Pattern 07 bayonet, 2nd Military District : Private H J Alchin, 27 Battalion

Accession Number REL40236
Collection type Technology
Object type Edged weapon or club
Physical description Brass, Leather, Steel, Wood
Maker Small Arms Factory, Lithgow
Place made Australia
Date made 1916
Conflict Period 1930-1939
Second World War, 1939-1945

Wooden handled Pattern 07 bayonet. Serial '39625' is impressed into the pommel; while the crossguard is impressed: '2nd M.D. 40304'. The blade is impressed '1916' and 'Lithgow' on one side and with a set of proofing marks and the Lithgow shield on the other. Accompanying leather scabbard is of sewn construction. It is supplied with a teardrop shaped frog stud and is fitted to a sewn chromed leather frog with four copper rivets for added strength, and a retaining strap with brass roller buckle. The scabbard throat is impressed '2nd M.D. 28025' along its top and 'EFD [broad arrow symbol] 36' at the base of the topmount. The frog is impressed 'Australia [broad arrow symbol] EA 7LH' on the front and '18' on the reverse.

History / Summary

Bayonet and frog issued to Harold John Alchin, a station hand of Dalton, NSW. Born 19 September 1913, Alchin joined the Citizens Military Force (CMF) at Gunning, NSW on 17 July 1937 for a period of three years. Assigned service number N4455, he was allotted to No 1 Machine Gun Section (Gunning), part of the 7 Light Horse Regiment and used this bayonet during this period. He supplied his own horse (named 'Chum') for which he paid 20 pounds.

Alchin transferred to the AIF on 13 August 1942 and subsequently sold Chum to the Army, which, he complained, only paid him 10 pounds. Allocated a new service number (NX104177), Private Alchin was taken on the strength of 3 Australian Armoured Division in late November 1942. He was transferred on 24 March 1943 to Queensland for training but fractured his right tibia and fibula on 24 June and was treated by 113 Australian General Hospital. The injury took the remainder of the year to repair and Alchin did not return to duty until 14 January 1944, when he was transferred to 41 Australian Infantry Training Battalion; four days later, he was transferred to 17 Battalion. He undertook brief retraining at General Reinforcement & Infantry Training Centre (Qld) from 27 February and was transferred to 27 Battalion on 2 March.

Private Alchin embarked from Townsville aboard the transport SS Gorgon for Lae on 16 May 1944. He served with his battalion until they embarked from Lae to Bougainville aboard the transport Ann McKim on 18 Sept 1944. Their Brigade (the 23rd) was to relieve the American garrisons on the Outer Islands in September 1944. Taking over from the Americans on Green (Nissen) Island, 27 Battalion were the first Australian troops to land in the Solomon Islands. Their role was to defend the airfield on Green Island and conducted surveillance of the surrounding islands still occupied by the Japanese. They also trained extensively in preparation for combat. Volunteers occasionally worked as crews on American PT boats, raiding Japanese occupied islands in New Ireland and New Britain.

In 1945 the 23rd Brigade moved to Bougainville, becoming responsible for the Central and Northern Sectors. In March 27 Battalion moved into the Central Sector, relieving 55/53 Battalion on the Laruma River and 31/51 Battalion on Pearl Ridge in April. For six weeks the battalion patrolled extensively and carried out several small attacks, capturing Little Hunt's and Berry's Hills, as well as Tiernan's Spur. They then moved to the Bonis Peninsula in the Northern Sector. The Japanese were far more active here and, like the Australians, carried out long range patrols, set booby traps and shelled the Australian positions. A month after the surrender in August, 27 Battalion returned to Torokina, the Australian base on Bougainville, assisting with the supervision of thousands of surrendered Japanese troops. Slowly men started returning to Australia. As part of this process, Alchin was transferred to 8 Battalion on 26 December 1945 and embarked from Torokina for Australia aboard the transport Anatina on 16 January 1946. He was discharged from service on 2 April 1946 and returned to farming at Dalton.