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Number VX19034

Battalion 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion

Place of Birth Musk Vale, Daylesford 22 February 1910

Next of Kin Mary Brislane, his mother. He was the son of Thomas and Mary Brislane of Daylesford

Date and place of enlistment 29 May 1940 at Caulfield

Location on enlistment Richmond

Occupation Farmer then a gas employee

Date and place of death 27 June 1940 NNE of Balate Syria

Location of grave or memorial

Damascus British War Cemetery Syria. He is on memorials at Leongatha and Meeniyan

Relationship to Woorayl Shire

In the 1930s his family lived in Dumbalk and were recorded as onion growers. Prior to residing in Dumbalk the family were in Musk Vale Daylesford

Military History

Formed in May 1940 at Puckapunual, the battalion was one of four pioneer battalions raised as part of the 2nd AIF. After completing initial training, the 2/2nd Pioneers embarked upon the Queen Mary in April 1941 and sailed for the Middle East. After arriving in Egypt in May, the battalion eventually served in Syria and Palestine fighting against the Vichy French. During the Syria -Lebanon actions where they fought mainly as infantry. The battalion had not been fully trained in this role and had not received all the equipment required, lacking mortars and possessing only a small number of automatic weapons. They lacked the specialist troops of established infantry battalions, including an intelligence section. The battalion was committed to several attacks, including a two company frontal assault on 17 June, which resulted in heavy casualties with 27 killed, 46 wounded, and 29 being taken prisoner. Further actions followed before the Vichy French defenders surrendered in July. The total casualties during that campaign were 14 officers and 161 other ranks killed or wounded. Among these was Tom Brislane.

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