During World War II Australia and the United States often worked together. Remember that the United States entered World War II after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on December 7, 1941. The US declared war on Japan. In 1942 the US had ships docking in Fremantle, Australia which is southwest, near Perth. A refueling port further north was needed for the submarines. The US and Australia each built bases near Exmouth.
The US stayed here from 1942-1944. The two countries worked very close in this area.
These balls of Steel, or ball float, were anchored in the nearby Gulf and used as a mooring point by boats or barges involved in Operation Potshot.
Zeb and Eider visited the site of the former US basis, called Operation Potshot. At this monument, there are several signs explaining the differences and similarities of conditions for the soldiers from each country.
We think you would find these signs interesting. During this time the Japanese military was very aggressive in southeast Asia. Japan had moved through Thailand, into Malaysia and Singapore. Singapore is very close to northern Australia. During World War II Japan bombed northern Australia very heavily.
Broome and Darwin were frequent targets. Operation Jaywalk, a joint effort of 14 men from Australia and Britain, left Exmouth from the US base, September 2, 1943.
Tank floats were steel pontoons hitched together to form floating docks.
These men conducted a raid on the Japanese ships in Singapore. As result, 7 Japanese ships sank or were seriously damaged. All 14 men returned to the US Base at Exmouth October 19, 1943.
The US base was heavily damaged during the Cyclone of February 3, 1945. We, the Colorado Traveling are not history experts, but we are happy to see that both countries were able to work together to help end World War II.
These monuments are very interesting and informative.
We think they would be worth some of your time when you are in the area of Exmouth, Western Australia. Standing by the monuments, the Indian Ocean in on one side and sheep grazing in a pasture are on the other side.
We like seeing all the sheep.
More peaceful now than during the war.
My father was with the allied submarine fleet during World War II, aboard the USS Hammerhead SS-34, based in Fremantle. He spoke of a place en route from Fremantle and through the Lombok Strait to the South China Sea where the sub sometimes stopped at a beautiful beach the crew could relax and swim. When in his 90s, he seemed to recall the name of the place as Exeter, but I am thinking it could have been Exmouth. I know there was a base there early in the war that was considered as a replacement for Darwin, but then Fremantle was chosen for the submarine fleet. Maybe there was still enough infrastructure there in 1944-1945 when my Dad was on board the Hammerhead to make it a stop for a little R&R while submarine was heading to or from their war patrols. Does anyone know about that?
Sorry, I don’t know any more about this. I was hoping someone else would know and give you more information.
Thanks for giving it a try. But after recently visiting Perth and Fremantle and talking to people there, I still have the idea that Exmouth Gulf was the place he recalled. When the USN moved to having their submarines doing double patrols, they came back after the first one to refuel and then returned for the second one, before coming back to Fremantle. Exmouth would have been a likely place for their refueling, reprovisioning, and resting up. So I will keep looking into that and get back if I am able to find out any additional information. Best Wishes, CDoerflein
Best of luck to you. Thanks so much for the additional information.
Most likely was Exmouth. Admiral Lockwood (Commander of Subs southwest Pacific) wanted a location closer to the sub hunting grounds then Pert/Fremantle. This idea came from the use of Midway Island by the Subs out of Peal Harbor Darwin was too close and open to attack from Timor. Exmouth was picked, a sub tender was anchored and a relaxation camp and airfields were built by Learmonth and Yanfrey, USS Hammerhead SS364 was based out of Perth and would have used Exmouth to top of fuel on the way to patrol and used it for the two week R&R after patrol. My father was a Submariner in WW2 initially based in Perth and I am a retired US Naval Officer.
Thank you, Lawrence, that is interesting and helpful. My Dad spoke often of the Hammerhead’s “stops” where he and the rest of the crew got to swim, enjoy the sun, and relax after their patrols. So this gives further support that Exmouth was likely the spot of which he was so fond. We visited Australia when we were based in Wellington, NZ, 2017-2019. We’re back in the US now, but when the world is less stressed out by Covid-19, we surely will return for a visit to both countries. Might I ask, which was your father’s submarine? I’d enjoy looking it up and learning about it. Before and after my years in the US Foreign Service I was a history teacher, and everything related to WWII is of keen interest to me.
Congratulations on and thanks for your career with the US Navy. My brother enlisted in the Navy and was assigned to carrier Forrestal, but didn’t make a career of it. Still, we always considered ourselves a Navy family.
Thanks for the additional information. And thanks for your service.
Thanks for replying and helping
Thanks for you information.