2/21st.Battalion Association



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If you would like to theAnzac day march in Melbourne 2019 there is a link to our Facebook page below. The Gull Force group is shown from 49 min in.

Click here

Collection of Gull Force interviews and events

To view the collection, click on the link below.


Veteran recollections

Click here to view part 1 of an interview with veterans Tom Pledger, Bob Allen, Vernon Ball and Jack Serant. This link will take you from our website to youtube. Part 2 can be selected after watching.

Japanese sign final Surrender

Click here to view a historical video of the Japanese surrender on board the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on 2nd September 1945. This link will take you from our website to youtube.

              The Ambon Forward Observation Strategy 1941 - 1942.                  "A lesson in Military Incompetance"

Click here to view the PhD Thesis written by David Evans in 2010. Search David Evans in the Authors field.


Paul Rosenzweig's thesis for the Master of Arts in South East Asian Studies (Northern Territory University, 2000) has just been digitised: ‘Ziarah.  The Gull Force Association Pilgrimages to Ambon’ – the origins and history of the annual pilgrimages by the Gull Force (2/21st Battalion Group AIF) Association. It’s available now via the Charles Darwin University online repository ‘eSpace’:




                                                      The Heros Behind the Fence

                                                                               Side by Side
                                                                               Shoulder to Shoulder
                                                                               They stood tall and proud
                                                                               Their eyes full of vision, determination and hope

                                                                               With courage they moved forward
                                                                               To save the land they loved
                                                                               With pride in their duty
                                                                               Rifles at the ready, hearts pounding
                                                                               They defended the undefendable

                                                                               The battle took their liberty
                                                                               The pain of defeat, hearts ripped apart
                                                                               Through thoughts of betrayal
                                                                               Dignity endured

                                                                               Each mate an inspiration
                                                                               Thoughts of family bringing hope and desire for return home

                                                                               As in battle, lives were lost by the score
                                                                               Each last breath mourned
                                                                               Memories held firmly with respect
                                                                               For the fallen Heros behind the fence

                                                                               Oh how they were loved by those they left behind
                                                                               And now, we stand side by side, tall and proud
                                                                               With eyes full of vision, determination and hope
                                                                               Their lives were not lost in vain....

                                                                               And we will remember them...
                                                                               Lest we forget

                                                                                                       Gillian Moxom
                                                                               Honouring Bill and his mates of the 2/21st


A Soldier's Prayer


"Stay with me God! The night is dark,

The night is cold. My little spark

Of courage dies. The night is long.

Be with me God and make me strong!


Help me, oh God, when death is near

To mock the haggard face of fear,

That when I fall - if fall I must -

My soul may Triumph in the dust."

Pompey Jackson, aged 22, sent this poem to his cousin Jean, back in Australia, from Ambon before the fighting at Laha began. Its origin is unknown. Pompey Jackson was executed after capture by the Japanese Marine Force, after the abortive defence of the Laha airfield, in February 1942.


They loaded us in cattle trucks in steamy Katherine,

Where mosquitoes tackle by the shore and metho substitutes for wine,

A few miles south of Darwin where there is no railway station,

Our train came slowely to a halt : It was our destination.

To conclude our story our luck is surley 'cursed'

It's not our fault we're not abroard,

It's the fate of the Twenty first.

From the poem The Fate of the 2/21st by an anonymous member of the battalion 1941.

The poem bewails their fate of, not at that time, being sent overseas.



My Grandfather

My grandfather’s name was Freddie Heintz - He was nothing but a boy,
When he had the chance to play VFL - As a forward for Fitzroy.

Now this was the 1930’s - When life was pretty tough,
But Freddie knew the streets of old - And could call any bludger’s bluff.

He got married young and then had kids – 3 girls and a little boy,
And they lived in a house in Kerr Street – And they were happy in Fitzroy.

But then he got the calling - And signed up to an Army troop,
He enlisted - joining Gull Force - And that became his special group.

And before he knew it - he was off to Pukka - Then Boot Camp - so they said,
But nothing at all could prepare them - For what was waiting up ahead.

They eventually got to Darwin - Up in the Northern T,
And were told they were heading for an island - In the middle of the Banda Sea.

So - finally - after 18 months - They reached their destined shore,
To an island known as Ambon - But where this story now gets sore.

Because the Aussies hoped they’d be heroes - While the enemy had other plans,
To cut those larrikins down a notch - And to dig graves with their own bare hands.

Yes - our soldiers - they were ambushed - They were slaughtered thru and thru,
Our Intelligence had failed them – No – they didn’t have a clue.

So my grand-father – well, he stayed there - On that island to this day,
Right in the middle of the Banda Sea - More than 2,000 miles away.

He never did come home to Coral - to Lois, Freddie or May,
And Annie - well – she made ends meet - To survive another day.

But you can’t blame those blasted soldiers - War is war and that’s the truth,
And eventually we had the final say - Hiroshima’s livin’ proof.

Over 70 years have passed now - And many heroes have gone un-sung,
So, I wrote this poem of what my grandfather did - When our nation was oh so young.

And to tell why I march down the Avenue – With his medals adorned on my chest,
While remembering the hardships they ALL went thru – And I pray that in Peace they may Rest.


Written by: Sharon Lee – one peaceful sunny
Saturday afternoon in Australia 2018




Click on the link below to see a magazine article on the story of Bill Doolan, killed in action on Ambon.

Bill Doolan article


Posted home to Mum and Uncle Ted from W.C. (Billy) Arrowsmith


Below are photos of Sapper E. A. Rush's mess tin engraved.






















This sketch is by VX25649 G G Locharini (died 9/7/45) of VX22887 B E R (Ron) Field pinching cigarettes from a boat hold.

Photo courtesy of John Feild (son)



To read the Biography of VX 39736 Brian Alexander Evelyn Haley click on the link below.

B A E Haley Biography


To view some letters home written by a veteran, Frank McCormack please open the PDF copies by clicking on the links below

Letter home

Letter home

Letter home



A web site dedicated to The Hutchins Brothers, 7 went to war to fight for our country, 4 of whom died as Japanese PoW's on Ambon.

Click on the link below to see the site.



Caitlyn Antella, a Gull Force member living in Darwin, completed a Year 12 assignment on the history of Gull Force. If you would like to view it and the related information please click on the links below.

Caitlyn Antella Assignment

Caitlyn Antella Information





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