East and West (4)

Germans amass on Norway coast, 9 April 1940

Germans amass on Norway coast, 9 April 1940

Although the April 1940 fiasco in Norway was Churchill’s responsibility as the First Lord of the Admiralty, Chamberlain paid the political price.  Winston Churchill became the Prime Minister of Great Britain and her Empire, yet he remained dismissive of Japan, her own power, and wanted nothing less than an all-out war with Germany.

Norwegian village burned during a battle, April 1940

Norwegian village burned during a battle, April 1940

The book, The Great Betrayal: Britain, Australia & the Onset of the Pacific War 1939-42, by David Day, explains the problems in detail that faced Australia, the ambitions of Menzies and the danger both New Zealand and Australia teetered on during this period far better than I can in my limited space.

Wirraway

Wirraway

As the date for Japan’s ‘Operation Z’ to commence crept ever closer, Australia’s obligation of compliance with British imperatives, left the country with no aircraft capable of meeting Japanese fighters.  The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) had 170 aircraft (on paper), including 53 Hudsons (20 in the Netherland East Indies); 57 Wirraways and assorted training planes. The RAAF was commanded by British Air Chief, Marshall Burnett, whose main objective was to produce more trained men for Europe and the Middle East.  When New Zealand sent her 3rd Division overseas, Australia followed suit by deploying her 6th Division.  The RAN was basically taken over by the British Admiralty.

Lockheed-Hudson

Lockheed-Hudson

August 1941, after the Newfoundland meeting of Allied powers, General Pownall, Vice Chief of the Imperial General Staff was quoted as saying, “Roosevelt was all for coming into the war and as soon as possible…but he said he would never declare war, he wishes to provoke it.  He wants to create an incident that brings war about, being no doubt sure that he would be fully supported by his people.”

As Pan-American Airways inaugurated its flights to New Zealand, Australia continued to deny access to Sydney.  (This was on orders from Churchill.)  Churchill was still asserting his rash promise of support for New Zealand, Australia and Singapore – a vow he now stated with the stipulation    – “should they be invaded.”

In New Zealand, preparations were published for her people, in the event of such an invasion and this is covered by fellow blogger and avid historian, Lemuel @ History Geek and can be found HERE!!

Despite the constitutional fall-out of Britain’s declaration of war on behalf of India (and without representation), the British could indeed rely on India’s support in the war.  An expeditionary force of mule transport companies provided back up in France and 24 pilots were immediately sent to the RAF in 1940.

To be continued…

Click on images to enlarge.

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Political cartoon of the times…

Scripps-Howard

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Farewell Salutes –

Floyd Brittain – Sacramento, CA; US Army, WWII, ETOMarine-Bugler

Mary Branum – Scammon, KS; Aux. Military Police, WWII

Carl Carrick – Warner Robbins, GA; US Air Force, MSgt. (Ret. 29 years)

Bruce Davis – Ottawa, Can.; Cameron Highlanders, WWII

James Garner – Brentwood, CA; US 5th Regimental Combat Team, Korea, 2 Purple Hearts, [beloved actor for 50 years]

Robert Hindle – N.Z.; RNZ Air Force # 433203 LAC RL

Robert Jacoby – Park Ridge, NJ; US Navy, WWII, PTO, “Nautilus” submarine

Joe Lanear – Phoenix, AZ; US Air Force, Korea

Leland Newell – Melbourne, FL; US Air Force, Flight Surgeon

Walter Reilly – W>Palm Bch, FL; US Navy, submarine service

Timothy Sloan – Lafayette, LA; US Army, Korea, A CO/188th RCT

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on July 21, 2014, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 69 Comments.

  1. Great historical reading my friend, you mentioned the Wirraways, coincidently the city I live in, Mildura, was the hometown of the training school for the Wirraways in Australia.
    There were a number of training casualties here during training, and some of our hometown guys went on to distinguish themselves flying the Wirraways.
    Cheers
    Emu aka Ian

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  2. “The US considered increasing Guam’s defenses during and after WWII,”

    Should that be WW I ?

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  3. Have you read TK Derry’s campaign in Norway ? It’s the official British military history of the campaign. One of the things that struck me most was that after successfully re-taking Narvik and landing in force ( but losing their top brass in the process), the time came to unload heavy weaponry from the transport ships. It was only then realised that ammunition had been loaded into the cargo bays first, leading to a situation where anti-aircraft guns and heavy machine guns sat on the dockside, effectively useless until their ammo had been dug out from behind everything else.

    A German air raid actually occurred in the middle of such confusion, and continued almost non-stop, due to night never falling as they were above the article circle. It was quite an interesting campaign full of bad luck, at least equal to the amount of the bad planning that later became obvious..but I’m rambling now.

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  4. You have my complete attention for this phase of the story. It is so clear, reading your posts, that World War meant just that the whole world involved. it is sometimes difficult to believe it, but conflicts are smaller today.

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    • Very few countries were spared involvement in some way during this war – that’s why there is no possible way for me to do research into the entire war. I have to leave the ETO to people like Pierre Lagace. Thank you very much for your continuing interest, Hillary!

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  5. The following item stirred my curiosity: “As Pan-American Airways inaugurated its flights to New Zealand, Australia continued to deny access to Sydney. (This was on orders from Churchill.)” Why would Australia deny Pan-American Airways access to Sydney? Did Churchill, i.e., Great Britain exercise such control over Australia, at that time, that it could order Australia not to allow airline access from other countries?

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    • Britain was grabbing at straws to retain any semblance of her once great Empire; although she wanted the US to protect her territories, she did not want Australia to start negotiating on its own. So, Pan-Am Australian passengers were unloaded at New Caledonia and put on a boat to sail to Sydney instead of hooking up with a Quantas flight. All a matter of a parent retaining control over her child sort of attitude going on at the time.
      Thanks for your interest, Wayne.

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  6. Here is some footage taken before, during and after MacAthur’s drive from Atsigito his thotel

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    • Outstanding, Koji!! Thank you so much for this! I greatly appreciate your friendship and kindness!! 😉

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      • I’m sorry but I guess I was pretty tired when I posted this… Lots of misspelled words! But I would think you’ve seen this but if you haven’t, perhaps – PERHAPS – Smitty’s in there! ☺

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        • I ALWAYS look hard! Dad said whenever a photographer was around – he’d go in the opposite direction so that his mother would never catch him in a combat situation. I’ve saved this one to really go over for a third and fourth (or however many) try to scan each face since it is NOT combat! Thanks again.

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  7. Please visit my new blogs if possible, hope you like it 🙂

    http://ajaytaobotanicalblog.wordpress.com/

    http://ajaytaoquotesblog.wordpress.com/

    thank you so much dear 🙂

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  8. I am interviewing several of our local veterans for a series about our local heroes. One of them in 97 years old. I am looking forward to talking to him. Thank you for your wonderful blog.

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    • I am really looking forward to your interviews! I keep telling people to do just that – get as many stories down as you can – I’m proud of you!!

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  9. I enjoyed this read– the series is going splendidly.
    Great job!

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    • Thanks, Chris, I appreciate that. Sometimes I wonder – did I skip over too much and make it incomprehensible – or – is it too long and I’m boring everybody…. So thanks for the encouragement!

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  10. Glad to see James Garner in the farewell salutes. I haven’t been keeping up with my contributions of late. Here is one from today’s paper: Leonard (Len) Charles Griffiths, Reg No. 443224, Private, 23rd Battalion, NZ Army, WWII.

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    • Thank you very much, I appreciate the help. Yes, Mr. Garner was one of the good guys and I was heart broken to see him pass. The Farewell Salutes are rough to put together, but the troops deserve any and all recognition.

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  11. Great post and thanks for the link to my ramblings about the NZ Civil Defence handbook! I was pleased to see you mention the Pan Am service to New Zealand – an important part of our aviation history that is often overlooked. I have a few original snapshots of NC18602, let me know if these are of use to you. Her story is absolutely incredible.

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  12. Insightful as always, and always leaving me wanting more! Another excuse to expand another field of study – thank you!

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  13. A part of the war I don’t know much about. Thanks GP. James Garner has always been one of my favorite actors as well. It would be interesting to see which of our Hollywood heroes went to war and which didn’t. As I recall, neither Ronald Reagan or John Wayne did. –Curt

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  14. RIP James Garner. War Hero. Great under-appreciated actor. And in the words of people I know who knew him, one hell of a great guy.

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    • Thank you, Don. As being someone in the business, that means so much. I’ve only known one person who came in contact with him and my personal feelings were confirmed. A big loss!!

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  15. The British paid a truly terrible price for hubris. But that’s complacency for you. Time to face Reality, and the stark reality is that there are only two types of people in this world—traders, and takers.

    The resources of trade are diverted to either repelling takers, or worse, taking. Not good. But that’s the way of it; and all is cyclic—today’s Top Dog will be tomorrow’s Britain as the newcomers (made strong by trade) squabble over the spoils.

    Si vis pacem parabellum

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  16. Always fascinating to examine the feet of clay.

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  17. What a time. I wonder if that’s where we’re headed again. What happened to learning from history? Don’t listen to me–I’m grouchy today.

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    • Not to worry, Jacqui – Swabby and Dan have both made the same comparisons. It truly is a shame. Just as Afghanistan’s lesson should have been learned after Russia was unable to tame the nation after 10 years – we go in anyway – what’s with that?

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  18. I can’t wait for the next part. Also good layout. The words were nicely spread out throughout the pictures. It didn’t feel too long.

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    • Thank you, Katelyn. I depend on the photos to help tell the story (I’m certainly not a professional writer) and since I do not have time to read very long posts all day, I do try to keep mine at a descent size.

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  19. The number of times that war becomes “inevitable” based on the actions or inaction of world leaders is kind of scary to me. I love reading about the history, but when it brings to mind the fact that these same kind of decisions are being made (or ignored) today, I feel a little uneasy. Thanks for another great post!

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    • We should all feel uneasy, Dan. Just as Swabby noticed, the powers that be simply do not learn from the lessons that were taught in the past. I thank you very much for reading and taking the time to comment (I wish I had the time to comment on all the posts I visit each day – I feel bad about that).

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  20. I didn’t know that James Garner was a Korean War Vet. Thanks for including him in your list. I don’t want to steal your thunder on future posts, but from reading my father’s WWII letters, I gathered that several Australian ports were attacked by Japanese aircraft.

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    • Oh, you will hear of quite a few attacks on Australia, Adam. It was not common knowledge in the US newspapers, but I will be mentioning a number of them – no thunder lost, friend. As I told Valley Grail – James Garner was heart-breaking to read about. I had known he was a veteran, especially after doing my Guest Post for Judy over at Greatest Generation Lessons which showed Hollywood’s contribution which I reblogged.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. I think the Lockheed-Hudson looks like the A-10 Warthog’s grandfather. It was touching to see James Garner’s name in the Final Salute. I don’t think many people knew about his Purple Hearts. Thank you for continued informative posts.

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    • And thank you for your comments and visit. James Garner was always one of my all-time favorites. It was heart-breaking to see him go. One of the few in Hollywood that remained married to the same woman throughout his adult life.

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  22. The British rediscovered what Rome and all the previous imperial powers came to know. It is exceedingly difficult and costly to defend a far-flung empire. The lesson has yet to be learned.

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  23. I covered the political side of the New Zealand-British debate regarding defence against Japan about ten years ago in my book ‘Pacific War’ – now, sadly, out of print. The essential problem was that Britain had nothing to provide – indeed, it was 1945 before the Royal Navy was able to emerge once again, in strength, into the Pacific.

    Although there was open talk of ‘Japanese invasion’ here in NZ, that sort of talk had been around since before the First World War. The reality in 1942 was that Japan did not have the military power to do so – there was intense debate between Japanese army and navy command over practical goals in 1942, principally whether to take Hawaii, northern Australia, or the island chains into Polynesia. New Zealand did not feature in the field of view. Nor did Japan need to invade; they had but to cut the country off in order to eliminate it from the calculation, and this is what was happening in 1942 when their thrust through the island chains to Tonga was stopped at the Solomons.

    This military reality did not, however, stop preparations for occupation which were prepared at the insistence of the German foreign minister, Ribbentrop. Presumably it could have been imposed had Japan won the Pacific war and been in a position to dictate terms. Plans were drawn up involving the effective subjugation of the New Zealand economy. I found the documents in Archives New Zealand, in the Prime Minister’s papers; they had been found by US investigators in Tokyo and sent out to our government at request of the Prime Minister – hence their location in this slightly unlikely indexing. I published my analysis of them (in ‘Pacific War’) – and also wrote a speculative scenario based on them in my science-fiction history book ‘Fantastic Pasts’ (Penguin 2007) – but nobody noticed… (sigh)…

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    • Thank you for sharing the information in your book. I have taken note of it and will search used books for a copy – I have acquired tons of research that way!
      I appreciate you taking the time, Matthew.

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  24. Watching “Morning Joe” this morning, I am struck by the impossibility of a national leader serving a people who second-guess everything he or she does.

    Sometimes, right or wrong, a leader does the thing that seems right to them and their advisors at the time, with the known facts.

    Then young men and women die and suffer to fulfill the leader’s fantasy about the rightness of that decision.

    If we win, the leader looks like a statesman. If we fight to a stalemate or lose, the leader looks like a war criminal at worst or an idiot for making such an “obvious” mistake as sending American troops into such a quagmire in the first place.

    For the troops, the outcome is the same: most survive, many suffer lifetime impairments from wounds suffered, a handful get medals for doing impossibly brave things, and some die.

    At home, “patriots” fly the national flag and call for support for the troops – “thanks for your service” – then vote in assholes who deny the veterans the support the people who sent them into harm’s way morally owe them.

    I’m for a return to the times when we are lead into the charge by the bastards who call for the war. And their children, too, should be in the frontline.

    Sorry for being so sour this morning. Joe Scarborough has this effect on me.

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    • I’ve always said that the wars should be fought by the powers that created them in the first place. And don’t worry – We’re all sour at some point, conditions guarantee it!

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Thanks Pierre – you’re always right there to help me out!

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  26. Pierre Lagacé

    Reblogged this on Lest We Forget and commented:
    East and West Part 4

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