2/33rd Australian Infantry Battalion Plaque

Location of 2/33rd Australian Infantry Battalion Plaque

Shrine of Memories, ANZAC Square
Brisbane QLD 4000

Marble plaque displaying 'Rising Sun', enamelled unit colour patch and gold embossed engraving. Dedicated to individuals of the 2/33rd Battalion during the Second World War.






Conflicts commemorated
  • Second World War, 1939–1945
  • Unit memorials
Memorial type
Commemorative services held
Commemorative events utilise the Shrine of Memories.
Additional information

The 2/33rd Infantry Battalion was one of three formed in the United Kingdom on 27 June 1940 to create the 25th Infantry Brigade. The battalion's personnel were drawn from throughout the Australian force that had arrived in Britain earlier in the month and manpower shortages meant the battalion included only three rifle companies instead of the usual four. It was initially known as the 72nd Battalion and was based at Tidworth, but in October it was retitled the 2/33rd, and in the same month relocated to Colchester. It left Britain on 10 January 1941 and disembarked in Egypt on 8 March.

Upon arrival the 2/33rd moved to Palestine for training where it was joined by a fourth rifle company. On 11 April the 25th Brigade, now part of the 7th Australian Division, began to move to Egypt to bolster the defences along the Libyan frontier against an expected German attack and the 2/33rd occupied positions at Mersa Matruh.

In late May 1941, the 25th Brigade returned to Palestine to take part in the invasion of Syria and Lebanon, which began on 8 June. The 2/33rd fought, principally in dispersed company groups, around Merdjayoun until 28 June. It was then moved to the area around Jezzine and was still conducting operations in the rugged hills to the east of the town when the armistice was declared on 12 July.

After a period of leave and training in Australia the 2/33rd was deployed to Papua to reinforce the battered Australian units on the Kokoda Trail. It arrived in Port Moresby on 9 September and by the 13th was in action at Ioribaiwa. It returned to Port Moresby by air between 15 and 17 December and eventually sailed back to Australia in early January 1943.

The 2/33rd returned to Port Moresby in late July in preparation for the operations capture Lae, in New Guinea. On 7 September, while it waited at Jackson's Airfield at Moresby to be flown to Nadzab, via Tsili Tsili, a fully-loaded Liberator bomber crashed among the trucks carrying the battalion. Sixty men were killed and 92 injured - a third of the battalion's fatal casualties for the entire war. The remnants of the 2/33rd arrived in Nadzab on 8 September and subsequently participated in the advance on Lae,and spent the rest of the year principally engaged in patrol actions in the Ramu Valley and the Finisterre Range. It returned to Australia on 10 February 1944.

Following over a year of training, the 2/33rd departed Australia on 9 June 1945 for its last operation of the war, where itlanded at Balikpapan in Borneo.

Battle Honours
North Africa, Syria 1941, Syrian Frontier, Merjayun, South-West Pacific 1942-1945, Kokoda Trail Ioribaiwa, Eora Creek-Templeton's Crossing II, Oivi-Gorari, Buna-Gona, Gona, Lae-Nadzab, Lae Road, Liberation of Australian New Guinea, Ramu Valley, Shaggy Ridge, Borneo 1945, Balikpapan, Milford Highway

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

Recorded by
QLD War Memorial Register
Date recorded
14 April 2009

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