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Truscott Airfield


Photo:- via Roger Marks

Truscott Airfield in 1949


In August 1943 personnel from 12 Survey and Design Unit RAAF started to study aerial photographs and maps to find a suitable alternatives for an airfield on the Anjo Peninsular. The Anjo Peninsular is the closest part of Australia to Java and thus made an ideal staging point for heavy and medium bombers that were based at inland airfields.

In October 1943, Flying Officer Thomas Oswald "Old Tom" Butcher of 12 Survey and Design Unit, started to survey the Anjo Peninsular region, about 30 miles north west of Drysdale airfield to find a more appropriate airfield than Drysdale.  By 13 November 1943 they had fully surveyed Anjo Peninsular and Vansittart Bay.

On 1 January 1944, W/Cdr Rooney, S/Ldr Chesterfield, the CO of 1 Mobile Works Squadron RAAF (1MWS) and F/Lt Marshall of 1MWS inspected the selected airfield and camp site. Sgt "Clarry" Castle and Sgt. Bill Martin of 1MWS were left at the site to act as "Coast Watchers" until the forward party of 1MWS arrived. They had two tents,, supplies and a small wireless set.

A few weeks later in mid January 1944, Sergeants Castle and Martin heard a diesel motor out to sea while they were walking along the west coast of the Anjo Peninsular. They reported their story to North-Western Area Headquarters who thought that it may have been a Japanese submarine running on the surface to charge its batteries. After the war, research has confirmed that Lieutenant Susuhiko Mizuno lead a special Japanese Army Reconnaissance party from Koepang, in Timor  on board a 25 ton fishing vessel called "Hiyoshi Maru". The party 

On 18 January 1944 they landed on Browse Island and stayed for about 3 hours. On the next morning they entered an inlet on the West Australian coast.  Three landing parties led by Lieutenant Susuhiko Mizuno, Sergeant Morita and Sergeant Furuhashi, went ashore and explored different areas. They even took some 8 mm movie footage of what they saw. As it turned out they had landed only 25 kms from where the RAAF were several weeks later to start building their secret airfield at Truscott. 

The new airfield was named Truscott in memory of Squadron Leader Keith "Bluey" Truscott of 76 Squadron RAAF who was killed in the Exmouth Gulf on 28 March 1943, when his Kittyhawk hit the sea.

The new Truscott airfield would allow medium and heavy bombers, as well as Catalinas to attack Borneo, Java, Timor and the Celebes.

RAAF Marine Section West Bay was located east of Truscott.


Photo: Donald Bainbridge

Photo of today's Truscott airfield on 25 July 2007


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Truscott Airfield


"Bluey" Truscott crash lands his Kittyhawk
in Townsville in 1942


S/L Keith "Bluey" Truscott killed in a Kittyhawk crash
on 28 March 1943 in Exmouth Gulf



20 Jul 44 about 200 yards offshore near Truscott airfield Japanese Mitsubishi Ki-46-II "Dinah" 2 killed
abt Nov 44 Truscott RAAF LF.VIII Spitfire A58-300 (JF620), air collision with A58-364 (see below)
abt Nov 44 Truscott RAAF LF.VIII Spitfire A58-364 (JG429), air collision with A58-300 (see above)
29 Jan 45 Truscott area RAAF Catalina A24-204
23 Mar 45 In Vansittart Bay, 4 miles NW of Truscott RAAF B-24 Liberator A72-80, "Old Nick"
abt May 45 Pearce RAAF F.VC Spitfire A58-250 (MH586)
abt May 45 Truscott airfield RAAF LF.VIII Spitfire A58-399 (LG432)
20 May 45 Truscott RAAF B-24M Liberator A72-160
20 May 45 Truscott RAAF Spitfire ?
abt Nov 45 into sea off Truscott airfield RAAF LF.VIII Spitfire A58-347 (JG352)



"Truscott - The Diary of Australia's Secret Wartime Kimberley Airbase 1943-1946"
by John and Carol Beasy

"Always First - The RAAF Airfield Construction Squadrons 1942-1974" (page 33)
by David Wilson



I'd like to thank Donald Bainbridge for his assistance with this web page.


Can anyone help me with more information?


"Australia @ War" WWII Research Products

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 Peter Dunn OAM 2020


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This page first produced 27 March 2000

This page last updated 22 February 2020