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Photographs supplied by John Huth

A monument commemorates those volunteer personnel who manned the "Forgotten Fleet" during World War Two.

When the Japanese threatened Australia through New Guinea in 1942, a plea went out to all ship owners to help defend the North. As a result, many trawlers, schooners, tugs, ferries and even an old paddle steamer became part of the United States Army Small Ships section.

The personnel who manned the "Forgotten Fleet" were men and boys deemed too young, too old or medically unfit for service in the Australian defence forces during World War Two, but they proved vital in transporting and supplying the Allies, as well as undertaking the grim task of bringing to Cairns the dead and wounded.


Address:The Esplanade, Cairns, 4870
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -16.917578
Long: 145.775452
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Conflict


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Wednesday 15th June, 2005
Front Inscription

Plaque  :

This Plaque Was Installed On Wednesday The 15th June 2005

It Was Unveiled By Kevin M Byrne The Mayor Of The City Of Cairns On Behalf Of The Citizens Of Cairns

And Ernest A Flint MBE ED On Behalf Of The US Army Small Ships Veterans 

The Plaque Was Dedicated By Chaplain Duncan T Becsi Chaplain of HMAS Cairns

Plaque :

This plaque commemorates the long association the city of Cairns had with the men & boys who crewed the vessels of the US Army Small Ships from 1942 to 1946.

During this period of 3,000 men & boys aged from 15 years of age to over 65 years of age sailed these vessels supplying the Australian & American forces who were fighting the Japanese in New Guinea.

Cairns was the last port of call for these small ships on the way to New Guinea and the first port of call on the way home.  Our sick & wounded were treated here, the hospitality of the citizens of Cairns during WWII is gratefully acknowledged.

The men & boys of the US Army Small Ships also served in the Philippine Islands, Okinawa, and the occupation of Japan.  

This plaque is also dedicated to those men & boys who did not return.

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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