Robert William Beecroft
Name Robert William Beecroft Rank: Corporal
Battalion 2/24 Infantry Battalion
Place of Birth. Leongatha 20 February 1911
Next of Kin His mother Mary Beecroft of Leongatha was his NOK. His father was James Beecroft.
Date and place of enlistment 27 May1940 at Caulfield
Location on enlistment Meeniyan
Date and place of death 22 July 1942 in the defense of El Alamein aged 31
Location of grave or memorial
He is on the Alamein Memorial Egypt and on the Leongatha Memorial
Relationship to Woorayl Shire
He lived in the Meeniyan area
Victoria’s 2/24th Infantry Battalion was raised in Wangaratta in July 1940. Bob Beecroft was an original member of the battalion. The 2/24th trained at Bonegilla before sailing for the Middle East in November 1940.
In early 1941 the battalion, along with the rest of the 9th Division, moved into Cyrenica in Libya to complete its training. The Battalion entered Tobruk on 10 April and helped defend the “fortress” for the next eight months.
They saw extensive service at Tobruk, manning the Red Line at a number of different locations and participating in the bitter fighting in the area. In October the 9th Division was evacuated by sea. The 2/24th left on the night of 20 October, sailing to Alexandria. The division was transferred to Palestine and Syria for rest and garrison duties.
By July 1942 German and Italian forces had reached El Alamein in Egypt, about seventy miles from Alexandra. The war in North Africa had become critical for the British Eighth Army. The 9th Division was consequently rushed from Syria to the El Alamein area and held the northern sector for almost four months as the Eighth Army was reinforced for an offensive under new a commander. Robert Beecroft lost his life during the battalion’s early actions at El Alamein.