Fenton Field
Air Raids
380th Bomb Group
AWM Plaque Dedication
60th Anniversary
North Fort
3.7" Gun Located
Picture Gallery

Fenton Field

Early in 1942 it was decided that is was necessary for a runway be built in the vicinity of Brocks Creek, a small railway siding 100 miles south of Darwin in the Pine Creek region. Fenton was one of the many operational aerodromes in the Northern Territory in a region known as the North West Area.

Fenton was first occupied by the 43rd Bombardment Group late in 1942, flying B17 Fortresses. The 319th Squadron of the 90th Bombardment Group of the USAAF, took up residence in February 1943 equipped with B24 Liberators. They carried out special reconnaissance missions against the Japanese bases in the Netherlands East Indies.

The 380th Bombardment Group USAAF received their Operations Orders on April 14th 1943, this order called for the immediate deployment to the Fifth Air Force in Australia. They would come under the command of the RAAF and relieve the 319th Bombardment Group based at Fenton by early May.

General Kenney assigned the B24 Liberators to the North West Area, because of their long-range capability. The initial missions that was assigned to the 380th was the strategic bombardment of the entire western half of the South West Pacific Area that comprised of the whole of Dutch East Indies that was in range of these bombers.

It was the roll of the 133rd Heavy Anti Aircraft Battery to protect them.

An estimated 5,000 personnel formed a huge military capital at Fenton by the end of June 1943. Ranging from the supply units, Anti Aircraft Defences, Radar units, Flight crews, service squadrons, Signals and Medical teams. In just a couple of months Fenton would become a real military city. The 380th huge equipment apart from their numbers of aircrafts, workshops, towers for spotting, canteens, mess huts and campsites, also hundreds of vehicles, carriers for bombs and ammunitions, all became an arsenal of massive proportions.

Fenton strip, Chaffey collection.
Aerial showing taxiways of Fenton and B24 Liberator, Chaffey collection.
The 133rd consisting of A an B Troop was divided into three sites and were identified as Howitzer one, two and three. 'A Troop' would be separated to form H1 and H2, each section obtaining two guns each, a Predictor and Height Finder. H1 would be equipped with the Gun Laying Radar leaving H2 to operate relying on only the Height and Range Finder for fire control.

H1 was under the command of Lieutenant Lionel Howes and this gun site was positioned to protect the northeastern side of the runway.

Lieut Jim Hulbert Lieut Lionel Howes

Lieutenant William James Hulbert would be in charge of H2, but still under the command of Lieutenant Howes as he was 'A' Troop Commander, this particular site covered the southern approaches of the strip in a low lying area.

'B Troop' stayed intact and their gun park would be identified as H3 with Lieutenant Roy Brown in command. H3 defended the northwestern approaches of Fenton Field situated a few miles southwest of Battery Headquarters. This site was equipped with four 3.7" guns, Predictor, Height Finder and Gun Laying Radar.

Lieut Roy Brown