The inspiration for this page
is all Peter O'Donohue (aka POD on the various submarine BBS's and
to his mates). It all started with a message to me that
"Don, last weekend I had
the privilege of attending a Memorial Day Ceremony for US
submariners lost during WWII, about 450 Km South of Perth in Albany
Western Australia. Apparently this ceremony has been happening for
some years, unfortunately it has been a fairly well kept secret,
however a bunch of us both British and Australian Ex Submariners
made this one and intend to take up the slack and ensure it becomes
a fixture on our calendar to ensure that when the intrepid few (two)
who remain are gone they and those who went before are not
Could you please post a
short story and a selection of photo's I will send you as I think it
should be of interest to ... "
POD sent the following
short on last year's (2004) proceedings:
Albany Remembrance Service During WW II, Submarines of the
United States Navy and the support ship USS Holland were based in
Princess Royal Harbour in Albany, WA. Annually, for over twenty
years members of the US SUBVETS who married Australian ladies and
returned to live in WA have commemorated that service with a
Memorial Service for those "Still On Patrol". A stone and bronze
memorial, originally consecrated in Lawley Park was relocated some
years ago to the Princess Royal Fortress where the American Signal
Lookout was reconstructed overlooking the harbour entrance.
The numbers of surviving veterans has slowly dwindled over
the years with only three still alive. The Association is kept
alive by one of the widows, Kath Pouleris and in conjunction with
the City Of Albany she co-ordinates the annual event. Two
Australian Honorary SUBVETS, who were rescued by US submarines,
Arthur Bancroft and Phil Bielby regularly attend also. Mr Homer
White BEM who was a periscope technician in USS Holland and
returned to live in Albany continues to take part.
The sole surviving US WWII veteran living in Western
Australia Carl Uphoff (tolling the bell). Arthur Bancroft
(reading the names of lost boats) is Australian and an Honorary
member of Subvets, his relationship is due to being torpedoed and
rescued by the submarine USS Queenfish SS 393 in 1944 whilst a
prisoner of the Japanese (a survivor from HMAS PERTH which was sunk
in company with USS Huston early in 1942 in the Sunda Strait)
(click on all photos for larger size)
Peter continued by saying that it was a "very
moving ceremony done with much dignity and emotion by these
gentlemen." Here are more photos and text on the event:
Peter: "Carl Uphoff talking to Jack Wong Sue (Z
Force) and a photo of Jack, two Bona Fide heroes."
Peter: "These two photo's are the "Bloody
Poms" ex RN Submariners (seated, right photo) and the young
"Bloody Good Looking Aussie ex Submariners" the handsome young one
on the right is me (left photo)."
"Arthur Bancroft and his Good Lady Mirla, both wonderful, humble
people and Arthur, Mirla and Fred Lawrence President of the Western
Australian Branch of Submarines Association Australia."
"This is the recently promoted Commander Doug Sampson who is
attached to the Submarine Force Element Group (SMFEG) on exchange.
He was at sea on HMAS DECHAINUEX that morning before a boat transfer
and 4 hours on planes to make this engagement, was a bit rushed as
can be seen by his ribbons on the right breast. He spoke very well
and really made our two Veteran's days. His last assignment prior
this was XO USS Pasadena."
"These two are the remaining contingent of the US Submarine WWII
Veterans in Western Australia from left Carl Uphoff, Arthur
Bancroft, Mirla Bancroft and Kath Pouleris who's late husband was
captured by her during the war, she is one Dynamic woman and the
Major reason interest in and such a fine tribute to the fallen is a
happening thing. She ran the poor lass organizing the day ragged.
Unfortunately Homer White a long time and dedicated member of this
intrepid little gang "Crossed the Bar" and proceeded on Final Patrol
in June of 2004. The other is the Flags, couldn't get the Bloody
Wind to blow when needed."
"Captain Mark Sanders (3 Submarine drives to his credit) and Sid
Czabotar (my Electrical Officer HMAS ONSLOW 1984 -1986) both
gentlemen of the highest order. The Memorial and the Bell."
"Carl Uphoff, Kath Pouleris and June Hodgson who is Kaths Sister in
Law and a former Mayor of Albany who was instrumental in the
Memorial and it's continued recognition. Arthur Bancroft."
"This is a replica (left photo) of the Old Signal Station and
lookout overlooking the Channel between Princess Royal Harbour (the
town of Albany and the Sub Base) and King George Sound which opens
into the Southern Ocean. This Station was manned by US sailors in
the early days of the war and later by Australian sailors. The
Channel (right photo) between Princess Royal Harbour and the Town of
Albany (to the right) and King George Sound and the Southern Ocean.
(to the left)
A brief history of Fremantle and Albany can
be found at http://www.subvetpaul.com/TheFremantle.htm"
Peter ended his final email to me on this
story by saying, "Please add an invite to any who may want to travel
to the remotest Capital City in the World (Perth) to join us for a
Memorial Day or any other day for that matter, I can guarantee
accommodation, transport and a bloody good time when you get
Thanks to Peter "POD" O'Donohue for the story and photos. The
incredibly supportive relationship between Australian government and
citizens, and the US Submariners during World War II is the stuff of
legend. I appreciate this article for its historical
significance but mostly for the continued acknowledgement of the
efforts of the US WWII submarine veterans by the citizens and
submarine veterans of Oz - thank you Australia!
[published June 2005 on SubmarineSailor.Com]