Illawarra Remembers 1939 – 1945 WWII

Under Construction

Ross Original Medals 2

2014 is the 75th Anniversary of the start of WWII – September 1st 1939.

Already we have lost so many WWII Veterans – their contribution to our country is as significant as WWI. We need to remember the stories of those associated with the Illawarra who served in WWII, whether they lived in the Illawarra before the war, or moved to the area afterwards. Or perhaps you live in the Illawarra and want to honour a relative from somewhere else who served in WWII – this is an opportunity. We also have an accompanying Illawarra Remembers 1939-1945 Facebook group – please visit it and feel free to add suitable photos.

And once again, as in the WW1 years, the Railways were integral to the war effort on the home front – transporting the troups across the eastern states, and in the Northern Territory – eg South Coast Times & Wollongong Argus January 19 1940. And again there were the hospital trains also known as Mercy Trains.

A very long term project has been initiated – to capture the enlistments of people associated with the Illawarra in WW2. In WW1 the majority had enlisted in the AIF, whereas in WW2, there were many in the RAAF and RAN. Another aspect of our very long term WW2 project imolves working identify the units in which Illawarra people served in WW2 :

  • AIF
    • 6th Division
      • Brigades
    • 7th Division
      •  Brigades
    • 8th Division
      • Brigades
    • 9th Division
      • Brigades
  • RAN
    • Ships
    • Naval Bases
  • RAAF
    • Squadrons
  • Other Units
  • Service with other countries
    • Royal Navy
    • RAF
    • USA Small Ships Section
  • British Commonwealth Occupational Forces in Japan

Many of our Illawarra men also became PW’s – Prisoners of War – and a significant number did not survive their capture. We have, for instance, 29 men associated with the Illawarra who perished at Sandakan and along the Sandakan Ranau Death Marches.

And with war on our doorstep, there was a greater focus on utlising women’s resources – thus there was a significant focus on attracting women into non combat military roles, in order to free men up to be able to serve on the front lines. Hundreds of women with Illawarra connections answered the call – WW2 would see them in women’s units of the AIF, RAN and RAAF, as well as the establishment of the Australian Womens Land Army, AWLA. And as in WW1, there were many women involved in nursing activitieslink. However in Additionally women worked at Lysaghts in the manufacture of the Owen Gun – link.

Over three hundred Illawarra servicemen died in WW2 and here is a link to our Illawarra Roll of Honour 1939-1947 page.

As in WW1, many Illawarra men and women were honoured for their military valour and service – a link to our WW2 Awards and Honours page.

In October 2015, our BDHC President and Curaator, Kerrie Anne Christian visited Papua New Guinea. There she arranged to have poppies, made by Woonona Girl Guides Unit, to be placed on the graves/memorials of the 36 Illawarra servicemen who are commemorated at Bomana, Port Moresby Papua New Guinea – read more.

Post WW2 Conflicts

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