World War 2 (1939 - 1945)

Nearly a million Australians, both men and women, served in the Second World War.

They fought in campaigns against Germany and Italy in Europe, the Mediterranean and North Africa, as well as against Japan in south-east Asia and other parts of the Pacific

The Australian mainland came under direct attack for the first time.

Over 30,000 Australian servicemen were taken prisoner (POW) in WW2 and 39,000 gave their lives. Two-thirds of those taken prisoner were captured by the Japanese during their advance through south-east Asia within the first weeks of 1942.

While those who became prisoners of the Germans had a strong chance of returning home at the end of the war, 36 per cent of prisoners of the Japanese died in captivity.

On the 8th May 1945, the Allied forces accepted the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany, which ended the war in Europe.  WW2 finally ended when Japan surrendered 3 months later, which was formally signed on September 2, 1945.

The Australian War Heroes Song on the video below is timeless and honours the memory of those who have died in the service and defence of Australia in war.