The 2/8th Australian Infantry Battalion was raised in Melbourne at the outset of the Second World War. They first saw action in North Africa, taking part in the battles at Bardia and Tobruk. At Tobruk, they suffered the heaviest number of casualties of any Australian battalion during the Siege. From April 1941, they took part in the disastrous Greek and Crete campaigns.
In 1942 the 2/8th withdrew from the Middle East and returned to Australia. In November 1944 they deployed to New Guinea where they fought the Japanese in the Aitape-Wewak campaign. The final members of the battalion left New Guinea in November 1945 before it was disbanded in December.
The 2/8th Battalion commemorates the service of its members in November each year with the support of students and staff from Macarthur Street Primary School. During the Second World War, the battalion lost 94 men killed, while a further 272 were wounded.
Reviewed 15 June 2021