Timeline 1945

19th January   - 9th Division staged a sports carnival. Pioneers won three major events. Training disrupted for five days by heavy rains. Battalion moves camp to Wondecla, Atherton Tableland, Queensland.

14th February   - His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester visits for an inspection and action demonstra­tions. Various training exercises were arranged in conjunction with the inspection and C Company was chosen to demonstrate the action of a company in co-operation with tanks of 2/9th Armoured Regiment.

23rd Feb­ruary   when the C.O. was summoned to a conference to discuss deficiencies in personnel and equipment.

9th March   - Advance parties moved out to 16th Aus­tralian Personnel Staging Camp at Redlynch.

16th March   - Battalion embarked on Sea Barb. The ship hove to in Trinity Bay, Queensland for two days to ride out a storm. Many men were seasick. Biak Island visited briefly but no one disembarked.

28th March   - Sea Barb arrives at Morotai Island. Headquarter Company moved by DUKW to Battalion staging area. Remainder moved to a temporary transit area at White Beach.

7th April   - Most of Battalion moved to area on Coast Guard Road. A Company moved to Sabala River to be employed on road and camp. All companies provided working parties for other units such as stores dumps, on the wharves, clearing campsites or guarding installations.

10th April   - Battalion less B echelon now con­centrated in the Sabala River / Sabatai area.

17th April   - Captain J. V. Sanders now the Regimental Medical Officer.

21st April   - Battalion and stores embarked on nine L.S.T.s and four L.S.I.s.

27th April   - Convoy puts to sea for Tarakan Island. Enemy defences were formidable, extensive mine fields, pillboxes, anti-tank ditches, steel rails interlaced with barbed wire and booby-traps along the shoreline including reticulated depth charges, booby-trapped dumps, explosive charges on wires stretched overhead, and oil pipes sited to create a sea of fire on the beaches. Also, the three metre tide fall left landing craft sitting on a slope of black mud. Battalion embarked for Tarakan about 200 men below strength, including many of the ex­perienced N.C.Os.

30 April   - Under cover of a smoke screen, 2/13 Field Company laid demolition charges to clear enemy underwater obstacles along the beaches.

1st May (P day - Operation Oboe One)   - 0745 hours landing beaches bombardment by cruisers and destroyers while aircraft bombed targets. Bombardment climax was four minutes before H hour (the time for landing) and then lifted to targets inland as the small landing craft ran ashore at 0800. Beach Com­pany Commanders for Beaches Green, Yellow and Red were Major K. B. Kidd, Captain D. McKewan and Major W. A. Robertson, respectively. Assisting were Captain W. Copp and Lieutenant A. J. Olson, Lieutenant L. D. P. Murphy, Lieutenant T. S. Emes, Lieutenant M. W. Armstrong and Lieutenant F. J. Bolitho. Beaches sub­jected to sporadic small-arms fire by snipers. Battalion Headquarters and Headquarter Company set up near Sibengkok. Remaining companies allotted bivouac areas close to their work places. B Company under Captain F. G. Bellmaine landed on Red Beach and then switched to South Pier, Lingkas Beach to do unloading. C Company started work on Green Beach. Small parties carried the company's stores to the position allotted Roach feature. A and D Companies operated on Yellow and Red Beaches. Lieutenant F. D. Ray (A Company) and 20 other ranks ordered to contain an enemy party located in a tunnel off Burke Highway. Patrol outflanked during night and Private K. J. Moore fatally wounded.

2nd May   - Lieutenant W. A. Hood, Sergeant A. R. Woods, Private H. T. Brown, Private G. Walker, Private J. J. Newton and Private J. E. Lyons wounded during enemy shelling of Roach feature. Working parties sent throughout the night and all day. Enemy still controlled Hospital Ridge but digging the enemy out of tunnel defences was not easy. 2/2nd and 2/3rd Pioneer Battalions relieved 2/23rd and 2/48th Infantry Battalions from protecting Anzac High­way. Features Finch and Lingkas Tank Farm allotted to 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion.

3rd May   - Unloading continued. Parties provided for special tasks, including burial parties. Beachhead far from secure. A Company ordered to occupy position on the saddle connecting features Parks and Finch to keep the beaches outside the range of small arms fire. D Company moved to south-western slopes of Roach feature. Lance Corporal C. H. Lucas and Private R. Bracken killed by mines / booby-traps. Hospital Ridge cleared. Enemy started infiltrating through 2/23rd Infantry Battalion's lines.

4th May   - B Company moved to Page's. 13 and 15 Platoons of C Company moved to a spur nearby. Tarakan airfield captured by 2/24th Infantry Battalion. First members of the Battalion to enter Tarakan township were Private Watson and Private P. R. Nelson, who accompanied Captain W. Copp on a patrol to make contact with 2/3rd Pioneer Battalion.

6th May   - 13 Platoon took over Finch feature from A Company. Three P.I.A.T. (Projector Infantry Anti-Tank) teams, Private F. W. Thomas, Private J. Williams, Private R. S. Fairbairn, Private J. P. Barry, Private J. T. Tuckwell and Private J. L. Bobbin attached to 2/4th Cavalry Commando Squadron and occupied positions along Snags Track. Two 3-inch mortar detachments under Sergeant A. S. Hanson were also attached and in action for the next eight days.

7th May   - Sergeant A. S. Hanson's party consisted of Corporal S. F. Pippard, Lance Corporal S. R. Mathews, and Private H. J. Pittman, Private M. G. Dewar, Private H. L. Coleman, Private E. T. Dunstan, Private W. T. Tuckwell, Private J. P. Carter, Private R. Beckett, Private R. A. Picone and Private W. O'Hehir. They moved out with A Troop along Sparks Track to a bend near Otway feature where 2 enemy were killed then on to Susie feature.

8th May   - Sergeant A. S. Hanson's party under fire 0830 but with tank help pressed on to Snags Track, about 1000 yards east of the Susie feature. Mortars used to bring fire down on the track, opening at 300 yards, and creeping up to 600 yards. Two more enemy killed and C Troop Commandoes occupied the enemy position and dug in.

9th May   - Sergeant A. S. Hanson and two orderlies accompanied another patrol along Snags Track that ran into an ambush. Two men were killed and the remaining 16 men pinned down. Sergeant Hanson ran back along the track under heavy fire, directed a smoke screen to cover the patrol's withdrawal and fired concentrations of high explosive bombs on known enemy positions. A second smoke screen was laid down to cover a successful attempt by Sergeant Hanson and four volunteers to recover the body of a patrol member in full view of the enemy.

11th May   - Sergeant A. S. Hanson's party fired on Susie feature to cover an encircling move by B Troop. At 1040 hours the troops came under fire on the ridge which we had reached five days earlier. The observation post was moved from C Troop to B Troop and to direct fire of the mortars. Several casualties were caused and a direct hit on the machine-gun. The enemy withdrew to Susie and the troops followed up.

12th May   - 1050 A Troop under heavy mortar fire. B Troop later relieved A Troop, then occupying the north­east knoll of Agnes feature, and at 1415 hours Sergeant A. S. Hanson directed a concentration on the south-west end of the feature, whilst a patrol of six men carried out an encircling movement. This patrol killed two enemy, but was forced back by machine-gun fire.

13th May   - The patrol was digging in when the enemy launched his first counter-attack. Five separate counter-attacks with the bayonet were fought off, the last one being broken up when Sergeant A. S. Hanson's party mortars were concentrated on forming-up places and approaches. Three wounded, but enemy lost 18 killed.

16th May   - Sergeant A. S. Hanson's party relieved by 2/3 Pioneer Battalion, and after assisting the newcomers to register likely targets returned to Battalion. For personal gallantry and outstanding leadership during these actions Sergeant Hanson was awarded the Military Medal.

8th May   - Battalion relieved of beach defence. 13 and 15 Platoons under command of Captain C. J. Richardson sent to comb the area of Hospital Ridge and Burke Hill for snipers, tunnels and foxholes. Lieutenant J. Drummond with 15 Platoon moved out through Page's and was ordered to hold a defensive position on the ridge while Sergeant H. W. Baird searched along Burke Hill. 13 Platoon withdrawn to Roach feature. 15 Platoon recalled, leaving one section in occupation of the ridge to combat snipers which were mounting a steady toll within the area of the beaches. 2 Platoon killed the sniper who wounded Private H. A. Adams and Sergeant H. T. Bardsley's patrol killed another near Burke Highway. Official celebration of the victory in Europe was marked by granting one day's holiday to be taken when conditions allowed, and each man was given one free bottle of beer to be consumed when conditions allowed.

10th May   - All units within Beach Maintenance Area allotted sectors of responsibility to end sniping and infiltration. Patrols ordered for first and last light within the Battalion to find enemy hiding in caves and tunnels and bunkers, food and ammunition dumps, and installations requiring protection. Two other patrols which reported clashes with the enemy were from C Company. A standing patrol on the Casualty Clearing Station under Private Stewart stalked a lone Japanese sniper. Another patrol under Sergeant A. A. Elphick had a sniper suicide by withdrawing the pin from a grenade and holding it against his body. Discovery of a mountain gun and 300 rounds by Lance Corporal E. J. McCourt.

16th May   - Australian troops had cut through to the east coast of the island, Netherlands East Indies troops had cleared the south-eastern peninsular, and both of the main oilfields (Pamusian and Djoeata) were recaptured.

19th May   - Battalion embarked on six L.S.T.s.

22nd May   - Battalion arrives at Morotai Island. Sabatai camp lacking in all normal amenities. The Beach Group Salvation Army representative "Cappy" Radford is highly regarded by the men.

12th June   - Most of C Company moved to Morotai Staging Camp to work on loading and unloading engineer stores.

13th June   - Remaining three rifle companies moved into the L.S.T. area. In continuous tropical rain crates were packed, sorted and concentrated for the next operation. Balikpapan provided nearly one-half of all enemy lubricating oil requirements. The township was situated on an excellent bay and very heavily defended. As late as October, 1944, 50 aircraft had been sighted on Manggar airfield, but of even greater significance was the newly constructed airstrip at Sepinggang. Air photographic interpretation showed 70 anti-aircraft guns of which half were of heavy calibre and 18 coast defence guns. An offshore obstacle running from north of Manggar had recently been extended to cover Klandasan and consisted of three rows of wooden posts driven into the seabed crossbraced with timber. The hilly interior was honeycombed with tunnels, trenches, bunkers infested with mines and booby-traps, while anti-tank ditches had been excavated at selected places along the coastal highway. Concrete pillboxes and burning oil defences com­pleted the defensive system and 6000 well trained Japanese were there to man it. Beaches were mainly sandy. The selected landing at Klandasan was reef free for 4800 yards, but heavily defended. Heavy bombers concentrated on targets prior to the landing. Navy mine­sweepers, under constant fire from shore batteries, operated in the channels for 16 days before the landing, whilst two American underwater demolition teams hunted for and neutralised beach mines, barbed wire and other submarine perils. They also cleared two wide gaps in the offshore obstacle. All ranks taking part were briefed around realistic models, large-scale photographs and accurate maps. All L.O.B. Groups under Major H. E. Tope.

20th June   - Battalion embarkation begins. Major (later Lieutenant Colonel) E. F. Aitken takes over from Lieutenant Colonel C. E. Davis, who was evacuated sick.

23rd June   - Enemy bomber flew over port area during the night before sailing (bombs landed in sea).

24th June   - Convoy headed up the coast for a full-dress rehearsal in the Mira River area. Escorting warships shelled the beaches and the assaulting troops made a trial run ashore. The only Battalion members to go ashore were Beach Commanders' parties.

1st July (Operation Oboe Two)   - The largest convoy of Australian troops in history with more than 200 ships and craft sailed down the east coast of Borneo to Balikpapan. Aircraft guarded against submarines and others were attacking air bases as far as Java and Bali. 35,000 personnel and 4250 vehicles involved in operation. L.S.Is (Manoora, Kanimbla, Westralia) unloaded their assault craft. Among the first troops ashore were the Beach Com­manders' parties then Advanced Battalion Headquarters, which landed on Yellow Beach and moved to Romilly feature. Clearing the area resulted in a Japanese shot by Private W. Lewis and another committed suicide by holding a grenade against his body. A, D and B Companies moved to Red, Yellow and Green Beaches respectively. C and Headquarter Companies moved to Romilly feature and took up positions to cover the area between assaulting troops and the beaches. The Machine-gun and Anti-Tank platoons also defended the beaches in conjunction with beach searchlights. The Mortar platoon registered targets forward and to the flanks of the feature Romilly. Corporal J. F. Cotter and his men posted out on right flank to cover a footbridge carrying an oil pipeline across Klandasan Besar river. B Echelon set up just off Vasey Highway. Medical officer and staff set up and operated a Beach Dressing Station, with bearer posts on each of the beaches.

2nd July   - Beach Maintenance Area clear except for small isolated pockets of resistance. Beaches lightly shelled by the enemy (no casualties). C Company on Romilly feature fired 2-inch mortars among ten enemy and two fell. 25th Infantry Brigade lands. Infantry found determined opposition working up the high ground overlooking the town area.

4th July   - Centre of town, the harbour and Sepinggang airstrip secured. Numerous cave defences, tunnels, mines and booby-traps found. Even a land launched torpedo. Stores for 18th and 21st Infantry Brigades routed to stores areas under the control of Lieutenant W. T. Kenwood and Lieutenant Hocking respectively.

5th July   - Whole Battalion now ashore. Defence of the beaches passed to each unit in the area due to heavy work party demands. Except for Signal Platoon, men were engaged on tasks ranging from prisoner-of-war guards to burial parties. Concentration of the Battalion commenced with the transfer of troops from Romilly feature to the site of a bombed-out hospital. Can Dock opens under the control of Captain F. G. Bellmaine.

14th July   - Brown Beach opened at entrance to Bay of Balikpapan which enabled vehicles to drive on and off the landing ships within 50 yards of a first-class road.

25th July   - Men working a greater number of man-hours than at any time during the campaign, despite the help of 2/1st Pioneer Battalion.

6th August   - Effort made to resume training and relieve boredom. Atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima then Nagasaki on the 9th.

10th August   - Announcement of Japanese acceptance of the terms of the Potsdam Agreement. On the beaches machine-guns fired streams of tracer bullets into the sea, anti-aircraft guns beat a noisy tattoo, whilst from every camp could be heard singing and shouting. Army granted soldiers two rest days. Large P.O.W. enclosure constructed by C Company on the crest of Parramatta feature to replace the small P.O.W. compound. Gracie Fields, Darya Collins and others performed for the troops, often under appalling conditions in tropical rain.

8th September   - Japanese Admiral Kamada signed the instrument of surrender of all enemy troops in Dutch Borneo.

17th September   - First batch of enemy received at Parramatta feature compound guarded by 7 Platoon.

8th October  - Battalion declared re­dundant, and orders were issued for the disposal of its men, its stores and its personal possessions.