26th Australian Infantry Battalion (AIF)
On 16 June 1939 the 26th Battalion was formed by unlinking the 15/26th Battalion which was raised near Brisbane. The new battalion, the 26th, enlisted its personnel from the following areas of northern Queensland. Hughenden. Richmond, Julia Creek, Cloncurry Mt Isa, Winton, Longreach, Boulia, McKinlay, Barcaldine, Alpha, Jericho, Blackall, Isisford, Jundah, Muttaburra, Aramac, Stonehenge, Clermont and Emerald.
LtCol Harry Murray VC CMG DSO & Bar DCM CdeG DSM(US) MID 13, a World War 1 veteran of great distinction, was given command with the first camp being established at Kissing Point near Townsville. Early in 1940 the unit moved to a new camp at Miowera, followed by Sellheim, Kuranda, etc. The unit was now reinforced by men from other Australian states. After Col Murray's retirement in August 1942, the new CO was LtCot John Abbott DSO during which time the battalion served as part of Australia's defence forces in northern Queensland and the Torres Strait region. In August 1944 the unit returned to the Mainland and was made ready for its role in the Solomon Islands.
Early in December 1944 the Battalion relieved an American force in Torokina and commenced operations as part of 11 Brigade, which included the 31/51st and 55/53rd Battalions. Col Abbott retired due to ill health with LtCol Sir Bernard Callinan AC CBE DSO MC MID now in command. After a series of successful campaigns in which some 32 awards were made, when hostilities ceased the unit returned to Torokina and was made ready for further service in Rabaul. The battalion had suffered its share of casualties with 45 men either killed in action, died of wounds or died on active service, with some 120 men being wounded,