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RUSI Victoria / (03)9282 5918/ secretary@rusivic.org.au/ © 2019 RUSI Victoria

First and Foremost

A Concise Illustrated History of 1st Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment,



Bob Breen

Big Sky Publishing 2018

Hardback   164pp   RRP: $34.99


Reviewer: Mike O’Brien, February 2019


     This is a collection of photographs and short narratives to tell the history of the Army’s oldest Regular battalion. 1 RAR was formed in 1948 and has a distinguished history. The photographs, some of 50which are of outstanding artistic quality, narrate the story well and trace the development of a post-Second World War battalion to its most recent operational and training engagements.

     While the title adequately describes this volume, it reveals, on close examination, one of its flaws: a poor level of proof reading. The proper regimental title capitalises ‘The’ (it is correct on page 133). A large number of the photo captions have also not been closely proofread – ‘guerrilla’ become ‘gorilla’, commas and inverted commas are sadly abused and there are too many other errors. While many current soldiers may understand the prolific acronyms, others will not. The photograph on page 47 – it is actually of Brigadier F.K. Cole – is reversed. While almost all photos are captioned, their sources are not acknowledged. The superb photos on the endpapers are not captioned.

     Nevertheless this volume fulfils its purpose to provide a memorable souvenir for the soldiers of 1 RAR.



The RUSI – Vic thank the publishers for providing this copy for review.