Newcastle Morning Herald transcriptions and Hunter enlistment and death details for May 31 - June 6, 1945.
It is expected that the Minister for Air (Mr Drakeford) will make an early announcement of a large scale demobilisation plan for the RAAF. According to rumours current in high Air Force circles, a considerable number of officers, some of them of high standing, and other personnel will be returned to civil life at an early date. For some time the RAAF has had more officers and men than there were available duties, and the inability to get into fighting theatres had caused widespread discontent with a subsequent alarming lowering of morale. Senior officers are aware of the position, but are unable to remedy it.
Young men, in particular, have been sitting around stations all over Australia doing nothing. Large numbers of them are repeating training courses, knowing full well it is most unlikely that their services will ever be used against the Japanese. Officers and other personnel who have returned from overseas after years of fighting against the Germans and Italians find the inactivity particularly galling. They complain that they have a kind of serial leave. Continuous extensions of the original leave are being granted. Others with long combat experience have been given desk jobs and other menial tasks not in conformity with their skill or training.
The Acting Minister for the Army (Senator Fraser) said that 100,000 men and women had been discharged from the Army. Already 45,000 had been discharged with the consent of the manpower authorities.
ARMY RELEASES FOR BUILDING
The Government recognises the urgent need to advance home building as soon as possible, and it is probable that Army releases for this work will be considerable, according to authoritative statements. Between 10,000 and 12,000 men are needed from the services before the end of this year. Strong representations to secure their release were made during the Government's consideration of the new manpower reallocation programme. The intake into industry will be gradually increased until in the first 18 months after the war there will be a need for 30,000 men.
AIF MEN IN ENGLAND
The Department of the Army announced that during the week ended May 26, 753 AIF prisoners of war in Western Europe had been repatriated to England. Between April 1 and May 26, 4191 AIF prisoners reached England, and the movement of those remaining in Western Europe would soon be completed. Six hundred Australians had recently been contacted in Austria and were now awaiting movement. Their health generally was satisfactory. Large numbers of AIF ex-prisoners were now on leave in England.
RELEASE OF SMALL CRAFT
The RAAF is releasing a number of luggers and ketches which were impounded early in the war against Japan, the Air Department said. The Air Force is now receiving a number of specially built marine craft to take their place.
NEWCASTLE PILOT IN 'PLUM' JOB
Warrant Officer E.L. James, of Newcastle, is among Australian fighter pilots chosen for a "plum" post in Europe. A Department of Air statement said that the pilots were with a composite wing of Spitfires, Tempests, and Typhoons which played an important part in the battle for Germany. "They are now enjoying luxury quarters among the liberated people of Copenhagen, who spare no efforts to show their joy and appreciation," the statement said. "Untouched by war, the Copenhagen airport is a streamlined Hollywood film model of a modern aerodrome. The pilots are housed in neat, new houses specially built by the Germans, and provided with modern conveniences that work - a rare virtue in war-torn Europe."
AIF 'COBBERS' REPATRIATED
Two Merewether servicemen who were "cobbers" before the war, enlisted together in 1939, and sailed to the Middle East in January, 1940, have cabled their parents that they have been repatriated to England from prison camps in Germany. Both men were educated at Marist Brothers' College, Hamilton, and were employed at Lysaght's before they joined an engineering unit of the AIF. They are Sappers Arthur Swain and G.H. (Gerry) Pollock. Sapper Swain was captured in Crete. His parents are Mr and Mrs A.E. Swain, of Watkins St, Merewether. Sapper Pollock was taken prisoner in Greece. He told his parents, Mr and Mrs B.Pollock, of Barr St, Merewether, that he was well when repatriated.
Mr and Mrs H.B. Hutchison, of Catherine Hill Bay, have received word that their son, Allan, has been repatriated to AIF reception group, Eastbourne, Sussex, England. He was taken prisoner on Crete and then sent to Germany. He enlisted on October 20, 1939.
Mr and Mrs H.B. Longworth, of Thornton, have been advised that their son, Flight Lieut. H.L. E. Longworth, who was a prisoner of war in Germany, has been repatriated, and is now in England. Flight-Lieut. Longworth was a navigator on a Lancaster bomber shot down over Holland, in January, 1943.
Mrs Elizabeth Ekert, of Teralba, has received word from her husband, Private K. W. Ekert, that he has arrived in England after being held for four years as a prisoner of war in Germany. Private Ekert, who is in the Royal Hospital at Wolverhampton, praises the work of the people of England, who cannot do enough for the freed prisoners.
TIGHES HILL MAN WINS DFC
Mr and Mrs W.D. Sullivan, of Tighes Hill, have been advised that their son, Flight Lieutenant Kenneth James Sullivan, has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. The citation stated that Flight Lieutenant Sullivan had taken part in many attacks on important and heavily defended targets in Germany. In February, 1945, he was detailed for an attack on Dortmund. During the approach to the target, his aircraft was heavily engaged by accurate anti-aircraft fire and illuminated by searchlights. The bomber was hit several times and one engine was set on fire. Displaying fine airmanship, Flight Lieutenant Sullivan manoeuvred the aircraft out of the searchlights and shell fire, extinguished the fire in his engine and pressed home after a determined attack. The citation added that he had always displayed great courage and resolution, and that his skill and resourcefulness had materially contributed to the successful completion of many missions.
AIF TARAKAN GAIN
While Hill 102, a dominating feature in Tarakan, was falling under smashing blows by the Australian Ninth Division, Tokio Radio was reporting an assault by Allied ground, sea and air units on Sandakan, capital of British North Borneo. The Tokio report, which is unconfirmed, said that Allied warships were operating in nearby waters. "Two destroyers bombarded our positions in Sandakan Bay, but our garrison forces quickly routed them," the radio said. There is no lack of confirmation of the Australian success at Hill 102, a prominent feature east of the Japanese headquarters area on Tarakan. The Department of the Army says that, following swiftly on the previous day's capture of Morgy Hill, the victory gave the Ninth Division more high ground for a move against the centre of resistance. The storming of Hill 102 was preceded by an attack by 20 Liberators, which were followed by low flying Lightnings, dropping flame bombs. The infantry pushed forward while the hill was still smoking, and found some of the enemy still in the bunkers. These they blasted out with gelignite, and in stubborn cases, with flame throwers. Patrols pushed out to exploit the gain and occupied a further 300 yards of ground. Mopping up and searching for bodies in tunnels and debris is continuing. On the outskirts of Tarakan town patrol fighting has flared up. One party of Japanese made a night raid on the airfield, throwing grenades.
NOW USING ARTILLERY
For the first time since they crossed the Torricelli Mountains, New Guinea, six months ago, Australian Sixth Division infantry, pushing east in front of Maprik, have artillery support, flown in by Douglas transports. Until now the infantry have attacked strongpoint after strongpoint, mostly on the crests of rugged spurs, with support from mortars only, augmented by Vickers machinegun fire. More recently they have had the assistance of flamethrowers, which have proved very effective. Bitter fighting continues for the high ground dominating inland tracks in the Wewak area of New Guinea. The Japanese have been driven from several important features near Koigin after bitter resistance. Steady advance is being maintained to the two Japanese village groups of Yamil, east of Maprik and Malabasaku, to the south-east.
ADVANCE IN BOUGAINVILLE
In another big drive in southern Bougainville Australian troops in two days have pushed two miles deeper into the enemy's valuable garden areas, taking Runai, which the enemy had held tenaciously. The attack, supported by tanks, followed concentrations of artillery and mortar fire and bombing and strafing runs along the Buin Road by about 100 Corsairs. Australians have also crossed the Tomoi River and patrols have reached the Hari River defences.
NEW RATION CARDS AND BOOKS
New clothing ration cards and food ration books will be issued to civilians at ration book issuing centres on Saturday and Sunday, June 2 and 3. Location of issuing centres will be notified in the Press. Generally, they will be at places used as polling booths at Federal elections. To obtain a new ration card and book, each British subject applicant, 14 years of age or over, must produce his or her identity card, an occupation survey card and the old food ration book. Each alien applicant, 14 years of age or over, must produce an occupation survey card, his or her old food ration book and (except in the case of a youth or girl under 18 to whom a certificate has not been issued) his or her alien registration certificate. A parent or guardian applying for a new ration card and book for a child under 14 years of age must produce that child's old food ration book. Provided that if in any case the old food ration book has been lost, stolen, destroyed or defaced, and cannot be produced, the applicant may, upon making a declaration to that effect before an officer at the issuing centre, receive a new card and book. Any applicant, including an applicant parent or guardian, who cannot personally attend an issuing centre without undue inconvenience, may depute some other person as agent to collect the new ration card and book to which he or she is entitled. No form of authority is required, but the person acting as agent must produce to the issuing officer the applicant's identity card (or alien registration certificate), occupation survey card and the old food ration book.
John Godfrey Abraham, Mayfield; Kenneth Douglas Balcombe, Cooks Hill; Hilton Brock, Maitland; Lillian Doreen Brown, Pelaw Main; Bruce Cleaver, Broadmeadow; Roger Aloysius Fay, New Lambton; Bruce John Foster, Stockton; Henry Francis Fuchs, Cardiff; Edward Reay Lambert, Adamstown; Dorothy Elsie McKenzie, Hamilton; Benjamin James Morton, Waratah; William Alexander Potts, Mayfield East; Helen Isobel Robinson, Aberdare; Daphne Frances Smith, Tighes Hill; Richard Athol Thoroughgood, Mayfield; Allan Beveridge, Adamstown; Bernard Francis McCosker, Hamilton; Tulse Mabel Miller, Hamilton; Nellie Thompson, Belmont; Ronald Walker, Islington; Stewart Farquharson, Lambton; Audrey Lavinia Baldwin, Newcastle; Mary Ellen Craig, Waratah; Neta Ellen Gilmour, Aberdare; Robert Benjamin McKinnon, Sandgate; Christina Leadbetter Young, West Wallsend; Peter Sydney Beck, Hamilton; William Francis Blick, Islington; George Alfred Fishlock, Mayfield; Ronald Leslie Fraser, Broadmeadow; Stanley Robert Handley, Mayfield; Barry Mervyn McGregor, Tighes Hill; Ronald Jack Ryan, Scone.
Private Henry Victor George Smith, North Rothbury. POW; Private Edgar Henry Bluford, Aberdeen. POW; Private Stanley Chapman, Cardiff South. POW; Private Gordon Lyne, Lambton. POW; Gunner John Lockhead Richardson, Hamilton. POW; Gunner Leslie Motley, Hamilton. POW; Private Robert Pallister, Lambton. POW.