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Henry James Smith (QX62083 and Q112075) was a sapper with the 11th Field Company, Royal Australian Engineers during WW2. One of their early roles in the war in the Pacific was to defend Townsville. Henry helped to build gun emplacements on Castle Hill in Townsville. He also helped to prepare defences along The Strand near the Seaview Hotel. I wonder if this was the anti-aircraft gun area in what is now Strand Park? He was also involved in building tunnels under bridges to allow their quick demolition if the Japanese were to invade Australia.

They were rushed to Milne Bay in New Guinea at short notice to assist with the defence of Milne Bay. He then moved to Goodenough Island where he assembled dummy tanks, artillery guns, trucks and jeeps which were placed in fake military camps to fool the Japanese. The Japanese took the bait and carried out many unnecessary bombing raids on the false military camps.

Henry was then involved in what was know as the Battle of the Beaches, which involved fighting the Japs along the northern coast of New Guinea to Lae. Henry came home on leave sick with malaria after 12 months in New Guinea. He returned to Bougainville where the 11th Field Company built rough tracks to the front line, including building bridges across raging streams.



In September 1939, the 1st Military District of the Australian Army covered all of Queensland. The headquarters for the 1st Military District was located in Brisbane. District Troops for the 1st Military District were deployed as follows:-

District Troops:

5th Field Brigade, RAA (13th, 14th, 105th Btys) : Kelvin Grove
11th Field Brigade, RAA (42nd, 43rd, 111th Btys) : Kelvin Grove
7th Field Company, RAE: Ipswich
11th Field Company, RAE: Kelvin Grove



On 7 December 1941,  the Australian Army (Militia) Order of Battle showed the following:-

Northern Command - HQ Brisbane, Queenslan

11th Infantry Brigade
    26th, 31st, 42nd, 51st Infantry Battalions
    11th Field Regiment, RAA
    11th Field Company, RAE



Townsville Bulletin, Sat 17 Nov 2007, page 41


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This page first produced 14 December 2007

This page last updated 06 September 2018