John Wayne and Lt. Col. Bleckwenn at the Albion Park Races in December 1943


The Lt Col. Bleckwenn in the above photograph is possibly William Jefferson Blackwenn (rather than Blackween) who had enlisted in the Wisconsin Army National Guard as medical student. He came to the southwest Pacific area in March 1942 as Commanding Officer of the 135th Medical Regiment. Colonel Bleckwenn appears in the May 1944 Military Telephone Directory as the Base Surgeon for Base Section 3, located in the Surgeon's Office at Somerville House.

"B" Company of the 135th Medical Regiment, US Army established a Convalescent Hospital in Armstrong's Paddock in Townsville on 23 April 1942.

Bill Bentson told me that St. Hilda's Girl School at Southport, Queensland was used for a short time by the 135th Medical Regiment.

"C" Company of the 135th Medical Regiment set up a Convalescent Hospital at Major's Creek, about 14 miles east of Woodstock.

A Detachment of "H" Company, 135th US Medical Regiment provided medical services at Livingstone Airfield in the Northern Territory. Melvin Oakes told me that his late uncle William Warren Oakes was in "H" Company, which arrived at Armstrongs Paddock in Townsville on 21 February 1944 on board the transport ship "Andrew D. White". They returned to the ship on 25 February 1944 and left for Finschaffen arriving there on 1 March 1944.

Company An APO list that I have shows the following units of the 135th Medical Regiment located at Birdum in the Northern Territory in June 1942:-

135th Medical Regiment
    - Hq & Serv Co  
    - Hq Det 3rd Bn 
    - Co's A, D, I, H



I'd like to thanks Karen Nunan and Melvin Oakes for their assistance with this web page.


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 Peter Dunn 2015


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This page first produced 17 July 1998

This page last updated 14 January 2017