Commanding Officers 5 RAR

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1 SEPTEMBER 1965 ~ 17 NOVEMBER 1967

Prior to being appointed as the Commanding Officer of The Fifth Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, John already had his "Baptism of Fire;" he served with the British Commonwealth Occupation Forces (BCOF) in Japan and with the renowned 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (3 RAR) in Korea, where he was badly wounded.

He also served with the Canadian Army as an exchange officer (1960 - 62).

Colonel John Warr retired from the army in 1972. After his resignation, he spent two years as an adviser to the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence, investigating the Australian Army's future role. Colonel John Warr was the President of the 5 RAR Association up until his death in May 1999.

Colonel John Warr was an inspiration to his men in battle and in peace. His dedication to the Australian Army, his soldiers and the
5 RAR Association will never be forgotten.


John Arnold Warr was commissioned into the Australian Army in 1947, after graduation from the Royal Military College , Duntroon. Since that time he has either served with the Royal Australian Regiment or held staff appointments in Australia or abroad. When the Fifth Battalion was formed, Lt. Col Warr was Second in Command until September 1965, when he was appointed Commanding Officer and the unit was warned for overseas service. As Commanding Officer he was responsible for the training and welding together of both regular soldiers and national servicemen into an efficient combat unit in a short period of time. During a year's service in Vietnam the Fifth Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, was in almost continual action with the enemy whilst conducting offensive patrol tasks, search and destroy missions and cordon and search operations. The techniques for these latter operations were developed so successfully by Lt. Col Warr that they were accepted as standard procedures in the First Australian Task Force.

Lt. Col Warr was responsible for the planning and execution in detail which is so necessary for the successful operations by a battalion group in air mobile operations. His thorough preparation and orders, his sound tactical knowledge, his calmness and leadership under fire was largely responsible for the accomplishments of the Fifth Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, in Vietnam.

Robert Kearney who served under Colonel Warr's
command, penned this poem about his boss.

A kind man, a gentle man, a leader born and bred;
A soldier's soldier, an officer, a man among the men.
The Fifth Battalion respected him, even loved him, it was said,
In our hearts he still lives on, just as he did then.

Our Commander with his mission clear,
always spoke of his "Diggers" with pride;
He was badly wounded in South Korea,
Where from the shrapnel he nearly died.

Known as "Wingy" with his shattered arm,
He worked for the common good;
Throughout our tour of South Vietnam,
he led us well, starting with "Hardihood."

To South Vietnam the Battalion was sent,
Where "Reg" and "Nasho" fought side by side;
Warr's "Diggers," the "Tigers" of the Regiment,
Now always speak of him with pride.

(One of "Wingy's" Diggers)

Bio By
Brian London OAM., DCM.

Author: Brian London OAM DCM

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