|The Second Australian Imperial Force was an all volunteer formation that was formed to fight overseas. While conscription had been introduced at the start of the war, only those who volunteered could be sent overseas. The 2nd AIF spent the first year of the war understrength and poorly equipped, but the shock provided by the Fall of France saw enough enlistment to form 3 extra divisions.
The 2nd AIF started the desert campaign wearing the woollen Service Dress uniforms, largely the same as those worn during the First World War. These were obviously not suitable for the desert summers, but served well enough during the first winter. Their most distinctive feature was the slouch hats, issued to all ranks but generally not worn in combat.|