1939 TO 1945

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Western Australians have always felt isolated from the rest of their country, but never as much as they felt in the first few months of 1942. Singapore fell on 15 February with more than 50,000 men becoming prisoners of war. Darwin was bombed on 19 February by the same Japanese fleet that had attacked Pearl Harbour. On 3 March, Broome was attacked from the air, killing many refugees from the NEI which had now been captured along with the Philippines.

WA saw an influx of refugees from the north, including the US Asiatic Submarine Fleet which had escaped from the Philippines and Fremantle was a hive of activity. Then, overnight most of the submarines moved further south to Albany as they were not safe in Fremantle.

Although the Japanese did not reach this far south, Defending Fremantle outlines the defence of the port against the very real threat from sea, air and land attack during the Second World War with a chapter covering the defences of the secondary ports of Albany and Bunbury.

Fremantle was to become one of the important naval bases in the Indian Ocean and the home base for up 170 American, British and Dutch submarines which patrolled as far as the Sea of Japan. To defend this base, up to 10,000 Australian servicemen and women manned 29 coast defence guns, up to 50 heavy and 100 light AA guns as well as over 120 searchlights from almost 80 sites around the Perth/Fremantle area. Few of these sites remain intact but Defending Fremantle outlines their role as part of the overall Australian war effort.

This new book by Perth military historian Graham McKenzie-Smith follows his Australia’s Forgotten Army Vol 1 which covered the field army in WA and is the first of a series covering the defence of major areas of the vast continent of Australia.

$25:00 which includes
postage and handling


Now out of Print

Try a Google Search to find a copy


Please tell Graham that you found out about his fantastic book
via Peter Dunn's "Australia @ War" web site



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This page first produced 24 August 2009

This page last updated 21 January 2020