Len Malarkey

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Len Malarkey
Malarkey Len 1.jpg
Personal Information
Date of Birth 11 Dec 1920
Place of Birth Wandering, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 20 years
Description 5'6½" (1.67m) tall ; ; Medium complexion ; brown eyes ; dark hair
Occupation Farm hand
Religion Roman Catholic
Address PO Byford, Western Australia
Next of Kin Father , Mr Harry Malarkey
Military Information
Reg Number WX10494
Date of Enlistment 20 Dec 1940
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 2/16th Australian Infantry Battalion
Military Movement
1st Departure from Australia
Journey Dates 9 Sep 1941 ‒ 23 Sep 1941
Transport Details HMT Queen Mary Fremantle to Suez via Ceylon (Sri Lanka)
Return to Australia
Journey Dates 29 Jan 1942 ‒ 25 Mar 1942
Transport Details SS Île de France & SS Madras City Suez to Fremantle
2nd Departure from Australia
Journey Dates 6 Aug 1942 ‒ 13 Aug 1942
Transport Details SS James Fenimore Cooper Townsville to Port Moresby
Return to Australia
Journey Dates 18 Dec 1943 ‒ 24 Dec 1943
Transport Details AHS Manunda Port Moresby to Brisbane
3rd Departure from Australia
Journey Dates 2 Jun 1945 ‒ 8 Jun 1945
Transport Details USS General Anderson (AP - 111) Brisbane to Morotai
Journey Dates 21 Jun 1945 ‒ 23 Jun 1945
Transport Details HMAS Manoora Morotai to Balikpapan
Return to Australia
Journey Dates 4 Jan 1946 ‒ 15 Jan 1946
Transport Details HMAS Manoora Balikpapan to Sydney
Post War Details
Fate Wounded in Action 1942
Returned to Australia
Monument(s) ANZAC Memorial Park (Byford)
Byford WW2 Honour Roll
Medals 1939-45 Star
Pacific Star
Defence Medal
War Medal 1939-45
Australian Service Medal 1939-45

Pre War

War Service

Len enlisted at Claremont on 20 Dec 1940, and on 3 Jan 1941 was transferred to the 2nd Training Battalion at Northam camp. Following training he was granted pre-embarkation leave from 24 Apr 1941 until 3 May 1941, and on his return from leave he was posted to the 9th Australian Infantry Division Salvage Unit. On 10 Jun 1941 Len was charged with being AWOL from midnight 9 Jun until 10:00pm 10 Jun 1941 for which he was reprimanded, and lost the day's pay.

On 25 Jun 1941 Len was transferred to the 2/16th Australian Infantry Battalion reinforcements, and he embarked with them on 9 Sep 1941 on HMT Queen Mary in Fremantle for the Middle East, disembarking in Suez on 23 Sep 1941, after which he joined his battalion. The battalion had most recently been involved in fighting the Vichy French in Lebanon and Syria and was still there as part of the garrison forces. On 20 Dec 1941 Len was admitted to the 2/1st Australian General Hospital with measles, and was released to the 21st Australian Infantry Training Battalion before rejoining the 2/16th Battalion on 19 Jan 1942.

On 29 Jan 1942 at Suez, Len embarked on SS Île de France a part of Convoy JS3, for Bombay, where they disembarked on 6 Feb 1942 and were sent to camps to await their embarkation on smaller, slower ships in the convoy that would carry them to Singapore. Len was allocated to the SS Madras City. The convoy set out for Singapore on 9 Feb 1942, and refueled at Colombo. When Singapore surrendered on 15 Feb 1942 the slow moving convoy was approaching the Sunda Straits, and given that the Japanese had already landed on many of the Dutch East Indian islands (Indonesia), the convoy's destination was changed on the orders of Churchill to Rangoon, Burma to assist with its defence. Australian Prime Minister John Curtin, however, was determined to bring every possible soldier home to defend Australia and demanded that the convoy, now redesignated as Convoy SU1, turn around and sail for Australian ports. On 25 Feb 1942 the convoy again refueled in Colombo, leaving there on 1 Mar 1942 for Fremantle which it reached on 15 Mar 1942. Around 350 of the members of the 2nd/16th Battalion from the SS Kosciusko failed to re-board when the convoy sailed for Port Adelaide which the SS Madras City reached on 23 Mar 1942. [1] During the voyage Len had failed to appear at a parade for which he was awarded 3 days Confined to Barracks (CB), or extra duties.

Soon after their arrival in Adelaide the battalion was placed on trains for Queensland and, soon after their arrival there, on 6 Aug 1942 they embarked at Brisbane on SS James Fenimore Cooper for Port Moresby, disembarking on 13 Aug 1942. Sent immediately to the Kokoda Track where a desperate fighting withdrawal was under way in the face of overwhelming Japanese forces. On 12 Sep 1942 Len was evacuated to the Infectious Diseases Hospital with Dysentery, before being released to the 113th Australian Convalescent Depot on 19 Sep 1942. He rejoined the battalion on 24 Sep 1942 as they prepared to attack the Japanese positions at Gona and Buna. On 8 Dec 1942 Len was wounded in action with a gun shot wound to the shoulder. Evacuated to the 2/9th Australian General Hospital at Port Moresby on 10 Dec 1942, he was embarked on AHS Manunda, and on 24 Dec 1942 he was admitted to the 102nd Australian General Hospital at Holland Park in Brisbane. On 24 Jan 1943 he was placed on 2nd Australian Ambulance Train for the 112th Australian Convalescent Depot in NSW. Released on 24 Feb 1943, and he was transferred to Western Australia. While in Western Australia he was charged with being AWOL from 5:00pm on 20 Apr 1943 until 10:30am on 23 Apr 1943, being fined £5 and the loss of three days pay.

In August 1943 he was back with his unit's echelon in Queensland, and on 6 Aug 1943 he boarded the HMT Duntroon in Townsville for Port Moresby, arriving there on 8 Aug 1943 before being sent to the Lae area. Granted Proficiency Pay on 24 Oct 1943 He was treated by the 111th Australian Casualty Clearing Station for malaria, returning to the 2/16th Battalion on 4 Dec 1943. On 1 Feb 1944 he was evacuated to the 2/5th Australian General Hospital who treated him for malaria and discharged him to the 7th Division's Rest Camp. On 23 Mar 1944 he was embarked on the SS ntolin ? for Townsville, disembarking there on 26 Mar 1944, and he then proceeded on leave.

Following another lengthy period of rest and rebuild, the battalion went overseas for a third time. They boarded USS General Anderson (AP 111) on 2 Jun 1945, disembarking in Morotai on 8 Jun 1945. At Morotai they boarded HMAS Manoora for Balikpapan on 21 Jun 1945. There on 1 Dec 1945 Len was transferred to the 2/10th Australian Infantry Battalion, and on 4 Jan 1946 he boarded HMAS Manoora in Balikpapan for Sydney, arriving there on 15 Jan 1946. He was then placed aboard a train for WA where after some leave and medical checks he was discharged by the Army on 25 Feb 1946.

Post War


Three brothers also served. Clarence WX2165 born 7 Jul 1906; Francis WX3211 born 5 Nov 1913; and Thomas WX13810 born 5 Dec 1917.

  1. Across the Sea to War, Peter Plowman, Rosenberg,2003, pp 325-364.

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