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2nd Bn A.I.F. History and War Diary

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Mal Murray View Drop Down
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    Posted: 26 Aug 2010 at 19:13

2nd Battalion

The 2nd Battalion was among the first infantry units raised for the AIF during the First World War. Like the 1st, 3rd and 4th Battalions it was recruited from New South Wales and, together with these battalions, formed the 1st Brigade.

The battalion was raised within a fortnight of the declaration of war in August 1914 and embarked just two months later. After a brief stop in Albany, Western Australia, the battalion proceeded to Egypt, arriving on 2 December. The battalion took part in the ANZAC landing on 25 April 1915 as part of the second and third waves, and was led by Lieutenant Colonel G. F. Braund, who was killed in action nine days later. On 6 August, the 1st Brigade led the charge at Lone Pine. Among the dead was the commander of the 2nd Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel R. Scobie, killed during a Turkish counter-attack. The battalion served at ANZAC until the evacuation in December 1915.

After the withdrawal from Gallipoli, the battalion returned to Egypt. In March 1916, it sailed for France and the Western Front. From then until 1918 the battalion took part in operations against the German Army, principally in the Somme Valley in France and around Ypres in Belgium. The battalion’s first major action in France was at Pozières in the Somme valley in July 1916. Later the battalion fought at Ypres, in Flanders, before returning to the Somme for winter.

In early 1917 the German Army withdrew to the formidable defences of the Hindenburg Line. As the 2nd Battalion advanced towards these defences in April 1917, Private T. J. Kenny attacked several enemy machine gun positions with grenades, earning the 2nd Battalion's only Victoria Cross. The battalion spent much of the rest of 1917 fighting in increasingly horrendous conditions around Ypres.

In 1918 the battalion returned to the Somme valley and helped to stop the German spring offensive in March and April. The battalion subsequently participated in the Allies’ own offensive, launched to the east of Amiens on 8 August 1918. This advance by British and Empire troops was the greatest success in a single day on the Western Front, one that German General Erich Ludendorff described as “the black day of the German Army in this war”.

The battalion continued operations until late September. At 11 am on 11 November, 1918, the guns fell silent. The November armistice was followed by the peace treaty of Versailles signed on 28 June 1919.

Between November 1918 and May 1919 the men of the 2nd Battalion returned to Australia for demobilisation and discharge.

Colour Patch

Colour patch for 2nd Battalion

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Peter Trounson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Feb 2012 at 14:01

Interesting extracts from the 2nd Battalion Diary -:


Enemy aeroplane overhead dropped three bombs close to our position but no one hurt by explosions. A great many steel darts were dropped near our dressing station . The darts are about six inches long.


Start made to collect the dead, collect equipment & clean up generally. Dead bodies in very bad state of decomposition. You can only work by using respirators. A platoon from the Connaught Rangers had been carrying out this work, but have now been withdrawn.


Work of improving firing line, cleaning up is progressing favourably. Turkish tunnels being used for burials. Turks and Australians kept separate.


Shelling (chiefly "Hotchkiss gun) & bombing continue but directed more to our left toward LONE PINE & BLACK HAND. Work continuing in our lines on bomb proof chambers & improving drains & paving floors of firing recesses & steps leading to them with tins. Tins ("Bully" beef, jam, mill? etc) are gathered from incinerator and each tin is filled with earth and rammed into loose floor of recess bottom upwards. When the whole recess is floored in this way loose earth & gravel is rammed down cracks between the tins to pack them tight. If the same kind of tins are used for the one post when finished it looks extremely neat and can be kept quite clean and in wet and sloppy weather it forms a good dry pavement for observers to stand on. Experiments so far proved very satisfactory.


From today our water ration is to be reduced from 1/2 to 1/4 gallon per day for all purposes.

Interesting extracts from the 5th Battalion Diary -:

Battalion order no. 2 ANZAC Cove 29/5/15

Water As there is a serious outbreak of diarrhoea all drinking water must be boiled. Officers commanding companies will arrange to have a supply of boiled water always on hand. Empty biscuit tins etc. can be used for this purpose.

Battalion order no. 3 ANZAC Cove 30/5/15

Badges of Rank Badges of rank must be worn or if not available must be pencilled on tunic or shirt.

Battalion order no. 6 ANZAC Cove 2/6/15

Lost Pair Zeiss Field Glasses of the late Major J.G.L. Bruce 26th Indian Mountain Battery when this officer was killed. If in possession of any member of the Battn. to be returned at once to Battn. H.Q.

Water The Battn. water supply is to be drawn ONLY from wells at corner of Walkers Road + Beach Road.

Battalion order no. 6 ANZAC Cove 3/6/15

25 It is reported that troops on the South Brighton Beach frequently shoot at floating tins Boxes etc. This dangerous practice is forbidden and the Military Police have been instructed to take action against anyone disregarding this order.
Battalion order no. 11 ANZAC Cove 7/6/15

53 - Divisional orders  Attention of all concerned is directed to divisional order no146 issued ????  herewith specially para 115. Sanitation. The absolute necessity of strict attention being paid to sanitation by all ranks cannot be overestimated. This requires the continual supervision by all officers and nco's. Disobedience of any kind of orders with regard to sanitation must be severely dealt with.

54 - Sanitary Police  Each company will detail three (3) men as sanitary police, one of whom will be continually on duty. They will supervise the proper use of latrines and cleanliness of lines generally and will report any cases of neglect to their company commander. These men will be under the control of the Pioneer Sergeant as far as sanitary duties are concerned.

Battalion order no. 12 ANZAC Cove 8/6/15

Warning All ranks are to be warned that when using periscope or periscopic rifles the head dress is to be worn as the peak or brim may often prevent injury to the face and eyes from splintering glass.

Battalion order no. 6 ANZAC Cove 13/6/15

Rifles in trenches Contrary to instructions issued pieces of rag etc. are being placed in the muzzles of rifles which is highly dangerous. Instructions are to be issued to keep the barrels clean by placing over the muzzle an empty cardboard ammunition wrapper.

Battalion order no. 6 ANZAC Cove 14/6/15

88 Men have been noticed wandering from trenches for trivial purposes such as placing a small tin in the incinerator. Sanitary men from each Coy will make it their duty to collect all this rubbish from tins placed in trenches for the purpose, at intervals during the day.

90 Bread Sacks. Are to be emptied and returned to Q.M. before 11 am daily

Edited by TROUNSON6280 - 23 Feb 2012 at 20:10
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