Walter George Rodwell HALL MID

HALL, Walter George Rodwell

Service Number: SX4503
Enlisted: 7 June 1940, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Major
Last Unit: 2nd/63rd Australian Light Aid Detachment
Born: Adelaide, SA, 22 October 1902
Home Town: Henley Beach, City of Charles Sturt, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Not yet discovered
Memorials: Henley Beach Council WW2 Honour Roll and Addendum
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World War 2 Service

7 Jun 1940: Involvement Major, SN SX4503
7 Jun 1940: Enlisted Wayville, SA
7 Jun 1940: Enlisted Australian Army, Adelaide, South Australia
18 Nov 1940: Embarked Australian Army, SS Stratheden
22 Nov 1940: Involvement Australian Army, Captain, SN SX4503, 2nd/63rd Australian Light Aid Detachment, Enlistment/Embarkation WW2
17 Dec 1940: Involvement Australian Army, Captain, SN SX4503, 2nd/63rd Australian Light Aid Detachment, Middle East / Mediterranean Theatre
8 Jul 1941: Involvement Australian Army, Captain, SN SX4503, 2nd/63rd Australian Light Aid Detachment, El Alamein
1 Jan 1943: Involvement Australian Army, Captain, SN SX4503, 2nd/63rd Australian Light Aid Detachment, Middle East / Mediterranean Theatre
7 Apr 1943: Involvement Australian Army, Captain, SN SX4503, 135th Independent Brigade Workshop
8 Apr 1945: Involvement Australian Army, Major, SN SX4503, 2nd/63rd Australian Light Aid Detachment, Borneo - Operation Oboe July - August 1945
8 Nov 1945: Discharged
8 Nov 1945: Discharged Australian Army
Date unknown: Involvement

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Biography

Father       and  Mother Alice Hall  (nee ________)

Described on enlisting as

7/6/1940            Joined up at Henley Beach, South Australia.
                          Enlisted at Wayville, SA
                          with the 2/63 Australian Light Aid Detachment, formed at Wayville

When assembled, they moved in August 1940 to Woodside and became attached to the parent
unit
2/7 Field Regiment RAA. The Light Aid Detachment strength was one officer,

CAPTAIN W HALL and 14 other ranks.

The senior non-commissioned officer was W02 L Heffernan, a Regular Army soldier. Training
was carried out at Woodside.

In November the regiment’s two batteries were finally brought together.

17/11/1940       13th Battery left Woodside and travelled by train to Port Adelaide’s Outer Harbour,
                         where it joined the 2/48th Battalion and other auxiliary units, aboard the troopship
                         Stratheden.

18/11/1940        the Light Aid Detachment embarked from Port Adelaide Outer Harbour
                          and sailed with the parent unit on the SS Stratheden.
                          After a 7-day stay in Perth, they left Australia.
17/12/1940       Arrived at Kantara in the Middle East on the edge of the Sinai, EGYPT and the
                         regiment travelled by train to Palestine, going into camp at Qastina.

It remained in Palestine for four months, training with 18-pounder guns and 4.5" howitzers.

During the next 12 months the unit served at:-
  Amria from April 1941,
  Mersa Matruh from May 1941,  and
  Sidi Barrani from September 1941
:-

March 1941      the 9th Division was brought from Palestine to Libya to garrison the area east of
                         Tobruk, but the division did not have enough vehicles to bring all its units forward.

April 1941         the 2/7th Field Regiment moved to Ikingi Marut, Egypt.

May 1941         they moved to Mersa Matruh, where it and the 2/8th Field Regiment contributed
                        to defending the “fortress”. 

By June the war in North Africa had become critical for the Allies, with the German and Italian
forces reaching El Alamein, in Egypt, about 112 kilometres west of Alexandria.
The 9th Division was rushed to the Alamein “box” and held the northern sector for almost
4 months.

It was at Alamein where the 2/8th “came into its own”.
The regiment reached the Alamein front in July and, having been placed under the command of the
9th Division’s 26th Brigade, took up position at Kilo 91, east of El Alamein, on 8 July.
The regiment went into action two days later.

On 10 July, attacking inland from the coast, the 26th Brigade attacked the German positions at
Tel el Eisa.  The attack was supported by all three of the division’s artillery regiments, with the
2/7th being involved in the heavy fighting that followed when the Germans counter-attacked.
Fighting continued for five days, during which time the 2/7th fired 20,129 rounds.

It was not until the end of July, while still at Matruh, that the regiment received most of its
25-pounders.

After 3 months at Matruh, at the start of September, the 2/7th moved closer to the front, taking
up a position between Halfaya Pass, controlled by German and Italian troops, and Sidi Barrani,
which was being developed into a fortress by British Commonwealth troops, in the Coastal Sector.

While here, the 2/7th and 2/8th employed a “sniping gun”, where a 25-pounder would go forward
in the morning, observing enemy artillery fire, and fire several shells in reply, before retiring to its
own lines.

The gunners remained in the western desert until October.

The 2/7th remained in action during the following months, supporting Operation Bulimba, the 20th
Brigade’s attack at the start of September.

During the main Alamein offensive at the end of October and the start of November, the 2/7th
supported the 20th Brigade’s advance.
During the 13 days of battle, the regiment fired 65,594 rounds of high-explosive shells. 
Once the breakthrough occurred, the regiment participated in the pursuit of enemy troops and
went as far as El Daba.

The 2/7th was one of the few Australian units that left the divisional area during the battle.

Alamein was a vital success for the Allies and was one of the war’s turning points.


By this time nearly all Australian troops had been evacuated from Tobruk and the 9th Division
was reforming in Palestine.

The 2/7th, however, was sent to the Royal Artillery’s Almaza Base Depot, Cairo,
where it became the depot training regiment at the Middle East School of Artillery.

 

On 19/2/1942, the 2/63 Light Aid Detachment became part of the newly-formed 9 Division
and were located at Aleppo in Syria. From there they moved to El Alamein in July 1942.

On 5/12/1942, movement was carried out, with the destination Palestine.

In January 1943 they again returned to Egypt.

In 1943 orders were received for the 9th Division to leave the Middle East, as they were needed
elsewhere and began returning to Australia in January 1943.

31/1/1943           Embarked on the  Niew Holland,  they sailed for Australia.
18/2/1943           arrived in Fremantle
25/2/1943           arrived in Melbourne a week later

The regiment was given leave before moving to Queensland in April 1943

The gunners and the LIght Aid Detachment spent the next 2 years in north Australia, with
extensive training in jungle conditions first at Kiri and then Ravenshoe
, on the Atherton
Tablelands, QLD.

Indeed, the war was almost over before the regiment again went into action

Captain W Hall, the original Officer Commanding, had been replaced by Lieutenant Ridley
in Syria,  (and on 8/4/1945 Captain PC O'Sullivan was appointed Officer Commanding.)

              In early March 1942, Captain Foster left with an advance party and moved to
              Northern Territory. The main body moved there in late March and was located
              at Noonamah by April 1942. During the following month the unit moved to
              "44 Mile", Adelaide River. In September 1942 a further move was made to a
              new site at "38 Mile" Nanton Gap.

              Shortly after this, four sections were formed (1,2,3 and 5) and became known
              as the 12 Australian Motor Transport Workshop.
              The 106 Independent Brigade Workshop then became known as No 3 section
              of the 12 Brigade Workshop, and Captain E Patrick, an original member of
              5 Recovery Section, became Officer Commanding.

No 3 Section moved again in the latter part of 1943 to Wondecla on the Atherton Tableland,
QLD, where it became the 135 Independent Brigade Workshop with Captain Patrick as Officer
Commanding.
Later Major A Taylor took over from Captain Patrick as Officer Commanding and remained
until October 1944, when the unit embarked for New Guinea.
A further change of Officer Commanding was made, Captain (Temporary Major) W Hall,
the original Officer Commanding of 2/63 Australian LAD replaced Major A Taylor.

The second overseas commitment for the unit arrived, and they embarked at Townsville on
the  USS "General H.W. Butner"  on 8/4/1945, and sailed to Morotai, which was being used
as a staging area for the Oboe operations on Borneo.

On arrival in New Guinea, the workshop operated in the Aitape area until May 1945, when
it moved to Wewak and remained with Major W Hall as Officer Commanding, until the end of
the war.

The first phase of the Borneo operation was an amphibious landing on Tarakan Island by the
26th Brigade and the 2/7th.

Coming ashore in landing craft, following the infantry, the regiment landed on Tarakan on the
first day of the invasion on 1/5/945.
(Preceding the invasion, 5 guns from the regiment’s 57th Battery landed on Sadau Island to
help cover the landing.)
The regiment was frequently called upon to give artillery support, shelling heavily defended
Japanese positions. The regiment fired more than 37,000 shells during the campaign.

In May 1945 action was carried out in Tarakan and the unit served in this area until the hostilities
ceased.

Following Japan’s surrender and the end of the war (August 1945), the regiment’s ranks thinned
as men were discharged or transferred.

2/63 Australian Light Aid Detachment finally returned to Australia and was disbanded in
November 1945.

8/11/1945            Major Hall was discharged from service

The last members of the unit left Tarakan in December 1945 and the 2/7th Field Regiment
was disbanded in January 1946.

The Australian commander on Tarakan, Brigadier D.A. Whitehead, later wrote it was
“good to know”     that he had a whole artillery regiment to support his operations on
the island. “It was certainly good to know,” he wrote, “that the Regiment was the 2/7th.”

16/11/1945          Recommended for Award

14/2/1946            Advertised in the London Gazette  -  Mention in Despatches
                            Award for Distinguished services South-West Pacific Area.



Medals:

 

Sourced and submitted by Julianne T Ryan.  12/11/2014.  Lest we forget.

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