LENNON'S HOTEL
CODENAMED "BATAAN"
GEORGE STREET, BRISBANE, QLD
USED BY THE MILITARY
DURING WW2

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Lennon's Hotel had it first association with the Military very early in the war against Japan. The eight ships of the American Pensacola Convoy arrived in Brisbane on 22 December 1941. Brigadier General Barnes, on board the transport ship "Republic", was welcomed to Brisbane by Colonel Merle-Smith from the American Consulate in Melbourne.  By 5 pm General Barnes and his officers had established their temporary Headquarters for the United States Forces in Australia (USFIA) and their accommodation in the original Lennon's Hotel in George Street.

On 12 December 1941, American troops in the Pensacola Convoy originally scheduled for the Philippines were constituted as Task Force South Pacific, and placed under the command of General Barnes, who was the senior officer in the Pensacola Convoy. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the convoy was ordered to proceed to Brisbane, Queensland, Australia and General Barnes was instructed to assume command of all American troops in Australia and place his forces under General Douglas MacArthur who was at that time Commanding General, United States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE). General Barnes' prime role was to aid with the defense of the Philippines. When the Pensacola convoy docked at Brisbane, Australia, on 22 December 1941, the Task Force South Pacific became the U.S. Forces in Australia (USFA or USFIA) with General Barnes in command.

General Brett was scheduled to become the Commanding General but until his arrival, Brig. Gen. H.B. Claggett, an Air Corps officer on General MacArthur's staff, was sent from the Philippines to Australia to take temporary command in Australia. General Claggett arrived in Brisbane by air on 22 December 1941 and took over the command of USFIA from General Barnes on 24 December 1941 with General Barnes as his Chief of Staff.

The Headquarters for the U.S. Army Forces in Australia (USFIA), relocated from Lennon's Hotel to the MacRobertson Girls High School at 350-370 Kings Way, Melbourne, Victoria on 3 January 1942.

By Special Orders No. 4 dated 4 January 1942, Headquarters United States Forces in Australia, the following officers were relieved from duty with Headquarters United States Forces in Australia and assigned to duties with Headquarters, United States Troops in Brisbane Area:-

Colonel Alexander L.P. Johnson, 0-3163, INF
Lt. Col. Geoffrey Galway, 0-5753, CAV.
Major George H. Diltz, 0-16332, QMC.
Major Jesse T. Harper, 0-297596, MC.
Captain James M. Jones, 0-277141, AC.
Captain John E. Kinney, 0-12950, CC.
Captain William D. Lakeman, 0-294867, INF.
Captain Chester E. Lange, 0-296537, FA.
Captain Emil J. Smith, 0-214077, QMC.
Captain John W. Schermerhorn, 0-193213, INF.
Captain Howard L. Steffy, 0-311381, QMD.
1st Lt. James B. Berry, 0-361784, INF.
1st Lt. Myron J. Birnbaum, 0-346233, FA.
1st Lt. Alfred J. Emard, 0-298738, INF.
1st Lt. Jesse B. Halprin, 0-336044, INF.
1st. Lt. James E. Hicks, 0-317099, INF.
2nd Lt. Mark T. Muller, 0-375668, SC.

General Brett arrived in Australia on 31 December 1941. He took over as Commanding General, USAFIA on 5 January 1942 assumed command of all American troops in Australia and reporting to General Douglas MacArthur, the Commanding General, United States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE).

 


Via Michael Elton

The WWII Lennon's Hotel, is the section at the far right
The newer section at the left was built after WWII

 

Pilots of the 27th Bomb Group and the 24th Pursuit Group landed on the Hamilton Reach of the Brisbane River in a RAAF short Empire flying boat near the ships of the Pensacola Convoy.  They had departed Darwin on 23 December 1941 and travelled to Brisbane via Groote Eylant, Townsville, Rockhampton, arriving at the Hamilton Reach of the Brisbane River on 24 December 1941. Colonel James "Big Jim" Hubert Davies and the pilots of the 27th Bomb Group were also quartered at Lennon's Hotel in the city.  During their stay in Brisbane they ran a dive bombing school for the incoming pilots. They also recruited some mechanics from the 7th Bomb Group as gunners and line crews for the 27th Bomb Group.

The entire top floor of the original Lennon's Hotel in George Street Brisbane was eventually requisitioned for use by the American military forces during WWII. This was probably done by Hirings Section, No. 1 L of C, Australian Army Hirings Service .

 

Sketch of Lennon's Hotel. There's that Palm tree again!!
the shorter building at far right was the Hotel Daniell

 

GHQ, SWPA, moved from Melbourne to Brisbane on 21 July 1942 and set up their offices in the old 9 storey AMP Building in Queen Street, Brisbane. The building is now known as MacArthur Chambers.

General Douglas MacArthur, Mrs Jean MacArthur and their son Arthur were accommodated in three of the flats on the 4th floor at Lennon's Hotel. Each flat had a bedroom, living room, kitchen, office and library. Many of MacArthur's most senior officers from his General Headquarters South West Pacific Area (GHQ, SWPA) also lived in Lennon's Hotel in George Street. See the Table below. It was originally thought that a red and white striped canvassed awning was erected over the entrance to the hotel in honour of MacArthur's presence in the hotel. It is now believed that this was actually erected on the side of the AMP building in Edward Street. The bolt holes from this awning were still visible a number of years ago. It is believed they were covered up as part of external renovations for the Apple Store being opened on the ground floor.

Michael Elton told me that the suites the MacArthurs occupied were in Room Nos. 41, 43 and 44 on the 4th floor. Michael was told that Room No. 41 was the suite set up for his son to play with his toys in, the other was their bed room and sitting room. The remaining room on that floor, Room 42 was used by Major Day briefly, then Lt. Col. Morhouse, MacArthur's doctor. It was also used by others from time to time. General Sutherlands room was located on the 3rd floor. General Kenney occupied Room No 13 on the lowest residential floor of the hotel. Eichelberger used one of the visiting VIP rooms, Room No 104.

 

Room Allocation for Lennon's Hotel 28 September 1942 - Billetting Office

101 Byrne Mrs. 201 Kelly Captain
102 Watt J. 202 Neal Lt. Commander
103   203 Lovett Commander
104 Eichelberger General 204 Weller Lt. Commander
105 Edwards Captain / Beyer Col. 205 Roeder Lt. Commander
106 Rice Colonel 206 Stuart Lt. Commander
107 Chase Captain 207 Grant Lt. Commander
108   208 Burnside Lt. Commander
109 Miller Major 209 Martin Lt. Commander
110 Hook 1st Lieut. 210 Hudson Commander

FLATS

211 Wilson Colonel
212 De Graff Colonel
11 Stivers General 213 Taylor Major
12 Ray Captain 214 Robinson Lt. Colonel
13 Kenney General 215  
14 Marquat General and Scott Lieut. 216 Sawallesh Captain
    217 Sandberg Lt. Colonel
    218 Silverman Lt. Colonel
21 Casey General 219 Wilson General
22 Whitlock General 220 Bullock Colonel
23 Carpenter Rear Admiral 221 Lehrbas Colonel
24 Jones Rear Admiral & Carson Capt. 222 Bryant Captain
    223 Wilkinson Colonel
    224 Laughlin Lieut.
31 Chamberlin General 225 Dice Major
32 Willoughby General 226 McBride Colonel
33 Akin General 227 Quinn Mr.
34 Sutherland General 228 Cheney Colonel
    229 Brown Lt.
    230 Nicol Lt. Colonel
41 General MacArthur's Son 231 Goodman Jim
42 Moorehouse Lt. Colonel 232  
43 MacArthur General Mrs 233  
44 MacArthur Mrs. General 234 Follett WO
    235 Pepper JE WO
    236 Estrea W.O.

 

301 Strats Lieut. or Strate? 401 Egan Lieut.
302 Worthington Lieut. 402 Hurley and Sears Lt. Mr.
303 Watt Lt. H. 403 Mente Major
304   404 Larr Colonel
305 Merl Smith Colonel 405 Fitch Colonel
306 Wilson Colonel 406 Diller Colonel
307 Heiberg Lt. Colonel 407 Huff Colonel
308 Godman Major 408 Albert Major
309 W. Evans Lt. 409 Carpenter Lt.
310 Corlett L. 410 Hughes Lt.
311 Farn??a Major 411 McCampbell Lt.
312 Croxton Captain 412 Baulch ?Lt.
313 Lovett Captain 413 Allen Major
314 Craig Lt. Colonel 414 Sverdrup M Col.
315 North Captain 415  
316   416  
317   417 Tormay Colonel
318 Johnson Captain 418 Sherr Colonel
319   419 Klinke Major
320   420 Day Major
321 Ritchie Lt. Colonel 421 Baldein Colonel
322 McMicking Colonel 422 Quanrud Major
323 Steel Captain 423 Wood Captain
324 Magrauder Lieut. 424 Young Colonel
325 White Captain 425 Gatty Group Captain
326   426 Fain Captain
327 Myers Major 427 Wilkinson Colonel
328 Campbell Captain 428 Rogers Colonel
329 Neblett Colonel 429 Bowen Lt. Colonel
330 Ind Major 430 Smith Major
331 Conway Lt. Colonel 413 NcLean Colonel (McLean?)
332 Allen Lt. Colonel 432 Connell General
333   433 Auchinclass Colonel
334 Havendeen Major 434 Martin Colonel
335 McCreight Colonel 435 Thompson Colonel
336 Taylor Major 436  

Note:- The original of the above table had a number of spelling mistakes. I have endeavoured to correct as many as I could. eg "MacArthur" was spelt McArthur".

 


via Michael Elton

Lennon's Hotel

 

General MacArthur would travel to his Headquarters building in the AMP building in Queen Street in his staff car USA-1 driven by his regular driver, Sgt. John J. Ulrich ("Blackie").

 

General Douglas MacArthur's staff car outside the Edward St. entrance to GHQ,
SWPA in the AMP building in 1942. This was the normal entrance to GHQ

 

Technical Sgt. Clarence E.  "Red" Hensley
and Sgt. John J. "Blackie" Ulrick

 

The four stars on MacArthur's car indicates the grade of General.
Later on, he was promoted to a five star General of the Army

 

Lennon's Hotel would have been the scene for many lavish functions where General MacArthur would entertain visiting Generals, Admirals and politicians. Lennon's Hotel was given the code name of "Bataan" by General MacArthur. Many Hollywood celebrities would also stay or entertain at Lennon's Hotel. Gary Cooper was there at least once in 1943. Ray Bolger, the Scarecrow from the "Wizard of Oz" was another visitor. Other famous visitors include Jerry Colonna and Joe E. Brown.

First Lieutenant Richard Severin Fuld was responsible for the 24 hour security watch arrangements for General MacArthur and his family. Mrs Margaret Byrne, the manager of Lennon's Hotel fell in love with Richard Fuld, who was very much her junior. 1st Lieutenant Fuld's son was Richard Severin Fuld, Jr., who was Chairman and CEO of Lehman Brothers for about 14 years. He was known as the "Gorilla of Wall Street"!!

 

"Bataan" Exchange
(Telephone Switchboard in Lennon's Hotel)

 

Has anyone got a photograph of
the original Lennon's Hotel in George Street?

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Michael Elton for his assistance with this home page. Michael worked for Lennon's Hotel, both in the old building and the new one, for twenty five years starting in 1959. Michael worked with a chap who was there during the time the General was there. He had a cigar given to him by MacArthur.

I'd also like to thank Karen Nunan and Robert F. Sawallesh for their assistance with this web page.

 

REFERENCE BOOKS

They Passed This Way"
by Barry Ralph

US Army in World War II - Appendix B - US Army Commanders in Major Theater Commands, December 1941 - September 1945

 

Can anyone help me with more information?

 

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 Peter Dunn 2015

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This page first produced 1 December 2002

This page last updated 09 February 2017