42ND LANDING CRAFT COMPANY
3RD WATER TRANSPORT GROUP
CORPS OF ROYAL AUSTRALIAN ENGINEERS
AT TRINITY BEACH, NEAR CAIRNS
The 42nd Landing Craft Company was one of many units of the 3rd Water Transport Group of the Corps of Royal Australian Engineers.
From the 18 June 1944, many men from the disbanded 2/8th Armoured Regiment of the 1 Australian Armoured Division, AIF were absorbed into the existing Assault Army Landing Craft, Small Ships and Port Operating Companies which were all part of the Australian Army Water Transport Coy RAE, AIF.
"A" Squadron of the 2/8th Armoured Regiment went to the 42nd Landing Craft Company, and "B" Squadron went to the 43rd Landing Craft Company.
The 42nd Landing Craft Company possibly used a mixture of ALC5, ALC15, ALC20, and ALC40 Australian Landing Craft (ALCs). The 42nd possibly also had several launches which were used as fast supply boats and command vessels. A typical launch was 38 foot long, powered by a 6 cylinder 255 horsepower Gray Marine diesel engine with a cruising speed 14 knots and a top speed of 22 knots. It would typically have a Vickers Machine gun and the two crew members each had a .303 " rifle.
After completing their training at Mount Martha, in Victoria and some conversion and navigational courses at Toorbul Point just north of Brisbane the 42nd Landing Craft Company moved to Trinity Beach just north of Cairns.
The 42nd Landing Craft was to undergo further training at Trinity Beach and then in turn it trained the soldiers of the AIF Division and other groups which were based on the Atherton Tablelands in beach-craft landing exercises.
They had approximately 50 landing craft and work boats moored at Chinamen's Cove in Cook Bay, just north of Taylor's Point. Their camp was on the high sand dunes near Taylor's Point and for a a period they also had a small camp near the 41st Landing Craft Company's camp at Machans Beach.
A large timber structure was erected in the water near Taylor's Point to simulate the side of a ship, to allow troops to practice ship embarkation. There was a 100 foot long ramp out from the beach with a 40 foot high platform at the end of the ramp. The platform was positioned so that it was in the area where the waves broke near the beach. Ship embarkation exercises went on day and night for many months.
Sometimes the exercises would be done using the much bigger Landing Ship Transport (LST). One of these was the USS Bazal Bay.
The functions of Water Transportation units such as the 42nd Landing Craft Company were:-
1. The resupply of essential supplies from principal base ports to forward areas, where there were no roads yet where inshore sea transport was possible
2. The carriage of troops, especially in amphibious assaults
3. The evacuation of wounded.
4. The local carriage of equipment, stores and salvage.
5. Building of minor port facilities, such as jetties and landing stages, to facilitate the operation
of inshore water craft.
3rd Water Transport Group
43rd Landing Craft Company
"Watermen of War"
"A History of No. 43 Australian Water Transport Operating Company (Landing Craft) of the Royal Australian Engineers"
By Colonel John Pearn
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"Australia @ War" Research Products
© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 29 December 2001
This page last updated 04 September 2018