It’s a scavenger hunt with a difference. An archaeological dig to discover the country’s little-known military history.
Amateur wartime historian Charles Tennyson and criminal lawyer Mark Rawson have started excavating a site at Nelson Bay, north of Newcastle, that they believe was a secret US military base during World War II. Chapters
descriptions off, selected
undefined settings, opens undefined settings dialog
captions and subtitles off, selected
This is a modal window.
Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.
End of dialog window. Play Video Replay Video Up Next
Bid to improve Sydney’s cruise ship capacity
Play Video Don’t Play Video duration 00:29 Digging for World War II secrets After years of research, they are hoping to salvage equipment that was dumped at the end of the war.
While locations were often secret at the time, the two partners in Allied Salvage and Research believe there are bunkers and tunnels around the country that contain wartime planes, vehicles and possibly munitions and drums of mustard gas.
“We know a good couple of hundred sites,” Tennyson says.
They believe a man-made hill in a park at Fly Point, Nelson Bay, contains a former US Navy depot.”We know for a fact it was a secret training area for amphibious landings,” Tennyson says. “There were 22,000 US soldiers along with Australian soldiers being trained to attack beaches before setting off to the war in the Pacific.”We have a diary that says there were 136 naval ships including four aircraft carriers in the bay on one day during the war.” SHARE Share on Facebook SHARE Share on Twitter TWEET Link Amateur wartime historian Charles Tennyson studies a map of the Nelson Bay military site at the State Library of NSW. Rawson says he was initially sceptical when he heard old soldiers talk about the US military burying equipment rather than taking it back home given the lack of official records.”Everyone was in such a rush to get home after the war,” he says. “So it appears that, in a lot of cases, they simply found locations to dump this stuff then cover it over. We’re talking the full gamut of what they had – arms, equipment, planes, jeeps, trucks, you name it.” SHARE Share on Facebook SHARE Share on Twitter TWEET Link “We know for a fact it was a secret training area for amphibious landings”: Charles Tennyson on the site of early excavations at Fly Point, Nelson Bay. While equipment buried in pits will have deteriorated badly, the duo believe other gear was stored in tunnels and concrete bunkers that could be worth salvaging.”There are museums and collectors that would be very interested in some of this gear,” Rawson says. “And the other side of the coin is it’s still good Pittsburgh steel and it could be scrapped.”The partners have a personal connection to the Nelson Bay site.As a teenager during the war, Tennyson’s late mother-in-law, Cecily Haddock, saw a tunnel entrance big enough to drive two […]