2/31ST AUSTRALIAN INFANTRY
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WW2
The 2/31st Infantry Battalion left Egypt on 9 February 1942 and disembarked in Adelaide, South Australia on 10 March 1942. After a period of training they left Australia and arrived in Port Moresby, New Guinea on 9 September 1942. Their role was to reinforce the various Australian units on the Kokoda Track. They were involved fighting the Japanese at Ioribaiwa on 15 September 1942. After a withdrawal to Imita Ridge they advances back along the Kokoda Track.
They were the first battalion to re-enter Kokoda on 1 November 1942. They defeated the Japanese on the track at Gorari from 7 to 11 November 1942. After some more action at Gona between 23 November and 4 December 1942 they returned to Port Moresby by air on 15 December 1942. They then travelled back to Australia by ship in early January 1943. They spent some time at Ravenshoe area in north Queensland.
State Library of Queensland - Digital ID: hin00048
Headquarters Company, 2/31 Battalion in the Ravenshoe area in 1943
The 2/31st Infantry Battalion arrived back in Port Moresby on 26 July 1943 and were flown to Nadzab on 12 September 1943 to participate with the rest of the 25th Brigade in the successful attack on the Japanese at Lae which was completed by 16 September 1943.
The 2/31st Battalion flew from Nadzab to Kaipit on 29 September 1943 where they engaged in patrols in the Ramu Valley and the foothills of the Finisterre Range. The 2/31st Infantry Battalion returned to Australia on 16 February 1944. It is believed that the 2/31st Australian Infantry Battalion was based at Wallgrove Army Base in New South Wales, west of Sydney in April 1944. SOme photographs on teh AWM site suggest that the 2/31st Battalion was based at Strathpine, in Brisbane on 21 August 1944.
AWM Photo: ID Number: 068564
A portion of a full Battalion
Parade of the 2/31st Infantry Battalion
at Strathpine, Brisbane, Queensland on 21 August 1944
After more than 12 months of training in Australia they left on 2 June 1945 and arrived at Balikpapan in Borneo on 2 July 1945. They fought the Japanese in some firec fighting around the Milford Highway and suffered heavy casualties. The 2/31st Infantry Battalion were rested on 26 July 1945. The war in the Pacific ended on 15 August 1945 and the longest serving men of the 2/31st started to return to Australia from October 1945. The rest of the battalion eventually arrived back in Brisbane, Queensland in early February 1946. The 2/31st Infantry Battalion was disbanded in Brisbane in the first week of March 1946.
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© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 3 May 2004
This page last updated 07 September 2018