IT’S been 71 years since the end of World War II, but a year hasn’t gone by that the efforts of Ballarat’s 8th Battalion haven’t gone unrecognised.
Since 1946 the battalion’s survivors and their families have come together to commemorate the sacrifices the ‘City of Ballarat Regiment’ made during 1940-1945.
Two of the regiments surviving diggers, 96 year-old George Addlem and 99-year-old Jack Oliver, met with widows and family members at a special lunch on Sunday.
The widow of an 8th Battalion soldier, Lesley McQuinn, said the lunch was a day to honour the veterans.
“They were a very close unit, one of the closest in the army,” she said.
She said families traveled from as far as Swan Hill and Horsham to be at the annual luncheon at Table 48 which opens specifically for the group every year.
The ‘City of Ballarat Regiment’ served in Darwin, New Guinea, Emirau, Bouganville and the Solomon Islands.
It was in 1942 the Battalion had its first taste of action as the Japanese bombed Darwin. The battalion’s only Victoria Cross recipient, and Australia’s youngest WWII recipient, Frank Partridge was awarded the honour in 1945. Partridge, 19 at the time, ignored his injuries and challenged the enemy to come out and fight. He then rushed to the nearest enemy bunker while armed with grenades and his knife, and killed the occupants.
Ms McQuinn said a plaque will be unveiled at the Shrine of Remembrance to commemorate the 8th Battalion on June 11.
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