2/24th Australian Infantry Battalion, May 1941

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

  1. spidge


    Hi Marco,

    [FONT=&quot]Service Record[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Australian Army[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Service Number[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Date of Birth[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]9 Jul 1892[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Place of Birth[/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]Next of Kin[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Date of Discharge[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]16 Jul 1946[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Posting at Discharge[/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]


    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
  2. Varasc

    Varasc Senior Member

    Thanks indeed Spidge - really useful. I wish you and your family a merry Xmas time! :)
  3. Varasc

    Varasc Senior Member

    Good morning again,

    I just found this roll in the 2/24 Battalion's website,


    If you look for "Willoughby", you will find his Company, marked as "A7". I supposed it referred to A Coy, 7th Platoon, but then I saw that there is a different column for the query "PLTN". Can you explain me what this "7" refers to, please?
    I'ts very interesting because he was in the same company of Major Fell, whose dramatic report on the capture of S1 and S2 I read before.

    Anyway, it's still a little mistery why he was captured on May, the third - I read that most of the posts were surrounded during the first day of attack, May 1st, even if some of them resisted until they had no more ammunitions. Could it be possible to locate Willoughby in a single area or position?

    Thank you and, of course, I wish you all the best for this Xmas time. :)

  4. grumble

    grumble New Member

    I'm looking for a detailed OOB of the Axis forces attacking the 2/24 Australian Inf Bn on May 1. Any suggestions for sources of this information? I have information on Kirchheim, but not the other Kampfgruppe to the northwest.
  5. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    Have you read the unit's war diaries held by the AWM? They may provide some detail.

  6. Don2nd9th

    Don2nd9th New Member

    My father was in the May battle ( 9th battalion 2nd AIF) and this is a snap of the salient area from a Tobruk map.
  7. Alamein311042

    Alamein311042 New Member

    Hi Marco
    I have just joined here but I am co-founder of a new facebook group Descendants of the 2/24th Infantry Battalion.
    My uncle was C Company at Tobruk (A Rat of Tobruk) and was KIA on 31 Oct 1942 at El Alamein.
    If you would like to shoot me details of exactly what your query was (I know it's two years old) or any further queries you might have I would be happy to follow through.
    I am also a member of the 2/24th Battalion Association here in Australia
  8. Alamein311042

    Alamein311042 New Member

    Some 250 Men from the 2/24th were taken prisoner. The action happened at Derna crossroad when German troops managed to mass an attack without warning. They were initially guests of the Italians, most heading to Campo 57 then a lot to 106. But some also ended up in Stalag VIIIA among other German controlled camps in Poland and Lithuania.
    A few become part of the Italian partisan movement when the Italians surrendered in 1943 and others escaped to Switzerland. Other poor sods remained guests of the Germans when they didn't leave the Italian camps quick enough or were recaptured.

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