World War II Memorial Plaques

2/10th Field Regiment

2/10th Field Regiment

The 2/10th Field Regiment, together with the 2/14th and 2/15th, made up the three artillery regiments of the 8th Division. Men from across Queensland joined the regiment and served in Malaya and Singapore during the Pacific campaign of WWII. Some 834 men from the regiment were taken prisoner when Singapore fell, and spent the next three-and-a-half years as POWs; 270 died.

2/4th Field Regiment

2/4th Field Regiment

The 2/4th Field Regiment was an Australian Army artillery regiment formed as part of the 7th Division in May 1940.  It was first deployed to take part in the North African Campaign in late 1940.  In 1942 the 2/4th Field Regiment returned to Australia and was later sent to Morotai to support the Borneo campaign.

2/4th Australian Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment

2/4th Australian Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment

The 2/4th Light Anti-Aircraft (LAA) Regiment was raised in Palestine in January 1942 – one of 11 to be raised during WWII. At the time, it became the fourth such unit of the 1st Australian Anti-Aircraft Brigade and was attached to the 9th Division.  From 1942 to 1945 the unit served in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and New Guinea (Lae, Finschhafen, Nadzab and Dumpu).

Australian Army Service Corps

Australian Army Service Corps

The Australian Army Service Corps (AASC) was responsible for the procurement, storage and distribution of military consumables including food and petrol (but not ammunition). As well as being the army’s truckies, they also moved troops and delivered mail. The AASC underwent a series of name, role and structural changes throughout WWII. 

8th Division Australian Army Service Corps

8th Division Australian Army Service Corps

The 8th Division AASC supported the three infantry brigades that made up the 8th Australian Infantry Division.  From 1940, they served in the Pacific theatre, including in Singapore, Ambon, Darwin, New Guinea, Timor and Malaya.  Most of the members of the division became prisoners of war of the Empire of Japan, with an estimated one in three dying in captivity.

1st Australian Corps Troops Supply Column

1st Australian Corps Troops Supply Column

The 1st Australian Corps Troops Supply Column was formed from men of the permanent army of the Australian Army Service Corps (AASC) and from 1941 served in the Western Desert Campaign in North Africa, Greece, Crete and Syria.  In June 1943, it became the 2/33rd and 2/34th Australian General Transport Company and the 2/41st, 2/42nd, 2/43rd and 2/44th Australian Transport Platoons.  These units served across New Guinea, Labuan, Brunei and Balikpapan, with the 7th and 9th Divisions.

2/12th Field Regiment

2/12th Field Regiment

The 2/12th Field Regiment supported the 9th Division in several major battles of the North African Campaign, including the Siege of Tobruk and both the First and Second Battles of El Alamein.  The regiment returned to Australia in early 1943 and then joined the Pacific Campaign first in New Guinea and later in North Borneo.  Over 2,000 personnel served in the regiment over the six years of WWII. 71 members were killed and 138 wounded.

Royal Australian Engineers

Royal Australian Engineers

The Royal Australian Engineers (RAE) corps expanded exponentially during WWII, growing from 233 regular troops and 1,750 Militia to 32,984 men at its peak in 1945. The corps undertook a range of tasks broadly divided into mobility, countermobility and construction and served in Libya, Greece, Crete, Syria-Lebanon, Ceylon, the Northern Territory, Papua, New Guinea and Borneo.

2/11th Field Company Royal Australian Engineers

2/11th Field Company Royal Australian Engineers

The 2/11th Field Company, raised for the Second AIF, trained at Redbank then moved north as part of an effort to bolster Australia's defences in preparation for potential war in the Pacific. In addition to its Winnellie headquarters, the 2/11th Field company had sections that served in New Guinea and Borneo, on Timor and on Ambon Island in the Netherlands East Indies.  On Ambon, after surrendering, over 200 men were massacred by the Japanese. The rest became prisoners of war; three quarters died before the war’s end.

55 Australian Field Park Company & 284 LAD (Royal Australian Engineers)

55 Australian Field Park Company & 284 LAD (Royal Australian Engineers)

The 55th Field Park Company was a unit of the Royal Australian Engineers (RAE).  The 284 Australian Light Aid Detachment (LAD) was a unit of the Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (AEME).  Both units were attached to the 5th Division, which was mobilised for the defence of North Queensland in 1942.  Between 1943 and 1945, the 5th Division took part in the New Guinea campaign.

11th Field Company Royal Australian Engineers

11th Field Company Royal Australian Engineers

During WWII, the 11th Field Company RAE initially remained in Australia as part of an effort to improve home defences. The unit was attached to the 29th Brigade which was part of the 5th Division. One of its earliest roles was to defend Townsville. In 1943, the 11th was deployed to Milne Bay in New Guinea.  Later, the 11th took part in the final stages of the Salamaua-Lae and Bougainville campaigns.  The brigade and its component units were disbanded in December 1945.

Australian Army Nursing Service (1939–1945)

Australian Army Nursing Service (1939–1945)

After WWI, the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) reverted to an Australian Army Reserve unit. At the outbreak of WWII it was raised for service abroad and formed part of the Second Australian Imperial Force (AIF).  5,000 Australian nurses "did their bit" and served during WWII. They were sent to the Middle East, the Mediterranean, Britain, Asia, the Pacific and around Australia.  At its wartime peak, the service’s strength was 3,477 members. 71 members of the AANS lost their lives and 137 decorations were awarded including two George Medals.

19th Australian Field Ambulance

19th Australian Field Ambulance

The 19th Australian Field Ambulance was stationed in North Queensland where it carried out anti-malaria measures and treated soldiers suffering from tropical diseases.  In June 1942, the 19th also provided medical support to the Australian force that made an ill-fated amphibious landing north of the Porton Plantation on Bougainville Island.  Of the 15 medical orderlies from the 19th that landed at Porton, 3 were killed, 2 went missing, and 8 were wounded.

106th Australian Casualty Clearing Station and 6th Casualty Clearing Station Brisbane

106th Australian Casualty Clearing Station and 6th Casualty Clearing Station Brisbane

The 6th and 106th Casualty Clearing Stations were based in the Brisbane area.  Between 1941 and 1942, the officers and nursing sisters of the 106th were stationed with the 7th Brigade (an all-Queensland Militia force) at Chermside Army Camp.  The 6th Casualty Clearing Station was located at Ipswich. 

7th Australian Field Ambulance (1914-18, 1939-45)

7th Australian Field Ambulance (1914-18, 1939-45)

During WWII, the 7th Australian Field Ambulance was a unit of the Australian Army Medical Corps (AAMC). Raised at Puckapunyal in Victoria, its members were sent to Palestine, Egypt, Libya, Greece, Crete, Syria, New Guinea and Darwin.  The unit also provided medical visits to the Channel Island Leprosarium and Aeromedical Service with No. 6 Communications Unit, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

Australian Army Medical Corps

Australian Army Medical Corps

Since 1902, the Australian Army Medical Corps (AAMC) has participated in every Australian Army operation, including wars and peacekeeping operations.  In addition to the casualty clearing stations, field ambulances, stationary hospitals, hospital ships and sanatoriums of WWI, the AAMC in WWII also raised various transport services such as trains, pathology laboratories, hospital laundries and stores depots and the corps made a considerable contribution to research in tropical diseases, particularly malaria.

Australian Army Nursing Service (1939–1945)

Australian Army Nursing Service (1939–1945)

After WWI, the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) reverted to an Australian Army Reserve unit. At the outbreak of WWII it was raised for service abroad and formed part of the Second Australian Imperial Force (AIF).  5,000 Australian nurses "did their bit" and served during WWII. They were sent to the Middle East, the Mediterranean, Britain, Asia, the Pacific and around Australia.  At its wartime peak, the service’s strength was 3,477 members. 71 members of the AANS lost their lives and 137 decorations were awarded including two George Medals.

2/2nd Machine Gun Battalion

2/2nd Machine Gun Battalion

Comprised of volunteer men from New South Wales and Queensland Light Horse, the 2/2nd Machine Gun Battalion was raised in Sydney on 2 May 1940 and departed for the Middle East in February 1941 where it served in Palestine, Egypt, at El Alamein and Tripoli.  The battalion returned to Sydney in 1944 before deploying to Papua and New Guinea and later Morotai and Tarakan Island.  The 2/2nd was disbanded in Brisbane in 1946.

2/1st Australian Machine Gun Battalion

2/1st Australian Machine Gun Battalion

The 2/1st Australian Machine Gun Battalion was established on 14 December 1939 as part of the 6th Division, with men from across Australia.  Initially intended for deployment in the Middle East, the battalion was diverted for garrison duties in the UK. The 2/1st then went to Greece to support the 6th Division on the ill-fated defence of the Aliakmon line, before retreating to Crete where the men either evacuated, escaped, or became prisoners.  Recalled to Australia in March 1942, companies were then sent to Papua and later Borneo.  The 2/1st was disbanded on 26 January 1946.

2/1st Tank Attack Regiment Royal Australian Artillery

2/1st Tank Attack Regiment Royal Australian Artillery

Also known as the 2/1st Anti-Tank Regiment, this Royal Australian Artillery regiment was assigned to the 6th Division, the first division of the newly-formed Second Australian Imperial Force (AIF).  The regiment initially served in the UK, then in the Middle East, North Africa and the Greek campaign. After returning to Australia in 1942 to join the Pacific campaign, the 2/1st fought in New Guinea.

2/2nd Tank Attack Regiment Royal Australian Artillery 7th Division

2/2nd Tank Attack Regiment Royal Australian Artillery 7th Division

Also known as the 2/2nd Anti-Tank Regiment, this Royal Australian Artillery regiment was formed near Brisbane in 1940.  It was assigned to the 7th Division and deployed to North Africa, arriving in Egypt in December 1941. The 2/2nd served in Palestine, Egypt and Syria before returning to Australia to train for the Pacific campaign. The regiment deployed overseas to New Guinea and Borneo and detachments were sent to support various other units in the Pacific theatre.  The regiment disbanded in 1946.

Honour Roll for 2/2nd Tank Attack Regiment Royal Australian Artillery 7th Division

Honour Roll for 2/2nd Tank Attack Regiment Royal Australian Artillery 7th Division

Staff Sergeant D.L.W. Morrison and Major G.G. Schneider have been listed by the Australian War Memorial as two of the 2/2nd Anti-Tank Regiment’s members to have been captured in the Malayan Campaign and made prisoners of war. A further 20 men from the regiment are recorded as having been killed in service, two of whom were killed while serving in Australia.

2/12th Australian Infantry Battalion

2/12th Australian Infantry Battalion

Recruits for the 2/12th Battalion were mainly drawn from Tasmania and North Queensland and sailed for the Middle East in May 1940 as part of the 18th Brigade of the 6th Division.  The brigade was diverted to the UK and transferred to the new 9th Division.  Later, the 2/12th deployed to the Middle East and saw action at Tobruk and in Syria, before being reassigned to the 7th Division and returning to Australia for the Pacific campaign.  The battalion served at Milne Bay, Goodenough Island, Buna and Sanananda, then later Shaggy Ridge and Ramu Valley.  Its last operation was in Borneo in 1945. 

2/32nd Australian Infantry Battalion

2/32nd Australian Infantry Battalion

The 2/32nd Battalion was formed in the UK in June 1940 and attached to the new 25th Brigade, 7th Division.  They sailed to Egypt in January 1941 to join the 9th Division in Palestine.  The 2/32nd reinforced the 24th Brigade at Tobruk and later took part in both battles at El Alamein.  Although successful, these battles came at a cost with nearly half of the battalion's numbers killed, wounded or captured.  They returned to Australia before deploying to Salamaua-Lae in New Guinea and later fought at Finschhafen and around Pabu. Finally, they were transported to Morotai to prepare for amphibious operations in Borneo.  After the war, some members joined the occupation force for Japan.

Rats of Tobruk

Rats of Tobruk

Between April and August 1941, around 14,000 Australian soldiers were besieged in the port of Tobruk by the Afrika Korps, a German-Italian army commanded by General Erwin Rommel. The garrison, under the command of Lieutenant General Leslie Morshead, consisted of the 9th Australian Division, the 18th Brigade of the 7th Australian Division and other British and Commonwealth forces.  Originally instructed to hold the fortress for two months to allow the Western Desert Force to reorganise, the soldiers' determination, bravery, humour and aggressive defence strategy saw them endure much longer, and the Rats of Tobruk achieved lasting respect and fame.

26th Australian Infantry Battalion plaque

26th Australian Infantry Battalion

In WWII, the 26th Battalion was re-established as a Militia unit and included both young recruits and experienced WWI veterans. As part of 11th Brigade, the battalion undertook defensive duties in North Queensland, initially under the command of decorated WWI veteran Henry “Mad Harry” Murray. From May 1943, companies from the 26th were detached for service across the Torres Strait, Horn Island and Cape York. “A” Company detached to the Dutch East Indies, becoming the first Militia unit to serve outside Australian territory. The 26th later saw action on Bougainville, including amphibious landings at Soraken Plantation and around Porton, before ending the war with garrison duties at Rabaul.

9th Australian Division

9th Australian Division

The 9th Australian Division was the fourth division raised for the Second Australian Imperial Force (AIF) and the only Second AIF division to have formed in the UK. It fought in front-line combat for longer, cumulatively, than any other Australian division, and served in both the Mediterranean and Pacific theatres.  The 9th's campaigns included the Siege of Tobruk, El Alamein, Milne Bay, Lae, the Huon Peninsula, Tarakan and Brunei Bay.  The division finally disbanded in May 1946.

42nd Australian Infantry Battalion

42nd Australian Infantry Battalion

The 42nd Infantry Battalion, also known as the ‘Capricornia Regiment’ trained across central Queensland before undertaking defensive duties as part of the 5th Division’s 29th Brigade.  In 1943, the brigade was sent to Milne Bay, then Tambu Bay and Salamaua.  In 1944 they linked up with the 7th Division to clear Lae, then later transferred to Petrie. By August 1944, the brigade held the Australian record for the longest service in New Guinea – 18 months.  In 1945, the battalion, with the rest of the 29th Brigade, joined the 3rd Division in Bougainville.  The battalion lost a total of 27 killed and 55 wounded and disbanded on 7 May 1946,

47th Australian Infantry Battalion

47th Australian Infantry Battalion

Members of Queensland’s 47th Infantry Battalion were also known as the ‘Wide Bay Regiment’ and together with the 15th and 42nd Battalions formed the 5th Division’s 29th Brigade. The 47th initially trained and performed garrison duties in Queensland before deploying to Milne Bay and Goodenough Island in 1943.  The 29th Brigade held the record for the longest service in New Guinea – 18 months.  The 47th was sent to Bougainville in late 1944, joining the 3rd Division.  They returned to Australia on 23 December 1945 and disbanded in January 1946.

2/25th Australian Infantry Battalion

2/25th Australian Infantry Battalion

The 2/25th Battalion was raised in Brisbane and recruited within Queensland. In 1941 it joined the 25th Brigade, the 7th Australian Division along the Egypt-Libya border, and later fought against the Vichy French at Merdjayou, suffering heavy casualties.  After returning to Australia for training, the battalion was sent to Papua to reinforce units on the Kokoda Trail followed by major battles near Templeton’s Crossing, Gorari and Buna-Gona in late 1942.  In September 1943, the 2/25th advanced on the Japanese base at Lae in New Guinea and then performed patrol duties through Ramu Valley and the Finisterre Range.  Its last operation was in Borneo in July 1945 and the battalion was disbanded in March 1946.

HQ Fifth Australian Division (1942–1945)

HQ Fifth Australian Division (1942–1945)

The 5th Australian Division was formed in 1942 with headquarters based in Aitkenvale in Townsville, as it was believed that North Queensland was a prime site for invasion by Japanese forces.  In mid-1942, Major General Edward Milford was appointed commanding officer of the 5th Division under Lieutenant General James Durrant, the Commander in Chief Northern Command in Queensland. The anticipated invasion never eventuated and in August 1943, the 5th Division was deployed to the Salamaua campaign on the north coast of New Guinea and later in 1945, to the New Britain campaign.

Command Memorial (Special Forces Commando Squadrons M and Z)

Command Memorial (Special Forces Commando Squadrons M and Z)

Two multinational combined-forces commando units formed during WWII to undertake covert operations against the Japanese in the southwest Pacific theatre.  M Special unit, formed in 1943, comprised Australian, New Zealander, Dutch and British military intelligence personnel.  It provided information on Japanese naval and troop movements in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, deploying behind enemy lines and reporting back to the Allied Intelligence Bureau via radio.  A number of unit members were captured and executed by the Japanese.  Z Special Unit, also known as Z Force, undertook direct action missions. Its members were mostly Australian, British, Dutch and New Zealander, with some Timorese and Indonesian. The unit had notable actions in Singapore harbour, on Muschu Island and on Borneo. 

Australian Independent Companies

Australian Independent Companies

The Australian ‘commando’ or ‘special forces’ units were formed during WWII, modelled on the British Army Commandos.  They received special training and were generally used for reconnaissance and long-range patrols.   By May 1942, nine independent companies had been raised to assist with operations in the Pacific theatre – in particular, to establish outposts on the islands to the north of Australia, where they could identify approaching Japanese forces and stall attempted invasions.  Some of their major actions took place on New Ireland, in Timor, at Kaiapit and throughout Papua and New Guinea.  The independent companies were redesignated cavalry commando squadrons in 1943 and fought in Borneo, New Guinea and Bougainville.

2/29th Australian Infantry Battalion

2/29th Australian Infantry Battalion

The 2/29th Battalion was part of the 8th Division’s 27th Brigade, the last AIF brigade raised during WWII.  The 2/29th initially fought as part of a combined Australian-Indian defence against the Japanese forces advancing through Johore in Malaya.  At Parit Sulong they were forced to withdraw and leave behind their wounded – about 110 Australians, 40 Indians and some medical personnel; most were executed by the Japanese.  Only 130 men from the 2/29th Battalion made it to the British lines. Reinforced within a few days, the battalion joined the defence of Singapore until the surrender.  Personnel then became prisoners of war, enduring hard labour for over three years.

2/33rd Australian Infantry Battalion

2/33rd Australian Infantry Battalion

The 2/33rd Battalion was formed in June 1940 from surplus Australian troops sent to the UK. It was attached to 25th Brigade of the 7th Division.  It served in Egypt, Libya and Palestine, before performing garrison duties in Lebanon.  After leave and training in Australia, the battalion deployed to Papua relieving units along the Kokoda Trail.  In 1943, while at Port Moresby, a US B-24 Liberator bomber crashed into trucks carrying the battalion, killing 60 men and injuring 90 – a third of the battalion’s fatal casualties for WWII. The battalion later participated in the advance on Lae and patrolled the Ramu Valley and the Finisterre Range, before its final operation in Borneo in 1945.

6th Australian Division

6th Australian Division

The 6th Australian Division was created for the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) during WWI.  In 1940, it was re-raised and was the first division in the newly-formed Second AIF.  Initially commanded by Lieutenant General Thomas Blamey, the 6th Division served in the UK, North Africa and the Middle East, Greece, Crete and finally New Guinea, including on the Kokoda Track.  At Aitape-Wewak, the men suffered from the inhospitable terrain; many drowned attempting to cross flood-swollen rivers or from tropical diseases and the campaign cost the division its highest number of casualties. Two members of 6th division were awarded the Victoria Cross.

61st Australian Infantry Battalion Queensland Cameron Highlanders

61st Australian Infantry Battalion Queensland Cameron Highlanders

The 61st Battalion was re-raised as part of the Militia in Brisbane in 1937. The local Scottish community was keen to have its own regiment and lobbied for the 61st to be linked with Queenland’s own local Cameron Highlanders. The result was the 61st Battalion Queensland Cameron Highlanders.  In WWII, the battalion joined the 7th Brigade, and took up garrison duty around Caloundra and Townsville before deploying to Milne Bay in 1942.  The battalion served elsewhere in New Guinea, Papua and finally in Bougainville, including at the battles of Pearl Ridge and Slater’s Knoll.  The 7th Brigade suffered 48 men killed or wounded. The 61st battalion disbanded on 2 February 1946.

New Guinea Volunteer Rifles

New Guinea Volunteer Rifles

The New Guinea Volunteer Rifles (NGVR) was the only Australian Army Militia unit to have been raised, mobilised, fought and disbanded overseas.  NGVR operations included rescue missions, the evacuation of thousands of European civilians from the war zone and setting up camps for several thousand native labourers.  When the Japanese forces landed at Rabaul in 1942, they quickly overran the NGVR defences; 28 men were killed and many NGVR personnel were taken prisoner.  About 36 NGVR personnel were also among the 1,053 lost on board the Japanese ship, Montevideo Maru, when it was torpedoed and tragically sunk by an American submarine in 1942. 

2/1st Australian Infantry Battalion

2/1st Australian Infantry Battalion

The 2/1st Battalion was raised in Sydney in 1939 and formed part of the 15th Brigade, 6th Division.  The battalion served in Egypt, Libya and at Tobruk before joining the 2/11th Battalion in the ill-fated campaign in Greece and Crete where the battalions were forced to surrender and many became prisoners of war.  The battalion was re-formed in Palestine, and then manned defences in northern Syria before the 6th Division returned to Australia to join the Pacific Campaign.  In the South-West Pacific theatre, the 2/1st Battalion fought in two campaigns: on the Kokoda trail, where many of the battalion were killed, wounded or evacuated due to illness, and in the Aitape-Wewak region

31/51st Australian Infantry Battalion

31/51st Australian Infantry Battalion

Townsville’s 31st Battalion was also known as the ‘Kennedy Regiment’ and the 51st as the ‘Far North Queensland Regiment’. At the start of WWII, these battalions, together with the 26th, formed the 11th Brigade which was tasked with the defence of Far North Queensland.  By 1943, with the strength of the 31st and 51st Battalions severely depleted, the two units merged.  The 31/51st battalion served in Dutch New Guinea and later on Bougainville where the disastrous landing at Porton in the north resulted in 100 casualties including 14 killed, 7 missing and 79 injured.  After Japan’s surrender, the 31/51st performed garrison duties on Nauru and Ocean Islands and later at Rabaul.

25th Australian Infantry Battalion

25th Australian Infantry Battalion

The Toowoomba-based 25th Battalion was also known as the ‘Darling Downs Regiment’. It was called up for service during 1940 and joined the 7th Brigade at Chermside before taking up defensive positions around Caloundra and later Rollingstone.  The 25th deployed to Milne Bay in New Guinea in 1942 and then went on to perform garrison duties in the Madang area as part of 7th Brigade. Later, it fought as part of the Bougainville Campaign, including the capture of Slater’s Knoll where the battalion repelled numerous Japanese attacks, with tank support from the 2/4th Armoured Regiment.  The 25th was disbanded on 7 February 1946 having lost 62 men killed and 174 wounded.

Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels

Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels

During WWII, Papua New Guinean war carriers were given the endearing name of ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels’ by Australian soldiers.  While 650 Australians died during the Kokoda campaign, many believe that this number would have been significantly higher had it not been for the help of the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels who were sympathetic to the Australian troops.  They helped to transport essential Allied stores, equipment and stretchers over the difficult terrain, shaded sick or wounded soldiers with banana leaves, gave them water and found them native foods to eat.  ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels’ referred to both the Papuans frizzy hair and their helpful role during the war.

Honour Roll for New Guinea Volunteer Rifles

Honour Roll for New Guinea Volunteer Rifles

The New Guinea Volunteer Rifles (NGVR) was the only Australian Army Militia unit to have been raised, mobilised, fought and disbanded overseas.  NGVR operations included rescue missions, the evacuation of thousands of European civilians from the war zone and setting up camps for several thousand native labourers.  When the Japanese forces landed at Rabaul in 1942, they quickly overran the NGVR defences; 28 men were killed and many NGVR personnel were taken prisoner.  About 36 NGVR personnel were also among the 1,053 lost on board the Japanese ship, Montevideo Maru, when it was torpedoed and tragically sunk by an American submarine in 1942. 

Torres Force

Torres Force

The 14 inhabited islands in the Torres Strait each had their own proud and diverse people. Japan’s entry into the war presented a common enemy to the Torres Strait Islanders and many joined the Australian Army to defend their home.  By 1943, the Torres Strait Light Infantry Battalion, which primarily served as a garrison, had grown from an independent company of 100 men (including 17 white Australian officers) to 850 Torres Strait Islander volunteers. Local knowledge was vital to Allied operations in the area.

Pacific Islands Regiment

Pacific Islands Regiment

"In 1944, the all-volunteer Papuan Infantry Battalion (PIB) and the 1st and 2nd New Guinea Infantry Battalions (NGIB) were amalgamated to form the Pacific Islands Regiment (PIR). They were joined by the 3rd New Guinea Infantry Battalion in 1945.  Each battalion had an establishment of about 77 European and 550 native soldiers.  The PIB fought alongside the 39th Battalion as part of Maroubra Force during the Kokoda campaign and also took part in campaigns at Salamaua, on the Huon Peninsula, at Markha, Ramu and on Bougainville.  The NGIB fought on Bougainville and at Aitape-Wewak alongside the 6th Division.  Approximately 3,500 Papuans and New Guineans served in the PIR."

9th Australian Infantry Battalion (Moreton Regiment)

9th Australian Infantry Battalion (Moreton Regiment)

During the interwar years, the 9th Battalion – also known by the name of its shire as the 'Moreton Regiment' – merged with the 15th and later the 49th Battalions. The 9th/49th received a quota of recruits who had been called up for compulsory service. Together with the 15th, 25th and 61st Battalions, it formed the 7th Brigade and performed defence duties around Caloundra and then Rollingstone, before deploying to Milne Bay in New Guinea.  The 7th Brigade also performed garrison duties in the Madang area and fought several campaings in Bougainville.  The battalion was disbanded on 12 December 1945, having suffered 31 killed and 76 wounded.

2/9th Australian Infantry Battalion (Carving)

2/9th Australian Infantry Battalion (Carving)

The 2/9th Battalion was the first Queensland battalion raised for the Second Australian Imperial Force (AIF). It became part of the 18th Brigade of the 6th Division and later, the 9th and 7th Divisions.  After an initial diversion to the UK, the battalion served in North Africa at Giarabub and then at Tobruk before returning to Australia to prepare for the Pacific Campaign.  As part of the 18th Brigade, the battalion deployed to Milne Bay, and went on to further action at Buna and Sanananda.  Later it was deployed to the Finisterre Range in Papua and finally Borneo.

2/9th Australian Infantry Battalion (Base plaque)

2/9th Australian Infantry Battalion (Base plaque)

The 2/9th Battalion was the first Queensland battalion raised for the Second Australian Imperial Force (AIF). It became part of the 18th Brigade of the 6th Division and later, the 9th and 7th Divisions.  After an initial diversion to the UK, the battalion served in North Africa at Giarabub and then at Tobruk before returning to Australia to prepare for the Pacific Campaign.  As part of the 18th Brigade, the battalion deployed to Milne Bay, and went on to further action at Buna and Sanananda.  Later it was deployed to the Finisterre Range in Papua and finally Borneo.

Corporal John French VC

Corporal John French VC

John Alexander ‘Jack’ French was awarded the Victoria Cross while fighting against the Japanese during the Battle of Milne Bay in September 1942. A section – commanded by French – encountered heavy gunfire as it attempted to advance on three enemy machine-gun posts. Ordering his section to take cover, French advanced and silenced both the first and second gun positions with grenades, then moved toward the third machine-gun post, firing a machine gun from the hip. When his section pushed forward they found all enemy gun crews had been killed and Corporal French had died in front of the third gun pit.  He is buried in the Port Moresby (Bomana) War Cemetery.

No. 450 Squadron RAAF Roll of Honour

No. 450 Squadron RAAF Roll of Honour

Established in NSW in February 1941, No. 450 Squadron RAAF earned the nickname “The Desert Harassers” for their work in Northern Africa in the early years of WWII. They continued to serve throughout the war in both African and European campaigns.

Nos. 24, 32 and 75 Squadrons RAAF

Nos. 24, 32 and 75 Squadrons RAAF

RAAF Squadrons 24, 32 and 75 were Queensland Squadrons formed during WWII. Their service included patrolling the north and east coasts of Australia, participating in offensive and defensive operations against the Japanese in the South Pacific and repatriating troops and former POWs at the conclusion of the war.

No. 452 Spitfire Squadron

No. 452 Spitfire Squadron

No. 452 Squadron was the first Australian fighter squadron to be formed in Britain during WWII as part of the Empire Training Scheme. After successful operations across the United Kingdom and Europe, the squadron returned home to Australia, aiding the defence of Darwin against Japanese air raids and participating in several actions in the Dutch East Indies and Borneo.  Its last sorties of the war were on 10 August 1945. It disbanded on 17 November 1945.

Bristol Beaufort Bombers RAAF

Bristol Beaufort Bombers RAAF

The Bristol Beaufort was a British twin engine torpedo bomber. 700 were manufactured in Australia between May 1941 and August 1944 for the RAF and RAAF. The aircraft operated throughout the Pacific theatre in WWII, attacking shipping, land based supply dumps and providing coastal reconnaissance.

No. 23 Squadron RAAF

No. 23 Squadron RAAF

No. 23 Squadron RAAF was the first squadron to move to Queensland in August 1939. Operating with a number of different types of aircraft throughout WWII, the squadron performed maritime patrols, shipping escorts, bombing missions and reconnaissance missions. At the end of the war, No. 23 Squadron also flew POWs home to Australia.

No. 23 Squadron RAAF

No. 23 Squadron RAAF

No. 23 Squadron RAAF was the first squadron to move to Queensland in August 1939. Operating with a number of different types of aircraft throughout WWII, the squadron performed maritime patrols, shipping escorts, bombing missions and reconnaissance missions. At the end of the war, No. 23 Squadron also flew POWs home to Australia.

Pathfinders

Pathfinders

The Path Finder Force (PFF) was a specialist target-finding unit that was formed in August 1942 within the Royal Air Force (RAF) Bomber Command. The majority of Pathfinder squadrons and personnel were from the RAF but also included many from Commonwealth country air forces.  The PFF flew a total of 50,490 sorties against 3,440 targets. Over 3,272 members were killed during operations.

RAAF Beaufighter and Boston Squadrons

RAAF Beaufighter and Boston Squadrons

No. 22 Squadron was the only RAAF unit to operate the Douglas Boston aircraft in WWII. They performed anti-submarine and convoy escort patrols, provided air support for troops and performed ground attack, reconnaissance and bombing missions.  Along with Nos. 30, 31 and 93 Squadrons, No. 22 Squadron also flew Beaufighter aircraft which became known as “Whispering Death” due to their high speed at low altitudes, quiet engine and devastating firepower.

RAAF Beaufighter and Boston Squadrons

RAAF Beaufighter and Boston Squadrons

No. 22 Squadron was the only RAAF unit to operate the Douglas Boston aircraft in WWII. They performed anti-submarine and convoy escort patrols, provided air support for troops and performed ground attack, reconnaissance and bombing missions.  Along with Nos. 30, 31 and 93 Squadrons, No. 22 Squadron also flew Beaufighter aircraft which became known as “Whispering Death” due to their high speed at low altitudes, quiet engine and devastating firepower.

Royal Australian Air Force

Royal Australian Air Force

At the outbreak of WWII, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) had no front-line combat aircraft and only one flying school.  Having joined the Empire Air Training Scheme (EATS), the RAAF delivered basic training for 1,000 recruits every four months for overseas service.  Graduates went on to participate in RAF operations in the European, Mediterranean, North African and South-East Asian theatres. By the end of the war in 1945, a total of 216,900 men and women had served in the RAAF with 10,562 killed in action. With 76 squadrons formed, and personnel operating nearly 6,000 aircraft, the RAAF became the world’s fourth largest air force.

No. 458 Squadron

No. 458 Squadron

No. 458 Squadron RAAF was born out of the Empire Air Training Scheme in 1941. They performed operational sorties and strategic bombing campaigns over German-occupied Europe, Italy, the Middle East and Africa. Their ground crew maintained not only their own aircraft but those of British and US units as well.

No. 460 Squadron

No. 460 Squadron

"No. 460 Squadron formed in the United Kingdom in November 1941 under the Empire Air Training Scheme (EATS). It was a multinational squadron, with personnel from across the British Commonwealth, but the majority of its members were Australian.
The squadron was heavily committed to operations over Germany, Italy and German-occupied Europe and provided support to allied ground operations including the D-Day landings in June 1944."

Nos. 463 and 467 RAAF Lancaster Squadrons

Nos. 463 and 467 RAAF Lancaster Squadrons

"No. 463 Squadron RAAF formed in The UK in late 1943. The squadron conducted raids against military targets in Germany, France and Norway until the end of the war in May 1945. It was heavily engaged during the Battles of Berlin and the Ruhr, and on D-Day in Normandy attacked the German artillery batteries on Pointe du Hoc, which covered Omaha beach.

No. 467 Squadron RAAF formed in the UK in 1942 and was active in north-west Europe during WWII. The squadron earned a reputation for accurate bombing and participated in major strategic bombing offensives, including the Battles of the Ruhr, Berlin and Hamburg. It also conducted bombing raids in France, Norway, Czechoslovakia and Italy until 1945."

Sunderland Squadrons RAAF

Sunderland Squadrons RAAF

The Sunderland was one of the most powerful and widely-used flying boats during WWII. It was operated by both the Royal Air Force (RAF) and other Allied military air wings, including Nos. 10, 40 and 461 Squadrons of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).  Specifically designed for long-range patrol and reconnaissance, it was fitted with various offensive and defensive armaments. It was particularly effective against German U-boats which had posed a significant threat to the Allies.

No. 459 Squadron

No. 459 Squadron

No. 459 Squadron was formed in early 1942 and joined the 201 Group of the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) Middle East Command.  Initially the squadron’s focus was on the interception of German sea lines of communication in the Mediterranean. They also performed bombing attacks in Greece and Crete.  53 of the squadron’s personnel were killed during the war.

Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force

Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force

The Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF) was the first military organisation in Australia for women, that utilised skills other than nursing or tending the sick. It also set a precedent for the creation of other such organisations in both the navy and army.  Between March and August 1941, approximately 27,000 women enlisted and the WAAAF became the largest of the WWII women's services.  The WAAAF was disbanded in 1947. In July 1950 it became the Women’s Royal Australian Air Force (WRAAF).

No. 35 Squadron / RTFV

No. 35 Squadron / RTFV

No. 35 Squadron RAAF formed as a transport unit in WA and had a significant impact on the success of Allied campaigns at Guadalcanal and in the jungles of New Guinea and Burma. After the Japanese surrender, No. 35 Squadron was tasked with flying Australian soldiers and ex-POWs home.  The squadron was raised again in 1966, when the RAAF Transport Flight Vietnam (RTFV) was redesignated No. 35 Squadron, although its ‘Wallaby’ callsign meant that it became fondly nicknamed ‘Wallaby Airlines’. The squadron performed resupply operations in conflict zones.

200 Liberator Special Duties Flight

200 Liberator Special Duties Flight

" In June 1944 it was decided that a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) unit be allocated to the Allied Intelligence Bureau (AIB) to deliver Z Special Unit agents and supplies by parachute behind enemy lines. Controlled by the AIB, 200 Flight personnel were forbidden to speak about these highly secretive tasks of insertion and supply of intelligence-gathering parties. The unit was disbanded in December 1945.
"

No. 3 Squadron Roll of Honour (WWII)

No. 3 Squadron Roll of Honour (WWII)

At the outbreak of WWII, No. 3 Squadron was one of 12 permanent Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) squadrons. The unit absorbed new personnel and underwent intense training before being attached to the 6th Division for overseas service.  No. 3 Squadron became one of the most active squadrons in the RAAF and a Jack-of-all-trades squadron, flying a wide range of aircraft and undertaking not only conventional reconnaissance, but also ground attacks, strikes against enemy ships and frequent intense air battles.

Polish Ex-Servicemen’s Association

Polish Ex-Servicemen’s Association

The German invasion of Poland on Friday 1 September 1939 launched the European theatre of WWII.  The Polish military units that escaped the occupation took part in major Allied operations in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, fighting on land, sea and sky.  The Polish forces as a whole are considered to have been the 4th largest Allied army in Europe after the Soviet Union, the United States and Britain.

American Legion (1941–1945)

American Legion (1941–1945)

The US entered the war after the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbour in December 1941. Anticipating a war of island hopping in the Pacific, the US established military bases in Australia. The first Americans arrived in Brisbane on 22 December 1941. In April 1942, General Douglas MacArthur established his headquarters in Melbourne and, by mid-1943, around 250,000 American troops were stationed in Australia, largely concentrated in Queensland, near Brisbane, Rockhampton and Townsville. Over 16 million Americans served in the United States Armed Forces during WWII.

Netherlands Ex-Servicemen and Women’s Association – Australia Queensland Branch WWII

Netherlands Ex-Servicemen and Women’s Association – Australia Queensland Branch WWII

Of the forces that came to defend Australia during WWII, it was the Dutch that provided the greatest contribution, second in size only to the Americans. Between 1942 and 1945, a large number of Dutch military personnel arrived in Australia to assist with the defence and evacuation of residents from the Dutch East Indies. The Dutch East Indies Government operated in exile on Australian soil during the war and the Netherlands East Indies Forces Intelligence Service (NEFIS) was based in Melbourne.

Merchant Navy, the Allied Merchant Seamen

Merchant Navy, the Allied Merchant Seamen

The Australian Merchant Fleet formed part of the 200,000 members of the Merchant Navy at the outbreak of WWII. They were commissioned into service as hospital ships, supply ships and armed merchant cruisers. Approximately 3,500 Australian merchant seamen lost their lives in service of their country.

HMAS Canberra and HMAS Shropshire Association

HMAS Canberra and HMAS Shropshire Association

After the loss of HMAS Canberra in August 1942, Winston Churchill gave Australia the Royal Navy cruiser Shropshire as a replacement. Surviving crew of HMAS Canberra then served on HMAS Shropshire.  The HMAS Canberra and HMAS Shropshire Association was formed to bring together the men and women who served on these two ships.

Ex-Australian Army Medical Women’s Service Association – WWII to 1951

Ex-Australian Army Medical Women’s Service Association – WWII to 1951

The Australian Army Medical Women’s Service (AAMWS) was formed in December 1942 and became part of the Regular Army. 8,500 AAMWS members served in Australia, the Middle East, New Guinea, Borneo, Singapore and Japan during WWII.  The Ex-AAMWS Association was formed to help foster and maintain the friendships formed during the war.

Major DJF Skov – Founder of Ex-Servicewomen’s Association of Queensland

Major DJF Skov – Founder of Ex-Servicewomen’s Association of Queensland

After WWII, Major Dorothea Jane Skov founded the Ex-Service Women’s Association of Queensland to help provide ongoing support and welfare for ex-servicewomen.   Between September 1941 and August 1945, over 24,000 women enlisted as volunteers in the Australian Women’s Army Service (AWAS).  Initially needed as clerks, typists, cooks and drivers, their roles expanded to include postings in almost every army service.

Sybil Howy Irving – Founder of the Australian Women’s Army Service

Sybil Howy Irving – Founder of the Australian Women’s Army Service

Sybil Howy Irving MBE was the founder of the Australian Women’s Army Service (AWAS) and offered a lifetime of dedicated service through many organisations.  As Controller of the AWAS she was pivotal in recruiting officers around Australia.  In 1951, Irving was awarded the rank of honorary colonel in the Women’s Australian Army Corps.

Ex-Servicewomen's Association of Queensland

Ex-Servicewomen's Association of Queensland

After WWII, Major Dorothea Jane Skov founded the Ex-Service Women’s Association of Queensland to help provide ongoing support and welfare for ex-servicewomen. Between September 1941 and August 1945, over 24,000 women enlisted as volunteers in the Australian Women’s Army Service (AWAS). Initially needed as clerks, typists, cooks and drivers, their roles expanded to include postings in almost every army service including signals and intelligence.

Australian Women’s Army Service Association of Queensland

Australian Women’s Army Service Association of Queensland

Between September 1941 and August 1945, over 24,000 women enlisted as volunteers in the Australian Women’s Army Service (AWAS).  Initially needed as clerks, typists, cooks and drivers, their roles expanded to include postings in almost every army service.  The Australian Women’s Army Service (AWAS) Association of Queensland was established in January 1981 to foster and strengthen ties between ex-servicewomen of the AWAS, both in Queensland and those now living interstate or overseas.

Centaur Memorial Fund for Nurses (Base plaque)

Centaur Memorial Fund for Nurses (Base plaque)

In 1948, Queensland nurses established the Centaur Memorial Fund for Nurses. The group used fundraising money to purchase a suitable establishment, that it named Centaur House, to provide inexpensive accommodation for visiting nurses. The fund still exists today although it no longer owns a physical building.

Centaur Memorial Fund for Nurses (Sculpture)

Centaur Memorial Fund for Nurses (Sculpture)

The Australian Hospital Ship (AHS) Centaur was attacked and sunk off the coast of Queensland during WWII.  In 1948, Queensland nurses established the Centaur Memorial Fund for Nurses, acknowledging the 268 medical personnel and others whose lives were lost in the Centaur tragedy.

Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service – WWII to Vietnam War

Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service – WWII to Vietnam War

In 1942, women were authorised to enter into the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) as part of the ‘Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service’ (WRANS). Recruits worked in 27 naval occupations but were not permitted to serve at sea. Duties included working as telegraphists, coders, clerks, drivers, mechanics, cooks and harbour messengers.  Over 3,00 women served in the WRANS during WWII.

Royal Australian Naval Gunners and Communicators

Royal Australian Naval Gunners and Communicators

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) provided gun crews for 375 Australian and other Allied ships. Many of these were Defensively Armed Merchant Ships (DEMS). They were used to protect the merchant convoys facilitating the flow of troops, equipment and essential cargo to the battlefronts in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific. Those serving in the Atlantic convoys between North America and Britain, faced some of the highest casualty rates of the war.

HMAS Adelaide (1916–1945)

HMAS Adelaide (1916–1945)

HMAS Adelaide was a Town-class light cruiser that served primarily in Australia and the South Pacific, providing escort and trade defence before being fitted with heavier anti-aircraft weaponry. She was present for the submarine attack on Sydney harbour, and was eventually decommissioned in 1945.

HMAS Canberra (1928–1942)

HMAS Canberra (1928–1942)

HMAS Canberra was a 10,000-ton Country-class heavy cruiser that primarily provided patrol and escort services during the early years of WWII. In 1942, she joined Task Force 44 and engaged in offensive sweeps through the Coral Sea. Crippled by enemy fire and facing heavy casualties during the Battle of Savo, HMAS Canberra was scuttled by a US torpedo.

HMAS Australia (1928–1954)

HMAS Australia (1928–1954)

HMAS Australia was a Country-class heavy cruiser built in 1929. She provided naval support to US operations in south-east Asia. She was not only the first ship of WWII to be hit by kamikaze attacks, but also suffered the most kamikaze attacks of all ships during the war. Despite this, she never sank.

HMAS Shropshire (1942–1954)

HMAS Shropshire (1942–1954)

HMAS Shropshire was a heavy cruiser that served in the Royal Navy until 1942. Following the loss of HMAS Canberra, she was then refitted and transferred to the Royal Australian Navy as a gift. She supported both British and US operations throughout the Pacific, and was present in Tokyo Bay for the surrender ceremony.

HMAS Sydney (1935–1942)

HMAS Sydney (1935–1942)

HMAS Sydney was a British modified Leander-class light cruiser. She served in Egypt and the Mediterranean before returning to Australia in 1941. After a refit, she proceeded to Western Australia and was fatally crippled by German auxiliary cruiser, the HSK Kormoran. She sank with all hands on deck.

HMAS Hobart (1938–1962)

HMAS Hobart (1938–1962)

HMAS Hobart was a modified Leander-class light cruiser that operated in several major theatres of war. She orchestrated the evacuation of 7,000 soldiers and civilians from British Somaliland before returning to Australia in 1941, where she was active in the Coral Sea and the Pacific campaign.

HMAS Perth (1939–1942)

HMAS Perth (1939–1942)

HMAS Perth was a modified Leander-class light cruiser. From 1940, HMAS Perth saw service in Australian waters and the Mediterranean theatre. In February 1942 HMAS Perth was one of two allied ships to survive the Battle of the Java Sea. However, on 1 March, 1942 she was hit by four torpedoes and sank near Bantam Bay. Three hundred and fifty-three sailors from the Royal Australian Navy were killed. Most survivors were captured, and many died during their internment.

HMAS Hobart (1938–1962)

HMAS Hobart (1938–1962)

HMAS Hobart was a modified Leander-class light cruiser that operated in several major theatres of war. She orchestrated the evacuation of 7,000 soldiers and civilians from British Somaliland before returning to Australia in 1941, where she was active in the Coral Sea and the Pacific campaign. This plaque is an example of the shields that are presented to those who serve with different military units and associations. Members who served on the HMAS Hobart would have received a plaque such as this.

Bathurst Class Corvettes (WWII)

Bathurst Class Corvettes (WWII)

60 Bathurst-class corvettes were built across eight Australian shipyards during WWII. Seven of these vessels were built at Walkers Limited in Maryborough, Queensland. Although classified as a minesweeper, this general-purpose vessel could undertake a broad range of roles including anti-submarine, anti-mine and convoy escort duties. The Bathursts also served as troop and supply transports, supported amphibious landings, provided air defence for convoys and disabled ships, participated in shore bombardments and undertook hydrographic surveys. Three of these corvettes were lost during the war: one to a Japanese air attack (HMAS Armidale) and the other two collided with friendly merchant ships.

Submariners

Submariners

Though Australia did not have any submarines commissioned within the RAN during WWII, Australians served as crew members on several British submarines. Of these Australians, three Queensland servicemen died in action aboard the HMS Thorn, the HMS Trooper, and the HMS Tempest, respectively.

2/26th Australian Infantry Battalion

2/26th Australian Infantry Battalion

The 2/26th Infantry Battalion formed in November 1940 as part of the Second Australian Imperial Force (AIF). Recruits came from Queensland and northern New South Wales and their weekly cross-country training runs earned the unit its nickname ‘the gallopers’. The 2/26th joined the 2/29th and 2/30th battalions and as part of 27th Brigade, 8th Division deployed to Singapore in August 1941. The 27th Brigade joined Indian and British troops in defensive operations in Malaya but were soon forced to withdraw to Singapore where Allied forces finally surrendered in February 1942. Members of the 2/26th became POWs and for the next three-and-a-half years were used as forced labour.

2/15th Australian Infantry Battalion

2/15th Australian Infantry Battalion

The 2/15th Australian Infantry Battalion formed in May 1940, as part of the Second AIF with volunteers mainly from Queensland. Initially part of 7th Division, the 2/15th was reassigned to the 9th Division and saw significant action in North Africa, particularly at Tobruk and El Alamein. The battalion returned to the Pacific theatre in 1943 and later deployed to New Guinea, including to Milne Bay, the Salamaua–Lae campaign and at Scarlet Beach, and then finally to Borneo in the latter stages of the war.