This Month In Australian Military History
Date Year Title Event 2 August 1941 Last major action involving Australians at Tobruk After its capture Tobruk was garrisoned by the 9th Division, elements of the 7th Division and other Allied units. The town was surrounded on three sides by the German Afrika Korps in April and remained besieged, but able to be re-supplied by sea, until December. Most Australians, however, left Tobruk between August and October. 2 August 1990 Iraq invades Kuwait The invasion began the series of events that led to the Gulf War of 1991. 3 August 1860 Second Maori War begins British troops in Australia were sent to fight the Maoris and the campaign was controlled by the commander of imperial forces in Australia until the New Zealand Command was separated from Australia in 1861. The colony of Victoria sent its ship Victoria, and about 2,500 Australians joined either the Waikato Militia Regiment or the Company of Forest Rangers in the fighting around Waikato. 3 August 1914 Australia offers assistance to Great Britain in the event of war With the outbreak of war in Europe imminent, the Australian Government offered to place vessels of the Royal Australian Navy under control of the British Admiralty and to raise a force of 20,000 troops. 3 August 1916 Battle of Romani The Australian Light Horse was involved in the battle of Romani, Egypt. The battle signalled the end of the defence of the Suez Canal and the beginning of a bolder offensive strategy against the Turks in the Middle East. 4 August 1900 Battle of Elands River Bushmen from five Australian colonies and other British Empire troops became involved in the defence of a staging post in Western Transvaal against a force of between 2,000–3,000 Boers. The siege lasted two weeks before the Boers withdrew in the face of overwhelming British reinforcements. 4 August 1914 Great Britain declares war on Germany Australia pledged a force of 20,000, to be placed at Britain's disposal, but by the end of the war over 400,000 Australians were in uniform. 5 August 1944 Mass breakout of Japanese prisoners at Cowra prisoner-of-war camp, NSW This was the largest ever mass escape from a prisoner-of-war camp. Some 378 Japanese prisoners succeeded in escaping the camp; of these, 234 were killed and 108 were wounded. Three Australian guards died in the fighting immediately following the escape, and another was killed during attempts to round up escapees in the surrounding countryside. 6 August 1915 Battle for Lone Pine begins on Gallipoli The Lone Pine operation was planned as a diversion to draw Turkish reserves away from a major British attack to be launched at the northern end of the Australian and New Zealand position on Gallipoli. The Australians suffered more than 2,200 casualties at Lone Pine and the Turks over 5,000. Seven Australians were awarded the Victoria Cross. 6 August 1945 First atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima Hiroshima was chosen as the target for the dropping of the first atomic bomb as, to that point, it had not been subjected to US air raids. It was believed that attacking a hitherto untouched city would demonstrate the awesome power of atomic weapons. The bomb was dropped by a US B29 bomber nicknamed "Enola Gay"; it was estimated to have killed some 140,000 people by August 1946. 7 August 1915 Australians charge at the Nek Fighting as infantry, the 10th and 8th Light Horse Regiments attacked the Turkish forces at the Nek, Gallipoli. Three waves went forward, and altogether 375 of the 600 men became casualties, a figure which included 234 dead. 8 August 1900 New South Wales and Victorian contingent sail for China to assist in quelling the Boxer Rebellion With many Australian soldiers fighting in South Africa, Australia's commitment to the Boxer Rebellion in China was a naval one. 8 August 1915 Lance Corporal L. Keysor, VC Lance Corporal L. Keysor, 1st Battalion, originally from London, wins the Victoria Cross at Lone Pine, Gallipoli. 8 August 1916 Battle for Mouquet Farm Mouquet Farm, near Pozieres, was the focus of nine separate attacks by Australian troops between 8 August and 3 September 1916. Some 11,000 Australians were killed or wounded in the fighting around Mouquet Farm. 8 August 1918 Battle for Amiens begins In thick fog on the morning of 8 August the battle of Amiens began. It delivered a devastating blow to the enemy. By nightfall all the allied objectives had been gained; the Germans suffered 27,000 casualties and 450 of their guns were captured. So successful was "8 August" that General Ludendorff referred to it as "the black day of the German Army in this war". The Germans now believed that they would inevitably lose the war. 8 August 1918 Lieutenant A.E. Gaby, VC Lieutenant A.E. Gaby, 28th Battalion, originally from Springfield, Tasmania, wins the Victoria Cross at Villers-Bretonneux. It was a posthumous award. 8-9 August 1915 Lieutenant W.J. Symons, VC Lieutenant W.J. Symons, 7th Battalion, originally from Bendigo, Victoria, wins the Victoria Cross at Lone Pine, Gallipoli. 9 August 1915 Corporal A.S. Burton, VC Corporal A.S. Burton, 7th Battalion, originally from Kyneton, Victoria, wins the Victoria Cross at Lone Pine, Gallipoli. 9 August 1915 Corporal W. Dunstan, VC Corporal W. Dunstan, 7th Battalion, originally from Ballarat, Victoria, wins the Victoria Cross at Lone Pine, Gallipoli. 9 August 1915 Private J. Hamilton, VC Private J. Hamilton, 3rd Battalion, originally from Orange, New South Wales, wins the Victoria Cross at Lone Pine, Gallipoli. 9 August 1915 Captain A.J. Shout, VC Captain A.J. Shout, 1st Battalion, originally from New Zealand, wins the Victoria Cross at Lone Pine, Gallipoli. It was a posthumous award. 9 August 1915 Captain F.H. Tubb, VC Captain F.H. Tubb, 7th Battalion, originally from Longwood, Victoria, wins the Victoria Cross at Lone Pine, Gallipoli. 9 August 1918 Private R.M. Beatham, VC Private R.M. Beatham, 8th Battalion, originally from Cumberland, United Kingdom, wins the Victoria Cross at Rosières, east of Amiens. It was a posthumous award. 9 August 1942 HMAS Canberra sunk HMAS Canberra was sunk in the battle of Savo Island. The Canberra was among a fleet of US and Australian warships supporting the US Marines' landings on Guadalcanal. 9 August 1945 Nagasaki bombed Nagasaki was the second Japanese city to suffer an atomic attack. Japan surrendered shortly afterwards. 9–12 August 1916 Private M. O'Meara, VC Private M. O'Meara, 16th Battalion, originally from County Tipperary, Ireland, wins the Victoria Cross at Pozieres. 10 August 1914 Voluntary recruitment for the First AIF begins The Australian Imperial Force remained a volunteer force throughout the war. Two conscription referenda, initated by Prime Minister Billy Hughes, were defeated, in 1916 and again in 1917. 10 August 1919 Corporal A. Sullivan, VC Corporal A. Sullivan, 45th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers (ex-AIF), originally from Crystal Brook, South Australia, wins the Victoria Cross at Dvina River, North Russia. 11 August 1900 Protector leaves Sydney for China The Protector was the flagship of South Australia's naval force. She played a limited role in suppressing the Boxer Rebellion but went on to become the longest-serving ship in Australia. 12 August 1918 Sergeant P.C. Statton, VC Sergeant P.C. Statton, 40th Battalion, originally from Beaconsfield, Tasmania, wins the Victoria Cross at Proyart, France. 13 August 1914 Establishment of the Australian Red Cross Establishment of the Australian Red Cross to raise funds to purchase comfort supplies for Australian service personnel overseas. The Australian Red Cross was established by Lady Helen Munro-Ferguson. 13 August 1940 Air crash in Canberra The crash killed three United Australia Party ministers and the Chief of General Staff. 13 August 1941 Australian Women's Army Service formed The Australian Women's Army Service was established to release men from certain military duties for service with fighting units. Members of the Australian Women's Army Service served in a variety of roles including clerks, typists, cooks and drivers. In 1945 a contingent was sent to Lae and another group was sent to Holland. 14 August 1900 Boxer rebellion in China ends Some 460 Australians served in China and six were killed. 15 August 1945 VP (Victory in the Pacific) Day On this day Emperor Hirohito announced Japan's unconditional surrender. 16–17 August 1900 Imperial Bushmen in action at Buffels Hoek, South Africa Five Australians were killed and 11 wounded in this action during a British advance from Mafeking to Zeerust. 18 August 1966 Battle of Long Tan, South Vietnam
Amid a tropical downpour, 108 men of D Company, 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, supported by artillery and a timely resupply by the RAAF, fought off an attack by an enemy force of more than 2,000 in a rubber plantation near the abandoned village of Long Tan. The arrival of Armoured Personnel Carriers carrying reinforcements brought the action to an end. Seventeen Australians were killed, one died of wounds, and 24 were wounded. More than 245 enemy bodies were later counted, but many more had been taken away.
18 August 1971 Australian Government announces withdrawal from Vietnam The Australian Government announced that the 1st Australian Task Force would be withdrawn before Christmas 1971, and the logistic support force shortly thereafter. 19 August 1914 Departure of the AN&MEF The Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force departed Sydney on 19 August 1914; its mission was to capture German possessions in the Western Pacific and in German New Guinea. 20 August 1943 Brock's Creek bombed by Japanese aircraft Brock's Creek was bombed by eight times by Japanese aircraft during 1943. 21 August 1915 Last major fighting on Gallipoli takes place at Hill 60 The fighting at Hill 60 on 21 and 27 August was the last major action of the Gallipoli campaign. The operations at Hill 60 were intended to widen and strengthen the corridor that connected the newly landed British force at Suvla Bay with the beach-head at Anzac. 21 August 1950 K Force recruiting campaign begins in Australia The raising of K Force was the last time that a volunteer force was raised in Australia to serve in a particular conflict. 22 August 1942 18th Australian Brigade land at Milne Bay, New Guinea With the arrival of the 18th Brigade, Allied troops in the Milne Bay area now numbered more than 8,800. The battle of Milne Bay, which began on 25 August, resulted in the first defeat of a Japanese land force in the Second World War. 23 August 1918 Lieutenant W.D. Joynt, VC Lieutenant W.D. Joynt, 8th Battalion, originally from Elsternwick, Victoria, wins the Victoria Cross at Herleville Wood, France. 23 August 1918 Lieutenant L.D. McCarthy, VC Lieutenant L.D. McCarthy, 16th Battalion, originally from York, Western Australia, wins the Victoria Cross at Madame Wood, France. 24 August 1916 Official inauguration of the Australian Comforts Fund The Australian Comforts Fund (ACF) coordinated the activities of the various state 'patriotic funds' set up in 1914 to collect money to send comforts parcels to service personnel overseas. 25 August 1942 Battle of Milne Bay begins The fighting at Milne Bay resulted in the first defeat of the Japanese on land in the Second World War. 26 August 1916 6th Australian Brigade attacks Mouquet Farm on the Somme Mouquet Farm, near Pozières, was the focus of nine separate attacks by Australian troops between 8 August and 3 September 1916. Some 11,000 Australians were killed or wounded in the fighting around Mouquet Farm. 27 August 1918 Lance Corporal B.S. Gordon, VC Lance Corporal B.S. Gordon, 41st Battalion, originally from Launceston, Tasmania, wins the Victoria Cross near Bray, France. 28 August 1945 Australian destroyers enter Tokyo Bay Ships of the Royal Australian Navy joined Royal Navy and United States Navy ships in Tokyo Bay to receive the main Japanese surrender on 2 September. 29 August 1919 Sergeant S.G. Pearse, VC Sergeant S.G. Pearse, 45th Battalion Royal Fusiliers (ex-AIF), originally from Glamorganshire, United Kingdom, wins the Victoria Cross at north of Emsta, North Russia. It was a posthumous award. 29 August 1942 Private B. Kingsbury, VC Private B. Kingsbury, 2/14th Battalion, originally from Melbourne, Victoria, wins the Victoria Cross at Isurava, New Guinea. It was a posthumous award. 29–30 August 1915 2nd Lieutenant H.V. Throssell, VC. 2nd Lieutenant H.V. Throssell, 10th Light Horse Regiment, originally from Northam, Western Australia, wins the Victoria Cross at Hill 60, Gallipoli. 30 August 1968 Death of C.E.W. Bean Charles Bean did more than any other individual to establish the Australian War Memorial. Australia's official war correspondent during the First World War, Bean wrote six volumes of the Official History of Australia in the war of 1914–1918 and edited the remaining volumes. 31 August 1918 Battle of Mont St Quentin begins Mont St Quentin, overlooking the town of Péronne, was the scene of a famous Australian action under the leadership of Lieutenant General Sir John Monash. The depleted Australian divisions won an impressive victory against the German defenders, capturing some 2,600 prisoners. This battle is considered by many to have been the crowning achievement of the AIF in the First World War. 31 August 1918 Private G. Cartwright, VC Private G. Cartwright, 33rd Battalion, originally from London, wins the Victoria Cross at Rood Wood near Peronne.