35th Battalion (Newcastle's Own Regiment)

After the First World War the defence of the Australian mainland lay with the part-time soldiers of the Citizens Military Force (CMF), also known as the Militia. The Militia was organized to maintain the structure of the First AIF and kept the same numerical designations. Thus, the 35th Infantry Battalion was “Newcastles Own Regiment”. However, during the Depression little was spent on defence and the militia had few volunteers. In 1929 the 35th was linked with the 33rd Infantry Battalion, from the New England area, to form the 35th/33rd Infatnry Battalion. Three years later the 35th/33rd was separated and the 35th merged with the 2nd Infantry Battalion, the “City of Newcastle Regiment”. The battalion was later separated.

With Japan’s sudden entry into the Second World War and its military successes in south-east Asia and the Pacific, the 35th was mobilised for full-time service and took up defensive positions in St Ives in early 1942. In June it moved to Greta for further training. At Greta the 35th joined the rest of the 8th Brigade, comprised of the 4th and 30th Battalions.

The brigade did not stay at Greta long and at the start of July moved to Western Australia. It spent the next two years training, labouring, and manning defensive positions along the coast from Bunbury to Geraldton. As part of the 2nd Division, it made up III Corps with the 1st Armoured Division.

At the end of 1943 the brigade moved to Queensland, via Sydney. The 35th went into camp at Gordonvale in North Queensland. In January 1944 the brigade, now part of the 5th Division, moved to New Guinea. Its role was to support the 9th Division’s Huon Peninsula campaign by clearing the Rio Coast between Sio and Saidor. While the 4th and 30th moved up the coast, reaching Saidor by the second week of February, the 35th patrolled the many mountain tracks and villages further inland.

The 8th Brigade’s next objective was Madang. Staying on the coast and moving on foot and by barge, the 30th occupied Madang and Alexishafen by the end of April. Once again, the 35th was used to patrol the inland mountain tracks. The 8th Brigade was based in the Madang area for the rest of the war. The 35th was concentrated south of the Rempi River, while the 4th was responsible for the area between Maclay River and Bostrem Bay.

In May the brigade was ordered to maintain pressure on the Japanese who were north of Alexishafen. Consequently, the 35th moved to Megiar Harbour and sent out patrols to the coast. It reached Kronprinz Harbour and then Suara Bay By the beginning of June.

Following Japan’s surrender and the end of the war, the 8th Brigade regrouped at Wewak. The ranks of the 35th thinned, as men were discharged or transferred. By the end of the year most of the brigade had returned to Australia. The last group left New Guinea on 24 January 1946 on board the transport ship Ormiston. The 35th was disbanded soon after returning to Australia.

Glossary

Battle Honours

Casualties

  • 17 died
  • 18 wounded

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

Commanding Officers

Decorations

  • 1 MM
  • 12 MID

For more information please see Honours and Awards database

References