Cap badge 43rd Inf Bat (The Hindmarsh Regiment)

Lugs present , kings crown

€ 15,00

The 2/43rd Infantry Battalion was formed on 17 July 1940 at Woodside camp, near Adelaide in South Australia. The battalion was initially raised as part of the 8th Division’s 24th Brigade and was transferred to the newly formed 9th Division in December. The 2/43rd left South Australia at the end of December and moved to Melbourne, where it joined the convoy taking the brigade to the Middle East. The battalion arrived at Egypt at the end of January 1941. Disembarking at Port Tewfik, the port of Suez, it travelled by train to Palestine. Southern Palestine was being used as a base for the Australians, where they could complete their training. The 2/43rd went into camp at Khassa, north of Gaza. By early 1941 the British advance in the Western Desert had reached El Agheila. In March the 9th Division was brought to Libya, to garrison the area east of Tobruk. The division did not have enough vehicles to bring all its units forward towards Benghazi. Consequently, the 24th Brigade (comprising the 2/43rd, 2/28th, and 2/32nd Battalions) remained in Tobruk. The situation quickly changed in April. The German Afrika Korps, leading the Axis counter-attack, pushed the British from El Agheila and the 9th Division withdrew to Tobruk. The division and the 18th Brigade defended the “fortress” for the next six months. The 2/43rd participated in the usual pattern of defensive duties, manning parts of the Red Line, working on the Blue Line, and aggressively patrolling no man’s land. The Red Line was a series of concrete pillboxes forming a semi-circle around Tobruk. It was the town’s outer line of defence, while the Blue Line was the second line. In September and October the majority of the Australian force was evacuated by sea. The 2/43rd evacuated Tobruk in the early hours of 17 October and sailed to Alexandria, from where it was transferred to the camp at Kilo 89 in Palestine. It later moved to Syria and Lebanon for rest, training, and garrison duties. By July 1942 the war in North Africa had become critical for the British forces. The Germans and Italians had reached El Alamein in Egypt, about seventy miles from Alexandra. Consequently, the 9th Division was rushed to the Alamein “box” and held the northern sector for almost four months as the 8th Army was reinforced for a new offensive.

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