Bernard Sydney Smailes

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Bernard Sydney Smailes
Personal Information
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
Military Information
Reg Number WX9705
Date of Enlistment 6 Dec 1940
Rank Corporal
Unit/Formation 2/32nd Australian Infantry Battalion
Post War Details
Monument(s) Karragullen
Australian War Memorial Australian War Memorial
Medals 1939-45 Star
Pacific Star
Defence Medal
War Medal 1939-45
Australian Service Medal 1939-45

Pre War

War Service

Re-organised 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 By the end of the month the main Japanese offensive had withdrawn to Sattelberg but large numbers of troops were still north of Scarlet Beach on Pino Hill and at Nongora.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.[1]

Bernard was one of those 25 men who lost their life defending the Japanese attack on Pabu.

  • Lae War Cemetery
  • Bernard's grave site


  1. The Australian War Memorial webpage; 2/32nd Australian Infantry Battalion

External Links