SPECULATION – A MOVE TO MOROTAI
Clem’s diary ends somewhat abruptly on 30 October 1944. He arrived at No.2 Personnel Depot (2 PD) in Australia two months later, on 2 January 1945, one month before his eldest son Michael’s first birthday. While Clem had been able to visit Shirley and his eldest daughter Colleen before he went overseas, this would be the first time he had ever met his son.
A review of his actual diary confirms it was not a lack of paper that prevented further journalling, nor have pages been lost from the diary.
Circumstantial evidence suggests that in mid November Clem moved to Morotai with 22 Squadron for a three week stay. Clem’s RAAF service record contains no record of him serving at Morotai, but then it also doesn’t mention his one month stay at Milne Bay. We know he was at Milne Bay from his diary entries and the captions on his souvenir photos.
I have pieced together the following chronology using the Australian War Memorial’s official history of the second world war, the 22 Squadron Operations Record Book, and Clem’s RAAF service record.
Clem was on Noemfoor Island with 22 Sqn and made his last diary entry.
General Streett directed the First Tactical Airforce (1.T.A.F.) to prepare to move units forward to Morotai. Wama airfield on Morotai had been opened for flying on 4 October 1944. It would provide a valuable base for Allied aircraft during the invasion of the Philippines – the next move by the allies in the South-West Pacific.
Once there, the RAAF were to “Utilis(e) Havocs (Boston aircraft) and Beaufighters (to) sweep Halmahera and northern Celebes for enemy shipping and vital installations.”
See p357 of 412 re 22 sqn ORB
Nos. 22 and 30 Squadrons ordered to Morotai within seventy-two hours.
Four Bostons flew 22 Squadron’s last mission out of Noemfoor. see p360 of 412 re 22 sqn ORB
An advanced party from 22 Squadron arrived on Morotai by Douglas C47 aircraft. see p357 of 412 re 22 sqn ORB.
As an experienced Seargent (Supervisor/Foreman) Fitter in 22 squadron it is possible that Clem was part of the advanced party.
The main body of 22 Squadron, and equipment, proceeded by air to Morotai in Douglas C47’s. . There is no record of any squadron members being left on Noemfoor.
The AWM official history  states that 22 Squadron could not get to Morotai any earlier because all available transporation was in use for the Leyte invasion.
22 Squadron’s Bostons arrived on Morotai (after being ordered there on 6 November). ,
A Japanese air raid on Morotai destroys four and causes significant damage to a further seven to eight 22 Squadron Bostons.
A Japanese air raid on Morotai destroys another 22 Squadron Boston.
The above two raids on Morotai prompted the withdrawal of Douglas Bostons from RAAF service. 22 Squadron would return to Noemfoor Island and re-equip with Beaufighter aircraft and the surviving Bostons would be returned to the USAAF.
Clems accrued leave of 4 days every 3 months was recorded by the 22 Squadron time keeper.
Clem had been in 22 Squadron from 28 December 1943. You will notice that the blue handwriting on the entry from 3.12.43 is different from the finer black handwriting for 3.3.44, 3.6.44, 3.9.44 and 3.12.44. The latter four entries correspond to the time Clem was in the service of 22 Squadron.
Last operational Boston flight by 22 Squadron.
22 Squadron returned to Noemfoor from Morotai to be equipped with Beaufighters.
The 22 Squadron Operations Record Book (ORB) says “all except 4 officers and 37 other ranks returned to Noemfoor by (Douglas) C47.” The same ORB made no mention of any squadron members remaining on Noemfoor when they moved to Morotai. See p364 of 412
Others may have returned to Noemfoor in the Boston aircraft sent on Morotai ferry flights in the coming days but this is not specified in the 22 Sqn ORB.[reference]
Clem is signed out of 22 Squadron. By this time 22 Sqn had been to Morotai for three weeks, had their fleet heavily damaged and returned to Noemfoor.
Clem had been signed out of 75 Squadron two days before he landed on Kiriwina with 22 Squadron. This suggests that ‘certified no entry’ occurs immediately before a serviceman goes to their new unit.
The 22 Squadron equipment officer is posted to 2 PD. I suspect Clem left Noemfoor on the same transport as the equipment officer as both were heading to 2 PD in Australia. See page 364 of 412
Note: Squadron Operations Record Books don’t generally refer to ‘other ranks’ by name. Only Officers are mentioned by name.
Clem arrives at 2 PD Bradfield Park Sydney.