2/5th Australian Field Ambulance

From Our Contribution

2-5 AFA.jpg
Jan 1944 Geyton's Post Advanced Dressing Station, New Guinea
2-5 AFA Egypt.jpg
Feb 1942 Boarding Nieuw Amsterdam at Port Tewfik

Brief History

Raised at Puckapunyal in May 1940, it left for the Middle East in October with the 21st Infantry Brigade Group. In January 1941 it moved from Julis in Palestine to Ikingi Maryut near Alexandria in Egypt. Attached now to the 18th Brigade it moved with them to take up a garrison role at Tobruk in February, but in March returned to Ikingi Maryut to prepare for Greece service, but with the rapid German advance through Cyrenaica it was rushed back to Tobruk until relieved in August when they moved back to Gaza Ridge. In September they moved to Homs in central Syria. In October they rejoined the 18th Infantry Brigade on garrison duty at Aleppo, and in January 1942 they moved to Julis to prepare for their return to Australia.

In March 1942 they arrived in Adelaide and assembled at Sandy Creek, and in April moved to Tenterfield in northern NSW with the 18th Infantry Brigade Group. In May they relocated to Kilcoy, before the Brigade was rushed to New Guinea in August, with the 2/5th Australian Field Ambulance being sent to Milne Bay where they supported the forward battalions that defeated the Japanese landing in September. In October and November light detachments were sent to Goodenough Island, Wanigela, and Porlock Harbour. With the US advance on Buna stalled, the 18th Brigade was sent there in December, taking the detachments with them while the headquarters remained at Milne Bay. Once the Buna beach heads were captured the Buna detachment moved back to port Moresby in February 1943 and then on to Ravenshoe (Queensland) in March where the rest of the unit rejoined them from Milne Bay.

In August 1943 the 2/5th Australian Field Ambulance moved to Port Moresby in August 1943 where they were held in reserve, with the excerption of a section that marched from Tsili Tsili to Nadzab in September with the troops who developed the airfield after US paratroopers secured the area. In January 1944 the unit moved to Dumpu with light sections with forward troops. Following the capture of Madang, the 18th Brigade rejoined the rest of the 7th Division at Strathpine in Queensland during May 1944 and then to Kairi in September. With the 7th Division tasked with capturing the oilfields at Balikpapan in May 1945 the 18th Infantry brigade group moved to Morotai, before landing at Balikpapan in July with the 2/5th Australian Field Ambulance in support there and at other landing further up Balikpapan Bay. Five members of the unit died of illness while with this unit, and one died in Australia from injuries.

Unit Personnel


Aleppo, Syria

Individual Honours

  • 1 x Member of the Order of the British Empire
  • 1 x Military Medal
  • 1 x Distinguished Conduct Medal
  • 9 x mentioned in Despatches


Content has come from The Unit Guide - Volume 4 - The Australian Army 1939-1945, page 4.083 & 4.084 - Graham R McKenzie-Smith - Big Sky Publishing - 2018

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