338TH ORDNANCE COMPANY, US ARMY
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WW2

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visits since 20 January 2004

 

Keep 'em Rollin'

The 338th Ordnance Company travelled to Australia on a converted luxury liner. Motor Sergeant Erv Anderson said that he travelled in the crowded hold of this liner. They were only told about half way through the journey that they were headed for Australia. They were give a booklet all about Australia. Erv Anderson still has his booklet. One soldier, after reading the booklet exclaimed "Why they speak English over there." Erv Anderson corrected him by saying "No, we speak English here. We learned the language from them."

After many false Japanese "Periscope sightings", their ship entered Moreton Bay and travelled up the Brisbane River. There were many girls on the wharves who cheered them as they arrived.

The 338th Ordnance Company moved to Eagle Farm airfield where they saw American soldiers assembling P-40 Warhawks. Erv saw a cannon being fitted to a fighter aircraft. They then camped at nearby Camp Doomben awaiting their orders to be shipped to one of the islands. Most of the men went into the city are and bought souvenirs and feasted on the hearty Aussie steak and egg meals. They finally received their orders to move to the US Army Brisbane General Depot at Banyo in Brisbane. Unfortunately their large transport trucks had been sent to another unit at an unknown location.

The 338th Ordnance Company operated a motor pool at US Army Brisbane General Depot at Banyo in Brisbane. When they arrived at Banyo Motor Sergeant Erv Anderson was responsible for all kind or repair equipment and the maintenance of various trucks, jeeps and staff cars, but he had no repair shop to do the work in. There were three large warehouses nearby and many other smaller buildings.

One day, one of the truck driver's mentioned that he had seen a repair shop at what looked like an abandoned Australian Army Camp. Erv and the motor sergeant from the other Company drive out for a look-see at this unused repair shop. It was about 120 feet long by 30 feet wide. Best of all it was prefabricated and bolted together in sections. As they could see no sign of occupation at the Australian camp they classified the repair shop as "Definitely Abandoned". They decided to "acquire" the shed.

That night two trucks with long trailer flat beds were used to "acquire" the repair shop. Erv was unable to attend the acquisition raid on the Aussie camp. The next morning both Companies were busily unloading the two trucks parked in the shop area. It did not take long for them to fully assemble the repair shop which they had disassembled the previous night. They made some modifications to try to disguise the shed. They added a wall on one end for a paint and body shop stall and made a dispatch office at the other end and an attic for some extra storage. It was also painted to finish off the "camouflage scheme" for their new acquisition! 

The acquired Repair Shop at US Army Brisbane General Depot at Banyo

 

Ordnance Service Centre at US Army Brisbane General Depot at Banyo. Their motto was " Keep 'em Rollin' "

 

Second Anniversary for the 338th

A few days later an Australia Staff car drove into their area. An Australian Captain and a Lieutenant walked up to Sgt. Erv Anderson. They inspected the shed and the Captain could be seen pointing things out to the Lieutenant. The Captain commented to Erv that he had a fine shop. The two Australian officers departed without laying claim to their shed.

Some time later Erv was asked by his Captain if an Australian Transportation unit could send some of their men over to work with his truck drivers and mechanics and dispatcher. After checking with his men Erv advised his Captain that this was a good idea and would enhance relationships between the Australians and the Americans. The Aussies arrived and it was clear that they were fresh and had little training. 

At the end of the second week and Australian staff car drove up and the same Australian Captain and Lieutenant hopped out of the car. Erv then realised that the clever Australians had been prepared to forego the retrieval of their repair shop in return for two weeks of free training. They thanked Erv's Captain and saluted and then the Australian Captain, with a wry half smile, exchanged salutes with Sgt Erv Anderson, waved his swagger stick and drove off in his staff car. 


Photo: Erv Anderson

Tented area at US Army Brisbane General Depot at Banyo

The land on the southern side of the intersection of Tufnell Road and Earnshaw Road was used as a Depot Troops Camp where 135 enlisted men lived in tents and 44 buildings were erected.

 


Photo: Erv Anderson

Vehicles stored at the US Army Brisbane General Depot at Banyo

 

The large open vehicle storage area was located between Bell-are Avenue, Crockford Road and Earnshaw Rd.
Is that the Repair Shop at the centre of that area on Earnshaw Road?

 


Photo: Erv Anderson

The tram-bus used for transporting civilians that worked in the warehouses and offices at the Brisbane General
Depot at Banyo. It could carry 50 or more passengers. The driver was Sergeant Hunter Bullins from North Carolina.

 


Photo: Erv Anderson

Corporal Robbins, Motor Sergeant Erv Anderson and bus driver Sergeant Hunter Bullins

One night a girl from the office had to work late because of a rush. There was no vehicle available so Sergeant Bullins said, "I'll take you home with the tram-bus." She he did, but on the way, they did have to park for a bit to discuss "Office Procedures".

 

Sgt. Erv Anderson stand at attention while the cage on his forklift is inspected

 

Sgt. Erv Anderson shows off one of General Douglas MacArthur's
Wolsey limousines that he looked after at Banyo

 

Erv Anderson in later years at his garage called Star City Motor in Velva, North Dakota

Sergeant Erv Anderson made many iron stoves for their huts and the newly acquired repair shop.

While Sergeant Erv Anderson was based at Banyo he made friends with an Australian family. Erv would like to locate any members of the Stewart family. They were John Edgar Stewart and his two daughters Gloria and Joyce. Gloria Stewart had been an entrant in the RSL Miss Brisbane contest. John Edgar Stewart was the head of a Licensing Division and lived at Rode Road, Nundah in the 1940's. (please send me an e-mail if you can help with any information on the Stewart family).

Erv Anderson wrote a book titled "Erv Sez" which has many references to Australia and his time spent there.  His wife was an Aussie girl who moved to the United States in the 1940's with Erv. They were married in Australia during WWII.

 

I am after information on a Robert Hill who was from
West Virginia, USA. He was based at Banyo during WWII.

 

REFERENCE BOOKS

"Erv Sez"
by Erv Anderson

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Erv Anderson and his son James R. Anderson for their assistance with this home page.

 

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Copyright

 Peter Dunn 2003

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This page first produced 20 January 2004

This page last updated 02 September 2008