630TH ORDNANCE COMPANY
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WW2

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The 630th Ordnance Company were based at Kangaroo Ordnance Depot north of Townsville during WWII. They left the Kangaroo Ordnance Depot on 10 August 1943 1943 when the 577th Ordnance Ammunition Company arrived by train to take over from them.

The 630th Ord, Co. (AM) had originally embarked from the San Francisco Docks at 10:15am, 19 May 1942, aboard the USS West Point; and after a voyage of 16 days duration covering a distance of about 7000 miles arrived at Melbourne at Australia on 4 June 1942.

The company disembarked at Melbourne and on 8 June 1942 departed by train for Sydney arriving there on 9 June 1942. Camp was pitched in Greystane Staging Area. Two detachments left the company at Greystane; 1st Lt. Rasper and 30 men and 2nd Lt. Hock and 20 men. Lt. Rasper and 1st detachment proceeded to Townsville, thence to Portland Roads. The 2nd Detachment went to Horne Island.

The company minus the two detachments left Camp Greystane and moved to St. Marys, about 27 miles west of Sydney where an ammunition dump had been set up. St. Marys dump was operated by this organization until 23 October 1942, when they were relieved by 59th Ordnance Company. On 23 October 1942, the 630th Ord. Co. left St. Marys enroute by rail to Townsville, AP0 922 and arrived at Camp Kangaroo, about 30 miles north of Townsville, on 28 October 1942. Distance travelled about 1200 miles. The 55th Ord. Co., who had set up and was operating the dump, was relieved.

The company, minus detachment, arrived at Camp Kangaroo just prior to the beginning of the rainy season and operated under great difficulty. The ammunition dump stretched a along the west side of the Townsville - Cairns road for 7 miles and had an average depth of 1.5 miles. The soil was fine clay that would not pack and during the wet season the water table was often less than 1 feet below the surface. The organization had no road building equipment of any kind so the roads into the dump were were muddy trails. Often ammunition had to be stacked on the rail heads because area roads were impassible.

The first and second detachments had returned from Portland Roads and Horne Island to Townsville. The first arrived on 2 October 1942, the second on 1 September 1942. All 50 men in the detachments with Lt. Rasper in command then departed from Townsville on 6 October 1942 for Torrens Creek, 200 miles west of Townsville. This was the third detachment and it relieved a detachment of  the 55th Ord. Co. who had set up and was operating an ammunition dump at Torrens Creek.

On 16 October 1942 a dump fire occurred  in the Torrens Creek Dump. 120 tons of ammunition were destroyed before the fire was brought under control by the heroic work of Lt. Rasper and the men of his detachment, with the help of a few civilians.

On 8 November 1942 the fourth detachment left the company. Lt. Jaeger, Lt. Goodrich and 50 men departed from Torrens Creek and arrived the same date. Third detachment was relieved and returned to Camp Kangaroo. Rejoined the company on 17 November 1942.

2nd Lt. Ralph Heck was relieved assignment with the company on 8 November 1942.

2nd. Lts. Garland and Larsen assigned and joined the company on 8 December 1942. They had come overseas by air from San Francisco as casual officers.

On 9 December 1942, 2nd Lt. Charles B. Goodrich was relieved assignment with the company and assigned Chief Ordnance Officer, USASOS.

On 16 December 1942, 2nd Lt. Larsen departed from Camp Kangaroo and joined Lt. Jaeger and detachment at Torrens Creek.

1st Lt. Pitts relieved assignment with the company on 31 December 1942 and assigned to Office Chief Ordnance Officer, USASOS.

On 7 January 1943, 1st Lt. Rasper relieved assignment with the company and assigned Ordnance Office Base Section No. 2, APO 922.

2nd. Lt. E. R. Summerlee assigned and joined the company on 6 February 1943.

1st Lt. Chernoff assigned to the company on 16 March 1943.

On 29 March 1943, 1st Lt. R. C. Jaeger relieved assignment with the company and was assigned to detachment of the 59th Ordnance Company Company (59th Ord. Co.), APO 927. Lt. Larson relieved assignment with the company and assigned to the 808th? Ordnance Depot Company. Lt. W. D. Garland departed from Camp Kangaroo and assumed command of the 4th detachment at Torrens Creek on the 29 March 1943.

2nd Lt. Maddox assigned to the company on 26 March 1943, joined the organisation on 6 April 1943.

On 7 April 1943, Lt. Chernoff placed on TD with the 59th Ordnance Company, APO 927. 1st Lt. Mills was assigned to the company on 28 March 1943 and joined the company on 11 April 1943.

On 3 June 1943, 1st Lt. Mills departed Camp Kangaroo and assumed command of the 4th detachment at Torrens Creek relieving Lt. Garland.

Lt. Garland departed Camp Kangaroo on 3 June 1943, to attend Bomb Disposal School at Wagga, near Sydney, NSW. He rejoined the company on 7 July 1943.

Lt. E. R. Summerlee departed Camp Kangaroo on 14 June 1943, and assumed command of the 4th detachment relieving Lt. Mills at Torrens Creek.

Lt. Mills relieved assignment and assigned Prev. Ord. Co., 112 Cav. Regt., on 14 June 1943.

1st Lt. Jaeger reassigned and joined the company from the 59th Ordnance Company on 27 June 1943.

On 1 July 1943, Capt. Hatcher relieved command and assignment with the company and assigned to Sub. Sect. 1, Base Section 2, APO 704. 1st Lt. Robert C. Jaeger assumed command.

On 14 July 1943, 2nd Lt. Maddox relieved assignment and assigned 577th Ordnance Company. 1st Lt. Arthur A Moser assigned and joined company from the 577th Ordnance Company.

On 16 July 1943, Lt. Chernoff relieved assignment with company and was assigned to the 59th Ordnance Company detachment, APO 927.

4th detachment of Lt. Summerlee and 50 enlisted men rejoined the company at Camp Kangaroo on 20 July 1943. 2nd Lt. Ferrill assigned and joined the company on 20 July 1943. Torrens Creek Dump was taken over by the 577th Ordnance Company detachment.

The 630th Ordnance Company having been relieved by the 577th Ordnance Company, departed on 10 August 1943 from Camp Kangaroo, APO 922, and boarded the USS Cape Flattery enroute to Port Moresby, New Guinea, APO 929.

After an uneventful three day trip aboard USS Cape Flattery the company arrived at Port Moresby on 13 August 1943 and disembarked. They had travelled a distance of about 750 miles. The organization was staged at the Moresby Staging Area.

On 21 August 1943, the camp was setup at Mosquito Gulch Camp, Port Moresby.

After assisting the 55th Ordnance Company, in operating three ammunition dumps, Wallaby, Barona and Central, for about two weeks after their arrival in Port Moresby, the 630th Ordnance Company took over the operation of Barona Dump and Central Dump. Both dumps were small with not more than 6,000 tons in both areas. The roads in Barona Dump were fair, but the depot had a large amount of small arms and artillery ammunition, all of which had to be sorted by lot numbers and stacked on dunnage. Central Dump had been the collection area for grade three ammunition and salvage ammunition components for over a year. All this was cleaned up and all serviceable ammunition was removed from the dump.

On about 15 September 1943 a mutiny occurred in the company when 45 men refused to go to work. The main grievances were the food and living conditions. Living conditions at Mosquito Gulch at that time were better than the majority of camps in the area, much better than conditions at Camp Kangaroo. The food was equal to that other organisations were serving. 45 Summary Court-Martials were held on 3 October 1943. 44 men were found guilty.

2nd Lt. John E. Parks was assigned to the company on 18 October 1943 and joined the company on 22 October 1943.

A detachment (number five) of 50 men with Lt. Summerlee and Lt. Garland departed from Port Moresby by air for Lae, New Guinea on 16 November 1943, and arrived the same day. The detachment set up camp near the 59th Ordnance Company area and was attached to that organization for rations. The detachment assisted the 59th Ordnance Company in handling incoming and outgoing shipments and constructed magazines of jungle timber to store ammunition on.

On 21 November 1943, S/Sgt Robert Baugh and Cpl. James Fletcher, members of the fifth detachment were killed when the pin of a buried Australian hand grenade was accidentally pulled as Cpl. Fletcher was raking around his tent. Both men were buried the same day in Lae Cemetery with Chaplain Parker officiating.

On 16 January 1944, Capt. Jaeger departed from Port Moresby by air and arrived the same day at Lae and assumed command of the fifth detachment relieving Lt. Summerlee.

The company, minus the detachment, embarked from Port Moresby aboard the Yechow, a Dutch ship with a Javanese crew on 19 January 1944, arrived Milne Bay enroute to Lae on 20 January 1944 and left Milne Bay on 28 January 1944, arriving at Lae on 30 January 1944. Distance travelled about 400 miles. Fifth detachment joined company and set up Camp Fubar.

News of troop rotation plan reached the company around 1 January 1944 and morale of troops rose noticeably. Quotas were allotted for months of May, June and July.

On 14 February 1944, a detachment of the 642nd Ordnance Company was attached to this company for rations. They kept busy setting up their camp at the Ordnance Service Center, Base "E", APO 713. On 26 February 1944, the 642nd Ordnance Company moved to their new camp site and no longer messed with this unit.

 

A Summary of the Past History of 630th Ord. Co. (AM)

 

REFERENCE BOOKS

"Wacol & Darra - The War Years"
by the Military Museums of the Pacific

A Summary of the Past History of 630th Ord. Co. (AM)

 

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This page first produced 28 December 2003

This page last updated 04 January 2015