4th Australian Infantry Battalion (Australian Rifles Regiment)

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Brief History

A WW1 unit whose identity was preserved in the Militia between the wars. Designante as "Australian Rifles" it was formed during the 1920;s and mobilised for full time service in early 1942 following the netry of Japan into the war. In June it moved to Greta (NSW) for further training, joining the rest of the 8th Brigade comprising the 30th and 35th Battalions. The stay at Greta was brief and at the start of July the 8th Brigade moved to Western Australia. Over the next two years the brigade trained, laboured, and manned defensive positions along the coast from Bunbury to Geraldton. It was part of the 2nd Division, which made up III Corps with the 1st Armoured Division.

At the end of 1943 the brigade moved to North Queensland, via Sydney, and in January 1944 the brigade, moved to New Guinea. Its role was to support the 9th Division's Huon Peninsula campaign by clearing the Rio Coast between Sio and Saidor. By the second week of February ithe 4th Battalion had reached Saidor, having been relieved by the 30th at Crossingtown. The next objective was Madang. Staying on the coast and moving by foot and barge, they occupied Madang and then Alexishafen, by the end of April. With the 8th Brigade now based in the Madang area for the rest of the war 4th Battalion was responsible for the area between Maclay River and Bostrem Bay.

In May the brigade was ordered to maintain pressure on the Japanese situated north of Alexishafen, in support of the 6th Division's Aitape to Wewak campaign. The 35th moved to Megiar Harbour and sent out patrols to the coast, reaching Kronprinz Harbour and then Suara Bay, by early June. The 4th took over the advance and by mid-June occupied Bogia, Potsdam, and Hansa Bay. At Potsdam they located a group of 90 Chinese civilians who were captured at Madang and forced to work in vegetable gardens for the Japanese. With the 8th Brigade, the battalion moved to Wewak in October 1945, following Japan's surrender. By the end of the year most of the brigade had returned to Australia. The last group left New Guinea on 24 January 1946 on board the transport ship SS Ormiston. The 4th Battalion was disbanded upon returning to Australia.

Battle Honours

  • South West Pacific 1944-45
  • Liberation of Australian New Guinea

Individual Honours

  • 2 x Military Medal
  • 6 x Mentioned in Despatches

Unit Personnel


Information sourced form AWM website

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