2nd/3rd Independent Company 2nd/3rd Commando Squadron

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About This Unit

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It was on 6th October that Generals Vasey and Wootten received a signal that the 2/2nd, 2/4th, 2/6th and 2/7th Independent Companies "will be re-designated forthwith" 2/2nd, 2/4th, 2/6th and 2/7th Australian Cavalry (Commando) Squadrons. Since the beginning of the year the term "commando" had been increasingly used to describe a member of an Independent Company. The term was an alien one for the Australian Army, and the tasks undertaken by the Independent Companies since the beginning of the war against the Japanese had little in common with the tasks carried out by the British commandos, although on some occasions there were some striking similarities with those of the original Boer commandos. In the short space of two years the Independent Companies had built up a proud tradition . The men regarded the term "Independent Company" as a much better description of what they did than the terms "cavalry" and "commando", and they resented the change of title . There was little they could do about it, however, except to record their displeasure in their war diaries and to call themselves in their private correspondence cavalry squadrons, leaving out the term commandos. The report of the 2/6th probably summed up best what everyone felt.

It is submitted that the name "commando" as applied to these units is unfortunate . British "commandos" are the flower of the British Army ; our personnel are, at the moment, merely a cross-section of the Australian Army. In common usage in Australia a "commando" has come to mean a blatant, dirty, unshaven, loud - mouthed fellow covered with knives and knuckle-dusters. The fact that the men in this unit bitterly resent the commando part of their unit name speaks highly for their esprit de corps. It is obvious, however, from the attitude of many of the reinforcements received that the blatant glamour of the name is being used to attract personnel into volunteering for these units. Personnel acquired in this manner are always undesirable.”  -

Second World War Official Histories - Volume VI – The New Guinea Offensives (1st edition, 1961) - Page 565 

 

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