July

Date Year Title Event
1 July 1916 First day of the battle of the Somme This was the worst single day in the history of British arms, with 60,000 men being killed or wounded. The battle of the Somme then continued for four months and resulted in more than 1,200,000 casualties on both sides.
1 July 1942 Sinking of the Montevideo Maru The loss of the Montevideo Maru remains Australia's worst maritime disaster. It was carrying more than 1050 Australian prisoners, captured on New Britain and New Ireland, when it was sunk by the American submarine USS Sturgeon. None of the prisoners survived.
1 July 1945 7th Division landed at Balikpapan, Borneo The landing at Balikpapan was the largest and final Australian amphibious landing of the Second World War.
2 July 1950 No. 77 Squadron flies first combat mission in Korea First combat mission flown by No. 77 Squadron, RAAF, in Korea. No. 77 Squadron was the first Australian unit committed to the war in Korea.
2 July 1952 Operation Blaze A Company, 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, raids Chinese positions on Hill 227 during Operation Blaze, Korea. The objective of the operation was to capture a prisoner and destroy the Chinese position's garrison.
2 July 1993 Death of Sir Edward "Weary" Dunlop Sir Edward "Weary" Dunlop gained fame for the medical services he rendered to his fellow prisoners of the Japanese on the Burma-Thailand railway during the Second World War.
3 July 1900 Leeuw Kop, South Africa 400 Imperial Bushmen in action at Leeuw Kop, South Africa.
3 July 1950 Pilots of No. 77 Squadron involved in friendly fire incident Pilots of No. 77 Squadron, RAAF, accidentally destroy a train carrying American and Republic of Korea soldiers having been assured by the United States 5th Air Force Tactical Control Centre that the area under attack was in North Korean hands.
4 July 1918 Battle of Hamel, France The Battle of Hamel was the first set-piece operation planned and conducted under Lieutenant General Sir John Monash. It came to be regarded as a model for later Western Front battles.
4 July 1918 Lance Corporal T.L. Axford VC Lance Corporal T.L. Axford, 16th Battalion, originally from Carrieton, South Australia, wins the Victoria Cross at Vaire and Hamel Woods, France.
4 July 1918 Private H. Dalziel VC Private H. Dalziel, 15th Battalion, originally from Irvinebank, Queensland, wins the Victoria Cross at Hamel Wood, France.
4 July 1941 Acting Wing Commander H. Edwards VC Acting Wing Commander H. Edwards, No. 105 Squadron, Bomber Command, RAAF, originally from Fremantle, Western Australia, wins the Victoria Cross in a raid on Bremen.
5 July 1945 Death of Prime Minister Curtin Prime Minister John Curtin led Australia through the darkest period of the Second World War when the threat from Japan was at its greatest. He died in office in 1945.
6 July 1918 Corporal W.E. Brown VC Corporal W.E. Brown, 20th Battalion, originally from New Norfolk, Tasmania, wins the Victoria Cross at Villers-Bretonneux, France.
6 July 1941 Battle of Damour, Lebanon This was the final battle in Lebanon against the Vichy French.
6 July 1943 Darwin bombed Darwin was bombed 64 times during the Second World War.
7 July 1942 9th Division in action at El Alamein General Rommel's forces had pushed the allies back to El Alamein in June 1942, the July battles involved allied attempts to push German and Italian forces back, none of the three attempts were successful.
7 July 1942 Horn Island Bombed Horn Island was bombed by Japanese aircraft nine times during the Second World War.
7 July 1956 Last RAAF transports return from Korea The last Australian servicemen did not depart Korea until 1957.
8 July 1942 460 Squadron raids Wilhelmshaven 13 Wellingtons of 460 Squadron participated in a night time bombing raid on this major German port severely damaging an armour plate shop and the Deutsche Werke ship building yards.
9 July 1941 Damour taken Damour was the main military base and administrative centre for the Vichy French forces in Syria. The Australian victory at Damour opened the way to Beirut and led the Vichy French to seek an armistice.
9 July 1943 Nos. 3 and 450 Squadrons, RAAF, and eight RAN corvettes involved in the allied invasion of Sicily Known as Operation Husky the invasion of Sicily was the second largest undertaken in Europe during the Second World War, Overlord being the largest. The operation involved 180,000 troops and 2,590 ships.
10 July 1911 Formation of the RAN In its original form, the Royal Australian Navy consisted of the battlecruiser Australia and several cruisers, destroyers and submarines. When the new fleet arrived in Australia on 4 October 1913 the day was declared a public holiday and was described in the press as the greatest day in Australia's history.
10 July 1940 Beginning of the Battle of Britain The Battle of Britain was an aerial battle between the Royal Air Force and the German Luftwaffe for control of the skies over southern Britain, a necessary prerequisite for the planned German invasion of the island. After some three months of intensive aerial operations both sides had lost heavily but the Germans were forced to abandon their plans for a cross-channel invasion of England.
10 July 1941 Private J.H. Gordon VC Private J.H. Gordon, 2/31st Battalion, originally from Rockingham, Western Australia, wins the Victoria Cross near Jezzine, Lebanon.
10 July 1951 Negotiations between the United Nations Command and the Communists begin at Kaesong Negotiations between the opposing sides in the Korean War continued for two years before an armistice was finally declared.
11 July 1941 Vichy French surrender in Syria The five-week long Syrian campaign represented the first occasion that the Australian 7th Division was committed to action. The campaign was based on the premise that the Vichy French forces would offer only token resistance, though this turned out not to be the case. Of the 34,000 Allied troops (Australian, British, Indian and Free French) committed to the campaign 3,900 became casualties.
12 July 1965 Last 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, ambush of Malayan Emergency The last ambush conducted by the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, was mounted from Malaysia against targets at Babang in Kalimantan.
13 July 1953 HMAS Tobruk begins a two-week patrol of the northern part of Korea's east coast This was the Tobruk's last patrol before the war in Korea ended in late July 1953.
14 July 1918 Fighting at Abu Tellul, Palestine A heavy attack by about 1,000 men of the German Asia Corps on Australian Light Horse positions at Abu Tellul, a prominent hill on the west bank of the Jordan River, Palestine, is defeated. This was the only occasion on which the German Asia Corps was known to have carried the primary role in an attack in the Middle East during the First World War.
15 July 1940 Volunteer Defence Force formed The Volunteer Defence Force (VDC), composed mainly of First World War veterans, was formed for home defence by the Returned and Services League (RSL).
16 July 1940 HMA Ships Stuart and Waterhen at Bardia HMA Ships Stuart and Waterhen were on screen at the bombardment of Bardia.
17–18 July 1918 Lieutenant A.C. Borella VC Lieutenant A.C. Borella, 26th Battalion, originally from Borung, Victoria, wins the Victoria Cross at Villers-Bretonneux, France. At 36 Borella was the oldest member of the first AIF to receive this award.
19 July 1916 Battle of Fromelles A total of 5,533 Australians were killed or wounded in this battle, most on the night of 19–20 July. Fromelles was the first battle for the Australians on the Western Front.
19 July 1940 HMAS Sydney sinks the Bartolomeo Colleoni HMAS Sydney sinks the Italian cruiser Bartolomeo Colleoni in the battle of Cape Spada off Crete.
20 July 1943 HMAS Hobart torpedoed HMAS Hobart torpedoed off San Cristobal, Solomon Islands. Seven officers and six ratings were killed in the attack. Though badly damaged the Hobart was able to reach Espirtu Santo the next day.
21 July 1942 Japanese forces land at Buna and Gona Buna, Gona and Sanananda were to become the scenes of heavy fighting over the period November 1942 - January 1943 when the Japanese withdrawal from the Kokoda Trail enabled the allies to plan the encirclement of these important Japanese positions. Gona was the first to fall to the Allies and Buna was the second after weeks of heavy fighting.
22 July 1917 Four members of the Australian Army Nursing Service win the Military Medal Four members of the Australian Army Nursing Service, Sisters Cawood, Deacon and Ross-King and Staff Nurse Derrer, won Military Medals for rescuing patients trapped in a burning Casualty Clearing Station at Trois Arbes, France. These were the first bravery awards won by Australian nurses in action.
22 July 1938 Australian National War Memorial opened at Villers-Bretonneux, France Opening of the Australian National War Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux, France. This memorial lists the names of 11,000 Australian missing from the fighting around Villers-Bretonneux.
22 July 1942 Beginning of the battle of the Kokoda Trail, New Guinea Having been stopped in their attempt to reach Port Moresby by sea at the battle of the Coral Sea, the Japanese were forced to try and take the town by land. The only route open to them was over the Owen Stanley Range via the Kokoda Trail which became the scene of heavy fighting.
22 July 1942 Private A.S. Gurney, VC Private A.S. Gurney, 2/48th Battalion, originally from Dayawn, Western Australia, wins the Victoria Cross at Tel el Eisa, Egypt.
23 July 1916 Battle of Pozières begins Pozières was the first protracted battle for the Australians on the Western Front. Part of the Somme battlefield Pozières was the scene of several major attacks by the Australians between 23 July and 5 August 1916. More than 12,000 Australians became casualties in the fighting at Pozières.
23 July 1916 Lieutenant A.S. Blackburn, VC Lieutenant A.S. Blackburn, 10th Battalion, originally from Woodville, South Australia, wins the Victoria Cross at Pozières, France.
23 July 1916 Private J. Leak, VC Private J. Leak, 9th Battalion, originally from Portsmouth, United Kingdom, wins the Victoria Cross at Pozières, France.
24 July 1900 Captain N.R. Howse, VC Captain N.R. Howse, New South Wales Army Medical Corps, originally from Somerset, United Kingdom, wins the Victoria Cross at Vredefort, Orange Free State. Howse's was the first Victoria Cross awarded to an Australian and remains the only Australian medical officer to win this award.
24 July 1945 Private F. J. Partridge, VC Private F.J. Partridge, 8th Battalion, originally from Grafton, New South Wales, wins the Victoria Cross on the Bonis Peninsula, Bougainville.
24–25 July 1916 Private T. Cooke, VC Private T. Cooke, 8th Battalion, originally from Kaikora, New Zealand, wins the Victoria Cross at Pozières, France.
26 July 1940 Formation of the Royal Australian Air Force Nursing Service (RAAFNS) The RAAFNS was established in response to the need for a greater number of nursing personnel as the RAAF underwent a rapid expansion early in the war. Membership of the RAAFNS expanded from 45 in December 1940 to 616 in December 1945. The service was disbanded at the end of the war, but in 1948 a peace-time service was formed.
26 July 1942 Darwin bombed by Japanese aircraft Darwin was bombed 64 times during the war.
26 July 1945 Japan issued with ultimatum to surrender Towards the end of the Second World War, the Japanese Government was divided between those who wanted their country to fight to the finish and those who advocated surrender on the terms set out in the Allied ultimatum that was put forward at the Potsdam conference. With the Government unable to resolve the deadlock the matter was left in the hands of the Emperor who surrendered on 15 August 1945.
26 July 1950 Australian troops committed to Korea Acting Prime Minister Arthur Fadden announces the commitment of Australian ground forces for service in Korea.
27 July 1942 Formation of the Australian Women's Land Army With many male agricultural workers leaving their farms to enlist Australia required rural labour to produce food and other raw materials for the war effort. Women's organisations responded by setting up "land armies" in each state and many of these women were later absorbed into the Australian Women's Land Army. It was open to all women who were British subjects or "friendly aliens" between the ages of 18 and 50 not already engaged in rural work.
27 July 1942 Japanese capture Kokoda Having been stopped in their attempt to reach Port Moresby by sea at the battle of the Coral Sea, the Japanese were forced to try and take the town by land. The only route open to them was over the Owen Stanley Range via the Kokoda Trail which became the scene of heavy fighting.
27 July 1942 Fighting at Ruin Ridge 2/28th Battalion in disastrous action against German troops at Ruin Ridge, western Egypt.
27 July 1953 Fighting in Korea ends Ceasefire signed in Panmunjon, Korea, bringing hostilities to an end.
28 July 1916 Sergeant C. Castleton VC Sergeant C. Castleton, 5th Machine Gun Company, originally from Suffolk, United Kingdom, wins the Victoria Cross at Pozières, France.
28–19 July 1942 Australians involved in heavy fighting at Kokoda Having been stopped in their attempt to reach Port Moresby by sea at the battle of the Coral Sea, the Japanese were forced to try and take the town by land. The only route open to them was over the Owen Stanley Range via the Kokoda Trail which became the scene of heavy fighting.
28 July 1942 Townsville bombed by Japanese aircraft Townsville was bombed four times during the war.
29 July 1942 Townsville bombed by Japanese aircraft Townsville was bombed four times during the war.
30 July 1942 Port Headland, Darwin and Horn Island bombed by Japanese aircraft Many towns and airfields in northern Australia came under Japanese aerial attack during 1942–43. Darwin was the most heavily bombed Australian city in the war.
31 July 1900 Victorian naval contingent departs Melbourne on SS Salamis for China. With many Australian soldiers fighting in South Africa, Australia's commitment to the Boxer Rebellion in China was a naval one.
31 July 1914 Labor leader Andrew Fisher declares Australians will defend Britain "to our last man and our last shilling" The extent Australia's sacrifice in the First World War could not have been imagined when Fisher made his famous commitment.
31 July 1917 Third battle of Ypres begins Known as the battle of Passchendaele, the third battle of Ypres was the collective name given to campaign that lasted until November 1917 in southern Belgium. The actions in which Australians took part were Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Broodseinde, Poelcappelle, and Passchendaele.
31 July 1962 The advance party of the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV) arrives in South Vietnam Colonel Ted Serong, Commander of AATTV, flies into Saigon, ahead of the main body of the AATTV, which would arrive on 3 August. The arrival of "the Team" signalled the beginning of more than ten years of Australian involvement in the Vietnam War.
31 July 2009 Iraq War Australian combat troops cease operational role  in Iraq