"D" AUST HEAVY BATTERY
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WW2

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visits since 30 May 2003

 

Lieutenant T.W. Twibble and 22 personnel of "D" Australian Heavy Battery arrived at Skirmish Battery at Woorim on Bribie Island on 8 September 1942. 

Major J. Greet, Captain R.S. Atcheson, Lieutenant W.B. McCurley, Lieutenant M.J. Steedman, Lieutenant C.L. Webb, Lieutenant S.L. Pearson and 9 other ranks arrived at Skirmish Battery on 12 September 1942. 

3 Officers and 120 men from "A" Company Garrison Battalion arrived at Skirmish battery as security troops for the area. 4 Officers and and 78 men arrived on 18 September 1942 for training.

Two 155mm guns and Plotting Room equipment arrived at Skirmish Battery on 14 September 1942. The guns and equipment were taken from the punt on 16 September 1942 and moved to the training site.

On 2 October 1942, ammunition for the 155mm guns arrived at Bribie Wharf on board S.S. Grazier.

Ross Thomson of "D" Battery remembers that they were there well before the hospital ship "Centaur" was sunk on 14 May 1943. "D" Battery then moved on to the Magazine Battery at Signal Hill in Townsville Harbour. 

All local residents of Woorim had been evacuated out of the small township by the time "D" Battery had arrived at Skirmish Battery. The Officers took over the local hotel (can anyone help me with the name of the hotel) and the Sergeants and other ranks used the Ocean Beach Guest House as their messes. Ross Thomson thought that the sergeant's quarters may have also been located in the Guest House.

Other ranks took over as many houses as was needed to house them. Five or six to each house. The former residents were required to place all of their possessions in one room and lock them up. Naturally, there has not been a lock invented that defied an Australian soldier. When Ross Thomson's group looked in "their" locked room there was the usual assortment of scrappy holiday furniture. However, amongst all of this there was a gramophone and records. They had great time in their off-duty hours, winding up the old gram and playing music. These days continued for some time until, one Sunday afternoon, the Orderly Officer and Orderly Sergeant suddenly appeared approaching through the trees. Someone alarmed the others and we all disappeared into the scrub. You can imagine their silent delight at peeking through the scrub at a vacant house, a gramophone playing merrily and an officer and sergeant standing there, absolutely puzzled and not knowing what to do ! !

Personnel requiring dental treatment were sent to the dentist at Caloundra.

The following photographs were supplied to me by Ross Thomson

rossthomson19.jpg (13800 bytes) The "main road" at Woorim running slightly inland from beach.
rossthomson18.jpg (11201 bytes) The Ocean Beach Guest House at Woorim, Bribie Island.
rossthomson22.jpg (12347 bytes) The Ocean Beach Guest House at Woorim, Bribie Island. Sergeants and men's Mess.
rossthomson25.jpg (30482 bytes) Ross Thomson sitting on the front steps of the house which Ross shared with four others at Woorim on Bribie Island.
rossthomson24.jpg (13166 bytes) The horse that Ross Thomson's group had captured roaming in the sand hills on Bribie Island. It was said to have belonged to the local butcher or baker who could not catch it before he had to leave Woorim.
rossthomson20.jpg (19400 bytes) Ron Piercy and Ross Thomson with Keith Gogler sitting on their commandeered horse!!
rossthomson27.jpg (42567 bytes) The rear of Ross Thomson's quarters. Under the house, and almost out of sight is where 600 155mm shells were stored as a magazine.
rossthomson28.jpg (45514 bytes) A close-up of the above photograph
rossthomson21.jpg (31171 bytes) Coastline near Sanananda
rossthomson23.jpg (22096 bytes) Bill and Arty on a Japanese Barge at Sanananda, New Guinea
rossthomson26.jpg (39311 bytes) Truck on Magnetic Island. The back of the truck was filled with large stones to maintain traction on the track from the Magnetic Battery to Radical Bay

On 3 May 1943, "D" Battery arrived at Wynnum and boarded a train and travelled to Kalinga Staging Camp in Brisbane, where they boarded buses to move the the railway station to board a troop train to Townsville. They arrived at the Townsville railway station at 10pm on 5 May 1943 and moved to the Magazine Battery overlooking Townsville Harbour.

On 19 November 1943, "D" Battery completed preparations to hand over the Magazine Battery to "U" Aust Heavy Battery. At 2pm on 22 November 1943, 5 officers and 111 other ranks boarded a ship for Buna.  They relocated to a temporary new position at Cape Endaiadere on 14 February 1944. On 20 March 1944 all available personnel were transported by air to Port Moresby to relieve "C" Aust Heavy Battery at Bootless Bay.

"D" Battery left Port Moresby bound for Australia on 1 July 1944. They arrived in Brisbane on 5 July 1944 and boarded a train for Sydney. After some well earned leave they reformed at Malabar with their equipment on 29 July 1944. "D" Battery was disbanded in September 1944.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Ross Thomson of "D" Aust Heavy Battery for his assistance with this home page. Ross also sent me some coloured views of Townsville during the early 1940's.

 

REFERENCES

"Fortress Brisbane - A guide to historic fixed defence sites of Brisbane and the Moreton Bay Islands"
by D.W. Spethman and R.G. Miller

"The 'Letter' Batteries - The History of the 'Letter' Batteries"
by Reg Kidd and Ray Neal

 

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 Peter Dunn 2003

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This page first produced 30 May 2003

This page last updated 06 July 2003