ALLIED INTELLIGENCE BUREAU
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WW2

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visits since 10 April 2000

 

The Allied Intelligence Bureau (AIB) was established in June 1942 under the command of Australian Colonel C.G. Roberts. He reported directly to Major-General Charles A. Willoughby, who was General Douglas MacArthur's Chief Intelligence Officer for the South West Pacific area (SWPA). Interestingly enough Willoughby was born in Germany and named Karl Widenbach at birth. He still spoke with a thick German accent when he worked for MacArthur. He was an admirer of Spanish dictator, General Franco.

Colonel van S. Merle-Smith of the U.S. Army acted as a link between the Colonel Roberts, Controller of the AIB and Major-General Willoughby, G2. AIB's Finance Officer was Lieutenant Colonel Alison W. Ind of the U.S. Army.

AIB's mission was "to obtain and report information of the enemy in the South West Pacific Area, exclusive of the continent of Australia and Tasmania, and in addition, where practicable, to weaken the enemy by sabotage and destruction of morale."

AIB was staffed by personnel from ten armed services from Australia, Britain, America, Netherlands East Indies and Asia. At its peak it controlled eight separate organisations broken up into four Sections:-

 

Section A Special Operations Australia
Section B Secret Intelligence Service, Australian Section, also known as Secret Intelligence Australia (SIA).
Section C There were 3 sub-sections:-

1. North-east Area - mainly Coast Watch Organisation later called Combined Field Intelligence Service

2. Philippines (the Philippines Regional Section was later established as a separate section)

3. Netherlands East Indies (the Netherlands Forces Intelligence Section, Division III later became a separate section)

Section D Far Eastern Liaison Office (FELO) or Military Propaganda Section

 

GHQ SWPA
AC of S, G-2
Major-General Charles Willoughby
AIB Controller
Colonel C.G. Roberts
Section A
Mott
Section B
Captain Roy Kendall
Section C
 
Section D
Lieutenant-Commander J.C. Proud

 

There was the inevitable duplication and rivalry between the various groups. This occurred at the management levels, as it was unheard of for the operatives to have any knowledge of the existence of any other similar groups.

A member of "M" Special Unit at Morotai operated a teletype machine in a tent with 6 other Americans. Prior to the war ending, his unit was scheduled to go to the Philippines. A week later news came through that they were to disband the Intelligence HQ as soon as possible. He and about 6 others from his unit were loaded on to a B-24 along with all their paperwork in numerous filing cabinets. They moved into AIB's headquarters at Heindorff House at 171 Queen Street in Brisbane, where they had the job of sorting out all the paperwork into two categories. The information that belonged to Australia and that which belonged to the Americans.

Section A - Special Operations Australia
This was the "dirty tricks" department. Special Operations Australia (SOA) was formed in March 1942 with the assistance of the British Special Operations Executive.  SOE was staffed with saboteurs, commandos and spies whose job it was to:-

- harass enemy lines of communications

- attack enemy shipping and small craft in harbours and rivers

- organise resistance by local inhabitants

- establish secret communications

- disseminate propaganda against the Japanese and Germans

- direct sabotage, subversion and fifth-column activity

In 1943 SOA was restructured and became known as Services Reconnaissance Department.

 

978th Signal Services Company

 

Section B - Secret Intelligence Australia (SIA)
A signal intercept and code-breaking unit. SIA was an offshoot of the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6). They were charged with the "Collection of information of the enemy and his activities through certain special means and channels concerning which detailed secret instructions will be issued from time to time".

SIA's Headquarters was at "Craigroyston" in Bowen Terrace, in the suburb of New Farm in Brisbane. Its training headquarters was at Newman House at Caboolture, just north of Brisbane. Newman House was a grand old elegant building set in several acres of land. It had a courtyard and extensive gardens, complete with a bowling green, croquet green, tennis courts, billiard room, sundeck and a water tower. SIA operatives used the water tower to practice parachute jumping.

Section C - Coast Watch Organisation or Combined Field Intelligence Service
This evolved from the pre-war Naval coast watching system. The role of Section C was "obtaining all possible information about the enemy, his disposition, movements, strength, etc. through such agencies as the coastwatchers, native agents and civilian operations".

Section D - Far Eastern Liaison Office (FELO) or Military Propaganda Section
FELO was initially responsible for:-

- Preparation of propaganda material useful to the other sections and initially for dissemination by them.

- Activities will be expanded as occasion requires, after plans have developed and co-ordination with other agencies which may be set up in this field

Alfred Deakin Brookes was appointed as the chief of the Australian Army section of the Far Eastern Liaison Office (FELO). Brookes joined the Army as a Lieutenant and was seconded to the Allied Intelligence Bureau in Melbourne.

Group Captain C.C. Bell RAAF was appointed Deputy Controller of FELO. He set up Camp Tasman at Indooroopilly in Brisbane where they created leaflet propaganda.

Major-General Willoughby had always wanted AIB to be reorganised geographically. In late 1942 Colonel Roberts drafted a plan for the new arrangements for AIB.  A regional system was finalised at a conference in March 1943 and was promulgated on 16 April 1943. AIB would look after activities in Sarawak, Portuguese Timor, and British North Borneo, while Regional Sections would cover other areas (Philippines Regional Section and Netherlands East Indies Regional Section).

The October 1943 and May 1944 Brisbane Military Telephone Directories shows the following entries for Allied Intelligence Bureau:-

ALLIED INTELLIGENCE BUREAU - SOUTH WEST PACIFIC AREA

4th FLOOR, HEINDORFF HOUSE, 171 QUEEN STREET

OCTOBER 1943

MAY 1944

CONTROLLER:
    Col. Roberts, C.G.        Room No. 40
CONTROLLER:
    Col. Roberts, C.G.        Room No. 41
ASSISTANT TO CONTROLLER:
    Lt. McCauley, M.. (A.W.A.S.)    Room No. 40
ASSISTANT TO CONTROLLER:
    Lt. McCauley, M.. (A.W.A.S.)    Room No. 41
DEPUTY CONTROLLER:
   
Lt. Col. Ind, A.W.    Room 38
DEPUTY CONTROLLER:
   
Col. Myers    Room 40
  ASSISTANT DEPUTY CONTROLLER:
    Lt. Col. Ind, A.W.     Room No. 38
ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER AND C.O. "M" SPECIAL UNIT:
    Major Caporn, S.S.    Room 37
ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER AND C.O. "M" SPECIAL UNIT:
    Major Caporn, S.S.    Room 37
CHIEF SUPPLY OFFICER:
   
Capt. Glenn, B.B.    Room No. 42
CHIEF SUPPLY OFFICER:
   
Capt. Glenn, B.B.    Room No. 42
BRISBANE SUPPLY OFFICER:
    Lt. Wilcox, C.S.    Room No. 42
BRISBANE SUPPLY OFFICER:
    Lt. Wilcox, C.S.    Room No. 42
    Warehouse
  AIB STAGING CAMP:   (where was this?)
     Capt. Ingersole, H.H.
     Lt. Spiro, J.
TRAINING OFFICER:
    Capt. Davidson, A.L.    Room No. 39 Camp
 
SECTIONAL OFFICERS:
    Col. Whitney, C.    Room No. 47
    Commander McManus, J.C.    Room No. 35B
    Lt. Commander Caspers, J.W.    Room No. 36
    Lt. McFarlan, D.    Room No. 35A
    Lt. Harwood, F.W.    Room No. 35A
    Major Brown, L.    Room No. 47

SECTIONAL OFFICERS:
    Col. Whitney, C.    Room No. 45
    Commander McManus, J.C.    Room No. 35B
    Lt. Comdr. Mackenzie, H.     Room No. 35B
    Lt. Comdr. Vaarzon-Morel, M.     Room No. 11
     Capt. Higbee, D.M.     Room No. 48
     Lt. Harwood, F.W.    Room No. 35A
     Lt. Campbell, A.     Room No. 35A
     Lt. Rowe, G.F.     Room No. 36 
CRYPTOGRAPHERS:
    Lt. Ferguson, C.B.    Room No. 34
    Lt. McFarland, C.B.    Room No. 34
    Lt. Hale, E.H.    Room No. 34
    Lt. Bry, K.F.    Room No. 34
CRYPTOGRAPHERS:
    Lt. Ferguson, C.B.    Room No. 34
    Lt. McFarland, C.B.    Room No. 34
    Lt. Hale, E.H.    Room No. 34
    Lt. McGivney,J.    Room No. 34
FINANCE SECTION:    Room No. 39 FINANCE SECTION:    
     W/O Taylor, C.E.     Room No. 39
SECRETARIAL:
    (Controller)    Room No. 40
    (Col. Whitney, C.)    Room No. 46
SECRETARIAL:
    Controller    Room No. 39
    Col. Whitney, C.    Room No. 46
    Duty Officer

 

Signal Intelligence Units in Australia during WW2

 

REFERENCE BOOKS

"The Eavesdroppers - The best kept secret of World War 2"
By Jack Bleakley

"War by Stealth - Australians and the Allied Intelligence Bureau 1942 - 1945"
By Alan Powell

"Oyster - The Story of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service"
By Brian Toohey and William Pinwill

Maneski, Sharon A., "The Quiet Heroes of the Southwest Pacific Theater: An Oral History of the Men and Women of CBB and FRUMEL", 1996

 

I am interested in hearing from any ex members of
Allied Intelligence Bureau who may be able to assist me with
more information for this new home page

I am also interested in any information on
Camp Tasman at Indooroopilly (where was it?)
and "Craigroyston" at Bowen Terrace
and Newman House at Caboolture

 

Central Bureau Intelligence
Interception and cryptanalyzing of Japanese intelligence

 

 Interrogation of Japanese prisoners at Indooropilly, Brisbane

 

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 Peter Dunn 2003

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This page first produced 10 April 2000

This page last updated 26 December 2007