ON ANJO PENINSULAR
IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA
In August 1943 personnel from 12 Survey and Design Unit RAAF started to study aerial photographs and maps to find a suitable alternatives for an airfield on the Anjo Peninsular. The Anjo Peninsular is the closest part of Australia to Java and thus made an ideal staging point for heavy and medium bombers that were based at inland airfields.
In October 1943, Flying Officer Thomas Oswald "Old Tom" Butcher of 12 Survey and Design Unit, started to survey the Anjo Peninsular region, about 30 miles north west of Drysdale airfield to find a more appropriate airfield than Drysdale. By 13 November 1943 they had fully surveyed Anjo Peninsular and Vansittart Bay.
On 1 January 1944, W/Cdr Rooney, S/Ldr Chesterfield, the CO of 1 Mobile Works Squadron RAAF (1MWS) and F/Lt Marshall of 1MWS inspected the selected airfield and camp site. Sgt "Clarry" Castle and Sgt. Bill Martin of 1MWS were left at the site to act as "Coast Watchers" until the forward party of 1MWS arrived. They had two tents,, supplies and a small wireless set.
A few weeks later in mid January 1944, Sergeants Castle and Martin heard a diesel motor out to sea while they were walking along the west coast of the Anjo Peninsular. They reported their story to North-Western Area Headquarters who thought that it may have been a Japanese submarine running on the surface to charge its batteries. After the war, research has confirmed that Lieutenant Susuhiko Mizuno lead a special Japanese Army Reconnaissance party from Koepang, in Timor on board a 25 ton fishing vessel called "Hiyoshi Maru". The party
On 18 January 1944 they landed on Browse Island and stayed for about 3 hours. On the next morning they entered an inlet on the West Australian coast. Three landing parties led by Lieutenant Susuhiko Mizuno, Sergeant Morita and Sergeant Furuhashi, went ashore and explored different areas. They even took some 8 mm movie footage of what they saw. As it turned out they had landed only 25 kms from where the RAAF were several weeks later to start building their secret airfield at Truscott.
The new airfield was named Truscott in memory of Squadron Leader Keith "Bluey" Truscott of 76 Squadron RAAF who was killed in the Exmouth Gulf on 28 March 1943, when his Kittyhawk hit the sea.
The new Truscott airfield would allow medium and heavy bombers, as well as Catalinas to attack Borneo, Java, Timor and the Celebes.
RAAF Marine Section West Bay was located east of Truscott.
Photo: Donald Bainbridge
Photo of today's Truscott airfield on 25 July 2007
crash lands his Kittyhawk
in Townsville in 1942
S/L Keith "Bluey"
Truscott killed in a Kittyhawk crash
on 28 March 1943 in Exmouth Gulf
AIRCRAFT CRASHES AT TRUSCOTT
|20 Jul 44||about 200 yards offshore near Truscott airfield||Japanese||Mitsubishi Ki-46-II "Dinah"||2 killed|
|abt Nov 44||Truscott||RAAF||LF.VIII Spitfire||A58-300 (JF620), air collision with A58-364 (see below)|
|abt Nov 44||Truscott||RAAF||LF.VIII Spitfire||A58-364 (JG429), air collision with A58-300 (see above)|
|29 Jan 45||Truscott area||RAAF||Catalina||A24-204|
|23 Mar 45||In Vansittart Bay, 4 miles NW of Truscott||RAAF||B-24 Liberator||A72-80, "Old Nick"|
|abt May 45||Pearce||RAAF||F.VC Spitfire||A58-250 (MH586)|
|abt May 45||Truscott airfield||RAAF||LF.VIII Spitfire||A58-399 (LG432)|
|20 May 45||Truscott||RAAF||B-24M Liberator||A72-160|
|20 May 45||Truscott||RAAF||Spitfire||?|
|abt Nov 45||into sea off Truscott airfield||RAAF||LF.VIII Spitfire||A58-347 (JG352)|
"Truscott - The Diary of Australia's Secret Wartime
Kimberley Airbase 1943-1946"
by John and Carol Beasy
"Always First - The RAAF Airfield
Construction Squadrons 1942-1974" (page 33)
by David Wilson
I'd like to thank Donald Bainbridge for his assistance with this web page.
© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 27 March 2000
This page last updated 05 September 2015