Riots in World War II
article below, extracted from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-02-10/historian-reveals-details-on-townsville-mutiny/3821906
on December 2015, forms part of the research into the life history
of Michael Christian Daly (1917-1988) - see adjacent menu. He
would recall his posting in 1942 to Townsville at the time of
riots by the African-American soldiers. The rioters were marching
on the city and his unit was lined up with their guns pointing
towards them. Michael said he was in a moral quandry if he had
been given the order to fire upon the rioters. He said that he
had made up his mind to follow the order if it was given, but
to fire above their heads. The Australian Broadcasting Commission
(ABC) has reported on the Townsville US Servicemen Riots. The
incidents are also described at www.ozatwar.com/ozatwar/riotupperross.htm.
documents lift lid on WWII mutiny by US troops in north Queensland
by Josh Bavas Updated 10 Feb 2012, 12:24pm
An Australian historian has uncovered hidden documents which reveal
that African American troops used machine guns to attack their white
officers in a siege on a US base in north Queensland in 1942.
about the Townsville mutiny has never been released to the public.
the story began to come to light when James Cook University's
Ray Holyoak first began researching why US congressman Lyndon
B Johnson visited Townsville for three days back in 1942.
he discovered was evidence detailing one of the biggest uprisings
within the US military.
70 years there's been a rumour in Townsville that there was a
mutiny among African-American servicemen. In the last year and
a half I've found the primary documentation evidence that that
did occur in 1942," Mr Holyoak told AM.
During World War II, Townsville was a crucial base for campaigns
into the Pacific, including the Battle of the Coral Sea.
600 African-American troops were brought to the city to help build
Holyoak says these troops, from the 96th Battalion, US Army Corps
of Engineers, were stationed at a base on the city's western outskirts
known as Kelso.
was the site for a large-scale siege lasting eight hours, which
was sparked by racial taunts and violence.
some serial abuse by two white US officers, there was several
ringleaders and they decided to machine gun the tents of the white
officers," Mr Holyoak said.
has uncovered several documents hidden in the archives of the
Queensland Police and Townsville Brigade detailing what happened
to the findings, the soldiers took to the machine guns and anti-aircraft
weapons and fired into tents where their white counterparts were
than 700 rounds were fired.
least one person was killed and dozens severely injured, and Australian
troops were called in to roadblock the rioters.
Holyoak also discovered a report written by Robert Sherrod, a
US journalist who was embedded with the troops.
never made it to the press, but was handed to Lyndon B Johnson
at a Townsville hotel and eventually filed away into the National
Archives and Records Administration.
think at the time, it was certainly suppressed. Both the Australian
and the US government would not have wanted the details of this
coming out. The racial policies at the time really discluded [sic]
people of colour," Mr Holyoak says.
the Australian Defence Department and the Australian War Memorial
say it could take months to research the incident, and say they
have no details readily available for public release.
Townsville historian Dr Dorothy Gibson-Wilde says the findings
validate 70-year-old rumours.
it was raised, people usually sort of said, 'Oh you know, no that
can't be true. Nobody's heard about that', and in fact it must
have been kept pretty quiet from the rest of the town," she
Holyoak will spend the next two years researching the sentences
handed out to both the officers and the mutineers involved, and
why the information has been kept secret for so long.
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