Vernon Hansen's story
Vernon Hansen was a trooper in the 14th Light Horse (Militia) in Queensland when war broke out. He transferred to the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) on 6 November 1939 and joined the 2/9th Infantry Battalion.
On the way to the Middle East, Vernon’s unit was diverted to the United Kingdom (UK) to bolster its defences after the fall of France. He disembarked in Scotland and transferred to Lopcombe Corner near Salisbury and later Colchester in England. He left the UK on 17 November and disembarked with the 2/9th Battalion in Egypt on 31 December 1940.
Vernon’s battalion participated in the defence of Tobruk until it was withdrawn at the end of August 1941. During this time, he was assigned to manning a captured piece of Italian artillery as part of the second defensive line.
After Tobruk, the 2/9th trained in Palestine before joining the forces garrisoning Syria in late September 1941.
After returning to Palestine in early January 1942, Vernon sailed to Australia with the 2/9th Battalion.
Next Vernon was sent to Papua. The 2/9th Battalion fought in the desperate defence of Milne Bay between 2 and 9 September 1942. Vernon remembered the incessant rain there.
Vernon was wounded in the right knee and left forearm on 19 January 1943 during the Battle of the Beachheads, while fighting at Sanananda in New Guinea.
After his recovery, Vernon returned to the battalion and fought at Shaggy Ridge in New Guinea. He was serving with the mortar section during the attack on Shaggy Ridge. Vernon also participated in the landing at Balikpapan and was stationed there when the war ended.
He discharged from the army on 2 October, having attained the rank of sergeant.