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2/3rd Australian Casualty Clearing Station

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2-3 CCS 1.jpg
2-3rd CCS at Lavadia, Greece April 1941 AWM photo 043230
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31 Jan 1944 2/3rd CCS's Ward 6 at Finschhafen AWM photo 070398


Brief History

Formed at Wallgrove, NSW it was initially intended to support the 8th Division and moved to Cowra in September 1940 to prepare. However, in December it was reallocated to the 9th Division, ad left for the Middle East in December where they established themselves at Hill 60 in Palestine. In March 1941 they were again reallocated, this time to the 6th Infantry Division and went with them to Greece where they operated at Larissa and then at Ellasson before being forced back in late April to the beaches at Navplion from where they were evacuated. As with many other units they were forced to leaved most of their equipment behind. Following a short stay on Crete they moved back to Kilo 89 in Palestine.


Following the Armistice in Syria, they moved to Beirut where they acted as a hospital. With Japan's entry into the war, most Australian troops returned to Australia with the exception of the 9th Division to which they were attached. In June 1942 they relocated to Tripoli from Beirut, but soon after were rushed to the western desert to support units seeking to halt the rapid German advance on Egypt. The 2/3 Australian casualty Clearing Station was to establish itself at Sidi Bishr, where they supported troops defending the line around El Alamein. When the British forces broke out, the Heavy Section operated at Burg el Arab and the Light Section further forward at Hamman. Before they were recalled in December, the Light Section had reached Mersa Matruh and the Heavy Section Garawla. They left the Middle East for Australia in January 1943.


In April 1943 the unit reassembled after leave at Kairi in Queensland, before moving to Wondecla in June. In August they moved to Milne Bay in Papua, and the following month they landed on Red Beach near Lae to handle casualties from the advance on Lae. Soon after the Light Section accompanied the 20th Australian Infantry Brigade when it landed on Scarlet beach at Finschhafen. In October the rest of the unit moved to Simbang to handle casualties from the Finschhafen fighting before moving to Heldsbach Plantation in January 1944. IN May they were withdrawn t Australia for leave and a rest, reforming at Mapee in Queensland to await a role in the landings north of New Guinea. In early 1945 it became clear that this would be a landing at Balikpapan where there were important oilfields. In May they absorbed the 21st Hospital laundry Unit and moved to Morotai prior to their movement to Balikpapan in July where they remained for the rest of the war.

Four members lost their lives while members of this unit: two killed in action in Egypt on 2 Dec 1942, one died of illness in Syria; and one died in Australia (No cause of death given).

Patients

Tripoli, Lebanon

Lae, New Guinea

Individual Honours

  • 10 x Mentioned in Despatches

Notes

Content has come from The Unit Guide - Volume 4 - The Australian Army 1939-1945, page 4.101 & 4.102 - Graham R McKenzie-Smith - Big Sky Publishing - 2018


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