Bernard Sydney Smailes
From Our Contribution
|Date of Birth||6 Mar 1920|
|Place of Birth||Perth, Western Australia|
|Death||22 Nov 1943|
|Place of Death||Pabu, near Finschafen, New Guinea|
|Address||Karragullen, Western Australia|
|Next of Kin||, Mrs Bernice Smailes|
|Date of Enlistment||6 Dec 1940|
|Unit/Formation||2nd/32nd Australian Infantry Battalion|
|Post War Details|
|Australian War Memorial||https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/R1696754 Australian War Memorial|
1939-45 Star |
War Medal 1939-45
Australian Service Medal 1939-45
Reorganised for jungle operations, the 2/32nd participated in the 9th Division's amphibious landing at Red Beach, north-west of Lae. While the division's other brigades had landed on 4 September, the 24th Brigade came ashore during the night of 5 September. The 2/28th and 2/43rd went into the fighting around Lae but the 2/32nd, which had been the divisional reserve, did not take part in the fighting until 14 September.
Following the fall of Lae, the 20th Brigade landed at Scarlet Beach, north of Finschhafen, on 22 September. On 11 October the 24th Brigade moved to Scarlet Beach and successfully defended the area when the Japanese counter-attacked later that month. By the end of the month the main Japanese offensive had withdrawn to Sattelberg but large numbers of troops were still north of Scarlet Beach on Pino Hill and at Nongora. Advancing along the coast the 2/28th captured Guiska and the 2/32nd, further inland, captured Pino and then Pabu on 20 November. Between 22 to 25 November the Japanese launched a series of unsuccessful attacks against Pabu. The 2/32nd held on - "an Australian island in a Japanese sea" - and suffered 25 men killed and 51 wounded. It counted 195 dead Japanese.
Bernard was one of those 25 men who lost their life defending the Japanese attack on Pabu.
- The Australian War Memorial webpage; 2/32nd Australian Infantry Battalion