Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Numbering of Australian Divisions


  • Please log in to reply
24 replies to this topic

#1 Slipdigit

Slipdigit

    Old Hickory Recon

  • Registered Users
  • 2,189 posts

Posted 19 September 2007 - 09:43 PM

I am wondering why the Australian Divisions were numbered in the manner they were. Why were they numbered started with the 6th Division, instead of the 1st, causing them to be numbered 6th, 7th, 8th, & 9th instead of 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th? Or were 1-5 militia divisions that never were active divisions?

Did formation of the 10th Division ever get past the planning phases?
  • 0

Warmest Regards,
Jeff


#2 Owen

Owen

    Immoderator

  • Super Moderators
  • 18,140 posts
  • LocationUnder the stairs

Posted 19 September 2007 - 09:50 PM

I think it carried on from those in WW1 without reusing those numbers.
That's why Aussie Battalions were aways 2/ something.As they were the 2nd AIF as opposed to the 1st AIF in The Great War.

Edit, Jeff have a look here, I was sort of right.
6th Division in WW2


The 6th Division was the first division formed for the Second AIF in the Second World War. It was so designated because there were already five divisions in the Australian Military Forces when the decision was made in September 1939 to raise a 'special force' for overseas service. Also this fitted with the fact that the 1st AIF had fielded 5 active Divisions.


  • 0

If you have any questions about the forum don't ask me, ask Adam - von Poop


#3 Slipdigit

Slipdigit

    Old Hickory Recon

  • Registered Users
  • 2,189 posts

Posted 19 September 2007 - 10:35 PM

So, in essence, the 1-5th Divisions were militia/home guard types but some were converted into full fledged division (such as the 2nd) for duty outside of Australia proper?

I found this regarding the 10th Division. Is it accurate in it's discussion of the second interation of the division?

The letter from Gen John Murray states a loss ("wastage" as he puts it) of 7-8000 monthy, that's 84-96,000/year at that rate.
Realizing that a couple of divisions or division equivalents were lost at places like Singapore and Crete, I am wondering if that loss rate continued throughout the war, or was just the situation in 1942? I would think the loss rate subsided substantially after 1942.

One or two other questions.
What were the British and Commonwealth divisions slated for the Honshu invasion and what corps and commander were they going to be under?
  • 0

Warmest Regards,
Jeff


#4 Blackblue

Blackblue

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 195 posts

Posted 23 September 2007 - 10:10 AM

Hi Jeff,
Yes the 1st to 5th Divisions were essentially militia formations. In August 1942 Australia actually had 11 x Infantry divisions (1 to 11), 1 x Armoured Division, 2 x Motorised Divisions and Northern Territory Force. There were also a couple of militia Cavalry Divisions prior to this. The 12th Division also existed briefly towards the end of the war. By 1945 there were 6 x Infantry Divisions total (militia and AIF) and an Armoured Brigade serving. The 12th Division was responsible for garrisoning the Northern Territory.

A number of the 'militia' Divisions did see active service. Of particular note the 3rd, 5th and 11th Divisions (briefly) on Bougainville after the Americans left. A number of militia battalions also fought in PNG and New Britain (and various smaller islands) including as part of AIF formations. The 12th Division was responsible for garrisoning the Northern Territory toward the end of the war. Some 2nd AIF units did move in and out of these militia formations as various times. A number of 'militia' infantry battalions could also considered part of the 'AIF', under AIF control, if a certain percentage of unit members volunteered for AIF service.

The short answer is that many units moved all over the place..in and out of various divisions...some of which were formed for particular jobs. It is pretty complicated. You might want to read some of the Australian Official History on the War Memorial site...which gives a better, if somewhat lengthy, explanation.

I think what you have found about a proposed 10th Division is essentially correct. McArthur had requested a Division for a possible role in the advance towards Japan and the invasion....but Blamey would not let McArthur have them to use piecemeal and if anything wanted an Australian Corps under Australian Command to go to Japan. McArthur claimed there was no place for this.

Rgds

Tim
  • 0
In memory of the service of my relatives:

75429 LAC Eric R E Berthelsen, 8 & 40 Squadrons, RAAF.
QX11125 PTE Donald A Smart, 2/25th Battalion, AIF.
123786 CPL George Smart, 6 Postal Unit, RAAF. .
94064 SGT Melba P Berthelsen, 3 & 7 Stores Depots, WAAAF.
100498 CPL Mona O Berthelsen, 3 & 7 Stores Depots, WAAAF.
QX30327 PTE Cavell B Berthelsen, 101 Convalescent Depot, AMF.
QX27130 PTE Norman F Zeller, 62nd Battalion & 2/15th Battalion, AIF.
Q69316 WO1 Harold J Tesch, 1 Australian Ships Staff, AIF. Formerly RSM 41st Battalion 1st AIF.
Q226443 LT George A Clyne, 8th Battalion, VDC.
Q213224 PTE Neil C Smart, 13th Battalion, VDC.

#5 Slipdigit

Slipdigit

    Old Hickory Recon

  • Registered Users
  • 2,189 posts

Posted 23 September 2007 - 01:04 PM

Thanks much, Tim, I appreciate it greatly.
  • 0

Warmest Regards,
Jeff


#6 MalcolmII

MalcolmII

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 191 posts

Posted 23 September 2007 - 08:31 PM

1,2 were Australia only , 3rd were in New Guinea 1943 to 44 and Bourgainville 1944 to 45.
4th AIDiv were formed February 1943, became York Force taking command of Torres Strait area.
5th AI Div were in New Guinea 1943 to 44, New Britain 1944 to 45.

6th were in Egypt, Greece, Palestine, Ceylon, Australia, New Guinea, Australia, New Guinea
7th were formed in Australia in May 1940 then reformed as Airborne in March 1942 for the Pacific Theatre.
Places served were Egypt, Syria, Egypt, Australia (for above airborne formation) , New Guinea, Balikpapan.
8th Were in Australia then Malaya where they were captured 1942.
9th were in Australia, North Africa, Australia, New Guinea, Borneo.
10th were formed in Australia in April 1942 and disbanded in August 1942
11th served in Australia, New Guinea and New Britain.
12th in Australia only

Info from Bellis Commonwealth Divisions 1939 - 1945 ISBN 0-9529693-0-0

Aye
MalcolmII
  • 0

#7 Slipdigit

Slipdigit

    Old Hickory Recon

  • Registered Users
  • 2,189 posts

Posted 23 September 2007 - 09:44 PM

Thanks also, Malcolm.

Okay, final question (I hope). Did Australian division ever form a purely Aussie corps or army command (outside of Australia), under an Aussie, or were they scattered out under British command or in penny packets?
  • 0

Warmest Regards,
Jeff


#8 spidge

spidge

    Very Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 11,033 posts
  • LocationMelbourne - Australia

Posted 23 September 2007 - 10:27 PM

General Sir Leslie Morshead (Tobruk 9th Division) commanded 11Corps in New Guinea then later 1Corps.

"His success at Tobruk was followed by promotion to lieutenant general and command of the AIF in the Middle East. Morshead, at the risk of alienating his British superiors, argued to keep the 9th Division together in the face of British demands to detach individual brigades. He led the division through the battle of El Alamein, where the 9th Division's contribution was considered vital to the victory. During the battle, he regularly visited both the front and the wounded behind the lines. Returning to Australia in 1943, Morshead took command of II Corps in October and then in November was elevated to command both New Guinea Force and the Second Australian Army. In May 1944 he was given command of I Corps, leading them through the final battles of the war in Borneo. After the war, he chaired a military court of enquiry into Major General Bennett's departure from Singapore in February 1942."
  • 0


Spidge,


My project is the collection of over 11,400+ RAAF Headstone/Memorial photos located in 70 countries during WW2 and the 360+ from WW1. Can you assist? Do you know someone that can?
-------------------------------------------------------
My Signature photo is the Battalion history of WW2 and the patch of the 2/8th battalion. (Blood & Bandages)
My Avatar is my dad, Gunner Frederick Edwin Swallow "C" Company, 2/8th Battalion, 19th Brigade, 6th Division AIF. Critically wounded on the first attack on Tobruk, January 21st 1941.



 


#9 Slipdigit

Slipdigit

    Old Hickory Recon

  • Registered Users
  • 2,189 posts

Posted 23 September 2007 - 10:46 PM

I am guessing that MGen Gordon Bennet does not enjoy a good reputation in Australia now?
  • 0

Warmest Regards,
Jeff


#10 spidge

spidge

    Very Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 11,033 posts
  • LocationMelbourne - Australia

Posted 24 September 2007 - 02:48 AM

Who’s who in Australian Military History

Lieutenant General Henry Gordon Bennett, CB, CMG, DSO

Lieutenant General Henry Gordon Bennett, CB, CMG, DSO

Quote:
After the war (WW1) Bennett worked in Sydney as a clothing manufacturer and accountant. He sat on the State Repatriation Board and in October 1928 became one of three commissioners administering Sydney City. Between 1931-33 he presided over the New South Wales Chamber of Manufacturers. Bennett continued also in the military, taking command of the 2nd Division in 1926. But when the Second World War began he was furious at not being given command of the AIF; his difficult temperament made such an appointment impossible. Only in September 1940 was he given a divisional command, the 8th Division, which he led to Malaya in 1941. Following the Japanese invasion of Malaya on 8 December 1941, Bennett had as little success preventing their southward advance as had his British counterparts. In February the Japanese reached Singapore and on the 15th of that month, as surrender negotiations took place, Bennett handed over command of his division and left the island. Some supporters applauded his escape but his claim that he left to pass on his knowledge about how to fight the Japanese - given his lack of success - failed to convince many. He was never given another field command and an enquiry after the war found he was not justified in leaving Singapore. Bennett's dreams of leading the Australian Army were ruined. After the war Bennett took up farming near Sydney. He died at Dural, Sydney, on 1 August 1962.
  • 0


Spidge,


My project is the collection of over 11,400+ RAAF Headstone/Memorial photos located in 70 countries during WW2 and the 360+ from WW1. Can you assist? Do you know someone that can?
-------------------------------------------------------
My Signature photo is the Battalion history of WW2 and the patch of the 2/8th battalion. (Blood & Bandages)
My Avatar is my dad, Gunner Frederick Edwin Swallow "C" Company, 2/8th Battalion, 19th Brigade, 6th Division AIF. Critically wounded on the first attack on Tobruk, January 21st 1941.



 


#11 Slipdigit

Slipdigit

    Old Hickory Recon

  • Registered Users
  • 2,189 posts

Posted 24 September 2007 - 10:59 AM

Thanks Spidge.
  • 0

Warmest Regards,
Jeff


#12 Robynjanet

Robynjanet

    Junior Member

  • Registered Users
  • PipPip
  • 20 posts

Posted 21 June 2012 - 10:18 AM

An Australian historian - sorry, forget which but could find out if you really wanted to know - once famously said that when it comes to casualties for Australians in WW2, two things stand out:
(1) the high rate among Australian POWs of the Japanese. About 30%. Most captured in the 8th Division when Singapore fell in February 1942.
(2) Bomber Command. 10,000 served, more than 4,000 killed.

While the fall of Singapore remains imprinted on the collective memory in Australia and continues to drive much of our thinking about defence- at least sotto voce - the losses in Bomber Command have been largely overlooked.
  • 0

#13 spidge

spidge

    Very Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 11,033 posts
  • LocationMelbourne - Australia

Posted 21 June 2012 - 01:24 PM

An Australian historian - sorry, forget which but could find out if you really wanted to know - once famously said that when it comes to casualties for Australians in WW2, two things stand out:
(1) the high rate among Australian POWs of the Japanese. About 30%. Most captured in the 8th Division when Singapore fell in February 1942.
(2) Bomber Command. 10,000 served, more than 4,000 killed.

While the fall of Singapore remains imprinted on the collective memory in Australia and continues to drive much of our thinking about defence- at least sotto voce - the losses in Bomber Command have been largely overlooked.


In my research I have found another 250 Australians who were killed in the RAF and other allied Air Forces and therefore not eligible to be on the Australian Roll of Honour.

Another statistic is that RAAF Australians in Bomber Command represented only 2% of the total RAAF however those killed with Bomber Command represented 20% of total RAAF deaths.

Cheers

Geoff
  • 0


Spidge,


My project is the collection of over 11,400+ RAAF Headstone/Memorial photos located in 70 countries during WW2 and the 360+ from WW1. Can you assist? Do you know someone that can?
-------------------------------------------------------
My Signature photo is the Battalion history of WW2 and the patch of the 2/8th battalion. (Blood & Bandages)
My Avatar is my dad, Gunner Frederick Edwin Swallow "C" Company, 2/8th Battalion, 19th Brigade, 6th Division AIF. Critically wounded on the first attack on Tobruk, January 21st 1941.



 


#14 Robynjanet

Robynjanet

    Junior Member

  • Registered Users
  • PipPip
  • 20 posts

Posted 22 June 2012 - 07:16 AM

The historian David Horner is the best source on Gordon Bennett, as on much else.
  • 0

#15 Robynjanet

Robynjanet

    Junior Member

  • Registered Users
  • PipPip
  • 20 posts

Posted 22 June 2012 - 07:25 AM

Re the issue of Australians serving in the RAF not being eligible for inclusion in the Roll of Honour in the Australian War Memorial. Am not sure this is correct. Would be a scandal if it were!!! As indicated in previous posts, I was looking for the records of my father's boyhood pal, Jimmy Cossart (QX426544) who was killed in March 1945 in a Lancaster of 106 Squadron RAF. I couldn't initially find him on the War Memorial website, so got onto some pals in Canberra and the war historians found him.
  • 0

#16 spidge

spidge

    Very Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 11,033 posts
  • LocationMelbourne - Australia

Posted 22 June 2012 - 09:02 AM

Re the issue of Australians serving in the RAF not being eligible for inclusion in the Roll of Honour in the Australian War Memorial. Am not sure this is correct. Would be a scandal if it were!!! As indicated in previous posts, I was looking for the records of my father's boyhood pal, Jimmy Cossart (QX426544) who was killed in March 1945 in a Lancaster of 106 Squadron RAF. I couldn't initially find him on the War Memorial website, so got onto some pals in Canberra and the war historians found him.


Hi Robyn,

Jimmy Cossart was in the RAAF and serving in a RAF Squadron and is and should be on the ROH. He is on the Nominal Roll as he joined in Australia. World War Two Nominal Roll


Those Australians who joined the RAF prewar or those that found themselves in Britain when the war broke out OR those that were rejected by the RAAF and went to Britain under their own steam and joined the RAF or other allied air forces are NOT on the Australian Roll of Honour.

The exception to this are those Australians who were in the RAAF and were "transferred" on loan to the RAF. (Usually pre war)

Most of the former are on the Commemorative Roll but only if their relatives etc, nominated them.

There are instances where one brother was killed in the RAAF and another brother sailed to Britain, joined the RAF and was killed. The latter is not eligible for the Australian Roll of Honour.

Cheers

Geoff
  • 0


Spidge,


My project is the collection of over 11,400+ RAAF Headstone/Memorial photos located in 70 countries during WW2 and the 360+ from WW1. Can you assist? Do you know someone that can?
-------------------------------------------------------
My Signature photo is the Battalion history of WW2 and the patch of the 2/8th battalion. (Blood & Bandages)
My Avatar is my dad, Gunner Frederick Edwin Swallow "C" Company, 2/8th Battalion, 19th Brigade, 6th Division AIF. Critically wounded on the first attack on Tobruk, January 21st 1941.



 


#17 spider

spider

    Very Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 1,392 posts

Posted 09 November 2012 - 04:14 AM

The 6th Division was first raised in 1917, however was soon disbanded to supply the other Australian Divisions with reinforcements and never saw service.

Hence why the 6th was the first of the 2nd AIF divisions.
  • 0

Spider
Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt.

Sig Hector Warnes 2/11 Batt and 6th Div Sigs (2nd AIF) - Served: 16/04/1940 - 31/07/1943
Cpl Ivor J Warnes RAAF - Served: 06/11/1939 - 23/11/1944
 

 


#18 martin14

martin14

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 367 posts

Posted 09 November 2012 - 05:42 AM

An Australian historian - sorry, forget which but could find out if you really wanted to know - once famously said that when it comes to casualties for Australians in WW2, two things stand out:
(1) the high rate among Australian POWs of the Japanese. About 30%. Most captured in the 8th Division when Singapore fell in February 1942.
(2) Bomber Command. 10,000 served, more than 4,000 killed.

While the fall of Singapore remains imprinted on the collective memory in Australia and continues to drive much of our thinking about defence- at least sotto voce - the losses in Bomber Command have been largely overlooked.



I wouldn't say overlooked, it is hard when the men in Bomber Command
became casualties bit by bit, versus division sized formations
where progress can be shown as ground taken, and casualties come in groups.

I think it is similar in Canada.
  • 0

#19 spidge

spidge

    Very Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 11,033 posts
  • LocationMelbourne - Australia

Posted 09 November 2012 - 07:32 AM

Conflicts – National Archives of Australia

Statistics for WW1 and WW2 taking into account that the population of Australia in 1914 was nearly 4 million

In 1939 the population was about 7 million.

More than 330,000 Australians served overseas in World War I. Of these, nearly 60,000 died, 152,000 were wounded, and over 4000 were taken prisoner, of whom 395 died in captivity. For information about records of service for these personnel see Army – World War I.

Total casualty percentage was approx 65%.

World War II: 1939–45



Over 993,000 Australians served in the armed forces during World War II. Of those on active service, 27,073 were killed in action or died, 23,477 were wounded, and 30,560 were taken prisoner of war. Of those taken prisoner, 8296 died in captivity.

The high POW number was due to the 8th division being taken into captivity at Singapore.

This figure of armed forces was about 14% of the total population.

Of this 993,000 - 75% served overseas. (744,750)

Percentage of casualties who served overseas is about 11%.

Cheers

Geoff

Edited by spidge, 09 November 2012 - 08:18 AM.

  • 0


Spidge,


My project is the collection of over 11,400+ RAAF Headstone/Memorial photos located in 70 countries during WW2 and the 360+ from WW1. Can you assist? Do you know someone that can?
-------------------------------------------------------
My Signature photo is the Battalion history of WW2 and the patch of the 2/8th battalion. (Blood & Bandages)
My Avatar is my dad, Gunner Frederick Edwin Swallow "C" Company, 2/8th Battalion, 19th Brigade, 6th Division AIF. Critically wounded on the first attack on Tobruk, January 21st 1941.



 


#20 spidge

spidge

    Very Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 11,033 posts
  • LocationMelbourne - Australia

Posted 09 November 2012 - 08:17 AM

Conflicts – National Archives of Australia

Statistics for WW1 and WW2 taking into account that the populsation of Australia in 1914 was nearly 4 million

In 1939 the population was about 7 million.

More than 330,000 Australians served overseas in World War I. Of these, nearly 60,000 died, 152,000 were wounded, and over 4000 were taken prisoner, of whom 395 died in captivity. For information about records of service for these personnel see Army – World War I.


Total casualty percentage was approx 65%.

World War II: 1939–45



Over 993,000 Australians served in the armed forces during World War II. Of those on active service, 27,073 were killed in action or died, 23,477 were wounded, and 30,560 were taken prisoner of war. Of those taken prisoner, 8296 died in captivity.


The high POW number was due to the 8th division being taken into captivity at Singapore.

This figure of armed forces was about 14% of the total population.

Of this 993,000 - 75% served overseas. (744,750)

Percentage of casualties who served overseas is about 11%.

Cheers

Geoff
  • 0


Spidge,


My project is the collection of over 11,400+ RAAF Headstone/Memorial photos located in 70 countries during WW2 and the 360+ from WW1. Can you assist? Do you know someone that can?
-------------------------------------------------------
My Signature photo is the Battalion history of WW2 and the patch of the 2/8th battalion. (Blood & Bandages)
My Avatar is my dad, Gunner Frederick Edwin Swallow "C" Company, 2/8th Battalion, 19th Brigade, 6th Division AIF. Critically wounded on the first attack on Tobruk, January 21st 1941.



 


#21 ozjohn39

ozjohn39

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 139 posts
  • LocationMelbourne.

Posted 02 September 2013 - 06:22 AM

Can I chip in?

 

It is my understanding that the Army sent overseas in WW1 was called the Australian Imperial Force - the AIF.

 

NOT the 1st AIF!

 

That AIF consisted of 5 Divisions of 15 Brigades. 1-15,   and 60 Battalions, 1-60.

 

It was disbanded and ceased to exist after WW1 finished.

 

In Sept 1939,  the 2nd AIF was established,  and its Divisions were numbered from 6th to 9th, with the Brigades continuing on from 16th Brigade, and the battalions  numbered from 2/1st onwards.

 

Open to correction.

 

 

ozjohn


  • 0
"I disagree with what you say, but I shall defend to the death your right to say it". - Voltaire.

#22 ozjohn39

ozjohn39

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 139 posts
  • LocationMelbourne.

Posted 02 September 2013 - 06:29 AM

PS,

 

 

The soldiers that signed up for service in BOTH Imperial Forces volunteered to serve ANYWHERE required.   The ones called up in the Australian Army were only allowed (according to the Australian Constitution) to serve in Australia and Australian Territories,  and PNG was Australian territory for this purpose.

 

Thus the Australian Army units only served in OZ and PNG,  and the 2nd AIF went to Borneo etc.

 

 

ozjohn


  • 0
"I disagree with what you say, but I shall defend to the death your right to say it". - Voltaire.

#23 Owen

Owen

    Immoderator

  • Super Moderators
  • 18,140 posts
  • LocationUnder the stairs

Posted 02 September 2013 - 07:58 AM

Can I chip in?

 

It is my understanding that the Army sent overseas in WW1 was called the Australian Imperial Force - the AIF.

 

NOT the 1st AIF!

 

 

 

It was disbanded and ceased to exist after WW1 finished.

 

I suppose I should have said 'the first' AIF or 'the original' AIF.


  • 0

If you have any questions about the forum don't ask me, ask Adam - von Poop


#24 ozjohn39

ozjohn39

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 139 posts
  • LocationMelbourne.

Posted 04 September 2013 - 06:28 AM

Owen,

 

Sorry if I offended you, I was only trying to expand the back-ground of the AIF and its successor the 2nd AIF.

 

ozjohn


  • 0
"I disagree with what you say, but I shall defend to the death your right to say it". - Voltaire.

#25 Owen

Owen

    Immoderator

  • Super Moderators
  • 18,140 posts
  • LocationUnder the stairs

Posted 04 September 2013 - 06:34 AM

No worries mate, never worry about picking me up on stuff.


  • 0

If you have any questions about the forum don't ask me, ask Adam - von Poop





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users