Australian Army

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The Permanent Military Force was formed as part of the Defence Act 1903 and has always been a small group of officers and specialist soldiers, responsible for training and administration while the Citizen Military Force provided the bulk of the soldiers. Members of the Permanent Military Force enlisted to defend Australia for a period of three years and could not serve overseas.

During World War 1 there were around 2 500 Permanent Military Force soldiers on active duty within Australia.

The numbers grew to around 3 100 when the Australian Imperial Force(AIF) was disbanded on its return to Australia when World War 1 ended. Officers from the AIF could either transfer to the Permanent Military Force or the Citizens Military Force or relinquish their commission and return to civilian life.

During the depression years between World War 1 and World War 2, the Permanent Military Force almost halved its numbers.

During World War 2 some soldiers resigned from the Permanent Military Force and enlisted in the AIF. Others chose to remain in the Permanent Military Force to defend Australia, New Guinea and the surrounding Pacific Islands.

After World War 2 the Permanent Military Force was reorganised and on 30th September 1947 was renamed the Australian Regular Army.

The Australian Regular Army (ARA) is comprised of a permanent paid force of soldiers organised into three Infantry Battalions, each with Support Units.

The procedures for allocating service numbers to members of the ARA have changed many times over the years and some servicemen and servicewomen have been assigned 5 different numbers over the period of their service.

The ARA has participated in many United Nations peacekeeping operations, beginning in Indonesia in 1947 and continuing to the present time.

The ARA has served overseas during the Korean War(1950-53); Malayan Emergency (1955-63); Vietnam (1962-72); Afghanistan (2001-14); Iraq (2003-08).

Nurses have always been a part of the Defence Forces of Western Australia and between 1899 and 1949 were considered a part of the Citizen Military Force. In 1949 the Nursing Service became part of the Australian Regular Army instead of the Citizen Military Force, and and in 1951 became a Corps rather than a Service. It is now called the Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps (RAANC).

The personal documents of anyone serving in the Permanent Military Force, Australian Regular Army and the Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps in any capacity are indexed on this page. Group photos and documents that pertain to an entire Battalion, Regiment, Company or Unit will be indexed under the Group Photos and Documents tab on this page.