Motto:

DICTUM FACTUM

 

Unofficial badge, no official design approved

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

PART ONE

 

MONAB VII been assembling at RNAS Middle Wallop on March19th 1945,and was to be a second Receipt and Despatch unit (RDU) for deployment in the forward area. MONAB VII differed from it's predecessor MONAB II in the fact that no M.S.R. components were included in the units' make up, instead the unit would have two Maintenance Servicing and one Mobile Maintenance components as would a standard MONAB. In addition Erection , Equipping and Stripping units were included as RDU components.

 

MONAB VII was allocated the following maintenance components to provide support facilities fort he following aircraft types:

 

  • M.M. 6 Avenger I & II - Corsair II & IV - Hellcat I & II - Seafire III & L.III
  • M.S. 11 Firefly I
  • M.S. 12 Sea Otter I
  • Erection & Equipping Units Avenger I & II - Corsair II & IV - Hellcat I & II - Seafire III & L.III Sea Otter, Vengeance.
  • Stripping Unit As above but excluding Vengeance.

 

MONAB VII Commissioned as an independent command bearing the ship's name HMS NABREEKIE on June 1st 1945, Captain. F.P. Frai R.N.V.R in command.

On completion of preparations for despatch overseas the personnel and equipment of MONAB VII were transported by road and rail to Liverpool for embarkation on the 19th and 20th of June. MONAB VII personnel embarked in S.S. STIRLING CASTLE and S.S. ANDES at Liverpool Docks, sailing for Sydney on June 21st. The unit's stores & equipment sailed from Gladstone Dock in S.S. SAMFOYLE (LS3135)several fays later.


Apart from the now obligatory stopover at Colon before navigating the Panama Canal, the STIRLING CASTLE and the ANDES spent two nights in Wellington, New Zealand. This stop over was to deliver home repatriated Kiwi ex-prisoners of war from their internment in Germany; further Aussie ex-POWs were landed at Sydney when the S.S. STIRLING CASTLE arrived there on July 28th.

 

 

Upon disembarkation from the troop ships the ship's company were accommodated at Newcastle Race Course, a part of HMS Golden Hind, RN Barracks Sydney, to await the allocation of an operational base. At the time of their arrival in Australia there was no airfield available for occupation by a MONAB and changes in the original forward planning meant that MONAB VII would not be required to fulfil its planned role of forming a second receipt and despatch unit, in the forward area; the need for a ' leap frogging' chain of MONAB units was not to materialise.

 

The Admiralty decided that MONAB VII should remain in Australia, sharing the facilities at Archer field airport in Brisbane, which w\as already home to Transportable Aircraft Maintenance Yard No.1 (TAMY I, HMS NABSFORD) and would be moved to occupy an airfield in Australia when one became available. Meanwhile, the S.S. SAMFOYLE had been diverted to Brisbane to unload the unit's stores and equipment.

 

While in Sydney awaiting transportation to Brisbane a special detachment was formed for aircraft erection duties at R.A.A.F. Oakey, in Queensland. This detachment, comprising of 50 ratings plus NCOs, was to supplement an existing annex of TAMY 1 which had been operating at Oakey for some time erecting Seafire aircraft. The detachment was flown directly from Sydney to Oakey shortly after the MONAB had disembarked.

 

 

The main body of MONAB VII personnel were transported to Brisbane by rail; this was a long journey, 12 - 14 hours, with the men riding in open cattle trucks, seated on wooden bench seats. Toilet facilities were very primitive, and frequent stops were made for rest breaks and refreshments along the way. The advance party, manly the senior officers, were flown up to Archerfield. Upon arrival at Brisbane the ship's company was transported by road to their new home, R.N. Camp Rocklea, about 1½ miles north of the airfield at Archerfield, the main accommodation site for HMS NABSFORD. A second establishment, Camp Meeandah, near to the Eagles Farm airfield in Brisbane was also to be taken over by HMS NABREEKIE, this camp had been a former USN Seabee depot until shortly before the RN arrived in Brisbane, accordingly the facilities were of a good standard.

 

R.N. Camp, Meeandah, formerly a US Navy Seabee camp occupied by MONAB VII Photo: From author's collection .

 

MONAB VII commissioned as HMS NABREEKIE at R.N. Camp Rocklea as on August 8th 1945 and work commenced two days later when 300 ratings began work at Kerry Road, Archerfield along side personnel of TAMY I on August 10th, only 5 days before the Japanese surrender. Archerfield celebrated VJ Day on the 16th, and work resumed the following day but the need for extra manpower and increased production of assembled airframes had suddenly been removed and thoughts of the future were now foremost in everyone's mind.

 

 

On Monday October 22nd the Flag Officer Naval Air (Pacific) Rear Admiral Portal, visited HMS NABREEKIE when a general inspection and Admirals divisions were held. Afterwards the Admiral addressed the ships' company and outlined the future plans for MONAB VII; it was announced that the unit was to be paid off with part of the ships company returning to the UK and the remainder being transferred to the strength of HMS NABSFORD, TAMY I.
 

A Corsair, Barracuda, and Hellcat lined up on the tarmac outside the middle two ‘Igloo’ hangers at the Kerry Road site. Photo: From the collection of L.J. Jay editor, Nabsford News magazine.


No longer required for service, HMS NABREEKIE & MONAB VII was paid off on November 5th 1945. In many ways the paying off of HMS NABREEKIE appears to have been a paperwork exercise; the personnel of MONAB VII who were not drafted back to the UK (this appears to be the majority of the non commissioned personnel) were transferred to the books of HMS NABSFORD, fuming Mobile Repair unit No.3 and work continued as usual.

 

Notes:

  • This unit was originally to be named HMS NABSFIELD, but this was changed shortly after the name was promulgated by A.F.O.

  • Rocklea Camp was the administration and accommodation base of TAMY I. MONAB VII shared some of the accommodation at this site which was close to Archerfield airport were aircraft operations were conducted. The main base site for MONAB VII was Camp Meeandah near Eagle Farm airfield, a site some distance away from Archerfield.
     

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R.N.A.M.Y. Archerfield

 

 

 

 

Function :
Forward area Receipt & Despatch Unit.

 

MONAB Components :
Mobile Maintenance 6, Maintenance Servicing 11 & 12, Aircraft Erection Unit, Aircraft Equipping Unit, Aircraft Stripping Unit.

 

Commissioned :
01 June 1945 (at RNAS Middle Wallop)
08 August 1945 (at RN Camps Rocklea & Meeandah)

 

Paid Off :
05 November 1945 (at RN Camps Rocklea & Meeandah)

 

 

 

  • Captain F.P. Frai RNVR 01 June 1945 to 05 November 1945

 

 

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 Technical site


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The Igloo hangers at the Kerry Road, Archerfield

 

Administration site


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