Dear Mother & Dad
Received your welcome letter of the 13th today – am glad to hear that the colds are on the mend and you’re all happy. Ivy seems to have settled in fairly well and is apparently enjoying renewing old acquaintanceships. As you say the actual news of the invasion came as a great surprise to most people. It’s really surprising after it being talked of so much that there should have been any element of surprise at all but the success so far is particularly good although those pilotless planes are causing some headaches though doubtless the allies will find a way of countering them. The successes in other spheres are also very encouraging and give some grounds for hoping that it might end next year some time. Anyway here’s hoping that it does. As you say Jim is very disappointed that nothing has happened about his release. He was so very confident when we first came back that he’d be home by June. I see Forde has given an indication of the method to be adopted for demobilisation but I guess those with influence will be out first whether they qualify under the scheme or not.
Am still with the Air Force mob – an extra good crowd too in almost every way. The chaps here are all round and keen and the influences at work are much better than the essentially different influences effecting young fellows in the army.
Had expected to have Sunday afternoon off but the crowd were so keen that Tex (he’s the other sergeant with me) and I decided to take tham out for some grenade throwing. As there’s a river about a mile away we went there and after telling them the story and practising them with dummies put them through the real drill – throwing the grenades into the river, in so doing bringing the fish to the surface. It was a novel experience for them to dive into the river after each throw and get the fish – got quite a good haul too – and the cooks made an excellent job of them – we had snapper soup and fish for dinner last night.
Yesterday afternoon we went by truck to the seaside to instruct them in Mortars. We fired a few along the sand into some scrub and had one dud and as an hour’s search failed to locate it Tex and I left the crowd to get the gear ready and went to inform the people in the houses around and to tell them to keep out of the area. At one place we called, the owner asked us in and suggested we have a drink. He had the best stocks I’ve ever seen, Dad – ranging from beer to champagne, with all types of spirits thrown in – a retired publican. Anyhow we put in a good half hour with him before coming back.
Must say cheerio now Mother & Dad. Give my love to May & Ivy and children – and tell Anne I hope she’s soon well again.
Love – Max.
Pilotless planes… more like Flying Bombs!
Reference in a local (Queensland) newspaper – the Northern Miner – headlined ‘Hitler’s “Flying Bomb” pilotless Planes’ – gives an indication of the power of these weapons. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/81516011
John Simkin (spartacus-educational) describes the V-1 as a pilotless monoplane with a one ton warhead. Others describe it as an early Cruise Missile. This post provides a helpful summary of the weapon and the British response – Operation Crossbow. https://spartacus-educational.com/2WWv1.htm
Forde on demobilisation
Frank Forde was the Minister for Defence. The War Cabinet approved the Dept of Post-War Reconstruction’s proposed principles to govern demobilisation on !2 June 1944. The key element of these principles was that the order in which personnel would be demobilised was to be based on a points system, with service men and women allocated points on the basis of their period of service, age, marital status and employment or training prospects. (ref https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demobilisation_of_the_Australian_military_after_World_War_II )
Enjoying a break from the unit… grenade and mortar adventures
Although he says he’s ‘still’ with the Air Force mob’, this is the first mention I’ve seen – maybe there was a letter that went astray. It seems Dad and Tex were training airforce personnel while the rest of the Battalion were doing Physical Training at Burleigh. The Battalion Diary makes no reference (so far as I can see) to their deployment away from the unit. This photo gives an idea of the training being undertaken at Burleigh. AWM 067386
30/ 6/ 44
Dear Mother & Dad
Letters seem to be piling up pretty fast these days so had better do something about it.
Received yours of the 26th on Wednesday – not bad service that, two days from the time it’s written to be delivered. A letter from Ivy yesterday covered the story of her return to Melbourne – quite a good crossing.
I’m glad to hear that Max Phillips came up to see you and to know that his family are all so well. You’d expect a couple like them to have good children & Audrey has all the qualifications of a good mother – plenty of confidence and common sense. I’m a bit his way as regards the powers referendum and will be very surprised if they pull it off. NSW & Vic might support it but I think the other states will knock it back. They’ve abused the powers they’ve had too much for my liking now – though the programme is cleverly put together offering something to every section of the community and making each particular point appear vital so that the people interested in that section will vote blindly for the whole issue. If we get a vote as I suppose we will, I’ll certainly vote no – apparently even a majority vote is not sufficient for them to win, as it has to be a majority in four states.
Our term of instruction with the RAAF station ended on Tuesday and Wednesday we came back to the unit. It had been a good break – It’s good to get away from he racket for a while. The situation has changed very much since we left the unit – and fairly solid training is now the order of the day. But it’s a different proposition trying to instruct this crowd to instructing the RAAF. These blokes have all used the weapons and know their capabilities and haven’t any interest beyond that. Hadn’t been back in the unit an hour and was told I had to report to the RAP and have a couple of injections. The needles have never worried much before except for making the arm a bit stiff but this lot went to town properly. It was a powerful brew alright. Brought on a fever and then went to work on the whole system. The other blokes had all had theirs and told me what to expect but I didn’t expect it to be as crook as it was – aches and pains all over – head, kidneys, arms, legs, stomach and all – am just about right again now.
Charlie Farlow is certainly stepping along – must have an extra good round or does he deal wholesale? One thing about it, he can see something for his work at that game. I saw Jim last night – he hadn’t heard any more about the business and isn’t too happy in the service now that all day training has started again.
Must say cheerio now Mother & Dad and write to Ivy. Give my love to May, Anne & Carline & regards to the boys.
The Powers referendum : cleverly put together – something for everyone
Dad correctly noted that a referendum to change the Australian constitution only passes if approved by a majority of voters in a majority of states, and by a majority of voters across the nation. On this occasion, the Government decided to ask for an expansion of Federal powers in respect of 14 powers. These were very wide-ranging – from the rehabilitation of service men and women to uniformity of railway gauges and the ability to legislate for Aboriginal people.
Some of the powers were already exercised by the Commonwealth, but on the basis that they were ‘wartime powers’. The Government argued that chaos would ensue, post-war, if it were not permitted to continue to exercise these powers for up to 5 years after the end of hostilities.
The question to which voters had to respond on August 19 was simply – Do you approve of the proposed law for the alteration of the Constitution entitled ‘Constitution Alteration (Post-War Reconstruction and Democratic Rights) 1944’?
Prime Minister John Curtin and Arthur Fadden made radio addresses for the ‘Yes’ and “no’ cases, respectively, late in July. Curtin argued that to abandon wartime controls on the declaration of peace would cause disorganization to the social system and destroy the capacity of the system to meet the need of the first few disturbed years after the war and in response, Fadden claimed that in peacetime, you will work under government compulsion, you will eat and wear what the bureaucrats ration out to you: you will live in mass-produced government dwellings: and your children will work wherever the bureaucrats tell them to work! If granted nothing can be made, produced, built or grown without permission. Everything that is grown or made, carried or carted, sold or exchanged will be under government control. A yes vote would enable the Government to implement Labour’s policy of socialization.
Injections… a powerful brew
These images are of another unit, but they were in Queensland, and I imagine the 2/33 RAP looked quite similar. The vaccination being administered here is the TAB
AWM 080735 & 080736 Wondecla, Queensland 23/9/1944 Headquarters 6th Division troops at the Regimental Aid Post receiving vaccination and anti-typhoid injections before their movement overseas.
Charlie Farlow…. stepping along
Charles Farlow was a ‘dairyman’- sufficiently well regarded to be called to give evidence about the welfare of milking cows. (https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/25997626 ) It would seem from Dad’s comment that he also delivered milk to customers – possibly both domestic and commercial.