Battle of Jezzine (1941)

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Battle of Jezzine (1941)
Part of the Syria-Lebanon Campaign of World War II
Date13 June 1941
Result Australian victory

 Vichy France

Units involved
2/31st Battalion

The Battle of Jezzine (13 June 1941) was part of the Australian 7th Division's advance on Beirut during the five-week-long Syria-Lebanon campaign by the Allies against Vichy French forces in Syria and Lebanon. Jezzine, Lebanon, is about halfway between the Lebanese border with Palestine and Beirut.[1][2]

This battle was one of several hard-fought actions during the Australian advance on Beirut from Palestine.[3][4] Australian troops from the 25th Brigade (less the 2/33rd Battalion) attacked Jezzine on 13 June 1941, following the capture of Merdjayoun, which the Allies temporarily captured on 11 June 1941, allowing the commander of the Australian 7th Division, Major General John Lavarack to switch the 25th Brigade's focus north towards Jezzine, leaving a small force to hold Merdjayoun, which was later subjected to a heavy counter-attack.[5]

During the fighting for Jezzine, when his company suffered casualties from intense machine gun fire, Private Jim Gordon, 2/31st Battalion, took it upon himself to crawl forward and neutralise the Vichy position with rifle and bayonet. Gordon, originally from Rockingham, Western Australia, was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions near Jezzine.[6] Jezzine Barracks in Townsville, Queensland, is named after this battle.[7]

Further east, on the coast, the Australian 21st Brigade attacked Sidon between 13 and 15 June, as part of the drive on Damour.[8] The day after Sidon fell, the Australians cut the road between Sidon and Jezzine.[9]



  1. ^ "Battle Honours of the Australian Army: World War II – Syria" (PDF). Army History Unit. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 June 2011. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
  2. ^ "Jezzine". Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
  3. ^ Dean, Peter J. (2008). "Man of might: Brigadier Berryman and the battles of Merdjayoun and Jezzine, Syria, 1941". Research Online: Arts Papers and Journal Articles. University of Notre Dame Australia. Retrieved 1 February 2017. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. ^ "2/31st Battalion". Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  5. ^ Coulthard-Clark 1998, p. 191.
  6. ^ "Road to Damascus". Australia's War 1939–1945. Commonwealth of Australia: Department of Veterans' Affairs. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
  7. ^ "Jezzine Barracks Museum Proposal" (PDF). North Australian Military Heritage Association. 30 November 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 4 May 2009.
  8. ^ Dennis et al 1995, p. 578.
  9. ^ Harriott, G.E.W (17 June 1941). "Australians' Hard Fighting in Battle of Sidon". The Courier Mail (Brisbane, Queensland: 1933–1954). National Library of Australia (Trove). Retrieved 4 February 2017.


  • Coulthard-Clark, Chris (1998). Where Australians Fought: The Encyclopaedia of Australia's Battles (1st ed.). St Leonards, New South Wales: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86448-611-2.
  • Dennis, Peter; Grey, Jeffrey; Morris, Ewan; Prior, Robin (1995). The Oxford Companion to Australian Military History. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-553227-9.

Coordinates: 33°19′N 35°21′E / 33.32°N 35.35°E / 33.32; 35.35