2/2nd Australian Field Ambulance
From Our Contribution
The 2/2nd Field Ambulance was raised at Puckapunyal in Victoria in November 1939 as a unit to support the 17th Australian Infantry Brigade. They embarked for the Middle East in April 1940 and arrived at Beit Jirja, Palestine in May. In September they moved to Kilo 89 (still in Palestine), and then to Helwan (Egypt) in October. The 17th Brigade moved to Ikingi Maryut as the 6th Division moved into the western desert in December. The 2/2nd Australian Field Ambulance supported the 17th Brigades assault on Bardia in Libya in January 1941, and moved with them in the assault on Tobruk before participating in the advance to Derna and Benghazi. Their Main Dressing Station was located at Agedabia in February 1941.
With the 6th Division chosen to go to Greece, the 2/2nd Australian Field Ambulance returned to Egypt in March before travelling to Greece in mid April. However, the German advance was well established by this time and they were soon needing to be evacuated, with most of the unit evacuated from the beaches at Kalamata in late April. In the confusion, many units were mixed up and many of the field ambulance landed on Crete where they assembled at Neo Khorion. Although they were meant to be evacuated to Egypt befor ethe German invasion, they were still on Cret until late May when some of them were able to escape via the beaches at Sfakia.
In June 1941 the remnants of the unit assembled at Hill 69 in Palestine and began the rebuild of the field ambulance. With the 6th Division moving into Syria in October 1941, the field ambulance established field hospitals at Homs and Baalbeck before returning to Hill 69 in January 1942 to prepare for the return to Australia. In March they sailed to Ceylon, where the 17th Brigade and the 2/2nd Field Ambulance remained for a time. In May the field ambulance was at Boosa, and in May they moved to Colombo, with B Company at Koggala. They finally returned to Australia in July and after leave assembled at Seymour in Victoria.
In September 1942 the field hospital moved to Greta in new South Wales, and then with the rest of the 17th Brigade moved to Milne Bay in Papua during October. In December they moved again, this time to Port Moresby, from where they sent a composite company to Wau in January, with the main body joining it in April. here they established a Main Dressing Station, with an Advanced Dressing Station at Bulolo, and staging posts along the track to Mubo. In May they were relieved and then supported the 17th Brigade's attack towards Mubo, moving to Buigap in August and Nassau Bay in September. From here they were withdrawn to Milne Bay, and then returned to Australia for leave and to rebuild at Wondecla in Queensland.
In late 1944 the 6th Division replaced US troops at Aitape in New Guinea and began the push towards the Japanese base at Wewak. The field ambulance as part of the 17th Brigade moved south along the Torricelli Range arriving at Tadji in December, and established an Advanced Dressing Station at Anopapi in January 1945. The Advanced Dressing Station was set up at Bulamita, then Balif, Maprik and Yamil, withthe main Dressing Station moving to Maprik in July, with the unit HQ at Cape Wom where the remained until the end of the war.
- Thomas Malarkey 17 - 31 Aug 1942
Wau, New Guinea
- Harold Herman Hilbert 27 Jul - 5 Aug 1943
Content has come from The Unit Guide - Volume 4 - The Australian Army 1939-1945, page 4.080 & 4.081 - Graham R McKenzie-Smith - Big Sky Publishing - 2018