A meeting of the three Directors of Service Intelligence in November 1940 led to the establishment of the Combined Operational Intelligence Centre (COIC) to avoid delays in the collation and assessment of operational intelligence affecting more than one Military Service, and to ensure the reliable distribution of this intelligence in Defence Headquarters. COIC pooled and assessed operational intelligence received through the Army, Navy and Air Force intelligence organisations. COIC would receive a copy of every operational signal which passed through Naval Intelligence, Army Intelligence and Air Intelligence, and Area Combined Headquarters (ACH). COIC then analysed the intelligence information and distributed their assessment to the relevant authorities.

On 27 February 1941, the War Cabinet gave official approval for the Combined Operational Intelligence Centre (COIC), Central War Room (CWR), Combined Defence Headquarters (CDH) and for Area Combined Headquarters (ACHs).  The Central War Room and the COIC were to be manned full time.

COIC, CWR and ACH Melbourne were established by 5 March 1941 in a new building in Coventry Street, in "N" Block. COIC had a staff of 13 personnel. There was only one door that was used for entry to the building and it was locked at all times. A list of persons authorised to enter the building was maintained. A small hatch allowed messages to be passed in and out.

In late April 1941, COIC replaced its Weekly Diary with a Weekly Summary of Intelligence. 

COIC initially comprised the three Directors of Service Intelligence and their staff, and was located adjacent to the Central War Room. The COIC set up branches in Fremantle, Darwin and Port Moresby. The COIC in Port Moresby later moved to Townsville to establish COIC Townsville. An Area Combined Headquarters Operations Room was established in Townsville.

Townsville Combined Operational Intelligence Centre (COIC) was established on 4 May 1941 under the command of Lieutenant-Commander James Monteith Luke. Darwin COIC was established on 9 May 1941 under the command of Lieutenant G.J. Brooksbank. Lieutenant John Ryan established the Perth COIC. 

ACH's were established in Fremantle and Darwin. New Combined Defence Headquarters were established in Townsville, Thursday Island and Newcastle.

Commander R B M Long, the Director of Naval Intelligence was the Director of the COIC from 11 March 1941 until 18 December 1941. The COIC was absorbed into General Headquarters, Southwest Pacific Area in 1942. The Brisbane Military Phone Book for 1942 shows that the Brisbane Combined Operations Intelligence Center was located on the 8th Floor of the AMP Building, which also contained MacArthur's South West Pacific Area's GHQ. Note it was called the Combined Operations Intelligence Centre rather than the Combined Operational Intelligence Center.


Central War Room (CWR)


Area Combined Headquarters (ACH)


Combined Defence Headquarters (CDH)


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This page first produced 29 July 2001

This page last updated 06 September 2018