2nd/19th Infantry Battalion 22nd Brigade 8th Division 2nd AIF WW2

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About This Unit

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2nd/19th Battalion, 22nd Brigade, 8th Division 2nd AIF

 The 2nd/19th Battalion was raised at Wallgove in Sydney's West on 15 July 1940, and its members were drawn largely from southern NSW.

It became part of the ill-fated 8th Division and in January 1941 it embarked for Singapore disembarking on 18 February.

All was initially well in a rather novel environment for many of the young soldiers; Malaya was a British Colonial outpost and Singapore its hub.  There was an air of peacetime complacency despite what was happening in Europe.  The entry of Japan into the war on 7 December 1941 changed all that.

The Japanese landing at Kota Bahru on Malaya's north east coast and their rapid advance down the Penisula completely overwhelmed the British defensive plan, which had been inadequately prepared and was found totally wanting in the face of the speed and manoueverability of the very experienced Japanese troops involved and the fact that they very quickly gained air superiority.

The 2nd /19th was not committed to action until nearly a month after the initial Japanese landings.

After conducting a series of very creditable defensive actions during the course of which its Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Charles Anderson was awarded the Victoria Cross, the Battalion suffered severe losses after elements were cut off and the retreating troops were forced to leave their wounded behind.  The Japanese massacred their captives in a pattern that engendered a grim determination in the rest of the 2nd AIF throughout the remainder of the Pacific War.

With barely 250 men remaining, the Battalion withdrew to Singapore Island, where it was reinforced with green troops 'straight off the boat' for the fight to hold the island.  In reality the fight was largely lost before it began as Singapore was dependant for water on a pipeline from Johore Bahru on the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, which the Japanese quickly cut off before relentlessly bombing the island.  

The British forces surrendered on 15 February 1942, and the men of the 2nd/19th began a three and a half year ordeal as prisoners of the Japanese, which many of them were not to survive.

 

More detail to follow.......

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:admin@vwma.org.au)  for details on how to contribute.

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Battle Honours of the 2nd/19th Infantry battalion

BATTLE HONOURS
Malaya 1941-1942
For operations against the Japanese in Malaya,
Sumatra and Java from 8th December 1941 until
the final capitulation in Java on 12th March 1942.

Johore
Awarded for participation in operations in Johore,
the southern state of Malaya. Having quickly
advanced down the Malaya Peninsula, Australian,
British, and Indian troops fought a series of delaying
and rearguard actions, as they withdrew to
Singapore Island. The battle honour includes the
ambushes at Gemas (14–15 January 1942) and
Jemaluang (26–27 January 1942), and the bitter
fighting at Muar (16–23 January 1942).

Singapore Island
This battle honour was awarded for participation in
the defence of Singapore Island.

The Muar
Awarded for participation in the engagements in the
Muar area, as well as the subsequent fighting
withdrawal by Australian and Indian troops to
Simpang Jeram and Parit Sulong.

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