Alan Cross WW2 – NT Radar Operator

Posted on: Wed 31 Aug 2022

When Historian John Mannion met with RAAF Veteran Alan Cross, it was a case of instant rapport.

Alan talks with John about the troop train he travelled on in November 1942 from wartime affected Adelaide railway station to Terowie, where the troops overnighted in tents on the showgrounds. The rail tracks at Terowie were 5’3” on one side, the Adelaide side,  and  3’6”on the other side, the Alice Springs side.  Alan talks about the peculiarity of the pre-WW1 carriages they were herded into, and thence to Peterborough, Orroroo, Bruce, Hammond, Quorn, William Creek, Alice Springs.   Then by truck on a heavily corrugated dirt road to Larrimah where they were put into railway cattle trucks and taken the remaining 308miles to bomb damaged Darwin… a gruelling 30 hours @ approximately 10mph trip!    It’s a great insight into the troop train journey that thousands of Aussie troops experienced during WW2.  From there,  John was sent as a radar operator on the Wessel Islands.

Interviewer John Mannion

Photo: Troop train near Oodnadatta 1942 AWM

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