1939-45 Star : Trooper W B Robson, 2/4 Commando Squadron

Accession Number REL38051.001
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Medal
Physical description Bronze
Maker Unknown
Place made United Kingdom
Date made c 1946
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

1939-45 Star. Impressed reverse with recipient's details.

History / Summary

William Blake Robson was born in Kalgoorlie, WA on 12 November 1909. He was working as an engineer and boilermaker in Darwin when he enlisted in the militia on 5 September 1939, two days after the outbreak of the Second World War.

Robson was assigned to the Fortress Engineers in Darwin but two months later he enlisted in the Second AIF (service number DX122). He was posted as a gunner to 2/3 Field Artillery Regiment after a period of training. Initially part of the 9th Division, the regiment served briefly in Egypt and Libya before being transferred to the 6th Division to take part in the disastrous campaign in Greece and Crete in April and May 1941. The regiment served with distinction at Vevi and Elasson in Greece, before withdrawing to Crete in the face of the German advance. At Crete, they were split between the defence of Retimo, and Malame Airfield. After the German invasion of Crete, Robson evaded capture and successfully evacuated to Egypt, arriving there on 3 June.

The regiment returned to Australia in March 1942, where it remained in training for the rest of the year. Robson obtained a transfer to 2/4 Australian Independent Company (renamed 2/4 Cavalry Commando Squadron in October 1943) and was taken on strength as a trooper in May 1943 at Canungra, Qld. The unit arrived at Milne Bay in New Guinea on 11 August 1943 where they prepared for the 9th Division's planned amphibious landing at Lae. On 4 September they came ashore at Lae in the second landing wave, suffering heavy casualties.

After the successful capture of Lae, 2/4 Commando Squadron was sent to Finschhafen on 30 October to assist in the clearing of the Huon Peninsula, conducting long range patrols ahead of the main infantry advance. Robson was evacuated to 2/11 Australian General Hospital at Warwick in Queensland on 16 November, suffering from malaria, rejoining to his unit a month later. The squadron returned to Australia for leave on 25 February 1944.

Robson was hospitalised with a further two bouts of malaria, returning to his unit at the end of April for training in northern Australia for nearly a year. In April 1945 the squadron sailed for Morotai in the Netherlands East Indies in preparation for amphibious landings in Borneo. On 30 April they captured Sadau Island unopposed before landing on Tarakan on 3 May for an extensive campaign. Robson returned to Australia shortly before the end of the war in August and was discharged on 8 September 1945. He died on 7 May 2007.