Honner Force

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Honner Force
DisbandedSeptember 1942
BranchAustralian Army
TypeAd hoc composite force
Sizeapprox 500 men
Part of7th Division
EngagementsWorld War II
Battle honoursNo battle honours awarded
Ralph Honner

Honner Force was the name given to an ad hoc composite Australian Army force of approximately 500 men under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Honner,[1] which served in the New Guinea campaign in 1942 in World War II.

It was formed on 11 September 1942, under 7th Australian Division Operational Instruction Number 10 and drew manpower from the 36th, 55th Battalion and 49th Battalions, which each provided approximately a company, plus a detachment from 2/6th Independent Company.[2] The force was sent out by the New Guinea Force via Laloki–Goldie River to cut the enemy line of communications between Menari and Nauro. Consisting mainly of eighteen- and nineteen-year-old militiamen who were barely trained and ill-equipped, Honner Force found it difficult to traverse the muddy tracks and dense jungle, however, by 19 September they had reached the vicinity of Omaramara.[3] The majority of the men were exhausted from the march, and the aerial re-supply that had been planned for them did not eventuate. As such they were unable to move beyond the limits of which ground supply could reach them. As the strategic situation around Kokoda had stabilised by then, it was decided that the force was in no condition to conduct offensive operations and they were subsequently disbanded shortly after with the men returning to their parent units without having seen action.[4]


  1. ^ Honner also served as the commanding officer of the 39th Battalion.
  2. ^ Trigellis-Smith 1992, p. 68.
  3. ^ Trigellis-Smith 1992, p. 71.
  4. ^ AWM 52: 8/3/88, entry for 11 Sept 1942; Trigellis-Smith 1992, p. 72.


  • AWM52: 8/3/75/2 - 36th Australian Infantry Battalion War Diary, May–September 1942
  • AWM52: 8/3/88/6 - 49th Australian Infantry Battalion War Diary, April–September 1942
  • AWM52: 8/3/91/7 - 55th Australian Infantry Battalion War Diary, September–December 1942
  • Trigellis-Smith, Syd. (1992). The Purple Devils: A History of the 2/6th Australian Commando Squadron. Published by the 2/6th Commando Squadron Association: Melbourne. ISBN 0-646-07125-4