Discussion in 'World War 2' started by Kyt, Jan 20, 2008.
Supposedly these were chemical ordnance at Barra!
View attachment 1587
Thanks Spidge, Interesting pic. If you squint hard enough you just make out what looks like bungs on the top of the drums. I might be barking up the wrong tree with Iron Range as the mystery drums all had a bung in the side rather than the top.
Assuming they are mustard gas containers they would be 1 ton bulk cylinders filled American manufactured mustard - referred to as Levinstein mustard. I've made the assumption they are. The americans used little or no protection for their chemical weapons. They left them out in the fashion shown. This was noted by a delegation from the RAAF chemical warfare headquarters in Melbourne (Arm 6) in mid 1943.
A 60 minute audio recording of an interview with two surviving Chemical Warfare Armourers, Frank Burkin & Kevin Garr with Richard Fidler on the Conversation Hour (ABC) is available here;
ABC Brisbane - WWII Chemical Armourers Frank Burkin and Kevin Garr
Hey guys i was going over my Grandfathers service records a couple of day ago. Found out before he was in the 101 heavy mortar company he was in the 1 Australia Chemical Warfare Company.
Could you please tell me what he would have done in that company or if anyone knows what the company was.
Could you give us a name and service number?
The CW Companies were part of the Royal Australian Engineers, and I believe they were responsible for preparing for any possible gas attacks by the enemy and countering it with attacks themselves.
In April 1943 the above company was renamed 101 Infantry Brigade Support Company
Well he wasn't an engineer hey was just a private in the army.
He was in the reserves then in the CW company the in the mortar company.
And spent his time during the war in Bouganville in Papua New Guinnie.
The date that he went into the CW company was 16.8.42
And he was in the Australian Imperial forces (AIF)
218, he doesn't have to be an engineer to be in the Engineers. Certainly sounds like your Grandfather had an interesting war.
All i want to find out is why he was there and what he was doing.
I have already contacted the Department of Veteran Affairs but they havn't replied. Do you know where i would contact to get some information.
If you'd like to give us some details ...( name etc ) or family stories ..... maybe it would help somebody help you !
We'd be glad to give it "a go " !!
ok His name was PTE Robert John Scowen QX40089
first he was in the reserve then went into active service with the AIF. Later on down the road he was taken in strength by 1 Australia Chemical Warfare Company in the RAE on the 16.8.42. Whom recieved looks like 3pm.CETC. the place where this took part was in Kapooka. Thats about all it says. and the other stuff is written so long ago that i can barely read it.
The file that you need to access to see what they were doing, and intended for is A10857 from the Australian National Archives. It hasn't been digitised but you can apply for it
It is entitled Chemical Warfare Company - RAE - War Establishment - provisional Control symbol III/32
There is also 4 Chemical Warfare Company (4 Chem War Coy) [Whole diary - 1 item] (Mar - Jun 1942) . It is a different company but probably did the same sort of things. Series number AWM52 Control symbol 5/28/3
No diary available for the 1 CWC as far as I can find.
It may also be worth contacting these chaps, associated with the book mentioned earlier in this thread
Chemical Warfare in Australia
History Channel & Chemical Warfare in Australia
For those interested two of the chemical warfare armourers, Geoff Burn and Arthur Lewis will feature on an upcoming episode of 'Cities of the Underworld' on the History Channel called Alcatraz Down Under. It will appear on Australia TV on Monday March 9th at 8.30pm (with an encore screening on Saturday 15th of March at 6.30pm). For US times see;
Cities Of The Underworld - Alcatraz Down Under
The History Channel segment is here;
YouTube - Cities of the Underworld - Alcatraz Down Under - Glenbrook Tunnel & Chemical Weapons - 1/5
Everybody had them. Roosevelt had standing orders that their weapons were only to be used in response to an enemy using them first.
I donot know what these Chemical mortar personnel did during the war, however I will draw some comparison to a Korean war out fit.
The Australian 3RAR and 27th British Commonwealth Bgd was for some months in early 1951 given close support by the US 2nd Chemical Heavy mortar Coy. These people were trained in the use of CW's. However they used standard High Explosive 4.2 inch rounds during their Korean war experiences.
218's Grand father would of been trained in Chemical weapon use, however and esp during his war in Bouganville he and his Coy
"could of" been used as a standard mortar Coy however with the training and capability to fire Chemical War heads if the need arose.
The reason for this could be that with casualty and sickness of Aussie troops before and during the fighting in Bouganville that a entire Mortar Coy would of been hard to leave out of battle as 218's grand dads and his comrades were highly trained mortar men who would of been also trained in traditional High explosive mortar fire
101 AUST HY MORTAR COY - PTE Robert John Scowen QX40089
As above, I was looking up this unit as a family acquaintance had just passed away and I found out that he was a former member. He was Private ALAN VIVIAN BERTWISTLE QX45721 (Q149106).
So far I know that the unit was in Bougainville in 1945 (from the awm website):
NX100704 Private Phillip Darcy Foran, 101 Heavy Mortar Company, of Bondi, NSW. Pte Foran enlisted on 4 August 1942 at Ingleburn, NSW. He was accidentally killed at Bougainville on 17 March 1945.
& from the Scotch College Archives:
Lieutenant Leon Brooke Bates VX86174 (V158053) - eventually posted to 101 Heavy Mortar Company. The unit was set up to counteract the possibility of the enemy indulging in chemical warfare. Leon’s chemical engineering knowledge was thought to be useful in this area. Fortunately chemical warfare did not eventuate and 101 Heavy Mortar Company became a ‘normal’ unit seeing service in the Pacific, notably in Bougainville.
(Bertwistle + Foran + Bates haven't had their service files digitised by the naa. Pte Scowen's file states that he was sent to Torokina in 1945)
Did you find my Grandfather's record?
Cadet Corporal Scowen
PTE Robert John Scowen QX40089
I went to the naa.gov.au site and using your Grandfather's service number I had a look at his digitised service record.
Isn't that where you got your info from?
Separate names with a comma.