1942-1943 WW2 Darwin (NT) Area Service
Unit History - USAAF
709th Ord Co (Avn), 1028th Ord Co (Avn), and
1535th Ord S&M Co (Avn)

                            APRIL, 1942                                       
     At 4:30 AM, on the 11th, the company, together with several other        
units, departed by motor convoy for Northern Territory, Australia.            
Captain Hunt was in charge of the convoy.  The night of April 11th was        
spent at the Fair Grounds, Adelaide, S.A., the next morning the convoy        
proceeded to Terowie, S.A. arriving there that evening; the 12th and 13th     
were spent here.  On the morning of the 14th, the organizations boarded       
a train and departed for Alice Springs, N.T., arriving there on the 16th.     
On the morning of the 17th, the Company departed by convoy for Daly Waters,   
N.T., arriving there on the evening of the 19th.  The first task after        
arrival was to set up camp in virgin bush, and build up a stockage of         
ammunition and general supplies to service one heavy bomb. sqdn., three       
fighter squadrons and one service sqdn.  A shortage of tools, nails and       
suitable lumber existed, therefore, roads, buildings, and installations       
were virtually built by bare hands with a touch of American ingenuity.        
During this month, numerous men were sick in quarters and the hospital due    
     to dysentery.  To make matters worse, the number of house flies in       
the vicinity made work next to impossible as it was necessary to to be        
continually waving something in front of one's face to keep them away.        
Recreation facilities were nil, the men spent their evenings writing letters  
and sleeping.                                                                 

                          MAY, 1942                                           
     Lt. Carr and 14 EM went on DS to Adelaide River, N.T. so that the        
Air Corps squadrons in that area could be more conveniently serviced.  On     
the 31st, 1st Lt. Knight was transferred to the 453rd Ord. Co. (AVN) as       
of the 1st.  An ammunition area was set up, and bombs and small arms          
ammunition continued to arrive from Alice Springs.  A plane-type short-       
wave radio was obtained for the men and one bottle of beer was available      
each evening per man.  An understandable decline in the morale was            
slightly noticeable due to the extreme living conditions.  To cope with       
this situation, the chaplain paid the company a weekly visit and conducted    
a singing program, followed by cool refreshments and occasionally biscuits.   

                          JUNE, 1942                                          
     Three hospitalized men were evacuated to a hospital near Brisbane,       
Qld.  The ammunition section sent 300 lb. bombs and frag. bombs via transport 
plane to a forward area to relieve the shortage that e xisted there of these  
items.  An additional 2 miles of road and bomb pits were built.  Water was    
hauled from an artisean well located 6 miles from camp.  By this time, the    
men were well climatized and their morale soared since a rumor originated to  
the effect that 6 months was to be the maximum time to be spent in the bush.  
The situation was will in hand, therefore the men received every Sunday after-
noon off.  The food situation was helped somewhat by the Australian canteen   
and ice-house that was located 60 miles away.                                 
                            JULY, 1942                                        
     On the 15th, the organization was ordered to Batchelor Field,            
N.T.; Lt. Britton and the ammunition section (27 EM) were placed on           
DS at Birdum, N.T. to establish and maintain an RP Ammunition dump.           
The organization arrived at Batchelor Field on the 17th where Lt. Carr        
and 14 EM, who were on DS at Adelaide River, rejoined the Company.            
The task of building a new camp was simplied since the area was at one        
time inhabited by the RAAF.  Living conditions were greatly improved          
and more recreational facilities were available for the men.  The usual       
Ordnance duties were performed.                                               

                          AUGUST, 1942                                        
     On the 4th, 6 men rejoined the organization from DS, Birdum to           
maintain the Aumminition dump at Batchelor Field.  On the 7th, M/Sgt          
McNeil was appointed Warrant Officer (jg) AUS.  On the 22nd, the              
organization was transferred again, this time to Adelaide River, N.T:         
and attched to the 43rd Service Squadron; eight enlisted men were placed      
on DS at Batchelor Field.                                                     

                      SEPTEMBER & OCTOBER, 1942                               
     During this period, Ordnance activities/very limited due to the          
location of the Organization.  However, the detachments at Birdum and         
Batchelor Field were busy due to the number of bombs and small arms           
arriving in a steady stream.                                                  

                             NOVEMBER, 1942                                   
     Eight men rejoined the organization from DS, Batchelor Field.  On        
the 14th, the Company was transferred to Fenton Field, N.T. with the          
43rd Service Squadron.  The xorganization serviced the 319th Heavy            
Bombardment Squadron.  Since The Ordnance section of this squadron did        
not yet arrive, the ammunition section of this organization serviced the      
planes with small arms and bombs; in the meantime unloading approximately     
100 tons of bombs every second day, delinking and relinking Cal..50           
ammunition, and modifying the M103 Bomb Fuze.  The men worked day and         
night in the bomb dump whereas the rest of the organization was busy          
getting the camp area in condition for the oncoming rainy season.             

                       DECEMBER, 1942                                         
     Captain Hunt was transferred to the 36th Service Group pp 19,            
SO# 75, ASC, 5th Air Force, December 12, 1942 and Lt. Britton rejoined        
the organization from DS, Birdum, and assumed command.  On the 31st,          
Lt. Carr was transferred to the 1042nd Ord Co pp 10, SO# 91, Hq., ASC.        
The Ordnance Section of the 319th Bomb. Sqdn. arrived and took over the       
duties of servicing the planes.  The rainy season had started and what        
few hours the men had off in the evenings were spent in their tents.          

                        JANUARY, 1943                                         
     On the 4th, the organization was redesignated the 1028th Ordnance        
Co. (Avn) pp2, GO # 54, Hq., Fifth Air Force dated 19 Dec. 1942.  Lt.         
Forch and Lt. Powers were assigned to the company; Lt. Forch was placed       
on DS at Birdum and Lt. Powers & 5 EM were placed on DS at Batchelor          
Field to service one squadron of B-26's.  The rains ruined the roads          
forcing the men to deliver bombs to the sub-dumb on cargo trucks.  Bombs      
that were placed in the lower parts of the area had to be moved to higher     
ground, wooden bridges were built along with huts for storing fuzes.          

                        FEBRUARY, 1943                                        
     Lt. Britton was admitted to the hospital and evacuated to Brisbane,      
Lt. Powers assumed command.  WO McNeil was transferred to the 1022nd Ord.     
Co. .  Everyone in general felt pretty miserable for two reasons; the         
weather was bad, and at the length of time spent in the bush.  This latter    
demoralizing condition was somewhat overcome by sending 10% of the company    
to Adelaide, South Australia on a 7-day furlough.  The men being on           
furlough had to travel approximately 1900 miles by truck & railroad           
to Adelaide, and back, meaning that each group was gone about 3 weeks.        

                         MARCH, 1943                                          
          The same Ordnance activities and duties were performed as           
in the last 2 months.  The rainy season was practically over by now           
and grass that grew to a height of 9 feet had to be cut down through          
out the magazine area as a protective measure against forest fires.           
Bomb pits were grubbed out and roads rebuilt.                                 

                          APRIL, 1943                                         
     Four EM rejoined the organization from DS, Birdum.  On the 12th,         
Lt. O'Brien was assigned to the company pp 3, SO# 79, Hq., ASC, 5th AF,       
dated 7 April, 1943.  On the 15th, ten more men rejoined the organization     
from DS, Birdum.  15 EM of the 1909th Ord. Amm. Co. arrived and were          
attached for quarters and rations while awaiting transportation to            
Millimgimpi.  Lt. Britton rejoined the organization from absent sick and      
assumed command.  1st Lt. Hauck was assigned to the company on the 29th.      

                            MA Y, 1943                                        
     On the 9th, Lt. Powers was transferred to the 19th Bomb. Sqdn.;          
on the 12th, Lt. Forch was transferred to the 1909th Ord. Amm. Co.,           
and on the 24th, Lt. Britton was transferred to the 1031st Ord. Co.,          
Lt. Hauck assumed command.  The furlough situation was greatly improved       
when arrangements were made with the Air Transport Command to send the        
men to Adelaide by air.  This speeded up the procedure, thus more men         
received furoughs per month.                                                  

                            JUNE, 1943                                        
     Lt. Sullivan was assigned to the organization on the 2nd, pp 18,         
SO# 153, Hq., 5AFSC.  The 1028th Ordnance Co (Avn) (AB) was redesignated      
the 1535th Ordnance Supply & Maintenance Company (Avn) effective              
the 15th of June, pp 3, GO# 126, Hq., Fifth Air Force, APO 925.  On the       
29th, the organization went through its first air raid when 21 Japanese       
bombers raided Fenton Field at approximately 12:00 o'clock noon; no           
casualties were suffered.                                                     

                         JULY, 1943                                           
     Lt. O'Brien went on DS to LHQ Bomb Disposal School, Wagga Wagga,         
NSW on the 6th.  On the same date at 11:30 AM, 20 enemy bombers hit           
Fenton Field again, one was brought down by anti-aircraft batteries.          
At 9:30 PM on the night of the 13th, enemy aircraft again bombed the          
area.  The organization lost 9 men via transfers whereas 19 men were          
transferred into the company from other units.  Lt. Sullivan went on          
DS to Townsville, Qld. on the 22nd, to inquire about automotive supplies,     
returned the 26th, and was promoted to the grade of 1st Lt. on the 30th.      

                        AUGUST, 1943                                          
     Lt. O'Brien returned from DS at Wagga Waaga on the 18th.  On the         
21st, enemy planes bombed Fenton Field at night and the organization          
suffered its first casualties of World War II when two men went "Bomb-        
happy".  Medical authorities evacuated these men to a hospital near           
Brisbane, Qld.                                                                

                      SEPTEMBER, 1943                                         
     On the nights of the 16th and 19th, enemy planes bombed the area.        
Another rainy was soon due, therefore the ammunition section started to       
build huts for small arms ammunition.  Tent floors were built up and          
drain trenches dug.                                                           

                      OCTOBER, 1943                                           
     The morale of the men reached its peak when the Commanding Officer       
told them that their relief was soon to arrive from Brisbane.                 
     On the evening of the 28th, the first transport planes started to        
arrive bearing men of the 30th Service Squadron and the 1540th Ordnance       
S&M Co.  On the morning of the 29th, approximately 50% of the personnel       
from the 43rd Service Squadron and 1535th Ordnance S&M Co departed for        
Amberley Field, Qld.                                                          

                          NOVEMBER, 1943                                      
     On the evening of the 11th, the remaining men of the 30th Service        
Sqdn. and 1540th Ord Co. arrived.  Personnel of the 43rd Service Sqdn.        
and 1535th Ord. Co. were scheduled to leave Fenton Field at 4:30 AM           
for Amberley but enemy planes arrived overhead about 1;00 AM.  The raid       
lasted for four hours thus delaying the take-off, until 8:00 AM.  This        
move terminated 19 months of continuous service in the bush under the most    
extreme climatic conditions.                                                  


WW2 Darwin Air Raids
WW2 Australian Air Raids