Wallace Nelson McLauchlan

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Wallace Nelson McLauchlan
McLauchlan Wallace Nelson.jpg
Personal Information
Date of Birth 7 Jan 1912
Place of Birth Armadale, Western Australia
Death 26 Oct 1943
Place of Death Scarlet Beach, New Guinea
Age at Enlistment 29 years, 6 months
Description 5'6" (1.68m) tall ; ; blue/grey eyes ; brown hair
Occupation Labourer
Religion Congregational
Address Fifth road, Armadale, Western Australia
Next of Kin Mother , Mrs. Agnes McLauchlan
Military Information
Reg Number WX15142
Date of Enlistment 21 Jul 1941
Rank Lance Corporal
Unit/Formation 2/32nd Australian Infantry Battalion
Military Movement
1st Departure from Australia
Journey Dates 7 Nov 1941 ‒ 22 Nov 1941
Transport Details HMT Queen Mary or HMT Queen Elizabeth Fremantle to Port Tewfik
Return to Australia
Journey Dates 24 Jan 1943 ‒ 18 Feb 143
Transport Details HMT Queen Mary Port Tewfik to Fremantle
2nd Departure from Australia
Journey Dates 7 Aug 1943 ‒ 10 Aug 1943
Transport Details USAT Charles P. Steinmetz Cairns to Milne Bay, Papua, New Guinea
Post War Details
Fate Killed in Action 26 Oct 1943
Monument(s) Armadale War Memorial
WA State War Memorial
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

Parents were Archibald McLauchlan (1875-1935) and Agnes Everett (1977-1960), Wallace had three sisters and two brothers.

War Service

Wallace enlisted at the Claremont Recruitment Center on 21 Jul 1941 and was transferred to the 3rd Training Battalion on 29 July. On 19 Aug he progressed, being posted to the 4th Training Battalion's draft for the 2/32nd Battalion. He was granted pre-embarkation leave from 16 - 22 Oct 1941 and then embarked on 7 Nov 1941 aboard either HMT Queen Mary or HMT Queen Elizabeth which constituted Convoy US 13 for the Middle East. He disembarked on 22 Nov 1941 in Port Tewfik and was sent to the 24th Australian Infantry Training Battalion. On 15 Dec 1941 he was admitted to 2/1st Australian General Hospital with measels. Discharged on 29 Dec 1941, he returned to the training unit.

On 23 May 1942 Wallace joined the 2/32nd Australian Infantry Battalion. On 17 Jul 1942 he was reported as Missing during an attack designed to capture Ruin Ridge, but on 20 July he had rejoined the battalion. (The battalion had begun an attack on 17 July at 2.30 am. The 2/32nd captured the point - Trig 22, and linked with the 2/43rd but the Germans resisted fiercely and counter-attacked with tanks. The 2/32nd suffered heavily: nearly half its number were either killed or wounded and nearly 200 became prisoners of war. The fighting continued for several days). The battalion was later engaged in another fierce battle in what was known as the Saucer" on 31 October at the height of the Battle of El Alamein.

The 9th Division was withdrawn after the battle to prepare for a return to Australia, and the battalion embarked aboard HMT Queen Mary on 24 Jan 1943 for Fremantle where they disembarked on 18 Feb 1943 and proceeded on leave. On 4 Apr 1943 Wallace entrained in Fremantle for South Australia, followed by a move to the north Queensland training areas. On 7 Aug 1943 Wallace and his unit embarked on USAT Charles P. Steinmetz in Cairns for Milne Bay in Papua New Guinea where they disembarked on 10 Aug 1943. On 8 Aug 1943 Wallace had been appointed as a Lance Corporal. The battalion was to participate in the landiongs at Red Beach that led to the capture of Lae, but played a moinor role only until 14 September as they were the divisional reserve. On 22 October the battalion was part of the 24th Brigade that participated in the landings at Scarlet Beach north of Finschhafen. Late on 23 Oct they relieved the 2/28th Battalion which was covering the portion of perimeter covering Scarlet Beach and came under almost immediate and sustained attack from the enemy. Over the next 24 hours thay lost 7 dead and 27 wounded. As there were no reported deaths on the 25th or 26th this is likely to be when Wallace was killed.

  • Lae War Cemetery
  • Wallace's gravesite


While Wallace's records show his date of death as 26 Oct 1943, the Unit's War Diary records no deaths then, but seven on the 24th.

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