Military History

For the fallen

With ANZAC Day looming, time to reflect on a key piece of every dawn and ANZAC service with a little history. Moved by the opening of what was then called the Great War and the already high number of casualties of the British Expeditionary Force, in 1914 Laurence Binyon wrote his poem "For the Fallen", with its "Ode of Remembrance" (the third and fourth or simply the fourth stanza of the poem). At the time, the poet Laurence Binyon was...

Kapyong: A commemoration

Overshadowed by ANZAC Day, just a day later, Kapyong Day commemorates the day Kapyong came to be the most significant and important battle for Australian troops in Korea. In April 1951 the Chinese launched their spring offensive with the aim of retaking the city of Seoul. They quickly overran South Korean forces defending one of the major approach routes, the valley of the Kapyong River. Thirty kilometres further south, the 27th British Commonwealth Brigade hastily occupied defensive positions in an attempt to halt...

Italy Declares War

11 DEC 1941: World War II and both Germany and Italy declare war on the United State. Though they had no need to do so, the declaration of waragainst the United States aligned the world's greatest economic andmilitary power against them and virtually ensured their eventual defeat. Three days ago, US President Franklin Roosevelt announced America was at war with Japan, the third Axis power, following the surprise attack on its naval base at Pearl Harbor. Today Italian dictator, Benito Mussolini,...

3RAR Arrives in RVN

31 DEC 1967: Viet Nam, and the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment arrives in country. 3RAR sailed to Viet Nam on HMAS Sydney. In 1945 Australia sent three units to Japan as part of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF). Originally known as the 65th, 66th and 67th Infantry Battalions, they were raised from Australian Divisions stationed in New Guinea at the end of the Second World War. On 23 November 1948, the battalions were renamed the First, Second...

Second Convoy Leaves for WWI

31 DEC 1914: World War I and the second convoy of the first AIF departs Albany in Western Australia. Volunteers for the AIF enlisted so readily that a second convoy left within two months of the first. Many of those on board landed on Gallipoli on 25 April 1915. Dr David Stevens, director of strategic and historical studies at the navy's Sea Power Centre, said the second mass departure of Australian and New Zealand troopships was notable in part because...

25BN Takes Pearl Ridge

30 DEC 1944: Australians of the 25th Battalion occupy Pearl Ridge, on Bougainville. The capture of the heavily defended Japanese position on Pearl ridge gave the Australians possession of this important vantage point that provided views over both sides of Bougainville. The Battle of Pearl Ridge was an engagement of the Second World War fought between Australian and Japanese forces on Bougainville Island. Part of the wider Bougainville Campaign, the battle took place in the central sector of the island, shortly...

Australians in NZ Action

29 DEC 1860: The Maori Wars and Australians are in action at Matarikoriko, New Zealand. Sailors from the Victorian Colonial warship, Victoria, take part in the action at Matarikoriko, New Zealand. The Victoria's service in New Zealand waters during the second Anglo-Maori war, represents the first overseas military operation by an Australian unit, the beginning of Australia's overseas war history. Often called the Maori Wars, the New Zealand wars were a result of disputes over land sovereignty between the...

Assault on Bardia

28 DEC 1940: Australia’s 6th Division is in their first action near Bardia . In the Second AIF's first battle, the action on Bardia involved an attack on an Italian frontier fortress. The preliminary operations began several days before the main attack was launched. In the lead up to the Second World War, the small town of Bardia, which lies approximately 30km from the Egyptian border on Libya's Mediterranean coast, was fortified by the Italians, who constructed an arc of...

The Pimple Captured

27 DEC 1943: Australia’s 7th Division captures 'The Pimple', Shaggy Ridge, New Guinea. The four-month battle for Shaggy Ridge culminated with the capture of this Japanese position on the ridge's summit. Shaggy Ridge is a six-and-a-half kilometre long razor-backed ridge that is the highest feature in the Finisterre Mountains in north-eastern New Guinea. The ridge rises between the valleys of the Mene and Faria Rivers and ends at Kankiryo Saddle - a bridge of land separating the Faria Vallyey from...

Hong Kong Falls

26 DEC 1941: Japanese forces officially capture Hong Kong. The tiny British colony on the Chinese coast, withstood a three-week siege by the Japanese. The Battle of Hong Kong (8–25 December 1941), also known as the Defence of Hong Kong or the Fall of Hong Kong, was one of the first battles of the Pacific War in World War II. On the same morning as the attack on Pearl Harbor, forces of the Empire of Japan attacked the British Crown...