Bates, Albert (Warrant Officer, b.1905 - d.2003)

Places
Accession Number PR03185
Collection type Private Record
Record type Collection
Measurement Extent: 1 cm; Wallet/s: 1
Object type Diary
Maker Bates, Albert
Place made Australia, New Guinea: Papua New Guinea
Date made 1942
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Description

Collection relating to the Second World War service of 14697 Warrant Officer Albert Bates DFM, No. 11 Squadron (RAAF), New Guinea, New Caledonia, and Australia, 1942.

Collection consists of one typed manuscript of Bates' experiences in No. 11 Squadron (RAAF) spanning the period 10 January to 14 August 1942, titled "Pacific Pilgrimage."
During this period, Bates flew over 1000 hours as a wireless transmitter aboard Catalinas from No. 11 and No. 20 Squadrons, who, during this period, worked closely together.
As both a prologue and epilogue Bates recounts the general role of Catalinas in the Pacific, the camaraderie among the members of Nos.11 and 20 Squadrons, and the closeness with which they worked up until the final months of 1942.
An anecdote Bates records is that crews of particular flights would often be made up of members from each squadron; crew giving little thought to the particular squadron to which they belonged.
In the epilogue, however, Bates notes how many of the original members of each squadron moved to No. 11 Squadron, while No.20 Squadron slowly became manned by new recruits as their role shifted more towards mine laying.

In the diary portion of Bates' manuscript, he describes events such as the launch of a Japanese aerial attack on Port Moresby on 3 February; air raids and bombs falling close to sea planes and the evacuation of civilians from Port Moresby on 4 and 5 February. He also records flights to Rabaul and Makin Island on 19 February. Bates was awarded a DFM for 'exceptional skill and courage on numerous sorties' in 1944.

History / Summary

Bates includes an introduction in which he discusses the role of the Catlina squadrons and the inadequacy of Australia's air defences. He goes on to describe events such as the launch of a Japanese aerial attack on Port Moresby, 3 February, air raids and bombs falling close to sea planes and the evacuation of civilians from Port Moresby, 4 and 5 February, and flights to Rabaul and Makin Island, 19 February. Bates was awarded a DFM for 'exceptional skill and courage on numberous sorties' in 1944.