AFRICAN-AMERICAN SOLDIERS
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WW2

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On 29 March 1942, General Douglas MacArthur announced his support for the Australian Governments proposal that no more African-American soldiers be sent to Australia during World War 2. The proposal also suggested that those units that were already in Australia should be sent to New Caledonia or India. General Douglas MacArthur said:-

"I will do everything possible to prevent friction or resentment on the part of the Australian government and people at the presence of American colored troops ... Their policy of exclusion against everyone except the white race known locally as the 'White Australia' plan is universally supported here".

This support by MacArthur meant that African-American units that were serving in New Guinea or the islands were not able to be sent back to Australia on R & R, as was the case with the white soldiers.

Most African-American units had white officers in command. These officers were usually not liked by their troops and friction was easily generated.

On 17 February 1945 General Douglas MacArthur issued the following statement for use by the Afro-American Press:-

"I have been asked to express an opinion as to the character of service of the negro soldiers in the Southwest Pacific Area. I find it difficult to answer categorically this question for to me there is no differentiation because of race, color, or creed among the soldiers of my command. All are the same in my eyes. All share equally in our victories. Their service has been magnificent. Their patience, their fortitude, their courage, and their complete devotion to their country mark them as belonging to the nation's noblest citizens."

 

29th Quartermaster Regiment (Truck)

48th Quartermaster Truck Regiment

73 Negroes dead in Mount Isa after drinking a brew made in disused cyanide drums

91st Engineers General Service Regiment 92nd Quartermaster Company 96th Battalion, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Coloured) General Service Regiment
100 Negroes of the 96th Battalion involved in a fight in Townsville 106 Japanese Marines intercepted at Cromarty, in north Queensland by American Negro soldiers from Woodstock. Two Negroes were wounded and a number of Japanese Marines were killed 577th Ordnance Ammunition Company
578th Ordnance Ammunition Company 580th Ordnance Ammunition Company 623rd Ordnance Ammunition Company
630th Ordnance Company 636th Ammunition Ordnance Company 870th Engineer Aviation Battalion (coloured)
3452nd Quartermaster Truck Company 5203rd Quartermaster Truck Battalion Bomb and ammunition dump in Beneke's paddock, Chermside, Brisbane, near the corner of Webster Road and Rode Road guarded by U.S. Negro soldiers
Negro servicemen riot at Upper Ross, Townsville North American Service Club in Townsville Doctor Carver Club
U.S. Army Canteen for Negroes, Grey St., opposite South Brisbane Railway Station, Brisbane, QLD

Bishop John A. Gregg & Chaplain DeVeaux inspection tour of black troops in Australia in 1943

Disturbance at a Dance in the Ingham Town Hall in November 1942 Red Cross Worker raped in Townsville in January 1944

Negroes buried at the US Military Cemetery located at Belgian Gardens, Townsville, QLD during WW2

Negro Camp next to the laboratory at the Experimental Station at Oonoonba, Townsville

Negro prisoners from a military camp near the Indooroopilly Railway Station carried out cleaning and repair work at St. Joseph's College, Nudgee Junior, Indooroopilly, Brisbane

Negro soldiers worked at the Darra Ordnance Ammunition Depot in Brisbane Negro amateur heavyweight
boxer Al Hoosman in
Australia during WW2
"Big Al" went on to become a movie star
Booker T Washington Club
Club for Negroes
Sydney, NSW

AIF Gunner stabbed by negro sailor near Palace Hotel, South Brisbane on 4 November 1942

Negro soldier stabbed man in Brisbane on 12 January 1943 Negro soldier shot at Surry Hills by Provost officers on 2 Aug 1943 died the next day
Negro Soldier found shot dead at Darra on 14 December 1943 Negro soldier stabbed in Brisbane during fight with 4 white US soldiers on 2 August 1944

Negro shot during brawl at Albion, Darlinghurst, Sydney and another incident at Bourke St, Surry Hills on 16 January 1943

Two negroes and an allied servicemen escaped in NSW and recaptured on 31 December 1943  Negro stabbed 2 US Navy Sailors and elderly man at South Brisbane on 11 September 1942  Negro soldier kills Australian soldier
in Sydney on 13 April 1944

Negro sailor slashes negro soldier with knife in South Brisbane on 22 November 1944

3 negro servicemen injured in collision between US military truck and taxi at Darra, Brisbane on 1 September 1944

Negro soldier wounds civilian with
blade razor in Brisbane on 3 April 1943

 

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 Peter Dunn 2015

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This page first produced 9 December 2001

This page last updated 22 January 2019