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Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Secret World War 2 Base at Charleville

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Outback sunset


Disappearing observatory

Norden bombsight vault

Norden bombsight - top secret

Radio shack and mast from WW2

RFDS Base, Charleville

Last remaining hangar from WW2, now used by RFDS

Parking lot for two war planes

Remains of a bitumen bath

Water tower for bitumen baths

Remains of a mess hall

Aide station - or base hospital

Interested spectators in the mulga scrub

Remains of an ablution block, with urinal at far end

Vortex guns

We spent the morning being tourists, joining a convoy for a tour of the secret WW2 American base at Charleville.  The Americans took over the Charleville Airport and turned it into a secret base to train bombardiers in the use of the top secret Norden bombsight.  Eleven prototypes were kept secured in a bombproof vault and brought out under cover for training purposes.  We spent a very interesting 90 minutes driving around the mulga scrub, with our guide explaining the uses of the few remaining buildings and concrete slabs; as well as the remains of the bitumen baths.  The men were required to walk through these chemical baths (similar to a cattle dip) once a week in order to rid themselves of bities, such as ticks, fleas and lice.  The history was so interesting that we found the time passed very quickly.

On our return to Charleville, we stopped for a quick look at the vortex guns.  These were the brainchild of a man who thought that if gunpowder was fired into the sky, rain would result.  Don’t think it did.  The afternoon has been spent enjoying the sun, fresh air, quiet and sounds of the birds – the temperature has been much lower today (about 22 degrees) because of a southerly wind.

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