44th Australian Infantry Battalion (West Australian Rifle Regiment)

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44th Battalion.jpg
Unit Colour Patch
44th Battalion badge.jpg
Unit hat badge

Brief History

The 44th Australian Infantry Battalion was a militia unit raised in Perth in 1921 as part of the 13th Infantry Brigade. The unit was mobilised when the Pacific War commenced. In January 1942 they moved to Bushmead to form part of the Special Mobile Force, with an initial task of protecting the Pearce RAAF base. They were tasked with being ready to respond to any enemy landing between Albany and Geraldton.

With the arrival of troops that had returned from the Middle East, the battalion moved first to Mingenew in early April 1942 and then later that month to Moora. In May they moved forward to Dandaragan to assist with patrolling the beaches to the west, with Company sized groups at Jurien Bay and the Moore River Aboriginal Settlement. In July the arrival of further troops saw them move back to Point Walter, and the Special Mobile Force was then disbanded in July 1942.

In August 1942 the 44th Battalion joined the 5th Infantry Brigade Group at Bellevue, with the Brigade given the role of being ready to respond to threats in the North West or South West of the state, as well as being support for other units in Geraldton and Fremantle. In November the brigade group moved to Strawberry Siding near Mingenew. In February 1943 they relocated to Geraldton, with the 44th Battalion located at 'The Twins' from where they patrolled the area north of Geraldton. In March 1943 the battalion undertook amphibious landing training at Geraldton and in September, jungle training at Collie, followed by leave in Perth during October.

By January 1944 the need for a strong force near Geraldton had faded and along with the 5th Infantry Brigade they left WA for Kairi in Queensland where they came under the command of the 3rd Australian Infantry Division. They undertook training for a role in New Guinea, but with most units under-strength the units of the 5th Infantry Brigade Group, including the 44th Australian Infantry Battalion was disbanded in June 1944 and the men used to bring other units up to strength.

Battalion Personnel


Content has come from The Unit Guide - Volume 2 - The Australian Army 1939-1945 , page 2.245 - Graham R McKenzie-Smith - Big Sky Publishing - 2018

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