Lieutenant Colonel Bernard James Callinan

Service number 382001, VX50081
Ranks Held Major, Temporary Lieutenant Colonel, Temporary Major
Birth Date 02 February 1913
Birth Place Australia: Victoria, Melbourne
Death Date 20 July 1995
Final Rank Lieutenant Colonel
Service Australian Army
Place Melbourne
Conflict/Operation Period 1930-1939
Gazettes Published in London Gazette in 1943-05-28
Published in London Gazette in 1946-02-14
Published in London Gazette in 1943-12-23
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1943-12-23
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1943-06-03
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1946-02-21


  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Second World War, 1939-1945
  • Honours and Awards:

    2nd Independent Company
    Second World War, 1939-1945
    Temporary Major
    London Gazette
    23 December 1943 on page 5574 at position 20
    Commonwealth Gazette
    23 December 1943 on page 2798 at position 32
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Second World War, 1939-1945
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Second World War, 1939-1945
  • Honours and Awards:

    2nd Independent Company
    Second World War, 1939-1945
    London Gazette
    28 May 1943 on page 2374 at position 16
    Commonwealth Gazette
    03 June 1943 on page 1150 at position 54
  • Honours and Awards:

    26th Australian Infantry Battalion
    Second World War, 1939-1945
    Temporary Lieutenant Colonel
    London Gazette
    14 February 1946 on page 942 at position 80
    Commonwealth Gazette
    21 February 1946 on page 407 at position 26


Date of birth 02 February 1913 Melbourne, VIC
Date commissioned 05 June 1940
Career summary 1 05 July 1940 lieutenant Reserve of Officers (Engrs)
Career summary 3 05 July 1940 Engr Training Centre (28th Engr Training Depot)
Career summary 4 15 October 1940 Citizens Military Force Royal Australian Engineers (Fd)
Career summary 5 03 March 1941 seconded & enlisted 2AIF
Career summary 6 03 March 1941 instructor Demolitions Wing, 101 British Military Mission, 7th Infantry Training Centre
Career summary 7 05 July 1941 captain 2iC 2/2nd Indep Company
Career summary 8 12 December 1941 arrived Timor
Career summary 9 22 February 1942 missing in action (reported)
Career summary 10 24 May 1942 officer commanding 2/2nd Indep Company
Career summary 11 04 July 1942 temporary major commanding officer Australian Troops Sparrow Force
Career summary 12 11 November 1942 commanding officer Sparrow Force
Career summary 13 10 January 1943 Returned to Australia (Darwin)
Career summary 15 02 February 1943 major (bd 1 Sep 4
Career summary 14 06 February 1943 MARRIED
Career summary 16 31 March 1943 general service officer grade 2 (ops) Headquarters FAA
Career summary 17 1943-05-02 - 1943-07-09 course Jnr Staff S
Career summary 18 29 May 1943 Mention in Despatches (7 Dec 41-30 Sep 42)
Career summary 19 30 August 1943 arrived Merauke
Career summary 20 05 November 1943 2iC 31/51st battalion
Career summary 21 21 November 1943 Returned to Australia (Townsville )
Career summary 22 21 November 1943 attached Special Duty
Career summary 24 21 November 1943 arrived Merauke
Career summary 23 23 December 1943 Military Cross
Career summary 25 20 April 1944 Returned to Australia (Townsville )
Career summary 26 1944-04-22 - 1944-06-03 course Land Headquarters Tactical School senior offi
Career summary 27 05 July 1944 arrived Merauke
Career summary 28 08 August 1944 Returned to Australia (Townsville )
Career summary 29 08 December 1944 arrived Bougainville
Career summary 30 1945-01-30 - 1945-02-08 attached 26th batta
Career summary 31 08 February 1945 temporary lieutenant colonel, commanding officer 26th battalion
Appointment 1945-02-08 - 1945-12-14 Battalion: 26th; Rank on appointment: major, temporary lieutenant colonel ; Appointed from: 2iC 31/52nd battalion ; Reason for end of appointment: demobilised
Career summary 33 08 July 1945 Returned to Australia (Melb) ex Bougainville
Career summary 34 04 August 1945 arrived Bougainville
Career summary 32 1945-09 administering command 11th Brigade
Career summary 36 17 September 1945 arrived Rabaul
Career summary 37 14 December 1945 relinquished command 26th battalion (demob)
Career summary 35 03 January 1946 lieutenant colonel (bd 8 Feb 45) gazetted
Career summary 38 18 January 1946 Returned to Australia (Syd)
Career summary 39 06 February 1946 Reserve of Officers
Date of death 20 July 1995
Date and unit at enlistment (ORs) 3 March 1941
Date of discharge 5 February 1946
Career summary 2 course #12 SMiddle East (Casula) Jun-Sep 40 [from Callinan's own correspondence]
Career summary 40 ***POST WAR***
Citations 10 On 5 Mar 45 he successfully cleared SAPOSA ISLAND of the enemy, ensuring the protection of his flank and later occupied TAIOF Island.
Citations 11 Despite considerable enemy artillery activity, Lt-Col. CALLINAN was constantly moving amongst his men, exposing himself to enemy fire whilst carrying out personal reconnaisances of enemy positions to plan further attacks. His cheerful disposition and skilful leadership was outstanding and was instrumental in maintaining a very high morale in the Unit, making possible the success of all the actions the Unit was engaged in, despite the determination of the enemy to hold SORAKEN PENINSULA at all costs.'
Citations 2 'For outstanding courage, skill and leadership while serving with 2/2 Aust Indep Coy and LANCER FORCE in Portuguese TIMOR between Feb 42 and Jan 43. Always cheerful, cool and clear-thinking, this Officer was an inspiration to his men during nearly twelve months of guerilla fighting against vastly superior numbers of Japanese an hostile natives. His personal recces through enemy-occupied country, the valuable information he brought back and his skilful handling first of the Coy and then of the Force enabled severe casualties to be inflicted on the enemy and our resistance to be maintained for the maximum practicable period.
Citations 3 When the Force was ordered to evacuate, he skilfully disengaged it from contact with the enemy, led it for three days over the mountains, across rivers and through swamps and embarked it without loss of personnel. he personally organized the final details of the evacuation and remained on the beach until the last boat left. Before commencing this evacuation he volunteered to remain on TIMOR to organize native resistance but was not permitted to do so.'
Citations 5 'REF Map TAIOF ISLAND 1 in to 1 ml. For outstanding courage and devotion to duty.
Citations 6 As commanding officer of 26 Aust Inf Bn (AIF) Lt-Col CALLINAN was responsible for clearing the enemy and gaining control of the North West coast of Bougainville.
Citations 7 On 26 Feb 45 the unit commenced to advance from the GILLMAN River meeting stubborn opposition from strong enemy pockets.
Citations 8 Lt-Col CALLINAN destroyed a number of enemy positions by sound planning and able leadership. The enemy made a strong stand at the COMPTON River and subjected the unit to constant artillery fire.
Citations 9 Lt-Col. CALLINAN then planned the capture of SORAKEN Plantation by a series of night landings (the first taking place on night 11 Mar 45 ) behind the enemy forward positions, which had the effect of completely disorganising the enemy resistance and allowing the SORAKEN Peninsula to be captured with practically no casualties to his own men.