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April 21, 2016
MPs gathered in Canberra in April to celebrate
100 years of military policing in the Australian
Army, Cpl Sebastian Beurich reports
Military police mark 100 years of service
ILITARY police from across
Australia converged on
Canberra from March 31 to
April 3 to celebrate the cen-
tenary of the Royal Australian Corps of
Military Police (RACMP).
The celebrations kicked off on a sol-
emn note when members of the corps
and the public gathered at the Australian
War Memorial (AWM) to commemorate
Cpl Alfred Harston, of the Anzac Provost
Corps, who was killed in action during
WWI, at a Last Post ceremony.
During the ceremony RACMP RSM
WO1 Ken Bullman read about Cpl
“It was an honour to be involved in the
Last Post ceremony and to highlight the
service and sacrifice of one of our found-
ing members,” he said.
“As a result of ab-initio recruiting,
our soldiers are generally much younger
now compared to when I joined, but even
though some have only been in the corps
for a short time, they all understood they
were part of a bigger, respected, long-
WO1 Bullman said many things had
changed over his career with RACMP, but
the role had stayed the same.
“Military policing command and
reporting chains have changed significant-
ly over the past 25 years. We used to have
independent companies under the mili-
tary district arrangement in each state,”
“While we have been built on tradi-
tion, we have restructured for the future
with improvements in training, equipment
and structure to meet operational and
As part of the centenary celebrations
committee, WO1 Bullman had been
involved with the planning and prepara-
tion of the weekend’s events for more than
“While the only activity I had an active
part in was the reading at the Last Post
ceremony, I had oversight of the numer-
ous activities to ensure they represented
the corps in an appropriate way,” he said.
On the morning of April 2, members
of the corps gathered at the AWM and
were joined by the Governor-General Gen
Sir Peter Cosgrove, VCDF VAdm Ray
Griggs, CA Lt-Gen Angus Campbell and
dignitaries from state and territory police
Williams was the parade commander for
“The significance and importance of
the event wasn’t lost on me, however, I
only focused on it after the parade was
completed,” he said.
“I deliberately didn’t spend much time
thinking about who was attending the
parade – but the comments from unique
and enjoyable experience.”
Maj Williams offered a view on the
significance of the weekend’s celebrations
for the members who attended, both serv-
ing and former.
“The centenary activities had an
impact on many people – they left a lot
of us feeling a renewed sense of pride and
respect for those who have served in the
RACMP over the last 100 years,” he said.
“While the focus and training of the
corps has evolved over time, our funda-
mental tasks have been a constant since
the corps was raised at Gallipoli.
“I believe as RACMP continues to
modernise, we will also maintain these
traditions through our links to the past.”
The Governor-General said a century
ago the soldiers of the AIF at Gallipoli
were revered for their bravery and cour-
age, but were not always respectful of
“It was in this environment that more
than 100 mounted military policy served –
albeit without their horses,” he said.
“They maintained order as best they
could. They ultimately played a criti-
cal role in facilitating the evacuation
of 20,000 troops from that ill-fated
He said the work of MPs was difficult
and not always popular.
“But it is essential,” he said. “You are
universally respected. And your value and
importance is quickly recognised by those
you help and serve.
“Here today we have the largest gath-
ering of current and former military police
in living memory.
“This is a day for reflection and cama-
raderie. For those who have served, and
those who currently serve, it is also a day
for great pride and honour.”
The Governor-General said the cen-
tenary parade was a tribute to military
police and the contribution they had made
for 100 years.
“You do your forebears proud,” he
said, “and I know you will continue to
serve our ADF and our great nation with
THE modern military police have a rich history that
dates back 100 years.
Their origins can be traced back to the Provost
of Old England and is now an inherent part of our
In May 1511, Henry VIII sent an Army to Spain
and Henry Guyldford of Leeds Castle in Kent was
commissioned as his Provost Marshal – the first
use of the office in today’s terms.
For the next two centuries the Provost Marshal
and provost staff evolved as an essential part of
the British military.
The first modern assembly of military police
in Australia formed in 1916 as the Anzac Provost
It was later renamed the Australian Army
Provost Corps in 1918 before disbanding in 1920.
During WWII the corps re-formed and in 1948
was granted the “Royal” prefix, before adopting its
current name on September 4, 1974.
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