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Number VX46838

Battalion 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion

Place of Birth. Leongatha 26 April 1912

Next of Kin Charles Colbert, his father was his NOK. He was the son of Charles and Catherine Colbert of Leongatha and the husband of Molly Mavis Colbert, of Gelliondale, Victoria, Australia

Date and place of enlistment 22 July 1940 at Caulfield

Location on enlistment Leongatha

Occupation farm labourer

Date and place of death 27 June 1941 aged 29

Location of grave or memorial

He is buried in Damascus Commonwealth War Cemetery. His name is on the memorial in Leongatha.

Relationship to Woorayl Shire

Edward and his family lived in Leongatha

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. Nevertheless, it 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. Casualties throughout the whole campaign amounted to 14 officers and 161 other ranks killed or wounded. Among these was Edward Colbert.

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