ALLIED TRANSLATOR AND INTERPRETER SERVICE (ATIS)
IN SWPA DURING WW2

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visits since 17 March 2002

 


Scan of Patch via Ron McMahon, Iowa, USA

ATIS Patch

 

The Allied Translator and Interpreter Service (ATIS) was a combination of Australian and American intelligence personnel placed into an integrated structure. 

Most of the 2,000 Americans who served in ATIS were Nisei, second-generation Japanese Americans. Because very few Japanese soldiers surrendered, the emphasis for ATIS was mostly in connection with the translation of Japanese documents written in the complex and polyalphabetic Japanese language. The War in Europe required three times as many interrogators as translators. But in the SWPA the ratio was reversed.

Almost all of the personnel in the US Navy section of ATIS graduated from the US Navy Japanese / Oriental Language School, University of Colorado at Boulder, USA. David M. Hays, Archivist at the Archives, University of Colorado at Boulder Libraries, is in charge of the US Navy Japanese/Oriental Language School Archival Project which includes some stories of the WW2 graduates of this school.

The interrogation of Japanese POW's took place in the old mansion called "Tighnabruaich" at 195 Clarence Road, Indooroopilly in Brisbane. The Nisei personnel who handled much of the interpretation were housed almost directly across the Brisbane river in Neilson House, Rosebery Terrace, Chelmer which is now a home for geriatrics.

One of the Nisei personnel attached to the GHQ Unit of ATIS at Indooroopilly in Brisbane was Hawaii born WOJG Yoshikazu "Yosh" Yamada. He had been drafted into the US Army in April 1941 and trained as a medic. In October 1941 he arrived at Del Monte Air Base on Mindanao in the Philippines. Yamada injured his back in April 1942 when he was in a truck that hit a bridge when the airfield was evacuated at night. He was evacuated to Australia and was sent to the US Army 4th General Hospital in Melbourne. After he had recovered form his injuries he was attached to the newly formed Allied Translator and Interpreter Service at Indooroopilly in Brisbane.

In 1993 he received recognition for his contributions to America's victory in the Pacific when he was awarded with the Legion of Merit by the US Army. The award was for the role that Yamada played in the deciphering of Admiral Koga's Combined Fleet Secret Operations Order No. 73 (known as the "Z Plan"). 

In February 1944 the Japanese had devised a plan known as "Z Plan" to counter the American naval offensive and destroy the U.S. Pacific fleet. It would commit all the remaining Japanese sea and naval power to one last major battle with the Allies. 

The "Z Plan" gave the status and plans for the Japanese Navy's operations in the Mariana's and the Philippines. Both Japanese and American historians acknowledge that the deciphering of the "Z Plan" was one of the greatest single intelligence feats of the war in the South West Pacific Area.

On 31 March 1944, two Japanese Kawanishi flying boats were enroute to Mindanao in the Philippines. They were carrying Admiral Koga Mineichi and his staff. 

Vice Admiral Shegeru Fukudome, Chief of Staff to Admiral Mineichi Koga, Commander in Chief of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) was on one of the flying boats. He was carrying the "Z plan" documents and the associated cipher system.

The occupants of Fukudome's aircraft were rescued by local villagers and handed over to Lieutenant Colonel Jim Cushing, US Army, the leader of the Philippine Guerrillas. Fukudome attempted to pretend that he was Admiral Koga. He was still carrying the bulging case of documents containing the "Z Plan" and the cipher codes.. 

Cushing realised the possible significance of the documents. He notified his superiors who in turn notified the Allied Intelligence Bureau in Brisbane. Submarine, USS Crevalle (SS 291), was sent to recover the documents and cipher codes.

Forty passengers, including 21 women, 12 children and seven escaped POWs boarded submarine USS Crevalle (SS 291) on the nearby island of Negros at sunset on 11 May 1944. 

USS Crevalle (SS 291) under the command of Commander Walker, was on its third tour of duty in the South West Pacific Area. (SWPA).

USS Crevalle attacked a Japanese convoy en route to Darwin. Crevalle was subsequently depth charged and received substantial damage. Albert Dempster (Yeoman of the boat) was unsure why they had used their last 4 torpedoes to attack the Japanese convoy when they had such an important package on board.

Fairmile (patrol boat) HMAS HL 815 rendezvoused with USS Crevalle at the entrance to Darwin Harbour. USS Crevalle then moored at the Boom Jetty.

The Passengers and the very important package were delivered to Commander Section Base, Darwin, (Commander X. M. Smith U.S.N.R.). The 40 passenger were sworn to secrecy about their voyage. The "Z Plan" and associate ciphers were immediately sent to Brisbane for translation by ATIS personnel at Indooroopilly in Brisbane.

Copies of the documents were made in Brisbane and the original documents were returned to their box and then retuned to the aircraft crash site by another submarine. This was done to fool the Japanese into believing that the documents had not been discovered by the Allies.

Yamada and Lt. Kiyoshi "George" Yamashiro ("Sankey") were the two Nisei personnel assigned with a number of other Caucasian personnel, to deciphering the "Z Plan". Yamada had never been to Japan, and learnt very little Japanese at school in Hawaii. Yamada's ability followed from his superior officer handing him a Japanese dictionary which he read and eventually fully mastered the Japanese language. 

The sort of work that they were asked to do with the "Z Plan" was normally left to officers. The day after Yamada and Yamashiro joined the team they were both promoted to Warrant Officers. At a later date they both became 2nd Lieutenants.

Once the "Z Plan" documents had been translated, they revealed such details as Japanese strategies, the names of the various Japanese commanders and some of their personal characteristics. The names of enemy ships and their capabilities (e.g. firepower and range) and their vulnerabilities.

An advanced base for ATIS was established in New Guinea in September 1944 and eventually an advanced base for ATIS was established in Manila in May 1945.

 

Vic Abe visited Brisbane in mid - late 2001. He was a Japanese American who was a member of the Allied Translator and Interpreter Service (ATIS) of the Military Intelligence Service (MIS). He visited St. John's Cathedral building site and his story appeared in the September 2001 edition of "The Pinnacle - in the Threshold", News from the National Trust St. John's Cathedral Completion Fund.

 

In February 1945, the following personnel were attached to ATIS:-

CO-ORDINATOR
    Col. Mashbir, S.F.
    Assistant:
        Col. Doud, H.

EXECUTIVE OFFICER"
    Lt. Col. Holt, W.C.

ADJUTANT:
    Capt. Sandell, J.M.
    W/O I. Tinkler, U.
    W/O II Miles, C.H.

GHQ UNIT:

 Major Aurell, G.E.
Capt. Aurell, P.W.
Lt. Angstadt, W.E.
Lt. Bartow, E.C.
Lt. Blanton, G.S.
Lt. Blazes, B.B.
Lt. Bramlage, D.L.
Lt. Bornstein, M.
Lt. Booth, T.Y.
Capt. Bowers, F.
Lt. Campbell, D.R.
Capt. Cheney, W.D.
Lt. Cocke, L.S.
Lt. Daly, J.J.
Col. Doud, H.
Lt. Col. Ellis, S.R.
Lt. Fidelman, A.I.
Lt. Goda, G.H.
Lt. Greenberg, F.
Lt. Gurin, J.
Lt. Hannaford, H.
Lt. Hepner, E.H.
Lt. Hoffman, M.A.
Lt. Col. Holt, W.C.
Lt. Hover, W.H.
Lt. Hoyt, F.J.
Lt. Ishio, S.
Lt. Jones, R.B.
Lt. Kadani, T.G.
Lt. Kanegai, Y.G.
Lt. Kaplin, M.I.
Major Kimberly, A.E.
Lt. Kopf, B.
Capt. Kraft, E.J.
Lt. Kurka, R.F.
Lt. Littlefield, N.
Lt. Londinsky, J.J.
Major Mains, K.B.
Lt. Marshall, G.H.
Col. Mashbir, S.F.
Lt. McLaughlin, E.P.
Lt. Metrovich, J.V.
Lt. Morgan, A.
Lt. McGalliard, A.H.
Lt. Nelson, T.
Capt. O'Bannon, L.W.
Lt. Okie, W.R.
Lt. Olszewski, C.E.
Lt. Pedlow, R.W.
Lt. Ray, J.L.
Capt. Reichardt, C.H.
Lt. Roth, I.
Lt. Rumack, O.
Lt. Sakamoto, K.K.
Lt. Shedlesky, P.A.
Lt. Sigwell, R.E.
Lt. Sturm, M.
WOJG Shull, L.
Lt. Tiedemann, A.E.
Lt. Webster, H.B.
Lt. Walsh, M.B.
Lt. Wilson, J.W.
Lt. Yamamoto, S.S.
WOJG Yoshihashi T.
WOJG Yamada, Y.
Lt. Yamashiro, K.
Lt. Young, B.K.
Lt. Young, J.H.

 

ALLIED NAVAL FORCES UNIT:

Lt. (jg) Adams, J.C.
Lt. (jg) Altman, A.
Lt. Bagnall, J.J.
Lt. Comdr. Bartlett, S.C., Jr.
Lt. Bartlett, D.
Lt. Bartlett, R.L.
Lt. (jg) Boggess, R.R.
Lt. (jg) Bonsack, D.M.
Lt. (jg) Bridgham, P.L.
Lt. (jg) Coffin, D.D.
Pay/Lt. Comdr. Crawford, H.A.G.
Sub/Lt. (sp) Cunningham, R.R.
Lt. (jg) DaSilva, A.I.
Lt. (jg) Deane, H.G.
Lt. (jg) Dowling, J.C.
Lt. (jg) Duffey, F.M.
Lt. (sp) Eckersley, T.E.
Lt. (jg) Elicker, P.H.
Lt. (sp) Ellerton, M.
Lt. (jg) Fine, S.
Lt. (jg) Fuld, R.
Lt. (jg) Galatt, R.B.
Lt. Comdr. Gillis, J.H.
Lt. (jg) Gilman, P.S.
Lt. (jg) Greenfield, E.J.
Lt. (jg) Haff, E.L.
Lt. (jg) Halpern, S.
Lt. Handford, D.J.
Lt. (jg) Hellner, M.H.Lt. 
Lt. (jg) Henderson, W.
Sub/Lt. (sp) Hobson, J.P.
Lt. (jg) Hodes, M.
Comdr. Hopkinson, L.F.
Lt. (jg) Huizenga, J.W.
Lt. (jg) Ikle, F.W.
Lt. (jg) Jackson, T.R.
Sub/Lt. (sp) Judd, J.P.
Lt. Kuskie, B.
Lt. Lefroy, J.
Lt. (jg) Lesage, L.
Lt. (jg) Linn, R.H.
Lt. (jg) Love, C.B.
Lt. (jg) Mayer-Oakes, T.F.
Lt. (jg) McKay, D.R.
Lt. (jg) Merrill, R.K.
Lt. (jg) Newton, W.C.
Sub/Lt. (sp) O'Neill, P.G.
Sub/Lt. (sp) Richnell, D.T.
Lt. (jg) Rosston, E.W.
Lt. (jg) Ryder, F.G.
Lt. (jg) Schwantes, R.S.
Lt. (jg) Shedd, R.G.
Lt. (jg) Sheeks, G.H.
Lt. (jg) Sherman, L.B.
Lt. (jg) Silverman, M.
Lt. (jg) Soshnik, J.
Lt. (jg) Stigler, R.L., Jr.
Lt. Stratton, S.S.
Lt. (jg) Theros, E.P.G.
Lt. (jg) Wade, R.H.B.
Lt. (jg) Ward, R.E.
Lt. (jg) Wattles, G.W.
Lt. (jg) Wiley, J.B.
Lt. (sp) Wilson, J.M.
Lt. (jg) Winger, R.O.
Lt. (jg) Winkler, H.R.
Lt. Comdr. Young, W.J.

 

ALLIED LAND FORCES UNIT:

Capt. Abraham, B.
Capt. Badger, E.
Capt. Berry, J.St.C.
Lt. Burgoyne, E.V.
Lt. Bussell, S.R.
Major Caiger, G.
Major Cameron, R.E.M.
Capt. Charlesworth, G.
Capt. Collings, F.E.
Capt. Crane, R.G.
Capt. Curtis, C.V.
Lt. Da Costa, J.M.
Capt. Drake, P.N.
Capt. Edon, G.B.
Capt. Esdale, E.W.
Lt. Fletcher, N.L.
Lt. Flint, E.H.
Capt. Forsythe, J.A.
Lt. Fraser, D.A.
Capt. Gregory, G.W.
Lt. Grey, A.W.
Lt. Hurwood, K.H.
Lt. Jenkins, H.
Capt. Jordan, H.E.E.
Capt. Lang, N.
Lt. Lau, S.K.
W/O II Lee, S.Y.
Lt. Lennie, J.S.
Lt. Lipscombe, T.H.
Major Lloyd, I.L.
Lt. Lloyd, B.L.
Lt. Louwisch, J.A.
Capt. Lynam, R.A.
Capt. Mann, R.C.
Major McDonald, A.L.G.
W/O II McWattie, L.M.
Major Matthews, W.J.
Lt. McKillop, B.C.
W/O II Ma, H.
Lt. Col. Meredith, B.C.J.
Lt. Millingen, C.C.
Capt. Moses, G.L.
Capt. Neville, G.A.
Lt. Nuzum, L.J.
Lt. O'Donnell, K.M.
Lt. Old, C.C.
Lt. Padman, B.H.
W/O II Pappadopoulos, A.A.
Lt. Parish, K.U.
W/O II Preston, J.A.
Capt. Robinson, J.
Major Shelton, J.
Capt. Sherlock, A.A.
Lt. Smith, A.A.
Capt. Sparnon, N.J.
Capt. Spence, A.L.
Lt. Stewart, A.M.
Capt. Thomas, F.G.
Lt. Thompson, E.H.
W/O II Thynne, M.A.
Lt. Tindale, M.B.
Lt. Towsey, A.
Lt. Tucker, J.
Lt. Waters, G.R.
Capt. Wight, R.J.D.

 

ALLIED AIR FORCES UNIT:

W/Comdr. Allman, G.R.
F/O Ang, L.P.H.
U/O Barrett, M.I.
F/Lt. Barton, P.H.
S/Ldr. Clifton, F.W.
Capt. Craig, R.L.
A/S/O Currie, E.J.
U/O Duffield, T.A.
F/Lt. Evans, A.H.
F/Lt. Ewart, E.H.
S/O Foote, E.M.
F/Lt. Goldsmith, W.H.
F/O Hopper, J.B.
S/O Kitchen, D.P.
W/O Lawrie, R.H.
F/Lt. Mann, G.H.
W/O Marquis, L.S.
F/Lt. McBean, A.
F/Lt. Riddall, J.B.
F/Lt. Stuart-Sutherland, R.A.
F/Lt. Thomson, E.C.
F/Lt. Vicary, J.R.
F/Lt. Wiadrowski, M.A.

 

R.N. NAVY:

Lt. Comdr. Bakker, J. (did he also previously work in COIC Townsville?)

 

R.N.E.I. ARMY:

Lt. Col. van der Beek, W.A.

 

CHINESE ARMY:

Major Gen. Lin, Hsiu-Luan

 

DUTY OFFICER:

 

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Bill Bentson for his assistance with this home page.

I'd also like to thank Ron McMahon for his assistance with this web page.

 

REFERENCE BOOKS

Military Telephone Book for Brisbane - February 1945

 

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 Peter Dunn 2003

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