On This Day

“Australian Military History”



– The Changi Chapel National Prisoner of War Memorial was opened at RMC Duntroon. The chapel had been dismantled at the end of the WW2 and shipped to Australia. Army engineers rebuilt the chapel over a six month period working from photographs, drawings and recollections of former POW.

– 2 RAR and 4 RAR linked at Lavarack Barracks, Townsville QLD to form 2/4 RAR. The Pipes and Drums of 4 RAR were retained, wearing the saffron kilt due to 4 RAR’s alliance with the (British) Irish Guards. The Pioneer Sergeant continued to sport a beard as was traditional in 4 RAR.

– 8 Div AIF National Memorial dedicated at Bathurst, NSW.

– 2 SAS Sqn returned to Australia from Borneo.

– Prime Minister Menzies visited 3 RAR at its barracks in Japan, prior to its service in Korea.

– Victory in the Pacific (VP) Day, all hostile action against the Japanese ceased.15_vjday

– Isurava (15-30 Aug 42).

– 27 Bde arrived in Malaya to join 22 Bde. The third brigade of 8 Div remained in Australia.

– The AIF officially formed with MAJGEN Bridges appointed as commander.
– 3 Field Ambulance formed. This is the unit “Simpson” of Gallipoli fame enlisted in.
– LTCOL J G Austin appointed as first Director of Ordnance Services. This event is important in that it was he who instituted training for uniformed personnel to form the AAOC. Previously civilians had staffed the Aust Army Ordnance Dept.

– The Treasury approved a mileage allowance for all signals units whose members provided their own bicycle and/or motor-cycle for use on communications duties. From then on motor dispatch services were quickly accepted.

“Around the Globe”


Japan has surrendered to the Allies after almost six years of war. There is joy and celebration around the world and 15 August has been declared Victory in Japan day.

The end of war will be marked by two-day holidays in the UK, the USA and Australia.After days of rumour and speculation, US President Harry S Truman broke the good news at a press conference at the White House at 1900 yesterday.


Israeli troops have arrived at the biggest settlement in the Gaza Strip to serve eviction notices, as Israel starts implementing its pullout plan.Protesters have been blocking the gates of the Neve Dekalim settlement, vowing fierce but non-violent resistance.

About 9,000 people have been given two days to leave all settlements in the Gaza Strip and some in the West Bank.More than 40,000 Israeli soldiers and police are being sent to hand out eviction notices over the next two days.

Israel’s Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, said the Gaza pullout was a painful step, but essential to secure Israel’s future.In a TV address, Mr Sharon insisted Israel could not hold on to the Gaza Strip forever and pledged full support for those settlers forced to leave.

He said Palestinians would now have to prove that they were committed to peace, and that if they did, Israel would offer an olive branch in return.Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has hailed the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza as a historic moment.


Astronomers announced the discovery of the first solar system outside our own. They had discovered two planets orbiting a star in the Big Dipper.
Chandra Levy’s parents appeared on CNN’s “Larry King Live.” They discussed Levy’s disappearance on April 30, 2001.


A group of 100 people from North Korea arrived in South Korea for temporary reunions with relatives they had not seen for half a century. Also, a group of 100 South Koreans visited the North.


At least 27 people are feared dead in the worst paramilitary bombing since the start of the Northern Ireland conflict three decades ago.
The blast in the market town of Omagh, County Tyrone, at around 1500 BST on Saturday, left more than 100 people injured or maimed.

People who survived the car bomb blast in a busy shopping area of the town have been describing scenes of carnage with the dead and dying strewn across the street.Police received a telephone warning approximately 40 minutes before the blast.

But the location of the bomb was unclear and the wrong area was evacuated, with people being directed towards the danger zone.

By 1830 BST the number of confirmed dead had risen to 21. Political leaders have been joined by the Queen in expressing their sympathy for the bereaved and those injured in the explosion.Martin McGuinness, the chief negotiator for Sinn Fein, said: “This appalling act was carried out by those opposed to the peace process.

“It is designed to wreck the process and everyone should work to ensure the peace process continues.”Ulster Unionist security spokesman Ken Maginnis described the bombing as “a dreadful crime against humanity”.

No group has yet admitted planting the bomb which was found to have been planted in a maroon Vauxhall Astra.Northern Ireland’s police chief Ronnie Flanagan said they would be focusing their attention on a republican splinter group calling itself the “Real IRA”.

He said: “It is possible and probable that they carried out this attack.”These are people who have murdered here today because they want to murder.”


The U.S. Justice Department decided not to prosecute FBI officials in connection with the deadly 1992 Ruby Ridge siege in Idaho. The investigation dealt with an alleged cover-up.


Frederick Martin Davidson shot and killed three engineering professors. He was later convicted and sentenced to three life terms in prison.


The U.S. Social Security Administration became an independent government agency. It had been a part of the Department of Health and Human Services agency
Ilich Ramirez Sanchez was jailed in France. He was the international terrorist known as “Carlos the Jackal.”


Vietnam blamed Hollywood for creating the “myth” concerning the issue of U.S. servicemen still being held prisoner in Indochina.
Four people were killed and 20 were injured in a shooting spree outside a club in Miami, FL.


$100 million in damage was done in the Chicago area when 13 1/2 inches of rain fell.


The U.S. Senate approved a package of economic sanctions against South Africa. The ban included the importing of steel, uranium, textiles, coal, and produce from South Africa.


Six-month-old Lisa Harap of Queens Village, NY became the youngest identifiable living person to appear on a cover of “TIME” magazine.


President Park Chung-hee, of South Korea, escaped an assassination attempt. His wife was killed in the attempt.


U.S. President Nixon announced a 90-day freeze on wages, rents and prices.


Mrs. Pat Palinkas became the first woman to ‘play’ in a pro football game when she held the ball for the Orlando, FL, Panthers.


At least 28 people have died and hundreds have been injured after a weekend of rioting in Los Angeles.
Armed National Guards have been deployed on the streets of the Californian city, where many of the shops and businesses now lie in smouldering ruins. A crowd gathered around the car as the driver and his brother began arguing with the police officers. Their mother then joined the argument. When all three were arrested the trouble began.

The crowd began throwing bricks and bottles. Shop windows were broken and stock looted. Black youths ran through the streets setting fire to churches, offices and other buildings.The Governor of California, Edmund Brown, who has just flown back from Europe, said: “We are involved in a state of insurrection there.”

William Parker, the police chief of Los Angeles, said: “We haven’t the slightest idea when this can be brought under control.”Over the weekend, sniping and looting have continued. The cost of repairs is now put at $100m.

Television pictures show black shopkeepers have posted notices on their businesses reading “Blood brother” or “Negro-owned” in an attempt to prevent attacks on the premises.

One National Guard officer was injured when he was hit by a car reportedly driven by a black man. After that incident, officers were authorised to load their rifles and attach bayonets.Some 18,000 National Guards have been deployed. About 2,000 were flown in from San Francisco.President Lyndon Johnson, who spent the weekend at his Texas ranch, has called for an end to the violence.

He said: “Killing, rioting and looting are contrary to the best traditions of this country.”Every person has the responsibility to uphold law and order. I call upon all Americans to fulfil that responsibility.”Civil rights leader Martin Luther King is on his way to Los Angeles. He claims the poor social conditions are the underlying cause for the discontent.

About 500 businesses, most of them white-owned, are reported to have been destroyed or damaged in what is a predominantly black neighbourhood.The trouble began in the Watts area of the city four nights ago when a black man was stopped on suspicion of drunken driving.


Two days after sealing off free passage between East and West Berlin with barbed wire, East German authorities begin building a wall–the Berlin Wall–to permanently close off access to the West. For the next 28 years, the heavily fortified Berlin Wall stood as the most tangible symbol of the Cold War–a literal “iron curtain” dividing Europe.

The end of World War II in 1945 saw Germany divided into four Allied occupation zones. Berlin, the German capital, was likewise divided into occupation sectors, even though it was located deep within the Soviet zone. The future of Germany and Berlin was a major sticking point in postwar treaty talks, and tensions grew when the United States, Britain, and France moved in 1948 to unite their occupation zones into a single autonomous entity–the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany). In response, the USSR launched a land blockade of West Berlin in an effort to force the West to abandon the city. However, a massive airlift by Britain and the United States kept West Berlin supplied with food and fuel, and in May 1949 the Soviets ended the defeated blockade.

By 1961, Cold War tensions over Berlin were running high again. For East Germans dissatisfied with life under the communist system, West Berlin was a gateway to the democratic West. Between 1949 and 1961, some 2.5 million East Germans fled from East to West Germany, most via West Berlin. By August 1961, an average of 2,000 East Germans were crossing into the West every day. Many of the refugees were skilled laborers, professionals, and intellectuals, and their loss was having a devastating effect on the East German economy. To halt the exodus to the West, Soviet leader Nikita Khruschev recommended to East Germany that it close off access between East and West Berlin.

On the night of August 12-13, 1961, East German soldiers laid down more than 30 miles of barbed wire barrier through the heart of Berlin. East Berlin citizens were forbidden to pass into West Berlin, and the number of checkpoints in which Westerners could cross the border was drastically reduced. The West, taken by surprise, threatened a trade embargo against East Germany as a retaliatory measure. The Soviets responded that such an embargo be answered with a new land blockade of West Berlin. When it became evident that the West was not going to take any major action to protest the closing, East German authorities became emboldened, closing off more and more checkpoints between East and West Berlin. On August 15, they began replacing barbed wire with concrete. The wall, East German authorities declared, would protect their citizens from the pernicious influence of decadent capitalist culture.

The first concrete pilings went up on the Bernauer Strasse and at the Potsdamer Platz. Sullen East German workers, a few in tears, constructed the first segments of the Berlin Wall as East German troops stood guarding them with machine guns. With the border closing permanently, escape attempts by East Germans intensified on August 15. Conrad Schumann, a 19-year-old East German soldier, provided the subject for a famous image when he was photographed leaping over the barbed-wire barrier to freedom.

During the rest of 1961, the grim and unsightly Berlin Wall continued to grow in size and scope, eventually consisting of a series of concrete walls up to 15 feet high. These walls were topped with barbed wire and guarded with watchtowers, machine gun emplacements, and mines. By the 1980s, this system of walls and electrified fences extended 28 miles through Berlin and 75 miles around West Berlin, separating it from the rest of East Germany. The East Germans also erected an extensive barrier along most of the 850-mile border between East and West Germany.

In the West, the Berlin Wall was regarded as a major symbol of communist oppression. About 5,000 East Germans managed to escape across the Berlin Wall to the West, but the frequency of successful escapes dwindled as the wall was increasingly fortified. Thousands of East Germans were captured during attempted crossings and 191 were killed.

In 1989, East Germany’s communist regime was overwhelmed by the democratization sweeping across Eastern Europe. On the evening of November 9, 1989, East Germany announced an easing of travel restrictions to the West, and thousands demanded passage though the Berlin Wall. Faced with growing demonstrations, East German border guards opened the borders. Jubilant Berliners climbed on top of the Berlin Wall, painted graffiti on it, and removed fragments as souvenirs. The next day, East German troops began dismantling the wall. In 1990, East and West Germany were formally reunited.


The heir to the throne, Princess Elizabeth, has given birth to a daughter at Clarence House in London. Details of the baby’s arrival have been posted on the gates of Clarence House, on a board outside the Home Office in Whitehall and at Mansion House in the City.

The baby weighed exactly 6lb (2.7kg) at birth. She was delivered at 1150. Mother and baby are said to be doing well. The Princess gave birth to her son, Prince Charles, almost two years ago. He was born at Buckingham Palace – since then the Princess has moved with her family to Clarence House.The Duke of Edinburgh toasted the new princess’ health in champagne with his staff.

He then telephoned Balmoral Castle where the King was shooting on the moors. A special messenger was despatched to find him and give him the good news.The Duke’s mother, Princess Andrew of Greece, received the news at Kensington Palace where she is staying with the Dowager Marchioness of Milford Haven, the Duke’s grandmother.The Royal Salute was fired at 1530 in Hyde Park by the King’s Troop of the Royal Horse Artillery. According to tradition, the case of the first round fired will be engraved and sent to Princess Elizabeth.

Messages of congratulation have begun to pour into Clarence House. They have come from all parts of Britain and the Commonwealth and many countries overseas.It was night time when the news reached Australia. In theatres, cinemas and nightclubs people stood and cheered as the announcement was given on the stage or flashed on the screen.

In the United States, radio announcers broke into programmes to give news of the birth. Afternoon newspapers in New York splashed the news across the front pages, displacing news from Korea. The Queen was seen arriving at Clarence House about five minutes before the baby was born. She returned later in the day for a second visit, lasting about two hours.


In San Francisco, a stunt leap off the Golden Gate Bridge was performed for the first time.


CBS-TV inaugurated the first nightly news broadcast with anchorman Douglas Edwards.
The Republic of Korea was proclaimed.


The Indian Independence Bill, which carves the independent nations of India and Pakistan out of the former Mogul Empire, comes into force at the stroke of midnight. The long-awaited agreement ended 200 years of British rule and was hailed by Indian independence leader Mohandas Gandhi as the “noblest act of the British nation.” However, religious strife between Hindus and Muslims, which had delayed Britain’s granting of Indian independence after World War II, soon marred Gandhi’s exhilaration. In the northern province of Punjab, which was sharply divided between Hindu-dominated India and Muslim-dominated Pakistan, hundreds of people were killed in the first few days after independence.

The Indian independence movement first gained momentum at the beginning of the 20th century, and after World War I Gandhi organized the first of his many effective passive-resistance campaigns in protest of Britain’s oppressive rule in India. In the 1930s, the British government made some concessions to the Indian nationalists, but during World War II discontent with British rule had grown to such a degree that Britain feared losing India to the Axis.

Gandhi and other nationalist leaders rejected as empty the British promises of Indian self-government after the war and organized the nonviolent “Quit India” campaign to hasten the British departure. British colonial authorities responded by jailing Gandhi and hundreds of others. Anti-British demonstrations accelerated after the war, and in 1947 the Indian National Congress reluctantly accepted the creation of Pakistan to appease the Muslim League and conclude the independence negotiations. On August 15, 1947, the Indian Independence Bill took effect, inaugurating a period of religious turmoil in India and Pakistan that would result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands, including Gandhi, who was assassinated by a Hindu fanatic in January 1948 during a prayer vigil to an area of Muslim-Hindu violence.


Japan has surrendered to the Allies after almost six years of war. There is joy and celebration around the world and 15 August has been declared Victory in Japan day.

The end of war will be marked by two-day holidays in the UK, the USA and Australia.After days of rumour and speculation, US President Harry S Truman broke the good news at a press conference at the White House at 1900 yesterday.

He said the Japanese Government had agreed to comply in full with the Potsdam declaration which demands the unconditional surrender of Japan. Supreme Commander General Douglas MacArthur will receive the official Japanese surrender, arrangements for which are now under way.

Later, in an address to a crowd that had gathered outside the White House President Truman said: “This is the day we have been waiting for since Pearl Harbor. This is the day when Fascism finally dies, as we always knew it would.”But he warned that the task of creating a lasting peace still lay ahead.At midnight, the British Prime Minister Clement Atlee confirmed the news in a broadcast saying, “The last of our enemies is laid low.”

He expressed gratitude to Britain’s allies, in the Dominions of Australia and New Zealand, India, Burma, all countries occupied by Japan and to the USSR. But special thanks went to the United States “without whose prodigious efforts the war in the East would still have many years to run”.

The day coincides with the state opening of Parliament which took on an air of a victory parade.Thousands braved the rain to watch King George VI and the queen driven down the Mall in an open carriage.

Later tonight, the King addressed the nation and the Empire in broadcast from his study at Buckingham Palace at 2100.

“Our hearts are full to overflowing, as are your own. Yet there is not one of us who has experienced this terrible war who does not realise that we shall feel its inevitable consequences long after we have all forgotten our rejoicings today.”The Royal Family greeted cheering crowds from the Palace balcony. Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret later mingled with the crowds outside the Palace.

Historic buildings all over London are floodlit and throngs of people have crowded onto the streets of every town and city shouting, singing, dancing, lighting bonfires and letting off fireworks.But there were no celebrations in Japan – in his first ever radio broadcast, Emperor Hirohito blamed the use of “a new and most cruel bomb” used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki for Japan’s surrender.”Should we continue to fight, it would not only result in the ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation but would lead also to the total extinction of human civilisation.”


The Allied forces of World War II landed in southern France.


Because of his special talent to use food scraps in both unusual and appetizing recipes, the U.S. War Department awarded Sgt. Edward Dzuba the Legion of Merit.


“The Wizard of Oz” premiered in Hollywood, CA. Judy Garland became famous for the movie’s song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”


Will Rogers and Wiley Post were killed in an airplane crash in near Point Barrow, AK.


Diplomatic ties between the U.S. and Russia were severed.


The American-built waterway across the Isthmus of Panama, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, is inaugurated with the passage of the U.S. vessel Ancon, a cargo and passenger ship.

The rush of settlers to California and Oregon in the mid 19th century was the initial impetus of the U.S. desire to build an artificial waterway across Central America. In 1855, the United States completed a railroad across the Isthmus of Panama (then part of Colombia), prompting various parties to propose canal-building plans. Ultimately, Colombia awarded rights to build the canal to Ferdinand de Lesseps, the French entrepreneur who had completed the Suez Canal in 1869. Construction on a sea-level canal began in 1881, but inadequate planning, disease among the workers, and financial problems drove Lesseps’ company into bankruptcy in 1889. Three years later, Philippe-Jean Bunau-Varilla, a former chief engineer of the canal works and a French citizen, acquired the assets of the defunct French company.

By the turn of the century, sole possession of the isthmian canal became imperative to the United States, which had acquired an overseas empire at the end of the Spanish-American War and sought the ability to move warships and commerce quickly between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. In 1902, the U.S. Congress authorized purchase of the French canal company (pending a treaty with Colombia), and allocated funding for the canal’s construction. In 1903, the Hay-Bunau Varilla Treaty was signed with Columbia, granting the U.S. use of the territory in exchange for financial compensation. The U.S. Senate ratified the treaty, but the Colombian Senate, fearing a loss of sovereignty, refused.

In response, President Theodore Roosevelt gave tacit approval to a Panamanian independence movement, which was engineered in large part by Philippe-Jean Bunau-Varilla and his canal company. On November 3, 1903, a faction of Panamanians issued a declaration of independence from Colombia. The U.S.-administered railroad removed its trains from the northern terminus of Colón, thus stranding Colombian troops sent to crush the rebellion. Other Colombian forces were discouraged from marching on Panama by the arrival of U.S. warship Nashville.

On November 6, the United States recognized the Republic of Panama, and on November 18 the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty was signed with Panama, granting the U.S. exclusive and permanent possession of the Panama Canal Zone. In exchange, Panama received $10 million and an annuity of $250,000 beginning nine years later. The treaty was negotiated by U.S. Secretary of State John Hay and Bunau-Varilla, who had been given plenipotentiary powers to negotiate on behalf of Panama. Almost immediately, the treaty was condemned by many Panamanians as an infringement on their country’s new national sovereignty.

In 1906, American engineers decided on the construction of a lock canal, and the next three years were spent developing construction facilities and eradicating tropical diseases in the area. In 1909, construction proper began. In one of the largest construction projects of all time, U.S. engineers moved nearly 240 million cubic yards of earth and spent close to $400 million in constructing the 40-mile-long canal (or 51 miles long, if the deepened seabed on both ends of the canal is taken into account). On August 15, 1914, the Panama Canal was opened to traffic.

Panama later pushed to revoke the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty, and in 1977 U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Panamanian dictator Omar Torrijos signed a treaty to turn over the canal to Panama by the end of the century. A peaceful transfer occurred at noon on December 31, 1999.


The product Crisco was introduced by Procter & Gamble Company.


Thomas Edison wrote to the president of the Telegraph Company in Pittsburgh, PA. The letter stated that the word, “hello” would be a more appropriate greeting than “ahoy” when answering the telephone.


The dental chair was patented by M. Waldo Hanchett.


At the Battle of Lumphanan, King Macbeth of Scotland is slain by Malcolm Canmore, whose father, King Duncan I, was murdered by Macbeth 17 years earlier.

Macbeth was a grandson of King Kenneth II and also had a claim to the throne through his wife, Gruoch, who was the granddaughter of Kenneth III–the Scottish king who had been overthrown by Duncan’s predecessor King Malcolm II. Under King Duncan, Macbeth was governor of the Scottish province of Moray and a trusted military commander. However, he opposed Duncan’s ties to the Saxons in the South, and he rose in rebellion. On August 14, 1040, Macbeth killed Duncan in a battle near Elgin, and he was crowned king of Scotland in his place.

In 1054, after 14 years of rule, King Macbeth suffered a major military defeat at the Battle of Dunsinane against Siward, the earl of Northumbria. Siward was acting on behalf of Malcolm Canmore, Duncan’s son. Malcolm then gained control of the southern part of Scotland and spent the next three years pursuing Macbeth, who fled to the north. On August 15, 1057, Macbeth was defeated and killed by Malcolm at the Battle of Lumphanan with the assistance of the English. Malcolm Canmore was crowned Malcolm III in 1058.