• February

    Date Year Title Event
    1 February 1943 Last Australian forces sail for home from the Middle East Japan's entry into the war forced the Australian Government to decline British requests to concentrate on the war in North Africa and Europe. Australia began to 'look to America' for support and concentrated the bulk of her forces against the Japanese.
    2 February 1942 First Japanese air attack on Port Moresby The Japanese had hoped to occupy Port Moresby as a base from which to cut off shipping to Eastern Australia. Their defeat in the Battle of the Coral Sea thwarted the planned naval attack and invasion against Port Moresby.
    2 February 1968 Baria recaptured The 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, recaptured Baria after the Tet offensive. The effects of the Tet Offensive were felt most acutely by the Australians when the Viet Cong attacked targets around Phuoc Tuy's provincial capital, Baria. The attacks were repulsed with few Australian casualties, though the Communists suffered heavy losses.
    3 February 1915 Turkish forces attack the Suez canal Turkish attempts to capture the Suez canal, vital to Allied shipping, were repulsed largely by Indian troops. Australians of the 7th and 8th Infantry Battalions temporarily garrisoned the trenches after the fight.
    3 February 1943 Australians counter-attack at Wau Having failed to take Wau the Japanese were forced into retreat. At the end of the fighting some 1,200 Japanese had been killed as had some 300 Australians.
    4 February 1945 Yalta Conference Conference between President Roosevelt, Marshal Stalin and Prime Minister Churchill to determine the shape of post-war Europe.
    5 February 1917 Captain H.W. Murray, VC Captain H.W. Murray, 4th Division, originally from Launceston, Tasmania, wins the Victoria Cross at Stormy Trench north-east of Gueudecourt, France.
    6 February 1941 6th Division enter Benghazi, Libya Benghazi changed hands five times as fighting, first against the Italians and later the German Afrika Korps, ebbed and flowed across Libya's Mediterranean coast.
    8 February 1942 Japanese invade Singapore Singapore was believed to be an impregnable fortress but the Japanese advance from the Malayan Peninsula proved the falsity of this belief.
    9 February 1943 Japanese defeat on Guadalcanal After the ill-fated Philippines campaign, Guadalcanal was the first test of land strength between Japan and the United States in the Second World War. Japanese reverses at Guadalcanal contributed to their having to withdraw from the Kokoda Trail in 1942 when they were almost within sight of Port Moresby.
    10 February 1944 End of Japanese resistance on the Houn Peninsula Fighting in the Huon Peninsula lasted from August 1943 until mid-February 1944 and involved heavy fighting at such places as Lae, Finschhafen, Sattelberg, Shaggy Ridge and the Ramu Valley.
    10 February 1954 Queen Elizabeth at Macquarie Place, Sydney Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip each plant a Plane tree at Macquarie Place, Sydney to mark the beginning of the Remembrance Driveway between Canberra and Sydney.
    11 February 1951 Chinese offensive, Korea Chinese launch their fourth phase offensive in Korea.
    12 February 1900 Pink Hill, Cape Colony, South Africa Pink Hill, held by Victorian, South Australian and British troops was attacked by a superior Boer force resulting in the deaths of seven Australians and the wounding of 22 others.
    12 February 1940 First convoy of Second AIF reaches the Middle East Australia's first land campaign of the Second World War took place in North Africa against the Italians.
    13 February 1946 Main Australian contingent of BCOF sailed for Japan from Morotai Australian personnel played a prominent role in the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in Japan at the conclusion of the Second World War in the Pacific. They were allotted the devastated Hiroshima Prefecture on the island of Honshu.
    13 February 1965 First Australian SAS Squadron advance party departs for Borneo The SAS served in Borneo during Confrontation to gather intelligence, conduct reconnaissance patrols and collect information on topography.
    14 February 1900 Relief of Kimberley The relief of Kimberley, Orange Free State, South Africa, was a major operation undertaken to break the Boer siege of the town. 500 Australians of the Queensland Mounted Infantry, New South Wales Mounted Rifles and New South Wales Lancers were involved in the breaking of the siege as part of the cavalry division commanded by Lieutenant-General John French.
    14 February 1942 SS Vyner Brooke sunk The Vyner Brooke, carrying 65 Australian nurses and other refugees from Singapore, was sunk by Japanese aircraft one day after leaving the island. The survivors made their way to Banka Island where one group of nurses were massacred by their Japanese captors. Only Sister Vivian Bullwinkel survived the massacre.
    15 February 1942 Fall of Singapore Over 15,000 Australians taken prisoner by the Japanese on Singapore. For both Britain and Australia this was a terrible military defeat.
    16 February 1942 Banka Island massacre 22 members of the Australian Army Nursing Service and other survivors of the sinking of the SS Vyner Brooke massacred on Banka Island. The only survivor from this party of Australian nurses was Sister Vivian Bullwinkel.
    17 February 1900 Paardeburg, Orange Free State, South Africa A major action of the Boer War in which men of the New South Wales Mounted Rifles were involved that resulted in the surrender of 4,000 Boers under General Piet Cronje.
    18 February 1941 Australian troops arrive in Singapore Australia recognised that Singapore was vital to its own defence, without the island the British fleet had no suitable base for operations in the South East Asia. The 8th Division was sent to bolster the island's defence in the event of Japan's entering the war.
    18 February 1943 9th Division arrives in Fremantle Having served in North Africa the 9th Division was ordered back to help defend Australia against the Japanese.
    19 February 1915 Allied warships shell Dardanelles This was the first allied attempt to force a passage through the Dardanelles and attack the heart of the Ottoman Empire. Its failure ultimately led to the ill-fated Gallipolli campaign.
    19 February 1942 First Japanese air raid on Darwin The city was bombed 64 times between February 1942 and November 1943.
    19 February 1943 Defence Bill approved Parliament approves Defence (Citizen Military Forces) Bill introducing conscription for service in the south west Pacific war zone.
    20 February 1942 Japanese land in Portuguese Timor The Japanese landing in Portuguese Timor heralded the beginning of a long and gruelling guerilla campaign waged by elements of the Australian 2/2nd Independent Company with the support of friendly Timorese.
    21 February 1916 Verdun, Western Front A bitter battle between the French and the Germans lasting nine months and costing over a million men killed and wounded. French losses at Verdun meant that for the remainder of the war British forces had to bear much of the burden of the fighting on the Western Front.
    21 February 1956 Australian and British aircraft bomb Kluang, Malaya The raid was staged against the jungle base of the 7th Independent Platoon, Malayan Races Liberation Army in Central Johore and was carried out by Lincolns of No. 1 Squadron RAAF and Canberras of No. 12 Squadron RAF. It wiped out the camp and was regarded as the most successful of the 4,000 sorties flown by the Australians in Malaya.
    22 February 1942 General Douglas MacArthur ordered to leave the Philippines MacArthur made his way to Australia from where he directed much of the war against Japan. His famous promise that 'I shall return' was kept when United States forces returned to the Philippines in 1944.
    23 February 1942 Main Australian force on Timor surrenders to the Japanese Those Australians who remained waged a guerilla war against the Japanese on the island.
    23 February 1956 1 Squadron RAAF bomb Communist camps near Kuala Lumpur during the Malayan Emergency 1 Squadron flew Lincoln bombers during the Malayan Emergency.
    23 February 1967 Major P.J. Badcoe, VC Major P.J. Badcoe, Australian Army Training Team Vietnam, originally of Adelaide, South Australia, leads an attack against Viet Cong troops - it was the first of three acts of bravery between February and April 1967 for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.
    24 February 1971 Captain J.J. Smith, MC and Bar Captain J.J. Smith, Australian Army Training Team Vietnam, performs the action for which he is awarded a Bar to his Military Cross in July 1971.
    25 February 1951 Hill 614, Korea 12 Platoon, D Company, 3rd battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, captured this important piece of high ground at the second attempt, enabling the United Nations' forces northward advance to the Albany Line to continue.
    26 February 1943 End of fighting at Wau The Japanese recognised that Allied possession of Wau posed a significant threat to important Japanese bases at Lae and nearby Salamaua and sought to take the town. They were defeated after weeks of heavy fighting.
    27 February 1942 Battle of Java Sea In two separate actions off the coast of Surabaya involving heavy losses in Allied shipping. HMAS Perth was involved in the battle and was one of the few allied ships to survive. The action delayed Japanese landings in Java by only one day.
    28 February 1942 Japanese invade Java The Japanese invasion of Java signalled the defeat of the Netherlands East Indies and was another in the series of victories won by the Japanese in the opening six months of the Pacific war.
    28 February 1991 Gulf War ends With Iraqi forces having been driven from Kuwait and defeated in the field the coalition forces called a halt to the fighting.
    29 February 1972 HMAS Sydney arrives at Vung Tau On this voyage Sydney embarked 457 soldiers. HMAS Sydney made 21 voyages to Vietnam during the war.