55 OPERATIONAL BASE UNIT W/T STATION, GORRIE, NT
DURING WW2

 

On 1 March 1945, the personnel at Birdum Telecommunications Unit moved to Gorrie airfield to establish 55 Operational Base Unit W/T Station

Gorrie was a new modern camp located on the west side of the Stuart Highway about 9 miles north of Larrimah and a mile from the Gorrie airfield. The RAAF's 14 Aircraft Repair Depot was located at Gorrie airfield

Squadron Leader A. Crudington was the Commanding Officer from 28 June 1945 taking over from Flying Officer R.T. Hughes.

The Unit's signals responsibility increased greatly to include aircraft spare parts needs, movement notifications for the 6,000 personnel and 60 a week repaired aircraft movements for 14 ARD.  Their radio traffic increased dramatically over the closing stages of the war. At one stage they cleared 650,000 groups in one month. The Base closed on 24th December 1945.

After the war, the Gorrie Signals Building was sold to the Bovril Company at Katherine. It was ultimately taken over and relocated to be the administration building and owner residence for a then local caravan park.

55obuwt01.jpg (66214 bytes)

RAAF 55 OBU Gorrie Airmen Huts

55obuwt02.jpg (69910 bytes) RAAF Gorrie W/T Station, Airmen huts after rain
55obuwt03.jpg (114537 bytes) RAAF Gorrie 55 OBU Signals Office
55obuwt04.jpg (48854 bytes) RAAF 55 OBU Gorrie, "Darkie" operating a station circuit. 

Does anyone know who "Darkie" was?

55obuwt05.jpg (70522 bytes) 55 OBU W/T Station, high speed Crede Unit

A Crede Head is a mechanical unit which processes pre-punched paper tapes, made on a separate punch machine, representing morse letters (dots and dashes). The paper is loaded to pass metal contacts which either pass through the tape or not, so making morse symbols with the pin electrical contact. The tape speed can be varied by increasing or decreasing the motor drive speed. Transmission speed to 40 words per minute was a high speed rate. The unit was used when a long weather forecast broadcast was made or repeated, so alleviating the operator fatigue and involvement. The Crede unit was made by AWA Australia and used extensively on weather broadcast stations such as Gorrie and WXXU on Biak Island in the Celebes.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Bob Moffat for his assistance with this home page. Bob is an ex-RAAF wireless telegraphist who spent 15 months service at Birdum and Gorrie W/t Units.

 

REFERENCE BOOK

"Units of the Royal Australian Air Force - A Concise History, Volume 1, Introduction, Bases, Supporting Organisations"
compiled by RAAF Historical Section

 

 

 

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 Peter Dunn 2006

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This page first produced 26 April 2003

This page last updated 24 March 2013