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In April 1942, Lt. Gen George H. Brett became the Commander of Allied Air Forces in Australia. The Allied Air Force Headquarters, SWPA was established on 20 April 1942 and was located in Victoria Barracks, in Melbourne. Air Commodore J.E. Hewitt was appointed as Director of Allied Air Intelligence.

When General Douglas MacArthur took on his role of Supreme Commander, SWPA (South West Pacific Area) in Melbourne on 18 April 1942, he introduced combined air and intelligence staffs. Air Commodore J.E. Hewitt was appointed as the Director of Allied Air Intelligence (DAAI) in command of the new Allied Air Intelligence Organisation (AAIO) which remained stationed at Victoria Barracks

AAIO received significant support from Major General Charles Willoughby, MacArthur's Chief of Intelligence. Gerry Packer, the Director of Intelligence at RAAF Headquarters also provided assistance to Hewitt at AAIO. The staff positions in AAIO consisted of:-

Col. Ben Cain
Captain Ray McDuffie
Captain Frank McCoy

Accommodation for AAIO at Victoria Barracks was very crowded. On 20 July 1942, Allied Air Force Headquarters, SWPA relocated to the AMP Building in Queen Street, Brisbane, Queensland where General MacArthur had re-established his GHQ, SWPA.

AAIO settled into the AMP Building in a short time and established their Air Intelligence Centre which had a briefing room and some adjoining offices on the 4th floor. Roles were assigned as follows:-

Wreford, RAAF Administered the Air Intelligence Centre
Feltham, RAAF Enemy Orders of Battle
Vroland, RAAF Photographic Interpretation and target information
Caslar, USAF Photographic Section
McCoy, USAF Enemy Equipment and Manufacture
McDuffie, USAF Field Intelligence

 On 28 July 1942, General George Kenney arrived in Brisbane and took over command of Allied Air Forces, SWPA from General Brett on 3 August 1942. Kenney told Hewitt he wanted him to continue as DAAI and told him to let him know what he might need in the way of equipment and staff. Hewitt took him up on his offer and before long they had acquired a huge map of the SWPA raised at an angle across the floor of their briefing room. Commanders would sit in a raised platform along the edge of the map during the briefings.

On 14 February 1943 Hewitt was posted to be Air Officer Commanding No. 9 Operational Group which had its headquarters at Port Moresby. The Group had been formed by Group Captain Garing. The Directorate of Intelligence then became a unit in the Allied Air Force under General Kenney.


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This page first produced 8 December 2004

This page last updated 26 July 2015