March

Date Year Title Event
1 March 1901 Naval and military forces of the States transferred to Commonwealth control With Federation state and federal authorities began planning for the establishment of federal military forces.
1 March 1942 HMAS Perth sunk in Sunda Strait Having survived the battle of the Java Sea HMAS Perth and the United States Cruiser Houston were sunk in a battle against overwhelming Japanese forces off the western tip of Java. 353 of Perth's 680 crew were killed in the battle.
2 March 1943 Battle of Bismarck Sea begins A Japanese convoy of eight transport ships and eight escorting destroyers was almost annihilated by Allied air attacks as they attempted to reinforce the garrison at Lae. Of the 6,000 Japanese troops bound for Lae only 2,890 survived.
3 March 1885 Sudan contingent departed Sydney New South Wales' offer to send a contingent to the Sudan was a demonstration of the depth of imperial sentiment in colonial Australia.
3 March 1942 Broome and Wyndham bombed The Japanese air raid on Broome came when the port was crowded with refugees fleeing the Japanese invasion of the Netherlands East Indies. About 70 people, including many civilians are thought to have been killed in the raid. Japanese Attacks on Wyndham focused on the town's aerodrome.
4 March 1942 HMAS Yarra sunk south of Java Yarra was escorting a convoy of three ships from the fighting in the Netherlands East Indies to Java to Fremantle when they were attacked by three Japanese heavy cruisers and two destroyers. All four ships were sunk and only 13 of Yarra's 151 crew survived.
5 March 1970 HMAS Sydney arrives at Fremantle, en route to Sydney On board was 5th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, which had completed a tour in Vietnam. HMAS Sydney made 21 voyages to Vietnam during the war.
7 March 1942 Japanese occupation of Java complete Allied forces offered little resistance to the Japanese invasion of Java, the former Dutch colony fell to the Japanese 16th Army on 12 March.
8 March 1942 Japanese land at Lae and Salamua Lae and Salamaua were occupied by the Japanese to provide defensive depth for their important air and sea base at Rabaul.
9 March 1942 7th Division AIF arrives in Adelaide Leading brigade of the 7th Division AIF arrives in Adelaide from the Middle East. Elements of the Division had been sent to Java where they soon became prisoners of the Japanese.
10 March 1942 Japanese land at Finschhafen The Japanese needed to capture towns such as Finschhafen and Salamaua to protect the their forward air base at Lae.
11 March 1845 First Maori War British troops based in Australia were sent to suppress an uprising by Maoris who were unhappy at the continuing expansion of European settlement in New Zealand's North Island.
11 March 1917 Baghdad occupied Members of the 1st ANZAC Wireless Signal Squadron attached to Lieutenant General Stanley Maude's force of two British Army Corps and one Indian Cavalry Division occupy Baghdad.
12 March 1900 Australians arrive at Bloemfontein, South Africa Members of the New South Wales Mounted Rifles, under Lord Roberts, reached Bloemfontein, the capital of the Orange Free State, under Roberts' strategy of taking the war into the Boer Republics.
13 March 1943 Japanese reconnaissance flight over Darwin In addition to the 64 air raids on Darwin the Japanese made numerous reconnaissance flights over northern Australia.
14 March 1942 Horn Island bombed Japanese bomb Horn Island, Torres Strait. Horn Island, in the Torres Strait, was the main tactical base for Allied air operations in the Torres Strait. The island was subject to nine Japanese air raids during the Second World War.
15 March 1940 First two women from the Voluntary Aid Detachments organisation enlist in the AIF Most Voluntary Aids transferred after August 1942 into the new Australian Army Women's Medical Service. Over 200 Voluntary Aids served in the Middle East and Ceylon during the Second World War.
16 March 1943 Flight Lieutenant W.E. Newton, VC Flight Lieutenant W.E. Newton, originally from St Kilda, Victoria, was awarded Victoria Cross for action at Salamua Isthmus, New Guinea. It was a posthumous award.
16 March 1942 Darwin bombed Darwin was subject to 64 Japanese air raids during the Second World War.
17 March 1917 Australians occupy Bapaume, Western Front Originally the objective for the first day of the Somme campaign, Bapaume was occupied by the 5th Division after fighting rearguards from the German retreat of early 1917.
17 March 1942 General MacArthur flies to Darwin Having left the Philippines after the Japanese invasion, General MacArthur was appointed to command the newly created South West Pacific Area. Australia became the base from which he would launch offensive action against the Japanese in the Pacific.
18 March 1915 Allied fleet attempts to force the Dardanelles This was the second allied attempt to force a naval breakthrough of the Turkish defences in the Dardanelles.
19 March 1916 Sir John Maxwell withdrawn from Egypt, leaving Sir Archibald Murray in command Murray ultimately led Allied forces, including the Australian Light Horse, in the war against Turkey in the Sinai and Palestine.
20 March 1916 ANZAC Corps land in France With Gallipoli behind them the bulk of Australia's forces were now sent to France where the terrible fighting on the Western Front awaited.
20 March 1917 Lieutenant F.H. McNamara, VC Lieutenant F.H. McNamara, originally from Rushworth, Victoria, becomes the first Australian airman to win a Victoria Cross for rescuing a downed comrade in Palestine.
20 March 2003 Iraq War Australian military forces, as part of the US-led coalition, commence operations as part of the invasion of Iraq.
21 March 1918 Final German offensive of the First World War begins The Germans hoped to split the Allied forces around Amiens and drive towards the English channel. After initial success their advance slowed and was turned into the retreat that eventually led to the end of the First World War.
21 March 1942 Air battle for Port Moresby begins 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.
22 March 1942 Japanese aircraft bomb Katherine This was the only air raid against Katherine in the Second World War, one man was killed.
22 March 1945 Corporal R.R. Rattey, VC Corporal R.R. Rattey, 25th Battalion, originally from Barmedman, New South Wales, wins the Victoria Cross on Bougainville.
23 March 1945 Waitavolo and Tol plantations captured by Australians, New Britain In 1942 the Tol plantation was the scene of the massacre of some 150 Australians as they attempted to flee Rabaul. The capture of the plantations in 1945 enabled the Australian 5th Division to establish a line across the Gazelle Peninsula from which they were able to conduct patrols against Japanese positions in the North of New Britain.
24 March 1901 Veldfontein Australians capture Boer convoy and guns at Veldfontein
24 March 1942 Port Moresby bombed by Japanese 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.
25 March 1945 Lieutenant A. Chowne, VC Lieutenant A. Chowne, 2/2 Battalion AIF, originally from Sydney, New South Wales, wins the Victoria Cross posthumously at Dagua, New Guinea.
26 March 1917 Captain P.H. Cherry, VC Captain P.H. Cherry, 26th Battalion AIF, originally from Drysdale, Victoria, wins the Victoria Cross at Lagnicourt. It was a posthumous award.
26 March 1917 First Battle of Gaza begins This was the first Allied attempt to capture this major Turkish centre lying 32 kilometres inside the border of Palestine. The Allied strength included two Australian Light Horse Brigades and the ANZAC Mounted Division under Major General Harry Chauvel.
27 March 1944 First Victory Loan Australian Government launches first Victory Loan aimed at raising £150 million for the war effort. Twelve major Government war loans were offered to the Australian public during the Second World War.
27 March 1953 Last engagement between Meteors and MIGS in the Korean War Meteors had been found to be inferior to MIGS in air to air combat in Korea and were transferred to ground attack duties.
28 March 1918 Sergeant S.R. McDougall, VC. Sergeant S.R. McDougall, 47th Battalion, originally from Recherche, Tasmania, wins the Victoria Cross at Dernancourt.
29 March 1885 New South Wales contingent arrive in Sudan New South Wales' offer to send a contingent to the Sudan was a demonstration of the depth of imperial sentiment in colonial Australia.
29 March 1941 Battle of Matapan, Greece HMA ships Perth, Vendetta and Stuart were among 13 Allied ships involved in the battle which saw the loss of five Italian ships and 1,230 men. Victory at Matapan gave the Allies sea control of the Eastern Mediterranean until the end of the campaigns in Greece and Crete.
31 March 1921 Formation of the Australian Air Force In Australia negotiations between Army, Navy and Defence officials from 1917 to 1921 resulted in the Australian Air Force being formed on 31 March 1921, with approval to use the ‘Royal’ prefix granted on 13 August 1921.