Recruiting Australia’s fighting forces

Australia’s fighting forces comprised the RAN, the second AIF, the militia and permanent soldiers of the AMF, and the RAAF. During the war over 993,000 Australians enlisted in the armed forces. The army was the largest of the forces, with 691,400 men and 35,800 women enlisting; 189,700 men and 27,200 women served in the RAAF, and the RAN attracted 45,800 men and 3,100 women.

While each of the services actively recruited for the duration of the war, the RAN found itself with more volunteers than it had ships or shore stations for them to serve in. In June 1942, the RAN numbered 23,487 officers and men, almost five times the strength of the navy at the start of the war. As a result recruiting posters for the senior service were less dramatic than those advertising the army or air force.

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