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by Bill & Ruth Lunney
Forfleet Publishing 2004
|Forgotten Fleet 2
An Updated and Expanded History of the Part Played by Australian Men and Ships in the U.S. Army Small Ships in New Guinea 1942 – 1945
A revised and expanded 2nd edition, of the the book "Forgotten Fleet" originally published in 1995. This book covers the largely forgotten history of small ships that served in the Pacific off Australia and New Guinea during World War II.
A collection of ships including prewar merchant vessels, schooners and ferries were pressed into service as the U.S. Army Small Ships Section in New Guinea. Flying the American flag, but crewed largely by Australians who were very young and very old, who were otherwise deemed unfit for military service in the regular military.
These ships faced both the enemy, plus the natural challenges of operating in the difficult seas of New Guinea filled with reefs and harsh weather.
The men aboard these ships are a fascinating cast of characters, Among the older crew members aged 60-70 were veterans of WW1, and old hands in New Guinea's earlier days of exploration. For the younger, some as young as 14-15 they were too young for regular military service, yet toiled and sometimes died aboard these vessels.
The first part of the book is an overview of the history of small ships spanning 1942 until the end of the war. The second section details veterans experiences, presented as anecdotes. The last section is a listing of all small ships, including A.T.S. ships, Dutch ships and other miscellaneous vessels. This section includes notes on their service, dimensions and crew details as known
This book fills an important void in the micro, but none the less important history of small ships in the New Guinea theater. Kudos to the authors for producing an outstanding book that is well researched and written.
Review by Justin Taylan
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