COUNTER INTELLIGENCE CORPS (CIC)
G-2 SECTION, HEADQUARTERS US ARMY FORCES IN THE FAR EAST (USAFFE)
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WWI

 

The Counter Intelligence Corps, G-2 Section, Headquarters U.S. Army Forces in the Far East (U.S.A.F.F.E.) had their Brisbane Headquarters in the old T & G Building on the corner of Queen and Albert Streets, Brisbane, Queensland. They also occupied a beautiful old 3 level sandstone mansion called "Palma Rosa" at 9 Queens Road, Hamilton. The upper level of "Palma Rosa" was apparently used as a movie theatre by the Americans.

The men of the CIC wore either civilian clothes or US Army uniforms without rank. If they were challenged they were trained to state that they worked for the War Department.

The role of the CIC was:-

I believe that the CIC unit in Brisbane was the 441st Counter Intelligence Corps Detachment along with one subsection of the 319th Military Intelligence Company. The 441st Counter Intelligence Corps Detachment was reassigned to New Guinea on 20 November 1944.

The Military Telephone Directory for the Brisbane area dated May 1944, lists the Counter Intelligence Corps at "Palmerosa" (not "Palma Rosa"). "Palmerosa" does not show up in the telephone directories of Dec. 1942, Oct. 1943 or Feb. 1945.

The following officers were assigned to "Palmerosa" in 1944: Capt. E.P. Geiss, Lt. T.W. Applegate, Lt. R.W. Hodgson and Lt. E.F. McLaughlin. There would have been several Enlisted Men also on duty in the office.

The book "Short Horn Hobo, Son of the Great Depression" by Duval A. Edwards describes the arrival of twenty six CIC agents in Brisbane on the SS Matsonia. The three Officers amongst them were Ermal P. Geiss, Jack Y. Canon and Earl Klein. Captain Geiss was the Commanding Officer of the unit. They were initially housed at "Palma Rosa Castle" for several days. Some of the new men were placed on port security teams and some older agents like Mike Horwitz and William A. Owens were assigned to CIC Headquarters. Others were assigned to sub-offices operating near army installations and bases.

David Lincoln and Duval Edwards were assigned to civilian duty in Sydney for 6 months. There were quartered in the old Metropole Hotel. Their role was to check on the loyalty, integrity and discretion of Australian civilians who were seeking jobs at US Army location around Sydney. They would spend their spare time on the weekends at Bondi Beach.

A month later a further 130 CIC agents arrived in Brisbane under the direction of officer-agent Dudley Skinner (or Skinker). They were quartered at "Palma Rosa" and a nearby race track, possibly Camp Ascot. Agents were trained and coached at "Palm Rosa" before being attached to combat units in forward areas.

The Counter Intelligence Corps may have had a presence at Southport (Gold Coast) and had listening stations at Springbrook and Tamborine in south east Queensland.

 

REFERENCE BOOKS

Short Horn Hobo, Son of the Great Depression
by Duval A. Edwards

Spy Catchers of the US Army in the War with Japan
Duval A. Edwards

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Gary Troxel for his assistance with this web page.

 

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This page first produced 21 March 2010

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