Historical information

Photograph and medals belonging to Private John Leonard PARKER VX56265 2/23 Battalion AIF Killed in Action on 24/11/1943 in New Guinea during WW2. Buried at Lae cemetery.

The 2/23rd Infantry Battalion was raised at the Albury Showgrounds in New South Wales in August 1940, as part of the 26th Brigade. Initially the brigade belonged to the 7th Division but in early 1941 moved to the 9th Division. The battalion did its initial training in Albury before moving to Bonegilla, Victoria, before sailing for the Middle East in November.
The 2/23rd left Alamein on 2 December and headed back to Gaza in Palestine, where it participated in the 9th Division parade on 22 December. The battalion left Palestine in the third week of January 1943 and reached Sydney at the end of February.
Reorganised for jungle operations, on 4 September the 2/23rd participated in the division's amphibious landing at Red Beach, north west of Lae. Shortly before the landing occurred, the invasion fleet was attacked by six Japanese fighters and three bombers. Most of the Japanese bombs missed the Allied ships but one bomb hit the landing craft carrying the 2/23rd headquarters - killing the battalion commander and the ship's captain. The landing craft, however, made it to shore and the 2/23rd participated in the subsequent fighting around Lae, Finschhafen, and Sattelberg. After Sattelberg, the 2/23rd continued to move inland, capturing Masangkoo, Kuanko, and finally on 9 December, Wareo.

Physical description

Brown timber frame with dark blue background containing photograph of soldier, three round and three star shaped medals and document with coloured crest.

Inscriptions & markings

"This scroll commemortes Private J. L Parker Australian Military Forces held in honour as one who served King and Country in the world war of 1939-1945 and gave his life to save mankind from tryanny. May his sacrifice help to bring the peace and freedom for which he died."