SKY SIGN FOUND AND RUMBLING
HEARD FROM DOUBTFUL BAY AND
MUNJA AREAS OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA
REF. MAP DERBY. 8m. - 1"
REPORT - SKYSIGN.
On December 7 at Map ref 224963, Lieut. Thompson's (sic Thomson - see Update below) patrol came upon a skysign. 7, small 8 on side D. Diagram attached hereto.
The sign was made of black stones on white saltpan, fringed by mangroves on one side and a steep hill on the other so that it stood out strongly. The seven was made of double lines of stones, the D of a single line.
All was in excellent condition except the small 8 on side, which may have been a degree mark. One or more King tides had been over the sign and had disturbed the 8 somewhat.
The native guides said that this sign was not native work. They also stated that at this place Kunmunja natives used to contact Japanese and work for them for months at a time.
This sign was found by pure accident. There may be many more.
I do no think an airman would need a direction sign in this area, as the coast is so distinctively seen from above that? any child could locate itself.
/s/G.D. Mitchell, Major
20 Feb, 1943
Skysign has been removed. It was situated beside a deep inlet which runs inland about 12 miles. It is useless looking for this inlet on a map, for maps of that area are remarkably reticent.
This brings up the question of natives. The Munja natives under Reid are well controlled, but Kunmunja natives under weak, useless missionary ??? are doubtful. They have a long history of association with the Japs, especially at the very point where the skysign was found. I would like to see Holmes? kicked out and one of my men at his pedal? act, and Reid in charge of the natives.
The noise which resembles that of distant conveyer belt machinery comes from the direction of Doubtful Bay and is probably a natural phenomenon. But I am not completely satisfied that it is.
It vanished while the troops were in Doubtful Bay area and recurred as soon as they moved out.
In view of the skysign and the noise, I would suggest that a picked party of say six men be sent to Munja by air? to thoroughly explore the area, remaining say two months.
/s/ G.D. Mitchell, Major,
21. Feb. 43
This noise is rather strange, sometimes sounding quite close. The scarped? ranges and gorges may possess some acoustic properties. At Munja it seems always to come from Doubtful Bay area. It is intermittent, usually starts before dawn and may last for hours.
It has no relation to stars? or tide, but comes in all weathers and all tides.
My first thought was that the Japs might be engaged in mining but it often seems too loud for that.
It is a queer country for noise. Terrific explosions have been heard but never explained.
Once the noise sounded so close to Munja that the Staff and natives prepared to take to the scrub and fight.
Until I can ???? every gorge, valley and cove, we can only guess at the origin of the noise. The wet chased us out last time but a small party could remain in spite of the rain.
There is a good 1,000 yard drome at Munja and Ansons could get in.
500 lb. weight of correct food would carry a party of 6 of my men through two months.
But they would require U.S. Jungle Outfits to endure the Wet Season.
UPDATE:- I was contacted by Alan Thomson on 10 March 2008. Alan is the son of Lieutenant David M. Thomson who was a member of the "3rd Tactical Guerilla Warfare Group" also known as the "3rd Australian Corps Guerilla Warfare Group" and his service records states :-
"Guerilla Warfare Wing" under Major George Mitchell.
Both Thomson and Mitchell later went on to serve in the 43rd Landing Craft Company in New Guinea. Lt. Thomson was an Instructor for that unit and was then in the Kimberleys from Nov 42 to Sep 43 before heading to Canungra Jungle Warfare Centre and New Guinea. Service records say nothing of the Skysign mission.
I'd like to thank Daniel Hultgren of the The Australian Bunker Project for his assistance with this home page. I'd also like to thank Alan Thomson for his assistance with this web page.
Can anyone help me with more information?
"Australia @ War" Research Products
© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 22 July 2001
This page last updated 16 January 2017