In this category you will find a large selection of books on specific WW2 Military Units. Stories, Records & History Of 2nd A.I.F Divisions & Brigades, Special Forces (Commando's, Independent Companies), Coastwatchers & Aerial / Ship Spotters, Machine Gun Battalions, R.A.A.F (Royal Australian Air Force) Squadron Histories, Wireless Groups & Radar Stations, R.A.N (Royal Australian Navy) with HMAS (Her Majesty's Australian Ship) histories, WW2 Artillery, Anti-Aircraft Units, Searchlight Batteries, Rare Infantry Battalion (including Militia) titles, Anti-Tank Regiments, Field Regiments, Armoured Regiments / Cavalry, R.A.E. (Royal Australian Engineers) Sappers, Pioneer Battalions, WW2 Survey Corps, Signals, Medical Units (e.g. Field Ambulance, General Hospitals, Army Nurses...), Ammunition Sub Park, Bomb Disposal Platoon, Army Veterinary Corps, Reserve Motor Transport Company, Volunteer Rifles, Army Field Workshops, Volunteer Air Observers Corps and many other rare, unusual and out of print Military Unit books.
Most will include details like Nominal Rolls, Roll Of Honour, Embarkation Rolls, Casualty Lists, Awards Lists, Decorations, Battle Honours and more!
Unit books are a great referral and resource item for those conducting family history research on relatives who served in the Second World War 1939-1945.
World War Two
At the outbreak of World War Two on 3rd September 1939 Australia possessed a small Militia force and a few permanent soldiers, sailors and airmen. Within months a volunteer Australian Imperial Force was raised and the other services expanded. Additionally a host of quasi military organizations was established like the Volunteer Defence Corps, not to forget the Merchant Marine.
On 9th January 1940 the first Australian Infantry Divisions left for the United Kingdom or Middle East. Number 12 RAAF Squadron was already in England and the Navy began operations throughout the world. The campaign in the Middle East saw the Australians fight the Italians and Germans in North Africa from January 1941 and later the Vichy French in Syria. Major campaigns for the Australian troops in the Middle East from the 6th, 7th and 9th Divisions included Greece and Crete where the Australians lost heavily plus Tobruk and the successful Allied attacks on El Alamein.
The Navy and RAAF also played a strong role in the Middle East notably supporting the troops in besieged Tobruk and the withdrawal of survivors from the Greece and Crete campaign before pushing the Axis Forces back through El Alamein and on to Italy. Apart from the Middle East campaigns the Royal Australian Navy did sterling service escorting convoys in the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. Often with the support of the Navy the Merchant Marine men in the supply ships and troop transport vessels also suffered heavy losses, especially in the Atlantic.
The RAAF soon developed a strong concentration of men and machines in the United Kingdom with aircrew trained throughout the British Commonwealth. From the United Kingdom the RAAF aircrew of Bomber Command pounded Occupied Europe with especially heavy losses.
With the bombing of Pearl Harbour on 7th December 1941 the entry of Japan into the war changed the Australian perspective of the conflict. Australia’s best troops were in the Middle East and had to be returned home as the 8th Division was already deployed to Singapore and the islands to Australia's north. A rapid enemy advance resulted in the Fall of Singapore on 15th February 1942 soon followed by islands like Timor, Ambon and Rabaul. Many men coming back from the Middle East were captured along with the 8th Division survivors. Australia frantically expanded the Militia and prepared for the defence of the Australian mainland whilst welcoming the US forces. The first Japanese air raids on Darwin occurred on 19th February 1942.
Australian naval forces engaged the enemy in the Java Sea in late February and a Japanese force intent on invading Port Moresby was defeated by US and Australian naval forces in May 1942 in the Coral Sea. A few weeks later another decisive naval battle at Midway crushed the Imperial Japanese Navy. The Japanese next attempted to take New Guinea and were stopped at Milne Bay and on the Kokoda Track. Then came the push back towards Japan as more Australian troops entered the fray. Although there was fierce fighting in New Guinea at places like Finschaffen and Shaggy Ridge, by mid 1944 the enemy was on the defensive.
During 1944 Australian troops pushed into Bougainville and New Britain. Even in the closing months of the war the Australians were committed to tough fighting in areas of Borneo. The Army wasn’t involved in the Philippines operations but the Navy experienced much combat there plus continuing operations in the North Atlantic along with thousands of airmen who remained in the European theatre after D Day on 6th June 1944. Again with the impetus provided by the US, the Nazi forces surrendered in Europe on 7th May 1945. In the Pacific theatre the Japanese resisted until 15th August 1945 when after atomic bombs had been dropped on the Japanese cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima a week or so previously, they too surrendered.
In all about one million Australians served in uniform in World War Two. Over 40,000 Australian service men and women died whilst serving in the conflict and about 30,000 were taken as Prisoners of War.