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Early 1964:

Efforts to get the Australian SAS into Borneo.

(See article right)


April 1964:

Minister for the Army Visits 1st SAS Company.

(See article right)


May – June 1964:

South East Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO) Exercise ‘LIGTAS’.

(See article right)


11 May 1964:

Half of the 1st SAS Company (the experimental Squadron with 70 soldiers) deployed to Okinawa where it took part in an orientation exercise.

(See article right)


13 May 1964:

1st SAS Company Parachutes with United States Army Special Forces.

(See article right)


24 May 1964:

1st SAS Company at Subic Bay.

(See article right)


7 - 20 August 1964:

Army Headquarters issues instructions for raising new unit.

(See article right)






Efforts to get the

Australian SAS into Borneo



Early 1964: Major Garland is summoned to Canberra to be informed by the Deputy Director of Military Operations (Colonel Weir), that the Prime Minister had decided on a graduated response to the British request to deploy Australian troops to Borneo. If the situation in Borneo did not improve, eventually the Australian SAS would be deployed and Major Garland was directed to prepare his unit for operations in Borneo.



This information did not surprise Major Garland. In the latter part of 1963 he had received a number of letters from Lieutenant Colonel Woodhouse (Commanding Officer of 22 SAS Regiment), informing him of efforts to get the Australian SAS into Borneo.



Minister for the Army Visits

1st SAS Company


April 1964: The Minister for the Army (Jim Forbes) visited the SAS Company at Swanbourne Western Australia. During this visit Major Garland took the opportunity of asking when the SAS would be deployed to Borneo. Forbes replied that maybe the next time he saw them would be, in Borneo. With this encouragement, Major Garland continued to develop an organisation that would be suitable to conduct operations in Borneo. At this time, the 1st SAS Company was still organised into four combat platoons each of three sections of nine soldiers and a headquarters platoon comprising a signals platoon, administration elements, medical elements, pioneer and mortar sections. The unit had the capability of providing twelve fighting patrols each of nine men, or 24 reconnaissance patrols each of at least four men, in the field at any one time. A Captain with a Lieutenant as his second in command commanded each combat platoon. The platoon included four Sergeants and numbered 34 men. In all, at that time, the 1st SAS Coy consisted of about 230 men.


South East Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO)

Exercise ‘LIGTAS’


May - June 1964: The prospect of a SEATO exercise with American, British and Philippine Forces in the Philippines in May 1964 gave Major Garland the opportunity to test a new unit organisation. Each combat platoon was reduced to form a ‘troop’ of 21 personnel commanded by a Lieutenant and patrols of six men.


The 1st SAS Company

Parachutes with

United States Army Special Forces


13 May 1964: 69 members of the 1st SAS Company participated in a parachute descent with members of the US Army Special Forces stationed on Okinawa, Japan. After the parachute descent, the Commanding Officer of the US Army Special Forces on Okinawa presented each of the SAS Company members who participated in the jump with a US Army Parachute Badge along with a Special Order authorising each member to wear the badge. (Unfortunately Australian Army dress regulations do not permit the wearing of foreign parachute badges).


The 1st SAS Company at Subic Bay, in the Philippines


24 May 1964: The remainder of the 1st SASCompany married up with the ‘Experimental Squadron’ at Subic Bay, just before the initial deployment into the main exercise area. The Company now consisted of 183 soldiers on exercise. The main exercise involved an assault onto the island of Mindoro. In addition to the Australian SAS Company, it included elements of the 3rd United States Marine Division and 503rd US Army Airborne Battle Group, 40 Commando Royal Marines, United States Air Force and Navy air support.


Officers Commanding the SAS Company


Major W.W. Gook1957 - 1958 Major L.A. Eyles1958 - 1960 Major L.G. Clark, MC"1960 - 1962 

Captain G.F. Cohen1962 - 1963 Major A.B. Garland1963 - 1964 


Company Sergeant Majors of the

SAS Company


Warrant Officer Class One C.M. Vennes1957 - 1958Warrant Officer Class Two D.E. Callahan1958Warrant Officer Class One L.W. Brennan, MBE1958 - 1960

Warrant Officer Class One G.E. Chinn, DCM1960 - 1964Warrant Officer Class One L.J. Moon1964


1st SAS Comany Ceases to Exist


20 August 1964: Army Headquarters issued instructions for the raising of a new unit, the Special Air Service Regiment. The instruction directed that with effect from 4 September 1964 1 SAS Company RAR was to be disbanded and the existing Royal Australian Regiment link with SAS was to cease.




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