President’s Report 2020
Another year has passed and it is now 75 years since the end of the War in the Pacific and the Second World War, and the disbanding of the final Batteries of the Regiment.
75 years ago, former members of Regimental Headquarters and Signals and Workshops Sections had been disbursed to various other units, although some of the latter stayed with 7th, 8thand 9thBatteries until they were disbanded at the end of the war.
By April 1945, 7thBattery were at Caboolture, Queensland, after having provided anti-aircraft (AA) defences at Buna Beach and the nearby Cape Endaiadere in what is now the Oro (Northern) Province of PNG, as part of the 2/2ndComposite AA Regiment. Over 100 men of the Battery were still POWs in Europe.
8th Battery had been disbanded in September 1944, and some of its men formed a new ‘C’ troop in 7 Battery of the 2/2 Composite AA Regt. This was previously an independent battery providing AA defences at Buna, Territory of Papua.
9th Battery were at sea off the coast of New Guinea on the troopship SSSea Ray, going ashore at Morotai, and participating in the Labuan landing in June as part of the 2/3rdComposite AA Regiment.
The men of the Regiment saw active service in many of the theatres of war in Tobruk, Crete, the Western Desert, Syria, Port Moresby, Milne Bay, Lae, Buna and Borneo. Through our website, Take Post and our AGM and Reunion, the Association continues to inform descendants of the original members and the public at large about the important contribution that our men made to Australia,
Thanks to our Editor Colin Bragg, the Association is pleased to present another very interesting edition of Take Post. This edition includes excerpts from John Campbell’s (8thBattery,VX38276) war diaries covering his time during the siege of Tobruk, which I found to be riveting. It is very sobering to think of those young men, many like John barely 20 years of age, with the responsibility of the world on their shoulders, facing their own mortality in such dreadful circumstances. John wrote at the time:
Such is war you can never tell when you are going to get it next. Just like these chaps walking around full of life one moment, the next killed or blinded for life. But I suppose that is war. It is an utterly stupid thing; War. I wish all this could be settled without it.
The “companion piece” to John’s war diary are articles from the Tobruk Truth of 27 August 1941 and the Special Supplement of the Tobruk Truth dated 14 April 1941 which provide both a global as well as a local context for John’s story.
Covering a different part of the world, Foster Crooke (son of J.D. Crooke, 9thBattery, VX 46047) writes a fascinating account of his two recent military history tours of Papua New Guinea, visiting Pacific War Sites. Foster’s father saw service at Port Moresby, Milne Bay and Lae.
My thanks go to our committee and office bearers for their work throughout the year. I encourage you to join us in the annual ANZAC Day march to keep the banner flying and remember the men of the Regiment and the sacrifices that they made for us.