|Diggers of the 2/2 departing Sydney, Corporal George Caling 4th from right looking at the camera. January 1940. AWM|
Today's digger from 8 April 1941 is Corporal George John Caling (NX1803)
One of the diggers moving up to the Veria Pass with the Australian 16th Brigade on this day in 1941 was the 2/2nd Battalion's George Caling.
Language was a barrier to the Australian troops as they moved through Greece to take up their positions - signs had to be read and communication held with Greek units and civilians.
But George's Battalion had an advantage - George was a Greek speaker.
Born in Armidale, NSW, George's service record reveals that he had been a 22 year old shop assistant when he joined up at Tamworth in October 1939.
|Photo of George from his service record. NAA|
He was enlisted into the 2/2nd Battalion which was raised at Victoria Barracks, Sydney on 24 October 1939 as part of the 16th Brigade of the 6th Australian Division. It relocated to the newly-opened Ingleburn Camp on 2 November and, after conducting basic training there, sailed for overseas service on 10 January 1940. After disembarking in Egypt on 13 February 1940, the 2/2nd trained with the rest of the 16th Brigade in Palestine until the end of August. It then moved to Egypt to carry out its final preparations for operations with the 6th Division.
George and the 2/2nd Battalion's first campaign of the Second World War was the advance from Egypt into eastern Libya in January and February 1941. It was involved in the attacks to capture Bardia (3-5 January) and Tobruk (21-22 January), and remained as part of the Tobruk garrison when the advance continued.
George and the 2/2nd left Tobruk on 7 March, ultimately bound for Greece.
George would serve in New Guinea and surivie the war, ending with the rank of Warrant Officer 2nd Class.
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee
& Member, Battle of Crete and the Greek Campaign Commemorative Council