THEY travelled from far and wide, but former members of the Association of 17th Infantry Battalion that served in Bathurst came back to the city to acknowledge the past on Saturday, August 13.
(min cost $8)
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Coincided with the Bathurst Remembers World War Two exhibition, the 16th Battalion's history goes back to the 19th century, with the current serving unit being the 2nd/17th Battalion of the Royal New South Wales Regiment (RNSWR).
In the latter half of the 20th century, the battalion had a sub unit based at Bathurst.
About 50 people attended the lunch including 10 who had served in the Bathurst sub unit.
Also present were four former commanding officers of the Battalion, all now retired, Lieutenant Colonel Lionel Wood, Major General Brian MacGrath, Brigadier Bruce Trimble and Brigadier David Leece.
Following the lunch, the association moved to the Carillon War Memorial, where a wreath was laid to commemorate those who had served in World War Two in the 2nd/17th Infantry Battalion of the AIF.
During the ceremony, the Ode was recited on the steps of the cenotaph and the Last Post was played by a Bathurst bugler Damian Bellamy.
The 2nd/17th Australian Infantry Battalion was raised on May 1, 1940, and was established at Ingleburn on May 7, 1940.
On August 14, 1940, the battalion, by then comprising 33 officers and 978 men marched out of Ingleburn Army Camp, across the Blue Mountains and arrived at Bathurst Army Camp on August 25.
On August 30, with the other units of the 20th Brigade it marched through Bathurst, where the Governor General, Lord Gowrie, took the salute.
On October 19, the 2nd/17th left Bathurst for Sydney en route to the Middle East, where it served at Tobruk and El Alamein.
Returning to Australia the 2nd/17th trained on the Atherton Tablelands before going to New Guinea, where it was involved in the amphibious assault on Finschhafen, in the Huon Gulf area, in November 1943.
It returned to the Atherton Tablelands before another landing in the Brunei area of Borneo, operation 'Oboe 6' in June 1945.
By 10 December 1945 only a small cadre remained to wind up the unit and the 2nd/17th was disbanded on 8 February 1946.
Several members of the association stayed in Bathurst for a few days to enjoy the local pleasures.
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