Looking for trouble: with searchlights in New Guinea

Accession Number F04002
Collection type Film
Measurement 26 min 15 sec
Object type Home movie
Physical description 8mm standard/b&w/sound
Maker Robinson, John
Place made New Guinea: Papua New Guinea, Papua, Milne Bay, New Guinea: Papua New Guinea, Papua, Milne Bay, Gili Gili, New Guinea: Papua New Guinea, Papua, Port Moresby
Date made 1942-1943
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Source credit to This item has been digitised with funding provided by Commonwealth Government.

(A voice over sound track has been added to the Digital Betacam version). Activities of the 67 and 73 Mobile Anti- Aircraft Searchlight Batteries in New Guinea 1942-1943. Opening titles "Looking for trouble" "with searchlights in New Guinea". The Sydney newspaper The Sun, close up of the date, 25 March 1942 and head line "Fresh attack on Port Moresby". Air raid and sign of 67 AASL Coy. Three aircraft raiding. Major Charlie Williams OC (Rt) and Captain Eric Butler 2 IC watching action through binoculars then removing tin hats and lighting smokes. Sergeant Cliff Rusten blowing whistle. Detachment falling in, dismissing. Removing searchlight reflector. Unidentified soldier cleaning arc lamp and then reflector. Replacing reflector. Removing front glass. Sgt Cliff Rusten wiping fingers across dirty front glass. Sgt Rusten calling Sapper (Spr) Arthur Fredreichs. Sapper Fredreichs goes to mess hut to fetch water. Talks to unknown Sapper who goes inside mess hut. Sapper Fredreichs goes thru hut to boiler to get water. Recieves water in leaky slouch hat. Upturns hat and gets water in crown. Returns to searchlight with Sgt Rusten inspecting Yagi aerial. Empties water from hat. US Colonel Fraser CO A/A Defences New Guinea Force addresses detachment which slopes arms, left turns and marches of. Meanwhile in Sydney, Duty Officer Lieut Len Tosh receives movement order for 73 AASL Coy. Great excitement of troops and writes on notice board. 73 AASL Coy troops boarding trucks in rain on way to Mulgrave Railway Station farewelled by troops of 70th Coy followed by dog. Arrival at Mulgrave Station debus and board train. Major Bob Thompson checks troops being loaded as per his instructions. Troops loading. Train departs. Troop train arrives Yerongpilly, Queensland. Encamped Yerongpilly besides Brisbane river. All kit and gear dyed jungle green. Sailing for Port Moresby per HMAT Duntroon. Disembarking Pt Moresby. Trucking to Station 10 and setting up camp Bomana. Digging emplacements for equipment. Cook, Spr Len Burr calls men for mess parade. Troops throw down tools and settle down to eat meal from dixies. Lowering Sperry Projector in pit. Levelling up projector, traversing same. Company Headquarters at Warrumbungles. Sprs Paddy Carroll and Joe Topham showering. Sapper washing and checking dixie. Sprs Ally Graham and trappy Duncan mixing cement. Spr Fred Willis controlling mixer. Sgt Jack Neill, Company Quartermaster (QM) Sergeant checking his stores. Spr Cassell requests something from Q Store but nothing available. OC's Driver Billy Cook shows his skills with hand saw. Carpenter Bill Schwinghammer gets on with the construction job. Bedford water truck driven by Spr Merv Wright returns to Coy Headquarters. COR (Company Operations Room) completed and ready for action. QM Sgt Jack Neill approached by Spr Jack Robinson for some gear not available. Spr McNamara presents small piece of bootlace for replacement then signs for it before receiving same from QM. Spr Jim Laing (Log) doing maintenance on his truck. Checks oil and water and refuels it. Corporal Russell Chapman preparing rations for delivery to searchlight locations making sure "Guinea Gold" and Atbrin tablets are included. Driver Jim Laing loads rations and sets off to deliver same to stations. Sgts Gubby Allen and Harvey Lynch set off on Driver Matt Findlay's truck for Oyster Bay location through Kunai and bogs truck - winches himself out. Station 10 Bomana Spr Jim Newton gets out from under mosquito net off his American stretcher and gets bucket of water to throw over Spr Sid Smith in hammock with desired effect. Sleepy Spr Charles Little putting on his boots. Cpl Don Roberts shaving in shower area. Spr Phill Buckley cleaning teeth and more shaving - Cpl Don Roberts. Sgt Jack Wilkinson (Detachment Commander) washing face and drying same. Mess parade Station 10 Left to Right Unknown, Sprs Little, Newton, Buckley, Smith, HJ. Brown, Les Kugler, Jim Stewart and Sgt Jack Wilkinson. Unknown Sapper at generator set adjusting voltage regulator. Unknown Sapper connecting power cables from generator set to Sperry Search Light and striking arc. Automatic feeding of carbons in lamp projector. Sprs Don McKinnon and EJ Smith setting up Distant Electric Control (DEC). Unknown Sappers fitting body on tripod. Corporal Bert Ferrier placing binocular mount onto body. Spr Jack Knight placing aircraft sighting piece onto binoculars and checking alignment with Searchlight projector. Station 14 "Hanuabada" The Detachment Commander (DC), Cpl Bill Holder summons the detachment out for rifle drill and inspection. Cpl Charles Knight, marker takes up his position, seven orders arms stands at ease. Left to Right - Cpl Knight, Spr George Horsefield, Spr "Blue" Evans, Spr Charlie Tattersall, Spr Harry Johston, Cpl Les Dunn, Spr Les Blackley, Cpl Jim Heddle. Detachment slopes arms - right turns, left wheels and marches off. Detachment lines up, presents arms, slopes arms, port arms for inspection and on indication from Cpl Les Dunn opens rifle bolts. Left to right - Cpl Les Dunn and Spr Les Blackley, Cpl Jim Heddle and Spr Blue Evans. Cpl Holder inspects rifles and troops march off. Station 14 Mess Hut and troops moving off. Cpl Les Dunn and Spr H. Johnston head off for a drink of water - note 44 gallon drums of gasoline in background. Spr George Horsefield "spine bashing" - reading Pix magazine. Cpl C. Knight sorts mail on stretcher then hands out mail to troops. Spr Les Blackley in spotters chair reads mail. Cpls Heddle and Dunn read mail. Sprs H. Johnston and Eddie Gallagher read mail. Spr George Horsfield reads mail. Spr Arthur "Blue" Evans reads mail. Cpl Bill Holder. 67 AASL Coy - unknown soldier receives telephone red alert warning. Spotter unknown, COR Spr Merv Allsopp (73 AASL Coy) on plotter. Spotter/plotter again. Unknown soldier passes information to recorder of raid of fourty three bombers and fifty fighters. Enemy aircraft at 18000 ft, fighters 22000 ft bombed Bomana Strip. 40mm Bofors Anti-Aircraft gun firing. Fires at Bomana and bombs bursting. Parked aircraft on fire and fuel dump burns. Station 9 Lightning Ridge - Cpl Bert Ferrier wipes sweat from forehead after raid. Concert Party in Port Moresby - Fort Nub Dennis Morgan (Fergie) playing accordian. Troops enjoying music. Unknown singer with accordian player Billy Romaine (brother of Abe Romaine of the trocadero) leading A/A Searchlight band and Entertainment Party. Troops heartily enjoy concert band. Sgt Billy Romaine, Berris Garstand, Len Jones, Ern French, Doug Sharp, Bruce Barrie, Allen Williams, Max Gruggan Jnr. (The band broke up in 1943 and members sent to various HQ and detachments). Taking off from Port Moresby and flying to Milne Bay. 67 AASL Coy was the first AASL Coy to tranship by air 11 February 1943 under command of Lieuts Tierney and Stewart. Milne Bay Harbour. The furthest vessel brought remainder of Coy from Port Moresby 17 February 1943. Looking west along the main road from Gili Gili which serves the Gurney Airstirp. Road is very narrow, not allowed to cut down coconut palms, caused many accidents and injuries. Sappers putting in a foundation for COR - the man chopping wood is Spr Neville Johnston. Coy HQ situated on a high bank on the Kilohi ? (Kalobi) River was the ideal camp site. Looking downstream, just below Station 5 - river not in flood but after heavy rain in the mountains it became a torrent four to six feet deep. Water would run through the cab of a marrooned GMC truck. Unknown sapper driving in post. After floods rocks would be laid bare and required moving not so much for trucks as for smaller vehicles. This jeep is negotiating a relatively smooth section but rocks were often moved to indicate the best crossing spots. Capt Emmett Lynch dropping stepping stones in Kalobi River. Walking though jungle on a "fine" day Captain Emmett Lynch. Clearing the thick jungle at Station 5's upper Kalobi River site. It was the most difficult site with so many large trees matted together with cane, vines and thick undergrowth. After the Sperry equipment was in postion the detachment set about cutting logs for steps to the site DC Sgt Stan Hennersy. The generator set was high on a shelf above flood level and the steps made it much easier to service the site. The natives used them in their treks across the range to visit their villages. Station 4 in the plantation area. A large number of palms had to be cut down to gain clearance for the searchlight beam. It was a Sperry station. Other stations were close to the water. There were stations all around the bay. This is the wharf that was used when visiting them. These are pearling luggers commandeered by the Army and used for eight day cruises for personel recovering from Malaria and other misfortunes. With a native to man the boat they were a wonderful tonic. The cargo vessel SS Anshun was shelled and sunk at Gili Gili wharf by the Japanese. Towing dinghies made them ship water. Transport officer Lt Frank Cleary. Approach a new site at Gilbara. Work in progress. Do you recognise the type of searchlight in the background. Yes its a Sperry. Site No.2 on Lavada Island. The sentry L/Cpl Ron "Trigger" Eaton has seen someone important approaching - Oh its us. We are on our way to site No. 3 at K.B. Mission just to the east the Japanese had landed and met stout resistance. And here they have a projector with Searchlight Control (SLC) that's what the aerials are - the first Radar searchlight. Lt Peter Bullock with aerial. The Company Operations Room (COR). The Coy found many bloody and grissly reminders of the encounter with the enemy. It was here the Japanese were first driven back North and our forces chased after them about 200 Kms to a new area around - caption shot "Oro Bay". Capt P Tierney and Lieut Howard Richardson of 67 AASL Coy found themselves in an area full of Americans but still with some evidence of Australia presence. Detachments were spread around Gona and Buna area and adjacent to the Kumusi River. Light stores and equipment were carried by boat from HQ at the Bay. Heavy stores were ferried by a home made pontoon - a timber deck laid over small boats. Station 4 was situated on a rise with dense mangroves between the Station and the shore. A strong timber cord track was built across the swamp to be christened later "Home Leave Avenue". This scene in the Oro Bay segment of men chopping and carrying coconut logs should be in the Milne Bay segment. The man on the right sharing the weight of a log is Ray "Bowler" Downey who was in the same detachment in Port Moresby, Milne Bay and Oro Bay. There were no coconuts growing on the site at Dobadura (Oro bay) where Ray served, it was flat Kunai grass country. Longing for the day when they could leave it all behind. This marker from the Kokoda Track showed how far away home was. But they get there soon.

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