2nd Infantry Battalion (NSW) 1st Brigade, 1st Division, AIF

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About This Unit

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2nd Infantry Battalion 1st Brigade 1st Division AIF 

The 2nd Battalion was raised in August 1914 as part of the 1st Brigade (/explore/units/139) in the 1st Division of the AIF. Its colour patch tells its connection - the rectangle signifies the First Division. The green lower portion indicates the first brigade in the Division and the purple upper the second battalion. 

The 2nd Battalion was raised at Liverpool (SW of Sydney). Its men were drawn from northern NSW - "the Northern Rivers", including the Hunter Valley and the area north of it. 

On August 4 1914 Great Britain declared war on Germany. Australia quickly followed the Mother Land’s call to arms. A rush of volunteers flocked to Victoria Barracks in Paddington and to Liverpool in Sydney's south west to enlist.

From the city and suburbs clerks laid down their pens, shopkeepers and shop assistants walked out of their shops, solicitors paused with their briefs, workmen downed their picks and shovels and from the countryside bushmen, farmers, graziers, shearers, woodchoppers set out on by horse drawn buggy, by train, by horse and on foot starting their journey to join a new type of army - an all volunteer army - the Australian Imperial Force.

On 17th August all those that had volunteered and enlisted in the preceding days were called into Victoria Barracks where they were divided into four Battalions.

Thus 2nd Battalion came into being alongside the 1st, 3rd and 4th Battalions forming the 1st Australian Infantry Brigade. The Battalion was then marched to Randwick Racecourse where attestations were completed with the recruits signing on for the duration of the war and four months.

The Battalion arrived in Egypt in December 1914 and landed at Gallipoli on the first day, as part of the second and third waves. It served on the peninsula until the evacuation in December. In Egypt in March 1916 the AIF was ‘doubled’: the 4th and 5th Divisions were added to the 1st and 2nd Divisions, which already existed. The sixteen battalions which had fought on Gallipoli were each split, with half the personnel in each going to form a ‘pup’ or 'daughter' battalion; the gaps were filled with new recruits from Australia. The 2nd Battalion's 'pup' unit was the 54th Battalion, (/explore/units/323) which was part of the 14th Brigade (/explore/units/803) in the 5th Division.

The 2nd Battalion moved to France in March 1916, and spent the rest of the war on or behind the Western Front, principally fighting on the Somme and near Ypres. It ceased active operations in September 1918.

 

Unit History

  • Taylor, F.W. and T.A. Cusack (1942). Nulli secundus: a history of the Second Battalion, A.I.F., 1914-1919. Sydney: New Century Press

 

Battle/ Campaign/ Involvement 

  • Lagnicourt 15 April 1917
  • Albert 1918 (Chuignes) 21 August 1918 to 23 August 1918
  • Epehy 2 October 1918 to 5 October 1918

 

Reinforcement Groups

  • 1st Reinforcement: Left Melbourne on board HMAT A32 Themistocles, 22 December 1914
  • 2nd Reinforcement: Left Sydney on board HMAT A48 Seang Bee, 11 February 1915
  • 3rd Reinforcement: Left Sydney on board HMAT A49 Seang Choon, 11 February 1915
  • 4th Reinforcement: Left Sydney on board HMAT A8 Argyllshire, 10 April 1915
  • 5th Reinforcement: Left Sydney on board HMAT A55 Kyarra, 13 April 1915
  • 5th Reinforcement: Left Sydney on board HMAT A20 Hororata, 10 April 1915
  • 6th Reinforcement: Left Sydney on board HMAT Karoola, 16 June 1915
  • 7th Reinforcement: Left Sydney on board HMAT A67 Orsova, 14 July 1915
  • 8th Reinforcement: Left Sydney on board HMAT A54 Runic, 9 August 1915
  • 9th Reinforcement: Left Sydney on board HMAT A8 Argyllshire, 30 September 1915
  • 10th Reinforcement: Left Sydney on board HMAT A69 Warilda, 8 October 1915
  • 11th Reinforcement: Left Sydney on board HMAT A14 Euripides, 2 November 1915
  • 12th Reinforcement: Left Sydney on board HMAT A7 Medic, 30 December 1915
  • 13th Reinforcement: Left Sydney on board HMAT A6 Aeneas, 20 December 1915
  • 14th Reinforcement: Left Sydney on board RMS Osterley, 15 January 1916
  • 15th Reinforcement: Left Sydney on board HMAT A15 Star of England, 8 March 1916
  • 16th Reinforcement: Left Sydney on board HMAT A71 Nestor, 9 April 1916
  • 17th Reinforcement: Left Sydney on board HMAT A4 Ceramic, 14 April 1916
  • 18th Reinforcement: Left Sydney on board HMAT A55 Kyarra, 3 June 1916
  • 19th Reinforcement: Left Sydney on board HMAT A18 Wiltshire, 22 August 1916
  • 20th Reinforcement: Left Sydney on board HMAT A14 Euripides, 9 September 1916
  • 21st Reinforcement: Left Sydney on board HMAT A40 Ceramic, 7 October 1916
  • 22nd Reinforcement: Left Sydney on board HMAT SS Port Nicholson, 8 November 1916
  • 23rd Reinforcement: Left Sydney on board HMAT A24 Benalla, 9 November 1916
  • 24th Reinforcement: Left Sydney on board RMS Osterley, 10 February 1917
  • 25th Reinforcement: Left Sydney on board H.M.A.T. A20 Hororata, 14 June 1917
  • 26th Reinforcement: Left Sydney on board HMAT A38 Ulysses, 19 December 1917

 

Commanding Officers:

 

Victoria Cross winners:

 

 

We would particularly like to encourage individual historians researchers or members of unit associations to contribute to the development of a more detailed history and photographs pertaining to this unit and its members.

Please contact  admin@vwma.org.au (mailto:%20admin@vwma.org.au) for details on how to contribute.

 

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Stories

The 'A' ANZAC motif

'ANZAC' insignia

Members of the Australian Imperial Force who served on Gallipoli will be entitled to wear over the Unit “Colour Patch” on both sleeves of the Service Dress Jacket and Greatcoat the letter “A” an indication that the wearer had taken part in the operations on the Gallipoli Peninsula. - Military Order 354 of 1917

Members of the Australian Imperial Force who served on Gallipoli or the Islands of Lemnos, Imbros and Tenedos, or who have served on transports or hospital ships at or off Gallipoli or the Islands above-named, or in AIF lines of communication Units in Egypt will be entitled to wear over their Unit “Colour Patches” on both sleeves of their Service Dress Jacket and Greatcoat the letter “A” as an indication that the wearer had taken part in the Gallipoli operations. - Military Order 20 of 1918

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