14 thoughts on “Dodging storms

  1. Cathy, that’s fascinating. Thanks for posting it. We certainly see many more retirees on our flights to Horn Island flying up to revisit their war time posting. It does seem a shame the gun is being placed in storage instead of back into position where people could appreciate the significance of the area during the war.

    In forty years time it will be a dusty relic that ends up being scrapped to make room for something deemed more important and the history will be lost…

  2. Instead, the 3.7-inch anti-aircraft gun will be moved from the Australian Army Artillery Museum in Sydney to temporary storage in Victoria.

    Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Senator David Feeney rejected a proposal from the 34 Australian Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery Association to relocate the gun to the Torres Strait, saying Horn Island’s role in WWII was not well-known enough to justify the move.

    “Due to the rarity of the requested gun in terms of its condition and operability, I am unable to approve its relocation to Horn Island,” Mr Feeney said.

    “The role of Horn Island during World War II is, unfortunately, not well known thoughout the Australian community.”

    Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch said Horn Island’s relatively unknown role in Australian military history should have been a reason for relocating the gun, rather than an argument against it.

    “The placement of this historic anti-aircraft gun at the original gun site at King Point would underline the importance of the unique role Horn Island played in the defence of Australia,” Mr Entsch said.

    “It would also demonstrate the highest appreciation for the sacrifices made by the Torres Strait Islanders by the Australian Government.”

    34 Australian Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery Association R Gordon Cameron, who initiated the request, was based on Horn Island from 1942 to 1944.

    The 89-year-old said he would spend this ANZAC Day at Fort Queenscliff in Victoria, where anti-aircraft batteries were first established in 1938.

    “I’ll be remembering my comrades from the war,” Mr Cameron said. “There are not too many of us left now.”

    Mr Cameron, one of 248 anti aircraft gunners based on Horn Island during the war, said he was “very disappointed” by Mr Feeney’s decision.

    “This was a great opportunity,” he said.

    “The Association firmly believe that this gun, placed in the gun pit at King Point, would reinforce the historical value of the area in the defence of Australia and serve as a monument to the men and women who served there.”

    Increasing numbers of visitors to King Point were voting it one of the highlights of their visit, he said.

    “About 10 years ago, local historian Vanessa Seekee OAM began writing several articles about the wartime history of the area,” Mr Cameron said.

    “With the commencement of passenger flights to Horn Island, the area has become a tourist destination for visitors wanting to learn the wartime history of the area.”

    Mr Cameron said he returned to the Torres Strait last September, after Charlie Company arranged a dinner for him and one other remaining AA gunner.

    “We were based on Horn Island with the Torres Strait Light Infantry Battalion, most of whom were Torres Strait Islanders,” Mr Cameron said.

    “They were good soldiers. Some of their sons came to the dinner, and performed traditional songs for us.

    “I asked if they knew the song “Old TI, My Beautiful Home”.

    “They did, and we all joined in on this song that we sang 70 years ago.

    “It was pretty emotional, I can tell you.”

    From Torres News

  3. Oh Sandy, now I have camera envy:-) I’ve been harassing GW for an DSLR for my birthday but have decided that the money probably should go on the greater prize of a Lipari!

    Look forward to your photos!!

  4. I avoid turbulence and lightening where ever I can, Cathy 🙂 Off track by fifty miles? Yep, but my coffee’s still in its cup and not spilled all over the flight deck!

    And the CBs up here tend to have softer edges on them than their counterparts down south…

    I didn’t know there were batteries on Horn as well! The gun batteries on Thursday Is are situated on the highest hill with commanding views of all the shipping channels. It’s logical that there would be another set on Horn to increase their coverage. I’ll ask next time I’m up there.

  5. You guys get the best elevated platform for photos! Did Brett tell you about our new toy? A Nikon DSLR. Man, have we been having some fun. Just as soon as I work out how to send photos from a Mac to a PC, I’ll send you some. 🙂

  6. BTw, one of the senior accountants at Maggie’s last employment spent the war in a heavy AA battery on Horn Island. They would engage Japa bomber s on their way to darwin, and on the way back, as well as calling in raid warnings so our boys could intercept them. I don’t know where on the Island the battery was situated though.

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