December

Date Year Title Event
1 December 1942 HMAS Armidale sunk HMAS Armidale was sunk by Japanese aircraft near Timor. As the Armidale sank Able Seaman Teddy Sheean fired at attacking bombers until he was lost with his ship.
1 December 1951 Air battle over Sunchon, North Korea In this, the largest air-to-air battle fought by the RAAF during the Korean war, twelve 77 Squadron Meteors met between 40-50 Chinese Mig-15s. The fight precipitated a change from an air interception to a ground attack role for No. 77 Squadron.
2 December 1914 First Australian military aircraft despatched to war Australian aircraft and their crews left to form the 'Mesopotamian Half Flight', fighting in what is now Iraq. Many were captured at the fall of Kut in 1916.
3 December 1915 Siege of Kut begins in Mesopotamia Nine members of the Australian Flying Corps serving with 30 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps, became trapped in Kut with the forces of Major General Charles Townsend when the town was besieged by the Turks. The Kut garrison surrendered in April 1916.
3 December 1914 First AIF disembarked in Egypt Though many had expected to go to Britain, after Turkey's entry into the war the first Australian troops were sent to Egypt to protect the vital Suez Canal.
3 December 1954 No. 77 Squadron RAAF returns from Korea 77 Squadron achieved a high level of operational performance throughout the war, flying Mustangs and then Meteors.
4 December 1990 Royal Australian Navy involvement in the Persian Gulf approved Approval given by the Australian Government for the Royal Australian Navy's involvement in the Persian Gulf. Ultimately eight Australian ships served in the Gulf.
5 December 1939 First official RAAF operation of the Second World War A Sunderland aircraft of No. 10 Squadron RAAF, flew on the first official RAAF operation of the Second World War. This was the beginning of six years of war for 10 Squadron, which flew as part of RAF Coastal Command continuously against U-boats in the battle of the Atlantic.
5 December 1950 Evacuation of Chinnampo, Korea HMA Ships Bataan and Warramunga took part in evacuating Chinnampo, which involved operating in the very shallow waters of the Taedong River estuary at night.
6 December 1951 HMAS Sydney begins its second patrol off Korea Sydney's aircraft were used to protect South Korean-held islands on Korea's north-west coast.
7 December 1915 Evacuation of ANZAC forces from Gallipoli begins Though the Gallipoli campaign had failed British empire forces at least planned and executed the evacuation without loss.
7 - 8 December 1941 Pearl Harbor Japanese aircraft attack the American Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor. With the Japanese attack on European possessions in Asia the Second World War was now a truly global conflict.
8 December 1941 Japan invades Malaya and Thailand This attack (which occurred virtually simultaneously with the attack on Pearl Harbor) would lead within three months to the loss of Malaya and Singapore.
8 December 1941 Australia at war with Japan Australia announces that it is at war with Japan. Some 17,000 Australians would die in the three-and-a-half-year war against Japan, 8,000 as prisoners of war.
9 December 1917 Jerusalem occupied by the Desert Mounted Corps The capture of Jerusalem, a city significant for Christians, Jews and Muslems, was one of the triumphs for British empire forces in the Middle East in 1917.
9 December 1942 Australians occupy Gona, New Guinea The Japanese withdrawal from the Kokoda Trail enabled the allies to plan the encirclement of important Japanese positions in the Buna, Sanananda and Gona beachhead. Gona was the first of the three to fall to the allies after weeks of heavy fighting.
9 December 1997 Death of Mr Ted Matthews About 50,000 Australians served on Gallipoli. Some 8,000 died in 1915. Ted Matthews was the last survivor of those who landed at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915.
10 December 1941 HM Ships Repulse and Prince of Wales sunk The sinking of these powerful warships by Japanese torpedo bombers off Malaya came as a shock to those who had under-estimated Japan's military ability and had relied on the imagined impregnable Singapore naval base. The sinkings heralded the significance of air power in the Pacific war.
11 December 1941 Germany and Italy declare war on the United States Though they had no need to do so, the declaration of war against the United States aligned the world's greatest economic and military power against them and virtually ensured their eventual defeat.
11 December 1952 Operation Fauna, Korea The 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment begins Operation Fauna in Korea, its objective is to capture prisoners and destroy enemy defences. Operation Fauna was a major trench raid on Chinese positions near Hill 355 to snatch a prisoner. Although no prisoners were taken, Chinese dispositions near Hill 355 were seriously disrupted.
12 December 1917 HMAS Australia damaged The battle cruiser HMAS Australia damaged in a collision with the battle cruiser HMS Repulse.
13 December 1915 Light Horse fight at Um Rakham The Light Horse was deployed against pro-Turkish Arabs of an Islamic sect known as the Senussi, in Egypt's western desert.
14 December 1941 Japanese forces land at Penang, Malaya Penang's military importance lay in the island's port facilities and its stocks of ammunition and stores. When the allies were unable to stop the Japanese advance on the mainland it became clear that the island would have to be evacuated.
15 December 1900 Australia's first Governor General arrives HMS Royal Arthur, bringing the first Governor General of Australia, the Earl of Hopetoun, arrives in Sydney.
16 December 1944 Battle of the Bulge Germans launch their final offensive of the Second World War in the west in the Ardennes Forest, in Belgium. The offensive, known as the battle of the Bulge, was defeated by British and American ground and air forces.
17 December 1967 HMAS Perth under fire HMAS Perth comes under fire off Dong Hoi, Vietnam.
18 December 1944 'Arty' Hill, Bougainville, captured 'Arty Hill', as it was known, was captured by the Queensland 9th Battalion, and was a major Japanese position on the Numa Numa Trail leading across Bougainville.
19 December 1951 HMAS Sydney completes a tour of operations off Korea's west coast Aircraft from Sydney left no operable railway lines in its area of operations, significantly disrupting enemy supply routes.
20 December 1915 Last Australian troops evacuated from Gallipoli The evacuation of Gallipoli, largely planned by Brigadier General C.B.B. White, was a triumph of careful planning and bold execution.
20 December 1917 Second conscription referendum held in Australia With the AIF further weakened by the losses of 1917, W.M. Hughes again asked Australians to vote for conscription for overseas service. The proposal was again defeated.
21 December 1916 Light Horse capture El Arish Originally intended as an outpost for the defence of the Suez Canal, El Arish became one of the first steps in the Allied advance on Palestine.
22 December 1941 First United States troops arrive in Australia Australia soon became a major base for US forces in the war against Japan. They were warmly welcomed as representing a defence for Australia.
23 December 1916 Battle of Magdhaba, northern Sinai The capture of Magdhaba by Chauvel's Mounted Brigade and the Imperial Camel Corps helped open the way for the successful Allied campaign in Palestine.
24 December 1941 Benghazi recaptured Benghazi changed hands five times as the North African campaign ebbed and flowed along the Mediterranean coast.
26 December 1941 Japanese forces capture Hong Kong Hong Kong, a tiny British colony on the Chinese coast, withstood a three-week siege by the Japanese.
27 December 1941 Prime Minister Curtin announces that 'Australia looks to America' Once the United States entered the Second World War and the United Kingdom's weakness in South East Asia had been exposed the United States became Australia's main ally; a situation that would endure long after the war ended.
27 December 1943 7th Division capture 'The Pimple', Shaggy Ridge, New Guinea The four-month battle for Shaggy Ridge culminated with the capture of this Japanese position on the ridge's summit.
28 December 1940 6th Division in their first action near Bardia Bardia, the Second AIF's first battle, involved an attack on an Italian frontier fortress. The preliminary operations began several days before the main attack was launched..
29 December 1860 Action at Matarikoriko, New Zealand Sailors from the Victorian Colonial warship, Victoria, take part in the action at Matarikoriko, New Zealand. The Victoria's service in New Zealand waters during the second Anglo-Maori war, represents the first overseas military operation by an Australian unit, the beginning of Australia's overseas war history.
30 December 1944 Australians of the 25th Battalion occupy Pearl Ridge, Bougainville The capture of the heavily defended Japanese position on Pearl ridge gave the Australians possession of this important vantage point that provided views over both sides of Bougainville.
31 December 1914 The second convoy of the first AIF departs Albany Volunteers for the AIF enlisted so readily that a second convoy left within two months of the first. Many of those on board landed on Gallipoli on 25 April 1915.
31 December 1967 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment arrives in South Vietnam The 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, sailed to Vietnam on HMAS Sydney.