20 Signals Unit was established on 21 December 1942. They established their camp at Rowe's Bay, Pallarenda in Townsville, north Queensland on 1 January 1943. (Can anyone pinpoint the exact location of their camp for me please?)

Six Sections and a Headquarters group were formed. The initial Commanding Officer, Flight Lieutenant S.G. Edwards did not arrive until 22 February 1944. Until his arrival, the unit was under the temporary command of Flight Lieutenants W.J. Bull, R.L. Stewart and H.R. Amor.

Three new sections (7, 8 and 9) were formed on 30 January 1943. 

On Saturday 27th March 1943 at approximately 0512 hours Douglas DC3 (C-47) VH-CTB, A65-2 (A30-16) of 36 Squadron, Townsville, was involved in a fatal accident at Archerfield. The crew of four were killed as were all passengers consisting of 17 Australian and 2 American personnel. Thus a total of 23 personnel were killed. Amongst those killed were three members of 20 Signals, Townsville (RAAF):-

LAC Thomas William Beckley
P/O David Andrew Blackley
P/O Alfred Tatlock

In September 1943, 20 Signals Unit became known as 1 Signals Task Unit. 

On 7 February 1944, 1 Signals Task Unit relocated to a new camp 4 miles from Fanning. Personnel from 1 Signals Task Unit RAAF went to to site of a crashed Beaufort bomber on 21 March 1944, to transport crew members to the hospital at Charters Towers. The crash site was located 5 miles south of their new camp.

On 19 May 1944, four signals task sections were formed. They were self-contained mobile signal sections whose role was to swiftly provide interim communications facilities. They had the ability to relocate by aircraft or small craft to a newly captured location. These signals task sections operated at Bulolo, Goodenough Island, Kirwina, Lae, Nadzab and Salamaua.

I Signals Task Unit was disbanded on 31 August 1944.


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This page first produced 25 February 2002

This page last updated 13 January 2020