About This Unit
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.
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 by State, as follows:
QLD / 1MD - 1-23 Battalions / Searchlight (Anti Aircraft and Coast Defence Batteries)
NSW / 2MD (less Broken Hill) - 1-33 Battalions
VIC / 3MD - 1-24 Battalions
SA / 4MD (incl Broken Hill) - 1-10 Battalions
WA / 5MD - 1-16 Battalions
TAS / 6MD - 1-5 Battalions
NT / 7MD
PNG / 8MD
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 South Australia, the Military District / Lines of Communication Headquarters was at Keswick Barracks. The Battalions were organised as:
1 Battalion (Port Adelaide)
2 Battalion (Prospect)
3 Battalion (Unley)
4 Battalion (Strathalbyn)
5 Battalion (Port Lincoln)
6 Battalion (Port Pirie/ Whyalla/ Port Augusta/ Jamestown)
7 Battalion (Kadina/Claire/Burra/Kapunda)
8 Battalion (Murray Bridge)
9 Battalion (Mt Gambier)
10 Battalion (Gawler)
Battalions were further split into Companies and Platoons based on smaller towns and population centres.