Volunteer Defence Corps (NSW)

About This Unit

Volunteer Defence Corps (NSW)

This is a generic listing for VDC personnel in New South Wales, whose records do not assign them to a specific Battalion.  If looking for a particular indivdual, Users should also consult the Battalion pages for each of the 33 NSW Battalions, based on their geographic location - see the list below.

The Volunteer Defence Corps (VDC) was an Australian part-time volunteer military force of World War II modelled on the British Home Guard. The VDC was established in July 1940 by the Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL) and was initially composed of ex-servicemen who had served in World War I. The government took over control of the VDC in May 1941, and gave the organisation the role of training for guerrilla warfare, collecting local intelligence and providing static defence of each unit's home area. General Harry Chauvel, who had retired in 1930, was recalled to duty in 1940 and appointed Inspector-General of the VDC. Chauvel held this position until his death in March 1945.

Following the outbreak of the Pacific War, the Government expanded the VDC in February 1942. Membership was open to men aged between 18 and 60, including those working in reserved occupations. As a result, the VDC reached a peak strength of almost 100,000 in units across Australia.


As the War progressed and the draw on the militia's numbers drew them further north, functions such asthe 'Fortress / Fixed Defences' were progressively taken over by the VDC and AWAS

The VDC was organised commanded and controlled along State  / Military District (MD) lines.  A Director VDC and his HQ which formed part of the MD HQ and Battalions were organised regonally and numbered sequentially but by State, meaning numbers are replicated.  VWMA has added the state in brackets to the relevant unit title for clarification.  They were as follows:

QLD / 1MD  - 1-23 Battalions  (Anti Aircraft, Searchlight and Coast Defence Batteries around Moreton Bay were manned by personnel from ) 

NSW / 2MD (less Broken Hill) - 1-33 Battalions.  7th 9th and 10th and 12th Battalions shadow posted to coastal defences from Newcastle to Port Kembla

VIC / 3MD - 1-24 Battalions - 5th and 8th battalions tasked to man the Port Phillip Bay Coatal Defences , east and west respectively.

SA / 4MD (incl Broken Hill)  - 1-10 Battalions.

WA / 5MD - 1-16 Battalions

TAS / 6MD - 1-5 Battalions 

As the perceived threat to Australia declined the VDC's role changed from static defence to operating anti-aircraft artillery,coastal artillery and searchlights. Members of inland VDC units were freed from having to attend regular training in May 1944 and the VDC was officially disbanded on 24 August 1945.


In New South Wales, the 33 Battalions were organised as: 

1 Battalion (Lismore)

2 Battalion (Grafton)

3 Battalion (Armadale)

4 Battalion (Taree)

5 Battalion (Newcastle)

6 Battalion (Tamworth)

7 Battalion (Manly)

8 Battalion (Willoghby)

9 Battalion (Randwick)

10 Battalion (Kogarah)

11 Battalion (Metropolitan)

12 Battalion (Woolongong)

13 Battalion (Mossvale)

14 Battalion (Goulburn)

15 Battalion (Cooma/Bega/Bombala)

16 Battalion (Coffs Harbour)

17 Battalion (Wagga Wagga)

18 Battalion (Cootamundra)

19 Battalion (Metropolitan)

20 Battalion (Cessnock)

21 Battalion (Canberra)

22 Battalion (Cassino)

23 Battalion (Bathurst)

24 Battalion (Marrickville)

25 Battalion (Dubbo/Myngan)

26 Battalion (Orange)

27 Battalion (Parkes)

28 Battalion (Metropolitan)

29 Battalion (Glen Innes/Moree)

30 Battalion (Port Macquarie)

31 Battalion (Newcastle)

32 Battalion (Newcastle Steel industry)

33 Battalion (Woolongong/Port Kemba)