World War 2

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The Second Australian Imperial Force (2nd AIF) was raised in September 1939 by voluntary enlistment to serve overseas for the duration of the War. Volunteers were supposed to be between 20 and 35 years of age but many recruits were outside this age range. If the person was already serving in the Permanent Military Force or Citizen Military Force and wished to enlist, they were required to resign before signing up in the 2nd AIF.

These volunteers were formed into Battalions, Regiments, Companies and Units and shipped overseas. The service numbers of the male volunteers had two intials in front of the number. W means they enlisted in Western Australia and X means they were in the AIF. Women volunteers had 3 initials in front of their number. W means they enlisted in Western Australia, F means they were female and X meant they served overseas. They were each given an new enlistment number. If a person had served in the 1st AIF during WW1 they would not keep their old number. Their record on this website will show both of their numbers.

Nurses were encouraged to volunteer and they served in base and camp hospitals, hospital ships and Prisoner of War camps.

Troops began returning to Australia from late 1945 and the Second AIF officially ceased to exist on 30th June 1947. Any personnel who wished to remain in the Army or who were still on duty, transferred into the Permanent Military Force.

The personal documents of anyone serving with a 2nd AIF Battalion, Regiment, Company or Unit are indexed on this page. Group photos and documents that pertain to an entire Battalion, Regiment, Company or Unit will be indexed under the Group Photos and Documents tab on this page.

Return to the Australian Imperial Force page.