Never Returned – Disappearance in the Markham.

On or about the 1st of June, 1942, three Australian soldiers were imprisoned by the Japanese in the town of Lae, in a roughly built cell made of local materials, which was then riddled with machine-gun bullets. They became the first Australian prisoners to be murdered on the mainland of what was then known as the Mandated Territory

Forever – Military Historian and Author John Laffin – My Bookshelf Part VIII.

Born in 1922 in Sydney, Australia, with both his parents serving in the Great War and he himself serving for five years in the Second World War, John Laffin was a respected military historian and prolific author, with “nearly 130 books to his name.” Laffin set in motion the founding of the organisation “Families and Friends of the

Chemical Warfare in the South West Pacific Area.

There is no public record of chemical warfare agents being used by either the Australians and Americans or their enemies of the time, the Japanese, in the war in the South West Pacific during World War Two. This is not to say, however, that both sides were not prepared for such an eventuality. After the widespread use of

Quality Versus Quantity – An Opinion Piece.

Though this blog is focused on military history, I also take a detached interest in the present state of our Australian Defence Force. By ‘detached,’ I mean that by possessing neither military experience nor the relevant academic qualifications, my interest is one of a passive observer. Having stated that, one particular issue has been on my mind for

Unexpected Dangers – Tragedy Strikes from the Air.

I came across an old letter from a relative recently, and when re-reading it discovered his mention of a man he had known in pre-war life who had been killed in an accident just one week before the end of the conflict in the Pacific. I find these tragedies rather poignant: Darrel Smith was born in Pingelly, Western

A Follow-up to “Indigenous Recognition – Papua and New Guinea, WW2.”

On the 8th of December, 2013 I posted an entry on the subject of the indigenous people of Papua and New Guinea and their assistance to the Allied efforts in their homeland against the Japanese invaders during the War in the Pacific. The intention was to counter, in a small way, the impression given in some quarters that

Extract from “Commando White Diamond” by Don Astil.*

Seventy years ago^ the 2nd Australian Corps began to assume responsibility for the northern Solomons island of Bougainville from the U.S. forces which had held a foothold there for twelve months. One of the combat elements of the 3rd Australian Division, the main component of 2 Corps, was the 2/8th Australian Commando Squadron commanded by the formidable Major

Fiftieth Anniversary of the Commando Memorial Cairn at Wilson’s Promontory, Victoria.

Fifty years ago yesterday, on the 15th of November, 1964, a commemorative cairn was dedicated at Tidal River, Wilson’s Promontory, Victoria, in honour of the men of the WW2 Australian independent companies who initially trained there. Today, at the same location, an event took place that acknowledged the significance of those fifty years, and continued the tradition of

All Over – the 4th Squadron, Australian Flying Corps, WW1.

On the 10th of November, 1918, the 4th Squadron of the Australian Flying Corps, then based at Ennetiers in France and equipped with 21 serviceable Sopwith Snipes, flew a collective total of 80 hours and 10 minutes of ‘war time,’ dropped six 25-pound bombs on the enemy, and expended 1,000 rounds of small arms ammunition in strafing the

Friend or Potential Foe? The Difficult Position of the Indigenous in PNG in WW2.

I have written previously about the official recognition of the assistance of the indigenous people of Papua and New Guinea to Australian military forces in the war against Japan. Certainly without their skills and commitment to our cause, the war, particularly in the first 18 months, would have been much harder. However to paint these people as one-dimensional,
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