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Australian involvement in the Second World War

Further online resources

Second World War 1939-1945
Researching Australian military service: Second World War
Australian Army war diaries, Second World War

The major reference is Australia in the war of 1939-1945 (Canberra: Australian War Memorial, 1952). [Official history of Australia's involvement in the Second World War. Detailed and chronological account of the conflict. The series covers operations of the Army, the RAN, the RAAF, medical services and politics, society and diplomacy.]

Peter Badman, North Africa 1940-1942: the desert war (Sydney, N.S.W.: Time-life Books in association John Ferguson, 1988). [Concise historical overview with maps and photographs.]

John Barrett, We were there: Australian soldiers of World War II tell their stories (St. Leonards, N.S.W.: Allen & Unwin, 1995). [Personal descriptions, memories and anecdotes of the effects of war grouped as themes. A culmination of 3700 respondents to a questionnaire.]

John Bastock, Australia's ships of war (Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1975). [Chronological description of Australian war ships from the 1850s to the present. Includes photographs, diagrams, plans, silhouettes, technical details and historical notes]

Joan Beaumont, Australian defence: sources and statistics. The Australian centenary history of defence, vol. 6 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001). [Contains tables and statistics in relation to themes and issues in Australian defence history, details research resources and archives.]

Joan Beaumont, Australia's war, 1939-1945 (St. Leonards, N.S.W.: Allen & Unwin, 1996). [Social, economic, political and military aspects of Australia's involvement in the Second World War.]

Malcolm A. Bellis, Commonwealth Divisions 1939-1945 (Crewe: Malcolm A. Bellis, 1999). [Origin, order of battle and insignia of British Colonial Divisions. Includes the garrisons of Hong Kong, Malaya and Gibraltar and also the divisions of European Allies deployed with British and Commonwealth formations.]

Vic Cassells, For those in peril: a comprehensive listing of the ships and men of the Royal Australian Navy who have paid the supreme sacrifice in the wars of the twentieth century (Kenthurst, N.S.W.: Kangaroo Press, 1995). [Listing of ships and people of the RAN who have died as a result of conflict in the 20th Century, description of each ship, casualties, battle honours and commanding officers also describes the action in which the ships were involved.]

W.R. Chorley, Royal Air Force Bomber Command losses of the Second World War (Leicester: Midland Counties Publications, 1992). [Identifies the units, aircraft, crews and the circumstances behind each loss on a day by day basis in the European Theatre of Operations.]

John Coates, An atlas of Australia's wars (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 2001). [General and situation maps and maps of individual actions with explanatory text.]

Peter Dennis et al, The Oxford companion to Australian military history (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1995). [A concise overview of the war, entries include significant individuals, battles and places.]

James J. Halley, The squadrons of the Royal Air Force & Commonwealth 1918-1988 (Tonbridge: Air-Britain, 1988). [Contains a brief outline of each squadron's history includes an image and description of each squadron's badge, motto and also lists the squadron bases. There is an index of airfields at the back.]

D.M. Horner, High command: Australia and allied strategy, 1939-1945 (Sydney: George Allen & Unwin, 1982). [Strategic decision-making, higher command AIF and AMF.]

Mark Johnston, Fighting the enemy: Australian soldiers and their adversaries in World War II (Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 2000). [Attitudes of Australian soldiers towards combat and the enemy based upon personal writings.]

Lloyd's of London, Lloyd's war losses: the Second World War, 3 September 1939-14 August 1945 (London: Lloyd's of London Press, 1989-1991). [Merchant ships casualties and statistics: vol. 1. British, allied and neutral merchant vessels sunk or destroyed by war causes. vol. 2. Statistics showing monthly losses of British, Allied and neutral merchant vessels; vessels posted at Lloyd's as missing or untraced; British, Allied and neutral merchant vessels seriously damaged by war causes; British, Allied and neutral warships and naval craft lost; vessels lost by mines or underwater explosions since the cessation of hostilities; vessels damaged by mines or underwater explosions since the cessation of hostilities.]

Gavin Long, The six years war: a concise history of Australia in the 1939-45 war (Canberra: Australian War Memorial and the Australian Government Publishing Service, 1973). [Narrative history.]

Gordon L. Maitland, The Second World War and its Australian Army battle honours (East Roseville, N.S.W.: Kangaroo Press, 1999). [Outlines the battles in which the Australian Army fought and for which battle honours were awarded, concise history of the war, includes a register of battle honours and recipients. The bibliography includes an extensive list of the published unit histories for the Second World War.]

Michael McKernan, All-in!: fighting the war at home (St Leonards, N.S.W. : Allen & Unwin, 1995). [A home front study.]

Hank Nelson, Chased by the sun: courageous Australians in Bomber Command in World War II (Sydney: ABC Books for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 2002). [Story of bomber crews.]

Hank Nelson, POW: Australians under Nippon (Sydney: ABC Enterprises for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation,1985). [Account based on interviews.]

RAAF Historical Section, Units of the Royal Australian Air Force: a concise history (Canberra: AGPS Press, 1995). [A concise history of each unit of the RAAF including non operational units. Vol.1. Bases, supporting organisations; vol. 2. Fighter units; vol. 3. Bomber units, vol. 4. Maritime and Transport Units; vol. 5. Radar Units; vol. 6. Logistics units; vol. 7. Maintenance units; vol. 8. Training units; vol. 9. Ancillary units; vol. 10. Chiefs of the Air Staff, Aircraft.]

John Robertson, Australia at war 1939-1945 (Melbourne: Heinemann, 1981). [Discussion of policy and strategy; assessments of main Australian leaders.]

Peter Stanley, Air battle, Europe 1939-1945 (Sydney: Time-life Books Australia in association with John Ferguson, 1987). [Concise historical overview with maps and photographs.]

Bruce T. Swain, A chronology of Australian armed forces at war, 1939-45 (Crows Nest, N.S.W.: Allen & Unwin, 2001). [A detailed chronology of significant battles, campaigns and events appendix includes maps, order of battle, participating Australian forces in major campaigns and battles and casualty statistics.]