was called a corps when the title battalion or regiment was inappropriate; corps grew to incorporate units and staffs, which carried responsibility for a particular function, eg engineers (RAE), communications (RA Sigs), supplies and transport (AASC).
  • a higher formation of the Army, comprising two or more divisions.
  • a looser usage such as officer corps.

Each meaning is distinguishable by the context and by the use of the Corps for the Corps of The Company of Officer Cadets and use of corps for the other uses.

Formation
A grouping of units – army, corps, division, brigade.

Military
Originally the army or land forces as opposed to the naval forces, its use is now blurred, but is generally applied here to the Army. This title has been removed from the traditional Australian Military Forces rising sun badge in yet another modernisation which casts aside longstanding tradition for the sake of temporary current correctness.

Militia
See Australian Military Forces. A militia has traditionally been a force raised locally for local defence. The Australian militia raised from consolidation of the colonial militias and volunteers were partly-paid forces liable to call up, but by the Defence Act limited to service in Australia, then in 1939 extended to include Australian territories. The Militia or Citizen Forces was augmented by conscription from 1912-29, 1939-46, 1951-60 and 1963 onwards. Referendums in 1916 and 1917 failed to gain acceptance of overseas service for conscriptees and, to avoid a repeat of this in World War 2, the area of service was extended by legislation to eventually include south of the Equator to enable Militia employment in the North Solomons and Netherlands East Indies.

Permanent Army
The full time, fully paid component of the Military Forces, existing in Colonial and Commonwealth Forces, were established to provide headquarters, training and administrative staff, and also the technical arms including Artillery, Engineers and Supplies and Transport, where full time service was necessary to preserve skills and man essential ongoing activities. Infantry and cavalry were excluded, mirroring the suspicion of standing (as opposed to citizen) armies as instruments of oppression, not to mention the costs involved. A permanent army component which included fighting arms was authorised in 1948 as the Australian Regular Army, in recognition of the shortened response times in the post-World War 2 cold war and revolutionary environment, and a post war carryover acceptance of full time forces.

Regular Army
The Australian Regular Army; see Permanent Army.

Volunteers
Carried on briefly from the Colonial Forces, they were unpaid units, being provided with equipment and generally though not always supported in camps.

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Loyalty and Service Copyright © 1995 by Neville Lindsay. All Rights Reserved.

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