The 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion was raised in May 1940 and served during the Second World War. They saw action in the Syria-Lebanon campaign but were ordered to return to Australia when Japan entered the war.
The 2/2nd sailed for Australia aboard the Orcades with other elements of the 7th Division. Instead of returning to Australia, the troops on the Orcades were diverted to join 'Blackforce' to defend Java from the Japanese. Quickly overwhelmed by superior numbers, the 2/2nd were ordered to lay down weapons. 865 men from the 2/2nd became prisoners of war, an ordeal that would see the deaths of 258.
This service commemorates the date when the 2/2nd Pioneers went into action at Fort Merdjayoun during the Syrian Campaign. Taking place on 17 June 1941, this attack would result in heavy casualties for the Pioneers.
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- Shrine Governor Colonel John Coulson OAM RFD ED
Reviewed 18 June 2021