About This Unit
2nd/8th Field Ambulance, 9th Infantry Division
The 2nd/8th Field Ambulance (Fd Amb) was raised at Wayville (Adelaide Showgrounds) in July 1940, originally intended to be part of the 24th Brigade in the 8th Division. Fortunately for them the 24th Brigade was re-allocated to 9th Division (the 8th Division was lost in its entirety in Malaya / Singapore .
The 2nd/8th Fd Amb left Australia in December 1940 and arrived at Khassa (Palestine) in January 1941.
The 9th Division replaced the 6th Division in Cyrenaica in March 1941., with the 2nd/8th relieving the 2nd/2nd Fd Amb at Ghemines.
As the Germans advanced they moved back to El Abiar and Lamluda before reaching Tobruk in April joining the rest of the 9th Division and hunkering down for the Siege with their colleagues.
In October the 9th Division was progressively relieved and taken out by ship and the 2nd/8th Fd Amb moved to Julis (Palestine) and then to Hill 69 in December.
With the outbreak of the Pacific War, 1st Australian Corps was returned to Australia to defend the Homeland but 9th Division was left in place in Syria under Command the 8th Army. The 2nd/8th Fd Amb was now part of the 20th Brigade Group.
The 2nd/8th Fd Amb supported the forward Brigades in the defensive battles before El Alamein. All of the medical units took part in the break-out from El Alameinin October 1941 before returning to Julis in Palestine in November. The 9th Division left the Middle East in January 1943. and after laeave assembled in Kairi (Qld) in April.
9th Division undertook preparatory training in North Queensland and assembled at Milne Bay in preparation to join the planned attack at Lae in parallel with the 7th Division in September. The 9th was to land by sea while the 7th Division was airlifted in.
Still in support of 20th Brigade, 2nd/8th Fd Amb established a Mobile Dressing Station (MDS) at the beach before moving to the Buso River, and then after the capture of Lae, to Finschafen where they established at Scarlet Beach. In Nov and Dec they supported 24 Bde.
In March 1944, the 9th Division left New Guinea and returned to Australia assmebling at Ravenshoe, in the massive assembly and training area of Far North Queensland, awaiting a role north of New Guinea.
In early 1945 1 Australian Corps was tasked with the liberation of Borneo, and 9th Infantry Division's role was the capture of Trakan and a landing at Borneo Bay. After assembling at Morotai in the NEI in April 1945 with 20 Bde Gp once again, landing at Brookerton in June before establishing an MDS in Brunei Town, with Advanced Dressing Station (ADS) supporting battalion advances through Brunei and Sarawak until war's end.
McKenzie-Smith, Graham, 'The Unit Guide' The Australian Army 1939-45 ' ISBN: 978-1-9-925675-14-6 2018 'Vol 4 Medical and Signals Units' p.4.086