GEORGE STREET, BRISBANE, QLD
USED BY THE MILITARY
Lennon's Hotel had it first association with the Military very early in the war against Japan. The eight ships of the American Pensacola Convoy arrived in Brisbane on 22 December 1941. Brigadier General Barnes, on board the transport ship "Republic", was welcomed to Brisbane by Colonel Merle-Smith from the American Consulate in Melbourne. By 5 pm General Barnes and his officers had established their temporary Headquarters for the United States Forces in Australia (USFIA) and their accommodation in the original Lennon's Hotel in George Street.
The new Lennon's Hotel built on the site of the historic old Lennon's Hotel, opened in early July 1941 with claims that it was the most modern hotel in Australia. The building featured special texture bricks in a delicate salmon colour, a series of stepped light courts and horizontal window hoods. There were 16 fully equipped flats and 140 other rooms. Guest's rooms were air conditioned. It had an imposing street entrance, a private bar, a snack bar, two shops and office premises occupied by the Bank of Australasia. The entrance vestibule, which measured 60 feet by 40 feet had a broad flight of rubber tiled stairs leading up from George Street. Large display cases for city firms and a Hotel Shop plus a Porters' and Booking Offices plus the telephone switch and cabinets were located in the vestibule. Beyond the vestibule were the grand lounge, banquet hall and ballroom. The flat roof on the hotel allowed for deck games and sun baking.
On 12 December 1941, American troops in the Pensacola Convoy originally scheduled for the Philippines were constituted as Task Force South Pacific, and placed under the command of General Barnes, who was the senior officer in the Pensacola Convoy. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the convoy was ordered to proceed to Brisbane, Queensland, Australia and General Barnes was instructed to assume command of all American troops in Australia and place his forces under General Douglas MacArthur who was at that time Commanding General, United States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE). General Barnes' prime role was to aid with the defense of the Philippines. When the Pensacola convoy docked at Brisbane, Australia, on 22 December 1941, the Task Force South Pacific became the U.S. Forces in Australia (USFA or USFIA) with General Barnes in command.
General Brett was scheduled to become the Commanding General but until his arrival, Brig. Gen. H.B. Claggett, an Air Corps officer on General MacArthur's staff, was sent from the Philippines to Australia to take temporary command in Australia. General Claggett arrived in Brisbane by air on 22 December 1941 and took over the command of USFIA from General Barnes on 24 December 1941 with General Barnes as his Chief of Staff.
The Headquarters for the U.S. Army Forces in Australia (USFIA), relocated from Lennon's Hotel to the MacRobertson Girls High School at 350-370 Kings Way, Melbourne, Victoria on 3 January 1942.
By Special Orders No. 4 dated 4 January 1942, Headquarters United States Forces in Australia, the following officers were relieved from duty with Headquarters United States Forces in Australia and assigned to duties with Headquarters, United States Troops in Brisbane Area:-
Colonel Alexander L.P. Johnson, 0-3163, INF
Lt. Col. Geoffrey Galway, 0-5753, CAV.
Major George H. Diltz, 0-16332, QMC.
Major Jesse T. Harper, 0-297596, MC.
Captain James M. Jones, 0-277141, AC.
Captain John E. Kinney, 0-12950, CC.
Captain William D. Lakeman, 0-294867, INF.
Captain Chester E. Lange, 0-296537, FA.
Captain Emil J. Smith, 0-214077, QMC.
Captain John W. Schermerhorn, 0-193213, INF.
Captain Howard L. Steffy, 0-311381, QMD.
1st Lt. James B. Berry, 0-361784, INF.
1st Lt. Myron J. Birnbaum, 0-346233, FA.
1st Lt. Alfred J. Emard, 0-298738, INF.
1st Lt. Jesse B. Halprin, 0-336044, INF.
1st. Lt. James E. Hicks, 0-317099, INF.
2nd Lt. Mark T. Muller, 0-375668, SC.
General Brett arrived in Australia on 31 December 1941. He took over as Commanding General, USAFIA on 5 January 1942 assumed command of all American troops in Australia and reporting to General Douglas MacArthur, the Commanding General, United States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE).
Via Michael Elton
The WWII Lennon's Hotel, is the
section at the far right
The newer section at the left was built after WWII
Pilots of the 27th Bomb Group and the 24th Pursuit Group landed on the Hamilton Reach of the Brisbane River in a RAAF short Empire flying boat near the ships of the Pensacola Convoy. They had departed Darwin on 23 December 1941 and travelled to Brisbane via Groote Eylant, Townsville, Rockhampton, arriving at the Hamilton Reach of the Brisbane River on 24 December 1941. Colonel James "Big Jim" Hubert Davies and the pilots of the 27th Bomb Group were also quartered at Lennon's Hotel in the city. During their stay in Brisbane they ran a dive bombing school for the incoming pilots. They also recruited some mechanics from the 7th Bomb Group as gunners and line crews for the 27th Bomb Group.
The entire top floor of the original Lennon's Hotel in George Street Brisbane was eventually requisitioned for use by the American military forces during WWII. This was probably done by Hirings Section, No. 1 L of C, Australian Army Hirings Service .
Sketch of Lennon's Hotel.
There's that Palm tree again!!
the shorter building at far right was the Hotel Daniell
GHQ, SWPA, moved from Melbourne to Brisbane on 21 July 1942 and set up their offices in the old 9 storey AMP Building in Queen Street, Brisbane. The building is now known as MacArthur Chambers.
General Douglas MacArthur, Mrs Jean MacArthur and their son Arthur were accommodated in three of the flats on the 4th floor at Lennon's Hotel. Each flat had a bedroom, living room, kitchen, office and library. Many of MacArthur's most senior officers from his General Headquarters South West Pacific Area (GHQ, SWPA) also lived in Lennon's Hotel in George Street. See the Table below. It was originally thought that a red and white striped canvassed awning was erected over the entrance to the hotel in honour of MacArthur's presence in the hotel. It is now believed that this was actually erected on the side of the AMP building in Edward Street. The bolt holes from this awning were still visible a number of years ago. It is believed they were covered up as part of external renovations for the Apple Store being opened on the ground floor.
Michael Elton told me that the suites the MacArthurs occupied were in Room Nos. 41, 43 and 44 on the 4th floor. Michael was told that Room No. 41 was the suite set up for his son to play with his toys in, the other was their bed room and sitting room. The remaining room on that floor, Room 42 was used by Major Day briefly, then Lt. Col. Morhouse, MacArthur's doctor. It was also used by others from time to time. General Sutherlands room was located on the 3rd floor. General Kenney occupied Room No 13 on the lowest residential floor of the hotel. Eichelberger used one of the visiting VIP rooms, Room No 104.
Room Allocation for Lennon's Hotel 28 September 1942 - Billetting Office
|101||Byrne Mrs.||201||Kelly Captain|
|102||Watt J.||202||Neal Lt. Commander|
|104||Eichelberger General||204||Weller Lt. Commander|
|105||Edwards Captain / Beyer Col.||205||Roeder Lt. Commander|
|106||Rice Colonel||206||Stuart Lt. Commander|
|107||Chase Captain||207||Grant Lt. Commander|
|108||208||Burnside Lt. Commander|
|109||Miller Major||209||Martin Lt. Commander|
|110||Hook 1st Lieut.||210||Hudson Commander|
|212||De Graff Colonel|
|11||Stivers General||213||Taylor Major|
|12||Ray Captain||214||Robinson Lt. Colonel|
|14||Marquat General and Scott Lieut.||216||Sawallesh Captain|
|217||Sandberg Lt. Colonel|
|218||Silverman Lt. Colonel|
|21||Casey General||219||Wilson General|
|22||Whitlock General||220||Bullock Colonel|
|23||Carpenter Rear Admiral||221||Lehrbas Colonel|
|24||Jones Rear Admiral & Carson Capt.||222||Bryant Captain|
|31||Chamberlin General||225||Dice Major|
|32||Willoughby General||226||McBride Colonel|
|33||Akin General||227||Quinn Mr.|
|34||Sutherland General||228||Cheney Colonel|
|230||Nicol Lt. Colonel|
|41||General MacArthur's Son||231||Goodman Jim|
|42||Moorehouse Lt. Colonel||232|
|302||402||Hurley and Sears
|303||Watt Lt. H.||403||Mente Major|
|305||Merl Smith Colonel||405||Fitch Colonel|
|306||Wilson Colonel||406||Diller Colonel|
|307||Heiberg Lt. Colonel||407||Huff Colonel|
|308||Godman Major||408||Albert Major|
|311||Farn??a Major||411||McCampbell Lt.|
|312||Croxton Captain||412||Baulch ?Lt.|
|314||Craig Lt. Colonel||414||Sverdrup M Col.|
|318||Johnson Captain||418||Sherr Colonel|
|321||Ritchie Lt. Colonel||421||Baldein Colonel|
|322||McMicking Colonel||422||Quanrud Major|
|324||Magrauder Lieut.||424||Young Colonel|
|325||425||Gatty Group Captain|
|327||Myers Major||427||Wilkinson Colonel|
|328||Campbell Captain||428||Rogers Colonel|
|329||Neblett Colonel||429||Bowen Lt. Colonel|
|330||Ind Major||430||Smith Major|
|331||Conway Lt. Colonel||413||NcLean Colonel (McLean?)|
|332||Allen Lt. Colonel||432||Connell General|
|334||Havendeen Major||434||Martin Colonel|
|335||McCreight Colonel||435||Thompson Colonel|
Note:- The original of the above table had a number of spelling mistakes. I have endeavoured to correct as many as I could. eg "MacArthur" was spelt McArthur".
via Michael Elton
General MacArthur would travel to his Headquarters building in the AMP building in Queen Street in his staff car USA-1 driven by his regular driver, Sgt. John J. Ulrich ("Blackie").
General Douglas MacArthur's staff car
outside the Edward St. entrance to GHQ,
SWPA in the AMP building in 1942. This was the normal entrance to GHQ
Technical Sgt. Clarence E.
and Sgt. John J. "Blackie" Ulrick
The four stars on MacArthur's car
indicates the grade of General.
Later on, he was promoted to a five star General of the Army
Lennon's Hotel would have been the scene for many lavish functions where General MacArthur would entertain visiting Generals, Admirals and politicians. Lennon's Hotel was given the code name of "Bataan" by General MacArthur. Many Hollywood celebrities would also stay or entertain at Lennon's Hotel. Gary Cooper was there at least once in 1943. Ray Bolger, the Scarecrow from the "Wizard of Oz" was another visitor. Other famous visitors include Jerry Colonna and Joe E. Brown.
First Lieutenant Richard Severin Fuld was responsible for the 24 hour security watch arrangements for General MacArthur and his family. Mrs Margaret Byrne, the manager of Lennon's Hotel fell in love with Richard Fuld, who was very much her junior. 1st Lieutenant Fuld's son was Richard Severin Fuld, Jr., who was Chairman and CEO of Lehman Brothers for about 14 years. He was known as the "Gorilla of Wall Street"!!
NOTE:- It would appear that correct spelling for the Hotel is "Lennon's Hotel" rather than "Lennons Hotel" based on an original letterhead for for the hotel.
(Telephone Switchboard in Lennon's Hotel)
Has anyone got
a photograph of
the original Lennon's Hotel in George Street?
I'd like to thank Michael Elton for his assistance with this home page. Michael worked for Lennon's Hotel, both in the old building and the new one, for twenty five years starting in 1959. Michael worked with a chap who was there during the time the General was there. He had a cigar given to him by MacArthur.
I'd also like to thank Karen Nunan and Robert F. Sawallesh for their assistance with this web page.
They Passed This
by Barry Ralph
US Army in World War II - Appendix B - US Army Commanders in Major Theater Commands, December 1941 - September 1945
"Lennons Gives a Lead - To Continue Tradition in New Spirit", The Courier-Mail Brisbane, 30 June 1941
Can anyone help me with more information?
"Australia @ War" WWII Research Products
© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 1 December 2002
This page last updated 27 February 2020