Francis Peter ("Frank") PLUNKETT

PLUNKETT, Francis Peter

Service Number: NX17455
Enlisted: 27 May 1940
Last Rank: Sergeant
Last Unit: 2nd/17th Infantry Battalion
Born: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 19 November 1913
Home Town: Glebe, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Not yet discovered
Died: Killed in Action, Jivevaneng, New Guinea, 28 October 1943, aged 29 years
Cemetery: Lae War Cemetery
Cemetery/memorial reference: U. C. 9.
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour
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World War 2 Service

3 Sep 1939: Involvement NX17455
27 May 1940: Enlisted NX17455, 2nd/17th Infantry Battalion
27 May 1940: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Sergeant, NX17455, 2nd/17th Infantry Battalion
11 Apr 1941: Involvement NX17455, 2nd/17th Infantry Battalion, Siege of Tobruk
1 Jul 1942: Involvement NX17455, 2nd/17th Infantry Battalion, El Alamein
29 Oct 1943: Involvement Sergeant, NX17455, 2nd/17th Infantry Battalion, New Guinea - Huon Peninsula / Markham and Ramu Valley /Finisterre Ranges Campaigns

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Biography contributed by Jeffrey Crisdale

"During the afternoon of 29 Oct a small B Boy, 2/17 Bn reconnaisance patrol, commanded by Sgt F. P. Plunkett, endeavoured to contact the 2/13 Bn troops at Coconut Grove and was ambushed near a track about 150 yards west of the grove when Sgt Plunkett and Pte E.J. Walmsley were killed. The story was told by Pte R.E. Lucchinelli of the Bn's Intelligence Section who was with the fateful patrol:

"Our plan was to move down a minor ridge and when sufficiently far down cut across, recce the area and ultimately to link up with the 2/13 Bn. 'Slim' Walmsley, the scout, had moved from the valley to the top of the ridge leaving us spread out at the bottom. He reached the top, looked about and turned to beckon to us when all hell let loose. He went down immediately and the Japs turned their fire down the valley and moved up the track firing down at us. It was so thick where we were that our vision was almost negligible. Frank Plunkett had started to rise and was about to move us forward when the firing started. He got a burst and by the time we tried to apply a dressing he was gone. Rifle fire could not achieve much in the circumstances and grenades were thrown but it was impossible and the only alternative seemed to be to return as quickly as possible by the way we had come. Apparently we had been under observation almost from the time we had moved from the top of the small ridge and they were waiting for us in ambush.

We returned to a debriefing by Lt Col Simpson and Brig Windeyer. Frank Plunkett's patrol was not altogether fruitless as evidenced by the Brigade operation order issued that night and by the events of the next few days. The bodies of both men were recovered on 31 Oct near where they were killed. Sgt Plunkett had been moved onto the track."

[Source publication: "A History of 2/17 Australian Infantry Battalion 1940-45"]