Battalion Timeline

Brief Unit History of the 2/15th Infantry Battalion
of the Second AIF.

2-15 T Flash 

The following data come mainly from the published Unit History, AWM and similar sources.  
See AWM Brief History as well.

The present intention is to expand this as time permits into a description of the battalion's involvement
in its various campaigns - Middle EastNew Guinea and Borneo - as well as its training periods in North Queensland.

The detailed War Diaries for the 2/15th Battalion and the 20th Brigade (of which it was a part) 
can be downloaded from the AWM website.  

There are many relevant photos on this website - see the search link on the top of this page.

1940

Brief Description of events

May 1

 

The 2/15th Battalion was raised at Redbank in Brisbane as part of the 20th Brigade of the 7th Division of the Second AIF.  It was later to be reorganised into the newly formed 9th Division along with the rest of the Brigade.

 

July 1

 

Deployed to Darwin on garrison duty. Spent a lot of time living at Vesty's Meatworks.

 

Oct 27

 

Returned from Darwin to Redbank Camp by 10 Nov 1940.

 

Dec 28

 

Departed Sydney and traveled on Queen Mary (HMT QX) to Trincomalee, and then on MV Indrapoera  via Colombo to Egypt.

 

1941

 

Feb 3

 

Arrived at El Kantara in Egypt, and moved to Kilo 89.

 

Feb 4-27

 

Training in Palestine for desert warfare.

 

Mar 1-8

 

Moved through Mersa Matruh, Bug Bug, Tobruk, Derna, Tocra, Benghazi and Agedabia to the frontline at Kilo 789 near Mersa Brega.

 

Mar 10-21

 

Relieved elements of 6th Division and became most advanced part of line.
Spent time patrolling and improving the defences.  Suffered its first casualty – Pte Kelvin Crocker (see poem).

 

Apr 22

 

Transported to Fort Regima.

 

Apr 27

 

Defensive position at Gabel El Gira after a nine mile march.

 

Apr 4

 

Battalion moved to Barce.

 

Apr 6-8

 

Departed Barce to defensive position at Ain El Gazala. The CO, 2IC and six other officers, and 154 ORs were captured at this time. (Bn records were lost in this action). This withdrawal was nicknamed the Benghazi Handicap.

 

Apr 8-9

 

Took up positions across Tobruk-Acroma road to cover withdrawal of rest of the 20th Brigade.

 

Apr 10

 

Moved inside Tobruk defences to be part of its six month defence. Along with others, they became known as: “Rats of Tobruk”.  This defence was crucial to the survival of the overall position in the Middle East.

It was after this action that the Battalion identifying colour patch became a "T" shape, replacing the previous "purple over red" diamond shape. 

 

Oct 25

 

Departed Tobruk by ship when they were relieved of their role in the defence.

 

Oct 28

 

Moved to garrison and border protection duty in Palestine at Hill 69 to recover following their defence of Tobruk, and to carry out further training.

 

1942

 

Jan 13

 

Left for Idlib in Syria via Haifa, Tripoli and Aleppo.

 

Jan 16

 

Relieved the 2/10th Bn at Harim, Bab El Haoua, Knaye and Akterine on the Turkish border.

 

Mar 9

 

Relieved by 25th NZ Bn after experiencing periods of snow.

 

Mar 10-15

 

Completed a forced training march from Idlib to Akoubine outside of Lattaquie (75 miles!).

 

Mar 18 – Apr 22

 

Completed another forced training march from Akoubine to Tripoli (94 miles!).  Dug extensive defensive positions there.

 

Jun 30 – Jul 23

 

Moved to Damascus, Alexandria and El Haman to El Alamein Station as part of the 8th Army's frontline positions.

 

Aug 1-31

 

Relieved the 2/28th Bn and held a line from Hill 33 to the coast.

 

Sep 1

 

Participated in Operation Bulimba which was designed to test out tactics and strategies for the upcoming battle.  The battalion suffered 183 casualties during this action and its effective strength was halved!

 

Oct 23 – Nov 4

 

Participated in the Battle of El Alamein as part of the Eighth Army.  This was a major event that resulted in the 9th Division (including the 2/15th Bn) playing a crucial role in the consequent victory.

 

1943

 

Jan 25

 

Following a period of rest, the battalion departed for Australia on RMS Aquitania from Port Tewfik in Egypt.

 

Feb 27

 

Arrived back in Sydney and granted home leave.

 

Apr 2

 

Arrived at Kairi on Atherton Tablelands behind Cairns in far north Queensland to commence jungle training and invasion exercises.  This was in preparation for its future deployment to New Guinea.

 

Aug 3

 

Reached Milne Bay on the south eastern coast of Papua New Guinea to train further in amphibious landings.

 

Sep 4

 

Left Milne Bay on landing craft and carried out unopposed landing on Red Beach 15 miles NW of Lae without casualties.  Continuous jungle operations until the fall of Lae on 16th.

 

Sep 22

 

Carried out an opposed landing and then participated in battles at Scarlet Beach near Finschhafen.  There were ongoing battles from the Huon Peninsula along the northern coast of Papua New Guinea from Lae to Sio. The battalion was involved in the capture of Sattelburg Mountain.

 

1944

 

Mar 10

 

Arrived back in Brisbane prior to recommencing training at Ravenshoe on the Atherton Tablelands for further training in jungle warfare and amphibious landings.  During this period a number of older and longer serving members were discharged.

 

1945

 

May

 

The battalion moved to Morotai (an island NW of PNG) to prepare for the sea invasion of Borneo.

 

Jun 10

 

Landed in Borneo at Maura Island in Brunei Bay, moving on to Brunei and Limba and was there when the war finished.   Various members of the battalion volunteered at this point to join the 66th Bn in the BCOF.

 

Dec 19

 

The remainder of the battalion returned to Brisbane, landing at Brett's Wharf. Members started to be discharged and returned to civilian life.

 

1946

 

Jan 21

 

The battalion was finally disbanded at Chermside Army Barracks in the northern suburbs of Brisbane.

 

 Lest We Forget.


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