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
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
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
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,
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
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.
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.
Forward area Receipt & Despatch Unit.
MONAB Components :
Mobile Maintenance 6, Maintenance Servicing 11 & 12, Aircraft
Erection Unit, Aircraft Equipping Unit, Aircraft Stripping Unit.
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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The Igloo hangers at the
Kerry Road, Archerfield
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