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COL Roger Wainwright (Retd)

Roger Wainwright was born on 3rd October 1944 in Alexandria, Egypt. He was educated in Adelaide and entered The Royal Military College, Duntroon in January 1962. Graduating in December 1965, he took up his first appointment early the following year as Commander of 8 Platoon, Charlie Company, 5RAR. He held this appointment throughout the Battalion’s first tour of operational service in South Vietnam. He also served in 1RAR, 7RAR and 5/7RAR during a thirty-five year Army career of wide ranging appointments covering disparate fields of military endeavour where his many talents were apparent.

Following a period as a Committee Member, in March 2005 he succeeded to the office of President of the 5RAR Association, a position he has held continuously for almost twelve years. During this time it has developed a large, stable membership and it enjoys an enviable financial position.

During his Presidency he also served as an inaugural Director of the Royal Australian Regiment Corporation and this involved him in various forums hosted by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to explore emerging issues in the field of support for veterans. Also, his prominence in the RAR’s ex-service community naturally led to his involvement in national committees tasked with planning commemorative ceremonies to mark the 40th anniversaries of the Battles of Long Tan and Binh Ba. He has also provided assistance to the Australian War Memorial in identifying and cataloguing film and video acquisitions.

Under his close personal guidance the Association has seen the attainment of many milestones. Principal among them are the initiation, development and writing of a new constitution needed to effect incorporation of the Association; the emergence of sophisticated, well planned and very popular reunions; the ongoing development of a much-awarded, world-class Association Website, complemented by a very professional, much-admired Newsletter; and the major refurbishment and re-dedication of the Battalion’s Memorial Wall in its lines at Robertson Barracks. Often at his own expense, he travels frequently throughout Australia to represent the Association at commemorative events and conferences, as well as to liaise with the Battalion in Darwin. Apart from purely Association matters, on these visits he also provides advice and assistance concerning the Battalion’s history and identifying and cataloguing items, thereby aiding the updating and ongoing refinement of its Museum. In addition, he provides generous guidance and counselling to 5RAR veterans whenever it is sought or needed.

His many accomplishments as President during his long term of office have been achieved through innate leadership and unflagging willingness to give of his time to attend to the Association’s affairs. Colonel Wainwright plays his role with aplomb, earning the respect of all and ready acceptance of his flair for being the centre around which the many Association matters and issues continually flow. His easy manner, coordinating skills and collegial approach provide a trusted and reliable sounding board for the widely-scattered, talented and selfless team of office bearers and functional managers which he heads.

Under his stewardship the Association has prospered. It has truly realised its raison d’etre as an agency which preserves and promotes the enigmatic essence of 5RAR pride. For both former and serving members of the Battalion, this is a sense of belonging to something which becomes an inherent part of themselves. Nothing else could better qualify him for Life Membership of the Association.