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H.G.FRASER
Gallipoli Historical Tours

UNIFORM & KIT ISSUED TO THE AIF DURING WW2

This pictorial library is devoted to the recording of "Uniform and Kit" issued to an Australian Soldier of any corps, during the Second World War. Consider it a virtual "Q" Store in Australian militaria. It is not exhaustive and will be added to over time. Any reader who wishes to contribute photographs and text will be recognised and credited with such information. I also invite collectors of other nation's militaria to forward content (please see our other countries listed on the drop down menu) - so that a comprehensive list of "Axis" and "Allies" uniform/kit is detailed.

 

Thompson Sub-Machine Gun .45 Calibre

The concept of the Thompson Sub-Machine Gun (also referred to by some veterans as a 'sub-machine carbine') was born from the need of a 'trench gun' during the First World War, but it's claim to fame came about as it being a "weapon of choice" by the criminal element in Chicago during the Prohibition days. It was a hard hitting weapon - and used by Australian troops in nearly all theatres, including the Middle East and Malaya. The weapon was used by many forward scouts in the New Guinea campaign, however it was prone to jamming in muddy conditions. In one action fought by a six man patrol of the 3rd Militia Battalion on the Kokoda Track; a Tommy Gun being operated by Private George Webb stopped during a critical moment of the engagement. His platoon Sergeant, Bede TONGS would later say "It was a good gangster weapon, but no good in the jungle". Despite this, the large slug fired by this weapon provided ample 'close range' firepower for the front line troops and it was favoured by many. It was later superceded by the Owen Gun. Australian troops generally loaded carried this weapon with a 30 round box magazine as pictured above.

Owen Gun (Sub-Machine Gun) 9 mm

With a very unconventional appearance, the Owen Gun was one of the most simple and reliable automatic weapons produced during the Second World War. During tests, it out performed the American Thompson Sub-Machine Gun and the British Sten Gun. It could continue to fire, even if dropped in mud or buried in sand; and subsequently it became favoured to Australian troops in jungle conditions. It was loaded with a 32 round box magazine and had a cyclic rate of fire of 700 rounds per minute. It was first used in action by troops of the 2/2nd Infantry Battalion (16th Infantry Brigade) during the "fight forward" on the Kokoda Track and would go on to replace the Thompson Gun in combat. It also saw service throughout the Korean War and even 'Scouts' during the Vietnam War.


Wish to learn more about the Australian Owen Gun?  PLEASE CLICK HERE

Lewis Gun (Light Machinegun) .303 Calibre

The Lewis Gun was a "light machine gun" which had a magazine capacity of 47 rounds. It was invented prior to the outbreak of the First World War and became the main support weapon to the Commonwealth Infantry during that conflict. Whilst it was replaced by the Bren Light Machine Gun during World War Two, the unavailability of Brens in the early stages of the war - meant that many units actually went into action with the Lewis Gun. Australian units in Malaya were equipped with the Lewis and the 39th Militia Battalian brought it to bear against the Japanese on the Kokoda Track in July of 1942. Many units in home defence duties on mainland Australia were also issued with the Lewis and this weapon was used by Darwin based units against attacking Japanese aircraft on the 19th of February, 1942.


Wish to learn more about the Militia troops who carried these Lewis Guns on the Kokoda Track during 1942?  Read about the 39th Infantry Battalion (World War Two Militia) and the relics found many years after the battle by CLICKING HERE

Lewis Gunners - Darwin - 19th February, 1942

The famous painting by Roy Hodgkinson which depicts two soldiers fighting back during the attack upon Darwin, 19th of February 1942.  The men depicted in the artwork are Gunners Tommy HILL and Neil COOK of the 14 Australian Anti-Aircraft Battery.


Whilst it is difficult to confirm the identities of these two men without a search of their personnel files - evidence suggests that they are in fact:-  NX147803 Gunner Thomas William HILL from Granville in N.S.W.  He enlisted on the 30th of October, 1940 and had previously been a member of the A.M.F (Australian Military Forces) with the service number of N99770.


The second man is NX147802 Gunner Neil Joseph COOK of North Sydney in N.S.W.  He enlisted on the 21st of October, 1940 and had previously been a member of the A.M.F (Australian Military Forces) with the service number of N99674.


You will note that their AIF numbers are consecutive:- NX147802 (COOK) and NX147803 (HILL).  This clearly suggests that both men were still stationed in Darwin when they later transferred from the militia to the AIF.  Also, their militia numbers are very close in proximity, being only ninety six numbers apart:- N99674 (COOK) and N99770 (HILL).  This strongly suggests that these two men enlisted at the same time in the same locality.  No doubt, these men could have been mates before the war....or became friends shortly after enlistment at Sydney.  No doubt, their baptism under fire and shared experience on this first Darwin raid, cemented their friendship.   These facts regarding their personnel details are supported by the records held on the World War Two Nominal Roll.


Wish to view some of the War Memorials in Darwin and the Northern Territory?  PLEASE CLICK HERE

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