Keith Lloyd McGilvery was born 18 May 1922 on a farm 6 miles from Gayndah, Queensland in Central Burnett district. The only High School ever attended was at Granite Hill( on "High Blocks" !!!) near our dairy farm which closed in the mid 1930s. He continued with State Government Correspondence School and entered family mixed Grocery/Hardware business and His Master's Voice Radio agency at Mundubbera, Queensland some 35 miles north about 1938 but that didn't flourish. In 1941 in Radio Sales & Service at Monto, Queensland (Nth. Burnett)60 miles North, dealing mainly with battery operated radio.

 

Keith & Phyl

Phyl's Garden

Enlisted in RAAF at Monto, Queensland on 28 October 1942 and discharged 11 March 1946 as Corporal K.L.McGilvery,Wireless Mechanic after training at Royal Melbourne Technical College, Nov. 1942 to 24 Squadron Vultee Vengeance at Sydney April 1943 prior to DobaDura N.G. from Oct. 1943  for 6 months and  posting to New Britain with 75 Squadron, "island hopping" under the Douglas MacArthur strategy to Moratai, the Tarakan ( off Borneo) on D Day 1945, the Allied Forces controlling the seaside Bomber and Fighter strips, the enemy starved in the rest. Returned to Australia after 23 months without leave, to Radio Transmitter Station at Amberley, near Brisbane.

On Pages 94-95 of the book, AIRMEN - HUMAN AND HUMOUROUS is a section titled DID WE WIN? - OR DID THEY LOSE? which is an accounting of the D-Day +1  ( April 25, 1944 ) by Keith McGilvery, a "Radio Mac" with 75 Squadron RAAF.

 

DID WE WIN? -- OR DID THEY LOSE?

As they announce on the ships, "Hear this -- "this" is Keith McGilvery's story of an operation which made a significant contribution to the outcome of hostilities in the South Pacific.

It concerns the movement of a convoy of LST's transporting ground support forces to Aitape on New Guinea's north coast; troops were to prepare a site for an airstrip at Tadji to be used by 75 Squadron aircraft.

Information about the convoy's destination seems to have been restricted to the opposition and officers who "needed to know" such as the unit Adjutant and Defence Officer. These officers devoted transit time to preparation of troops to cope with an environment likely to prove hostile.

On landing, troops would dig slit trenches and lie low in them thereby ensuring that enemy shell fire would fly harmlessly over their heads into the sea; apparently the enemy would hold fire whilst trenches were dug.

The on-board briefing time proved valuable. At the earliest opportunity after landing, signals staff would run a half mile length of phone line from the beach head to the strip site, which would be a virtually impossible assignment for any body of troops whilst lying low in a slit trench.

Ready identification of "friendlies" was obviously of paramount importance; to protect them against friendly fire, whilst traversing the battle area, troops would wear arm bands fashioned from blue Air Force material. As it was inevitable that any Sons of Heaven, who could speak English, would single out commissioned officers for special attention, the Adjutant decreed that, for the period of engagement, the greeting "Sir" was obsolete. He would be known as Charlie and his grey haired mate as "Silver". Backed by such pyschological assurances the troops waited anxiously for the landing.

Tidal action in the area in normal circumstances is fairly treacherous and as the LST carrying Keith and his mates inched shorewards, with the ramp half lowered, a Yank Seabee attempted to doze a sand bridge for the intended "drop" position. Time after time the waves frustrated his effort.

Eventually the suspense proved too much for Silver, who was dead keen to finish the war without further delay. Clutching his rifle and side arms in true kamikaze fashion, he lept from the ramp yelling as he disappeared into the water "Follow me men". "Pigs Arse" came the stern reply as the troops observed that the only clues to the whereabouts of their glorious leader were the water bottle and webbing floating around in the water.