Title: Forever Forward – The History of the 2/31st Australian Infantry Battalion 2nd AIF 1940 – 45
Author: Laffin, John
Edition: 2nd Edition
Publication Date: 1994
Cover: Hard Cover without Dust Jacket (Laminated Boards) – 333 pages
Comments: The history of the 2/31st Infantry Battalion during World War 2.
During the Second Great War, 1939-45, Australia was part of what was then known as the British Empire and its people were called upon to fight against the scourge of the Nazi Germans, the Facist Italians and the Imperialist Japanese. These nations, the ‘Axis Powers’, were intent on dominating the world by armed conquest and cruel oppression. In their scores of thousands, young Australians volunteered to serve their country at sea, in the air and on land. On the ground the greatest dangers and in consequence the greatest sacrifice fell upon the infantry battalions, otherwise known as foot soldiers, in scorching deserts, rugged mountains and fetid jungles, the Diggers had first to stop the apparently invincible enemy armies and to drive them back. The task required a degree of training and discipline, courage and fortitude that could barely be imagined by the civilians whom the soldiers were protecting and by the two generations of Australians who have followed.
This is the story of one unit, the 2/31st Australian Infantry Battalion of the Australian Imperial Force (AIF), whose motto because it cannot contemplate retreat. The men of the 2/31st did what was asked of them. They fought valiantly and suffered grievously. The battalion’s gallant dead lie in Syria, Papua New Guinea and Borne, as well as in England, where one of its men was killed during an enemy air raid in 1940. There can be no one pre-eminant infantry battalion in the second AIF and the 3/31st itself was one of three fine battalions which made up the 25th brigade. However, it was certainly one of the most distinguished units of the second AIF, as compliments bestowed on it by senior commanders indicate.
Many members of the battalion have died prematurely as a result of arduous service in disease-ridden areas and each year fewer men are left to answer the roll call. Even when they have all marched past, their proud battalion’s reputation will continue to move ‘forever forward’ through the pages of this book.
This reprint of ‘Forever Forward’ tells of the wartime experiences of the 2/31st in in their Middle East campaigns, on the Kokoda Track, the siege of Gona, Ramu Valley, Shaggy Ridge and the final battles at Balikpapan.
Well written, and with numerous photographs included, as well as a nominal roll and index, this book is dedicated to the men of the battalion who fought, but never returned.
Nominal Roll included