2/117th Australian Brigade Workshop

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2/117th Australian Brigade Workshop
2-117th Workshop.jpg
6 Sep 1945 Balikpapan. The Machine Shop truck, the General Engineering truck, and the Welding Blacksmiting Sections of 2/117th Brigade Workshop. AWM photo 116787

Brief History

This unit began as 4th Recovery Section in Redbank, Queensland as part of the 2/2 Army Field Workshop in May 1940. In July they split to form 8th Recovery Section and 9th Recovery Section as part of the 2/3rd Army Field Workshop. They trained at Redbank before embarking for the Middle East in December. On arrival they moved to Kilo 89 in Palestine before moving to Amiriya in Egypt during March to prepare for a move to Greece. However worrying German advances, both in Greece and Libya saw the 7th Australian Infantry Division held in Egypt. In May the 8th Recovery Section moved to Acre in Palestine. Following the Armistice the Section moved to Tripoli, Syria in August and then to Beirut in September. In November they returned to Tripoli, but with the entry of Japan into the war, they moved to Palestine in January to prepare for their return to Australia.

Departing the Middle East in February, they landed at Port Adelaide in March 1942, camping at Woodside before accompanying the 25th Australian Infantry Brigade Group to Casino in NSW in April. With the 7th Infantry Division tasked with protecting Brisbane from the north, 8th Recovery Section established itself at Woodford. During a re-organisation, the Section was absorbed into the 2/7th Infantry Division Ordnance Workshop. The rapid Japanese advance led to the 7th Division being rushed to New Guinea, and the unit moved to Milne Bay in August where they were renamed 18th brigade Section, 2/7th Infantry Division Workshop. Remaining at Milne Bay while the brigade moved to Buna, they rejoined the brigade in Ravenshoe in Queensland during March 1943. The large workshop unit was broken down and the 18th Brigade Section became 2/117th Brigade Workshop.

The 18th Brigade moved to Port Moresby as the reserve brigade for the attack on Lae. Following its capture a detachment of 2/117th Brigade Workshop accompanied the rest of the division into the Ramu Valley during October before rejoining the workshop in Port Moresby in January 1944. IN February they returned to Australia for leave, and following that they gathered at Strathpine in southern Queensland. In September they moved to Kairi in north Queensland to await a further role. In June 1945 the 2/117th Australian Brigade Workshop moved to the staging area at Morotai in the Netherlands East Indies and the following month they landed at Balikpapan where they operated from for the rest of the war. One member of this unit lost his life following the war's conclusion in an aircraft accident between Ambon and Darwin.

Unit Personnel

Individual Honours

  • 2 x Mentioned in Despatches


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