Newcastle Morning Herald transcriptions and Hunter enlistment and death details for July 26 - August 1, 1945
PREPARING FOR VP DAY
The State Government, in conjunction with the Commonwealth Government, is making preparations for the celebration of VP Day - the day war with Japan is ended. The Acting Premier (Mr Baddeley) said it was desired to decentralise the celebrations as much as possible, and, with that in view, shire and municipal councils would be asked to cooperate by arranging local programmes. If fireworks are available, there will be a fireworks display on the harbour at night. The question of holidays will be decided after further consultation with the Commonwealth authorities.
JAPANESE NAVAL BASE ATTACKED
More than 1200 carrier-borne aircraft from the British and US Pacific Fleets attacked warships and other targets around Kure, the Japanese naval base on the main island of Honshu, for the second consecutive day. They also struck at Kobe, the shipbuilding and industrial city on Osaka Bay. At the same time cruisers and destroyers of the US Third Fleet shelled the seaplane base and airfields at Kushimoto and other neighbouring targets on Southern Honshu. Admiral Sir James Somerville, head of the British Admiralty delegation in the US, told a press conference at San Francisco that all of Britain's greatest battleships, cruisers and carriers were now fighting in the Pacific with the US Fleet.
CLIMAX IN BOUGAINVILLE
Since taking over from the Americans last November, Australian troops have regained control of 3000 square miles of territory held by Australia under mandate since 1918, freed 10,000 natives and killed 6000 Japanese.
The Department of the Army describes the Bougainville campaign as approaching its climax. Australian troops on the Mivo River front are approaching the outer defences of the Buin "double fortress," where the main battle of Bougainville will be fought.
The last of the enemy has been cleared from Choiseul Island, a 12,000 square mile island south-east of Bougainville. For months a small force has harried the Japanese. The Department of the Army says the campaign has "brought new battle honours to Australian troops and established new standards in jungle warfare."
In Borneo, the Batochampar positions are now definitely cleared of the enemy, and the Australians have reached a point of the road nine miles north of the village.
The main body of Seventh Division troops has advanced two miles (15kms) along the highway to the great oil centre of Samarinda. The principal force of the enemy is on the run; the only opposition encountered by the Australians in their advance was sporadic sniper fire.
MILITARY MEDAL FOR WEBB
In the face of strong Japanese fire, Private (Acting Corporal) Alexander Webb, of Wallsend, charged along a narrow spur, leapt across a fallen tree protecting the gunners, killed two Japanese in one pit, and opened fire on two other pits, thus allowing his section to gain a foothold. For this courageous action he was awarded the Military Medal. Before he led the charge, the attack had been halted by fire, and four leading men wounded. The citation added: "Acting Corporal Webb's spontaneous and gallant action led to the capture of the position and saved many casualties."
Webb is included in the latest list of awards for bravery in action in the South-west Pacific area.
The Military Medal has also been awarded to Sergeant Keith Oswald Warner, of Marks Point. The citation stated that he carried out numerous scouting missions, accompanied only by natives, and had always displayed cool and capable leadership, courage and capacity to endure hardship.
RIFLES TO COMBAT DINGOES
More than 9000 impressed .303 rifles have been released for sale in the various states to assist pastoralists combat the dingo menace, said Senator Fraser (Minister for Health) in the Senate, where he represents the Minister for the Army. A number of service rifles might be made available to pastoralists through the Disposals Commission, he added.
ICE CREAM FOR MEN
Australian front line troops in action against the Japanese at Bougainville are getting a daily issue of ice cream, reports the Australian Comforts Fund Commissioner in the Solomon Islands, (Captain C. W. Game). Captain Game said he believed it was the first time that troops in the front line had been served ice cream. It was voted the most popular of the comforts received from Australia. He said that 111 ACF service centres were now operating in the Solomons. To maintain the present volume of comforts for Australian troops, the ACF in New South Wales is conducting the £40,000 ($80,000) "Salute to Valour" Art Union.
BURIED IN GUN EMPLACEMENT
Buried by earth and lumps of concrete in an old ack-ack gun emplacement in Lambton Park yesterday, George Harrison, 24, of Gosford Road, Adamstown, suffered a probable fracture of the pelvis, an injury to his left ankle, severe lacerations to his chin and left ear, and severe shock. He was taken to Newcastle Hospital by Wallsend Ambulance. Harrison and his father were recovering timber when the roof collapsed. Harrison was completely buried. His father, assisted by nearby residents, extricated him.
COMMANDOS OF THE AIR
Australian parachutists are equal to the best in the world, if they are not the best. This is the opinion of a high-ranking officer who has seen at first hand parachutists of other nations.
Young, tough, fearless and resolute, they are one of the finest bodies of men in the Australian Army. Their training is so exhaustive and thorough and the discipline so strict that many fall by the wayside. The troops are handpicked from trained units in the army. Previous combat experience is not necessary although many of the parachutists have seen action in several theatres of war. To see them pour out of the transports, laden with huge loads of arms, ammunition, supplies and other necessary gear, and go immediately into action could not fail to impress even the most sceptic. A parachute unit is virtually an army in itself. A unit usually operates under conditions where it will have to provide for every emergency with little or no outside assistance. Thus it must be highly specialised in every form. Technicians of many types are needed. They are required for demolitions and other specialised work. Men adept in the use of all types of guns are necessary. Bren gunners must be thoroughly competent. Signallers are needed.
The doctor and his medical orderlies must be highly skilled to tend the sick and wounded with limited facilities. A padre also drops with the troops. Officers must be young, alert, have plenty of initiative, and must be courageous and inspiring leaders. Parachutists must be under 6ft. (1.83m), under 14 stone (89kg), under 32 years, of RAAF air-crew medical standard, and temperamentally suited. Single men are preferred, but married men without children may be considered.
8TH DIVISION MEN FREED
Over 100 members of the Eighth Division, AIF, have been released from Japanese prison camps in North Borneo after Australian military action in the area. This was disclosed by a warrant officer at a meeting of the Eighth Division Association. The warrant officer, whose name cannot be mentioned, said news of the release of these men would probably be made official within a few days. Mr W. Wallace, a former member of the 2/15th Field Regiment, who was captured at Singapore and escaped from Borneo in 1943, said he had since volunteered to return and help in the release of men in North Borneo, believed to number several thousands. Despite repeated approaches to the Government with this object in view he had been unsuccessful in getting official support for his plans and eventually had been given a "bowler hat" for his pains.
HELICOPTERS FOR PACIFIC WAR
It is officially disclosed that the US Navy will soon use helicopters in support of combat operations in the Pacific. Possible uses include observation, reconnaissance, the laying of cables, rescue operations at sea, communications between ships during radio silence, landing troops at inaccessible places, and spraying malarial areas. Helicopters are now being mass-produced. They carry a crew of four, and have a speeding of 100 miles (160 kms) an hour, a ceiling of 15,000 feet (4572m), and carry 3000 lb. (1365kg) gross weight.
INLAND GAINS BY 'SIXTH'
Further progress has been made by Sixth Division units in New Guinea in their main drives inland from Wewak heights and eastward across the Torricellis. The Army Department says that these advances form a wide pincer movement against strong Japanese forces in the interior. In this difficult inland campaign troops of the 17th Brigade have fought sharp skirmishes over a wide area. The chief thrust is aimed against the powerfully held Kaboibus village on the outskirts of which the Sixth Battalion is in contact with the enemy at three different points. On the southern slopes of the Prince Alexander Ranges, 2/2nd Battalion patrols renewed their drive to a point beyond Hambrauri village group and occupied a track junction leading to the important Banahitam centre.
JAPANESE FORCE ROUTED
Behind Brandi plantation, in Dove Bay, units of the 35th Battalion had a short fight with Japanese defenders most of whom were killed. Five prisoners were taken. In Southern Bougainville, Japanese infiltrating parties of our Mivo River front are proving elusive. Japanese parties twice ambushed troops of the 24th Infantry Battalion, but refused to remain and fight when stronger forces attacked. In New Britain, an enemy party tried to breach one of our perimeters in the Open Bay sector, but the attack was repelled.
BORNEO ENEMY STRUCK
Australian ground and air forces continue steady attrition of enemy personnel and supplies in Borneo, says General MacArthur's communique. Planes of the RAAF and 13th Air Force strafed the airstrips at Jesselton and Bandjermasin and attacked enemy concentrations in North-West Borneo. RAAF bombers and fighters effectively struck at Japanese air facilities in the Celebes. Water and motor transport was struck in the Halmaheras. In Manila, an Army spokesman described the Numa Numa Trail campaign in Bougainville as being "as tough as Kokoda."
HMAS Westralia has returned to Australia after landing more than 5000 invasion troops at Tarakan, Brunei Bay, and Balikpapan. Since May, 1943, Westralia has carried 47,000 invasion troops and steamed 74,000 miles, making landings at Arawe, Hollandia, Leyte, Lingayen Gulf, Tarakan, Brunei and Balikpapan. During the run to Tarakan, Westralia narrowly missed hitting a floating mine which was seen 50 feet (15m) from the bow. The mine was destroyed by fire from an escorting destroyer. Three torpedoes were discharged at the ship from Tarakan Harbour but all missed. Lieutenant Penglase, of Adelaide, said the Borneo landings were the highlights of the Westralia's troop jobs.
Eileen Cameron, East Maitland; June Agnes Fairley, Merewether; Caroline Alice McCart, Aberdare; Peter James Fordham, Newcastle; Kevin Francis Jones, Stockton; Ernest Reed Mewburn, Hamilton; Harold Hammerton Robinson, Stockton; Catherine Walker Baily Stanger, Cooks Hill; Kevin John Thompson, Newcastle; Michael Leslie Davies, Newcastle; John Walter Smith, Wickham; Kenneth Charles Bowden, Wickham; James Eshott Carr, Mayfield; William Arthur Clegg, Waratah; Raymond Kenneth Deane, Mayfield; Richard Thomas MacRae, Speers Point; Clarence Oliver Whyburn, Waratah.
Trooper Frederick William Datson, Maitland; Private Trevyln Rex Jeans, Muswellbrook; Signalman John Morrisson Lambert, Maitland; WO Class 2 Thomas Clarence Taylor, New Lambton. POW; Private James Burgess, Pelican Flat; Private Alexander Douglas Edwards, Cessnock; Corporal John Michael Graham, Cardiff Heights.