39th Battalion return to the Order of Battle

After more than 60 years years the gallant 39th Battalion has been placed back on the Australian Order of Battle. Nobody has ever been able to adequately explain why the 39th was ever removed from the Order of Battle at the end of the WW11.

It could well have been because army headquarters did not realise the significance of their actions at Kokoda and Isurava because of the censorship exercised through General Macarthur’s headquarters at the time.

One who was well aware of their achievements is the Governor General, H.E. Major General Michael Jeffrey AC MC. After a meeting with the President of the 39th Battalion Association, ‘Kanga’ Moore’ the Governor General had a ‘word’ with the army Chief of the General Staff, General Peter Leahy, and on 8th August 2006 the 39th Combat Support Battalion was formed at a parade at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne.

The 39th Battalion is the only army unit to have the word ‘Kokoda’ emblazoned on their regimental banner as they were the only unit to actually fight on the Kokoda plateau.

On 21 November 2006 the 39th Combat Support Battalion held their first Regimental Dinner at the Randwick Sergeants Mess. Guests of honour for the evening were the President of the 39th Battalion Association, Lt Col Alan (Kanga) Moore, Sergeant Joe Dawson and their tireless secretary, Norm Stockdale. Kanga and Joe served together on the track at Kokoda and Isurava and the respect they have for each other – and for fellow members of their battalion – will be an inspiration for our young solders of the 39th Combat Support Battalion.


  1. Rod Morrison says:

    I am confused by the statement that the 39th were the only unit to actually fight on the Kokoda Platue !.
    We know elements of the Battalion deployed and fought on the Platue . We also know elements of the PIB ( created by the Australian Goverment to protect Australian territory ) deployed in a joint effort on the platue .
    The PIB was under Australian Command by Major Watson (and consisted of Australian Commissioned Officers and a mix of NCO’S of the 2nd AIF and indiginous members) who commanded the 39th and PIB joint force on the Platue imediatley after LTCOL Owen was no longer in a postion to command .
    I understand the PIB ( highly decorated unit ) changed hands during independance but in 1942 on the platue they fought to defend an Australian Territory under Australian command . No doubt the predicessor unit of the PNG army has Kokoda emblazoned on there regimental banner . ” Lest We Forget “

  2. Max Ackland says:

    Why was a Victorian CMF unit reformed in Sydney? I applaud the return of the 39th to the order of Battle but they were a Victorian unit not a NSW unit. The Regimental histories tell the story of the two CMF Battalions sent up to Kokoda and only one of them covered themselves in Glory. The NSW battlion , which was effectively press ganged at the time ran faster than diarrhoea, the 39th should have been formed in Victoria and then moved to wherever.

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