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by Vanessa Seekee
Australian Military History 2002
In Their Steps 1939-45
In 1942, very few people had heard of Horn Island in the Torres Strait. By the end of the war, it was well known to many Allied troops and airmen and they recognized the importance of this island base. Horn Island was the first and most frequently attacked target in Queensland and was the most-northerly Allied airbase in Australia. As such, it was utilized by thousands of aircraft, both American and Australian on their way to New Guinea and elsewhere. Many aircraft required the facilities of the base which was defended by the Army.
Conditions for Australian and American troops and airmen were harsh - tropical heat, poor food, water rationing, air raids, diseases prevalent to the area and an island to defend with inadequate numbers. Few Australians knew of this 'Forgotten Isle', and sadly few know of it now. The men and. women who served on Horn Island remember the base, the conditions, those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and the camaraderie of those who shared their privations.
Through the words and images of this book, discover the role Horn Island played during a time when Australia faced its greatest crisis. For the first time a historical record of Horn Island and its role in World War Two has been documented. The Author draws upon both personal and archival records to paint the complete picture.
Vanessa and Liberty Seekee live on Horn Island and are well-placed to research the World War Two sites. Their resort contains a museum where much surviving material is kept, so that the service of Australian and Americans is not forgotten. This book was reprinted in 2005.
Review by Justin Taylan
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