THE ADJUTANT'S JOURNAL
8 - 14 AUGUST 1943

 

AUGUST 1943

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8 August 1943

 

The much awaited football game with the Engineers at Cairns resulted in a 0 to 0 tie. The only winner was 1st Lt. B-C-D*, who was able to use an aggravation of a prior football injury to escape the move to New Guinea and to escape the combat jump.

 

 

* Name omitted

 

 

 

 

9 August 1943

 

 

 

10 August 1943

 

 

 

 

 

1st Lt. William W. Cobb, joined 1 October 1942, from S-4 to HQ CO. 2nd mortar platoon. Lt. Dick from former Battalion S-1 (Adjutant), up to the time this journal starts. In his last days as an adjutant he got a big idea. He quite seriously decided that it would be a innovation in parachute warfare if he were to jump an ass. This was a very friendly little donkey which Dick bought in town for three or four Australian pounds. He made overtures toward the parachute maintenance people to make a jump harness for the donkey. And word got around it and the soldiers laughed about it a great deal. Some even laughed at J. Dick. As any adjutant will tell you, it is never a good idea to laugh at an Adjutant. He is certain to last laugh you, and you will never know what happened. Anyway, Dick had to go, and the safest place was to S-4 (Supply.) in those days the S-1 was the Adjutant, S-2 was Intelligence, S-3 was Plans and Training, and S-4 was Supply. Lt. Riseley S-1½ to S-1.
 

 

11 August 1943

 

Intensified schedule continues. Co E sleeps out all night with booby traps.

 

 

12 August 1943

 

One more time. Orders came to pack initial drop bundles in preparation for moving into combat.

 

 

13 August 1943

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Movement order and loading plan published. Tentative schedule calls for movement with 2d Bn reinforced to Mareeba thence to unnamed advance base by air. Rest of regt to move by boat from unnamed port of embarkation. Equipment, individual and organizational, still has several small snarls, but on the whole is probably more complete than ever before. Morale. Always hard to judge. It is not at the low experienced before furloughs. Main question: Do they have confidence in their leadership? The era of Johnnie Eagerism (Major John M-N-O)* and the showmanship army has kept decisions as to even small matters.

 

One of the duties of the Adjutant is to keep his eyes on morale and let the commander know about it. Major John’s departure from the regt is not noted in the journals. I do recall that Major John sometime about here began to be quoted with some unusual quotations. He advised Lt. Cole that he would be soon Eagle John and Cole would be his number one man. As I recall the last time I saw him was probably on landing in the cane from the Mareeba jump. Major John was there with two nurses. In the landing, I had what we called a “tit.” This is not a very funny thing. It means one or more of the suspension lines is not where it is supposed to be, but is messing up the canopy. One can sometimes shake the chute real hard and  get rid of it. At any rate, Major John, never one of my favorite people, was very cheerful to me. “You had a tit," he laughed, “I have seen an acre of tits this morning.” The nurses led him away. But what he said was probably true. By this time, all of the chutes were being packed by Australian women employees, and some of them were really not up to Rigger standard. Rigger standard was protected by the Code of the Riggers which decreed that if someone did not like the parachute that was given  to him, he could challenge the chute. Then the rigger would be allowed to jump it, to show that it was packed properly.

 

 

*Name Omitted 

 

Major John’s name was in the Army Register as retired after the war, so he did survive it.

14 August 1943

 

Regimental movement order received indicating that this Battalion will move out early Wednesday and go to Mareeba, hence, to forward base by air. The forward base seems to be 3 hours distant. Rest of regimental will go by boat later.