2/8th Australian Field Company

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2-8 Field Company.jpg
23 Apr 1941 Greece - Preparing to crater the main road in the Erithrai Pass AWM photo 044637
2-8 Field Company 1.jpeg
4 Dec 1944 Aitape, New Guinea. Constructing a coconu log bridge across a stream. AWM photo 077470

Brief History

The 2/8th Army Field Company was formed during May 1940 at Puckapunyal in Victoria. It departed for the Middle East in September 1940, and was located at Qastina in Palestine during October. In November it moved to Egypt where it was renamed 2/8th Australian Field Company, and was transferred to the 6th Infantry Division. In December it moved to Maatern Bagush to support the attack on Bardia, and later Tobruk in January 1941, then working to restore infrastructure around Benghazi before beign pulled back to prepare for moving to Greece.

The 2/8th Field Australian Commpany reached Greece in early April by which time the German attack was well advanced. The unit undertook demolition work aimed at slowing the German advance before being evacuated to Crete in late April. On Crete they were given an infantry role as part of Cremor Force. They also worked on the wharves at Suba Bay until forced to evacuate via the south coast after the German ivasion of Crete. Most of the unit did not escape and became POWs of the Germans. Those who did, assembled at Hill 69 in Palestine where the unit was reformed and re-equipped.

In October 1941 this unit moved with the 6th Infantry Division to Syria with the 2/8th Field Company at Raas Balbeck before moving to D'Jediede in November. In February they moved back to Palestine with the Engineering units at Dimra. They were amongst the 6th Division units that were then sent to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) to provide a protective force until British troops could arrive. Initially this unit was based at Boosa before moving to Akuressa in April. Relieved in May, they then sailed for Australia, disembarking in Melboure before taking leave.

Following their leave they assembled at Seymour before moving to Greta. In October 1942 the unit was sent to Milne Bay with other reinforcements. Ther ethey worked on road construction, drainage and defensive woks until January 1943 when they moved to Port Moresby to be flown to Wau to reinforce the units facing a Japanese attack. On their arrival, the attack was underway and they were used as infantry to help stop an attack. With the attack over they began to work on road and track construction, advancing with the road works to Edie Creek and kKaisinik followed by Skindewai. In August they moved to Tambu Bay and following the capture of Salamaua and Lae they were relied and returned to Milne Bay. In September they were transferred back to Kapooka in New SOuth Wales for rest, retraining and reassignment.

In January 1944 the unit moved to Wondecla in Queensland. With the 6th Infantry Divison assigned ther role of relieving the US troops holding a perimeter around Aitape, the 2/8th Field Company moved to New Guinea in November 1944 supporting the 6th Division's move down the coast towards Wewak. Again the Filed Companies rotated between close suport foir the Infantry and maintaing the road back to the Aitape base. One leement was moving on an inland route and they constructed an airfield at Hayfield. With the capture of Wewak they worked on improving the base while the infnatry advanced on the last remaining Japanese forces in the area.

Unit Personnel


Content has come from The Unit Guide - Volume 3 - The Australian Army 1939-1945, pages 3.473 & 3.474 - Graham R McKenzie-Smith - Big Sky Publishing - 2018

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