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Mullalyup to Mississippi – An RAAF Airman’s Journey.

In many ways, Flight Sergeant Edgar Horace Hawter was not unlike the thousands of other Australians of his generation who volunteered to serve their country in the Second World War and never returned. He was certainly not alone in being recorded, initially, as ‘Missing.’ Hawter’s remains, however, were found, but could not be positively identified and thus separated,

Addenda.

Sometimes after a blog article is posted, additional information becomes available that will add to the story without changing its premise. What follows are three such additions regarding the first man killed on mainland New Guinea in World War Two, the burdens of infantrymen throughout history, and the basic structure – or War Establishment – of an Australian

The First American Killed in New Guinea – January, 1942.

In my post The First Casualty, I mentioned the little-known historical fact that the very first fatality of the campaign on mainland New Guinea during World War Two was a civilian air pilot, Kevin Parer. Parer was killed while sitting in the cockpit of his aircraft during a surprise Japanese air raid on Salamaua, on the 21st of

Still No Bodies, But Slightly Less of a Mystery.

In my post Never Returned – Disappearance in the Markham, I introduced three Australian soldiers who went missing, presumed captured by the enemy, in New Guinea in mid 1942, and whose bodies were never found. At the time of writing, I was aware of indigenous intelligence that had stated that two of the men, Sergeant Mayne and Signalman

We Intend to Cease Fighting – A Japanese Unit Surrender, May 1945, New Guinea.

Anyone who has done some cursory reading about the Second World War in the Pacific will know that for the Japanese soldier, surrendering to their enemy was not an officially sanctioned option. While the surrender of individuals and small groups certainly occurred, it was unusual for units of Japanese to lay down their arms on the order of

The Structure of an Infantry Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment, 1953.

Previously, we looked at the structure of an Australian infantry battalion and an Australian independent company in the Second World War in order to better understand what such units were capable of. In this post, we will glance – again, very briefly – at the structure of a Royal Australian Regiment infantry battalion of the early post-WWII Australian

Australian Independent Company Commander – Brigadier T.F.B. MacAdie D.S.O., C.B.E. (2/7th Aust. Ind. Coy).

Of the eight Australian Independent Companies formed in the first half of the Second World War, only one, the 2/7th, is not represented by a formal, published unit history. This means that not only is there no substantial narrative – aside from occasional personal anecdotes available on internet sites such as that of the 2/6th Cavalry Commando Regiment

Guns and ‘Dirty’ Gold: A New Guinea Invasion-Time Mystery.

Prior to the Second World War in the Pacific, the territories of Papua and New Guinea to the north of Australia had been the scene of several gold rushes. One such area that was still being worked at the outbreak of the war was the Wau-Bulolo Valley in the Mandated Territory of New Guinea. It was here, during

Supply in the Jungle (New Guinea, 1943) – By Indigenous Feet.*

In my post Supply in the Jungle – By Air I began to refer to the difficulties involved in supplying soldiers, using the Third Australian Division in the Wau-Salamaua, New Guinea, campaign of 1943 as an example. Once aircraft – if they were available – had ‘dropped’ the required supplies, however, they still needed to be transported to

Extract No.3 from “Commando White Diamond” by Don Astill – The Lighter Side of Army Life.

The 2/8th Australian Independent Company, under the command of Captain C.W. Bayly, set out from their training base at No. 1 Camp, Tidal River on Wilson’s Promontory, Victoria, at the beginning of the fourth week of September, 1942. They reached Yandina on the Sunshine Coast in south-east Queensland on the 25th, and once all together again – an
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