Name Edward Colbert Rank: Private
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
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.