SX2917 Lieutenant Colonel Arthur James (Mert) Lee, MC and Bar

Date of birth1912-07-30 Adelaide, SA 
Date and unit at enlinstment (ORs)  1939-01-11  Enlisted as a private in 43/48th Battalion. 
Date promoted  1939-09-22  Appointed lieutenant 48th Battalion. 
Other units  1940-05-01  Seconded 2/27th Battalion. 
Date and unit at enlistment (ORs)  1940-05-22  Enlisted Second Australian Imperial Force. 
Other  1940-11-24  Arrived in the Middle East. 
Date promoted  1941-07-03  Appointed captain. 
Date of honour or award  1941-11-07  Military Cross. 'On the 6th Jul at the battle of DAMOUR, Capt Lee was in command of B. Coy, 2/27 Bn. During the advance to the River the Coy was very heavily shelled as it moved from EL BATTAL to EL LABIYE. D. Coy who were moving in front of B. Coy was badly shaken by the same heavy fire, had lost all but one of its officers and had become very badly disorganised in the darkness. Capt. Lee quickly sized up the position and decided to push through D. Coy and take over their role which was the capture of the 2nd. objective. He informed Bn. HQ. of this decision and pushed forward. His Coy was very heavily shelled and machine gunned during the whole of their advance and in addition the men were extremely fatigued by the difficult nature of the terrain. Capt. Lee led them forward and captured the objective by his inspiring and fearless leadership. In the enemy counter attack on Hill 560 on the following day, Capt. Lee again showed great gallantry in leading his company against this strongly held position. Throughout the campaign in Syria he has exhibited continuously the highest qualities of leadership.' Lee was recommended for this award by Lieutenant Colonel M J Moten commanding officer 2/27th Battalion. 
Date returned to Australia  1942-03-25   
Other  1942-08-14  Arrived in New Guinea. 
Date returned to Australia  1943-01-23  Returned to Cairns. 
Date of honour or award  1943-05-31  Bar to Military Cross. 'Capt. LEE M.C. commanded 'B' Coy. during action which took place between EFOGI and MINARE (New Guinea) on 7/8 September 1942. During afternoon 8th September, it became necessary for the Bde. to withdraw after an attempt to break through enemy resistance astride main track had failed. 'B' Coy and 'D' Coy were ordered to cover the withdrawal of the column which included a number of stretcher cases. Enemy made determined attempts to attack the retiring column but 'B' Coy held it's ground on the threatened flank. Capt. Lee displayed exemplary courage in leading his Coy. under intense fire from the enemy at ranges down to 20-30 yds. When his Coy. commenced to withdraw with enemy in close contact he remained at the tail of the column with two ORs. He was heard to exclaim 'They are getting all the young chaps. We old buggers have something to account for. Come on boys, give the bastards a full Mag.' and with that the three of them emptied their mags into the advancing enemy causing them to discontinue their attack and enabling the column to break contact. Capt. Lee's courage and determination had a steadying influence on the men and inspired their efforts. It is recommended that he be awarded the Bar to the Military Cross.' 
Date promoted  1943-06-30  Major 2/16th Battalion. 
Other  1943-08-08  Arrived in Moresby. 
Other units  1943-10-14 - 1944-04-15  Seconded commanding officer of 21st Australian Infantry Training Battalion. 
Date returned to Australia  1943-10-29  Returned to Townsville. 
Other  1944-04-22 - 1944-06-03  Attended senior officers course at Land Headquarters Tactical School. 
Date promoted  1944-08-12 - 1945-08-12  Appointed lieutenant colonel and commanding officer 2/9th Battalion. 
Other  1945-04-02  Accidently injures left knee. 
Other  1945-04-09 - 1945-04-18  Evacuated due to knee injury. 
Other  1945-05-13  Again evacuated due to knee injury. 
Other  1945-05-31  Arrived in Morotai. 
Other  1945-06-21  Arrived in Balikpapan. 
Other  1945-08-11 - 1945-10-25  Again evacuated due to knee injury and hospitalised. 
Other  1945-08-12  Relinquished command 2/9th battalion as deemed medically unfit for duty, due to knee injury. 
Date returned to Australia  1945-09-26   
Date of discharge  1945-10-26  Transferred to Retired List. 

Interviewed by the author Peter Brune regarding his service in PNG. Ex National President of the RSL.