Australia's Shame. Trade Unionism sabotaging the war effort

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Takao
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Re: Australia's Shame. Trade Unionism sabotaging the war ef

Post by Takao » 12 Nov 2013 08:27

sunbury2,

Anything you can post from the book would be much appreciated.

I had posted the ADF addy a few days ago and thought I had missed something. Glad to find out I didn't. I have been going through the New Zealand serials on the same site, but have had no luck with any likely possibilites that the Vultees had been mis-identified.
http://www.adf-serials.com.au/nz-serial ... ftlist.htm

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Re: Australia's Shame. Trade Unionism sabotaging the war ef

Post by sunbury2 » 13 Nov 2013 02:36

StefanSiverud wrote:Indeed, the first link I provided was written by him, and the second by his publisher (or possibly himself).

The fact that the flight mentioned was supposedly a US flight of Vultee Vengeance bombers and US Air Force (assume he means US Army Air Force) personnel were scornful after the supposed event suggests it's a rumour blown out of proportion and misremembered. At least there are plenty of warning flags popping up.
I think Stefan is right, especially his last sentence.

The flight of the Vultee Vengeances are only mentioned in the Introduction to the book Pages 1-2.
(any typo's below are my fault)
When No.317 Radar Station was being set up at Green Island east of New Britain during the war it was found that all the valves for the radar sets had been stolen by wharf labourers at Townsville. Without the valves the station was unable to go on air as scheduled, and a violet electrical tropical storm caught a force of two seater American Vultee Vengeance dive-bombers flying back from a raid on the Japanese base at Rabaul.

The storm upset the aircraft's compasses and even though they were in radio contact they became lost. Without radar the station could not guide them home and they flew on till they ran out fuel and crashed, as those listening on the ground heard. Two of the aircraft were found. Sixteen others were lost and all the thirty-two men in them perished.

James AHearn, an RAAF serviceman at Green Island (Service No. 83396), wrote:

Had No.317 been on air it was possible the doomed aircraft could have been guided back to base. The grief was compounded by the fact that had it not been for the greed and corruption on the Australian waterfront such lives would not have been needlessly lost.

RAAF Sergeant H.T. Tolhurst, who had opened the box marked "RADIO VALVES HANDLE WITH CARE" and found it empty, commented:

"We believed that had we been on air, it was possible that we could have guided those doomed aircraft back...... All of the personnel keenly felt the lose of those......young lives. Our feelings were not helped by the scorn of the US Air force personnel who became aware of the reasons.... and who tainted us with the contempt they held"
That is everything on the subject in the book. For References

AHearn's quote was from a personal letter and interview 7th June 1996, no other information given.

Tolhurst's quote was from a book "Ed Simmonds (Ed) Radar Yarns: Being Memories and Stories Collected from RAAF Personnel Who served in Ground based Radar during World War II, E.W, & E Simmonds, Forster, NSW,1992, p 128.

Both AHearn and Tolhurst definitely served in the RAAF.

AHearn http://www.ww2roll.gov.au/Veteran.aspx? ... nId=930227
Tolhurst http://www.ww2roll.gov.au/Veteran.aspx? ... nId=914547

Things become complicated a bit then. The book quoted exists
http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/7316393?q& ... Id=8417072

and remarkably exists on online
http://www.radarreturns.net.au/archive/ ... nsRRWS.pdf
The relevant pages are 114-115.

The issues are the radar station was 311 not 317. That calls into question AHearn's information, he misidentifies the Unit involved.

Tolhurst's information is also mixed, he identifies a US or a NZ squadron of Vultee Vengenances at Green island. I am unsure of the American contempt as he also speaks of a "joy flight" as a tail gunner in a B25 Mitchell, that was to solve how the radar "saw' attacks on Rabaul.

The issue is slightly complicated as the book quoted is not a single volume, other volume exists i.e
http://radarreturns.net.au/archive/More ... S.pdfwhich may have something also but I haven't read through it yet. There may be more.

My thoughts are something did occur at Green island but not what is stated in the book. Tolhurst does state it was only from memory he thought 16 aircraft were involved.

I hope that helps a bit. :)

Edit: I cannot find any reference to New Zealand flying Vultee Vengeances, New Zealand flew Grumman Avengers
http://nzdf-serials.co.nz

Edit 2 (sorry) New Zealand did operate Douglas Dauntlesses as well

there is this quote from http://nzdf-serials.co.nz
Bu28452 SBD-5 3799 Coded "176". Taken over as new aircraft at Piva in April 1944 to replace NZ5059. Ditched on ferry flight from Guadalcanal to Piva on 04 April 1944. A flight of 3 aircraft experienced radio difficulties during the flight and became lost in deteriorating weather. The other 2 aircraft managed to land safely but "176" was presumed to have ditched. Flying Officer Leslie McLellan-Symonds missing presumed killed


I am wondering if this may be the basis of the "story". Its just a guess, nothing more.

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Re: Australia's Shame. Trade Unionism sabotaging the war ef

Post by Peter H » 13 Nov 2013 08:45

More wharfie tales here,a New Zealand tale:
http://www.worldwar2plus55.com/dl19jl42.htm
On the piers of Wellington's five-berth Aotea Quay, US Marines are discovering that the supplies sent to them from the States were commercially loaded, not combat-loaded. This means the supplies are crammed into each hull to fill it, instead of reverse order of that in which it will be needed, such that ammunition is on top, toilet paper below.

Col. Randolph M. Pate, division supply officer, has to take all the cargo out of the merchant ships and re-pack. Lacking time and space, all excess bedrolls and company property is stored, along with 75 percent of the heavy vehicles. Supply stocks are slimmed from 90 days to 60 and ammunition reserves down to 10 days.

To make life hell, New Zealand dock unions do not cooperate. They insist on regular tea breaks and will not work in inclement weather. The furious Marines summon New Zealand police, who order the wharfies off the docks. In New Zealand's driving winter rain, Marines off-load and re-load their supplies. Rain melts flimsy cardboard packaging, washes labels off cans, and makes cartons split open and spill their contents on the ground. The docks turn into a marsh with dunes of cornflakes, clothing, candy bars, cigarettes and tin cans, damaging US morale.
Obviously the "commercially loaded" equipment problem originated in the States but this whole thing sounds like a gigantic cock up
rather than "sabotage".Hyperbole like "sabotaging the war effort" in the Australian case suggests Colebatch is pushing his usual right-wing agenda.

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Takao
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Re: Australia's Shame. Trade Unionism sabotaging the war ef

Post by Takao » 13 Nov 2013 14:35

Peter,

The whole thing was, as you say, "a gigantic cock up." However, it was further complicated by the security precautions surrounding the Guadalcanal invasion. Security procedures did not allow the civilian dockworkers to be told what was going on, and the true intent of the US Marines. Thus, there was no appeal to the dock workers patriotism, and for all the dock workers knew was that this was simply a military exercise of no due importance.
http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USMC/I/USMC-I-VI-1.html (pages 248-250).

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Re: Australia's Shame. Trade Unionism sabotaging the war ef

Post by Takao » 13 Nov 2013 14:43

Many thanks sunbury2, you have given me a lot to chew on.

Also thanks for cluing me into radarreturns.net, what a treasure trove of information. I had stumbled on a .pdf on it earlier while researching this topic, but it was only the link to the pdf(the pdf is entitled "Echoes Over The Pacific" BTW, an excellent work that focuses mainly on RAAF Radar in the Pacific, and not the main website - which I neglected to check.

Again, thank you very much.

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Re: Australia's Shame. Trade Unionism sabotaging the war ef

Post by sunbury2 » 16 Nov 2013 02:52

My pleasure Takao :)

I am still looking at Green Island and whether there is any basis of truth in the story of the missing aircraft.

There is one incident on the 15 January 1945 involving NZ aircraft that appears very close to the story quoted. The aircraft are Cosairs , single engined fighter bombers.

http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarl ... c19-6.html (bold and italics are mine)
Nos. 14 and 16 Squadrons had a disastrous day on 15 January. Twelve aircraft from Green Island and twenty from Piva made a combined bombing attack on Toboi, a few miles south-west of Rabaul. Immediately after the attack Flight Lieutenant Keefe,1 of No. 14 Squadron, had his aircraft hit by anti-aircraft fire. He baled out and landed in Simpson Harbour.

Keefe was an exceptionally fine swimmer and struck out for the harbour entrance. For some time he made good progress, and reached a point midway between Matupi Island and Vulcan Crater. Then, in the middle of the afternoon, by which time he had been swimming for six hours, the tide and wind changed and he began to drift back up the harbour. All day he was covered by aircraft of Nos. 14 and 16 Squadrons. A Catalina stood by, but anti-aircraft fire prevented it from going in to rescue him. Two rafts were dropped, one falling within 100 yards of him, but he was not seen to attempt to use them.

At evening, with their petrol running low, the patrolling aircraft had to leave to return to Green Island. On the way they ran into a tropical storm which had developed with unexpected suddenness. Flying in darkness through torrential rain, five of the Corsairs crashed into the sea on the way home, and one crashed at Green Island when about to land. A seventh simply disappeared. An intensive search next morning failed to find any trace of the missing pilots or their aircraft.

The following account of the episode is taken from No. 14 Squadron's operations record book:

A combined strike was scheduled for targets No. 1 and 2 at Toboi, on the Western side of Simpson Harbour. Twenty Piva-based Corsairs were to lead in on No. 1, followed by eight aircraft from 16 Squadron and four from us on No. 2 target. Flying Officer Corbett's2 aircraft went unserviceable so we had only three aircraft, each carrying 2 - 500 lb. bombs. Just after release, and when between 2,000 and 2,500 feet, Flight Sergeant Cook,3 the last man in, saw Flight Lieutenant Keefe, who was immediately ahead of him, get hit by anti-aircraft fire in the port wing. There was a burst of flame and the aircraft climbed steeply to 3,000 ft. with black smoke pouring from the engine and pieces of the aircraft flying about. At 3,000 ft. it did a wing-over and went straight down. Flight Lieutenant Keefe managed to bale out, landing in the water between half a mile and a mile North of Beehives. Apparently he was unharmed, as he started to make immediate progress towards the entrance of the harbour. When he was about mid-
1 Flt Lt F. G. Keefe; born Auckland, 23 Jul 1916; driver-mechanic; died of wounds while p.w. 1945.

2 Fg Off D. A. Corbett; Auckland; born Millerton, 10 Oct 1922; University student.

3 F/S A. I. Cook; Bluff; born Invercargill, 7 Dec 1924; cadet telegraphist.

PAGE 303 way between Matupi Island and Vulcan Crater the tide and wind changed. This was mid-afternoon. Remaining more or less stationary for at least an hour, he then started to drift gradually back into the harbour. If there was any possibility whatsoever, Dumbo was going in, but as a precaution two small bamboo rafts were sent up by Ventura. As Flight Lieutenant Keefe was losing ground, it was considered to be suicidal for Dumbo to do anything, so the rafts were dropped at about 1800 hours. One landed 100 yds. East of him and the other 100 yds. West, but no-one observed him making any attempt to reach them. Squadron Leader Green1 of No. 16 Squadron made two low runs over Keefe and saw him lying across a log. He could not say for sure, but it appeared as if Keefe's head was under water. There were 15 Corsairs patrolling overhead at the time. They were ready to give protection should Dumbo put down, but as there was nothing more they could do they set out for base at about 1845 hours.
Flight Lieutenant Hay,2 leading our two sections and followed by a section from 16 Squadron, came round Cape St. George and, as there was a front between there and base, he set course for Feni Island, no doubt in an attempt to get round it. The front developed very rapidly just before the aircraft left Rabaul and there was no means of knowing how thick or wide it was going to be. When just South of Feni, Hay received a course of 125 degrees from Shepherd Base and decided to turn on to it. As they entered the front, Flight Sergeant Walther3 noticed that his altimeter was reading 300 ft. although, because of high pressure, their height was estimated to be about 450 ft. In a flash of lightning, only a minute or two after entering the front, Walther, who was No. 4, saw Hay and Flight Sergeant McArthur4 collide. With the latter's aircraft burning at the wing-roots, they dropped behind. Immediately after the collision he saw the lights of Flying Officer Steward,5 No. 3, go down. This left Walther on his own and he put up a magnificent effort in getting home. Pilot Officer Crump's6 section, led by Flight Sergeant Munro,7 as Crump's R/T was not working, became separated from the others, but Munro did a grand job in bringing them home as it entailed nearly twenty minutes blind flying after dark and in heavy rain. Unfortunately, fate was still against them. Munro, with Flight Sergeant Mitchell8 on his right, were going down the down-wind leg at 500 ft. before landing with a ceiling of less than 600 ft. when the former was seen to pull up sharply and disappear into cloud. What happened to him, nobody knows.

No. 16 Squadron did not escape. Of their section, which had formated with Hay, two were seen to hit the water and explode immediately prior to the collision. The remaining pair managed to get home but they were extremely lucky. Squadron Leader Green led his pair home almost on a
1 Sqn Ldr P. S. Green, DFC, m.i.d.; Wellington; born Kawakawa, 15 Dec 1919; statistician.

2 Flt Lt B. S. Hay, m.i.d.; born Taihape, 2 Dec 1921; clerk; killed on air operations 15 Jan 1945.

3 W/O D. G. Walther; Woodville; born Woodville, 28 Aug 1921; dairy farmer.

4 F/S J. S. McArthur; born Christchurch, 18 Aug 1920; electrician; killed on air operations 15 Jan 1945.

5 Fg Off A. N. Saward; born Hamilton, 4 Dec 1922; farmhand; killed on air operations 15 Jan 1945. [Name incorrectly given as Steward in squadron record book.]

6 Fg Off H. P. Crump, m.i.d.; Dargaville; born Dargaville, 19 Sep 1921; University student.

7 F/S I. J. Munro; born Kaitaia, 15 Aug 1924; farmhand; killed on air operations 15 Jan 1945.

8 Fg Off R. R. Mitchell; Petone; born Palmerston North, 10 Apr 1924; fireman.

PAGE 304 direct course at low level. One got lost and was lucky to fluke base as his R/T was out of action. The other pair reached the island safely but in a turn Flying Officer Randell1 lost height and crashed.
After the war it was reported by Japanese captured at Rabaul that Keefe had swum ashore at Vulcan Crater, and later had taken a small boat and tried to row down the harbour. A wounded arm made it impossible for him to row properly, and he was taken prisoner by a Japanese naval party. He died of his wound while a prisoner of war.

From http://nzdf-serials.co.nz
NZ5412 6073 F4U-1D Bu57250. Shipped from USA on 24 July 1944 aboard "USS Grand Mesa". Assembled in Espiritu Santo and BOC Unit 60 on 11 August 1944. At Espiritu Santo August 1944. To No.23 Squadron on 09 October 1944. To No.20 Squadron on 26 October 1944. To No.14 Squadron by January 1945. Crashed into sea near Green Island on 15 January 1945. The aircraft was part of a formation of four and dived into the sea shortly after a collision between NZ5408 and NZ5423. It is presumed the crash was due to hitting debris from the other aircraft. Flying Officer Albert Saward killed. Aircraft written off books at Green Island.

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Re: Australia's Shame. Trade Unionism sabotaging the war ef

Post by Peter H » 19 Nov 2013 06:33

The Melbourne Herald-Sun has linked our discussions here:
http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andr ... m_queried/

Good to see some of the contributors there in denial pmsl.

A good read here too of putting things in their historical context.
http://www.cpa.org.au/z-archive/g1999/941wwf.htm

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Re: Australia's Shame. Trade Unionism sabotaging the war ef

Post by StefanSiverud » 20 Nov 2013 21:19

Regarding:
A planned rescue of Australian PoWs in Borneo late in the war apparently had to be abandoned, writes Colebatch, because a wharf strike in Brisbane meant the ships had no heavy weapons.
I assume this is referring to Kingfisher/Agas II. What sources does he give? I can't find any source supporting that reason for not going ahead with the rescue, but several other reasons.

Regarding:
"One of the most obscene acts occurred in October, 1945, at the end of the war, after Australian soldiers were released from Japanese prison camps. They were half dead, starving and desperate for home. But when the British aircraft-carrier HMS Speaker brought them into Sydney Harbour, the wharfies went on strike. For 36 hours, the soldiers were forced to remain on-board, tantalisingly close to home. This final act of cruelty from their countrymen was their thanks for all the sacrifice.
Here's what one of those former PW's wrote about it:
We sailed from Manila on the British aircraft carrier, Speaker, and in between sunbaking on the flight deck and listening to Bing Crosby sing “Danny Boy” over the speaker system, we debated endlessly how we would be received in Australia. We recalled with some misgiving the secret radios of Changi, and the news they had brought of the harsh and bitter reception given to General Gordon Bennett in 1942. His only crime had been his escape; our far graver sin was that we had actually directly helped the enemy for three and a half years.

Sydney Harbour was reached on 15 October, and all doubts and fears of how the ignoble P.O.W.s would be received were swept away by the tumultuous, emotional welcome that was ours. The Speaker passed through the Heads at 9 a.m. and began a slow, triumphant passage down the harbour. Warships hooted and tooted as we passed and sailors lined the decks and cheered. A friendly, crazy flotilla of small craft circled around us like so many happy puppies and they bore such messages as “All our love to Bert Brown 2/29th” and “Welcome Dear Aussies” (That was one we loved.) Kindness, kindness, kindness.

Wharf labourers cheered themselves hoarse as we pulled into the wharf and the tugs tooted and hooted in a frenzy of welcome. It was more—far more—than we had ever dreamt of, and we felt almost like heroes and not men returning after three and a half years of aiding the enemy. [...]"
Quoted from "The Brave Japanese" by Kenneth Harrison, (Rigby 1966). Again, does he give a source for his claim?

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Re: Australia's Shame. Trade Unionism sabotaging the war ef

Post by Takao » 20 Nov 2013 22:14

Regarding the HMS Speaker, it looks as if Mr. Colebatch is over-blowing the issue as appears to be his wont.

The carrier HMS Speaker arrived in Sydney on Monday, October 15, 1945. Look for a little blurb about it in the October 16th edition, 3rd column of Melbourne's "The Argus" paper. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/page/632024?zoomLevel=2

I have found no direct mention of a dock workers strike in the papers. However, there is a big-too-do being made about the ongoing Bunnerong Power House strike. The first page of the newspaper I posted above: http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/page/632020?zoomLevel=2

Also in "The Townsville Daily": http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/page/55 ... oomLevel=2

Further, "The Canberra Times" on October 15th mentions that there are seven unions that will not be participating in "sympathy strikes", but lists only two - The Australian Workers Union & the Australian Society of Engineers:
http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/2647771

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Re: Australia's Shame. Trade Unionism sabotaging the war ef

Post by StefanSiverud » 21 Nov 2013 02:20

Takao wrote:Regarding the HMS Speaker, it looks as if Mr. Colebatch is over-blowing the issue as appears to be his wont.

The carrier HMS Speaker arrived in Sydney on Monday, October 15, 1945. Look for a little blurb about it in the October 16th edition, 3rd column of Melbourne's "The Argus" paper. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/page/632024?zoomLevel=2

I have found no direct mention of a dock workers strike in the papers. However, there is a big-too-do being made about the ongoing Bunnerong Power House strike. The first page of the newspaper I posted above: http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/page/632020?zoomLevel=2

Also in "The Townsville Daily": http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/page/55 ... oomLevel=2

Further, "The Canberra Times" on October 15th mentions that there are seven unions that will not be participating in "sympathy strikes", but lists only two - The Australian Workers Union & the Australian Society of Engineers:
http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/2647771
There's a useful resource! Searching for 'hms speaker' in October 1945 turns up all kinds of examples of ex-PW's meeting relatives the same day, so this is starting to look like another memory misremembered.

On the other hand, there's no shortage of examples of wharfies striking, and seeing as they were apparently exempt from military service, that was truly bad form! No matter how poorly treated they felt, they were probably better off than those in the jungle.

There is also no shortage of examples of soldiers, both Australian and American, shifting their own cargo, and up to 50% faster than the local wharfies! This in spite of being new at it. As is mentioned in the articles, this is at least partly because of their youth.

Regarding the other unions, I have found the names of six:
The unions which have signified their intention to work include the Australian Workers' Union, the Australian Engineers' Union, the Australian Society of Engineers, the Electrical Trades Union, the Plumbers' Union, and the Clerks' Union.
Source: http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/114614085

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Re: Australia's Shame. Trade Unionism sabotaging the war ef

Post by Sid Guttridge » 21 Nov 2013 12:02

This seems to have been a wider problem.

A fortnight ago I read a report in the Sunday Telegraph by a junior SAS officer captured in Italy. It was the custom of the commander of the German Parachute division that captured him to dine with any officer taken. At the meal one of the reasons the German general gave for optimism was the wave of strikes taking place in the UK. The SAS officer escaped a few days later and reported this back.

I have also read that dockers battalions used on the Mulberry piers in Normandy worked to rule, for fear that a high work rate might lead to higher expectations of their civilian working practices in peacetime.

One wonders if the Australian labour problems in WWII were attributable to British immigrant trade unionists or practices, as was later alleged about Australian labour problems there in the 1960s?

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Australia's Shame. Trade Unionism sabotaging the war ef

Post by sunbury2 » 22 Nov 2013 03:49

With HMS Speaker, I think the same applies to it as it does to the "missing American Squadron claim." There is a kernel of truth in it, that is the base line. However that base line has been blurred over the years by Colebatch's witnesses, most who are remembering things from 50 years before.

From the History of HMS Speaker http://www.navsource.org/archives/03/cv ... aker03.htm (bold and italics are mine)
SYDNEY (15th Oct. to 26th Dec.).
This was to be a three weeks’ visit with seven days’ leave to each watch and everyone went flat out to enjoy it. But when we were almost ready to sail, a corroded pipe burst and flooded the Diesel dynamo room, necessitating extensive repair work on the armatures. So we had our visit extended by six weeks. This enabled us to paint to our peacetime colouring, give two excellent dances, and snatch a further three days' leave to each watch, as well as staying over Xmas.

It was unfortunate for us that this period should have coincided with a wave of strikes ashore which put Sydney on a real austerity basis for lighting, cooking, transport and entertainments and made it difficult for many men to get away on leave. However, most of us had a good time, and we were ready to get to sea again on Boxing Day.
So there were industrial issues at the time of HMS Speaker being in Sydney Harbour, whether the strikes affected the disembarking of the POW' is rightly suspect.

In the two examples given in the book's Introduction, Colebatch's flaw is he takes old men's memories as proof of primary sources and it appears he does not double check or cross reference . His sole source for the HMS Speaker claim is a single letter from a Mr W.S.Monk , 7th of August 1995.

As I seem the only fool to have bought the book, I will try and give more samples from the book over the weekend.

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Re: Australia's Shame. Trade Unionism sabotaging the war ef

Post by StefanSiverud » 22 Nov 2013 22:09

sunbury2 wrote:In the two examples given in the book's Introduction, Colebatch's flaw is he takes old men's memories as proof of primary sources and it appears he does not double check or cross reference . His sole source for the HMS Speaker claim is a single letter from a Mr W.S.Monk , 7th of August 1995.
I agree completely, looking at the stories from the book he and others have written about online, it appears he (and his publisher) has not spent nearly enough time checking the accuracy of the stories. Even if his thesis has merit, which one may or may not think, and the majority of the stories and facts are true, his book is not worth much as a source because of the errors.

It would be interesting to know whether the apparent errors are caused by mixed up memories on the part of the veterans or poor wording or excessive assumptions on the part of the writer, or both. For instance, there was an Australian PW in a camp in Thailand by the name of W.S. Monk [Source] It may very well be Mr. Monk was unable to leave the ship immediately, there was indeed a strike going on which may have caused it, but it certainly did not keep many others from seeing their families on shore the same day.

The way Mr. Colebatch and his publisher have written about it online (I do not have access to the book), it's hard to read it in any other way than "all of the ex-PW's on the Speaker were forced to remain on the ship for 36 hours after docking", which simply is not true. Where did the misconception begin?

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Re: Australia's Shame. Trade Unionism sabotaging the war ef

Post by Marcus » 24 Nov 2013 10:10

Political posts from EKB and Delta Tank were removed. Keep your political opinion out of this forum.

/Marcus

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Re: Australia's Shame. Trade Unionism sabotaging the war ef

Post by Terry Duncan » 24 Nov 2013 11:25

The claims made about 'sabotage' because of strikes seem to ignore the fact that almost all nations in the west saw some industrial actions in both world wars, munition workers in WWI, coal miners in both wars, dockers too, all went on strike at times, mostly because they were not paid or treated too well.

The theft of valves seems strange too. Are we to presume the dockers took thousands of valves or that there were only six valves in Australia and nobody had thought to order spares? The idea that dockers have often looted some items to supply a black market or to supplement their own wages also appears to have skipped the authors mind, just because items were taken does not mean it was a deliberate attempt to sabotage the war effort. Having worked in an environment with amplifiers using valves I can say for sure that it is common practice to keep at least one or two complete spare sets at hand just because the damn things can expire frequently and without much warning, so the idea of a radio station being made operational without a significant supply of valves in its stores strikes me as very unlikely to be true.

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