- Camp Kalinga - Australian Special Wireless Group
- ASWG Emblem
- ASWG Badge to be pinned on clothing
- ASWG Banner on Anzac Day
- The Four Decision Makers of Camp Kalinga
- Aerial view of Camp Kalinga Courtesy Nundah Hist. Soc.
- Australian Special Wireless Group. 1
- Australian Special Wireless Group. 2
- Key to Numbers on Aerial Map
- Australian Special Wireless Group. 3
- Camp Kalinga ASWG moves from Bonegilla to Kalinga.
- Operational activities at Camp Kalinga - Steve Mason 1
- Operational Activities at Camp Kalinga - Steve Mason 2
- Australian Special Wireless Group 4
- Camp Kalinga The Rhombic aerial system. 1
- Camp Kalinga Rhombic Aerial Structure 2
- Rhombic Antenna Home Page
- Working on top of the Mast.
- Working on the ground.
- Australian Special Wireless Group 5
- Personnel - Shift Work
- The Katakama Chart - Japanese Morse Code
- Formal Military Activities of ASWG.
- Lt. Colonel Jack Ryan OIC
- Major Arthur Geddes Henry 2IC
- Colonel Jack Ryan Inspecting Troops.
- AWAS Inspection
- Security Fence 300
- Ground View of Camp Kalinga
- Work Party on ground
- Australian Special Wireless Group 6
- Motor Pool
- Dispatch Riders
- Australian Special Wireless Group 7
- Off Duty - Recreation
- Margaret Raymond (nee Fullgrabe)
- Margaret Raymond, Therese Henry and Beverley Isdale
- Leave Pass for Margaret Fullgrabe (Raymond)
- Vale Margaret Raymond Card 1
- Vale Margaret Raymond Card 2
- The Bletchley Badge or Broach
- Shaw Park Today Google Embedded Map
- Australian Special Wireless Group 8
- Books and other ASWG Information
- Steve Mason and ASWG
Camp Kalinga - Australian Special Wireless Group
Australian troops were serving in Syria, Greece and Crete in the early phase of WW II supporting the British who were trying to stem the tide of German troops pushing towards the Mediterranean Sea.
Operating with the Australian Army was a small group of Wireless Telegraphy No. 4 W/T operators who were listening to the German transmissions and passing the information on to the British-Australian Commanders. It was turbulent time as they were in retreat and only just managing to avoid capture by the German parachute troops. (For more information go to Terese Henry's narrative on the Sidebar.)
Because of the success of 4W/T Section in the Middle East it was decided to form two distinct areas of action against the Japanese. These were the Interception of Japanese transmissions by ASWG and the Decoding and Translating etc., of the transmission by the Central Bureau at 21 Henry St. Ascot. Both were under the direct command of General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander South West Pacific in the AMP Building, Brisbane.
Eleven independent Sections left ASWG at Camp Kalinga to serve throughout the Pacific area.
Some of the Sections vetted Allied transmissions to reduce the information available to the enemy.
There was also a Discrimination Unit which investigated unidentified transmissions thought Australia.
It was to the credit of Camp Kalinga and Central Bureau that the Japanese never discovered their existence; secrecy was their cover, absolute secrecy.
While Camp Kalinga was born in WW II it vanished into oblivion when the war ended. No trace of it remained except the story which only its occupants knew and they were sworn to secrecy till 30 years after the the war which ended in 1945. They and their like in the Allied Forces served in secret and shortened the war by two years thus saving millions of lives without firing a single shot.
The ancient Athenian god Mercury, the messenger of the gods, had wings on his heels and was probably chosen to represent ASWG because of his swiftness. In the 1940 s the wireless was the fastest way of sending a message so that could be the link. Anybody have a better explanation?
It is now used as the ASWG Association emblem and there not many members left.
ASWG Badge to be pinned on clothing
The badge was always shown with the white on top and was only to be pinned on uniforms and hats. It was removed when in battle to protect the identity of the person.
ASWG Banner on Anzac Day
The ASWG Banner was not subject to the 30 years silence after WWII. It was just another banner among many on Anzac Days. This one was on a recent Anzac Day as the soldier is a woman.
The Four Decision Makers of Camp Kalinga
There were four prime decision makers of ASWG:
1. Jack Ryan then a Captain and later Major initially saved the section in Crete by leading them over the mountains to the evacuation port. It involved a 65 kilometre forced march by night as they were under constant aerial attack by day. Jack in civilian life had been the chief engineer of radio station 3 ---- and a Militia soldier. In ASWG Jack, a Lt. Colonel made the decisions in Administration.
2. Arthur Henry, a Major was the technical man. (More about Arthur in Right Side Bar. Also a graphic description of the unit in Greece and Crete.)
3. Bill Stevenson, an ex-Black Watch veteran was the discipline man who, almost single handed turned the 'red raw' recruits into soldiers. He then handed them over to become Morse code operators and then intercept operators.
4. Ralph Thompson who commanded Section 51 in Darwin, the first section to go into the field (1942). Later in civilian life he headed ASIO.
The training of intercept operators was undertaken by the returned men from the Middle East and 12 British intercept operators who had worked for years in Hong Kong and Singapore from which they escaped to Australia. They joined the Australian Army for the rest of the war and were a great help to our fledgling operators.
AN ASIDE: Steve continues - one of my members was Cpl. Frank Maguire and I tuned into his receiver, and was, at first alarmed to see him relaxing and rolling a cigarette whilst I sat on the edge of the seat doing my best to write down what I heard. With the end of the line, Frank picked up his pencil and wrote down all that had been transmitted. Frank also taught me the Japanese short figure code, which eventually all interception operators used.
Aerial view of Camp Kalinga Courtesy Nundah Hist. Soc.
This overall view of the camp shows Kedron Brook across the top of the photo and the Shaw family homestead in the top right corner.
Shaw Road is off the right hand side of the photo and there was another more conventional army camp on the other side.
What this photo does not show is the elaborate system of wires on very high masts which passers by would notice and they guessed that it was some sort of wireless system. But nobody asked, people then knew better, the slogan was " If you don't know what it is, you don't need to know."
There were high barb wire fences and armed guards at the entrances, people knew to keep away, there was a war on and it was total war.
The embedded Google map shows Shaw Park on either side of Shaw Rd. Camp Kalinga was on the right or West side of Shaw Rd., while the other army camp was on the left or Eastern side. It occupied the area across to Sandgate Rd.
Australian Special Wireless Group. 1
Section 1 Introduction
The wartime activities of the complex network of intelligence gathering organisations is gradually becoming better known, and suitable acknowledgement and appreciation of their efforts is becoming possible.
We now know a great deal more about the use of coded information and how those highly complicated codes used by the enemy, were un-jumbled to become valuable information. However, what is frequently overlooked is how that original coded message came to be available to the code breakers. Who intercepted that information? Where did it come from? And to find that answer, we have to peel away another layer of that secrecy veil that was so necessary to achieve the essential war time security.
Helen Kenny, the Editor of the Newsletter for the retirees (CBers) of the Central Bureau Intelligence Organization, wrote an item in that newsletter, (August 2013) which she entitled: Chooks at Chermside. It was an account of how, in the 1950's, young Peter Hill's collecting hobby, added to the CDHS Inc. account of the AWAS ladies who were billeted at the Chermside Military camp, and the work they did for the Central Bureau in the humble garage at the rear of 21 Henry Street, Nyrambla House, Ascot.
That leads us to the motorcycle dispatch riders who provided the personalised 'by hand' protected direct delivery of the intercepted Japanese military Kana Morse code messages that had to be de-coded, and that leads us to yet another little known group of highly technical military personnel, the Australian Special Wireless Group. In our north Brisbane area, we are gradually learning more about the activities at Camp Kalinga, which we now know as Shaw Park and which now bristles with wonderful sporting fields and leisure time activity facilities.
The history of that little pocket of fertile productive land skirted by Kedron Brook, has seen various changes of usage, from native forest, the home of the Turrbul (Stone) People, to agriculture with the Shaw family farm, then military camps during WW2. The camp on the eastern side of Shaw Road through to Sandgate Road, was a mostly tent accommodation area used by various military groups in transit, coming and going to somewhere else. The history of that area is well documented by the Nundah Historical Society.
On the western side of the road, where the land rises slightly was a complex of military huts that looked much like the many other military camps that suddenly appeared during the war years. This camp had a significant array of very high poles, about twice as high as the ordinary electricity poles which we now know carried a 'state of the art' wireless antennae network called a Rhombic Aerial System.
The men and women military personnel who worked there, carried out a 24/7 radio signal intercept role tuning into the frequencies of the Japanese military forces. The Japanese used the Kana 45 letter system, (For more detail go to the section on 22 Henry St. Ascot above or the Katakana Chart below.) The highly skilled listeners at Camp Kalinga would write down, in pencil, what they heard, a supervising officer would collect the written notes and the motorcycle dispatch rider who was always standing-by, would transport those messages to wherever he was directed.
He may have taken his courier bag to Nyrambla House, 21 Henry Street, Ascot where the notes were decoded by the AWAS personnel in the garage at the rear using Typex machines and the results assessed for their relevance and acted on accordingly. Another dispatch rider may have taken the result to Central Bureau in the AMP Chambers which was General Macarthur's Headquarters.
The development of this Australian Special Wireless Group had its origins in the little known pre-WW2 intelligence gathering activities under many different names but essentially the nucleus was ready to be drawn together for active service when war was declared in 1939. The official histories have been written by the people who were involved at that time, and they are available through our CDHS Research Rooms. They make intensely dramatic reading.
The Commanding Officer at Camp Kalinga was Lt. Col. Jack Ryan, who had been with this unit during the activities in the Middle East. Also involved during those times and at Camp Kalinga, was the radio and Morse code expert, Major Arthur Henry whose military ID disc was among those found at the Chermside chook yard.
Major Henry's daughter, Therese, was born after the war, and has researched her father's military service, most thoroughly. The result is the detailed account is available in the CDHS archives and we thank Therese for her generosity.
Two of the military personnel who worked at Camp Kalinga intercepting the Japanese radio signals on the 24/7 shift work operations were Margaret Raymond (nee Fullgrabe) and Steve Mason. We have extracted from Steve's written memoirs, the section dealing with his enlistment and war service, and Margaret, an accomplished artist, has allowed us to reproduce here, some of her sketches of her war-time AWAS experiences.
Sections of oral history recordings with both Margaret and Steve will eventually be added to this account, and we thank them both for that personal insight to the important work that was carried out by the Australian Special Wireless Group at Camp Kalinga, towards the defence of Australia during WW2.
The other audio recording added here, is a conversation with David Brownsey, speaking about the radio and Morse code equipment of that 1940's era. Thank you David.
Australian Special Wireless Group. 2
The photos of WW2 Camp Kalinga are from the Australian War Memorial collection, and are reproduced here with their permission.
Camp Kalinga layout and operation, by Steve Mason.
1946 aerial survey photo, where Steve has added a number to the roof of each building, and added information as to the use and activity there.
Key to Numbers on Aerial Map
Steve Mason has written on No. 8 - No heating, cooling or air conditioning.
Australian Special Wireless Group. 3
Prior to the movement from Bonegilla to Kalinga many of the 'would be' intercept operators attended a six weeks Kena Morse code course run by the RAAF at the Melbourne Showgrounds.
Also a big promotions were given to the returned Middle East men e g; Jack Vesey went from lance-corporal to Lieutenant
Camp Kalinga ASWG moves from Bonegilla to Kalinga.
Operational activities at Camp Kalinga - Steve Mason 1
Operational Activities at Camp Kalinga - Steve Mason 1
Operational Activities at Camp Kalinga - Steve Mason 1
Operational Activities at Camp Kalinga - Steve Mason 2
Operational activities at Camp Kalinga - Steve Mason
Australian Special Wireless Group 4
Camp Kalinga The Rhombic aerial system. 1
Section 4The Rhombic Antenna was state of the art broadcasting aerials in the decades of 1930 s and 1940 s. It also drew attention of passers by but people didn't ask too many questions during the war years.
The antenna was pointed directly at the Japanese mainland and the operators listened, silently and endlessly. When a message came through they wrote at an incredible speed of up to 30 words per minute. Try it sometime. They kept up this pace for their four hour shifts using pencil and note paper. .
Camp Kalinga Rhombic Aerial Structure 2
This is part of a Nundah Historical Society photo with a Rhombic Aerial Structure superimposed on it. The masts are 72 feet or 22 metres high about twice the height of high tension electricity poles. The ASWG Radio Intercept Operations Room was situated in the guarded security area and was connected to the massive Rhombic aerial system which extended for approximately 600 metres in a slightly north-west direction, towards Japan.
While the military huts themselves were similar to the huts in any other military camp, an observer would immediately realise that Camp Kalinga was not an ordinary military camp, if there is such a thing.
Rhombic Antenna Home Page
Rhombic Antenna Home Page
While amateur radio operators today largely employ rotating array antennas such as the Yagi dipole array and the cubical quad antenna, some still use wire antennas, some of which can afford higher gain and lower receive noise characteristics. In fact, the rhombic antenna is usually described as the "King of antennas" because of it's very desireable characteristics. The rhombic antenna is basically a diamond-shaped wire curtain that is made of 4 wires, each several wavelengths long connected to form a "diamond" or rhombus shape . The diamond is constructed with the narrowest ends left open for the feed point on one end and a non-inductive resistive termination on the other. This creates the terminated (also called non-resonant) rhombic which is a unidirectional antenna with broad bandwidth. Non-terminated (also called resonant) rhombics do work but have narrower useful bandwidth and are bidirectional (non-resonant rhombics are fed on one end and the opposite end is left open. In my experience both non-resonant and resonant rhombics work quite well. All wire antennas tend to be less "noisy" on receive and longer antennas like the rhombic are very low noise antennas with the solitary exception of precipitation static (snow and rain add small charges to the curtain and you get very high noise under such conditions). Precipitation static can be minimized by using termination resistors with a grounded center tap (leaks static to ground continuously).
The sides of the rhombic (with the broadest included angle) are constructed of differing dimensions to determine what radiation angle will be obtained. Half of the angle included by the rhombic side is called the "tilt angle" or theta ψ and as the tilt angle is varied, the radiation angle will also vary. There exist various ways to calculate the ideal tilt angle to choose relative to the radiation angle and gain desired for a given rhombic application. Generally the tilt angle is between 65 and 75 degrees. The apex angle is the angle included by the feed point end of the rhombic and is between 30 and 50 degrees and varies with the tilt angle (the sum of half the apex angle and the tilt angle will be 90).
Height is very important for rhombics, as it is for all antennas. Basically, the radiation angle of the main beam of any antenna is related to the height above the ground and the ground characteristics. Generally, for any antenna the following height (in wavelengths)/wave angle (degrees) relationships hold: 0.5/30; 1.0/15; 1.5/8; 2.0/6; 3.0/5. As you can see, to take advantage of the rhombic's extraordinary gain for distant (low angle) communications, you will need to have the antenna at least 1.5 wavelengths high: on 14.0 Mhz, this is around 90 feet, the "usual" height used for rhombic antennas (most rhombics used are in amateur radio usually optimized for 14 Mhz or 20 meter band).
Rhombic antennas are generally fed with open feedlines of around 400 to 600 ohm impedance. This is not critical and any issues related to feeder loss and/or standing wave ratios pales in significance in relationship to this antenna's gain. In the real world things work fine without worry related to feedlines so long as you use a good antenna tuner. Use of baluns is probably unwise as this is likely to limit the useful frequency range of this intrinsically broadbanded antenna. Many commercial applications of the rhombic use what are called "exponential feeders" with the nominal impedance being 300 ohms at the feeder end and with the paired feedlines gradually spreading to a spacing of around 12 inches at the rhombic feedpoint (a distance calculated to provide the rhombic feedpoint impedance of 600-800 ohms). This exponential feeder provides a smooth transition of impedance and acts as a sort of impedance transformer.
In current antenna publications it seems very hard to find anything other than a very abbreviated discussion of rhombics and perhaps some basic design charts and dimensions for a simple rhombic. Little discussion is generally available of the more complex details important to anyone seriously interested in constructing a rhombic antenna. With this in mind, this page has some images of real-world installations and discussion of most of the important practical details you would need to be aware of to construct and maintain a proper rhombic. I am always interested in hearing from anyone with experience with building, maintaining or using rhombics. Images, plan sets and even parts from dismantled rhombics are of interest to me. I will add anything to this page that fits, and then some.
CDHS wishes to thank Bob Cromwell for his permission to use this information from his website in our webpage article about the ASWG.
Working on top of the Mast.
There are many forms of bravery and this is one of them. Once the soldier, Frank got to the top he would buckle a large leather belt around himself and the mast. This would enable him to use both hands to do whatever job he had to do.
The four guy ropes anchoring the mast can be clearly seen, there is another set of guys around the middle of the mast.
Working on the ground.
The diameter of the masts can be seen in relation to the soldier, Noel, they had to be sizable masts to stand up in a strong wind.
Note the ladder in the left background;it was necessary to have long ladders to reach the first climbing spike on the mast.
Australian Special Wireless Group 5
Personnel - Shift Work
Section 5 Personnel
Steve Mason recalls the Radio intercept personnel worked in shifts of basically four hours but was a special one, the 9 pm to 3 am which was the most common - this was when the Japanese were most active. There was also a two hour shift which was to
make up the 24 hour daily cycle.
Radio personnel worked in shifts of four hours. We can only imagine the level of intense concentration required as well as having to contend with fluctuating levels of radio reception and static. AWAS operator the late Margaret Raymond (nee Fullgrabe) was a talented artist and she drew the above sketch, which gives an idea of the atmosphere during a duty shift.
The Katakama Chart - Japanese Morse Code
The Japanese Morse code was complicated in that had 45 symbols as opposed to the International Morse code's 26 symbols which we used. The ASWG operators had to cope with 71 Morse symbols and work very rapidly as the Japanese could send up to thirty words per minute.
The written Morse signals would be sent to Ascot for the Linex machines operators to convert them into Japanese symbols to be translated into English by Japanese speaking operators.
When the ASWG operators were able to write down 25 words per minute they were given a two shilling (20 cents) per day rise in pay.
To complicate matters further, the Jap Operators used to change their frequencies monthly and it was difficult to pick them up again.
Formal Military Activities of ASWG.
The ASWG had its formal military activities like any other Army group. The regulations, the procedures, the training and parades as the following photos from the Photographic Library of the Australian War Memorial show.
We start with the Officers In Command and the Second in Command.
Lt. Colonel Jack Ryan OIC
The Association records, with sadness, the passing on the 3rd May 1968 of our wartime Commanding Officer - Lt. Colonel John Ryan.
His record in the services is known to us all. The young seaman who participated in the historical "Sydney- Emden" encounter during the First World War.
The early years of the Second World War found him leading 4 & 5 Wireless Sections in the Middle East. Their activities in Greece, Crete and Syria form an honoured part of the history of our Association of which John was a most able Patron.
The Pacific War saw him entrusted with the creation and direction of the Australian Special Wireless Group.
In the twenty-three years since the Armistice more than a few of us have paused to reflect what a brilliant job John really did in those days.
This facet of John's ability would be significant enough as a peacetime achievement, but when set in its true context of wartime, the diversity and seriousness of the tasks entrusted to the Group, the sheer geography and conditions under which the Groups, Sections and Detachments operated, overshadowed by all the difficulties and tensions of those years, the success of the Australian Special Wireless Group is John Ryan's monument.
In retrospect, it may well be considered that very few, if any, other segments of the Second AIF operated actively and continually over such a wide canvas, with such a high degree of efficiency and success in pursuing the task allotted to it - the significance of which is still a source of secret pride to us all. John Ryan led us.
Not that his achievements were confined to wartime. He also pioneered commercial radio in South Australia and was Chief Engineer of Melbourne Radio 3AW until his retirement in 1965.
The sad news of his passing was conveyed by radio and newspaper with a special tribute being conveyed by the "ham" network.
His many interests and associations were well represented at the funeral.
Australia has lost a good son who served her well in both peace and war.
Vale: Uncle Jack.
Major Arthur Geddes Henry 2IC
The segment on Major Geddes is in the Sidebar which starts at the beginning of the of this entire document. It also contains much information of their activities in Greece and Crete.
Colonel Jack Ryan Inspecting Troops.
Colonel Jack Ryan inspecting the troops- two flaws in the foreground of the photo?
Marching was particularly important to train men and women how to act instantly to a command as a member of a large group; very important especially on the battle field. Australia's greatest commander Field Marshal Sir. John Monash, in reply to English criticism about Australians being somewhat ill disciplined on leave, remarked that their battle discipline was flawless and that was the one that counted.
Inspections were carried out regularly for the Australian Women's Army Service, (AWAS) just like the men. Although they were, it seems, allowed to smile a little.
Security Fence 300
A subtle but noticeable difference between this Camp Kalinga establishment and other military camps was the higher level of security. We know that these personnel were all bound under the Oath of Secrecy, and could not say, even to their families, what work they were doing. That secrecy blanket was maintained for 30 - 40 years after WWII.
Access to the barb wire enclosed Operations Area was via an armed guard at the sentry box.
It is a testament to their moral integrity that the outside world knew nothing of this highly sensitive intelligence gathering process until about the 1980's when the Bletchley Badge or Broach was issued. At last, those who remained alive were recognized.
Ground View of Camp Kalinga
This ground eye view from outside the camp gives some idea of the lay out of Camp Kalinga. Note how the mast to the top right dominates the camp. The sentry at the gate is standing on guard.
Work Party on ground
Australian Special Wireless Group 6
The Motor Pool was army talk for Parking Area and it looks like there was plenty of room when this photo was taken.
Note the ever present aerial masts.
Another very essential segment of this Motor pool was the inclusion of motor cycles for the Dispatch Riders. At all times, a machine and rider were parked at the entrance of the secure Operations area ready to hand deliver an urgent message to wherever it had to go.
Australian Army Dispatch Riders No helmets, no leathers but note the shrouds on the headlamps which reduced the glare during the usual night time black outs during the war. Like everybody else the Riders were sworn to secrecy they knew they must not ask what they were carrying only where was it going.
Rumour has it that these riders were not necessarily restricted to the general road rules - if the necessity called for urgency; there are many anecdotes.
Australian Special Wireless Group 7
Off Duty - Recreation
Steve Mason's diagram and notes in Section 2 above show an area marked No. 20 which was set aside for cricket and football activities. It must have been a well-chosen area, because there is still a football field/cricket oval on that location and the goal posts are only about half the height of the rhombic aerial system masts.
Steve Mason mentions in his Memoirs mentions that the AWAS ladies had a basketball court behind their accommodation huts, and the late Margaret Raymond (nee Fullgrabe) talks about their State Premiership team. .
Margaret Raymond (nee Fullgrabe)
This photo of Margaret is that of a young Australian woman caught up in the vast cataclysm of WWII when Australians were afraid that they might be invaded by the Japanese. For the first time Australians felt they were fighting for their lives and until the Americans arrived, on their own. Remember the Kokada Track and Milne Bay.
Like thousands of young Australians she was "doing her bit" but in complete anonymity in a Unit which, officially did not exist and for which no medals would be awarded and no thanks even in the Victory parades that followed the war.
Finally we have another photo of Margaret in her later years below.
Margaret Raymond, Therese Henry and Beverley Isdale
Margaret also created the illustrations for Jean Hillier's book the title of which is "No Medals in This Unit". It is the information that personnel in these occupations were told when they signed their Oath of Secrecy.
Secrecy was their watchword and if anybody, including their family, husbands and wives asked them what unit were they serving in, their reply was Signals.
Therese Henry has written extensively about her father Major Arthur Geddes Henry and on the ASWG in the war in Greece and Crete during the early part of WWII.
Beverley Isdale is the Archivist for the Chermside & Districts Historical Society Inc.
Leave Pass for Margaret Fullgrabe (Raymond)
Vale Margaret Raymond Card 1
The long memories of old comrades, they have not forgotten those dreadful days when they worked together to achieve victory.
Vale Margaret Raymond Card 2
The symbol proclaims the Unit which didn't exist and the AWAS veteran who worked and sketched to remember. "We Will Remember Them".
The Bletchley Badge or Broach
The Bletchley Park Badge Broach was minted and presented to all those who worked at BP and the outstations which included those in Brisbane.
A broach or Badge was presented instead of a medal because the staffs were such a mixture of civilians and soldiers involved in the cipher war. While medals were given to soldiers they weren't usually given to civilians, so a compromise was made, both could use a broach or badge.
Of the 12,000 personnel involved in Bletchley and Outstations about 5,000 were still alive in 2009 when the broach was presented, 64 years after peace was declared in 1945.
GC&CS - Government Code & Cypher School or, in the words of the eclectic staff of "Boffins and Debs" at Bletchley Park, the "Golf, Cheese and Chess Society".
Shaw Park Today Google Embedded Map
Australian Special Wireless Group 8
Books and other ASWG Information
Books and other ASWG information.
The following material is available at the archive room of the Chermside and Districts Historical Society Inc. It may be read and copied on site and must not leave the premises.
Therese Henry has written an article about the WWII activities of her father, Major Arthur Henry, who was the technical radio and Morse Code advisor in the ASWG. His experiences in Europe and later at Camp Kalinga on Shaw Road make for powerful reading.
The article is available on a CD at the CDHS archive room.
Steve Mason has written a memoir of his life story, and his AIF service with the ASWG. (An extract is available on a CD at the CDHS Archive Room). Starting at p. 89 he writes about his pre-enlistment life and then describes his war experience concluding with his demobilisation on p. 210.
ON ULTRA ACTIVE SERVICE :- The story of Australia's signals intelligence operations during World War II , by Geoffrey Ballard.
SPOOK STUFF :- First Australian Corps Signals - Number 4 Wireless Section (renamed, Number 5 Wireless Section). Australian Special Wireless Group Sections - 51,52,53,56,51,62,63,64,65,and 67.
7th Signal Regiment (Electronic Warfare) by Bill Mc Cue.
Spook Stuff by Bill Mc Cue
The Keena Factor by Basil Fogerty
The Quiet Heros of the South West Pacific Theatre
Off .......... the Fray by Tim Bamblett
CD Video presentation: ASWG 1929 - 23 April 194** PROSHOW1.
CD Video presentation: ASWG, Crete, 19** PROSHOW 2.
CD ASWG 1939 - 1947. Special Issued for the CABARLAH 70th Birthday event November 2017.
CD Audio Recording: Margaret Raymond Memoirs. Recorded March 2017.
CD Word document: Extract from Steve Mason's Memoirs.
CD Word document: Therese Henry's article about her father's WWII experiences with ASWG.
INK Emma INK is the Newsletter of the Australian Special Wireless Group Association. A good number of back issues are available in our CDHS Resources Room. They contain much information about ASWG operations in a most readable form.
Steve Mason and ASWG
Steve had been working in a bank for 2 years and enlisted at age 18 in March 1942 where he served in the 10th Infantry Training Battalion before joining the 5th Wireless Telegraphy Unit, which expanded into the Australian Special Wireless Group. During 1942 was confirmed as a Grade 2 Wireless Operator and promoted to Lance Corporal.
Moved to Camp Kalinga 20/Oct/1943 with Bob McNamara as OIC, who was fluent in Japanese and a skilled Intercept operator; they lived in tents alongside Kedron Brook while huts were being built. He served a period with the Discrimination Unit under Captain Bob McNamara, which had to discriminate between genuine Japanese messages and any irrelevant material. An example was some flashing lights which might have been messages being sent to Japanese but were reflections from mica on the walls of a road cutting.
He volunteered to join 55 Section on 17/Sept/1943 and was sent to Port Moresby by ship where he spent Christmas 1943. Air lifted to Detachment A at Nadzab 20 miles (32 Kilometers) inland from Lae on the north coast of New Guinea where he was promoted in the field to Corporal.
They were trying to get nearer the front where they could pick up better intelligence from the Japanese. It was a very dangerous area everything had to be parachuted in, it was the wet season and the mud was deep. One night sounds were heard coming from the bush, suspecting a Japanese attack they replied with heavy fire; the next morning a 6 metre snake was found, very dead.
The Detachment flew west around the coast and crash landed at Finschhafen where they were absorbed into Section 53 and then on to a hilly area overlooking Cape Cretin. In July 1944 they moved by ship to Hollandia, bypassing Wewak and missing a submarine attack. Hollandia was a tropical paradise, with white sand beaches, waves and colourful fish. The Japanese were on the shores of nearby Humboldt and separated from them by quick sands and death adders.
ASWG alerted MacArthur to the heavy fortifications of Wewak so much so that he moved the invasion to Hollandia the capital of Dutch New Guinea where he caught the Japanese by surprise.
From Hollandia, Steve flew back to Brisbane Showground where he arrived at night and, rather than wait for daylight and transport he walked to Kalinga and stayed with the Bartons, a friendly family who lived near Camp Kalinga.
He resumed work at Camp Kalinga in charge of a very good group of wireless operators and in November 1944 he was sent to commence an Officers Training Course but an attack of Malaria terminated the course. After hospital treatment he was given 45 days Home Leave where he was able to celebrate his 21st Birthday 13/Feb/1945 at home in Melbourne.
Returning to Camp Kalinga he did some interception work but was restricted as NCO's were required to perform camp duties and he was in command of the Hygiene Squad. The day when peace was declared he was busy cleaning a grease trap. Everybody was given a week leave.
He left Camp Kalinga on 10/Dec/1945 and went to Mornington Race course in Melbourne where he was promoted to Sergeant. He resumed his University studies, was discharged on 15/Oct/1946 and resumed his banking career.