A History of 2/18th Infantry Battalion AIF
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Media: BOOK - hardcover, 310 pages
Author: D. Elliott & L. Silver
Other: b&w photo, maps, roll of honour, nominal roll, bibliog, indexes
Publisher: Australian Military History Publications
The 2/18th Australian Infantry Battalion was raised in north-western New South Wales and Sydney in June 1940, as part of the 9th Division - the thirs AIF division formed in World War Two. However, in 1941, instead of joining the other divisions in the Middle East, as expected, it went to Malaya.
The 2/18th Battalion assumed garrison in Malaya in February 1941 and for ten months was in continuous training - with an emphasis on jungle warfare - until the outbreak of war with Japan on 8 December.
The battalion went into action near Mersing on the night of 26 January 1942, in a battle lasting ten hours. The entire British-Australian force was then forced our of Malaya but twelve days later, when the Japanese invaded Singapore Island, the 2/18th was in action again.
Fighting was continuous until 15 February, when General Percival surrendered his entire force. In the nine days of its total fighting history, the 2/18th lost 225 men killed, with over 400 wounded. These losses, while the lightest sustained by the Divisions 22nd Brigade in the Malayan Campaign, were greater that that of any other Australian unit in a single campaign during Would War Two.
With the fall of Singapore, the battalion went into captivity. The POW experience varied, as the Japanese split the Allied units to create well-balanced work forces for the labour needs. As a result, men from the 2/18th represented the battalion in camps in Singapore, Sumatra, Java, Borneo and Japan and, on the Burma-Thai railway.
This history reveals that, for the next three and a half years, the 2/18th as a unit, functioned primarily as a survival mechanism for its members, unifying disparate groups and giving them hope for survival.
By war's end, when those who survived the rigors of captivity returned to civilian life, they had forged bonds which would last a lifetime.
Note to readers
Birth of the Battalion
Liberation and repatriation
Index of Names
Index - General
Index - Units/Ships