5RAR Historical Archive

5 RAR's Regimental Marches

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From the time he joined the Battalion, Bob Taylor had been thinking about a Regimental March for 5RAR and he had concluded that the most appropriate was "Dominique." He arranged the music then suggested to the CO that Dominique be accepted as the Regimental March. Lieutenant Colonel Warr was not convinced as he had never heard the tune. Bob Taylor, with the support of Major Max Carroll, the Operations Officer, then proposed that the band play Dominique and two other marches for the 800 men of the Battalion who would be asked to vote for the march they thought would be the best. Dominique received an overwhelming vote from all ranks and so it became the march of the "Tiger Battalion."

Background to Dominique

Jeanine Deckers (1933-1985) is famous all over the world as 'The Singing Nun' and for her massive hit "Dominique", which reached number 1 all over the world and sold more than 1.5 million copies. She is the only Belgian ever to achieve a number one hit in America and temporarily topped such heavy hitters as Stevie Wonder and The Beatles in the charts.

She joined the Dominican Fichermont Convent in Belgium as Sister Luc-Gabrielle. She was popular in the convent for her music and was encouraged by the other nuns to record an album in 1963. One song, "Dominique," soared to the top of the charts. Overnight, the Belgian nun was an international celebrity with the stage name of Soeur Sourire (Sister Smile). She performed in concerts and appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. In 1965, a movie called The Singing Nun, starring Debbie Reynolds, was made about her, though she rejected the film as "fictional".

I wonder what she would have thought of an Australian infantry battalion having chosen Dominique as their regimental march.


Background to Men of Harlech

According to Folk Songs of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales "This famous march celebrates the defiance of the Welsh forces under Dafydd ap Jevan in defending Harlech Castle against the English in 1468." They were, however, forced to surrender to Yorkist forces.
Harlech Castle was prominent in Welsh history several times. Owen Glendower captured it and held a parliament there in the early 15th century. Queen Margaret took refuge there in 1460, when her husband, Henry VI, was captured. In 1647, during the English Civil War, Harlech Castle was the last Welsh fortress surrendered to the Parliamentary armies.
The stirring music first appeared as March of the Men of Harlech in Musical and Poetical Relicks of the Welsh Bards (Edward Jones, London 1784). The song was first published in Gems of Welsh Melody (ed. John Owen, "Owain Alaw", 1860), the Welsh lyrics by "Talhaiarn", the English by W.H. Baker.
The 'Vocal' version is sung by the Royal Regiment of Wales' Band singing "Men of Harlech" on the 120th anniversary of the battle of Rorke's Drift (1999). This was recorded in the church at Rorke's Drift.

Welsh Guards


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