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Katakana Man: I Worked Only for Generals

  • Published: 1 June 2006
  • Author: Jack Brown
  • Price: NOT FOR SALE
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When A.J. ("Jack") Brown enlisted in the RAAF at Adelaide on June 1942 he wanted to become aircrew and to help win World War II by flying aircraft. While he was still in initial training at Victor Harbour, it was found that he had natural ability as a wireless operator-a discovery that dramatically shaped his subsequent service.

Instead of a flying career, Jack found himself in top secret RAAF wireless units. There he worked to intercept radio transmissions sent in the Japanese katakana code, which were then analysed to produce the highly reliable intelligence that helped General MacArthur in devising his strategy for the allied campaign in the South-West Pacific.

Beginning with No 1 Wireless Unit at Townsville, Jack went to New Guinea in 1943, serving at Port Moresby and subsequently Nadzab, Biak and then Hollandia. In October 1944 he joined the nucleus of a new unit, No 6 WU, which headed for the Philippines to take part in MacArthur's momentous invasion at Leyte Gulf.

Here is a frank account of a remarkable facet of Australia's contribution to the war effort in the Pacific, drawn from a personal knowledge and perspective of events and activities that were not widely known or recorded at the time-a situation which was to cause Jack Brown considerable personal hardship after the war.