Secret Fleets

Lynne Cairns

Fremantle's World War II submarine base.

In 1942 Australia’s northern ports were repeatedly bombed, spy planes made surveillance flights over our major cities and Japanese submarines were patrolling of the Western Australian coast. With the arrival of the US submarines in March, Fremantle was set to become an important international base. During the war, the port played host to over 170 Allied submarines, with submarines of the United States, British and Dutch navies making a total of 416 war patrols out of the port between March 1942 and August 1945. With the port closed, barbed wire and sentries appeared at various strategic points, transforming it, almost overnight, from a relatively quiet place to the largest submarine base in the Southern Hemisphere. The secrecy surrounding the operation of the Fremantle submarine base meant that its existence was little known at the time and, has been largely forgotten by history.

Soft cover, photographs, 238 pages.