813TH MILITARY POLICE COMPANY
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WW2

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The 813th Military Police Company travelled to Australia in the ship "SS Santa Clara", a former South American banana boat in a convoy comprising HMNZS Leander, destroyer USS Whipple, and US Transports SS Santa Lucia and USAT General Parker. They arrived in Brisbane at 2:30 pm on 6 April 1942. The 813th MP Co. relocated to Melbourne where they took over the Seaman's House for their Military Police Headquarters.

Soon after their arrival they were assigned to General Douglas MacArthur's General Headquarters, Southwest Pacific Area. They carried out foot patrols, vehicle patrols, jail duty and worked closely with the office of the Provost Marshall General. PFC Woltman remembers that two MPs would stand guard at the entrance to the Menzies Hotel, where General MacArthur had his quarters. He remembers that the General would always say "Good Morning (or Good afternoon)" after they saluted him.

The 813th MP Co. and the 814th MP Co were responsible for providing security for General Douglas MacArthur while at Melbourne and Brisbane. The 813th Military Police Company was based in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia during WW2.

The six men from the 813th MP Co who were assigned to protect General Douglas MacArthur were as follows:-

Cpl Arthur C. Hensman (32082584)
PFC Arthur M. Tangel (20285323)
PFC John I. Link (20285288)
PFC George B. Woltman (20285329)
Pvt Anthony Bocchino (20285255)
Pvt John E. Gieseke (20285274)

PFC George Woltman passed away in December 2006. George was one of General Douglas MacArthurís bodyguards from early 1942 till near the end of the war. According to several articles and an autobiographical sketch George gave to the MacArthur Memorial, in Norfolk, Virginia many years ago, Woltman was actually MacArthurís personal guard at the Leyte landings. PFC George Woltman went ashore ahead of MacArthur to make sure there were no Japanese snipers in the area. George was a big man, something like 6í 5Ē and 200lbs. Every time that Arthur MacArthur, the Generalís son, encountered Woltman standing guard duty at the door or wherever, Arthur would kick him squarely in the shins.

PFC George Woltman went into the National Guard after WW2, and served in the 42nd Division (part of the New York National Guard). The 42nd was the Division which Douglas MacArthur was in and briefly commanded during World War One. Because of his WW2 association with MacArthur, George Woltman was given the task of carrying the US Army colors in a funeral procession for General Douglas MacArthur in NYC in April 1964. This flag is now held at The MacArthur Memorial, in Norfolk, Virginia.

 


Photo:- NAA Image no. : A11663, PA189

Left to Right:- Prime Minister of New Zealand Mr. Peter Fraser, General Douglas
MacArthur, Military Policeman PFC George Woltman and John Curtin, Prime
Minister of Australia at Sydney Railway Station on 22 July 1942

 


Photo:- NAA Image no. : A11663, PA189

Military Police guarding the train in Sydney on 22 July 1942 during a brief visit by General
Douglas MacArthur, on his way from Melbourne to Brisbane to establish his new GHQ, SWPA

 


Photo:- NAA Image no. : A11663, PA189

John Curtin, Prime Minister of Australia, a Railway Guard and a Military
Policeman carrying a Thompson machine gun in Sydney on 22 July 1942. That's
probably General Douglas MacArthur whose face appears partially in the doorway

 


Photo:- NAA Image no. : A11663, PA189

Military Policeman PFC John Link of the 813th MP Co carrying a Thompson
machine gun, Admiral ?, General Douglas MacArthur and John Curtin, Prime
Minister of Australia at Sydney Railway Station on 22 July 1942

 

In an attempt to identify the date of the above photos, I checked all the times that Prime Minister John Curtin and General Douglas MacArthur have been together at a Railway Station. 5 occasions in Brisbane and one in Sydney and none in Canberra. MacArthur's first visit to Canberra was from Melbourne by motorcade on 26 March 1942. Other visits to Canberra were by aircraft from Brisbane on 7 March 1944 and 30 September 1944.

22 July 42 - left Sydney by train on way to new GHQ in Brisbane. Had breakfast with John Curtin and others in Sydney.
20 Aug 42 - farewelled Mr and Mrs Curtin at South Brisbane Railway station with Lt Col Morehouse
30 Jul 43 - farewelled Mr Curtin at South Brisbane Railway station
29 Nov 43 - met Mr Curtin at South Brisbane Railway Station with Lt Col Morhouse
  2 Dec 43 - farewelled Mr Curtin at South Brisbane Railway station
28 Jun 44 - farewelled Mr Curtin at South Brisbane Railway station with Col. Lehrbas

James Zobel at the MacArthur Memorial was able to eventually confirm for me that the photos were taken in July 1942.

1st Sergeant Albert J. McLaughlin, Sr. was a member of the 813th Military Police Company. He was one of a number of personal body guards for General Douglas MacArthur in Australia during WW2. 85 year old Albert J. McLaughlin passed away in Millstone Township on 23 May 2000.

The MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk, Virginia will open an exhibit in October 2007 about General Douglas MacArthur's Honor Guard Company which was formed toward the end of WWII to protect the General, his family and his aides.

 

REFERENCES

Frank Sobel, Private First Class, US Army, World War Two (101st Military Police Battalion, 813th MP Co.)

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Charles Knight and James Zobel for their assistance with this web page.

 

Can anyone help me with more information?

 

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This page first produced 22 June 2007

This page last updated 22 December 2018