Trinity Beach, Australia

Trinity Beach, 1st Amphibious, Dec. 1, 1944

Trinity Beach was once a World War II training ground, where troops practiced all aspects of amphibious warfare before heading into war zones north of Australia.

Between May 1943 and December 144, thousands of Australian troops were rotated through this area for training in all aspects of beach warfare.  trainees were from the Australian 9th Australian Division which had recently returned from Tobruk and Alamein.  They were followed by members of the 6th and 7th  divisions that had been involved in campaigns in Egypt, Libya, Cyprus, Greece and New Guinea.

Training was a joint Australian-American army-navy exercise.  British ships and Navy personnel were occasionally involved.  Trinity Beach was the HQ for a number of units and the troops camped along Captain Cook Highway, particularly at Deadman’s Gully near Clifton Beach.

Training was intensive and involved both day and nighttime activities.  Troops undertaking this training included infantry, gunners, engineers, mechanics, signalers, ordnance, intelligence and field ambulance personnel.

Trinity Beach training

Trinity Beach had been a place for families during the holidays, this changed when the 532nd Engineer Special Brigade arrived in April 1943.  Troops were rotated between inland jungle training on the Atherton Tableland to amphibious training on the beaches.   This was done prior to embarkation to the front lines in Papua New Guinea.

Assault training was only one aspect of the training activities at Trinity.  Logistics, including load training, was undertaken.  The 1st Australian Corps Combined Operations Amphibious program co-ordinated  by the 6th Australian Div. had 5 key tasks:

1- Delivery of essential supplies from key ports to forward areas, which were close to combat and only accessible by sea

2-Carriage of troops, especially in amphibious assaults.

3- Evacuations of wounded.

4- Local carriage of equipment, stores and salvage.

5-Building of minor port facilities, such as jetties and landing stages.

Trinity Beach, 11 Sept. 1944

During the Pacific War, Cairns became one of Australia’s largest military embarkation ports and the region was dotted with a variety of facilities and camps.

HMAS Kuranda and the RAAF Catalina base were located in north Cairns wharf area and a Catalina slip facility on Admirlty Island in Trinity Inlet.  An American transhipment port was located at the mouth of Smiths Creek.  Aerodomes were established at Mareeba and cairns.  A very large hospital was established at Rocky Creek on the Atherton Tableland, with a second located on the west side of Cairns at Jungara.  A medical research and development unit was based there.  Radar and communications facilities were established throughout this area.

Trinity Beach today

For one and a half frantic years, thousands of troops moved in and out of the Trinity Beach area.  After the training headquarters were shut down, Trinity Beach slipped back into being a place for beach-going weekenders.

Excerpts from: Cairns arts and culture.com.au

This article was suggested by Gallivanta!!  Thank you for the idea, Ann!!

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert S. Chessum – Matamata, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 4311266, WWII

Joshua Fuller – Orlando, FL; US Navy, Commander, pilot

Murray Hilford – Whangaparaoa, NZ; RNZ Navy # 9474, WWII, ETO, Able Seaman

Enrique Roman-Martinez – Chino, CA; US Army, Spc., HQ Co./37/2/82nd Airborne Division

James Moir – New Town, NZ; RNZ Army # 205256, WWII

Vincent Segars – Valdosta, GA; US Navy, Captain, pilot (30 y.), Bronze Star

Peter B. Sheppard – AUS; Royal Australian Military Hospital, Cpl., # 0708811, Vietnam

Jimmy Sinclair (107) – ENG; British Royal Artillery, WWII, “Desert Rats”

Raymond Tompkins – Salem, OR; US Navy, WWII, Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class

Robert J. Wells – Eagle, CO; US Navy, WWII, gunner, USS Cornvallis, Bucknell & Whiteriver

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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 June 15, 2020, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 105 Comments.

  1. Really odd that we don’t hear more about the Aussie involvement in WW II. they were up to their eyeballs, maybe even more so than most, in the fighting closer to home. The book, Pacific hawk by John Vader really illustrates this. Where this might have been an American fighter plane, it was mostly Aussies flying it early on in the Pacific.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That post had me doing research gp, have been up that way many times in my army days, but never realised the significance of that beach, would like to visit someday when all this crap is over, trouble is that Time is moving fast as we get older, cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know what you’re saying, Ian. So many places here in Florida have WWII historic significance that I also was unaware of until I did do a FL post. I’ll bet that’s true for most everyone’s home area.
      Don’t let thinks get you down. Think of all this generation went through and their stamina!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a beautiful and placid beach today! Always something new to learn here, GP!

    I could imagine a novel about such a place, on moonlit nights, someone hearing the voices and seeing shadowy figures from long ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Another informative article. If I ever retire from working full-time, I should go through my dad’s WWII service record and match up places and dates with your blog articles to add to our family history.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. “Trynity beach” as always very interesting facts and I did like the last photo, if you are not up to do the job get out of the field since you do become a liability for your guys.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pierre Lagacé

    Still learning GP.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s always amazing when you see a present day photograph and you can compare it with an old photograph, or a written account, of the same place with huge numbers of troops present or tanks thundering past. If they ever advertise a job as a time traveller, I am going to be the first application in the post!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Thank you for teaching me some great history

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Well I’ve learnt something new, I’ve only ever been to Trinity Beach as a child and I still remember it as an absolute paradise.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I always learn something new here, GP. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Interesting to see how such a beautiful place today could have been used as a training ground for battle preparation. Guess what you see all depends on how you look at a place.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As further information, the buildings and training sites were removed. There is little to no trace of WWII activity left in that area. (I think that’s a shame.)

      Like

  12. Vital training, I’d say, given what the troops were faced, G. On another WW II note we’ve discussed before, the Medford Tribune had an interesting article on one of the Japanese balloon bombs hitting the town in 1945. Here’s the heart of the story:

    “In the last year of WWII, on the southwest edge of Medford, where Peach Street came to an end at Oliver Tice’s farm, the Japanese were attacking.

    It was a cold January night with temperatures lingering all day in the low 30s. The ground was damp from a weeks’ worth of on-and-off rain.

    Floyd Albert and a couple of farm hands arrived on the scene first, quickly followed by Lyman Thomas, a sergeant in the local National Guard.

    They found an unexploded 2-foot-long bomb stuck in the soft middle of a small and shallow crater.

    Thomas ran home and called his military superiors.

    It was mere minutes before FBI and Army officers were swarming over the area. Anyone they found who had seen the explosion, seen the bomb — or even been told of it — was found and sworn to secrecy.

    The officers revealed that the Japanese were launching large balloons from their homeland with hanging bombs attached, hoping the jet stream would blow them to the U.S. where they would explode.

    Newspapers had known of the balloon attacks for some time, but voluntarily censored the information. In the interest of national security, officials said it was important the Japanese not know the balloons were actually making it across the Pacific Ocean.

    Most balloons were equipped with a small explosive device attached to a timed release mechanism that would destroy the balloon while in flight, sending an anti-personal bomb and one or two incendiary bombs plunging to earth.

    Army intelligence officers theorized that in Medford, the anti-personal bomb had exploded a few feet above the ground, igniting one of the thermite incendiary bombs that caused the flash. The other unexploded thermite bomb then dropped to the ground. This was the bomb discovered by Thomas and his neighbors.”

    As for neighbors, my family had actually owned the pear ranch next door a few year’s earlier. My grandfather was serving as an army captain in Europe.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. GP, the carton about the flag is inappropriate, IMO.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Interesting post! A friend of mine moved from East Islip to Cairns years ago and settled there so I went to his Facebook page and got this link to Trinity Beach. What a beautiful place!
    https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=Stephen%20Hofmeister%2FTrinity%20Beach&epa=SEARCH_BOX
    And a tribute to the past:

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I’ve been to Cairns. Now I wish I had stopped at Trinity Beach. Next time!
    This is interesting, GP. Training. One never thinks about it much when contemplating WW2. I just discovered that Red Cross girls who wanted to participate internationally, went to a training camp outside DC.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Not sure how much time you’ve spent on Peter Dunn’s site Australia at War, but it seems like you might enjoy reading through all the information there. https://www.ozatwar.com/

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Interesting history, GP. I liked the five key tasks. Good humor as usual. I wish I was a football fan so I could stop watching.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Thank you for once again adding to the sparse knowledge I have of the war on the other side of the world.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. I am glad to hear that the troops were trained in realistic conditions, unlike the Soviet Army, which was sent out to die without the right equipment and training. Stalin didn’t regard life as anything worth preserving.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Another great one GP! I especially appreciate the first meme under military humor. I wish they wouldn’t allow that type of behavior (or at least there should be ramifications for it). On the one hand I liken it to being childish and ignorant… a “they know not what they do.” Kind of thing. Experience after all is our best teacher and if one hasn’t experienced something then I see offering a certain amount of grace but still… letting it go and allowing the behavior to continue? Arg.
    Rant over. Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Your post reveals a little known slice of military history on Australian soil. Cooperation among the allied forces was the key to their success.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Australia felt the need to bring more men home from Europe to fight in the Pacific, especially being as they were on the Japanese “radar”, so to speak. England had left them to fend for themselves and defend their nation on their own, but insisted they make their quota of men for territory Churchill thought important – they begged to differ. The U.S. stepped up and said they would help them as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Always something new to learn here!

    Liked by 3 people

  23. Thanks for this post, GP. I’m always fascinated to hear about what other countries were doing, and the details of how anyone anywhere managed during that time. Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 3 people

  24. another important part of history I had no idea about. each place and group of people had an important role in the war. like pieces of a puzzle. my daughter is married to an Aussie, and when they lived there and I visited, we went to a small wwII museum, manned by vets, who led us through, telling us the most interesting stories.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’d love to hear more about that visit, Beth. Yes, so much went on in the Pacific, I am always learning myself – like you say – pieces of a puzzle, and a rather HUGE puzzle at that!

      Like

  25. While staying at a resort just north of Cairns, my wife and I thought we would take a shortcut through an overgrown green strip to get to the beach. Hidden in the brush was a large sign that read:

    WARNING!! THIS IS A TROPICAL BEACH

    It then went on to list all the things that were lurking about to kill you:

    Crocodiles (very large and very fast)
    Sharks
    Sea snakes (poisonous)
    Land Snakes (very poisonous)
    Boxies (Jelly fish) One kills you in an hour, another only takes 15 minutes
    Eels
    Rip currents
    And then there are the Cassowaries (big birds who will gut you)

    So I can just envision all those 18 year old GI’s from Iowa dropping their jaws and saying, “SAY WHAT??)

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Beaches are more for vancancy, than for military training purposes. 😉 Well done indeed. Thank you for the information, GP! Hope you had a enjoyable weekend. Be well. Michael

    Liked by 3 people

  27. Interesting article. Just up the road ten miles from my house is where the first Amphibious Training Base, U. S. Naval Amphibious Training Base, Solomons, Maryland was located. It trained about 68,000 officer and men, including my dad, in amphibious warfare tactics from 1942 to 1945.
    Dad was there in 1944 as a 17 year old Gunner’s Mate. Years later in 1987, he and mom came to visit me while I was stationed at Patuxent River Naval Test Center. As we crossed the bridge over the Patuxent River, Dad remarked that he was stationed nearby in WWII. I had never heard of the amphib base and thought he was referring to the Solomon’s Island Navy Recreation center located at the foot of the bridge. It didn’t look familiar to him and we never followed up. I regret now that we didn’t ask locals where the base was. It was less than a mile away. In fact, from the top of the bridge you can see the sailboats at Calvert Marina which was built on top of the amphib base.
    Here’s a web link.
    http://www.wilmon.com/usnatbsmd.html

    Liked by 5 people

  28. Like Brizzy Mays above, your post brings back fond memories that don’t involve war. We drove from Cairns to Cooktown a long time ago before there was a paved road; we were warned if we went swimming to beware of crocodiles, box jellyfish, blue-ringed octopus, stonefish, and sharks all of which could kill a swimmer. That must have added an additional element of excitement to training.

    Liked by 3 people

  29. I never thought about how they practiced stuff like this. Interesting post, GP. Thanks.

    Liked by 3 people

  30. I’ve eaten Tiger Prawns and drunk from coconut shells on Trinity Beach but knew nothing of this history. Thank you for sharing:)

    Liked by 4 people

  31. That’s an interesting slice of Australian wartime history that I knew nothing about, GP.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 4 people

  32. Thank you for helping me to honor this piece of history.

    Like

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