Regimental alliances linked the pre-Second World War militaries of the British Empire together in important ways. A connection based on sentiment, camaraderie, race-patriotism, and a shared commander-in-chief (the King), regimental alliances were a mechanism that demonstrated the interconnectivity of the empire’s armies while also having practical applications by increasing inter-army communication, providing opportunities for liaison, and establishing inter-unit fraternity. Initially used to bind a ‘junior’ Dominion regiment to a ‘senior’ regiment of the British Army and thereby enhance esprit de corps within the former, by the late 1920s direct regimental alliances were being established between Dominion formations. An understudied mechanism, this paper uses deep archival research on four continents to trace the interwar Australian Military Forces’ (AMF) use of regimental alliances to enhance its ties to the military forces of Britain, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa. It reviews the theoretical basis for regimental alliances, their pre-First World War establishment, post-war revival, and perceived value. By illuminating the AMF’s use of regimental alliances this paper demolishes any conception of the interwar Australian Army as an isolated and parochial institution – instead revealing it as a networked force with a privileged place within the military structure of the British Empire.
Meet the Speaker: Jordan Beavis
Jordan Beavis is a PhD candidate in History at the University of Newcastle, Australia. His doctoral research examines the military connections and linkages that existed between the Australian Military Forces and the other armies of the British Commonwealth in the interwar period. In July 2021 he submitted his thesis, entitled ‘A Networked Army: The Australian Military Forces and the other Armies of the Interwar British Commonwealth (1919-1939)’, to his examiners. Jordan was the 2018 recipient of the prestigious C. E. W. Bean Prize for his Honours thesis. His research has been supported by the Australian Army History Unit, the Association for Canadian Studies in Australia and New Zealand, the Society for Army Historical Research, and the Society for Military History (joint with UNSW Canberra).