KATHERINE AIRFIELD, NT
DURING WW2

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visits since 11 September 2002

 

The 808th Engineer Aviation Battalion arrived at Melbourne aboard the U.S.S Coolidge on 2 February 1942, the first U.S. Army Engineering Unit to arrive in Australia. The 808th initially camped at Camp Darley in Melbourne.

The unit took trains and trucks to Katherine, in the Northern Territory, arriving there 19 - 20 February 1942. On 28 February Company " B" began working on the Katherine Airfield.

Katherine Air field was developed by extending the old civilian airfield between 19 February to 13 April 1942. The entire 808th Battalion worked on the airfield from 19 February to 13 March 1942 and Company A and HQ Company Only worked on it from 13 March to 13 April 1942. 

They built a 5,000 ft runway that was 100 ft wide with 25 ft wide shoulders paved with 6 inches of gravel. Also built was 5,000 ft of taxiway 30 ft wide with 10 ft shoulders paved with 4 inches of gravel. There were 18 airplane dispersals with out revetments.

Carson's Field, Katherine Airfield and Daly Waters Airfield were designed to operate heavy B-24 Liberator bombers. 

 

Japanese bombing raid on Katherine 22 March 1942

 

MILITARY AIRCRAFT CRASHES AT KATHERINE DURING WW2

DATE LOCATION SERVICE AIRCRAFT SERIAL NO.
22 Nov 44 near Katherine RAAF Tiger Moth A27-421
abt Dec 44 Katherine RAAF LF.VIII Spitfire A58-401 (MD226)
abt Dec 44 Katherine RAAF LF.VIII Spitfire A58-450 (JG605) collided with roller when taxying

 

"Hunter House" near Katherine, NT
General Blamey's bush HQ's

 

North Australia Observer Unit (NAOU)
Headquarters in Katherine

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Melvin Haba for his assistance with this home page. Melvin's father was Technician 5 Grade (Corporal) Laudie R Haba of Company "B" of the 808th Engineer Aviation Battalion. Laudie Haba returned to the States in December 1944.

 

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 Peter Dunn 2004

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This page first produced 11 September 2002

This page last updated 17 June 2007