2nd/10th Field Ambulance 8th Division 2nd AIF

About This Unit

2nd/10th Field Ambulance

The 2nd/10th Field Ambulance was part of the 8th Division in the 2nd AIF.  A Field Ambulance is structured to support an Infantry Brigade.

Most of the 2nd/10th Field Ambulance served in Malaya supporting the remaining two Brigades of the 8th Division, in their withdrawal down the Malay Peninsula and into Singapore, where they were subsequently captured.  However the Malayan force was only two Brigades in strength, the third having been earmarked for another task.

The 23rd Brigade was fated to be broken up and dissipated across the island chains to Australia's north in an ill-considered strategy to delay and deny the islands, their harbours and their airfields to the advancing Japanese.

All that happened was that the Australian forces were 'penny-packeted' into elements too small, inadequately  unsupported and inadequately armed to deal with the threat bearing down on them.  Worst of all there was no viable extraction plan.

Field Ambulance support to the Bird Forces was provided in the main by the 2nd/12th which supported Sparrow and Gull Forces.  The 2nd / 10th Field Ambulance allocated a 'detachment'  to Gull Force at Rabaul, and its personnel would share the ignominious fate of the rest of the garrison.  They were either killed, captured and in some cases murdered, or as happened to many, they were lost on the SS Montevideo Maru when it was torpedoed on its way to Hainan with many of the Rabaul captives.

All of the 'Bird force' groups were overrun and either killed, captured or in a very few cases escaped.

The remainder of the 2nd/10th saw out the war as prisoners of the Japanese, some ending up in Borneo where they were caught up in the infamous Sandakan Death March.

Compiled by Steve Larkins March 21