2/24th Australian Infantry Battalion, May 1941

Discussion in 'North Africa & the Med' started by Varasc, Dec 16, 2012.

  1. Varasc

    Varasc Senior Member

    Good evening,

    I kindly need your assistance to check the correctness of my research, currently focused on an Australian prisoner of war, VX34136 Henry Norman Frederick Willoughby. I bought his records on the National Australian Archives' website and, among other information, I noticed that he was captured on May 3rd, 1941.

    Then of course I tried to understand what happened to his unit on the immediately previous days and on May 3rd. I found few inherent paragraphs on the history book I already have, but I downloaded the official history chapters of the battalion:

    2/24 Infantry Battalion, May 1941,AWM 52, 2nd Australian Imperial Forces and Commonwealth Military Forces unit war diaries, 1939-45 War.

    2/24 Infantry Battalion, April 1941,AWM 52, 2nd Australian Imperial Forces and Commonwealth Military Forces unit war diaries, 1939-45 War.


    They showed a series of attacks from infantry, AFVs and tanks against the various coys of the battalion, protecting the Tobruk perimeter. One of the two official chapters contained a particularly interesting report, [FONT=&quot]Report on Ops of 2/24 Bn 28 Apr-2 May 41, [FONT=&quot]providing further information on the attacks.[/FONT][/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]So I proceeded as usual, explaining as possible what happened locally and then inserting the description in a wider contest. Unfortunately, after that, I read that the battalion "lost two of its Companies and part of the third, to a German ambush near Derna, during the withdrawal from Benghazi into Tobruk on May, 1, 1941 in what is described in Chapter 6 of its unit history as "The May Show", which stopped Rommel's capture of Tobruk".[/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]The source provided the citation of the book, The Second Twenty-Fourth. A History, A. Amiet, D. Cunning, A. Macfarlane, R. P. Serle, E. J. Shattock, Jacaranda Press (Brisbane, 1963). It is also stated that Chapter 9 of this same book should contain the stories of the 2/24th's POWs.
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Now, as you may understand, I am facing a little dilemma. My official story underlines a static battle against the Australians who manned the Red Line, the outer perimeter of Tobruk, as also showed by the attached maps. Instead, this book seems to describe a completely different battle, an ambush while on the road towards Tobruk.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]But I found confirmation that the 2/24 Bn. relieved their comrades of the 2/48 the night of 28 April, without accidents, so how could they have been ambushed between Benghazi and Tobruk on May, the first?
    I already wrote to
    [/FONT][FONT=&quot][FONT=&quot]The 2/24 Australian Infantry Battalion Assoc Inc., but I am still waiting for their reply.
    [/FONT][/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]I kindly ask your help, above all if you have a copy of this old book, or other sources able to confirm or correct my supposition.[/FONT]


    [FONT=&quot]Thank you and kind regards,[/FONT]




    [FONT=&quot]Marco[/FONT]
     

    Attached Files:

  2. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    I may have some notes on 2/24 at Tobruk somewhere, though it may take me a while to get to them.
     
  3. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    A check of available copies in Australia (The Second twenty-fourth : Australian Infantry Battalion of the 9th Australian Division : a history / edited by R.P. Serle ; with foreword by R.W. Tovell - Details - Trove) shows that there are 30-odd copies in various libraries around the country.

    Most of them are non-lending (ie either university or state libraries) but a few copies exist in lending libraries down in Victoria (I guess that the 2/24 was a Victorian raised unit).

    Maybe one of the other forum members (Spidge?) could source the book.






    *************************************************************

    1963, English, Book, Illustrated edition: The Second Twenty-Fourth Australian Infantry Battalion of the 9th Australian Division : a history / edited by R.P. Serle ; with a forward by R.W. Tovell
     
  4. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    Varasc - where (in what publication) did you

    read that the battalion "lost two of its Companies and part of the third, to a German ambush near Derna, during the withdrawal from Benghazi into Tobruk on May, 1, 1941 in what is described in Chapter 6 of its unit history as "The May Show", which stopped Rommel's capture of Tobruk".

    The source provided the citation of the book, The Second Twenty-Fourth. A History, A. Amiet, D. Cunning, A. Macfarlane, R. P. Serle, E. J. Shattock, Jacaranda Press (Brisbane, 1963). It is also stated that Chapter 9 of this same book should contain the stories of the 2/24th's POWs.
     
  5. Varasc

    Varasc Senior Member

    Varasc - where (in what publication) did you

    read that the battalion "lost two of its Companies and part of the third, to a German ambush near Derna, during the withdrawal from Benghazi into Tobruk on May, 1, 1941 in what is described in Chapter 6 of its unit history as "The May Show", which stopped Rommel's capture of Tobruk".

    The source provided the citation of the book, The Second Twenty-Fourth. A History, A. Amiet, D. Cunning, A. Macfarlane, R. P. Serle, E. J. Shattock, Jacaranda Press (Brisbane, 1963). It is also stated that Chapter 9 of this same book should contain the stories of the 2/24th's POWs.


    It was in AIF POW, the excellent website of Bill Rudd, but at present I've not the page...


    Thank you all for this kind help, I really have no idea about that - at first I thought to different moments of the same battle, but after analysing with greater care... :(

    I tried to buy a copy of the book, but it was not affordable.
     
  6. Varasc

    Varasc Senior Member

    Varasc - where (in what publication) did you

    read that the battalion "lost two of its Companies and part of the third, to a German ambush near Derna, during the withdrawal from Benghazi into Tobruk on May, 1, 1941 in what is described in Chapter 6 of its unit history as "The May Show", which stopped Rommel's capture of Tobruk".

    The source provided the citation of the book, The Second Twenty-Fourth. A History, A. Amiet, D. Cunning, A. Macfarlane, R. P. Serle, E. J. Shattock, Jacaranda Press (Brisbane, 1963). It is also stated that Chapter 9 of this same book should contain the stories of the 2/24th's POWs.


    It was in AIF POW, the excellent website of Bill Rudd, but at present I've not the page...


    Thank you all for this kind help, I really have no idea about that - at first I thought to different moments of the same battle, but after analysing with greater care... :(

    I tried to buy a copy of the book, but it was not affordable.
     
  7. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    I may have some photocopies of (and notes on) Serle at home, I will try to get to them tonight. In the meantime, I have just checked the relevant official history volume, Tobruk and El Alamein, by Barton Maughan. He gives an extremely detailed account of the withdrawal of the 9th Division from Benghazi through Derna to the Tobruk perimeter. At no point does he mention any important action by the 2/24th in this phase; an engagement in which two and half Australian companies were lost would surely have gotten Maughan's attention. I think your reference has been misquoted.
     
  8. bitoque

    bitoque Junior Member

    Hello!

    Please check this link, it's the May 1941 war diary for 26th brigade:
    https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/records/awm52/8/2/26/awm52-8-2-26-4.pdf

    A few relevant bits:
    Enemy attack 30 APR - supported by 80-100 tanks enemy infantry launched a heavy attack against 2/24 Bn in Maddauar sector of the Eastern perimeter.

    1 MAY 1941 - Attack continues and "C" Coy 2/24 isolated Bn surrounded and isolated. Fresh attacks near posts R12, R13 and R14
    (...)
    Casualties were - 2/24 Bn 12 killed, 18 wounded 345 missing
    (...)


    So basically half a battalion lost.
    I haven't checked but maybe they are talking about the Derna Road Sector?
    There were no allied units near Derna on that date, but the May attacks are well described in several books.
    A good overview (mainly the armoured part) is in "Tank Combat in North Africa: The Opening Rounds Operations Sonnenblume, Brevity, Skorpion and Battleaxe" by Thomas Jentz.

    Regards,

    -Nuno
     
  9. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

  10. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Here is the entry from the 9th Australian Division war diary for May 1st, 1941.
     

    Attached Files:

  11. Varasc

    Varasc Senior Member

    Thank you so much, very kind: I am going to read all the sources you kindly gave me and I'll see if I'll understand all.
    Anyway here the links I told you before:

    ANZAC POW Free Men in Europe - 26th Brigade


    Part of the 26th Brigade, Ninth Division AIF, the 2/24th Battalion lost two of its Companies and part of the third, to a German ambush near Derna, during the withdrawal from Benghazi into Tobruk on May 1, 1941 in what is described in Chapter 6 of its Unit History (B31) as ”The May Show”, which stopped Rommel’s capture of Tobruk.

    Thank you again!
     
  12. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    All of the other references agree on the occurences of that day - I would presume that the dedicated creator of the AIF Freemen site either mixed up a couple of incidents, or the paragraph just needs minor re-wording -

    Part of the 26th Brigade, Ninth Division AIF, the 2/24th Battalion lost two of its Companies and part of the third, to a German attack near Derna on May 1, 1941 in what is described in Chapter 6 of its Unit History (B31) as ”The May Show”, which stopped Rommel’s capture of Tobruk.
     
  13. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    One more reference -

    Australia in the War of 1939–1945. Series 1 – Army - Volume Vol3 | Australian War Memorial


    CHAPTER 6 ASSAULT WITHSTOOD


    General Rommel, who had visited Kirchheim's headquarters about an hour later, saw these men setting off on their march to Acroma. He wrote of them:


    Shortly afterwards a batch of some fifty or sixty Australian prisoners was marched off close behind us - immensely big and powerful men, who without question represented an elite formation of the British Empire, a fact that was also evident in battle. Enemy resistance was as stubborn as ever and violent actions were being fought at many points.
     
  14. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    Not really relevant to this thread, but a few years ago when I was on posting to Victoria I was a member of a car club that met in the Rats of Tobruk hall in Albert Park, Melbourne. Albert Park is not far from the city centre so it is a relatively expensive suburb and the hall is of a decent size.

    Sometime after I left Victoria I read an article stating that the surviving Rats had decided to sell the site due to their dwindling numbers and to be able to donate the resulting money to charity. I didn’t look further into it until tonight but now I am glad that I did (see Wiki extract below).

    In April 2007, the Victorian contingent of the Rats of Tobruk Association concluded that it could no longer afford the upkeep of Tobruk House, the inner-city Melbourne meeting hall that had been purchased by the Association in the 1950s. Back then the Victorian Association had 1,800 members. By 2007, there were just 80 left, all aged in their 80s and 90s, who decided to sell the hall. From the sale, they hoped to raise up to A$1.5 million to be used for research at Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, where a neuroscience ward, the Rats of Tobruk Ward, had already been named after them. Bill Gibbons, who made his wealth out of trucking, went well beyond the expected price to outbid a Sydney developer for A$1.73 million. As reported by The Age, "in an act that stunned the old diggers, Mr Gibbons... then told the veterans they could keep the hall as long as they wanted."

    I would presume that VX34136 Henry Norman Frederick Willoughby would have been one of the 1800 original members seeing as how he lived not far from there. (edit - apparently not, I couldn't find his name on the list of members or the POW list)

    ***************************************************************

    I was also happy to read another aftermath story regarding the use of the hall –

    New rats in the ranks to remember Tobruk by Cameron Stewart from The Australian April 24, 2012

    THEY are brittle treasures, the last living souls of the 15,000 raw-boned young Australians who defied the odds to fend off Rommel's Afrika Korps and become known as the Rats of Tobruk.

    The years have laid siege to these brave Rats, who now number fewer than 100.


    But amid the chorus of Last Posts, a beautiful tale is emerging in communities across the country as ordinary Australians rush to keep the flame burning for this fast-falling generation.

    The story of the Rats of Tobruk Association in Victoria is one that has the handful of Rats shaking their heads in amazement.

    "There's only a few of us left," says Rat Ron Williamson, who at 93 is president of the association that once boasted a state membership of 4300.

    Now, he says, "we would be lucky to get five old Rats to our meetings."

    Two years ago, with fewer than 20 members to the association's name, the ailing Rats cried for help, opening membership to anyone. They watched, gobsmacked, as ordinary Australians appeared from nowhere to sign up and keep their story alive.

    More than 300 former soldiers, housewives, truck drivers and romantics have since paid their fees in Melbourne, becoming honorary Rats of Tobruk. They have set up a website, they organise functions, hand out beers, cut sandwiches and bring schoolkids to the association's historic Albert Park hall to meet with the Rats themselves.

    "It is absolutely wonderful," laughs Williamson. "It makes me think the siege of Tobruk will go on for a lot longer yet."

    The fact that the Melbourne Rats still have their own hall is due to the generosity of outsiders. In 2007, the hall - home to the Rats for more than 50 years - was auctioned because the association could not afford to pay the overheads. The Rats donated the proceeds of the sale to the Royal Children's Hospital but the purchaser, a businessman called Bill Gibbons, told the Rats they could keep using their hall for as long as they liked.

    "We owe you a debt that can't possibly be repaid," Gibbons told them.



    (The newspapers have his name spelt incorrectly - should be Bill Gibbins)
     
    lostinspace likes this.
  15. Varasc

    Varasc Senior Member

    Not really relevant to this thread, but a few years ago when I was on posting to Victoria I was a member of a car club that met in the Rats of Tobruk hall in Albert Park, Melbourne. Albert Park is not far from the city centre so it is a relatively expensive suburb and the hall is of a decent size.

    Sometime after I left Victoria I read an article stating that the surviving Rats had decided to sell the site due to their dwindling numbers and to be able to donate the resulting money to charity. I didn’t look further into it until tonight but now I am glad that I did (see Wiki extract below).

    In April 2007, the Victorian contingent of the Rats of Tobruk Association concluded that it could no longer afford the upkeep of Tobruk House, the inner-city Melbourne meeting hall that had been purchased by the Association in the 1950s. Back then the Victorian Association had 1,800 members. By 2007, there were just 80 left, all aged in their 80s and 90s, who decided to sell the hall. From the sale, they hoped to raise up to A$1.5 million to be used for research at Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, where a neuroscience ward, the Rats of Tobruk Ward, had already been named after them. Bill Gibbons, who made his wealth out of trucking, went well beyond the expected price to outbid a Sydney developer for A$1.73 million. As reported by The Age, "in an act that stunned the old diggers, Mr Gibbons... then told the veterans they could keep the hall as long as they wanted."

    I would presume that VX34136 Henry Norman Frederick Willoughby would have been one of the 1800 original members seeing as how he lived not far from there. (edit - apparently not, I couldn't find his name on the list of members or the POW list)

    ***************************************************************

    I was also happy to read another aftermath story regarding the use of the hall –

    New rats in the ranks to remember Tobruk by Cameron Stewart from The Australian April 24, 2012

    THEY are brittle treasures, the last living souls of the 15,000 raw-boned young Australians who defied the odds to fend off Rommel's Afrika Korps and become known as the Rats of Tobruk.

    The years have laid siege to these brave Rats, who now number fewer than 100.


    But amid the chorus of Last Posts, a beautiful tale is emerging in communities across the country as ordinary Australians rush to keep the flame burning for this fast-falling generation.

    The story of the Rats of Tobruk Association in Victoria is one that has the handful of Rats shaking their heads in amazement.

    "There's only a few of us left," says Rat Ron Williamson, who at 93 is president of the association that once boasted a state membership of 4300.

    Now, he says, "we would be lucky to get five old Rats to our meetings."

    Two years ago, with fewer than 20 members to the association's name, the ailing Rats cried for help, opening membership to anyone. They watched, gobsmacked, as ordinary Australians appeared from nowhere to sign up and keep their story alive.

    More than 300 former soldiers, housewives, truck drivers and romantics have since paid their fees in Melbourne, becoming honorary Rats of Tobruk. They have set up a website, they organise functions, hand out beers, cut sandwiches and bring schoolkids to the association's historic Albert Park hall to meet with the Rats themselves.

    "It is absolutely wonderful," laughs Williamson. "It makes me think the siege of Tobruk will go on for a lot longer yet."

    The fact that the Melbourne Rats still have their own hall is due to the generosity of outsiders. In 2007, the hall - home to the Rats for more than 50 years - was auctioned because the association could not afford to pay the overheads. The Rats donated the proceeds of the sale to the Royal Children's Hospital but the purchaser, a businessman called Bill Gibbons, told the Rats they could keep using their hall for as long as they liked.

    "We owe you a debt that can't possibly be repaid," Gibbons told them.



    (The newspapers have his name spelt incorrectly - should be Bill Gibbins)



    Thanks indeed, very interesting, Dave!
     
  16. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    All of the other references agree on the occurences of that day - I would presume that the dedicated creator of the AIF Freemen site either mixed up a couple of incidents, or the paragraph just needs minor re-wording -

    Part of the 26th Brigade, Ninth Division AIF, the 2/24th Battalion lost two of its Companies and part of the third, to a German attack near Derna on May 1, 1941 in what is described in Chapter 6 of its Unit History (B31) as ”The May Show”, which stopped Rommel’s capture of Tobruk.

    An observation here:

    Derna is 170kms from Tobruk?

    The 9th division was entrenched at Tobruk in early April 1941 after their retreat from Benghazi through Derna. The Easter attack by Rommel which started "The Siege" commenced on Sunday the 11th of April.

    Reading this will show you where the 2/24th suffered their casualties in the Battle of the Salient on May 1st 1941!

    Siege of Tobruk - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Rommel's troops had captured fifteen posts on an arc of three-and-a-half miles of the perimeter, including its highest fort. But the Australians had largely contained this Italo-German thrust. One German POW said: "I cannot understand you Australians. In Poland, France, and Belgium, once the tanks got through the soldiers took it for granted that they were beaten. But you are like demons. The tanks break through and your infantry still keep fighting."[40] Rommel wrote of seeing "a batch of some fifty or sixty Australian prisoners [largely from C Company of the 2/24th Battalion that had been taken prisoner by the Italians]... marched off close behind us — immensely big and powerful men, who without question represented an elite formation of the British Empire, a fact that was also evident in battle."[40]
    Nevertheless, Australian losses had been considerable. The 2/24th Battalion alone had lost nearly half its strength killed, wounded or taken prisoner.[41]


    Cheers

    Geoff
     
  17. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    More reading here:

    Half the Australian garrison was relieved in August, the rest in September-October. However, 2/13 Battalion could not be evacuated and was still there when the siege was lifted on 10 December, the only unit present for the entire siege. Australian casualties were 559 killed, 2450 wounded, and 941 taken prisoner.
    More about

    Overview of the siege of Tobruk: this document from the AWM Files of Research No. 581 contains a brief history of the siege, based on Chester Wilmot’s book Tobruk, 1941: Capture, Siege, Relief (Sydney & London : Angus & Robertson, 1945).

    Official History of Australia in the War of 1939-1945. See Series 1, volume 3: Tobruk and El Alamein and, on the Tobruk ferry, Series 2, volume 1: Royal Australian Navy, 1939-1942, pp. 390-393.
    Units which took part in the siege of Tobruk: this document from the AWM Files of Research No. 577 contains the Order of Battle strength for Tobruk.

    Biography of Lieutenant General Leslie James Morshead.
    Rats of Tobruk Memorial on Anzac Parade
     
  18. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    More reading here:

    Half the Australian garrison was relieved in August, the rest in September-October. However, 2/13 Battalion could not be evacuated and was still there when the siege was lifted on 10 December, the only unit present for the entire siege. Australian casualties were 559 killed, 2450 wounded, and 941 taken prisoner.
    More about

    Overview of the siege of Tobruk: this document from the AWM Files of Research No. 581 contains a brief history of the siege, based on Chester Wilmot’s book Tobruk, 1941: Capture, Siege, Relief (Sydney & London : Angus & Robertson, 1945).

    Official History of Australia in the War of 1939-1945. See Series 1, volume 3: Tobruk and El Alamein and, on the Tobruk ferry, Series 2, volume 1: Royal Australian Navy, 1939-1942, pp. 390-393.
    Units which took part in the siege of Tobruk: this document from the AWM Files of Research No. 577 contains the Order of Battle strength for Tobruk.

    Biography of Lieutenant General Leslie James Morshead.
    Rats of Tobruk Memorial on Anzac Parade
     
  19. Varasc

    Varasc Senior Member

    An observation here:

    Derna is 170kms from Tobruk?

    The 9th division was entrenched at Tobruk in early April 1941 after their retreat from Benghazi through Derna. The Easter attack by Rommel which started "The Siege" commenced on Sunday the 11th of April.

    Reading this will show you where the 2/24th suffered their casualties in the Battle of the Salient on May 1st 1941!

    Siege of Tobruk - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia




    Cheers

    Geoff


    Hello Geoff,

    Very useful!, thanks indeed. I will download and read all your material, very kind.

    At present I am trying to understand if I'm right or wrong on two little points:

    1. Hill 209 was the top of Ras el Medauuar, also called Fort 209.
    2. The commander of 2/24 bn's B Company, in reserve behind the forward lines manned by the other Coys, was lt. col. Spowers.


    Thanks indeed for all your help on this thread. :)

    Marco
     
  20. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    Hi Marco,

    [FONT=&quot]Service Record[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Name[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]SPOWERS, ALLAN[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Service[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Australian Army[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Service Number[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]VX14840[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Date of Birth[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]9 Jul 1892[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Place of Birth[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]SOUTH YARRA, VIC[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Date of Enlistment[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]11 May 1940[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Locality on Enlistment[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]TOORAK, VIC[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Place of Enlistment[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]CAULFIELD, VIC[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Next of Kin[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]SPOWERS, ROSAMOND[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Date of Discharge[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]16 Jul 1946[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Rank[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Colonel[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Posting at Discharge[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]2/24 AUSTRALIAN INFANTRY BATTALION[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]WW2 Honours and Gallantry[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Companion of the Distinguished Service Order and bar[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Prisoner of War[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Yes[/FONT]


    tobruk

    The basic line of defence so called "red line" was shaped half circular which ends reched the coast of the sea. It was situated along the rocky mountains arround Tobruk from east to west. The best observation point was on the top of the hill Ras-el-Medauar (so called Hill 209) as high as 209 m above the sea level. The length of "red line" was 50 km and its radius aproximately 12-15 km . There was a barber wire barier along it , which surrounded machine-guns nests. There were 5 to 9 independent nests s along the first line , which were also situated in concrete or rocky shelters. The second circle of defense called "blue line" was situated 3-4 km away from the "red line" . There were four forts inside :Parrone, Arienti, Solaro, Pilastrino. The area was rather flat without any hils . The second line was built the same way folowing the firts ones scheme although the nests were ground-made and situated one by one. From the 1-st Aprill the main line of defence was divided into three parts : west, south and east. Each of them was defated by an infantry brigade. The west part which the most difficult especially after losing the hill of Medauar (after it this part od defence line was called "the gap") , was defeated by 26-th Infantry Brigade , the south one by 20-th Infantry Brigade and the south by 24-th Infantry Brigade.

    Name Service Number Unit Conflict Award/Recommendation Spowers, Allan VX14840
    Second World War, 1939-1945 Recommended: Mention in Dispatches Spowers, Allan VX14840
    Second World War, 1939-1945 Recommended: Mention in Dispatches Spowers, Allan VX14840
    Second World War, 1939-1945 Recommended: Bar to Distinguished Service Order Spowers, Allan VX14840
    Second World War, 1939-1945 Recommended: Mention in Dispatches Spowers, Allan VX14840
    Second World War, 1939-1945 Recommended: Mention in Dispatches Spowers, Allan VX14840 2/24th Bn Second World War, 1939-1945 Awarded: Bar to Distinguished Service Order Spowers, Allan VX14840 2/24th Bn Second World War, 1939-1945 Awarded: Mention in Despatches Spowers, Allan VX14840 2/24th Bn Second World War, 1939-1945 Awarded: Mention in Despatches

    VX14840 Allan 'Jiggy' Spowers


    VX14840 Allan 'Jiggy' Spowers

    Date of birth1892-07-09 Melbourne, VIC Date and unit at enlinstment (ORs) 1912 Other units 1915-04 3rd Battalion, East Lancs Regiment. Other 1915-11 Evacuated to Malta Date promoted 1917 Lieutenant. Other units 1928-10-03 Captain 52nd Battalion. Other units 1928-10-03 - 1933-10-02 Staff captain 15th Brigade. Other units 1930-07-01 37/52nd Battalion. Other 1933-10-03 Reserve of Officers. Other units 1939-09-29 46th Battalion. Other units 1939-09-29 - 1940-01-04 Staff captain Headquarters 3rd Division. Other units 1940-01-05 - 1940-05-05 Commanding officer 24/39th Battalion. Date promoted 1940-05-06 Major. Other units 1940-05-06 - 1940-06-30 Assistant director of Lab Headquarters 1 Australian Corps. Date and unit at appointment (Officers) 1940-05-11 Enlisted 2nd AIF. Other units 1940-07-01 - 1942-07-12 Lieutenant colonel commanding officer 2/24th Battalion. Other 1940-12-17 Arrived Middle East. Other 1941-03-09 - 1941-04-21 Middle East Tactical School. Date of honour or award 1942-05-02 Mention in Despatches. Other 1942-07-12 Missing in action. Other 1942-08-06 Confirmed prisoner of war. Date of honour or award 1942-12-15 Mention in Despatches. Date released 1945-04-05 Arrived United Kingdom. Date returned to Australia 1945-08-08 Returned to Melbourne. Other units 1945-09-18 Assistant director Ammenities, Headquarters AMF. Other units 1945-11-06 Temporary colonel Director of Ammenities, Headquarters AMF. Other 1946-08-22 Reserve of Officers. Date of honour or award 1946-10-02 Bar to Distinguished Service Order (for services in Tobruk and the campaigns in Greece and Crete).

    Biography - Allan Spowers - Australian Dictionary of Biography

    Spowers, Allan (1892–1968)

    by Harry Taplin
    Allan Spowers (1892-1968), army officer and company director, was born on 9 July 1892 at South Yarra, Melbourne, only son and third of six children of William George Lucas Spowers, a journalist from New Zealand, and his London-born wife Annie Christina, née Westgarth. Ethel Spowers was his elder sister. Allan attended Miss Turner's school and boarded (from 1905) at Geelong Church of England Grammar School. Nicknamed 'Jiggie', he became a prefect and captain of boats. He entered the University of Melbourne (B.A., 1920) in 1912, but interrupted his studies to travel to England where he enlisted in the British Army and was commissioned in the East Lancashire Regiment on 4 May 1915.
    Attached to the regiment's 6th Battalion, Spowers fought at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli, in August and in Mesopotamia in the following year. He won the Military Cross (1916) for leading his men in a night-attack during which he was twice wounded. In addition, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (1916) and was mentioned in dispatches. He was promoted lieutenant in April 1917 and demobilized from the army in July 1919. Returning to Melbourne, he worked as a journalist on the Argus and Australasian. At the 1930 Imperial Press Conference in London he represented these newspapers; within a few years he was a director of the company that ran them. On 29 April 1922 at St Marks Church of England, Darling Point, Sydney, he had married Rosamond Sandys Lumsdaine, a niece of A. B. ('Banjo') Paterson. Read more at the link above:


    Biography - Allan Spowers - Australian Dictionary of Biography
     

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