6 TRANSPORTATION AND MOVEMENTS OFFICE RAAF
BASED AT QUEENS PARK, TOWNSVILLE
DURING WW2

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Queens Park on the right

 

800 Military Police Battalion of Base Section Two, US Army also occupied Queens Park during WW2

 

No. 6 Transportation and Movements Office RAAF (6 TMO) was formed in Townsville on 20 April 1943 under the command of Flight Lieutenant E.V. Wall. After No. 3 Shipping and Stores Unit RAAF was renamed to 13 Stores Unit on 20 February 1943, the movements and shipping elements of 3SSU were reformed into 6 Transport and Movements Office.

On 10 April 1944 Flight Lieutenant G.H. Camens took over as the Commanding Officer. 

On 30 May 1944, 29 Air Stores Park used part of a building near the Malanda Milk building at Garbutt to store equipment. This building was being used by the Receipts and Despatch Section of  6 Transport and Movement's Office at that time. The Malanda Milk building is beside the railway line on Ingham road near the turnoff to the Townsville Domestic Air Terminal. By 27 June 1944, 29 Air Stores Park took over two large sheds at the Garbutt railway siding. 6 Transport and Movement's Office moved into their new buildings on 1 July 1944.

On 20 December 1945 Flight Lieutenant H.J. Lennon took over as CO of 6 TMO.

On 21 March 1945, 3 Replenishing Unit, RAAF took over 6 TMO's Bomb Transhipment Depot site at Cluden just outside Townsville  The depot was then converted to operate as a detachment of 3 Replenishing Unit.

 

Parade Ground for 6 Transportation and Movements Office RAAF in Queens Park, Townsville in 1943.
The old Townsville General Hospital Building can be seen in the right rear of the photograph.

 


Photo:- Cpl. Mills via Dan Mills

Members of 6 Transportation and Movements Office, RAAF on Thursday Island in early 1944.
Cpl Patterson Mills is in the back row at the far right. Bert Skeers is fourth from the left in the
same row and Roland Henry Villotet is fifth from the left in the back row. 
Middle of the front
row is Flight Lt Aubrey Vernon Membrey (who died after an accident at Higgins Airfield).

 

Cpl Patterson Charles Mills (75066) was a member of 6 Transportation and Movements Office RAAF during WWII. At times he worked in with the USAAF. He was based in Townsville, Thursday Island, and in Dutch New Guinea. Cpl Mills was stationed at Garbutt before going to the Islands. He vividly recalls several air crashes, one in particular when a loaded US aircraft crashed on take off creating a huge explosion. This was probably the crash of a B-26 Marauder near Jimmy's Lookout beside Garbutt Airfield on 21 April 1942 which killed the eight crew onboard.

Cpl Mills was a crane operator on the dock at Thursday Island and also carried out various other tasks. Large boats would come to Thursday Island with stores which were unloaded and ferried over to Horn Island which had a large airfield but no large port. Cpl. Mills would often visit Horn Island. Bert Skeer used to drive the rescue boat for 6TMO. Bert presently lives in Wagga Wagga. 

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Photo:- Cpl. Mills via Dan Mills

Cpl. Patterson Charles Mills on Thursday Island

 

Whilst in Townsville, probably late 1942, Cpl Mills and a few RAAF and USAAF members were awoken early one morning and assembled on a deserted beach to the north of the city. They were given the mission of crewing a barge and delivering 44 gallon drums of unknown material to a small island. These drums weighed very little, appearing empty. To see them off there were some high ranking officers of both forces. The cargo was delivered to the island after about a 12 hour journey, and shortly after the return journey commenced, they ran out of fuel. Cpl Mills wondered whether this had been deliberate. They drifted for a number of days in the Coral Sea without a search for them being mounted. They were eventually picked up by the corvette HMAS Bowen.  Upon their return, there was no one to meet them and they were split up. To this day Cpl Mills does not know what the mission was about, what the cargo was, or why the silence upon their return. He has often wondered if the drums contained gas. He also intrigued by the obvious importance of the mission's departure compared to the lack of concern for their non return after delivering their mysterious cargo.

There is a file in National Archives Australia for 6 Transport and Movements Office RAAF regarding disposal of surplus assets at Victoria Park, Townsville. This is probably to do with the former US Army Camp known as Camp Victoria Park.

 

Does anyone know what this mission was about?

 

Could it have been a trip to Brook Island where a series of Mustard Gas trials were held during WW2?

 

Were you a crew member of HMAS Bowen?

 

MEMBERS OF 6TMO BURIED IN THE TOWNSVILLE WAR CEMETERY, BELGIAN GARDENS

Name Rank Service No. Died Extra Notes
Byrne, John Garnet AC1 122722 20 Sep 1943 Became ill and died in Townsville.
Doyle, John Francis LAC 118952 4 Mar 1944 Killed in a ground accident at Ingham.
McManus, John Maurice LAC 145650 20 Oct 1944 Died in Townsville after a ground accident.
Crowley, Patrick Joseph F/Sgt 3817 23 Apr 1945 Died in Townsville after a ground accident.
Rouse, Charles Robert LAC 143716 7 Jul 1945 Died in Townsville after a ground accident.
Parsons, Eric Norman LAC 123468 29 Oct 1945 Became ill and died in Townsville.

 

Cpl Patterson Charles Mills indicated that F/Lt Aubrey Vernon Membrey (70539 ) was his Commanding Officer at 6TMO. F/Lt. Membrey was killed on Thursday Island after a ground accident. He was attached to 28 OBU Horn Island at the time of his death.  Cpl Mills attended F/Lt. Membrey's funeral on Thursday Island. Other records indicate that F/Lt. Membrey was buried at the Townsville War Cemetery, Belgian Gardens, Townsville on 3 October 1944.  Cpl. Mills said that Membrey was apparently killed when a tree fell on him. He was unsure whether another incident had caused the tree to fall. 

 

MEMBERS OF 6TMO BURIED IN THE ROCKHAMPTON WAR CEMETERY

LAC Raymond Kingsley Oster 115325 6 Transport and Movement Office, Townsville (RAAF). 19 yrs old carpenter of 89 Magill Rd., Stepney, South Australia. Plot A, Row B, Grave 10 Rockhampton War Cemetery. Killed in crash of a C-47 at Canal Creek in central QLD on 19 December 1943

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Dan Mills for his assistance with this home page.

 

REFERENCE BOOK

"Units of the Royal Australian Air Force - A Concise History - Volume 6 Logistics Units"
Compiled by RAAF Historical Section

 

Can anyone help me with more information?

 

I need your help

Copyright

 Peter Dunn 2015

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This page first produced 6 May 2003

This page last updated 14 June 2015