Rifle Company Butterworth – Warning Order “OPERATION EXPOSURE”






Following Governments’ failure to agree to RCB Review Group’s legitimate claim for recognition of their service 1970-1989 as warlike,  the  Group  intends to take further action to secure an independent judicial enquiry.

All RCB  persons who served at that time are encouraged to support the RCB Review Group

Core History Paper – A case for recognition during the SME V3



  1. http://Kym%20Bloor says

    I support

    • http://Mike%20Seaman says

      I served in 5/7RAR from 1977-1980, and in the RAAF Police from 1980-1994. I served in Malaysia from January 1983 to April 1986, in which I received an ASM, with Clasp (S.E. Asia). All RAAF Personnel serving in Malaysia during that period received that medal. I don’t know why RCB is not eligible.

      • The Australian Service Medal (ASM) was approved in 1988, and may be awarded for service in, or in connection with a prescribed non-warlike operation. Non-warlike is the key word.

  2. http://john%20nichols says

    so malasia was at war fact. we were there as what ever fact, on of pay weeks we were paid an allowance from malay govt, who was foreign govt at war fact, so should we all hand our selves in to the federal police for being in service of foreign govt make a good protest sort that out pollys. or have a butterworth parade outside parliament house followed by march past frount door and throw asm .s on to steps . its exposure extreme but what have we got to lose cheers john Nichols.

  3. http://Des%20Johnston says

    I am in. IRCB 1974 and 1976. Des Johnston

  4. http://Joseph%20Brdda says

    An extremely well put together paper. As a former serving member who deployed to RCB in 1978 with 2/4 RAR it would be fantastic to see the recognition and upgrade from the current status.

    • http://Robert says

      I don’t agree Joseph. Let me be brutally honest. I personally see many comments contained in both the paper and this site as amateurish and quite frankly a long way from providing an argument that justifies even consideration. One also has to consider the numerous pictures [evidence] on the RCB FB page that demonstrates anything but a ‘War-like’ environment. I suggest the following will not interest most, if not all those on this site, but I’m going to pass it on regardless. I’m currently still serving and carrying live ammunition 24/7 on OPS in an area classed as ‘non-war-like’. Please do not challenge the difference between the area I am serving & RCB. Suffice to say, RSB is quite simply NOT a ‘War-like’ environment. I do not support this wasted effort.

      • http://Philip%20Brookes says

        Well said. I was issued live ammo for a WW1 Webley revolver in Brisbane to collect the pay at the Commonwealth Bank in Queen St in 1969. I had just returned from Vietnam. The Civic and Treasury Hotels were certainly warlike.

  5. http://Charlie says

    I was with C Company 2/4 RAR 1983 , we were given live ammo to do duty with on call outs , we visited the east coast while there with live ammo kept in a compound at night had escorts to visit the washing area due to enemy activity. live ammo when we did our combined exercise.

    If we were not in danger or a warlike zone why issue live ammo?
    I am not after monies just a little thanks for warlike service

    I have heard that if you are a non combatant these days and don’t visit the war zones but head to the area(middle East) you still get the same as the other service members doing the dangerous jobs. Just a fair go is what is needed where has that Aussie and ANZAC sprit gone from this country

  6. http://John%20Parnaby says

    You have my support

  7. http://Gary%20McAllister says

    Fight the good fight.
    Cheers lads .

  8. http://john%20cox says

    ok I was with C Coy 2/4 RAR 1974 we did have hot reaction call outs on base ready re action fully bombed up live ammo to incidents on base perimiter but I guess because of the size and speed +support we had they decided discresion was the better part of valor,Down in Jahore Baru one of our Pl s walked into a recently vacated ct bunker training system,I was in the area but did not see myself.up at the Thai border area where we went for live firing exercises the Malay special forces or whatever they called them lost 17 kia in ambush in the jungle .

  9. http://Neil%20James says

    Photo of night-time standing patrol is from 4 Platoon, B Company, 1RAR (Lieutenant Neil James and Sergeant Connie Sanderson), late November 1977 to early March 1978.

    The company (Major Michael Hughes and Captain Hans Fleer) had 11 rifle sections because we were reinforced by the 1RAR band for the deployment. The other two platoon commanders were 2LT Bill Westhead and 2LT Bruce Scott.

    Photo left to right:
    318743 Private Nairn Bristow-Smith
    225057 Private Barry Lollback (back to camera with M60 bandolier)
    1204999 Corporal Mark Butler (section commander)
    312394 Private David Wilson (face largely obscured)
    312271 Lance Corporal Richard Slater (section 2IC)

    I remember the patrol was one of three 4 Platoon mounted at vulnerable points on the base perimeter that night. This stemmed from a heightened level of alert for the Communist Party of Malaya birthday, when there was a heightened risk of attack for CPM propaganda purposes.

    During the period of that RCB rotation the policy was that at least one platoon, and generally two, had to be on the base at any one time. If only one was on the base, another one could be no further than one hour away (ie. at the nearby range).

    At any one time, only one could be deployed elsewhere for training (at ranges or training areas further away). Having 11, not just 9, rifle sections made this easier for us.

    A fully-armed and amunitioned section-strength Quick Reaction Force was maintained in the RCB area 24/7 at 5 minutes notice-to-move. An armed guard was also stationed in the company armoury 24/7.

    When further away at Malaysian Army training areas to the north of Butterworth, such as Baghdad Range at Sungei Patani or Langkawi Island, live ammunition was carried by platoon and section commanders, platoon sergeants and the platoon signaller, and a 24-hour armed sentry maintained.

    At that period, each RCB was allocated a full entitlement of war stocks regarding small-arms ammunition. We therefore spent a lot of time on the range.

    During our rotation the nearest counter-insurgency incident was when Malaysian Police Field Force sprang an ambush that killed several CTs about an hour’s drive away.

    • http://Wayne%20Callaghan says

      I knew Barry when he was in 5/7 in the 80’s. Anti armour platoon.

    • http://Nairn%20Bristow-Smith says

      The above is true, however we also had a two man roving patrol to the South of the QRF Hut. Fully armed with ammunition and 77set radio.
      The weapons were SLR and the Section 2ic would carry a M16.
      In the QRF Hut office was a radar that, picked up all movement along the fence line.

  10. http://Ron%20Roberts says

    Wake up govt do you want to drag it out until all peers in this bracket are dead and not a concern of yours anymore, how much proof do you neied you just gave yourself a huge pay rise and cannot perform a simple task of look and recognise why you can still give that sort of money to each other and cannot give a helping hand to guys that made it possible . wake up and do your job,!!!! From someone that is still waiting.

  11. http://Michael%20Connolly says

    I would encourage all RCB members to contact their elected Federal members and make it known to them that they are not happy with this blatant over reach of not allowing RCB to have an independent inquiry into our legitimate claims. I would also like to applaud the work done by the tireless RCB Support Group members in continuing to pursue this matter.

  12. http://Leon%20Wager says

    I would like to personally thank the members of the team for the work they have done and are doing.
    I would also like to add, the more I learn about the RCB situation, the less confident I am in the people running Australia. Of late, NO confidence.
    I do and will continue to contact my federal member. However, being a national, I have only received a standard “printout” reply.
    Again. Thank you
    Leon (Lee) Wager.

  13. http://Barry%20Albrighton says

    Michael Shave asked the right question I.e. why? I pains me to suggest that the committee needs to change its method of operation but it needs to be said. This paper simply does not present the argument in a logical manner and with respect to the hard work of the committee until the case is presented appropriately it is doomed to failure. For example, we are advised that a judicial enquiry is necessary without any statement as to why we need one, what we could expect out of it and what other options were considered. This paper is neither a case study nor an historical record because it is full of opinions. To present this argument in a logical way, the committee must state what our claim is, what criteria needs to be met, what evidence we have against each criteria and some logical summary. Unfortunately I’m out bush at the moment and this device makes it awkward to write lengthy messages. That aside, in my view if we want to achieve something significant that is important, complex and difficult we need to accept responsibility for our failures rather than blaming others. The committee has adopted a strategy of secrecy and in my view this has little value, because you either have a case based on evidence or you don’t. Documents like this one should have been circulated for comment before being published and the committee must give appropriate consideration to feedback. I believe there is a case that could be presented in support of the case for upgrading RCB service. I also believe that unless we present the case in a logical manner, first to ourselves and then to an appropriate authority for consideration we will not succeed. My support in putting this case together is always available.
    Stan Hannaford if the committee wants to succeed you must start speaking the language of the Dept of Defence. There is no doubt that the service this group undertook appeared like warlike service, but it still had to meet specific criteria. I ask the committee again to state the criteria that is to be met and when evidence like this event is identified, state how it meets the specific criteria set down by the Australian government. As evidence like this is compiled this will build the case against the criteria and will be more likely to succeed. best regards and thank you for your hard work.

    • http://Stan%20Hannaford says

      “Barry: Thank you for the input. You are quite right. This has all been done on your behalf by the RCB Review Group already, and in detail, in various submissions over the past few years. Thousands of research hours, writing, checking and confirming our facts from the data have been carried out. Despite this, the governments’ advisors have continued to take the stance outlined in the Core Paper we just put on Facebook. Printed on single side, the evidence, submissions, rebuttals and professional argument adds up to over a metre in shelf space, and gigabytes digitally. Government simply regurgitates its pre-determined stance to block the claim. Now they must stand open to independent scrutiny as to HOW they expect to get away with such an indefensible stand. More general support evidence is about to be released following the warning order. You are personally welcome to see any and all of our material; it will take literally weeks to read. Government has it also since we sent it to them. Still they deny.”

      • http://Barry%20Albrighton says

        Thanks Stan, you guys have worked very hard on this for years. Whilst I may not be across it as well as you guys on the committee I’ve most likely read the majority of it. Check out my comment above regarding a different way of presenting the document. Cheers Barry…

  14. http://Chris says

    I went there three times 82 83 84

  15. http://SGT%20Peter%20McGrane%20(ex%20ARA%20now%20ARes) says

    I support the RCB troops claims 100%.
    East Timor was quite safe after Interfet finished and UNTAET started 2001/2002, though it was still awarded AASM due to several incidents & contacts and killings that occurred.
    Australians at RCB could have been mortared & killed by CT insurgents.
    They were living, patrolling, doing their day to day, & night activities with a hostile threat group close by similar to the Airport being guarded in by Australian & other UN troops in Somalia later on.
    They should all be awarded the AASM for their service.
    I was for UNTAET peacekeeping service in 2001/2002.

  16. http://James%20Ingle says

    Thank you RCB Support Committe, this fight is not over, the criteria has been met the Australian Government at the time put members of RCB in harms way and it benefits the sitting governments since to deny our claim. Off to see my local member.

  17. Went there 79and80,signed a piece of paper that said we are now under the defence act and the rules have changed, i interpreted that as war duty, practiced at the cinema range using sub cals,picking out bad guys from good guys and yes we were issued live ammo on QRF.duty.

  18. http://Craig%20Ellery says

    So the recent submission/request to the Minister has been knocked back. Time we made our own medal and started wearing it, like the Tobruk boys. When people ask what the RCB medal is we can tell them this is the gong you get when the Government screws you. I’m sure it will get plenty of attention and press come Anzac Day.

  19. http://Craig%20Ellery says

    Time to get some influential people on side, from all walks of life, such as: – Russell Crowe, Dawn Fraser, Ricky Ponting or people of this ilk. The public take notice of ‘celebrities’ and our case will be out in the open, not hidden with Government bureaucracy, and the naysayers identified.

  20. http://David%20Phillips says

    I note Charlie comment about ‘training’ with C Coy 2/4 RAR in 1983. He may recall that we undertook an Exercise with 8 RMR which was stationed in a black area. Just before our arrival, via Caribou short range aircraft, the Malaysian Battalion had lost a Cpl killed in an ambush by CTs near its camp. This exercise was wide ranging from the East Coast into the hinterland. We stayed at 8 RMR camp for a short period.
    There was a spike in CT activity due to Communist success in Cambodia and a significant confrontation on the Thai border. One of my Duntroon classmates serving in the Royal Thai Army was killed at this time in fighting. Perhaps someone should take a statement from the then CO of 8 RMR.
    As I recall carried both blank and live ammo on that exercise. Training was always rotated to maintain the RCB call out capability. Even when we trained at Pulada Jungle Training Centre, we had live ammunition in specifically marked magazines.

  21. http://Bertram%20Holland says

    I support the review committee. I served with RCB,as a bren gunner in 2pl,A coy., 1 RAR,in 1975. Ask those fucktards in Canberra,why I was armed,and dangerous?

  22. http://Craig%20Ellery says

    A friend suggested to me that we march on Anzac Day as a unified body and, at the conclusion of the march, we throw our ASMs into a garbage bin. Boy, that would really get some press coverage!

    • http://Michael%20Connolly says

      Perhaps arranging for everyone (if they agreed) mailing their ASM to the PMs office on an arranged date so that he would receive them en masse. Let the media know of it before hand?

      • ASM’s are really only an indication that you were posed somewhere, in peace time, they really don’t relate to war time postings.

  23. http://Derek%20Holyoake says

    I was at Butterworth in 1975 to 1976 with Delta Company 6 RAR.
    I fully support this action

  24. http://Robert says

    I recently wrote a response which is currently awaiting moderation. Whilst I don’t expect it to be accepted (it does NOT support this pointless quest), I ask it be deleted anyway. That said, post if you want.

    The more I read, the more I’m dumbfounded. The sense of entitlement astonishes me. The small minded and pretty damn petty/trivial reasons for ‘War-Like’ recognition make absolutely no sense; send medals to Canberra all at the same time for example – cringeworthy at the very least !!!!!! If I were not so angry, I would treat this, and many many other remarks on this subject as a source of entertainment.

    • http://Barry%20Albrighton says

      I for one would like to hear your concerns, because if issues both for and against are not considered equally the RCB argument will never be complete. I personally do not need another medal, a service pension or anything else. The reason I’m involved is that this is very important to many ex servicemen and I would like to help them put their argument together and present it logically to you and the authorities for consideration. Try not to stay angry too long. Cheers Barry…

  25. http://Barry%20Albrighton says

    Here is an alternative way of writing this document I hope you find it useful. Cheers Barry…


    The Australian Army deployed fully armed soldiers to Malaysia between 1968 and 1989 during Malaysia’s second war on terror known as the Second Malayan Emergency. During this war, there were around 1500 armed terrorists across the country who were supported inside and outside Malaysia by Communists. The Australian veterans of this conflict have been trying to obtain appropriate recognition for their service without success for many years.
    Representatives of the Australian Army’s Rifle Company Butterworth Review Group have collected an extensive amount of supporting evidence obtained from reliable sources like the Australian Archives and the Malaysian Government.
    This document describes the situation, outlines the case for recognition and requests a judicial review. The committee believe that an objective review of all of the evidence will support the case for upgraded recognition of the service, currently classified as Peacetime Service.
    Following examination of the criteria for recognition and the available evidence on the role and service history of the Australian soldiers deployed to this conflict, the committee makes the following recommendations:

    • Summarise the major issues by describing the deployment in more detail (much of this would come from the committees’ existing document.
    • Describe how these deployments might be classified.

    • Sum up the main points from the findings and discussion.

    • Choose which of the alternative solutions should be adopted.
    • Briefly justify your choice explaining how it will address the concerns of veterans.
    • This section is intended to persuade the reader that the case is justified..

    • Explain what it is that you want the government (or others) to do about the situation.

    • Refer to your sources of evidence and make sure all references are cited correctly.
    • Attach any original data that relates to the study but which would have interrupted the flow of the main body of the document.

    • http://Russell%20Linwood says

      This has been done over and over. It is extraordinary therefore, how the Government and its advisors continue to hold out. Hence Operation Exposure. Thanks for the good ideas and support. It is not the submission process that has failed, rather total and utter intransigence on the part of Government. Read the Comparisons document and see if you think RCB veterans have received a fair go with respect to what constitutes warlike conditions. They haven’t.

      Kind regards all

      • http://Craig%20Ellery says

        I couldn’t agree more. The problem is with Government and not the structure of the submission or evidence presented. Every civilian I’ve told this story to has agreed ‘warlike service’ is appropriate to our RCB service. This is why we need ‘high profile people’ or a ‘high profile event’ to illustrate our claims to the Australian people and to harness maximum exposure. Only when ‘Joe Public’ starts asking questions will our politicians sit down at the table with us.

  26. http://Mark%20RYAN says

    Fully support your efforts fellas. Don’t give up.

    Kind regards

    Mark RYAN (1988)

  27. http://Barry%20Albrighton says

    Russell and Craig, I beg to differ, because in this initiative communication is doubly important. I’m sure you are familiar with the acronym SMEAC with the C representing command and signals i.e. communications. Not only does this initiative itself require excellent communications from an organisational perspective, the main focus of this initiative (the E in SMEAC) requires a complete accurate program of timely communications. This is necessary to deliver each message to the correct recipient in a way that it will be quickly understood and our cause supported. This is the Information Age and I’m sure you will agree that we all have information coming at us from all sides nowadays.
    As a former senior public servant and project manager I am well versed with this type of documentation and communications and I would have approached things differently. That aside, extensive work has been done and decisions made. I wish the committee well and every success throughout this initiative.

    • http://Craig%20Ellery says

      Well, we all have opinions. As a former SASR soldier, I certainly understand the concept of SMEAC and, secondly, as a PhD graduate, I fully understand the concept of writing to an audience. However, we have toiled down this Government road long enough, regardless of how many submissions have been presented. Like many others, I agree a fresh approach is warranted.

  28. http://Phillip%20Lombard says

    You have my full support

  29. http://Bryan%20Nelson says

    I fully support the RCB committee, this is a fight well worth winning. (1 RAR 1975 & 6 RAR 1978)

  30. http://jim%20carlisle says

    c coy 74 d coy 76/77 5/7rar remember sitting in trenches in pouring rain facing the cemetery all night on red letter day what the hell was that all about

  31. http://Bryan%20Yeomans says

    Barry so well presented in your argument and stated why did they give us they live rounds if there was not the possibility of engagement. We were advised on every occasion when moving through jungles and rubber tree plantations of the communist activity in the area. There were times where you saw them in the plantations taking notes watching us very closely.
    Former B Coy D Coy Anti Armour 5/7 RAR

  32. http://Grant%20H says

    Appreciate all that is being done. We didn’t write the rules of recognition – we just did our job.
    “Seek out and close with the enemy, to kill or capture him, to seize and hold ground, repel attack, by day or night, regardless of season, weather or terrain.” Can we help it if the CT didn’t want to play?

    Sent as a deterrent – we deterred! did we do the job to well, did the government want casualties?

    We met the criteria required for active service. We will get recognition when there is only a few of us left – remember the Voyager disaster?

    Any way keep up the good fight.

    All the best Grant

  33. http://c%20clarke says

    A big thank you to the fellas who have put so much effort into our cause and Yes the Great Game has began we must grovel at the feet of the protectors of the public purse to see if we are worthy of any recognition. Anzac day these same hypocrites will say how much they value ours and others sacrifice and service. Cheers ex 2/4 rar delta coy

  34. http://Gary%20Grant says

    Gary Grant says
    June 23rd 2018

    I was with 6RAR and did two tours together with Rifle Company Butterworth, december 1971, january 1972. and would like the recognition we deserve.

  35. http://Colin%20Tiny%20Russell says

    Being an ex-Nasho who stayed in for 22 yrs and then 12 months of Army Reserve time, I was lucky enough to serve with 7 RAR – 5/7 RAR, Parachute Training School, 2/4 RAR and a number of Inf Centre and Range Control postings. I fully support the ongoing attempts re: recognition of RCB service. The point of my writing this is to tactfully suggest that if after all the hard work of attempting to have the AASM awarded is not successful, perhaps another award similar to the Border Protection Medal be considered. Keep up the good work fellahs

  36. http://Brett%20Pitcher says

    As a member of 1st ARMD Regt I was fortunate to be deployed to RCB with C Coy 5/7 RAR in June 1989. I firmly believe in recognition for the troops serving at RCB not forgetting the devastating loss of life during Charlie’s later deployment (accident). I am proud to say I served with these men and support your quest whole heartedly

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