2/7th Independent Company (2/7 Commando Squadron)

The 2/7th Independent Company formed in May 1942 having under gone its training at Wilson’s Promontory, Victoria. Towards the end of 1942 the 2/7th sailed to Port Moresby, from which it was flown to Wau, in New Guinea, in January 1943. At Wau it joined the 6th Division’s 17th Brigade and the other units of Kanga Force.

Moving into position on the ridge above Mubo, the independent company conducted patrols against the Japanese. On 13 January they saw a group of over a hundred Japanese soldiers approaching Mubo from Komiatum. The 2/7th ambushed this column, killing many, but the next day the Japanese attacked their position and forced them to fallback towards Wau. The Japanese had been concentrating their forces in the area and at the end of the month launched a major attack against Wau.

After bitter fighting this attack was repelled and the 2/7th participated in pushing the Japanese back to Mubo by advancing along the Buisaval Track to Guadagasai. From Guadagasai the 2/7th worked with the 2/3rd and 2/5th Independent Companies to clear the Japanese from Jap Track and Wau Valley and this was done by the end of February. In March the 2/7th had returned harassing the Japanese at Mubo and in April they were relieved by the 2/7th Battalion.

The independent company was later flown to Bena Bena where it became part of Bena Force. During September and October the 2/7th carried numerous long range patrols in the Ramu Valley. In October the 2/7th came under the command of the 7th Division and patrolled along the Faria, Iogi and Evapia rivers, before being relieved by the 2/6th Cavalry (Commando) Squadron in the second week of November. The 2/7th returned to Dumpu, then Nabzab, Port Moresby and, eventually, Australia.

While the 2/7th had been away, the organisation of independent companies had undergone a series of changes. In April 1943 the 7th Division had disbanded its cavalry regiment and had instead raised the 2/7th Cavalry (Commando) Regiment. This new regiment administered the independent companies under its command. In January 1944 the 6th and 9th Divisions also disbanded their cavalry regiments and raised cavalry (commando) regiments. Consequently, the independent companies became cavalry (commando) squadrons which later became just commando squadrons.

So it was the 2/7th Commando Squadron which returned to Australia and, after some leave, regrouped on the Atherton Tablelands, in Queensland. Here the 2/7th joined the newly raised 2/9th and 2/10th Commando Squadrons of the 2/6th Cavalry (Commando) Regiment. The regiment was to serve with the 6th Division throughout the forthcoming Aitape-Wewak campaign in New Guinea.

Having relieved the American garrison at Aitape, in the beginning of 1945, the 6th Division began the advance eastwards towards the main Japanese base at Wewak. To do this the division advanced along two axes. One followed the coast, while the other moved through the mountains of the Torricelli Ranges. Just as it had previously done in New Guinea, the 2/7th Commando Squadron patrolled through the mountains.

In mid December the 2/7th was based at Tong, and had troops at Yourang and Kumbun in support of the 17th Brigade. The squadron then moved on Makuir, where it conducted reconnaissance patrols of the Dandriwad and Danmap Rivers. Towards the end of the month, the squadron moved to Yasuar Mission, patrolling along the Muam River, and then on to Lambuain. In January 1945 the squadron moved to Walum, above the Danmap River. At the beginning of February the 2/7th was at Nilu and was pushing into enemy territory, following the Atop River and establishing bases at Kaumala, and at House Copper. At the end of March, the 2/7th was relieved and returned to Aitape.

In April the squadron was taken by landing craft to But where it was in reserve for the 16th Brigade’s advance to the Hawain River. While in reserve the 2/7th was based at Banak and patrolled the surrounding area.

In May the 2/7th passed onto the 19th Brigade which was moving on Wewak and then, further east, the Brandi River. The commandos were tasked with capturing the Sauri villages. Leaving from the Waringe River, they took this objective, but the fighting had been intense and bitter - on a number of occasions the commandoes used flamethrowers to overcome the Japanese.

By now though, the 2/7th had received orders to concentrate with the rest of the 2/6th Commando Regiment in the area around Brandi Plantation. At the start of June the 2/7th became responsible for ‘mopping up’ first Dove Bay and then Karawop. In early July the squadron went to Boiken where it relieved the 2/10th Squadron which had been patrolling the area around the Dagua and Hawain Rivers.

The 2/7th were still in Boiken when Japan surrendered. After returning to Australia, the 2/7th Commando Squadron was disbanded in the beginning of 1946.

Glossary

Battle Honours

  • nil

Casualties

  • 32 died

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

Commanding Officers

Collection Items

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References

  • AWM52/2/2/59: 2/7 Cavalry (Commando) Squadron war diary