- Inside folder
- List of family birthday dates
December 27th on
it is written in pencil "Remember the night out when I
staged a performance? Honey"
- Two Melb. &
Metrop. Tramways Board
- A passage written in ?
pigeon/Malay re Japanese/English war movements
- Two Photography pamphlets
- NOTES IN THE BACK
commence on 24/1/42 with
- a list of the details of 9
photos, the list
is overwritten, and
- the rest of the two pages
filled with names/addresses mainly in Sydney.
- Two pages further on there
are two Brisbane addresses (both ladies)
- Two pages further on there
are more addresses, numbers.
Then the Diary commences
- it is written in
pencil and very cryptic with many words foreshortened.
[this date appears to refer to something else, the Diary starts
in Oct. ‘42, see more
details of next couple of days in letter to Edna dated 21st. Oct]
Wed, 14th, 3:45am
Woken, breakfast and on parade 4:15
Onto trucks to wharf, wait till sun rises on wharf
Embark onto SS Ankui. Pull
out of Townsville 18:0pm
Rigged hammock in afternoon on deck
Slept well. L.
Woke 6.30 Breakfasted and helped tidy stores in hold.
Hot. Ate tin
peaches choc. ? Passed
Cairns 8:30pm. Saw
islands on starboard Well
within sight of coast. Calm
Sunbaked sand hills in view on coast late afternoon, Good
meals, baked beans, pork, tinned peaches, biscuits, butter, jam and
tea, (10 knots)
boat drill this morning
Slept in sun, spent hour in mess on fatigue.
Islands in view all way. Left
Aust. coast (Point) 06
am. Passed Thursday Isl.
08 am. Anchored off inlet
(Banks?) 15.00hrs & stay night.
Sea calm, night warm.
Started off again 09.30hrs.
Picked up corvette ?eo 10.0hrs (J 204)
Anchored 12.00hr till 15.00hrs.
Saw hammerhead shark swimming alongside ship, this is probably
last night on board.
Up for early breakfast 06.00
Packed kit, sea medium, boat rolling slightly
Corvette dead ahead. Sea
deep blue-green last few days. Sky
overcast (Church parade yesterday)
Sighted N. Guinea
16:30 hrs thin line of white and indistinct outline of hills
covered in clouds. Pulled
into harbour 18:00 hrs
Embarked on corvette Colak 19:30 for
wharf. Raining, heavy
clouds. Into army truck to headquarters wing, shower!
had tea then slept in semi-built barrack
So this is Moresby! Clump
of coco-trees ahead, ships
in harbour. Breakfast of
beans, crispies and coco. Swim
in baths till 12:00. Parade
14:00 erected tents on flat (old golf club).
Loan Jap raider about 21:30,
AA fire, dropped
eggs some miles away.
Lay around camp. Wrote
letters. In afternoon
ships dispersed as all prepared for raid.
However rained and heavy clouds prevented raid.
Leave all day. Swim
in afternoon. Comforts
fund given out. Boat in
wharf to be unloaded tomorrow. Tried
out rifle. Accurate at
500yds. Good enough.
Nose is peeling. Weather
good. Might see Japs
tonight. Feel mighty like
a swim again now , Hot. Pictures
on tonight in open. Screen
erected, Newsreel of bombing of Moresby started.
Air raid. 2 in
perfect formation passed over. Searchlight
& AA opened up but missed. Am
sitting on top of trench writing and waiting.
Full moon, little cloud. All
clear at 21:30. Back to
picture saw Artists & Models
Heard eggs dropped on wards.
Strip. May delay
us. News came in Jap.
downed on Tues. night. Dug
trenches this afternoon. Nearly
Alert. All clear
20.00 False alarm
Bombs dropped 7 mile out on strip.
Packed ready to move when ship comes for unloading.
Gen. Sir T. Blamey inspected AIF & AMF force, here today.
Bit off colour today. One
alert at 21:00 till 21:45 and again at about 23:45 to 00:10 hrs.
No planes visible
Good rest all morning. Roy.S.
feels sick. Water here
full of salts etc. Wrote
to Edna & Bill. Another
alert tonight. plane
circled, made several runs but either off target or on recon.
breakfast time, dinner at
10:30. Detailed to No 1
sorting party, leaving when ship docks.
No raid. Tojo must
be saving it up for us at the strip.
Boat not in yet. Wrote
to Edna, Jim has
touch of blood poisoning. Another
Out to strip at 8:30 Unloaded
trucks till 17:00. Back
to town & collected kit returned to strip
Raid at 03:15 this morning.
Bombs dropped in 2 runs. Swung
pick and shovel all day digging hole for tank.
Shower & drew out stretcher and mossy net, windy as usual.
Erected tents & unloaded stores all day. Very
hot. Met Len Smith and
Don Bartle. Had alert
about 8:0 no kite.
On stores again in morning.
Erected Marquee in afternoon.
Alert at 03:00hrs. Went
to 30 Squ. fights at night, light
rain. Raid late, Bombs in
NOV. Dug tent
site. Had alert at 10:00
hrs. Lightning up to
intercept. Raider over
low at 20:30 didnít
Half day off. Did
washing. Unloaded stores
in afternoon. Dug trench
after tea. J. Rutherford
came over at night. had
supper of crabs, 2 tins fruit & cream
Unloaded stores all day. Collected
US boots and galoshes. Dug
out rear of tent after tea.
On stores again all day. Keith
Bloy ill & in hospital. We
now have a tin opener! Wrote
to Dad tonight. Sent
telegram to twins.
Edna & Bills birthday.
Hear we are to commence operations on Sunday.
Jim Perry out here today,
Anniversary of 2nd year in RAAF.
Went up hill in afternoon.
Collected some mangos in morning at Bondi.
Helped in building store in afternoon
Down at strip digging trenches.
Bit off colour today.
Worked at strip all day. dinner
there. 3 more Bostons
arrived, 6 in all now.
Opp flights to commence in morning.
No kero. no light.
Went on Sick Pde this morning for sores.
Worked at strip. A
28-13 blew up in midair
this afternoon on bombing practice.
Wrote to Edna. A
19. gave scare. all
lights up etc but flares
Bought pennants today. 2
more planes came up today. Very
Made applicat. for remuster to Aircrew.
80 Squn. packing up. Lucky
Cows! P.S.(Bullsh !)
Dug trench this afternoon at strip.
Received letter from Jan McClure
wrote to Beverley. Yesterday
water tanks fell and smashed. No
showers. Rained tonight.
Worked in Barracks area on concete drain.
Alert in afternoon, no raid.
Rained again tonight.
Air raid red warning this afternoon,
many fighters up A20s
on operation straffed native huts.
Rain set in about 17:00 hrs.
Up during night with diarrhorea.
most of the camp has it, or
A 20’s on
operation at 08:00 and again at 11:00
All returned safely. Destroyed
machine gun post and barge.
Air raid warning in middle of night.
Still very wet.
Sleeping down at strip tonight Retribution nearly finished
engine mod. on supercharger. Raid
Called up this afternoon for aircrew test.
made forced landings on the strip,
Had Air Crew Medical this morning,
took afternoon off as it rained all day.
Wrote to home, Betty, John Friday and Mr. Leslie.
completed recog. Jap over
in afternoon. Clear
night, but no alert.
Day off. Went to
Rounna Falls and on to Base 1 near Kaitahi.
Very good day took
photos etc tonight
am very weary.
40 hrly on A 28-21, all
day at strip.
A19s crashed landed on strip,
one guard killed under A19, being lifted off strip.
Both kites shot up. one by 2 zeros.
Two more A19s crash landed.
Finished 40 hrly on A25-21.
Full moon tonight
Hudson burst into flames on strip this morning.
80 planes off in raid on Buna.
3 engines to change. Pictures
on. Air raid at 21:00 hrs
and again at 01:00, dropped 4 eggs, one delayed.
Removed engine of A28-1 and found gears OK
Wasted time. Comforts
fund issue this afternoon.
Bad day. Lost
F1t Lt. MacDonald and crew in A28-22.
A28-15 crash landed full of flack.
One WAG shot. A28-14
crash-landed on 7 mile.
Removed engine on A28-7.
Two raids tonight late. Bombs
dropped between Wards and 7 mile.
2 Doug. troop
transports lost and one P40.
Services for crew of A28-22 this morning.
Mail in from home. Bill
Roche and Ernie Perry. Wrote
to Bill, C.R.
Received 4 parcels in afternoon.
Concert tonight. Average
show, alert on, but no raid.
On operation, A28-20
lost, with FO Bullmore and crew.
Exploded on raid. Wrote
explanation on ‘Cyclone’ 2 stage Blower.
Received papers from Marion.
2 raids early morning.
Bombs dropped on 7 mile.
Replaced engine in A28-7.
Gona taken. Heard
Japs 200 yds from beach been slaughtered.
Tue 1st Dec.
Finished off A28-7 in morning.
Made canvass belt. Cleaned
up for inspection by AO etc. To
supper of pudding, nuts, fruit, cream and coffee.
A28-1 wiped off, leg collapsed on take off.
Fortress crashed into hill,
8 killed. Bostons
had operation last night. Dropped
500 lb bomb on destroyer. Went
to Koitaki today.
Two more engine changes, A28-4.
Operation this morning and again tonight.
Dropped 500’s on Buna strip.
Dragon into ditch at end of strip.
Operation today with 5 A20s.
One aircraft lost. 14.
Boston ran into ditch. Slept
down at strip.
5th A20-14 found.
All OK. Turner
bushed and put down at Wairopi. Slade
to bring her back. New CO
arrived. Beaufort overran
strip into ditch. Removed
No1 cyl. on A20-4
Replaced cyl. on A28-4. Aircraft
leaving in morning for Wairope. Gave
G. Kendall my camera. Saw
good pictures last night.
Squad. Ldr. Bell returned with A28-3.
brought back tabs for 4. & 6.
Beaufighter & B25S shot
down 20 Zero. One Beau.
crash landed. Have to
work though till a/c [aircraft] are finished.
Received 3 parcels from Edna.
A28-14 said to be bogged at Wairope.
Operation this moning. Aircraft
safely returned. Wish I
could get a day off. One
in I0 not so good. Wake
at 6:0 and work till 4, asleep
at 10pm Long day in
this heat. Mail in also
parcel from Miss Walker. Sqd.
Ld. Bell hands over to new CO.
Rumours of move.
Did drawing of gun modification for P.O. Goldfinch.
6 Bostons out on raid this afternoon,
all returned safely.
Usual work at strip. Very
hot all day.
6 machines on operation all returned safely.
Straffed & bombed.
No work. Had day
off in bed all day. Wrote
Air raid 12:30am till 02:00am,
Dropped bomb close to machines, no damage.
Went to village Papa, got skirt, beads
10 mile walk. Further
raid at 20:00
bombs fell near us. heard whistle.
unexploded bomb fell near hospital.
Very little work. Had
commando drill in afternooon. Raid
at 21:00 to 22:30hs. 8
planes dropped bombs. One
bomb hit tree killed 2 Yanks in trench.
Removed pots on No6. Received
parcel from Miss Walker. Pictures
[On the opposite page, here, there
is a rough sketch of (probably) the barracks]
Raid last night. Shrapnel
fell round us. Two
attempts & runs
Small raid last night. Bombs
dropped near 30 Sqd. Sleeping
down at strip tonight.
No raid but 2 alerts last night.
Mosies and lice bad.
Doing cyl. job on A28-6. Snake
in tent last night.
Finished off A28-6. Last
night had alert, & lightening went up but no Jap appeared.
Saw about 15 tanks (14 tons) on way to Buna.
Mosquitos very troublesome last night.
No15 came in today for rebuild.
Removed engine from A28-15, and prepare to strip down.
Raid last night. Raid
last night. Bombs dropped
on 1st run, fell near 30 sqdn.
Comforts issued today. Day
off, going for swim to 12
mile. Gave tent a clear
out. Refused comforts as
were minus cake & puddings. Alert
but no raid last night.
Stripped down engine of A28-15.
Got comforts complete. Raining
again as all this week. This
is Xmas eve!! Last
night concert at 6 squ. Cinderella.
Slept in till 08:00. Pde.
& then Church Parade. read
all morning. Dinner of
lamb, parcel from Edna, wrote
to Dad. All are sprawling
around camp stark naked on beds, very hot.
Aircraft out on operation to Lae.
Armed recce. Salvage
dump of stuff stripped from dead near here.
Hurt nose - Perry's rifle
Operations again today to Lae.
Starting writing musical skit.
15,000 Yanks landed from mainland.
Got letter & card from Norma a couple of days ago.
Replied telling her not to write again.
Rained today. Worked
Pulled port engine out of A28-15 started to strip
carried out. Put in
application for Commission. Received
word from Tech. cnnnot do
Diploma course. Doing
Drawing at Melbourne
Got parcel from Bill, 4
books from Jan. Nice kid!
Boxing on tonight & had day off.
Slept all morning, & wrote letters
Frid. 1st ‘43
Good concert on last night.
Fights and Jim Gerald Orchestra.
Today had day off after parade.
Rested in camp. Rained.
Operations to Lae.
Aircraft landed at Buna (Popendetta),
a/craft back from Popendetta OK.
Off on opperation. Started
drawing of supercharge mod.
slept down at strip all last night
Did drawing of crane
Aircrafty lined up for operation, then returned.
stood by all day.
copped rough time from Zeros & A/A
a/craft in oper. early this morning.
A28-4 shot up by
Zero & made forced landing. Wipe
off. A25-7 wiped off
pitot head. Went to
Moresby today got lakatoi & bow & arrow
Letter from Bill & Edna.
finished off engine on A28-15 today.
Still raining each night.
going to strip on fire-tender tomorrow.
Pictures on at MRS.
On fire-tender all day. Beaufighter
had ??ing carburetta. Yarned
with Yank doctor.
Not relieved until 11:00.
Beaufighter nearly crashed into DC.2.
Off rest of day. Scrubbed
application for Commission.
Alert last night, no planes near here.
Took half day off, site
shifted over to other side of strip.
Took off 3 pots on engine from Richmond.
Raining again all day. Alert
at 21:00 hrs.
Removed one more pot. valve seats warped.
Sending engine back to mainland.
Went on 2 operations today.
One a/craft A21-14 in
at Dobu Dura engines out. A28-13
arrived from Australia.
Commando drill today. Wrote
letters to home, Jan, Miss Walker & Beryl.
Went to pictures saw Rage of Paris at 12 mile.
dived in on landing, burnt, 2 killed.
Took motor out of A28-3. Blower
Had raid on Thursday night but last night had a beaut.
Jap dropped 4 bombs within 1/4 mile of here, one on top of
hill, end of valley. Pulled
engine out of A28-3.
Raid alert last night no bombs dropped.
Took more pots off spare engine. Prepared J. Juices
Rained very heavily all day today.
On drawing of mod. for supercharger
Milne Bay was raided heavily on Sunday and again yesterday.
All pots coming off spare engine
pots back on spare engine. Went
to pictures tonight poor show.
Went on picnic to
Rouna. Fights on tonight.
Excellent night last night.
All fights good.
All night session with Tojo.
4 raids, bombs dropped ack-ack hill & in harbour.
One alert last night finished off spare engine today.
3 alerts, bomb dropped on 12 mile.
1 Douglass destroyed, Working
Alert early last night. Heavy
cold today. 80 hrly on
J. Juice no kick!
Heavy raid. 2
Beaus. hit, 2 damaged. Lightening
got 2 Japs.
Rained last night. no
raid. Usual day at strip.
Rained last night.
Played two-up, won £3.15.0.
Finished inspection on A28-7
Day off. spine barked all morning,
darned sox & wrote letters in afternoon.
Carby trouble on A28-7. worked
back tonight. Got letter
early this morning. No
raid, Shifted camp
site to opp. hill. Still
Finished off A28-7. Tested
A28-6 in with blower trouble
Received films of Wairopi
Day off yesterday. Slept
all day. This site better
than last one
Reparing cowls for A28-15.
Lost A28-21 today, Ack-ack
Still on cowls. Learning
morse for a/crew. Letter
from Margaret today.
Letters from Dad and Bill.
Doug DC 2 crashed.
Props blew off.
Letter from Miss Walker.
Wrote to Dad
off cowls. A28-14
lost, believed crashed after raid.
A28-16 down at Dobu Dura.
Jim P. and Sharman to go.
Pulled engine out of A28-5.
Day off - slept
all morning. Last night
cyclone panic after fights
engine on Doug. Perry
& crew went to Dobu Dura.
Tabs arrived. Worked
back on A28-6
Started work early & on A28-6 all day
Parcels from Edna yesterday & today still on A28-6
Another parcel today, finished
off A28-6. Getting 2 days
Commandos in morning. Slept
in afternoon. Parcel of
Wrote to Edna & Marion. Received
buzzer, started R.F
Cyl. job on A28-11, new
Raid last night, A.A
scared him, jettisoned
eggs over Bluff
Finished off A28-11. Alert,
no raid last night
Jim Perry back yesterday.
Preparing new motor for A28-8
Letter from Jan. Started
removing motor from A28-8
concert last night. splendid.
Best I've seen on Island.
Day off today
Stripping access off new engine for A28-8
Still working on A28-8. Purchased
Tommy Gun today
Kites on opp. Very
Mon 1st March
All accs stripped and placed on new engine for A28-8
opps every day lately, Jap
fleet on way here.
Fortress's and Libs (170) out at convoy.
Hell of a do.
All but 3 ships sunk. Convoy
smashed. Day off
A letters from Dad and Edna.
Fights last night not so good
All ships sink
Parcels in today from Miss Walker.
A28-8 finished off
Worked back last night on A28-8.
Rev. up OK. Raining
All a/craft to be ready by Sunday.
big Do on
Rumours about that I'm posted to a/crew.
Got clearence today -
ready to leave at any moment
Off island by flying-boat.
Good trip to Townsville
Here ends the Island.
Subsequent letters reveal that due
to the heat, long hours, illness and interrupted sleep he had lost a
considerable amount of weight during these months. Neville returned to
Australia and trained as a pilot, he was posted to 80 Squadron and
returned to New Guinea in August 1944.
He was killed on a
raid over Halmahera Island, Indonesia (off Western New Guinea),
in January 1945
From Cassie Thornley firstname.lastname@example.org