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THE "ULTRA" EAVESDROPPER!
Frank Bolton  (302)


Recently, I came across a book in my local public library written by Geoffrey Ballard.
Many old ex-3T elu and DSD bods will remember this tall angular-faced ex -AIF Major who stalked the
corridors of the 'factory' during the late 1940’s early 1950s.  At the time DSD was housed in war-time
barracks blocks on the shores of Albert Park Lake in Melbourne.

What surprised me was the title of the book – "ON 'ULTRA' ACTIVE SERVICE – THE STORY OF AUSTRALIA'S SIGNAL INTELLIGENCE OPERATIONS DURING WORLD WAR II"
Equally intriguing was how such a large red beautifully bound tome with its title embossed in gold bearing a price tag of $48 came to be sitting on the shelves of a small council library. There it was amongst all the rows of dog-eared paper backs advertising itself like a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud in a used car yard.

It wasn't until I started to read the book – printed in l99l - that I came across the name Keith Hart. Hart was an ex-AIF sigint operator who before joining the Army in 1940 had been a dairy farmer from the local Pambula district. Obviously, Keith Hart had passed on and the autographed book was a relic of his estate.

Ballard states that "ON 'ULTRA' ACTIVE SERVICE" tells the gripping and hitherto Top Secret story of the Australians Sigint effort during W orld War II. "lt is an unique story, never been told before".



HONG KONG 1966

In 1966 the Colony suffered a monsoonal deluge with hugh amounts of rain falling in a very short time.  Most RAAF families were quartered in an apartment block in the hills above North Point.  Unfortunately, slightly higher up the hill was a reservoir that overflowed in the deluge.  The run-off swept past the apartment building, undermining the road and severing all domestic services.  Acting on their own initiative, the RAAF boys banded together to remedy the situation.  Over a period of several weeks, when not on duty, the men built a road so vehicular traffic had an entrance/exit to/from the complex.  This temporary road was used continually until the 'official' road was repaired which took about 12 months.

Australia's guinea pig troops
tell of horror of chemical weapons

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN SATURDAY APRIL 13 1996


The troops enter the gas chamber clad in full battle gear, including side arms and anti-gas respirators. As the deadly mustard gas is slowly pumped in, swirling around them, they begin to march around the chamber’s perimeter. The only sounds are the regular beat of their combat boots on the concrete floor and the occasional muffled curse as the gas burns their exposed hands. It could have been a scene from Wilfred Owen's horrific Western Front. In fact, the trials were held at the Innisfail chemical warfare research station in north Queensland in December 1943.
Nearly all the guinea pigs - volunteers from the Australian Imperial Force and the Royal Australian Air Force were battle-hardened; many acclimatised to the tropics. Some had volunteered out of idealism. Others had come forward because they had been promised leave in Australia when the experiments were finished. Their war overseas had been gruelling. They longed for home.

Como resident Barry Butler, a leading aircraftman with the 41 Squadron recalled his role in tests at Proserpine in north Queensland in January and February 1945 - among the last to be held in Australia.
'I was young and foolish, 19 years of age’, he said. 'I volunteered from Cairns. From memory 20 men from RAAF units from all over the place went to Proserpine. 'For the first few days we ran over an obstacle course in full equipment. At one stage they took six of us on to an island off Prosperpine in ordinary drabs with a respirator. We were to carry out mock iobs. One or two Beauforts came over and bombed us with mustard gas. But I was fairly lucky …. the wind changed and the gas had no effect on us.



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