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Battalion 2/23rd Infantry Battalion
Place of Birth. Foster 10 May 1918
Next of Kin Anne Ferguson, his mother.
The son of Herbert and Anne Ferguson of Warragul, formerly of Mirboo North.
Date and place of enlistment
29 July 1940 at Caulfield
Location on enlistment
Date and place of death Tarakan, in present day Indonesian Borneo on 7 May 1945, aged 26.
Location of grave or memorial
He is buried in Labuan War Cemetery East Malaysia Malaysia. He must have been moved to Labuan Cemetery at some point.
Relationship to Woorayl Shire
He lived at Dollar
The 2/23rd Infantry Battalion was raised at the Albury Showgrounds in New South Wales in August 1940. Initially the brigade belonged to the 7th Division but in early 1941 moved to the 9th Division. The battalion did its initial training in Albury before moving to Bonegilla, on the Victorian side of Murray River. The battalion embarked Sydney on 8 April 1941and arrived in the Middle East in November.
In early 1941 the battalion moved into Cyrenica in Libya to complete its training. Despite British successes at the start of the year against German-led counter-attacks, the 9th Division fell back to Tobruk. The 2/23rd entered Tobruk between 6 and 10 April.
The battalion helped defend Tobruk for eight months. In April the 2/23rd defended the western side and from May to July it moved to the eastern side of Tobruk.
The battalion returned to Australia and was re-organised to fight in tropical jungle. On 4 September 1943 the 2/23rd participated in an amphibious landing at Red Beach, north west of Lae. Shortly before the landing occurred, the invasion fleet was attacked by six Japanese fighters and three bombers. The landing craft, however, made it to shore and the 2/23rd participated in the subsequent fighting around Lae, Finschhafen, and Sattelberg. After Sattelberg, the 2/23rd continued to move inland, capturing Masangkoo, Kuanko, and finally on 9 December, Wareo.
The 2/23rd returned to Australia in February 1944. After some leave, it reformed in Queensland at Ravenshoe on the Atherton Tablelands in June. The war was almost over before the battalion went into action again. This time in Borneo.
In April 1945 the battalion was transported to Morotai, which was being used as a staging in area in preparation for amphibious landings on Borneo. The 2/23rd landed on Tarakan on 1 May. The two lead battalions were the 2/23rd and 2/48th. From 6 May to 16 June there was bitter fighting in the mountain ridges of Tarakan. The Japanese used mines, booby traps, and suicide raids to delay the Australian advance through the tangled hills and jungle-covered ridges. Syd was killed in action during this action. He had fought throughout the war and was amongst those of his battalion killed in the latter part of the fighting.
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