In honour of our veterans – the men and women who signed up to the Australian Defence Force, willing to sacrifice all to protect our nation, our values, and our freedom.
World War I
World War II
Australia entered World War II on 3 September 1939. Australia later entered into a state of war with other members of the Axis powers, including the Kingdom of Italy on 11 June 1940, and the Empire of Japan on 9 December 1941. By the end of the war, almost a million Australians had served in the armed forces, whose military units fought primarily in the European theatre, North African campaign, and the South West Pacific theatre. In addition, Australia came under direct attack for the first time in its post-colonial history. Its casualties from enemy action during the war were 27,073 killed and 23,477 wounded.
World War II Japan
The British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF) was the British Commonwealth taskforce consisting of Australian, British, Indian and New Zealand military forces in occupied Japan, from 21 February 1946 until the end of occupation in 1952. At its peak, the BCOF comprised about 40,000 personnel, equal to about 25% of the number of US military personnel in Japan.
Whilst US forces were responsible for military government, the BCOF was responsible for supervising demilitarisation and the disposal of Japan’s war industries. The BCOF was also responsible for the occupation of the western prefectures of Shimane, Yamaguchi, Tottori, Okayama, Hiroshima and Shikoku Island.The BCOF headquarters was at Kure. For most of the occupation period Australia contributed the majority of the BCOF’s personnel.
World War II New Guinea
The New Guinea campaign of the Pacific War lasted from January 1942 until the end of the war in August 1945. During the initial phase in early 1942, the Empire of Japan invaded the Australian-administered Mandated Territory of New Guinea (23 January) and the Australian Territory of Papua (21 July) and overran western New Guinea (beginning 29/30 March), which was a part of the Netherlands East Indies. During the second phase, lasting from late 1942 until the Japanese surrender, the Allies—consisting primarily of Australian and US forces—cleared the Japanese first from Papua, then the Mandate and finally from the Dutch colony.
Source: New Guinea campaign