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The battle of Brisbane

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wbvs58

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I just saw on the news that it is 75years since the Battle of Brisbane. My home town where I grew up in the 50's and 60's was Brisbane. During the early part of the Pacific war it was a very busy place, Macarthur set up his headquarters here after his departure from the Phillipines and massive amounts of US equiptment and troops came here as a staging point before heading off. Naturally enough the US servicemen had leave here and the local girls entertained them, my mother had photos of US servicemen she dated.

75 years ago some Australian troops were also on leave and hence the battle of Brisbane, the news said 4000 US troops rioted, apparently MP's were racing around everywhere. There was a saying that the "US troops were overpaid, oversexed and over here" and so a bit of tension came to a head.

Thought you might be interested.

Ken
 

greybeard

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Although the military personnel from Australia and the United States usually enjoyed a cooperative and convivial relationship, there were tensions between the two forces that sometimes resulted in violence.[5] Many factors reportedly contributed to these tensions, including the fact that U.S. forces received better rations than Australian soldiers, shops and hotels regularly gave preferential treatment to Americans, and the American custom of "caressing girls in public" was seen as offensive to the Australian morals of the day. Lack of amenities for the Australians in the city also played a part. The Americans had PXs offering merchandise, food, alcohol, cigarettes, hams, turkeys, ice cream, chocolates, and nylon stockings at low prices, all items that were either forbidden, heavily rationed, or highly priced to Australians. Australian servicemen were not allowed into these establishments, while Australian canteens on the other hand provided meals, soft drinks, tea, and sandwiches but not alcohol, cigarettes, and other luxuries.[3][5] Hotels were only allowed to serve alcohol twice a day for one hour at a time of their choosing, leading to large numbers of Australian servicemen on the streets rushing from one hotel to the next and then drinking as quickly as possible before it closed.

Differences in pay[edit]
Of major concern was the fact that U.S. military pay was considerably higher than that of the Australian military[note 1] and U.S. military uniforms were seen as more appealing than those of the Australians. The US Army provided silk stockings and candy to American troops which they handed out to Australian Women, as well as US Army rations, in a time where Australians were on a poor diet due to rationing of food to civilians. This resulted in U.S. servicemen not only enjoying success in their pursuit of the few available women but also led to many Americans marrying Australian women, facts greatly resented by the Australians. In mid-1942, a reporter walking along Queen Street counted 152 local women in company with 112 uniformed Americans, while only 31 women accompanied 60 Australian soldiers. That it was thought necessary for the media to report this situation indicates the effect of the American presence.[3] (About 12,000 Australian women married American soldiers by the end of the war.[6]) "They're overpaid, oversexed, and over here" was a common phrase used by Australians around this time and is still an anecdote recognised by some in modern generations.[7]

The Americans had the chocolates, the ice-cream, the silk stockings and the dollars. They were able to show the girls a good time, and the Australians became very resentful about the fact that they'd lost control of their own city.

— Sergeant Bill Bentson, U.S. Army


In mid-1942, a reporter walking along Queen Street counted 152 local women in company with 112 uniformed Americans, while only 31 women accompanied 60 Australian soldiers.
Sounds like some of the Yanks had more than one woman and some of the Australian women had more than one Aussie with them... menage a what?
 
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wbvs58

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Thanks for researching that for me GB. It pretty much sums it up. We look at the Battle of Brisbane as being humorous these days but it must have been interesting times and very hectic, there was a real fear that Australia would be over run by the Japs and we were very thankfull that the US were here. Even today there are many structures still in use that the US forces built. Sadly Cloudland Ballroom high up on a hill at Newstead was demolished 20 odd years ago and was built by the US as a venue for the troops and had a beautifull timber dance floor supposedly on some sprung mechanism and the whole place was a substantial structure so it gives you an idea of the extent of the US occupation here to warrant building that. In the 40's Brisbane was a bit of a backwater and had virtually no entertainment venues. Cloudland was one if my regular haunts of a Sat night in the early 70's, a great place to pick up chics.

Ken
 

ALACOWMAN

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Not much has changed, I still don't like the way they dress... They make a drug store cowboy look like John Wayne... :cowboy:
 
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