CORPORAL LAWRIE STRATFORD
(Now retired Squadron Leader)
Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 23:47:14 +1000
From: Lisha Kayrooz <email@example.com>
Greetings Peter -
I've just discovered your site and have really enjoyed the material you present. You've obviously put a lot of effort into gathering stories and photos. Sadly, the movie clip won't play on my machine.
I have lived in Townsville now for most of the last 30 years after growing up in Ingham to the north. I'm four years younger than you and I'm fascinated by Townsville's wartime history - several elements have a very personal touch for me.
- I remember the Lincolns very well and even pleaded with my father to buy one when they were scrapped, so that I could play in it. Such childhood fantasies. Seeing them at the strip at Garbutt was always the highlight of any trip to Townsville.
- My father-in-law was a RAAF sigs operator at the time of the Japanese air-raids on Townsville and actually DF'd the two planes on their 2nd raid. The DF hut was just off Duckworth Street and my father-in-law is Lawrie Stratford (Sq Ldr Retired), now 81 and sadly afflicted by Alzheimers. Some years ago he told the story to the local newspaper (Townsville Bulletin) so I believe it's in their archives. His account to me was always consistent - he was on duty that night, picked up a brief transmission when the planes were probably well north of Cairns, alerted the other DF stations in the region to listen up, and picked up the next two brief transmissions which allowed them to triangulate their shifting positions and calculate an ETA at Townsville - hence the scrambling of the fighter aircraft.
Lawrie was always very proud of his connection in the story. Incidentally, he located the site of the old DF hut about 15 years ago for a newspaper reporter - no building left but all the concrete compass calibration points were intact. More recently, the extension of Woolcock Street from the east has put a 4-lane highway pretty well smack over the top of the old hut site - sad.
- I'm thoroughly puzzled about the Mt Louisa bunker theory - wouldn't an engineering exercise as grand as that have been noticed by a lot of people? Surely it would have been hard to cover up. Mt Louisa is very rocky and there would have been a lot of blasting to create a space large enough to use, as well as an enormous amount of concrete to reinforce the space. However it would be great to prove or disprove it, either way. Your aerial photos are some of the best I've seen and I have seen a lot. I've also read Rod Cardell's wonderful book and his photos are marvellous as well.
I can't help you with any specific news or other info, I'm sorry to say. I wanted to e-mail you to compliment you on this work - what brought you to do it? and what are you doing now? I work for the government as a systems analyst and I.T. support officer.
Click on photos to enlarge them
Photos showing the "off limits"
where Corporal Lawrie Stratford worked during WW2.
Date: Mon, 06 Mar 2000 00:20:37 +1000
From: Lisha Kayrooz <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Great to hear from you - I feel a little awed to be quoted on your web site.. Lawrie would be very impressed. I'll check on his unit.. not sure offhand. Although I don't think it was the radar unit, I do recall him talking about radar shrouds and eye-strain. I think we have his unit in some old material in our library so I'll dig it out and pass that on to you.
Yes, you have the old hut nailed in your photos - that's impressive. I have a couple of things to chase in the Bulletin archives so I'll see if I can get Lawrie's interview as well. It would be nice if they ever committed their archives to electronic format.. capable of keyword search.
Your age? Yep - on your bio at the bottom of the "Townsville @ War" page... although I personally don't feel it, the years are counting away...
I saw my cousins' hubby in the mess today (I'm an army reservist and he's a RAAF reservist) and he said he had seen your web site. I asked him about the Mustang that was being restored at the base in recent years and it seems that Point Cook have claimed it back. A particular officer had recovered it from the dump at Cook some years ago and put a lot of work into it - once he reached an advanced enough stage, they suddenly decided to claim they never intended to dump it at all... mmmm... how convenient. Can't tell you it's id. Mel is something of a military historian as well although his special interest is collecting military memorabilia - he has quite a collection. If you ever hear of a tripod for a Vickers machine-gun, he would jump at the chance to get it - he has the Vickers sans tripod (among many other weapons etc etc)
Must go - thanks again for your response and I'll get back to you soon Peter. I feel a bit like Jack in his e-mails.. always seem to be doing this in the late hours.
OTHER SIMILAR UNITS
104 RDF Radar Site
on Castle Hill
No. 1 Wireless Unit
© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 27 February 2000
This page last updated 05 September 2015