Just before midnight on 7 December 1941, Flying Officer Peter Gibbes stepped off the train at Kota Bharu on the coast of northeast Malaya after a long, tiring journey up the peninsula from Singapore. Gibbes, an airline pilot in peacetime, had been newly posted to the Royal Australian Air Force’s 1 Squadron, which in the ensuing hours would become the first Australian military unit to see action in the Pacific War.

This video vividly tells the story of Australia’s first action of the Pacific war.

This excellent video was created by the Australian Military Aviation History Association. See more of their great videos and information here.

Protecting country: Indigenous Australians in the defence of the north

Reading time: 5 minutes
Notions of ‘protecting country’ have, anecdotally at least, been a key motivation for Indigenous people to participate in Australia’s defence services since World War I. It may well be one reason they have been joining the army reserve’s Regional Force Surveillance Units for the past 30-odd years. The youngest of the three units, 51st Battalion, Far North Queensland Regiment, even has as its motto Ducit amor patriae, ‘The love of country guides me’.

Given that it’s been almost three decades since we last considered the defence of Australia’s north, it’s time to think about whether there are new ways to involve Indigenous people in that endeavour.

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General History Quiz 113

1. What was the code name of the massive Soviet operation that saw them push the German forces back on the Eastern Front in June 1944?
Try the full 10 question quiz.

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