Colonel P. Davies, AM

Phillip (Phil) Davies was born at Ryde, NSW, in July 1940 and educated at Lithgow High School where he joined the School’s Cadet Unit in 1954 and became an Under Officer and School Prefect in his final year.

Phil entered the Royal Military College Duntroon (RMC) in 1958 for the four year course; attaining Under Officer status in his final year and winning the prize for Minor Tactics. He graduated Lieutenant in December 1961 and was commissioned into the Infantry Corps as a Platoon Commander with C Company, 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (1RAR). Subsequently he was posted to 3 RAR as a Platoon Commander in 1963 and saw active service in Malaysia in 1964.

On return to Australia, he was promoted Captain and appointed an Instructor to the newly forming Officer Training Unit (OTU), at Scheyville, NSW, in April 1965. This unit was raised to train selected National Service conscripts to undertake officer training to meet the expanding need for 2nd Lieutenants across all Corps to support Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War. Towards the end of his Scheyville posting Phil was seconded to tour New South Wales secondary schools with the Army Team of Lecturers.

On reposting Phil was promoted to Captain as the Adjutant/Assistant Operations Officer of 1RAR in 1968/69, which included the significant action at FSPB Coral in Vietnam.  His war experiences further endeared him to that exceptional individual the Australian “Digger”: ordinary Australians who the public expect to do extraordinary things on their behalf.  This relationship and respect for our Digger has featured strongly throughout his career.

Phil was promoted to Major on return from Vietnam and posted to the 3rd Training Battalion (3TB) at Singleton, NSW, to train hundreds of National Service soldiers in readiness for Vietnam.

Technical training at the Royal Military College of Science, Shrivenham UK, followed in late 1970, with exposure to military equipment procurement in Europe. On return to Australia in January 1972 Phil was posted to the Army Engineering Design Establishment (ADE) in Maribyrnong, Victoria, which provided an excellent opportunity to interact with industry over two years. Selection followed in January 1974 to the Australian Army Command and Staff College at, Queenscliff, Victoria for twelve months.

On posting as 2IC of 5/7RAR in Dec 1974, the Battalion undertook immediate deployment to a devastated Darwin to provide civil aid following Cyclone Tracy. Promotion to Lieutenant Colonel followed in late 1975, as the Army’s Senior Planner for Exercise Kangaroo 2. In late 1976 Phil was posted as Commander of the Infantry Development Wing at the Infantry Centre, Singleton, NSW.

Selection for the Joint Services Staff College (JSSC) early in 1979 followed before a return to Duntroon, this time as the Chief Instructor. The award of an AM for services to the Australian Army and the Singleton Community was received at the beginning of this exciting posting to Duntroon.

Promoted to Colonel in late 1981, posting to Army Headquarters, Canberra, rounded off the broad understanding required of a senior Materiel staff officer.

A plum posting as the last Commandant of the Officer Cadet School Portsea (OCS) followed in 1984, with the challenge of integrating female cadets into the main stream of Army Officer training for the first time, a milestone for women in the Services.

Phil returned to Canberra in January 1986 as a Brigadier to command the Army Quality Assurance Organisation. This post presented exposure to new issues and the Chairmanship of the ABCA Armies Quadripartite Working Group (America, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) with attendance at a working group in Canada. He took the opportunity to challenge the ever growing list of stalled/overtaken projects which were going nowhere and was able to convince the group to cancel most of these outdated projects: including one proposed by Field Marshal Montgomery to standardise motor vehicle light globes (appropriate to WWII).

In June 1986 Phil was chosen as Head of the Hamilton Report Implementation Team, to implement improvements for Service families, and continued in this role until January 1987 when he was appointed Commander of the 3rd Military District (3MD), overseeing all Army establishments in Victoria and return them to the central control of HQ ADF.

Civilian life beckoned and he retired from active service in January 1992 becoming an Officer of the Inactive Reserve and Colonel Commandant of Army Cadets for Australia and Honorary Colonel of Cadets of the new Southern District until 1996. A number of civilian appointments followed and he retired from the paid workforce in January 2005.

Phil is married to Sandra and has two daughters and a son, and seven grandchildren.

Phil passed away on 21 April 2020.

Biographical Notes: 

  • Early History
  • Born Ryde, NSW, July 1940
  • Educated Lithgow High School NSW
  • School Cadets 1954-57 (Under Officer final year)
  • Married Sandra, Rose Bay, NSW, February 1966

Military Career

  • Royal Military College Duntroon (1958-61), four year tertiary course, Under Officer final year, Commissioned Lieutenant, Royal Australian Infantry Corps
  • Platoon Commander (1962-64) with the 1st and 3rd Battalions of the Royal Australian Regiment; including Active Service in Malaya

Vietnam Era

  • Promoted Captain (1965)
  • Instructor Officer Training Unit, Scheyville NSW, preparing National Service Officers for Vietnam (65-67)
  • Adjutant and Assistant operations officer, 1RAR with Active Service in Vietnam (1967-69)
  • Promoted Major (1969), Company Commander, 3rd Training Battalion, Singleton NSW, training National Service soldiers for service in Vietnam
  • UK (1970-71) Royal Military College of Science, tertiary equipment procurement program
  • Army Design Establishment (ADE), Maribyrnong (1972-73)

Middle Career

  • Army Command and Staff College (1974)
  • 2IC (Second In Command) 5/7 RAR (1975)
  • Promoted Lieutenant Colonel (1975)
  • Senior Army Planner, Australian/USA Joint Exercise planning Staff (1976)
  • Commander Development Wing, Infantry Centre, Singleton (1977-78)
  • Joint Services Staff College, Canberra for senior officer joint staff program (6 months)
  • Awarded Member of The Order of Australia AM, Queen’s Birthday Honours (1979)
  • Chief Instructor, Royal Military College (1979-81)

Senior Career

  • Promoted Colonel (1982)
  • Director in Army Materiel Branch (1982-83), responsible for individual equipment development, management of Army Unit Scales of Issue, and Branch Financial Management Programs
  • Commandant Officer Cadet School Portsea (1984-85)
  • Promoted Brigadier (1986)
  • Director General Army Quality Assurance (1986-87), including Chairmanship of the ABCA International Quadripartite Ammunition and Equipment Standardisation Committee
  • Project Manager Defence Families Information and Liaison Service (ADFILS)
  • Commander 3rd Military District (Victoria) (1988-92)
  • De-mobbed February 1992
  • Honorary Colonel and Colonel Commandant of Army Cadets (1992-95)

Civilian Appointments

  • Group Manager P Blashki and Sons, Hawthorn (1992-93)
  • Executive Officer Australian Organisation for Quality (1993-95)
  • Group Manager Australian Red Cross Society Victoria (1995-99)
  • Executive Officer Keep Australia Beautiful (2000)
  • Executive Officer TPI Association of Victoria (Inc) (2001-2005)
  • Retired (2005)

Voluntary Community Service

  • Voluntary community service activities were primarily with Veterans and Army Cadet activities and included:
  • Coordination of the ANZAC Day Dawn Service, March and Shrine ceremony (1992-95).
  • Colonel Commandant of the Army’s Cadet Corps nationally (1992-95).
  • Chaired the committee that mounted and staged the Victory in the Pacific Parade in Melbourne on 15 August 95 – the largest parade since 1945.
  • Governor of the Corps of Commissionaires 1995-2001.
  • Regular participation and speaking engagements at ANZAC Day and other ceremonies.

Education and Associations

  • Graduated Royal Military College Duntroon – 1961.
  • Graduated Royal Military College of Science (UK) – ptsc – 1971.
  • Graduated Australian Army Staff College – psc – 1974.
  • Graduated Joint Services Staff College – jssc – 1979.
  • Attended the Australian Administrative Staff College (Mt Eliza) – 1982.
  • Post Graduate Diploma in Corporate Management – Dip CM – 1991.
  • Fellow of The Australian Institute of Management – FAIM – 1991-2000.
  • Director, Corps of Commissionaires (Victoria) Limited – 1995-2001.
  • Director, Field Marshal Sir Thomas Blamey Fund (Inc) – 1995- 2001
  • Patron, Totally and Permanently Disabled Soldiers’ Association – 1998-2003.


Member of the Order of Australia (AM), for service to the Singleton community and the Army – Queen’s Birthday Honours 1979.