41ST INFANTRY DIVISION, I CORPS, U.S. ARMY
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WW2

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visits since 4 July 2001

 

The 41st Infantry Division left San Francisco on 19 March 1942, aboard the Queen Elizabeth, President Coolidge and the Mariposa. They arrived in Sydney on 6 April 1942. The mighty Queen anchored in Sydney Harbor with soldiers and equipment disembarking from the Queen Elizabeth via tugs and ferries and barges because the Queen Elizabeth was too large to dock at the Sydney harbour facilities. They were soon on a train headed south. They changed trains at Albury on the border with Victoria as each state had its own different rail gauge.

Their destination was Camp Seymour at Mangalore, located just NNE of Seymour in Victoria, and also to an Australian Military Camp near Puckapunyal, in Victoria.

The following units were located at Camp Seymour in June 1942:-

- Headquarters Company 41st Infantry Division (Tri)
- MP Co 41st Infantry Division (Tri)
- Hq & HQ Btry 41st Div Arty & Band
- 41st Recon Trp
- 41st Signal Co

From Camp Seymour they were later moved to "The Caves" or Camp Caves near Rockhampton in Central Queensland.

From "The Caves", part of the Division went to New Guinea and the rest went to Rollingstone just north of Townsville to train with wild Australian horses to be used as pack animals in New Guinea. They had 500 pack horses but after about ten months it was found not feasible as the horse hoofs could not tolerate the damp soil. They then returned to Rockhampton and were turned into a mechanized artillery unit and went on to New Guinea and Biak and eventually on to the Philippines. The group that had gone to Rollingstone spent about 3 years in Australia.

The 41st Ordnance Company of the 41st Infantry Division were camped in the Rockhampton Showgrounds in December 1942 when they witnessed the crash of an RAAF Tiger Moth on 11 December 1942. Three men from the 41st Ordnance Company rescued the badly injured pilot from his burning aircraft. Unfortunately the pilot later died from his injuries. The following three men were awarded the Soldier's Medal by Major General H.H. Fuller at the Rockhampton Showgrounds on 22 December 1942. 

The three men were:-

20941891  T/Sgt. Keith O.J.
20931572  Sgt. Boardman W.C.
20941783  Cpl. Wilson E.W.

On Friday 26 November 1943 General Douglas MacArthur accompanied by General Lumsden and Colonel Palmer of the Royal Army, and his aide, Lieutenant Colonel Morhouse, departed Archerfield Airfield at 0730 hours and proceeded by air to Rockhampton where he was met by General Eichelberger and staff and inspected the Rehabilitation Center, for the 24th Infantry Division and the 41st Infantry Division, and returned to Brisbane at 1830 hours.


Photo:- US Army

101st Station Hospital Rockhampton Lt. Col. Garfield, G. Duncan, MC explaining the malaria suppressive
therapy charts to General Douglas MacArthur at the 101st Station Hospital, Rockhampton on 26 November 1943.
Left to right:- Colonel Duncan; two officers in doorway unidentified; Lt Col. Wallace A. Dunton, Sixth US Army
Training Center; Lt. Col. C.H. Morehouse, Aide-de-Camp to General MacArthur; Lt. Gen Herbert Lumsden, British Army
Liaison Officer; Lt. Gen. Robert L. Eichelberger, Commanding General, I Corps; Col. Frank LaRue, Commanding
Officer, Sixth US Army Training Center; and General Douglas MacArthur at far right.

At 0825 hours on Wednesday, 26 January 1944, General Douglas MacArthur accompanied by Colonel Lehrbas and Huff, left Brisbane by air for Rockhampton, arriving at 1010 hours. They drove into country to lunch with General Eichelberger and his staff. MacArthur completed a brief inspection of I Corps Headquarters area and, along the road, conferred briefly with General Fuller and inspected troops of the 41st Infantry Division. He left Rockhampton at 1430 hours and arrived Brisbane at 1625 hours. General MacArthur celebrated his birthday that day in Rockhampton.

The 1st Evacuation Hospital was one of the many units attached to the 41st Division. Dr Walter Powell, former Director of Planning and Historic Preservation for the Borough of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and grandson of the late Doctor Louis J. Hampton who served in the 1st Evacuation Hospital in Australian and New Guinea from 1942 through to 1945 visited Rockhampton in August 2011. Dr Louis Hampton was stationed in the Rockhampton area from July 1942 to December 1942. He was a surgeon with the 1st Evacuation Hospital which was located at a location behind today's Crematorium on the outskirts of Rockhampton. US Army Doctors and nurses had their own club in Rockhampton which was located in the Grammarian Club in Quay Street, opposite Customs House. Walter Powell met up with Jack Fleming of Emu Park, a former member of the 41st Division. He also met Bonnie Beak whose family gave Dr Hampton a farewell party before he left Rockhampton in December 21942,

 

Cannon Company, 162nd Infantry, 41st Division

 


 

John Babiak sent me the following info on 3 July 2001:-

I didn't expect a reply so soon and I think possibly there was a lot of records that were not reported so early in our arrival. I will try to give you a brief report along with the statement that the war was the best thing that happened to me as I met a girl that came from Broken Hill. She came to America and we were married for 54 years. We returned several times.

The 41st div was on two ships. One went to Darwin and the other was on the Queen Elizabeth to Sydney. Two other ships accompanied the Queen but went to Melbourne and I don't know who was on them. The Queen part went to Seymour for about three months and then moved to Rockhampton (Rocky) and were joined by the rest that came from Darwin. The camp in Rocky was kept active until early in 1944 as our infantry went to New Guinea to assist the Aussies on the Owen-Stanley trail to Port Moresby. Then the infantry was relieved by the US 32nd div and returned to Rocky. While the infantry was in N.G. the Artillery portion (me) went to Townsville (Mingela) where we acquired the 500 wild horses (Wild Brumbies). After a short time we walked from Mingela to Rollingstone. The camp was about a mile off the highway at the base of Mount Leach and to this day must still have the biggest pile of horse manure on the side of a hill. Every day the manure was swept up and hauled up the side of this hill. After several months the horse program was disbanded and we returned to Rocky and eventually to NG. The camp in Rocky was all tents, On the Yeppoon highway about half way. There is a big rock near the area as a land mark. 

Also as a tribute from the people of Rockhampton they built a roofed building (open on the sides) with a stone marker with the name 41st division and other words of recognition. It is on the right side of the road going towards Emu Park, Maybe less than 5 miles from town.

I returned to Rockhampton in the early 80's and it had grown a lot in 40 years, then.

Well Peter things are still pretty clear to me and If you get any useful information from it you are welcome to it. After reading your reply, I feel that things went pretty fast and a lot of things were not recorded.

By the way where are you residing now? I am quite familiar with Australia from Cairns to Perth. I have relatives in Forster, Broken Hill, Adelaide, Perth and several other places with nieces and nephews.

Thanks for the reply. 

John

 


 

Subject:    US Army in Australia during WW2
Date:            Wed, 29 Aug 2001 09:57:41 +1000
From:           "Ernie COX" <datahevi@bigpond.com>

My father was in the 41st Division. He married my mother in 1942 and I was borne in August 1943. After the war the Australian government would not allow any Americans to be discharged in Australia (too many sick Aussies of our own I suppose). He went back to the USA where he spent 6 months at a military hospital (where he developed a lifelong hatred of doctors). Anyway my parents drifted apart and were eventually divorced. When I turned 40 and with the encouragement of my wife I decided to try and find him. Eventually I did and he came out here with his new wife and one of his daughters and her daughter. You can only imagine the emotion at that time between all the players in this drama. Mum and him had a good old chinwag and laid a lot of ghosts to rest. Within a year my mother died (57y) and within another year he died (63y). (they were both heavy smokers)

I have just recently retired (sort of) and intend to do a lot of stuff which has been backing up over the years. I am in contact with a few sons and daughters of these men. There must be a good book in it for someone who knows how to do it. One of these is the son of a US serviceman who received a bravery award for rescuing an RAAF pilot of a Tiger Moth which crashed in grounds of the present Rockhampton High School at Wandal.

I have details and anecdotes of several things which happened in Rocky during the war. Sandra BRAKE wrote an excellent thesis on the "American Occupation" which is available from the uni. I have a picture of a Liberator which overshot the runway (33) and ended up in Lion Creek with the loss of all 15 (approx) on board. The person I got the picture from has the HF radio and a compass from the plane. I will try and document as much as I can and send it to you and would be very interested in your grandmothers pictures. I will also start on the article on the hole in the airport runway which was the subject of another email.

Bye for now and keep up your excellent work.

Ernie COX

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank John N. Babiak, Battery B 167th FA, 41st Division US Army, for his assistance with this home page.

 

BOOK REFERENCES

The Jungleers : a History of the 41st Infantry Division
By McCartney, William F. 
Call Number: 940.5426 14 at Central Queensland University

 

The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton), 20 August 2011
Article in "Our Town" column on page 32

 

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This page first produced 4 July 2001

This page last updated 20 December 2011