9th Australian Infantry Division Salvage Unit

From Our Contribution

9th Div Salvage.jpg
A member of the 9th Division Salvage Company demonstrates how to fire a captured 50mm German Mortar - AWM photo 020752
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Brief History

Originally raised at Melville (WA) as the 8th Division's Salvage Unit in August 1940, it moved to Northam. As with many other 8th Infantry Division units they were transferred to the 9th Division which had been raised in the UK. In October 1940 it formally became the 9th Australian Infantry Division Salvage Unit, and left for the Middle East in January 1941 and were at Hill 69 in Palestine in February. In March they moved to Libya and from April they were besieged with the rest of the 9th Division in Tobruk until relieved in October 1941. They pulled back to Pulis in Palestine, and then to Tripoli, Syria in January 1942, with detachment at Beirut and Latakia. ,

The German advance into the Western Desert led t the 9th Division being recalled to Egypt, slotting into the defences around Alexandria. During the defensive and aggressive periods of the battles around El Alamein the unit carried out its salvage role. with the breakthrough of the British 8th Army, the 9th Division was withdrawn to Palestine and its Salvage Unit was at Hill 69. In January 1943 they left the Middle East for Australia.

Arriving home in February the personnel enjoyed some leave before gathering at Kairi in Queensland during May. In August 1943 the Salvage Unit accompanied the 9th Division HQ elements to Milne Bay while the rest of the Division participated in the amphibious landing near Lae. As soon as the town was captured the 9th Division moved north to participate in another landing, this time at Finschhafen. The 9th Division's salvage unit continue their work from Finschhafen and along the Rai Coast until relieved by the 5th Infantry Divisions like unit, after which they moved back to Ravenshoe in Queensland in February 1944 to train and prepare for whatever came next. In early 1945 the Division was advised that it would be involved in the liberation of Borneo with landings around Tarakan and around Brunei Bay. In March 1945 'A' Detachment accompanied the 26th Infantry Brigade to Morotai and the rest of the salvage unit arrived there with the Divisional HQs in April. 'A' Detachment participated in the Tarakan landing in May while the rest of the unit landed at Labuan in June 1945. The unit continued to carry out salvage work from Tarakan and around Brunei Bay for the rest of the war.

Unit Personnel


Content has come from The Unit Guide - Volume 6 - The Australian Army 1939-1945, pages 6.153 & 6.154 - Graham R McKenzie-Smith - Big Sky Publishing - 2018

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