GENERAL DOUGLAS MacARTHUR
IN TOWNSVILLE DURING WW2
THE FACTS AND THE MYTHS

 

General MacArthur was based for a while in Townsville during WWII

Not true!

 

General Douglas MacArthur visited Townsville on nine occasions. His visits were generally for a luncheon stopover on his way to or from Port Moresby. See below.

 

DATE Summary MacArthur's Office Diary Entry
2 Oct 42 Left Brisbane and flew to Port Moresby with a short stopover in Townsville

Accompanied by Major General Kenney and Colonels Diller and Morhouse departed from Archer Field for Townsville at 0800. Arrived at Port Moresby, New Guinea at 1900.

6 Nov 42 Left Brisbane and flew to Port Moresby with a short stopover for lunch with General Walker in Townsville Departed from Brisbane 0835; arrived Townsville 1300. Had luncheon at General Walker's quarters. Departed Townsville 1440 arriving at Moresby at 1810.
9 Jan 43  Left Port Moresby and flew to Brisbane with a short stopover for lunch in Townsville

Departed at 0700 for Brisbane. Luncheon in Townsville and arrived in Brisbane at 1600.

25 Jun 43 Left Brisbane and flew to Cairns with a short stopover in Townsville for lunch with General Coleman. Accompanied by Generals Chamberlin and Marquat and Colonels Diller and Morhouse, departed from Archer Field at 0900, arriving at Townsville at 1250. Had lunch with General Coleman. Departed at 1415 and arrived at Cairns at 1525.
24 Sep 43 Left Port Moresby and flew to Brisbane with a short stopover for lunch at the Air Depot in Townsville

Accompanied by Colonel Diller and Lieutenant Colonel Morhouse, departed Port Moresby at 0815. Arrived Townsville 1200. Luncheon at the Fourth Depot Group. Departed Townsville at 1255. Arrived in Brisbane 1620.

1 May 44 Left Port Moresby and flew to Brisbane with a short stopover for lunch at the Air Depot in Townsville

Departed Port Moresby aboard "Bataan" at 0700, accompanied by Colonel Diller, Colonel Lehrbas, Lt Colonel Egeberg and T/Sgt Bothne. Arrived Townsville 1130. Lunched with Colonel Bertrandias, Townsville Air Depot, Departed 1315, arrived Archerfield, Brisbane, 1630.

9 Sep 44 Left Brisbane and flew to Port Moresby with a short stopover for lunch in Townsville

Accompanied by Colonel Lehrbas, Lt Colonel Egeberg and M/Sgt Bothne departed Eagle Farm, Brisbane, 0800. Arrived Townsville 1145. Departed Townsville 1245, arrived Port Moresby 1615.

20 Sep 44 Left Port Moresby and flew to Brisbane with a short stopover for lunch in Townsville

Accompanied by General Fellers, Colonel Lehrbas, Lt Colonel Egeberg and M/Sgt Bothne departed Port Moresby 0800. Arrived Townsville 1130. Departed Townsville 1230. Arrived Brisbane 1600.

14 Oct 44 Left Eagle Farm with a short stopover for lunch in Townsville at the Air Depot. At 0800 accompanied by Colonel Lehrbas, Lt Colonel Egeberg and M/Sgt Bothne, departed Eagle Farm, Brisbane. Arrived Townsville 1130. Lunch at Air Depot. Departed Townsville 1230. Arrived Port Moresby 1600.

 

The book "General Kenney Reports" indicate incorrectly that MacArthur stayed overnight in Townsville on 17 October 1942 and flew to Port Moresby the next morning and returned to Brisbane on 21 October 1942. This visit was also not mentioned in Jack Gallaway's book "The Odd Couple - Blamey and Macarthur at War" which lists "MacArthur's Movements Day by Day". The conclusive proof is that MacArthur's Office Diary shows that he was in Brisbane during that whole period.. 

The Diary of Weldon E. (Dusty) Rhoades, General MacArthur's personal pilot during WW2 has the following two entries about visits to Townsville:-

1 May 1944
This has been a fine day. This morning I was up early to make certain that all was in readiness for General MacArthur's departure. He arrived at the airport on schedule and said something very complimentary to me. Upon entering the airplane, he said. "You know, Dusty, I never worry about the weather or the airplane when you are flying me." We had an excellent trip down, with a stop at Townsville for lunch.

20 September 1944
We departed Port Moresby at 0810 with a stop scheduled for lunch at Townsville. On the way General MacArthur spent a good deal of time in the cockpit and once more wanted to see some of the Great Barrier Reef, so we deviated to the east to fly over a portion of it. We had a very jolly lunch at Townsville and the general was literally bubbling with enthusiasm.....

 


 

General MacArthur lived in a house in Cleveland Terrace in Townsville during WW2

Not true!

General Douglas MacArthur was never based in Townsville during WWII and he never stayed overnight in Townsville. He did stay overnight in Cairns on one occasion.

I have heard a "story" that General MacArthur may have lived in a house opposite 22A Cleveland Terrace, Townsville behind where the old Supreme Court House used to be located. This house is apparently painted pink today. (Can someone send me a photograph of this house and confirm its street address?). Perhaps he may have visited this house. Was it where his local senior officer lived? For example did General Kenneth Walker live there? Was it the "Cream House" referred to below?

 


 

General Douglas MacArthur visited the "Cream House" in Townsville

True!

WAAAF driver, ACW Jan Arthur remembers driving General Douglas MacArthur, along with General Kenney, and General Kenneth Walker to the 'Cream House', the top of a hill in Townsville. The "Cream House" is believed to be the residence of General Walker while he was in Townsville during WW2. This would have been on 6 November 1942 based on General MacArthur's Office Diary entry for that date. (Does anyone know where the "Cream House" was?)

"Duncragen" is a lowset house at 4 Cleveland Terrace, Melton Hill, in Townsville overlooking The Strand. It was commandeered by the US Army during WW2 and was used as a private residence for at least one US General. Was it the "Cream House"?

 


 

General MacArthur's Bunker was located at Garbutt during WWII

Not true!

 

The US Operations and Signals Building or Message Center at Ramsay Street, Garbutt

 

Some of the locals have referred to the large bunker at Ramsay Street, Garbutt as MacArthur's bunker. There's a possibility that General MacArthur may never have visited this large bunker. This bunker was the Operations and Signals Building for No. 2 U.S. Air Command.

 

WWII Bunker Tour of Townsville

 

REFERENCES

"The Odd Couple - Blamey and Macarthur at War"
by Jack Gallaway

"Flying MacArthur to Victory"
By Weldon E. (Dusty) Rhoades

"General Kenney Reports - A Personal History of the Pacific War"
by George C. Kenney

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Walter Price for his assistance with this home page.

 

Can anyone help me with more information?

 

I need your help

Copyright

 Peter Dunn 2015

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This page first produced 25 July 2004

This page last updated 24 September 2016