2/3rd Australian Railway Construction Company

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2-3rd Rail Const.jpg
Railway Const Companies.jpg

Brief History

Originally raised as the 3rd Railway Maintenance Company in Brisbane, Hobart and Perth during April 1940, to work on the Lines of Communication for the British Army in France. The WA contingent were in the Third Convoy that was diverted around the Cape to England, arriving in Liverpool aboard SS Stratheden on 18 Jul 1940, by which time France had fallen. Based at Longmore they constructed sidings and repaired track in southern England until March 1941 when they moved to the Middle East to rejoin the rest of the Company which had arrived in Palestine in October 1940. and had been building an ammunition depot at Wadi Sarat and then ordnance depots at Rafah and Barbara. When the draft from Britain arrived the unit was renamed 2/3rd Australian Railway Construction Company.

With the German advance in North Africa the unit was moved to Amiriya, west of Alexandria in Egypt to construct passing loops and sidings in the desert. In June 1941 they moved to the Suez Canal Zone. In August they were sent to Ma'an in Jordan to work on a line out of Aqaba, and in February they joined with other railway units to work on the construction of the Haifa - Tripoli via Beirut railway. Project completed they left for Suez in January 1943 and were back in Australia at Narellan in February.

Following leave, in April they moved tot he RAE Training Centre at Kapooka where they were restructured as the 2/3rd Australian Railway Construction Company (Mechanical Equipment) In May. 2 Platoon' moved to Liverpool in October, and when their work there was taken over by 3 Platoon, they moved to Cairns in north Queensland. The rest of the Company moved to Randwick Racecourse in December, while 2 Platoon moved to Wongabel with the rest of the company joining them in April 1944. Their establishment was a HQ unit with workshop, three operating platoons and a tip truck platoon. At this time they formed two additional mechanical equipment platoons and two stores platoons and in November 1944 they embarked for Jacquinot Bay on Bougainville to support the 5th Australian Infantry Division who were holding a large Japanese garrison in Rabaul.

Unit Personnel


Content has come from The Unit Guide - Volume 3 - The Australian Army 1939-1945, pages 3.563 & 3.564 - Graham R McKenzie-Smith - Big Sky Publishing - 2018

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