COMPANY "M", 29th QUARTERMASTER
THEN REDESIGNATED AS 3452ND QUARTERMASTER TRUCK COMPANY, US ARMY
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WWII
2 Officers and 122 Enlisted Men of Company "M" of the 3rd Battalion of the 29th Quartermaster Regiment (Truck), a Negro unit, entrained at Fort Sam Houston, Texas enroute to Port of Embarkation, San Francisco, California on 7 March 1942. They arrived at Oakland, California at 0700 hours on 11 March 1942, and detrained and marched to the Staging Area in the International Harvester Building.
3 Officers and 115 Enlisted Men of Company "M" boarded the Queen Elizabeth at 0300 hours on 19 March 1942. They left San Francisco at 1300 hours on 19 March 1942.
They sighted Sydney, New South Wales, Australia at about 1000 hours on 6 April 1942. They started disembarkation at about 1400 hours later that day. All units of the 29th Quartermaster Regiment (Truck) had disembarked by 2100 hours except for Companies "K", "L" and "M" which remained on board to perform stevedore duties due to a lack of wharf labour. In some case the Company mechanics were operating the ship's winches.
The Company "M" moved to their camp at Randwick Race Course where in addition to the usual field duties, training programs and supervised athletics, all Companies of the 29th Quartermaster Regiment (Truck) furnished working details who served in stevedoring capacities at various Sydney docks and wharves.
On 20 April 1942, the Company "M" sextet comprised of Sgt. Cosby Betts, Pfc James D. Richardson, Corporal Willis L. English, Pvt Jesse Durham, and Pfc Nick Richardson sang a number of Negro Spirituals for wounded Australian soldiers at the Lady Wakefield home. They were well received and sang many encores. Arrangements were made by Lt. Ross and Lt. Higley.
Each Company of the 29th QM Regiment was issued tow or three GMCs to be used in training drivers for operations in Australia. Lt. Higley was appointed Regimental Police and Prison Officer and Assistant Regimental Motor Officer on 4 May 1942. On 7 May 1942, Lt Higley was relieved of his duties of Prison and Police Officer and Sgt Barnes was appointed Prison Sergeant.
On Saturday morning of 9 May 1942, the entire 3rd Battalion left Randwick Race Course via motor vehicles enroute to a new camp area 23 miles away at Greystanes, NSW, arriving there at 1000 hours.
Captain Rothermel, Battalion Commander of the 3rd Battalion, assumed responsibility for completing the assembly of all vehicles received for the Regiment.
Sgt Williams in charge of "M Company Maintenance Section set up one of four production lines to service and complete the assembly of 600 GMCs.
Private Lowell B. Burditte was killed on 25 May 1942 when he was crushed by a double decker bus in Sydney. Burial services were held at Kinsella Funeral Parlours the following day.
Company "M" left Sydney in 3 serials on 12 June 1942. The first serial with Lt. Perry in charge left at 0830 hours, the second serial with Lt. Higley in charge left at 1430 hours and the last serial with Captain Campbell in charge left at 2100 hours. The three serials arrived in Brisbane by train on 14 June 1942 at 0600, 0815 and 1000 hours respectively. Vehicles, men and equipment was convoyed to Camp Columbia near Wacol.
The usual camp duties were performed at Camp Columbia from 14 June to 20 June 1942. At 0830 hours on 21 June 1942, Companies "L" and "M" and the 1st Platoon and 2nd Platoon of Company "K" left Camp Columbia by motor vehicle enroute to Mt. Isa. The convoy of 175 vehicles was commanded by Captain Rothermel. Captain Campbell was appointed Operations Officer Captain Potter was appointed Advance Agent, and Lt. Higley was appointed Mess Officer for the convoy. Lt. Jack Stringfellow was the Motor Officer for the convoy.
The convoy arrived in Mt. Isa at 1700 hours on 28 June 1942 after travelling a distance of 1,257 miles. All 175 vehicles made it to Mt. Isa. The rest of the month was spent setting up camp. Lt. Higley was transferred to "K" Company on 29 June 1942. "M" Company Strength on 30 June 1942 was 2 Officers and 105 Enlisted Men.
At 0630 hours on 5 July 1942 Captain Campbell and Lt. Perry left Mt Isa for Birdum in the Northern Territory with a convoy of 45 trucks and 67 Enlisted Men. The rest of "M" Company was engaged in improving the condition of the Company area and performing necessary field duties.
Pfc Joseph Kuykendall had a head on collision with an Australian truck on the way to Birdum. Both trucks were loaded with fuel and immediately caught fire. Kuykendall, uninjured, rushed to the Australian truck and dragged the assistant driver to safety. He headed back for the second Australian who was trapped in the burning truck. An American Officer who had arrived on the scene ordered Kuykendall to stay away from the burning truck.
The Convoy returned to Mt. Isa on 12 July 1942 having travelled a total distance of 1,420 miles.
Convoy #2 (for Night Camp #2) left Mt. Isa on 17 July 1942 with 44 trucks and 73 Enlisted Men and returned on 22 July 1942.
Convoy #3 left Mt. Isa for Birdum on 27 July 1942 with 42 trucks and 69 Enlisted Men.
Company "M" strength on 31 July 1942 was 2 Officers and 111 Enlisted Men.
Convoy #3 returned on 3 August 1942. S/Sgt Barnes transferred to Company "D" of the 29th Quartermaster Regiment (Truck) on 8 August. Sgt. Barnes was promoted to 1st Sgt of Company "D".
A new Table of Organisation received on 13 August 1942 authorised an increase of one Officer, plus10 additional Enlisted Men and more Ratings. The Company was set up on a three Platoon basis as prescribed by the new Table of Organisation.
A Battalion review was held on 15 August 1942 with all Companies of the 3rd Battalion participating. The Battalion was commanded by Captain Rothermel.
Convoy #4 left Mt. Isa for Birdum on 22 August 1942 with 38 trucks and 64 Enlisted Men and returned to Mt. Isa on 30 August 1942. Company "M" strength as of 31 August was 2 Officers and 110 Enlisted Men.
Convoy #5 left Mt. Isa for Birdum on 13 September 1942 with 35 trucks and 56 Enlisted Men and returned to Mt. Isa on 21 September 1942. Captain Campbell and Lt. Perry accompanied all Convoys.
Captain Rothermel was transferred on 30 September 1942 and Captain Stokes V. Robertson, Jr. was appointed Battalion Commander. Company strength as of 30 September 1942 was 2 Officers and 107 Enlisted Men.
The third birthday for Company "M" was celebrated on 16 October 1942. It was declared a rest day for the Company. Pork barbecue and beer was served at the evening meal. 1st Lt. Perry transferred to 1st Battalion Headquarters on 16 October 1942 and 1st Lt. Robert P. Higley was attached to Company "M" on 23 October 1942.
At 1230 pm on 23 October 1942, the first serial of Company "M" entrained at Mt. Isa enroute to Brisbane. The second serial left at 2330 hours. The first serial arrived at Camp Columbia at 1300 hours on 28 October 1942 and the second serial arrived at 0530 hours on 29 October 1942.
Company "M" strength as of 31 October 1942 was 2 Officers and 106 Enlisted Men.
Truck operations within the Brisbane area began on 1 November 1942.
Colonel Miller gave a brief talk at a short Thanksgiving service held on Thanksgiving Day. Arrangements were made to enable each driver on detail to be present of the Colonel's talk and the following meal.
Truck operations involved transporting ammunition and equipment from the wharves to the various depots located in and around Brisbane. Both 2nd and 3rd echelon shops were somewhat handicapped by lack of sufficient parts.
Company "M" strength as of 30 November 1942 was 2 Officers and 105 Enlisted Men.
Normal truck operations were accomplished during December 1942. Work commenced on Freeman Avenue Camp. Captain Campbell made arrangements for hospitalised personnel to spend Christmas Day at the Company. All drivers on detail ate Christmas dinner with the rest of the Company. Company "M" strength as of 31 December 1942 was 2 Officers and 103 Enlisted Men.
1st Sergeant William Suber was evacuated to the United States. Suber had been 1st Sergeant of Company "M" since its activation in October 1939. He was largely responsible for the basic training of the Company.
1st Lt. Higley was assigned to Company "M" on 5 January 1943. An inspection of all Companies of the 29th Quartermaster Regiment (Truck) stationed at APO 923 was conducted on 24 January 1943 by Colonel Donaldson, Base Section Commander and Colonel Crehan, his Executive Officer. On 16 January 1943, all trailers considered in excess of their needs were turned in to Ordnance. Normal transport operations were accomplished during January 1943. Daily details are sent to the new camp at Freeman Avenue to clean up their area. Company "M" strength as of 31 January 1943 was 2 Officers and 103 Enlisted Men.
Normal operations were accomplished in February 1943. On 20 February 1943 the 3rd Battalion began moving to the new camp at Freeman Avenue know as Camp Freeman. Facilities were excellent, electricity in all buildings and tents, wash racks for vehicles, maintenance shop with four stalls and adequate recreational facilities. The 3rd Battalion recreation program was directed by Private Herman J. Tyrance, Company "M" under Lt. Hutchins' supervision. Company "M" strength as of 28 February 1943 was 2 Officers and 115 Enlisted Men. Seventeen replacements were assigned to the Company on 12 February 1943.
On 19 March 1943, 2nd Lt. William T. Clarke was assigned to Company "M". Usual camp duties and transport operations were accomplished during March 1943. 1st Lt. Higley transferred to Headquarters Detachment, 3rd Battalion, 29th Quartermaster Truck Regiment on 31 March 1943. Company "M" strength as of 31 March 1943 was 2 Officers and 116 Enlisted Men.
On 24 April 1943 all Organisations of the 29th Quartermaster Truck Regiment stationed at APO 923 consisting of Regiment Headquarters Detachment, 3rd Battalion Headquarters Detachment and Companies "I", "K", "L", "M" and "F", were inspected by the Commanding Officer of Base Section 3, General Donaldson who commented that there had been a 300% improvement since his last inspection in January.
Usual Camp duties and transport operations were accomplished during April 1943. Improvements to roads, fuel dispensing facilities and quarters were effected during April 1943. Company "M" strength as of 30 April 1943 was 2 Officers and 118 Enlisted Men.
The Doctor Carver Club, established by the American Red Cross for Colored Troops was opened near South Brisbane Railway Station on 5 May 1943. Facilities included a dance floor, lunch counter, and restaurant, library, pool and ping-pong tables, barber shop, showers and quarters for men on furlough.
New vehicles were issued on 11 May 1943 and the old ones were turned in. Company "M" was alerted for movement. Necessary supplies and equipment were drawn between 12 May 1943 and 21 May 1943. 2nd Lt. Martin Johnson was assigned to Company "M" on 14 May 1943. At 1000 hours on 21 May 1943, 3 Officers and 120 Enlisted Men embarked at Brisbane on the USS Henry Dearborn headed for an unknown destination.
USS Henry Dearborn arrived in Townsville on 24 May 1943. 2nd Lt Clarke was promoted to 1st Lt on 29 May 1943. Company "M" strength as of 31 May 1943 was 3 Officers and 120 Enlisted Men.
The Company left Townsville on the USS Henry Dearborn on 3 June 1943 enroute to Milne Bay, New Guinea. They arrived at Gilli-Gilli, Milne Bay at 1530 hours on 6 June 1943. "M" Company left Gilli-Gilli by truck convoy for Ahioma on 21 June 1943 where they immediately began truck operations. The Company moved to Kiriwina in July 1943.
On 2 December 1943, Company "M" of the 29th Quartermaster Truck Regiment was redesignated as the 3452nd Quartermaster Truck Company.
Official Summary of Events
of Company "M", 29th Quartermaster Regiment (Truck)
later redesignated as the 3452nd Quartermaster Truck Company
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© Peter Dunn 2006
This page first produced 4 January 2015
This page last updated 07 January 2015