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Title: Americans Arrive - 1942
Name: Smith, Tom
My Story: After the first week had passed, an American artillery unit arrived and were stationed next to our camp. It was the closest contact we had with an American unit, although we had seen individual troops around Darwin. An instant friendship sprang up between both units. The Americans had set out from their homeland for the Philippines. The country fell to the Japanese before their arrival so they were diverted to Java. However the Japanese progress south had been fast and the American unit eventually arrived in Brisbane. After several days re organising, they transferred to Darwin. The Artillery Troop's main weapon was the 75 mm gun. Although they were friendly with the boys of the 43rd, they were wary of Australian Officers. Australian food was in smaller quantities and not very tasty. When our boys visited their American friends, they drank hot coffee, enjoyed donuts, and found American meals delightful. It was a common occurrence for the men to receive an invitation to the American camp for meals. The Australian officers were faring quite well with their meals and couldn't understand why the troops were complaining. A ban was placed on Australians visiting the American camp, when several officers were denied invitations. The ban was ineffective, and larger numbers continued to cross the boundaries. On the first week end, following the American arrival, two of their buddies went for a hike and were lost. Early next morning, the Americans sent out two search patrols for their missing buddies. They also were lost. Our intelligence unit was asked to accompany further search parties in the search. Each search party had an intelligence member as their leader. Tom's group included a major, who was not impressed that a private should be in charge, so he tried to take over. He wasn't impressed with the prismatic compass, preferring to use his watch like the boy scouts did. Tom explained to him that the watch was useless as a compass north of the Tropic of Capricorn (to Cancer). The officer still wasn't impressed so he formed a small break a way group to go with him. That evening the missing hikers and the original search parties had been found. The only group missing was the Major and his party. Next day they were found, quite embarrassed.
Use and Restrictions: No Approval given
Appears in Collections:Territory Times Gone By

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