Newcastle Morning Herald transcriptions and Hunter Valley enlistments and deaths for June 21-June 27, 1945.
AIF DOMINATES NORTH BORNEO
With still another unopposed amphibious landing 10 miles south-east of Brunei city, on the Pandarun River, Australian troops are tightening their grip on Borneo. Combat patrols of the Ninth Division which made an unopposed amphibious landing at Weston, due east of Labuan Island, have penetrated two miles inland.
AIRMEN BACK IN BRITAIN
Men previously reported prisoners of war, now arrived in the UK, are named in the latest RAAF casualty list. They include Acting Flying Officer S. H. Bignell, of Allandale, via West Maitland; Flying Officer W. A. K. Hanson, of Teralba; Flight Lieut. J. H. Nicholls, D.F.C., of Wickham; Flight Sergeant J. E. Peuman, of Newcastle, Warrant Officer D. E. Randall, of New Lambton; Flight Lieut. J. A. Rowland, D.F.C. of Newcastle; Flight Sergeant J. G. Smith, of Merewether; Warrant Officer F. E. Solway, of Carrington. Flight Lieut. J. W. Rice, of Belmont, is reported missing in air operations in the Pacific.
MORE HOME LEAVE
The question of increasing home leave for Australian service personnel returning from operations was being considered. A suggestion that it should be three days for each month of service was being examined, said the Acting Minister for Defence (Mr. Beasley).
POLICY FOR MARRIED AIRWOMEN
Any married airwoman of WAAF will be granted a discharge, provided her application is accompanied by her marriage certificate and a statement that she intends to set up or re-establish a home. The Minister for Air (Mr. Drakeford) said it would give married servicewomen a chance to adjust to civil life in readiness for the return of their husbands. A similar policy would apply to officers, he said, but in their case the requirements of the service might be more exacting than with other ranks.
INTEREST IN WAR PICTURES
An interested throng of people - schoolchildren, housewives, business men and girls - have inspected the exhibition of war drawings and pictures by Captain Ivor Hele, official war artist, showing in Nesca House. The exhibition was officially opened by Lieut.-Colonel P. W. Dobson, in the presence of the Deputy Mayor (Ald. Grahame), the Inspector of Schools (Mr. D. Drake), and the Manager of the Exhibition (Captain Sewell). Lieut.-Colonel Dobson said the exhibition gave the ordinary citizen the chance to visualise the dangers being encountered by Australian and Allied fighting men in New Guinea.
SARAWAK REFINERY TAKEN
To capture the important oil refinery centre of Lutong in Sarawak, on the west coast of Borneo, elements of the Australian Ninth Division this week effected the trickiest landing of the Borneo campaign, Tarakan included. The capture was made without opposition. The troops had to go ashore on a shallow exposed beach through heavy surf. Some of the landing craft grounded 30 yards from the shore, compelling the men to wade through breakers which almost swept them off their feet. The Australians' success was characteristic of the whole of the campaign. Within three hours the refinery and airfield were in our hands. Japanese garrison troops are believed to have withdrawn last week toward Miri, now only six miles to the south-west.
GAINS IN NEW GUINEA
Troops of the Australian Sixth Division have made substantial gains against Japanese forces fanatically defending the approaches to the Prince Alexander Mountains behind Wewak, in New Guinea. The enemy had been ejected from extensive bunkered areas with communicating tunnels. The Australian attacks are the liveliest since troops left the flatlands for the hills. Another Australian force, veering south, encountered Japanese south-east of Koigin. The enemy withdrew after heavy shelling.
MARRIED GERMAN GIRLS, 'MISSING' AIF MEN
Seventy one AIF men are still unaccounted for in Germany. Occupied enemy territory will be searched to find them or determine their fate. At least seven Australians have "married" German girls, and others have done the same, but their names are being protected by the silence of their repatriated friends. Search parties, which will be sent out by the Australia House Military Mission, will have a dossier for every missing Australian, containing information gleaned from repatriated prisoners of war. Within the year it is expected every dossier will be closed and that the statistical result will be 37 found and returned to England or their fate determined, and 34 whose fate is unknown or who are avoiding repatriation. Those who will not return include prisoners who died during the forced marches, which accompanied the Allied invasion of the prison camp areas, and those who have "gone bush". The latter group is not large. It includes the men who have married German girls. One repatriate in England has applied for discharge to return to Germany to his wife and child. His marriage, like most of the others, was to the daughter of the farmer to whom he was allotted as a farm labourer. It is said that three Australians have "inherited" farms from German fathers-in-law.
LANDING AT BALIKPAPAN
Tokio Radio says that Allied troops have landed at Balikpapan, chief oil and shipping port of south-east Borneo. The report is unconfirmed by General MacArthur's communique, which tells of more air attacks by 156 bombers on the vital base. The Japanese announcement goes a step farther than that of the previous day, which boasted that Allied surface craft, sweeping inshore after a preliminary air attack, had been repulsed by land batteries.
Tokio's more recent statement was that a fierce air, naval and land attack had been launched. On the other side of the island, troops of the Australian Ninth Division at Seria are fighting fires in oil wells ignited by the fleeing Japanese.
Troops who captured Borneo without opposition were greeted by the spectacle of columns of smoke and flame hundreds of feet high from 21 blazing oil wells. The Japanese had pursued a scorched earth policy, with telling effect. The Australians learned from natives that the field had been blazing for days past. The town of Seria itself had been heavily damaged by Allied bombings, and the Japanese had added to the ruin by extensive demolitions.
NOT ENOUGH BASES IN PACIFIC
US airpower was now so great that probably there would not be sufficient bases to use it all in the Pacific, General Arnold, Chief of the US Army Air Force, told a the Press in Honolulu after he had toured Pacific bases. He described the Japanese air force as being on the down grade. Asked whether he thought airpower alone would knock out Japan, he replied: "I can only point to Germany, which got a small part of what is coming to Japan."
LEGLESS ACE FLIES AGAIN
Group Captain Douglas Bader, the legless ace in the Battle for Britain, is flying again. He is developing flying strategy to beat the Japanese. Group Captain Bader recently returned after four years in a German prison camp. He reported to the Air Ministry as soon as his liberation leave expired, and his keen demand to go into action was accepted.
GREATEST SUPERFORT RAID YET
Nearly 500 Superfortresses, escorted by Iwo-based Mustangs, dropped more than 3000 tons of bombs on ten Japanese aircraft, ordnance, and ammunition targets in the largest deimolition pin-point mission of the Pacific war so far. Targets bombed were in the four cities of Nagoya, Osaka, Akashi and Gifu, all of which are on Honshu, the main Japanese home island. Each factory had been damaged before by incendiary or high explosive bombs, but none had been completely knocked out. It was the tenth major assault on Japan this month by 21st Bomber Command, and brought the total weight of bombs dropped for the month to 26,500 tons. This exceeded the 24,650 tons dropped in May, the previous record.
GROUNDED IN EUROPE
Except for Mosquito and Spitfire squadrons on police duty in Germany, all members of the RAAF in Europe have been grounded before being moved to the Pacific theatre. Australian airmen in mixed RAF squadrons ceased active duty in the last few weeks and about 8000 have been moved to "holding stations" to await early transport to Australia. Many others who have been given indefinite leave have been travelling in England and Scotland. Others have preferred to spend their leave in London. Australian Lancaster squadrons are also awaiting advice about the Pacific. They are expected to fly their own formations as soon as ground arrangements at Pacific bases have been completed.
Many members of the RAAF wish to stay longer in Britain, especially those who have had only short period of service overseas. Most of them are not eager to leave Britain while the present uncertainty as to their future service continues.
RAAF men are keen to take part in the Pacific war and are perturbed by reports from Australia that air crews are being demobilised They fear they will be grounded for some months after their arrival home. RAAF crews who have completed a certain number of operations in Europe have been unofficially advised that they are free to leave the service, but most of them wish to continue in it. Australian bomber crews have been temporarily assigned to RAF Transport Command to bring back wounded and liberated prisoners, but such operations ceased several weeks ago. The RAAF Administration has since been active in arranging drafts to Australia.
The complete evacuation of RAAF men from Britain will depend upon the shipping available and while the RAAF Command in Britain is expected to clear these personnel, including ground staffs and technicians before September, the last batches may not leave before the end of the year.
NEWS OF NEWCASTLE PRISONERS
Mrs. J. I. Shelley, of Whitebridge, has received a card from her son, Pte. George Shelley, who is a prisoner of the Japanese. He said he was well and mentioned the names of S. M. R. Wansey (Newcastle), D. Bennett (Wallsend), Jack Beaver (Hamilton), Sgt. Derkenne (Hamilton), Bill Wilson (Kurri Kurri), Ted Bradley (Kurri Kurri), Alan Orr (Cessnock), R. C. Abbott (Cessnock), and L. D. Abbott (Cessnock).
FARMERS WANT GUN CARRIERS
So many farmers have made contact with the Minister for Supply (Senator Ashley), in an endeavour to buy Bren gun carriers for use as tractors, that he has communicated with Melbourne. The Minister is waiting advice on the number of carriers which will be available, and when and where they may be purchased. Among the applications received was a letter enclosing a cheque for £50 ($100) to cover the cost of the carrier.
Mrs. L. Gilbert, of William Street, Tighe's Hill, has been advised that her son, Warrant Officer Ronald Gilbert, previously reported missing, is now presumed dead. Warrant Officer Gilbert, who was mentioned in dispatches, was the pilot of a Typhoon reconnaissance plane. He enlisted in the Army when 17, and later transferred to the RAAF. He was 21 when reported missing over Normandy on August 19, 1944.
Mervyn Thomas Atkins, Forbesdale; William Herbert Drew, Scone; Cecil John Hann, Waratah; Douglas Albon Prior, Singleton; Ross Morton, Maitland; Brian Turnbull, Scone; Jack Limeburner, Maryville; John Ferris Porter, East Maitland; Collin George Hemmings, New Lambton; Jack Moore, Reedy Creek; Ernest Mervyn Morrow, Carrington; Kenneth Nolan Pile, Gloucester; Keith James Tate, Mayfield East; George Alexander Williams, New Lambton; Mervyn Thomas Atkins, Gloucester.
Private Edward Thomas Grant, Gateshead. POW; Private Michael Vincent O'Brien, East Greta. POW; Signalman Alan Watkin Gow, Merewether. POW; Private Wallace James Lord, Minmi.