Jim Mullaney




Gordonvale Diary
by James M. Mullaney


Wars are not all fighting - in fact most of it is just plain boredom or hard work - feast or famine.




Cairns, NQ
(Wester Collection)

(Wester Collection)

(Wester Collection)

(Wester Collection)

Puffing Billy
(Wester Collection)

A Day at the Beach NQ.
(Wester Collection)

A Day at the Beach, NQ.
(Wester Collection)

Teaching a Gordonvale Rigger
 (Weber Collection)

Practice Jump from Cairns
  (Weber Collection)

Practice Jump from Cairns
 (Weber Collection)

Practice Jump from Cairns
 (Weber Collection)

Practice Jump near The Pyramid, Gordonvale
  (Weber Collection)

Practice Jump near The Pyramid, Gordonvale
  (Weber Collection)

A day visit to Green Island, NQ.
  (Weber Collection)

Visiting with the Australian officers.
 (Weber Collection)

River Crossings weren't all safe.
 (Weber Collection)


Jim Mullaney

Jan. 31, 1943


Sunday - Walked into Gordonvale in morning. Quiet little town this AM.

People friendly. Nearly all of them speak and smile. Seem glad to have us in their town. Went on to Cairns later in afternoon. Saw movie named "South of Tahiti." Two Aussie girls get in argument in theatre. The manager threw them out. They were talking so fast I couldn't tell what the difficulty was. They thought it was rather serious apparently.



Feb. 1, 1943


Lt. Franklin transferred to Brisbane "without prejudice". He sure hated to leave but someone decided he didn't fit. He had tears in his eyes when he shook hands goodbye. What the powers had against him I'll never know or even try to guess. He caught an 8AM train. We dug ditch around company area and built wood walks. Movie "Navy Blues" at night. Had fish and chips in Cairns.

Back to tent about 11PM.



Feb. 3, 1943


Had Officer of the Day duty in Cairns from 1PM till 12 midnight when last truck left for camp. The return trip was a mess. Lots of drunks. Some passed out. Some sick and vomiting. On duty with me were Horvatich, Thompson, Carrow, and Mcgargle. We were relieved to dump the last ones in their tents and head for ours.



Feb 4, 1943


Got five letters from home. They were answers to the ones I wrote when we first arrived in Aussieland. Mail sure looked good.

Got letter from mother informing me my brother John was officially a prisoner of war. I suppose that's good news. He at least survived the "death march"..



Feb. 5 1943


Had firing problems all day - attacking bunkers that were suppose to resemble Jap emplacements. Rain getting heavier each day.






Feb. 9, 1943


More fire problems. Live rounds fired very close to us. I wonder if this is the way it will be in the real thing. Dug in about 7PM for overnight stay in bush. Lots of live things seem to be keeping us company. Australia has some strange animals.



Feb. 10, 1943


Had critique in morning and headed back to camp about 3PM. Rain very hard.

All of us and all the equipment are soaked. Back at camp we cleaned equipment - washed clothes - ate - in bed about 9PM.



Feb. 11, 1943


New NCOs appointed in company. Two men from my platoon promoted - Heise and Leon Geromanos.



Feb. 14, 1943


Rifle range all day. Got back to camp about 5PM. Ate fish in messtent. Quite a few got sick from it. At least the good doctor said it was the fish. Some of the men were off duty all the next day.



Feb. 17, 1943


Went on three day problem. Hiked in mountains all day. Stopped at 10:30PM.

No chow. Slept on slope - or tried to - up most of night. Rained hard - falling rocks hurt some of the men. I think even the Aussie animals had sense enough to stay away from this area.



Feb. 18, 1943


No breakfast. Moved out at dawn. Got to cleared area where we ate chow about 12.30PM. Had macaroni and cheese. I never particular cared for this fare but it was the best food I ever ate up till that time. Ate out of our helmets.

It feast or famine in the Army. At 5:30PM C-47s drop more food. Very good meal. Slept on full stomach till midnight. Wade several creeks. Water felt good on tired feet but leeches were bad. Crossed a mountain - reached "objective" at 7AM. We take it. Airplane drops chow. Milk, oatmeal, and peaches. Got back to camp 12 noon. Cleaned equipment all afternoon. Bed about 8PM.






Feb. 21, 1943


Sunday - washed clothes - cleaned equipment - bed about 7PM. Rigger kills self with trench knife.



Feb. 23, 1943


Spent day getting ready for next problem. Practiced river crossings most of day. Col. Colson returns from New Guinea. Told assembled battalion about his experiences. Pretty interesting talk.



Feb. 24, 1943


Started on march 6AM. Walked twenty miles by 4PM. No noon meal. Had rice and meat for supper. Platoon performed guard duty all night for battalion. Not much rest. Rained all night - everyone wet and cold



Feb. 25, 1943


No breakfast. Started out 5AM We are rear guard for Regiment on march. Still the rain comes down. Rivers up and swift and the bush trails are sloppy.

Walking is almost impossible. Shoes are rotting and pulling apart. Had to cross river on ropes. All of us made it without falling.



Feb. 26, 1943


Woke 7AM. Hot chocolate for breakfast. Walked to a river we can't cross.

Water too high. Reverse march and go over mountain to bridge. About an eleven mile hike. Problem called off. Too much equipment lost. Men from other battalions drown. I heard two. Back to camp 7PM Had hot meal at 10PM.


James M. Mullaney




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