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61st Battalion (Queensland Cameron Highlanders) Plaque

Description
Bronze plaque dedicated to the memory of the individuals of the battalion who fell during World War II. The plaque displays units insignia, including Glengarry badge and enameled colour patch. The Battle Honours are displayed and 52 individuals who made the supreme sacrifice are listed.
Location
Shrine of Memories, ANZAC Square, Brisbane Qld 4000

Location of 61st Battalion (Queensland Cameron Highlanders) Plaque

Inscription
Refer to additional images.
Conflicts commemorated
Second World War, 1939-1945
Unit Memorials
Memorial type
Plaque
Commemorative services held
The Crypt is utilised for commemorative events.
Additional information

After the First World War the defence of the Australian mainland lay with the part-time soldiers of the Citizens Military Force (CMF), also known as the Militia. The Militia was organized to maintain the structure of the First AIF and kept the same numerical designations. The Militia units were distributed in the same areas the original AIF units were raised. In 1937 with tensions growing in Europe, it was decided to raise a new infantry battalion in the Brisbane-Ipswich area. The local Scottish community, who wanted Queensland to have its own Scottish regiment, lobbied for the newly raised 61st Infantry Battalion to be linked with a Highland regiment. In 1939 the 61st was linked with the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders and became the "Queensland Cameron Highlanders", of the 7th Brigade.

The 7th Brigade spent 1941 training at Chermside. When Japan entered the war on 7 December 1941 the 7th Brigade prepared defensive positions at Caloundra. In May 1942 the 7th Brigade moved to Rollingston, north of Townsville, to defend the area against a possible Japanese landing. In July and August the brigade moved to Milne Bay, at the south-east tip of New Guinea. It took almost a month for the 61st to be transported to Milne Bay, with the first contingent arriving on 15 July and the last on 8 August. The 61st was deployed with the 25th Infantry Battalion to defend the No. 3 strip at Gili Gili.

The Japanese made an amphibious landing at Milne Bay on 27 August. The 61st was first into action but were unable to hold back the Japanese. The Japanese reached the edge of the airstrip the next day, where they waited to be reinforced. In the early-morning of 31 August the Japanese charged the defences manned by the 61st and 25th. The Japanese suffered heavily and withdrew at dawn. By 7 September the battle was over. The 7th Brigade remained at Milne Bay until March 1943, when it was transferred to Donadabu, near Port Moresby, for training. In November the brigade was progressively returned to Australia, where it was given some leave. In February 1945 it regrouped in the Atherton Tablelands. In July the brigade returned to New Guinea, garrisoning the Madang area before being transferred to Torokina in Bougainville in November. About one-third of the men in the brigade were veterans of Milne Bay. On Bougainville the 61st served in Southern Sectors. The battalion was disbanded on 2 February 1946.

Battle Honours
South-West Pacific 1942-1945, Milne Bay, Liberation of Australian New Guinea, Mosigetta, Puriata River.

(Source: Australian War Memorial - www.awm.gov.au)

Recorded by
Matt Smith, QLD War Memorial Register
Date recorded
14 April 2009

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