Newcastle Morning Herald transcriptions and Hunter Valley enlistment and deaths for May 17 to May 23, 1945
SAFE IN ENGLAND
Mr. and Mrs. F. H. Keevers, of Adamstown, have received a cable from their son W./O. Douglas Keevers, stating that he has arrived in England. He was a prisoner in Germany since May 24, 1943.
Mr. and Mrs. Halley, of Weston, have received a cable from their son, Pte John Halley, that he is well and in England. Taken prisoner on Crete, he spent four years in German prison camps.
Mr. and Mrs. R. Humphreys, of Dawson Street, Waratah, have received cable advice of the safe arrival in England of their son, Gunner R. Humphreys, from a prisoner of war camp in Germany. Gunner Humphreys served throughout the Middle East campaign with the 3rd Anti-Tank Regiment, and was wounded and taken prisoner at EI Alamein. He was held in prisoner of war camps in Italy and Germany, after recovering in an Italian hospital.
Rev. and Mrs. C. Nicholls, of the Wakehurst Mission for Seamen, Hannell Street. Wickham, have received a cable from their son, Flight-Lieut. J. H. Nicholls. D.F.C., advising that he has been repatriated to England after 13 months in a prison camp in Germany. Flight-Lieut. Nicholls was a Pathfinder pilot in a Lancaster Squadron.
Mr. and Mrs. J. O. Randall, of Queen's Road, New Lambton, have been advised that their son Warrant Officer D. E. Randall, has been released from a prison camp in Germany and is now safe in England. W./O. Randall piloted an English bomber in the first big raid on Cologne in May, 1941, when he was shot down and taken prisoner. He did his initial training in Australia, got his wings in Canada in 1941 and went to England, where he was attached to an English squadron.
After being a prisoner of war in Germany for two years, Warrant Officer W. F. Redding has been repatriated to England. The eldest son of Mrs. Redding, of Tighe's Hill, and the late Mr. G. Redding, he was employed by the Education Department as a teacher before enlisting. He played rugby league with Northern Suburbs Club.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith, of Turnbull Street, Merewether, have received word from their son, Flight Sergeant John Smith, that he is safe in England. He was a prisoner of war in Germany.
Mr. and Mrs. W. C. Stone, of Upfold Street, Mayfield have been advised by their son, Pte. Alf Stone, that he is well and safe. He was a prisoner of war in Germany from 1941, when he was captured at Crete. Attached to the 2/2nd Battalion, 6th Division, A.I.F., he was one of the first northern men wounded in the Middle East and was on leave in Egypt convalescing, when recalled to rejoin the regiment for the Crete campaign.
Mr. and Mrs. J. Wade, of Bourke Street, Carrington, have received word from their son, Gunner William Arthur Wade, that he has been repatriated to England. He enlisted in October, 1939, and was taken prisoner in Crete. Before the war he was employed at Ryland Bros. He was at one time secretary of Carrington A.L.P. branch.
AIRMEN DIED FOR VICTORY
This is the time to remember the several thousand Australian airmen killed in helping to achieve victory. Several hundred R.A.A.F. men lie in churchyards throughout Britain, near where they met their deaths.
These are the men who died before June 1943, since when those killed in Britain have been buried in regional air force cemeteries near the cathedral towns of Lincoln, Bath and Chester, also Harrogate, and the university cities of Oxford and Cambridge, which are not far from some of the Bomber Command's bases. More than 500 Australians lie in these regional cemeteries - more than 200 in Cambridge alone.
These cemeteries have been designed by one of Britain's leading architects. They are very simple - the rows of headstones in level, trim English turf, bordered by flowers and silver birch trees.
They are more than Royal Air Force cemeteries. They are the burial grounds of the air dead of the free nations. The men who fought together now rest together. These Australians and their comrades are the airmen who died in Britain, who riddled bombers and fighters, regained these shores, who crashed in fogs and storms, or who died in flying accidents.
Sometimes there are rows of six or seven crosses purposely close together. Here have been buried flying crews unidentifiable when taken from their wrecked aircraft.
Altogether there must be nearly 1000 Australians buried in Britain, and possibly well over 1000 lie, sometimes in loneliness, sometimes in military cemeteries, in almost every European country from Norway to Spain, but particularly around the Bomber Command's main targets in Germany.
Many others will be missing forever - crews whose aircraft exploded in mid-air, crews whose damaged aircraft crashed with full bombloads, crews forced down in the sea hundreds of miles from land, gallant pilots who held the blazing aircraft steady, forfeiting their own chances to enable the rest of the crew to jump to safety.
Those men will know no individual graves, but their Australian relatives, when visiting England, may find they are almost the most honoured of all airmen. The Unknown Soldier became the greatest soldier, and so it will be with the missing of the air - British, Americans, Australians, Canadians, New Zealanders, Poles, French, Belgians, South Africans, and the legion of other traceless dead who flew Allied aircraft to battle.
The plan is to commemorate their names in an Allied memorial to them alone, erected in the heart of Britain, whence they flew first to defend and then to lead to victory.
This war has awakened again memories of Australia's 40,000-odd dead in the French and Belgian battles of the last war. Many of their resting places have been disturbed by this war. Some cemeteries shared the fate of the bombed French railway lines they adjoined.
The Germans, when they captured the Second Division memorial at Mont St. Quentin, toppled over Web Gilbert's full-sized bronze figure of an Australian bayoneting the German eagle, and sent it to the melting furnace.
Other A.I.F. divisional memorials which were plain obelisks escaped, as did the Australian memorial plaques in Amiens Cathedral.
But the Australian National War Memorial at Villers Bretonneux suffered damage which experts now estimate at between £10,000 and £15,000.
Now it is almost a memorial to the bitter fighting of 1940, because it is scarred by both French and German fire.
The magnificent Cross of Sacrifice is chipped by shell splinters, but this has only increased its nobility. Many hundreds of headstones of Australians have been smashed.
The high observation tower has been seriously damaged by direct shell hits. Below it, the great stone Rising Sun has been splintered and panels bearing names of thousands of Australia's missing and dead have suffered severely.
Names of those who died somewhere on the Somme have been scoured by machine-gun fire, and deep shell bursts have partly obliterated the names of those who disappeared in the hell of Arras, Amiens and Hamel battles, but these panels will be replaced as soon as labour is available.
The War Graves Commission has already opened its office in Arras and about 80 men are working on essential minor repairs to military cemeteries.
There are two new graves near the Australian Cross of Sacrifice at Villers Bretonneux - graves of two Englishmen belonging to the Australian Mosquito squadron, among tombs of the fathers of the airmen with whom they had been operating.
NEWCASTLE'S BIG SHARE IN WAR
Newcastle has had a big share in Australia's wartime industrial effort, the Governor (Lord Wakehurst) said in the City Hall on Wednesday.
He said that not everything had gone smoothly, but he thought a great part of the trouble was trying to do too much with too little.
He also said: "When we are working out how Australia is to make the most of herself, she will have to make up in quality what she lacks in quantity.
"If Australians are determined not to be beaten by any problems or difficulties; if they are willing to give of their best for a land they love; if they will see that the country 's natural resources are developed to the full - then I have no fear for Australia's future."
AUSTRALIANS TAKE AIRSTRIP
Australia's Sixth Division troops have taken Wewak airstrip, a spokesman at General MacArthur's Headquarters said. Leading elements of our western column have also reached the eastern end of Boram airfield, narrowing to two miles the gap between the converging forces.
The significance or the fall of Wewak is that it was used as an enemy bastion for the last three years, and once was Japanese Army Headquarters, protected by between 100 and 200 planes.
Landing at Wewak on December 18, 1942, the Japanese expanded the civilian airstrip. Our capture of Buna early in 1943 compelled them to use Wewak as their main base.
The Australian success is rapidly bringing to an end all organised Japanese resistance in New Guinea. After reaching the east coast of Tarakan during the week, Australia's Ninth Division patrols have now penetrated to within three miles of the north coast. They have received solid American and Australian air support.
Troops of the Australian Third and 11th Divisions have resumed the offensive on Southern Bougainville and established themselves across the Hongorai River, forcing a crossing of the next river, the Pororei.
Combining with Anzac air forces our ground forces are vigorously pursuing the drive on the Buin road. For many weeks the enemy has consolidated his defences along the eastern banks of these rivers.
Our forces are now dug in facing the enemy, but are pinned down by heavy fire. Japanese forces fared badly in many clashes in the north. Active patrolling continues across the base of the Gazelle Peninsula (New Britain).
COAST MINED BY CATALINAS
R.A.A.F. Catalinas have for some time been mining the China Coast, paralysing Japanese shipping and forcing enemy vessels into deep water to be destroyed by submarines and long range bombers from the Philippines.
Already they have been responsible for the sinking of several thousand tons of enemy naval and merchant shipping.
The spectacular part being played in the China Coast blockade by the Australian "Black Cats," already famed for their exploits in bottling up the Japanese battle fleet before the Philippines invasion, was announced today by the Minister for Air (Mr. Drakeford).
The Catalinas, exploiting their phenomenal range and endurance, are carrying on where the American mine-laying Super Fortresses leave off. Their combined efforts have brought chaos to enemy shipping.
Practically all sections of the China Sea are within their range. Already many ports have ceased to be of any real value to the Japanese.
The "Black Cats" are ranging over such a huge area that the enemy minesweepers have a hopeless task.
Within a few days of the U.S. landings in the Philippines, the Catalinas moved on to hurriedly prepared bases and were soon over the China Coast. Their present job is probably the host hazardous and exacting they have ever undertaken, but losses have been amazingly light.
Veronica Rita Bowling, Mayfield West; Joyce Constance Marie Chapman, Lorn; Mary Helen Doley, Cooks Hill; John McMahon, Wallsend; Douglas George Klein, Morpeth; Desmond Rose, Newcastle; Thomas Stafford Walmsley, Belmont; Noel Archibald Radnidge, Singleton; George William Morris, Belmont; Keith Edward Yeo Hughes, Maryville; Ivy Enid Guy, Hamilton; Ettie Lavinia Sheaves, Stroud; June Lois Bayliss, Belmont; Edith Alice Trevena, Cessnock; Neville Minns Hawkes, Hamilton; Eric Mervyn Stair, New Lambton; William Dalesford Thornton, Cessnock.
Flying Officer Lionel James Brown, Scone; Flight Lieutenant John William Rice, Abermain; Private Clifford William Frame, Muswellbrook. POW; Sapper Norman Rourke John Dilley, Lorn; Private Arthur Aubrey Baccus, Mayfield. POW; Lance Corporal Raymond James Tinning, Newcastle. POW.