"Locust", "Whiting" and New Britain: Guy Black's covert war with M and Z Units.
Guy Black was born in Longreach, Queensland, on 24 October 1914, one of a family of five. His father was a bank manager, so Guy's schooling was constantly interrupted by transfers, but included final schooling to Intermediate level at Toowoomba Grammar. In the middle of the Depression he began accountancy studies at night, and after passing his final examinations with distinction, applied for a position in the New Guinea administration. He was posted to Salamaua in August 1936 on a salary of 300 [pounds sterling] a year. He moved to Lae in January 1937 and then to Wewak for 18 months. After leave he went to work in Rabaul, travelling on the 'Macdhui'. (2)
When war was declared in 1939, Guy enrolled with the New Guinea Volunteer Rifles. He then enlisted in the 2nd AIF (6th Division) on 14 February 1940. After training he sailed with the second convoy to the Middle East, disembarking at Kantara in Palestine on 18 May 1940. He served as a pay clerk with the 6th Division's Australian Overseas Base Unit for six months and later transferred to 6th Australian Field Cash Office. As he expressed it some 40 odd years later, "with 6th Division HQ in the Western Desert to Bardia, Tobruk, and on to Benghazi in early 1941. Then over to Greece and being bombed and strafed every day. Then carted off to Crete for about 16 days with more bombing etc". (3) He was promoted to Corporal on 26 March 1940 and to Sergeant on 2 April 1941. On 18 February 1942 he embarked on the SS Andes at Suez for home, and disembarked at Adelaide on 16 March.
Training at the House on the Hill
On 30 May 1942 Guy Black was taken on strength of Z Special Unit. Guy later commented he "was asked to be part of Z which was then being formed ... I guess it was because of my experience as a Native Labour Officer in New Guinea that I was transferred into Z Unit ... There I met up with other ex-New Guinea men who had worked with the natives". (4) As Powell notes, "ISD recruited volunteers from the three Australian armed services, with most coming from the AIF, but civilians who knew the islands were keenly sought and had to be inducted into the services". (5) On 23 June Guy was appointed Acting Lieutenant.
By way of background, in April 1942 the Inter Allied Services Department (IASD or more usually ISD) was formed under the Allied Intelligence Bureau (AIB) to conduct clandestine warfare along the lines of the Special Operations Executive in Europe. (From April 1943 this section became known as the Services Reconnaissance Department.) (6) The new group recruited men to serve outside Australia and conduct covert operations in the Southwest Pacific. A special holding unit known as Z Special Unit was established to maintain recruits. In May 1943, M Unit was established as an administrative unit, and all former Z Unit staff and those of independent companies were transferred.
On 1 June Guy left for six weeks at the Foster guerrilla training camp on Wilson's Promontory, one of the first to experience the new camp. He said later: "With others I was sent to that Foster camp in the middle of winter (1942). We got a bit cold in Greece from time to time but Foster beat everything. A couple of months later someone came to their senses and moved everything to Cairns". (7)
Guy arrived in Cairns on 3 August. Z recruits went into training at a large house known as Fairview, a short distance out of Cairns and known as The House on the Hill. As Guy said, "I think we were the first intake to arrive at the House on the Hill ... We did our jungle training in the scrub around the foothills near the house, and learned to use limpet mines at the town swimming baths. The purpose of our training was to work behind the lines in various parts of New Guinea by gathering intelligence information on enemy activity". (8)
With the Japanese occupying much of New Guinea and with the few resources available to the Allies at that time, aerial surveillance was not possible. If information on enemy movements was to be obtained, the only hope was to engage men who were familiar with the country and with the native tribes and have them observe Japanese movements. In consequence the focus fell on former plantation owners, miners, and administration staff such as Guy Black.
Patrols into enemy territory faced three main challenges. First, the Japanese were dominant and they had taken over huge areas: their next likely invasion target was Australia. Any patrol into the New Guinea hinterland faced considerable danger. Secondly, the attitude of the natives, and their response to the Japanese occupation, was an unknown. While some old friendships and allegiances might be retained, Allied patrols were never sure if or when they would be betrayed. Finally, there was an imperative to have information quickly. The war situation was fluid, and nobody knew from one day to the next whether the Japanese had taken over another landing field or village.
When the Japanese finally retreated back over the ranges in late 1942 the demand for intelligence on Japanese activities turned from the Port Moresby area to places where the Japanese might retreat and build up their strength. Thus the patrol that Guy Black was being trained for was changed to the area behind Aitape or Vanimo. Then the patrol was given another task. It was to guide another party, staffed by members of Dutch units, so they could report on the level of penetration into their territory of Dutch New Guinea. This 'Dutch party' was under the direction of the Netherlands East Indies part of AIB--later known as NEFIS III (Netherlands Forces Intelligence Services).
The Locust Mission (9)
Guy's patrol, known as Locust, was led by Lieutenant Jack Fryer, with Lieutenant Guy Black, Lieutenant Harry Aiken, and Sergeant Les (Tas) Baillie as radio operator. For Whiting (the Dutch party), (10) the leader was Sergeant H.N. Staverman, with Corporal D.J. Topman, two Dutch East Indies (Indonesian) privates, H. Pattiwal and M. Reharing, and an Australian radio operator, Sergeant Len Siffleet, who was of Dutch descent. (11)
As the leader of the Locust team, Jack Fryer became the guide for both parties. Fryer was greatly in demand by the armed forces because of his knowledge of the country. From 1934 he had been engaged as a surveyor in oil search operations in Papua and New Guinea (Oil Search Limited, 1932-1938 and Australasian Petroleum Company, 1938-1942). He was prevented from undertaking most of the training with Locust and Whiting as he was in Melbourne and Bendigo preparing maps of New Guinea as an officer of the Australian Survey Corps. As Powell notes, Fryer was engaged by the US forces "to help with a survey of the Abau-Aiaru country southeast of Port Moresby" after June 1942. (12) He also gave advice on engineering access to US engineers in the south of Papua, as well as to New Guinea Force on terrain and climate. He made a brief trip to Cairns to meet the Locust members, finally joining both Locust and Whiting members in Port Moresby on 24 December.
Fryer was obviously a key figure in the success of the venture, and as Guy Black said of him, "we travelled through the middle of nowhere and he knew exactly where we were, and did not hesitate to go forward where the Japs might be. A most competent man". (13) His team was capable too: Harry Aiken had worked with Fryer in oil exploration work and was a capable bushman, while Black had worked with natives and had served in New Guinea. Apart from the natives, no one in the Dutch party had any bushcraft.
As the patrol was about to begin, they learned that Wewak had been occupied by the Japanese while two other possible locations for landing on the Sepik were also declared to be too dangerous to use. This knowledge, plus the lack of aircraft, meant there was no other choice but to walk. (14) So it was agreed that the patrols and their gear would be taken as far as Bena Bena (inland of Madang) by aircraft and then they would walk the 300 miles or so to the target area. (15) As the official history of the mission written under the auspices of General MacArthur said of Locust, it was "one of the most exhausting treks in AIB history". (16)
Guy Black left Port Moresby by DC3 on 20 January 1943 and spent that night at Bena Bena. The next morning he departed with 101 local native carriers for the first stop at Gamma, to be joined by Jack Fryer with the remaining loads. The official record claims that there were 400 native carriers in total, but this sounds too high. (17) Guy said that "101 natives were sufficient to keep us moving" although they welcomed greater numbers in order to ease the burden.
Maintenance of the carrier line was a major problem. The large number of carriers was necessary to take the provisions required for a long stay in the Aitape area. They had some permanent carriers while all the others had to be recruited as they passed through villages. Carriers generally worked until the end of their territory, and then demanded to return home. Worse, on 12 February, approximately 80 carriers decamped during the night--at other times some of the carriers would throw their loads into the bush and run away. If there was a carrier shortage, loads sometimes had to be split with half or even a third taken one day and the remainder brought up over the next few days, making the long trip even slower. Natives in the highland areas were more amenable but in the lowlands troubles escalated. Guy Black's main role was the supervision and recruitment of carriers, and the provision of food for the patrols.
There was a familiar daily routine after leaving Bena Bena. After breakfast all supplies were broken into loads for the carriers--the radio took 16 men for example--and the carriers made ready. They broke camp around 8.30 am, and generally walked around 10-16 miles a day, resting often. They tried to reach a village where food (and possibly carriers) could be procured by early afternoon. They slept either in communal houses or on occasions built their own shelter. This schedule varied according to circumstances, such as terrain, weather, availability of suitable housing or food, and the distance between villages. Regular radio contact was maintained with Port Moresby.
There was great frustration in being forced to remain immobile waiting for carriers. At the beginning of March Guy pondered in his diary whether it would be better to take a small group with minimal supplies and make a quick march to the objective. This would allow them to provide some intelligence back to Port Moresby. (18)
The widening Japanese occupation of New Guinea meant that on occasions the patrols had to take a detour. In February, for example, they had to skirt the recently occupied Ramu River area and walk over mountains at altitudes over 10,000 feet. On occasions the carriers had to build bridges to allow them to get across a river. The patrols were sustained by regular aerial drops that provided food as well as essentials such as mail, guns and radio parts.
It was a long, arduous and slow journey. As a change from walking, in April they used a pinnace along with native canoes and sailed from Yimas down the Sepik. (19) Guy recalled that whole days were spent climbing hills and wading through swamps and one of the tasks after making camp was to get rid of the leeches that had attached themselves to their bodies. Because of rain and sweat their clothes and boots were rarely dry (20). Food was a constant concern. In addition to the stores they carried and the provisions retrieved from the monthly aerial drops, they depended on obtaining native foods, making sacsac from the sago palm, or buying the occasional pig.
On 14 June 1943, almost six months after leaving Bena Bena, the parties arrived at the Lumi airstrip in the foothills of the Torricelli mountains. Fryer established a base camp. This was inland of Aitape, in an area known as Mai Mai. They had travelled 514 miles by foot and 230 miles by boat since leaving Bena Bena on the 21st of January. (21)
On the 9th of July, the Whiting party led by Sergeant Staverman with 66 carriers began the walk to the area behind Hollandia to begin their observation of the Japanese. The Whiting party received three food drops while it was camped at Wama, some 25 km south of Vanimo. (22)
The Locust party then moved into the next stage of its operation. The plan was to walk from village to village, seeking information and staying away from the Japanese patrols. Each day saw the usual breaking of camp, and the constant search for food and for more carriers. Their intent was to establish a network of native intelligence on activities of the Japanese, and in turn to advise Port Moresby of useful information.
It was very dangerous to work with the natives. There were some tribes such as the Wapis that became little more than extensions of the Japanese army, and team members narrowly evaded capture at different times. Perhaps a typical encounter with unfriendly natives was when Guy was out negotiating for food. He was suddenly surrounded by locals and only escaped by firing into the air to frighten them (23). Guy later said that "there were no fuzzy wuzzy angels in Northeast New Guinea ... headquarters staff did not foresee the perfidy of the native New Guineans in that part of New Guinea. They betrayed willingly". (24)
In early October a message was received saying that Staverman and Pattiwal of the Dutch party had been killed. There was no word of Siffleet's location. After Fryer discussed the matter with Port Moresby, on the 21st of October Guy reported in his diary, "departed 1315, making trip in search of Siffleet, do not expect to get back under six weeks". (25) Fryer, Black, and a small number of natives joined the search.
Despite their best efforts they failed to find Siffleet, and on 18 November they were told to return to base. According to information available later, Staverman and Pattiwal had set out on a reconnaissance mission. They had left the others at the Wama base. Inland from Vanimo on 4 October, natives led the Japanese to Staverman and Pattiwal and ambushed them. Staverman was killed, although Pattiwal escaped back to camp to join the others. Alter Siffleet contacted Fryer, the radio was buried and the remaining group retreated in the direction of the Fryer party, only to be betrayed by the Wapi tribe. Pattiwal, Reharing and Siffleet were taken to Aitape by the Wapis and on 24 October executed by the Japanese. (26) A photograph of Len Siffleet being beheaded by a Japanese soldier was later found when the Americans invaded Hollandia, and the photograph was published in Life Magazine. Subsequently it has been published many times, often with a mistaken caption. (27)
A decision was made in Port Moresby to withdraw the Locust party. When Locust had set out from Port Moresby, their orders were to work closely with the natives, "it being assumed they would willingly cooperate. How wrong they were". (28) Guy said later "they were very pro-Jap at that time". (29) Powell noted that the Japanese were becoming more aggressive and the Locust party could only "mark time" for without willing natives their efforts were rendered almost useless. (30) Fryer and Black were withdrawn by Catalina on 27 November 1943 from Kokiabu on the Sepik and flown to Port Moresby and thence to Brisbane.
According to the official history of the patrol, when Locust returned "it brought a mass of expert information concerning enemy dispositions and defences". (31) This may be so but to most people, the Locust patrol is remembered because of its links with the ill-fated Whiting party. Locust did bring back with it some information on defences and dispositions, as well as sketches of inland routes, and that intelligence was subsequently of value to the Australian forces. But the reality was that by the time the Australians reached the Aitape area, they could have mounted aerial surveillance and done much the same job.
If we look back over the course of Locust, Guy had travelled over 700 miles by the time he took his last canoe trip down the Sepik to be collected by Catalina. While on the trek he caught a cold from walking through a thunderstorm: a filling fell out of a back tooth in February requiring Topman to remove the tooth while Guy sat on a biscuit tin (the tooth was then worn as an ornament by the native boss boy); in late May and June he developed boils or possibly a type of tropical ulcer on his legs; he suspected he had appendicitis in late August (and in November) and endured severe abdominal pains for days on end; a branch broke that he was leaning on and he fell onto a sago palm tree, getting thorns in his arms, hand and face, and then a disturbed hornet nesting in the sago palm stung him. His compass and belt were lost in a river, and a branch broke and fell on his Austen gun putting it out of action (he fixed it by levering with a tomahawk). These maladies were not serious enough to require him being pulled out, and all the others suffered similarly. At one point Guy noted in his diary that Fryer was still unable to walk after a week, while Tas Baillie reported years later that he (Tas) was the only one of the party not to be rendered immobile for some days with ulcers on the legs. So it was part of the reality of walking long distances in an inhospitable climate and conditions, without any medical attention.
By Christmas 1943 Guy returned to his family, then travelled to Cairns where he married Jane Bavinton. Jane was employed as Controller Stores Records Keeper with the NEFIS III organisation working out of the House on the Hill.
After leave Guy was sent to 'Tabragalba' cattle station near Beaudesert in Southeast Queensland. With the pressure on the AIB for better training opportunities, they had moved from the House on the Hill (where the Locust team had trained). The house was handed to NEFIS III and 'Tabragalba' then became the new base for AIB operations.
This time Guy was trained for an exercise on New Britain. There, the Japanese had installed coastwatchers drawn from Japanese Marines and AIB forces were dropped at different parts of the island to conduct intelligence operations and observe the Japanese. But progress was slow, and aerial attacks were not very effective in the jungle conditions. The AIB men on New Britain had to make a decision whether to disband operations, or to seek to use the skills of the native population. It was decided to seek guns from Australia to arm the natives against the Japanese (32). The concept of undertaking overt search and destroy activity represented a challenge to the long-held AIB headquarters strictures that demanded clandestine activity and followed Eric Feldt's philosophy of having as their guide Ferdinand the flower-smelling bull of Disney cartoon fame. After some rumination and the realisation that the fortunes of war were changing, shotguns and later rifles were dropped to the AIB men by late February 1944. (33)
Guy Black left Australia on 2 March 1944 with 23 others for New Britain, just at the time the guerrilla actions were being escalated under Major I Skinner's leadership. The Australian forces were split into two, with groups going to the north and the south coasts. As Guy said, "I was put into a new group of about ten officers and NCOs and in March of that year we were transported to Port Moresby and then to Finschhafen ... we were raced across the strait in two Motor Torpedo boats and along the south coast of New Britain to arrive at Waterfall Bay at about 1 am. We all got well and truly dunked in the surf but made our way into the mountains where we built a camp. Liberators dropped all sorts of supplies and much equipment such as guns (carbines, Owens), grenades ..." (34) The base was two days inland at Lakiri. One of the benefits of being in that area was that a native chief, Golpak, one of two Paramount Luluais in Southern New Britain at the time, assisted them whenever he could: other Luluais were sympathetic to the Japanese. (35)
The Japanese were present in force and enjoyed the support of a considerable number of natives. In addition there were kembis or native auxiliaries working with the Japanese and were willing to kill anyone linked with the Allies. (36) The response of the AIB group led by Major B Fairfax-Ross from May 1944, was that they established a series of warning lines, whereby the friendly natives would signal if the Japanese crossed their lines. These were up to eight hours walk away and were designed to provide ample warning of potential ambushes. With extra personnel, Fairfax-Ross split his soldiers into three platoons, each led by a Lieutenant to facilitate independent engagements. From Lakiri to the east there were too many Japanese to be defeated. So the emphasis was on leaving them alone and depending on the intelligence rings to provide warning of attack, at which stage the Japanese would be harassed. On the western side, Golpak's impact was greater so that became the locus of activities.
Guy Black's diary for the time on New Britain was destroyed after the war, probably because it contained descriptions of Japanese cannibalism of two native children. As a result not much unit level detail exists. Nor have other chroniclers given us much more material: perhaps the war had moved on toward the Philippines and Japan, and the focus was with those operations. Our knowledge thus comes from accounts from some of those who served there including Major Fairfax-Ross, some material drawn from official sources, and scant comments from the official history of AIB. (37)
The New Britain operation was a case of classic guerrilla activities--a game of hide and seek, followed by hit and run tactics from the Australians and their native troops. There were short periods of intense activity, followed by pursuit, rest and consolidation. Patrols were small, they carried what they could as there were no carrier lines, and essential supplies were dropped in by aircraft. Where air drops to patrols were not possible, the groups had to return to camp for more supplies and then re-find the action. (38)
For the AIB, local natives were the key to success. These men were recruited especially from the former workers on coconut plantations on New Britain. Much of the time spent by platoon leaders such as Guy Black went into training the natives to enable them to conduct missions against the Japanese. (39) As Guy later commented, the main role for all the troops was "ambushing parties of Japanese who were making their way back to Rabaul to wait out the war". (40) The Japanese they were facing were both Japanese Marines, acting as coastwatchers, and the regular army soldiers. Charlton noted that Major Fairfax-Ross had "four officers, ten Australian noncommissioned officers and about 140 native troops ... Fairfax-Ross was able to harass the enemy repeatedly around the Wide Bay area. The Japanese responded by punishing the local natives ..." (41)
It was a slow, grinding operation where the intent was to approach the target quietly then hit hard before retreating. As an example, Skinner, Black and a platoon moved down the coast in April to the Japanese post at Palmalmal on Jacquinot Bay, riding in seven war canoes. (42) Two of the native troops led a dawn raid killing five of the ten men present and forcing the other five to run. Four were hunted down and killed while the filth was imprisoned. When the Australians were there they found a collection of Japanese occupation money, including one shilling and half shilling notes.
In late May, Guy led a platoon from Lakiri to the Jacquinot Bay area to await the results of an American raid at Awul. (43) Marching from the Bay to Lau and Atu, Guy met up with other troops and patrols were organised. By mid-June, the guerrillas caught up with a large Japanese party, killing 28 but losing five of their own. Guy's platoon gave chase to some that had evaded capture, and at Rang they killed a further nine but withdrew after losing Sergeant Kogimara. (44) As the Japanese group moved downstream, Guy Black returned to Atu to get more provisions and to care for the natives who had cut their feet on rough rocks. They pursued another Japanese patrol, and killed two men. In the difficult terrain another two men had escaped. Before the patrol was able to complete its task they were recalled to base for rest. Guy later said "we latched onto a company of Japs and in a series of ambushes killed them all.... in one ambush the Japs were moving up a kunai grass hill and we were waiting at the top and rolled grenades down on them" (45) Patrols accounted for 59 enemy killed in these engagements. (46)
A few weeks after this successful engagement, and following reports of Japanese cannibalism of two native children, Guy led a team after a Japanese patrol and they were able to surprise them and kill four. While two men were considered to be still at large, Guy had to break off the engagement to undertake another task. As the main body returned to base, one patrol remained to track the last two Japanese from the engagement; after 13 more days of tracking, they were also found and killed.
Guy left the engagement so that he could make contact with another party. On 3 September 1944 he met a group from New Guinea Force who had landed in Jacquinot Bay from a corvette "and guided them on a four day reconnaissance of the area". (47)
From 10 October 1944 onward the Fairfax-Ross team was instructed to cease guerrilla activities. (48) This reversion to a passive intelligence unit was meant to keep the place free from enemy soldiers until after the invasion occurred. Guy Black and a platoon were moved twice, to Bouvalpum to set up observation posts overlooking Jacquinot and Waterfall Bays on 13 October, and then later to Kalangina in mid November, again to observe. On 4 November, the 6th Brigade, 5th Division, landed at Jacquinot Bay unopposed. This was a great tribute to the work of Major Fairfax-Ross and his men who had kept the Japanese under check. In late December forces also landed at Sampun. For Fairfax-Ross and his team, their role was now that of observing. The time for guerrilla warfare had largely passed. (49) This change also allowed men to be sent home for rest and new staff members were introduced to take over the new phase. Guy, who had been promoted Acting Captain on 2 November, left in December 1944 and Fairfax-Ross left in March 1945.
In retrospect the search and destroy operations in New Britain led by men including Skinner and Fairfax-Ross were highly successful, whereas "Locust" was not a great success and "Whiting" a disaster. It is ironic that there is considerable detail known about the Locust and Whiting missions and too little about the unit level operations on New Britain (50).
After leave, Guy was appointed as camp Commandant of the M and Z Special Unit staging camp then located at the Milton Tennis Courts in Brisbane. Guy enjoyed this posting, partly because he had as his second in-charge John Stokie, originally a plantation owner on New Britain and later a member of M unit, and they shared many common interests.
Guy Black was recommended for the Military Cross on 23 July 1945, "for conspicuous gallantry in action and outstanding service within enemy occupied territory". The award was supported by Major Fairfax-Ross, Major E.P. Hill of M Unit, Commander McManus of AIB, and Brigadier V.A. Wills of AIB. The medal was awarded on 21 February 1946. The citation reads in part:
Capt. Black was a most reliable officer whose service was characterised by efficiency and conscientious application to duty. In June-July and August-September 1944 he led patrols from Jacquinot Bay west to the AWUL area and pursued the enemy coastwatching garrisons inland through most difficult mountainous country forcing them to join action, and in a series of isolated engagements in which he also directed the operations of free native irregulars, finally cleared the area in which 68 enemy coastwatchers were killed".
After being demobilised in late 1945, Guy began the difficult process of re-establishing himself in civilian life. After running a newsagency in Brisbane with his wife Jane, they returned to the battered remnants of Rabaul in June 1946. Guy went back to his old job as Government clerk for a time before resigning and then establishing a freight forwarding agency. In 1947, with another ex-member of M unit, Colin Hooper, he purchased a coconut plantation named 'Marau'. Then, with backing from four others he decided to establish a picture theatre in Rabaul. An ex-Army Quonset hut from Marius Island was purchased and it was erected with wartime dunnage for the walls and projection room, while bamboo from the jungle provided the seats.
Guy opened The Palms Theatre in August 1947. His staff included Bidigop, a native ex-sergeant who had been with the ill-fated John Murphy party on New Britain. (51) Bidigop escaped to Jacquinot Bay, saw the natives who had betrayed the Murphy party, and killed them. For that he was sent to prison, until Guy found him in a prisoner working party on Rabaul wharf and had Bidigop paroled in his care. They were to work together for many years.
Guy subsequently sold the property and eventually the theatre and then took over a trade store. He returned to Australia in 1959 and spent his time as a stock breeder. Guy and Jane retired to the Sunshine Coast in 1979, first settling at Palmwoods and then at Buderim. Guy died on 25 December 1998. He is survived by his wife Jane, son Ian, daughter in law Judy and grandchildren Paul and Rebecca.
Guy was lucky--he spent two periods in hospital during the war, once with rubella in Palestine in late June 1940 and once with malaria in late January 1945 in the Brisbane Military Hospital. He was never wounded in action although the privations on Locust thinned and changed the colour of his hair in a year. Yet during that operation, he did not see one Japanese soldier. In late 1996 Guy, in discussing his wartime exploits, said "My early life was interesting to say the least. It is just that we do not know what is ahead of us". (52)
From 1995 Guy corresponded with Tas Baillie (wireless operator on the Locust mission) and they discussed the people with whom they had served: Harry Aiken died in 1987, and Jack Fryer in 1980. Tas Baillie died in June 1997. In 1995, Baillie had arranged for a commemorative plaque to the M and Z Units to be unveiled at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. This occurred on 10 November, on the 50th anniversary of the disbanding of 'Tabragalba' camp. (53) Today the plaque is among other memorial plaques in the path of remembrance leading to the Memorial.
As a journalist said of Guy some years before his death, "His hair-raising escapades during the war and his New Guinea business flair after the fighting stopped are the things movies are made of". (54) And yet Guy Black, stockbreeder, businessman, accountant, would say only that he did his job and what was required of him.
(1) Dr Ian Black, the son of Captain Guy Black MC is an Adelaide-based agriculture economist. Keith Richmond is a nephew in law to Guy Black.
(2) Profiles of Guy Black are in The Sunday Mail, 6 August 1995, page 5; Vera Bradley, I Didn't Know That: Cairns and District, Tully to Cape York 1939-1946, Boolarong Press, Brisbane, 1995, page 165; and James Sinclair, Golden Gateway: Lae and the Province of Morobe, Crawford House, Bathurst NSW, 1998, page 179. Also, Guy Black, Defence Service Record (NGX 55)
(3) Guy Black, letter to Tas Baillie, 9 December 1996
(5) Alan Powell, War By Stealth: Australians and the Allied Intelligence Bureau 1942-1945, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1996, page 20
(6) Powell, ibid, pages 21, 22, 73
(7) Guy Black, letter to Tas Baillie, 27 November 1995
(8) Vera Bradley, I Didn't Know That, op cit, page 165
(9) Information on the Locust mission has been drawn from a number of sources, including the wartime diary of Guy Black; Powell, op cit; Eric Feldt, The Coastwatchers, Penguin, Ringwood, 1981; Archives A 3269 08 The Official History of the Operations and Administration of Special Operations Australia, Volume II, hereafter Official History; and History of the Intelligence Activities Under General Douglas MacArthur, 1942-1950, The Intelligence Series, G-2, USAFFE-SWPA-AFPAC-FEC-SCAP, Wilmington DEL, Scholarly Resources, 1950, Operations of the AIB Volume IV, hereafter Operations of AIB
(10) It should be noted that Jack Fryer who led the parties, had never heard the code name Whiting until 1986 and Fryer, Black and Baillie in their writings referred to it as 'the Dutch party'--Jack Fryer notes in possession of the Black family
(11) Operations of AIB, op cit, page 45. Topman only went as far as Mt Hagen before returning to Bena Bena.
(12) Powell, op cit, page 60
(13) Guy Black, letter to Tas Baillie, 27 November 1995
(14) Feldt, op cit, pages 197, 209 and Official History, op cit, page 3
(15) The slowness of mounting the Locust/Whiting exercise was reinforced when there was a sudden demand for information on Wewak. If Locust and Whiting had air transport to the Sepik they could have done the job, but it was too late. Another patrol, led by Lt LE Ashton was sent by air to the Sepik. But they were surprised by the Japanese and had to make a run for it. The patrol later met up with Locust: see Feldt, op cit, page 215
(16) Official History, op cit, page 45
(17) See Powell, op cit, page 60 and Official History, op cit, page 8
(18) Guy Black diary, 4 March 1943
(19) It is worth noting that in country assumed to be occupied by the enemy, during March Locust ran across not only the Ashton party but also another civilian group retreating from Wewak and the advancing Japanese (two men from this group stayed with Locust). This group had used a pinnace and were preparing to destroy it when Locust arrived and saw an opportunity for an easier passage along the river. Locust also met some of the Mosstroops men sent in to protect the patrols. Also, in October Locust met the GAV Stanley team working with the natives west of the Torricelli mountains.
(20) Reminiscences with family.
(21) Official History, op cit, page 8
(23) Reminiscences with family.
(24) Guy Black, letter to staff member of Australian War Memorial inquiring about Len Siffleet, 15 December 1997
(25) Guy Black diary
(26) Operations of AIB, op cit, pages 45-46, Official History, op cit, page 8, and Powell, op cit, page 61
(27) Perhaps one of the saddest aspects of the Len Siffleet photograph (which today appears as a display in the Australian War Memorial) was that for years it was confused with the beheading of Flight Lieutenant W Newton VC. With the incorrect caption it has often appeared, not only in newspapers but in the Time-Life Pictorial History of World War II. This caused ongoing concern for those involved with Locust, and Guy Black spent considerable effort trying to correct incorrect captioning over the years. See Australian 14 August 1995, letters column; The Sunday Mail 23 July 1995, page 96; The Sun 11 February 1988, page 5; and letter to the editor from Guy Black, Sunday Mail 3 July 1995
(28) Guy Black, letter to AWM staff member, 15 December 1997
(29) Guy Black, letter to Tas Baillie, 27 November 1995
(30) Powell, op cit, page 61
(31) Operations of AIB, op cit, page 61.
(32) In addition to the native NCOs with the Australians that had been trained in Australia.
(33) Operations of AIB, op cit, page 82 and Malcolm Wright, If I Die: Coastwatching and Guerrilla Warfare Behind Japanese Lines, Lansdowne Press, Melbourne, 1965, page 190
(34) Guy Black, letter to Tas Baillie, 18 August 1995
(35) Powell, op cit, page 245
(36) AWM 54 423/9/31, AIB Field Reports, AIB Field Activities New Britain, April 44-Mar 45
(37) See Feldt, op cit, page 363; Operations of the AIB, op cit, page 82, Gavin Long, The Final Campaigns, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963, Chapter 10, and Smith's Weekly 27 April 1946, page 15 for a journalistic approach. Also see the excellent AWM 54 423/9/31, AIB Field Reports, written by Major B Fairfax-Ross
(38) For setting up the Lakiri base, see AWM 54 423/9/31 and the dropping of 25,000 lb of stores.
(40) Guy Black, letter to AWM staff member, 15 December 1997
(41) Peter Charlton, The Unnecessary War: Island Campaigns of the Southwest Pacific, 1944-45, Macmillan, South Melbourne, 1983, page 92
(42) Powell, op cit, page 246
(43) AWM 54 423/9/31
(44) Long, op cit, page 244. Kogimara was Guy's sergeant and in the close-knit camaraderie of the guerrilla unit, Guy was deeply saddened by the loss. It was the only native Guy lost under his leadership.
(45) Personal reminiscences with family.
(46) AWM 54 423/9/31
(47) Powell, op cit, page 250 and AWM 54 423/9/31
(48) Long, op cit, page 246
(49) AWM 54 423/9/31
(50) More extensive material on these missions as well as on Guy Black is available from the main author on request.
(51) See Powell, op cit, page 105
(52) Guy Black, letter to Tas Baillie, 9 December 1996
(53) Vetaffairs, December 1995, page 8
(54) Sunday Mail 6 August 1995, page 5
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|Date:||Dec 1, 2004|
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