Stories of Remembrance

Women's Services, Second World War (1939-45)Sylvia Stoltz ,Australian Women's Army Service

I was one of a party of members of the highly secret Australian Chemical Warfare Research & Experimental Section who were transported to North Island in American crewed landing craft.
Sylvia Stoltz

On 21st January 1944 North Brook Island off the coast of North Queensland was bombed with 4 tons of liquid mustard gas from American Liberator planes manned by RAAF crews from Charters Towers. I was one of a party of members of the highly secret Australian Chemical Warfare Research & Experimental Section who were transported to North Island in American crewed landing craft.

We wore respirators and protective clothing and waited offshore until the bombs had been droped. We then landed on the island which was hilly and covered with dense rain forrest and proceeded to previously rehearsed positions to operate equipment which gathered chemical and meteorological data needed to assess the concentration of mustard gas vapor. After two hours we re-embarked on the landing craft and were transported back to South Brook Island where a temporary camp had been set up.

This trial was one of many researching the use and effect of mustard gas in tropical conditions similar to the islands of the SW Pacific where Australian and American troops were engaged with the enemy.

Share This On