Its Lost Sub & Contribution to World War II
by Tim Baldock

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Fremantle was the world's second largest submarine base in the Second World War and housed submarines from the United States, England and The Netherlands. This followed Japan's invasion, and occupation of, much of the Pacific after their attack on Pearl Harbour in December 1941.

The contribution of this submarine fleet to the eventual Allied victory was immense, with some of the United States' most successful ships based there. Many submarines were lost at sea over the course of the war, and the USS Bullhead, the memory of which this book is dedicated to, was the last American ship to be lost in World War Two. After leaving the Port of Fremantle in July 1945, she was sunk off the coast of Bali on 6 August 1945, the same day as the first atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.

In total, more than 170 submarines were based in Fremantle over the course of the war. Such was the importance of this base, that the Port was closed to the public and most people who lived in Fremantle had no idea of the significance of their contribution to the war effort.

To protect the Port, an array of coastal defences existed which stretched from Swanbourne in the north, to Point Peron in the south, and out to Rottnest Island off the coast. The guns at Rottnest could engage enemy targets from a distance of 28 kilometres, long before an attacking battleship could come within range of Fremantle.

In his book, Tim talks about life in Fremantle during the war, and the tensions that existed between Australian and American servicemen. He writes about the fall of Singapore to Australia's north, the bombing of Darwin and the Japanese plans for the invasion and occupation of Australia.


Paperback, 143 pages


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This page first produced 31 January 2019

This page last updated 21 January 2020