62nd Battalion (Merauke Regiment)

After the First World War the defence of the Australian mainland lay with the part-time soldiers of the Citizens Military Force, also known as the Militia. The Militia was organized to maintain the structure of the First AIF and kept the same numerical designations. The Militia units were distributed in the same areas the original AIF units were raised. Following this tradition, the 62nd Infantry Battalion was the “Merauke Regiment”. It was raised in the Torres Strait in December 1942, from the 14th Garrison Battalion, stationed on Thursday Island at the time.

In January 1943 the 62nd left Thursday Island and sailed to Merauke, in Dutch New Guinea. The change in designation corresponded with larger changes to the Australian forces in the Torres Strait. In December 1942 the Torres Strait Force, of which the 14th Garrison Battalion was part, was redesignated the Merauke Force. This name change reflected the force’s next deployment.

The 62nd spent the war in Merauke and, until the arrival of units from the 11th Brigade, was Merauke Force’s principle infantry unit. The force’s roll was to hold Merauke’s airstrip and port. The 62nd also patrolled along the coast and surrounding area and was used for working parties, building defences around Merauke, corduroying roads, and unloading ships.

In February 1944 the 62nd was replaced by the 20th Motor Regiment and returned to Australia. It arrived in Brisbane at the start of March and moved to Mt Stuart, near Townsville. The 62nd was disbanded in May 1944.

Battle Honours

Casualties

  • 3 died

For more information please see the Roll of Honour and Second World War Nominal Roll (external website) databases.

Commanding Officers

Decorations

  • No information available

For more information please see Honours and Awards database

References