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Annotated Bibliography of the 2/3rd Australian Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment

2/3rd Australian Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment Association Take Post! Annual Newsletter of the 2/3rd Australian Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment Association, 2/3rd Australian Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment Association, Melbourne.

Barnett, A 2001, Hitler’s Digger Slaves: Caught In The Web Of Axis Labour Camps, Australian Military History Publications, Loftus, NSW. Reprinted with additional front matter 2008.

Hitler’s Digger Slaves tells of the ‘Benghazi Handicap’ in North Africa, which resulted in the capture of some 200 Australian plus Allied troops, when the Afrika Korps overran them in April 1941.

The author served with the 2/3 Lt A-A Regiment and also became a prisoner. The Australian prisoners were rebellious and gained a reputation as ‘troublemakers’, which followed them through captivity. In consequence, they were cruelly ill treated by the Italians.

With the German take over of the POWs, the mistreatment worsened, with the final result that many Diggers became slave labour.

This book deals with the war crimes of Italian Carabinieri Colonel Calcaterra, deliberate starvation, attempted escapes, the execution of an Australian POW, slave labour in Poland, bashings, a horror forced-march across German territory during the final months of the war and the final rescue by a British armoured Division. This is the dark side of life as a POW, with treatment more in line with concentration camps than the usual prison camps.

Also summarised in Take Post 2000, p. 10.

Beevor, A 1991, Crete: the battle and the resistance, John Murray, London.

'First published to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the battle, and drawing on new sources and the experiences of key participants, this book recounts for the first time the Fall of Greece, the Battle of Crete and the Resistance from 1941 to 1945.
The German invasion of the island from the air, unique in the history of warfare, turned into the closest-run battle of the war. The slaughter of German paratroopers on the first day by New Zealand, Australian and British troops was so great that if just one platoon had still been in place by Maleme airfield the next morning, General Student would have been forced to admit defeat.
For the first time Ultra intelligence played a key role, but how General Freyberg, Churchill’s favourite hero from the First World War, handled that information and the battle itself remains controversial. This book overturns previous interpretations of the battle by showing how he misread an Ultra signal at the crucial moment with disastrous consequences.'

One of the best books on the campaign by an outstanding military historian, but surprisingly it makes no mention of 7 Battery of the 2/3rd LAA Regiment in the Battle for Crete.

Bendon, M 2014, The Forgotten Flotilla: the craft of heroes - Greece, Crete and North Africa 1941, n.p., n.p.

The Forgotten Flotilla tells of the feats accomplished by previously unknown heroes and their vessels in 1941.
Dr Michael Bendon has identified two wrecked Tank Landing Craft Mk1 off the western coast of Crete. He follows their incredible story, from their being ordered by Churchill as a new type of landing vessel and their deployment to the Mediterranean, through to the crucial role they played in the evacuations of Greece and Crete.
Amazingly, he has found the commander of one of the boats still alive and well in England. The skipper's story runs throughout the book and adds a more personal dimension to The Forgotten Flotilla.

Bishop, C (ed.) 2002, Encyclopaedia of Weapons of World War II, Metro Books, New York.

A lavishly illustrated compendium of military hardware covers everything that fought in the air, on the ground, and on the seas during World War II. There are more than 500 separate items of equipment used between 1939 and 1945, from combat handguns to massive aircraft carriers. More than 600 full-color artworks accompany entries that feature a detailed history of each weapon’s design and development, along with a full specifications table that includes performance, dimensions, armament, and crew details. A must have for military buffs.

One chapter, ‘Light Anti-Aircraft Guns’, includes entries on the 40 mm Bofors and Breda guns.

Bryant, RK 2012, A gunner's tour in World War 2: the diary of Ronald Keith Bryant, 8th Battery, 2nd/3rd Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, The Rock View Press, Camberwell, Vic.

The author, Ron Bryant, passed away on 27 March 2012. Ron was a member of the Association's Committee for 20 years and President from 2002 to 2008. Ron will be remembered as one of the co-authors of "On Target", for initiating the introduction of "Take Post" and for orchestrating the passing of the baton of managing the Association to the Remembrance Group in 2007.

This book, published soon before his death, is the diary that the author kept covering the period from his enlistment in June 1940 until he was discharged from the Army in April 1946. It covers training in Australia, his experiences in the Western Desert campaign including being one of the celebrated Rats of Tobruk, return to Australia in 1942, service in NW WA, service in Buna, New Guinea, return to Australia, his period on the HMAS Westralia sailing the SW Pacific picking up Australian troops after peace was declared, and his final return to Australia and discharge.

A personal diary that provides valuable insights into the war-time experiences of a young Australian gunner, and of his contemporaneous reflections upon those experiences.

Cafarella, A 1998, Corunna Downs the invisible WW2 airfield, A. Cafarella, Hawker, S. Aust.

A highly personal, quirky, account of a RAAF serviceman's time at Corunna Downs near Marble Bar during WW2. Although elements of the Regiment (after disbandment) were based there, defending the airstrip and providing communications in various parts of NW WA from January to October 1944, the Regiment is not mentioned by name. Nonetheless, Cafarella provides anecdotes that help the reader to understand the lifestyle, and privations, under which the servicemen operated. Note that Marble Bar is the hottest locality in Australia, and our men were there during summer!

The book includes a story of a very unpopular base Commanding Officer named Jolly. His unpopularity was derived, in part, from having charged two men for playing two-up. The author writes 'On an ironstone ridge overlooking the landing strips the army had a Bofors gun emplacement for protection in case of enemy attack. From the time of the court marshal, if one happened to look towards the top of the ridge and the Bofors gun was pointing in a downhill direction and moving slowly, one would know that Jolly was heading to Marble Bar on one of his jaunts in his jeep' (p. 4-5)!

Campbell, JS with Rate, AC 2013, To cut a long story short: a memoir, Blurb & the authors, n.p., http://au.blurb.com/b/4347235-to-cut-a-long-story-short-a-memoir .

'John Selby Campbell (Jnr) was born in 1921 in Mildura, Victoria, Australia, the son of a tailor turned fruit grower. His life has spanned the great Depression of the 30s, a World War in the 40s, the growing of an innovative and vigorous business in post war Melbourne and all that goes with marriage, children and grandchildren through to the present time. ​ His memoir gives an insight into a simpler childhood of days gone by, the "make do" attitude of those raised during tough times and the sense of duty to family and community nurtured by his music loving, church going, hard working Methodist parents and extended family. ​ From war service in Tobruk to tailoring in Cheltenham, from a fruit block in Mildura to fashion parades at the Melbourne Hilton, from caravan holidays with cousins to capturing the Australian formal wear market, John's story charts a life full of energy, acumen and commitment to "get the job done".'

John Campbell was a member of the Regiment's 8th Battery, see chapter 4: 'War'.

Campbell, R & Conn, B 1993, The Flight of the Pelican, Tugiri Books, Picnic Point, N.S.W.

This is the story of R. G. Campbell's childhood, youth and war service with the 8th Battery, 2nd/3rd Australian Light Anti-aircraft Regiment , including the seige of Tobruk.

Cassidy, B 2014, Private Bill: in love and war, Melbourne University Press, Carlton, Vic.

This is a biography of VX32438 William (Bill) Edward CASSIDY, a gunner in the Regiment's 7 Bty. From the publisher:
Barrie Cassidy's dad Bill survived more than four years as a prisoner of war in World War II. He first saw conflict on Crete in May 1941, during the only large-scale parachute invasion in wartime history. Just four days later, Bill was wounded and eventually captured. Twice he tried to escape his internment with horrific consequences. He suffered greatly but found courageous support from his fellow prisoners. His new wife Myra and his large family thought he was dead until news of his capture finally reached them. Back home, Myra too was a prisoner of sorts, with her own secrets. Then, fifty years after the war, unhealed wounds unexpectedly opened for Bill and Myra, testing them once again. Private Bill is a classic heart-warming story - as told by their son - of how a loving couple prevailed over the adversities of war to live an extraordinarily ordinary, happy life.

Cochrane, P 2005, Tobruk 1941, ABC Books for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Sydney.

The chapter ‘Gunner Bryant - Photo Memories’ presents photos taken by the Regiment’s Ron Bryant, and some of his photos are found in other chapters of the book.

A fascinating, intense and moving view of every day survival and fortitude in near unendurable circumstances during the siege of Tobruk. When the 9th Division of the AIF withdrew into the Libyan fortress town of Tobruk early in April 1941, a siege began that was to make its mark on the course of WWII and the popular memory of a nation.

Tobruk 1941 reveals in startling and poignant detail the facts of day-to-day life during the siege. It shows the grim work of the soldiers and anti-aircraft gunners on the front line, the ceaseless battle for the harbour, and the bravery of the photographers and journalists who covered the siege. It illuminates in myriad ways the toughness and the resilience of the soldiers as they battled the heat, the flies, the rats, the boredom and the savagery while doing their bit to win the war.

Summary in Take Post 2006, p. 12.

Damer, S & Frazer, I 2006, On the run: Anzac escape and evasion in enemy-occupied Crete, Penguin Group (NZ), Auckland.

A fascinating book based on a detailed diary kept by Lt Len Frazer of the 2/7th Australian Infantry Battalion who was an 'evader': he spent a year evading the enemy in Crete's White Mountains, following the Battle of Crete. The book uses the war-time definitions of the words in its title: 'An escaper is someone who, having been captured, gets away; an evader was never in enemy hands' ( p. 34). The authors are New Zealanders, its focus is on the men from both of the Anzac nations. About 1,000 men hid from the Germans on Crete following defeat of the allied forces there, protected by the local people at great cost. This book is well written, easy to read, fully referenced, and contains many fascinating quotations from the diaries of the men involved.

The book's Dedication is 'For the Anzac soldiers on the run in Crete from 1941 to 1944, and their Cretan helpers, men, women and children'.

Delaforce, K 1995, 53rd Australian Composite Anti-Aircraft Regiment RAA: an historical record, K. Delaforce, Grafton, NSW.

A self-published report on the 53rd Australian Composite Anti-aircraft Regiment, RAA, in the Second World War. Discusses components of the 111 Lt AA Regt (156, 157 & 158 Batteries), the 103 Heavy AA Regt, the 2/3 Comp AA Regt Workshops. Some details on the 102 Aust Comp AA Regt which was formed from parts of the 2/3 Lt AA Regt on its disbandment in 1943. Includes a chapter on the 40mm Bofors gun. Includes mentions of the 2/9th Battery of the 2/3 Lt AA Regt in Milne Bay and Labuan.

Department of Veterans’ Affairs n.d., The Australians At War Film Archive, Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

The Archive is an Australian Government initiative, commissioned through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and designed to film and record the stories of over two thousand war veterans as a permanent asset for posterity.

It is an unmatched historical collection, a resource for all Australians interested in our wartime heritage.

A search on WWII and 2/3rd Australian Anti-Aircraft Regiment returns oral histories for Alexander Barnett, John Campbell, Vernon McGrath, Cecil Rae, George Rutter, Kenneth Travers and Malcolm Webster (Kenneth Travers indexed in error: apparently he was with the 2/3rd Anti-Tank Regiment). Also included is an interview with Alan 'Bushy' Read aka Keith Read, item no. 1291. He was a member of 9 Bty but the archive has not keyworded the site accordingly.

Department of Veterans' Affairs 2001, A Great Risk In A Good Cause. Researched and written by Dr Richard Reid, Historian, DVA and Courtney Page and Rachel Hickling, and published with the assistance of a "Their Service - Our Heritage" Grant.

A series of narratives and images which bring new light to events that took place in 1941 during the desperate fighting and withdrawal from mainland Greece and the battles on the "island of the doomed", Crete. Australia alone lost 594 men and more than 5,000 were taken prisoner of war during the Battles of Greece and Crete in April - May 1941.

Whilst the narrative and images of the book set out the historical context, the anecdotes and excerpts from diaries and letters add a personal dimension and provide important insights.

7 Lt AA Bty in action mentioned at p. 136. Casualty statistics provided at p. 158.

The full text (but omitting most of the photos and boxed vignettes) is available online at DVA's 'Australia's War 1939-1945' website.

Department of Veterans' Affairs 2011, Greece and Crete, Australians in World War II, Department of Veterans' Affairs, Canberra.

Greece and Crete is the first title in a new DVA series, 'Australians in World War II'.

When German forces invaded Greece in April 1941 they faced poorly equipped Greek, British, Australian and New Zealand troops who conducted a fighting withdrawal. Many were evacuated to Crete, where Commonwealth forces faced a German airborne invasion. More than 600 Australians lost their lives in the Battle for Greece and Crete while some 5,000 became prisoners of war.

Greece and Crete offers a concise and authoritative account of the fighting and is packed with archival photographs, many from the Australian War Memorial’s collection.

Soft cover, 220 pages, two-thirds of which are photographs.
Researched and written by Dr Richard Reid.

The book includes photographs and text mentions of the Regiment's 7 Battery on Crete, and details the Battery's 175 casualties there: 49 men killed in action, 2 presumed dead, 4 died of wounds, 14 wounded in action and 106 prisoners of war. Of all the Australian units that participated in the Battle of Crete, 7 Battery lost more killed in action than any other. This is despite the fact that, being comprised of just 230 men, it had far fewer men than the infantry battalions that also participated in the battle.

Dexter, D 1961, The New Guinea offensives, Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

This sixth volume in the official history of Australian in the War of 1939-1945 relates how the Australian Army, supported by Allied naval and air forces, and with the help of some American regiments, drove the Japanese out of most of the mainland of Australian New Guinea in 1943 and early 1944. It also describes the concurrent operations of the American Army and amphibious forces in the Pacific.

When the history opens in April 1943 the only infantry in contact with the Japanese in the Pacific area is the incomplete 3rd Australian Division (mainly the 17th Brigade). There appears to be a jungle stalemate in the tangle of mountains overlooking the Japanese base at Salamaua. But the Allies are preparing and in September 1943 the offensive opens in which the Australian Army drives the Japanese from Lae and Salamaua, and later from the Huon Peninsula and the Ramu Valley. Finally the defeated and starving XVIII Japanese Army is in full retreat across the Sepik River towards Wewak. In the New Guinea operations described in this volume about 35,000 Japanese perished; the Australians who were killed in action or died of illness numbered fewer than 1,300.

Throughout the campaigns four Australian divisions were employed. By mid–1944 Australia’s military strength was, for the time being, almost spent, having borne the main burden of the fighting on land in the South–West Pacific from the outset. Early in 1944 the Sixth American Army had begum to take over the main tasks and by September, in successive amphibious strides, had reached as far as Morotai. Includes mentions of the Regiment. Full text online.

Dunn, P 2007, Isa Hicks, a member of the Australian Womens Army Service (AWAS) in Australia during WW2, Australia @ War, <http://www.ozatwar.com/people/isahicks.htm>.

Isa Marjorie Hicks (WF45933) enlisted in the Australian Women's Army Service (AWAS) on 12 August 1942 at Claremont, West Perth in Western Australia and served in the Army Records Office in Perth for over three years as a shorthand/typist. As she and her friends lived at home, they brought their lunch to work each day. This earned the the nickname of the "Cut Lunch Commandos".

Two of Isa's friends and herself, who were Commonwealth stenographers appointed to the Dept. of Army, joined the AWAS together. At enlistment they requested to serve in "Signals" because they knew they were trained in Sydney. However, after three weeks rookie course, learning to march and peel potatoes, not to mention living so closely to other girls, they were put back into the very positions they had vacated as "civvies". They received less pay and had to wear a uniform. Isa did not regret her time in the AWAS as she learned of a different life and met people she would never have known in civilian life.

Isa was a member of the Women's Army hockey team for some time and then her office formed their own team and called it WALOCS. This was because at the time the office was known as WA Lines of Communication. As well as playing hockey in the civilian hockey competitions, they often played hockey on a Sunday against different men's Army camps, especially at Melville.

Whilst Isa joined under the surname of Hicks she married Gordon George Fellows (VX45773), a Victorian who was originally enlistment in the 2/3 Australian Light Anti Aircraft Regiment (2/3rd Lt. AA Regt.) and had returned from the Middle East after serving in the campaigns leading up to Tobruk, where he was wounded and evacuated after 3/4 months. Gordon Fellows was discharged from the Army on 12 August 1946.

Isa was promoted to the rank of A/Corporal on 22 February 1943. Her promotion to the rank of Corporal was confirmed on 22 May 1943. Isa applied to go to New Guinea in 1945 when AWAS were being recruited for service in these areas. Her husband was serving at Morotai at that time and was at the landing of Borneo. Isa was barred from going to New Guinea because she was married.

Corporal Isa Fellows was discharged from the AWAS on 9 November 1945.

Ewer, P 2009, Forgotten ANZACS: the campaign in Greece, 1941, new edn, Scribe, Carlton North, Vic.

Every school child in Australia and New Zealand is brought up on the legend of the Anzacs. This, though, is the largely unknown story of another Anzac force which fought not at Gallipoli, but in Greece during World War II.

Desperately outnumbered, and fighting in deeply inhospitable conditions, these Anzacs found themselves engaging in a long retreat through Greece, under constant air attack. Most of the Anzac Corps was evacuated by the end of April, but many men got only as far as Crete. Fighting a German paratroop invasion there in May, large numbers were taken captive and spent four long years as prisoners of the Nazis.

The campaign in Greece turned out to have uncanny parallels to the original Gallipoli operation: both were inspired by Winston Churchill, both were badly planned by British military leaders, and both ended in defeat and evacuation. British bungling at Gallipoli was one thing; but in Greece, Churchill authorised his commanders to leave the Anzacs to their fate if their rescue compromised wider British interests.

Just as Gallipoli provided military academies the world over with lessons in how not to conduct a complex feat of arms, Churchill’s Greek adventure reinforced fundamental lessons in modern warfare — heavy tanks could not be stopped by men armed with rifles, and Stuka dive-bombers would not be deflected by promises of air support from London that were never honoured.

Until now, there has been no history on the campaign in Greece and Crete written from a truly Anzac perspective. Based on rarely accessed archives and more than 30 interviews with Australian, Greek, and New Zealand veterans, this superb book gives overdue recognition to the brave, forgotten Anzacs of 1941.

FitzSimons, P 2016, Tobruk, 75th anniversary edn, HarperCollins Publishers Australia, Sydney, N.S.W.

The classic story of 1941's Battle of Tobruk, in which more than 15,000 Australian troops - backed by British artillery - fought in excruciating desert heat through eight long months, against Rommel's formidable Afrika Korps.
During the dark heart of World War II, when Hitler turned his attention to conquering North Africa, a distracted and far-flung Allied force could not give its all to the defence of Libya. So the job was left to the roughest, toughest bunch that could be mustered: the Australian Imperial Force. The AIF's defence of the harbour city of Tobruk against the Afrika Korps' armoured division is not only the stuff of Australian legend, it is one of the great battles of all time, as against the might of General Rommel and his Panzers, the Australians relied on one factor in particular to give them the necessary strength against the enemy: mateship.
Drawing on extensive source material - including diaries and letters, many never published before - this extraordinary book, written in Peter FitzSimons' highly readable style, is the definitive account of this remarkable chapter in Australia's history. (Source: publisher's website.)

Gander, T 1990, The 40mm Bofors Gun, Patrick Stephens, Wellingborough, Eng.

Gander, T 2013, The Bofors Gun, Pen and Sword Military, Barnsley, South Yorkshire.

The 40mm Bofors Gun, first produced in the 1930s, has become one of the most famous artillery pieces of all time. It shows no sign of fading from the defence scene...When the Bofors entered the international defence market, its primary quarry, the military aircraft, was still a slow and fragile machine that could be terminally damaged by a single hit from a 40mm projectile. Terry Gander describes this early period in the gun's development and he shows how, despite recent
increases in target speed and other performance parameters, it can still inflict a one-hit kill on almost any aircraft, helicopter or guided missile. Perhaps the most astonishing aspect of the story is that the fundamentals of today's Bofors guns remain virtually unchanged from the very first examples to come off the Karlskoga production line in Sweden. Terry Gander's comprehensive account of the history of this remarkable weapon over the course of almost eighty years is fascinating reading and an invaluable work of reference for military historians and artillery specialists alike. It is the definitive work in the field.

Geddes, M 2004, Blood, sweat and tears: Australia's WWII remembered by the men and women who lived it, Penguin Group Australia, Camberwell, Vic

Compiled from interviews conducted over several years, Blood, Sweat & Tears, a large book of some 500 pages plus photographs, brings together the first hand accounts of 75 ordinary Australians who did extraordinary things during WWII.

It contains two very candid interviews with our own late Malcolm Webster, 7 Battery: pp. 26–32 covering Crete-evacuation attempt on HMS Hereward which was sunk-rescued from the sea by Italian Navy, and pp. 128-138 covering his escape from an Italian POW work camp-hiding from the enemy-operations with the partisans-the end of the War.

Glyde, K 1999, Distinguishing Colour Patches of the Australian Military Forces 1915- 1951: A Reference Guide, K. Glyde, Claremont, Tas. RAA 1st Aust Corps 1940-1945; 1st Aust AA Brigade 1940-1942

‘Units serving with this brigade were part of RAA 1st Aust Corps and wore [colour patch] No. 604. In early 1942 this brigade returned to Australia and was disbursed to operational areas, brigade headquarters becoming HQ AA defences, NSW L of C Area. In June 1943 MGRA [Major-General, Royal Artillery] advised that continued use of this colour patch by former units of the brigade was unauthorised’ (p. 88). ‘Signals units belonging to high formations and L of C areas were identified by the white over sky blue oblong inset superimposed on the colours of the formation to which they were allotted’ (p. 100).

Hill, M 2010, Diggers and Greeks: the Australian campaigns in Greece and Crete, UNSW Press, Sydney.

From publisher's web site:
Little is known about the real reasons that Australia committed troops to Greece. Australian historians have, for too long, neglected the Greek and Crete campaigns and what has been written until now, has ignored the Greek side of the story. Never before has the impact of fifth-column activity on Australia’s military relationship with Greece been investigated. This compelling book combines details of the campaigns with an account of the response of Greeks and Cretans to the Allied forces on their soil. It reveals the personal relations that developed between Australian soldiers and Greek civilians and soldiers; these were sometimes hostile but in other cases developed into friendships that lasted decades after the war had finished. Maria Hill has trawled through archives in Athens and Canberra to show that while miscommunication between the Greek General Staff and the allied forces was frequent, the situation on the ground was far more complex. Her book also shows why the campaigns on mainland Greece and Crete compelled people to behave in altruistic ways, even when it meant placing themselves in danger. It proves that it is possible to form successful relations with people of a completely different culture in conflict situations, and that those relationships are important and should be nurtured, as they are vital to the wellbeing of all involved
.

Hill, N c. 1990, The long white finger: a narrative history of the 73rd AASL Battery 1942-1945, n.p., n.p.

The 73rd Anti-aircraft Searchlight (AASL) Battery was part of the 2/2nd AA regiment (Composite), as were the 2/9th Light AA Battery and the 2/6th Heavy AA Battery.

Hurst, PJ n.d., Reflections of an ordinary Aussie soldier September 1939 - September 1945, online here.

Philip John Hurst VX5862 served in the Regiment (8 Bty - see chapter 11 'Time for a change' and the subsequent chapters) and before that in the 2/7th Infantry Battalion in which he served in Crete. This is a detailed account of his war-time experiences, posted online by his great-nephew who explains that 'He [Phil Hurst] wrote the following document a few years ago for family members. Apparently he then tried to get it published but was not successful. Being interested in military history, I thought it was a good read, so here it is.'

Ilton, HK, 1995, Australia Remembers 1945 - 1995, The Shire Of Campaspe Remembers; Local Memories Of The Second World War, A Camwork Production in association with the "Australia Remembers" initiative.

The book comprises a series of recollections of local people from the Campaspe Shire during the Second World War. The recollections are from people who enlisted (including Bill Dellar of the 2nd / 3rd), those who remained at home working in vital industries and supporting the war effort, and those who were young at the time, but old enough to remember.

Jobson, C 1997, Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery: Customs and Traditions, Directorate of Artillery, Manly, N.S.W.

Contents: 1. Evolution of artillery 2. History of artillery in Australia 3. Titles and appointments 4. Lieutenant A.R. Cutler, VC 5. Colours, banners and battle honours 6. Military ceremonies 7. Uniforms and accoutrements 8. Badges 9. Miscellaneous history, traditions and myths 10. Trophies and competitions 11. Unit and sub-unit plaques.
Does not mention the 2/3 Aust LAA Regt.

Kelly, JH, The Siege Of Tobruk - An Overview, 2001, The Rats Of Tobruk Federal Council.

This limited edition publication of only 2,000 copies was produced to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the siege of Tobruk, and is a compendium of stories of people and events, photographs and statistics relating to the Tobruk siege.

Long, G, & Australian War Memorial 1952, To Benghazi, Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

This volume, the first of seven in the army series of the official history of Australia in the war of 1939–45, carries the story of the Second AIF up to the end of the operations in Cyrenaica in the first quarter of 1941. It tells briefly the story of the Australian Army from 1919 to 1939 and describes the raising of an expeditionary force for service in Hitler's war. It discusses some of the problems encountered by the commanders of that force in the Middle East in 1940 – often problems of enduring interest in that they have been met and will be met again by other leaders of the forces of minor partners in a coalition war. The defeat of the Italian army in Cyrenaica by the 7th Armoured and 6th Australian Divisions is narrated in a degree of detail made possible by reliance not only on contemporary reports and war diaries but on private papers and interviews and correspondence with a large number of participants. Finally the question whether the British political leaders in February 1941 missed a golden opportunity of marching on to Tripoli and securing great strategical gains is examined in the light of hitherto unpublished documents from both the Allied and the Axis side. Does not mention the Regiment. Full text online .

Long, G 1953, Greece, Crete and Syria, Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

The second volume of the army series of the official history of Australia in the war of 1939-1945. It describes the campaigns in Greece, Crete and Syria in 1941. In Greece the main British force in the field was the Anzac Corps, commanded by Sir Thomas Blamey and including the 6th Australian Division, the New Zealand Division, and a British brigade. A number of Australian units took part in the fight for Crete in May 1941. The 7th Australian Division and some units of the 6th fought in Syria as part of the I Australian Corps commanded by General Lavarack. Examination of German and French documents has made it possible now to tell what was happening on “the other side of the hill” in these operations. It is now possible to examine the decision to send all available forces to the aid of Greece and the decision to invade Vichy–French Syria with full knowledge of the plans and deployment of the enemy forces.

These campaigns raised new problems of wartime cooperation and consultation between the British Government and the Australian Government, and in this period Australian Ministers and Australian commanders were required to take greater strategical and tactical responsibilities than at any earlier time. Includes mentions of the Regiment. Full text online.

Long, G 1963, The final campaigns, Australian War Memorial, Canberra

This volume concludes the Army Series of the official history of Australia in the war of 1939-1945. It describes the Australian Army campaigns in the last months of 1944 and in 1945. It tells the full story of the fighting in Bougainville, New Britain, round Wewak, at Balikpapan and Tarakan and in British Borneo. Includes mentions of the Regiment. Full text online.

McKenzie-Smith, GR 1994, Australia's forgotten army, vol. 1: the ebb and flow of the Australian Army in Western Australia 1941 to 1945, Grimwade Publications, Canberra.

This book by former Perth based Military Historian, Graham McKenzie-Smith traces the development of the Australian Army in Western Australia from the dark days when the local militia of 13 Inf Bde Gp stood absolutely alone facing potential invasion by the victorious Japanese, through its peak when Lt General Gordon H Bennett led 3 Aust Corps with two infantry divisions and an armoured division, and then as they faded away to nothing as the troops moved north to more active units in New Guinea.

Although this book does not provide details of the Regiment in WA, it includes two of Ron Bryant's photographs, sourced from the Australian War Memorial: (1) one of the Bofors 40mm/36 guns of 8 Battery in a prepared position at Crawley Bay, Perth, WA, in 1942 and (2) trucks of the convoy that moved 8 Battery from Perth to Geraldton stopped on the road north, Sep 1942.

Maughan, B & Australian War Memorial 1966, Tobruk and El Alamein, Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

The third volume of the army series of the official history of Australia in the war of 1939-1945. Its main theme is the 9th Australian Division’s contribution in 1941–42 to the defeat in North Africa of the German and Italian Army commanded by Field Marshal Rommel.

In March 1941, soon after its formation, the division was sent untrained and without its artillery to Cyrenaica as part of a garrison force which, within a few weeks, took the brunt of a surprise advance by Rommel’s newly–arrived armoured force. Retreaing to Tobruk the division withstood, with the support of British armoured, artillery and machine–gun units, several assaults and a long siege, and maintained a threat on the flank of Rommel’s long line of communications to the Egyptian frontier.

Before the siege ended the division was withdrawn by sea but in the succeeding year it was recalled to the front as Rommel’s forces were approaching the El Alamein defences, only 70 miles from Alexandria. In General Auchinleck’s counter–offensive in July 1942 it captured the Tel el Eisa ridges and other important positions near the coast and later under General Montgomery took a leading part in Rommel’s defeat in the battle of El Alamein.

As well as recording the exploits of Australian soldiers, the book examines the actions of the generals who successively commanded the Middle East Forces and the Eighth Army – Wavell, Auchinleck, Cunningham, Ritchie, Alexander and Montgomery. The inter–governmental differences concerning the 9th Division’s withdrawal from Tobruk and its later return to Australia are also related.

An appendix recounts the experiences of Australian prisoners of war in Europe. Includes mentions of the Regiment. Full text online.

McGlinchey, D 2010, Undercover POW, Australian War Memorial, viewed 8 January 2011.

'As a curator cataloguing objects in the Memorial’s collections, I have had the chance to discover and research many interesting war time stories and experiences of Australian service personnel. One such interesting story that I found was of Sergeant Rolstyn Nicholas Tonkin. As a prisoner of the Germans during the Second World War, Tonkin risked severe punishment to provide intelligence for the Allied war effort.'

On Target: with the American and Australian anti-aircraft brigade in New Guinea, 1943, Angus and Robertson, Sydney.

A wartime publication ‘Written and illustrated by the Men of the Front Line Forces’. Includes articles on light anti-aircraft people, equipment and activities in Papua and New Guinea, including line drawings, poems, short essays, etc. Does not mention specific units for reasons of wartime security and intelligence.

Palazzo, A 2007, Battle of Crete, 2nd edn, Australian Army Campaigns Series No. 1, Army History Unit, Dept. of Defence, Canberra.

Between 20 May and 1 June 1941 the Second World War came to the Greek island of Crete. The Commonwealth defenders consisted of Australian, New Zealand and British refugees from the doomed Greek Campaign who had not recovered from defeat. Matched against them were crack German paratroopers and mountain soldiers who had only tasted victory. Over eleven days the two sides fought a desperate action that generated tales of stubborn determination and reckless bravery on both sides. It was an innovative campaign - warfare's first aerial invasion – and at times its outcome balanced on a knife edge.

Richly illustrated, the Battle of Crete examines the commanders and the decisions they made, the men who fought, and the weapons they used in the epic struggle for the island.

Includes brief mentions of 7 Bty, 2/3 Aust Lt AA Regiment. The front cover illustration is a photograph of the men and Bofors gun of A Troop, 7 Bty, at Maleme airfield, Crete, 18 May 1941.

Plowman, P 2003, Across the sea to war: Australian and New Zealand troop convoys from 1865 through two world wars to Korea and Vietnam, Rosenberg Pub., Dural, NSW.

Mentions the troop ships that transported members of the Regt and their equipment.

Purser, F 1988, The story of Corunna Downs: W.A.'s secret wartime air base, Royal Australian Air Force Association, Aviation Museum, Bull Creek, WA.

Rae, C c. 2003, Operation Battleaxe 15th, 16th & 17th June 1941: the story of the participation of one gun crew of the 2/9th Australian Light Anti-Aircraft Battery, C.J.E. Rae, Beaumaris, Vic.

Rae, C, Harris, A & Bryant, R 1987, On Target: The Story of the 2/3 Australian Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment From Formation on 18th July 1940 Until Disbandment on 14 July 1943 and the subsequent service of 7th Battery, 8th Battery, and 9th Battery, until the end of World War II, 2/3rd Australian Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment Association, [Melbourne].

The book is the Regiment’s official history. It is out of print. Please contact the Association's Hon. Secretary (see the 'Contact Us' page) if you have a spare copy to donate back to the Regiment Association, or need access to a printed copy. The Association has had the book digitised. It is available, in full free text, on this web site: see the link 'On Target' in the menu at the top right-hand side of this page..

Reid, R 2001, A Great Risk In A Good Cause, The Department of Veterans’ Affairs, [Canberra].

A Great Risk in a Good Cause tells the story of the Australian participation in the battle for Greece and Crete in April-May 1941.

Rutter, Ian, Run, Rabbit, Run.

Self published account of Ian Rutter's experience as a member of the 2nd / 3rd and, in particular, his time as a prisoner of war following his capture on Crete.

Ryan, B, Dick Hawting's Stories Of Family And War, 2009, self published.

Compiled by Brenda Ryan and dedicated to the bravery of the 2nd / 3rd Australian Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, this volume records the history of the Hawting family and in particular the war experiences of Dick Hawting. Compiled from tape recorded oral recollections and Dick Hawting's Tobruk war diaries, the book traces Dick's time with the 2nd / 3rd and the RAAF from his enlistment on 24 June 1940 until the cessation of hostilities in August 1945.

Siebrand, J (ed.) 1991, The Dirty Thirteen: memoirs of thirteen members of the 2nd/3rd Light Anti Aircraft Regiment during the 2nd World War.

Memoirs of thirteen members of the 2nd/3rd Light Anti-aircraft Regiment during the 2nd World War. The book comprises personal narratives from the Middle East and New Guinea campaigns collected and edited by Jenny Siebrand, and includes letters to and from friends and loved ones of thirteen members of the Regiment. The thirteen men, who became known as “The Dirty Thirteen”, all grew up or spent their latter youth in the Murchison area of the Goulburn Valley in Central Victoria.
The book had a limited print run and it is difficult to acquire a copy. Copies are at the Research Centre of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and the Tatura Irrigation & Wartime Camps Museum, Tatura, Vic.

Sissons, DCS, Stockwin, JAA & Tamura, K 2016, Bridging Australia and Japan: the writings of David Sissons, historian and political scientist, vol. 1, Asian Studies Series Monograph, ANU Press, Canberra, http://press.anu.edu.au/publications/series/asian-studies-series/bridging-australia-and-japan-volume-1.

Chapter 8, 'An immigrant family' (pp. 231-46), is about the family/descendants of Jō Takasuka who was born on 13 February 1865 at Matsuyama, Japan. 'Accompanied by his wife and two infant children, Takasuka arrived in Melbourne on 14 March 1905 ... on a 12 months’ "Certificate of Exemption from the Dictation Test" granted for the purpose of engaging in the export and import trade'. His son Mario, born in Melbourne in 1910, enlisted into the Regiment in 1940, contrary to the regulations forbidding people of Japanese descent to do so. As a member of 7 Battery, VX37123 Mario Takasuka (known in the unit as 'Murray' and 'Tak') served in the Battle for Crete and subsequently in New Guinea. His exemplary service is described at pp. 245-6.

Smith, NC 2016, Understanding Australian military speak, Unlock the Past, St Agnes, South Australia.

Smith, NC 2017, Australians in peril: tracing your World War Two Australian military ancestors, Unlock the past, Society of Australian Genealogists, Sydney.

Stanley, P 2000, The Real Bluey and Curley: Australian Images And Idioms In The Island Campaigns, Australia-Japan Research Project.

Alex Gurney’s strip ‘Bluey and Curley’ was first published in the Melbourne Sun in February 1941. Bluey and Curley immediately became soldiers and ‘served’ in North Africa and the islands. The strip became immensely popular, especially among soldiers, who relished Bluey and Curley’s relentless chiacking of army cooks, officers, sergeants and boastful or condescending allies.

Trigellis-Smith, S, Parsons, M & Zampatti, S 1996, Shaping history: a bibliography of Australian army unit histories: including army formations, establishments, associated organisations and a selection of campaign and area histories, Trigellis-Smith & Parsons, Hawthorn, Vic.

United States Join Chiefs of Staff nd, Crete

National Archives and Records Administration - ARC 40112, LI 226-B-6034 - CRETE - DVD Copied by Ann Galloway. Joint Chiefs of Staff. Office of Strategic Services. Field Photographic Branch. (01/04/1943 - 10/01/1945). Military Film Report: On the German invasion of Crete during World War II and its eventual fall in ten days. Emphasizes the German victory over British, New Zealander and Australian forces rested in superior air power. Animated maps and live-action photography show direction of invasion, course of battles and Allied retreat. Presents complete tactical picture, describes defenses of major Cretan cities and includes scenes of German troops, topography of Crete, dive bombing, parachute jumping, ground fighting, convoys, air attack on retreating troops and the British evacuation. Does not mention the 2/3 Aust Light A-A Regiment.

Wahlert, G 2006, The Western Desert Campaign 1940-41, Australian Army Campaigns Series, No. 2, Army History Unit, Canberra.

Does not mention the 2/3 Aust Light A-A Regiment.

Weisz, GM 2015, 'Nazi medical experiments on Australian prisoners of war: commentary on the testimony of an Australian soldier', Journal of Law and Medicine, vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 457-9.

Archival research reveals that Australian prisoners of war were exposed to non-consensual medical experiments during World War II. This article discusses the first known case of an Australian soldier exposed to German medical experiments. He was captured on Crete. This research was featured in an interview on Radio National's Bodysphere program on 12 March 2016: 'Human medical experiments'.

Werrell, K 2005, Archie to SAM: A Short Operational History Of Ground Based Air Defence, Air University Press.

West, F 1989, From Alamein to Scarlet Beach: the history of 2/4 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment Second AIF, Deakin University Press, Geelong, Vic.

This regiment was rased in Palestine in January 1942. It was part of 1 Aust AA Brigade, its batteries were the 10th, 11th and 12th. The initial members who formed the core of 12 Battery were drawn from the 2/3 LAA Regiment. The 2/4th served with distinction in the Middle East (including the Battle of El Alamein) and in New Guinea. It was disbanded in December 1945.

Wilmot, C 2009, Tobruk 1941, Penguin Books, Camberwell, Vic., originally published in 1944 by Halstead Press.

'The gripping first-hand account of the battle that made the Rats of Tobruk an Australian legend. March 1941.  The Allied forces have suffered one brutal defeat after another.  For Hitler's forces the conquest of Egypt, and the rich oil fields of the Middle East, lie next on the horizon.  All that stand in their way are a few Australian brigades defending a town called Tobruk. For eight months the Australian Imperial Forces defended the North African coastal fortress, battling almost unbeatable odds in the dust and the heat of the Libran (sic, should be Libyan) desert.  Under the command of General Morshead, the troops used unorthodox methods and sheer grit to withstand the superior might of General Rommel's elite "Afrika Korps". In this timeless classic, celebrated war correspondent Chester Wilmot shows us why dogged resistance, courage and sacrifice have become synonymous with the spirit of Australian troops.' (Source: publisher's website.)

See especially Chapter 18: 'Smashing the Stuka parade' and Chapter 19: 'Keeping the harbour open' regarding the anti-aircraft defences.

Wikipedia contributors, 'Anti-aircraft warfare', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.

Wikipedia contributors, 'Bofors 40mm', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.

Wikipedia contributors, 'List of North African airfields during World War II', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.