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2/6 Independent Company was formed in May 1942 and possibly trained at the Guerilla Warfare School at No. 7 Infantry Training Centre at Tidal River on Wilson's Promontory in Victoria. The 2/6 Independent Company was allotted the distinctive Double Diamond Colour Patch of all Independent Companies, with its unit colour being purple, hence the title "The Purple Devils".

The 2/6th returned to Australia in March 1943 and went on some well deserved leave. They then reassembled at the Jungle Warfare Centre at Canungra, in south east Queensland to prepare for their next campaign.

By late 1943 the 2/6 Independent Company was re-designated to 2/6 Cavalry Commando Squadron and soon after to the 2/6 Commando Squadron, 2/7 Cavalry (Commando) Regiment. The 2/3rd, 2/5th and 2/6th were combined to form the 2/7th Cavalry (Commando) Regiment.

In August 1943, the 2/6th left Townsville by ship headed for Port Moresby. In the middle of September 1943 they were flown to Leron, in the Markham Valley to support the 7th Division in its coming Ramu-Markham Valley campaign. The 2/6th carried out reconnaissance and long range patrols providing flank cover for the 7th Division. They were also involved in capturing and holding ground.

The 2/6th Commando Squadron returned to Australian in April 1944 where they were based until early 1945 in the Mapee/Kairi area on the Atherton Tablelands, in tropical north Queensland where they trained and were involved in various exercises with the 7th Division.

Between May and July 1945, the 7th Division and the 9th Division made a series of landings on Borneo as part of the OBOE operations. The 2/6th (attached to the 25th Brigade) and the rest of the 7th Division landed at Balikpapan on 1 July 1945.

Four major campaigns were undertaken between 1942 and 1945. Patrols operating on the flanks of the Kokoda Track, at Buna with the Americans, in the Markham-Ramu Valleys with 7 Division and finally at Balikpapan in Borneo. The 2/6th finally returned to Australia in late December 1945. The 2/6 Commando Squadron was disbanded in mid January 1946.

As well as being a highly efficient fighting unit, the men were experts in long-range patrolling and reconnaissance and spent much of their time in small groups operating in territory effectively under enemy control.

Not only did the men have to contend with enemy forces and the inhospitable country, but also the lack of supplies and the isolation, much of the time out of touch with the main forces and entirely dependent on their own resources.



I'd like to thank Bob Drummond for his assistance with this web page. Bob's father was a forward scout with the 2/6th then came back to Australia to help train up the 2/10th. The 2/6th veterans have been coming to Wagga Wagga for the last 15 years and their last reunion was held in 2007.

I would also like to thank Brian Atkinson for his assistance with this web page.



The Defence Reserves Year Book 2004-2005

Purple Devils: History of 2/6 Australian Commando Squadron
by Triggelis Smith


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This page first produced 1 September 2007

This page last updated 07 September 2018