Title: The Second Eighth – A History of the 2/8th Australian Infantry Battalion

Author: Bentley, Arthur

Condition: Very Good +

Edition: 1st Edition

Publication Date: 1984

ISBN: 0959061908

Cover: Hard Cover with Dust Jacket – 398 pages

Comments: The story of the 2/8th Battalion during World War 2. 

The 2/8th Australian Infantry Battalion formed in October 1939, under Lt Col J.W.Mitchell, a former commander of 8 Battalion First AIF.  The Battalion, like the majority of Victorian units, carried out its initial training at Puckapunyal – then very much in its formative stage.  On 14 April, 1940 the Battalion embarked for the Middle East arriving five weeks later, and for the next six months was engaged at various locations in Palestine in the hard training necessary to be fit for the operations which lay ahead.  The first of these operations proved to be participation in the first Libyan campaign which, besides being extremely successful, was memorable for inflicting on the axis forces the first defeat suffered by them in World War Two; 2/2 Battalion played its full parting the battles of Bardia, Tobruk, Derna and Benghasi.  Despite the termination of hostilities in North Africa, there was to be little rest for 6 Australian Division and March, 1941 saw the Division committed to the Greek venture which cost so much and appeared to achieve so little. 

The 2/8 Battalion disembarked in Greece on the 3 April, 1941 and in a matter of a few days was heavily engaged as those who survived the battle of Vevi  Pass, the subsequent withdrawal, Kootroch, Dhomoocos, Brallos will well remember.  The successful evacuation from Greece did not spell the end of the difficulties the Battalion was to experience.  The sinking of the ship Costa Rica and the rescue of the survivors by the Royal Navy subsequently resulted in a substantial proportion of the Battalion being landed in Crete in time to take part in the defence of the island against the German airborne invasion.  The success of the German invasion of Crete forced the evacuation of the island and the battalion ultimately concentrated in Palestine and spent some time refitting prior to moving to Syria where it was engaged in the preparation of defences against a possible threat to that country from the north.  With the entry of Japan into the war the 2/8 Battalion returned to Australia on 29 March, 1942 and with the 2/4 Battalion was dispatched to the Darwin area to form part of the North Territory Force for the defence of that locality. 

With the move to Atherton Tablelands, in Queensland, the Battalion engaged in jungle training which ultimately paid dividends later on.  In October, 1944 the Battalion sailed to New Guinea, landing at Aitape which had previously been occupied by US forces in their island-hopping campaign.  The Battalion participated in some tough actions whilst in New Guinea, one of which was the capture of Mt Shiburangu.  Hambrauri was the last action the Battalion was to be engaged in for at 1130 hrs, 15 August, 1945 the word WAREND was received which brought hostilities to an end.

Includes Nominal Roll