Monday, January 25, 2016
The 9th Australian Division formed
The two Australian brigades in England in 1940 were the 18th and 25th Australian infantry brigades. The Official History calls them two of the first-enlisted and best-trained of the Australian brigades. General Blamey criticized the decision to combine these brigades with newly formed units. The 8th Australian Division, to be sent to Singapore, lost the 24th Brigade to the 9th Division. They also lost the 2/3rd Anti-Tank Regiment and field companies to the 9th Division. The 8th Australian Division units were still in Australia in late 1940, but at least they existed. Major-General Wynter, then in England, was appointed as commander of the 9th Australian Division on 23 October 1940. He left England by sea in mid-November 1940. He left the convoy at Capetown and went by air to Cairo. He formed the division headquarters in Palestine on 24 December. They division only had two field regiments and one field company of engineers at first. Even as the units sailed, the division composition changed. When the 25th Brigade arrived in March 1941, it had been reassigned to the 7th Australian Division. General Wynter had to be replaced after he had fallen ill. He was replaced by Brigadier Morshead, who had been the 18th Brigade commander. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Australian Official History.