Wednesday 19 March 2008 by Alexandra Orr. No comments
Personal Stories, New acquisitions, Collection, Ephemera

Can you imagine receiving a message that signified a momentous event in living history?

Teleprinter Signal RC06417

That is exactly what happened to a team of RAAF personnel at North-West Area Headquarters in Darwin, on August 14th, 1945. The Teleprinter Operator, Telegraphist and like personnel were on duty that fateful day when they received an emergency teleprinter signal issuing instructions to:

"Cancel all operations against the enemy forthwith including missions now airborne".

These few words essentially heralded the closing of the Second World War, the Japanese accepting the Allied demand for unconditional surrender that very day.

This teleprinter signal was donated to the Australian War Memorial by one of the RAAF personnel who was there when the signal was received. It is one of several copies which were usually discarded once the top copy was delivered to the Operations Room.

It was certainly the message of a lifetime.

082609 A Teleprinter in action before the end of the war at Darwin. The Teleprinter Operator is Lance Corporal B. Sutton.