Aitkin Robert A
Name Robert Arthur Aitkin Rank: Private
Battalion 2/23rd Infantry Battalion
Place of Birth Victoria 1 April 1918
Next of Kin Mrs. Sarah Coles, his guardian, of Collins St Thornbury
He was the foster son of Albert William and Lily Ann Anderson of Tarwin Lower
Date and place of enlistment 29 July 1940 at Caulfield
Location on enlistment Tarwin Meadows
Occupation farm labourer
Date and place of death 16 July 1942 aged 24 at El Alamein Egypt
Location of grave or memorial
He is buried in El Alamein War Cemetery Egypt and is on memorials in Leongatha and Tarwin Lower.
Relationship to Woorayl Shire
He lived at Tarwin Meadows
The 2/23rd Infantry Battalion was raised at the Albury Showgrounds in New South Wales in August 1940. The battalion did basic training in Albury before moving to Bonegilla, on the Victorian side of Murray River. The 2/23rd Battalion embarked Sydney and arrived in the Middle East in November.
In early 1941 the battalion moved into Cyrenica in Libya to complete its training. Despite British successes against German-led counter attacks at the start of the year against 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, where the line cut the Bardia Road. It was here that Robert was killed. Robert was therefore a Desert Rat.
In his will he left all his possessed to his foster mother Lily Ann Anderson