Special Operations Video Interviews and Transcripts
INTRODUCTION TO WW2 AUSTRALIAN
SPECIAL WARFARE ORAL HISTORIES
This series of oral history interviews was originally undertaken in the early 1990s by members of the Australian Commando Association and selected World War II veterans who had participated in commando or special operations, or who had specific wartime experiences that were directly relevant to modern day military operations.
This initiative was undertaken to collect the oral history of these personnel with the aim of making it available for training purposes and to the general public to raise their awareness of the significant contribution of these personnel to Australia’s wartime efforts. These interviews were undertaken more than 45 years after the end of the war and as
could be expected the memories of some of the participants were not one hundred percent accurate. Also, many who had been subject to the 30-year secrecy provisions of the Defence Act of nondisclosure, had not spoken of these events until the mid-1970s. Even then much discussion was constrained to periodic veteran get-togethers
and Association functions.
Where possible these interview transcripts have been corrected to ensure as far as possible that place names, personnel, aircraft, and vessels involved are accurately reflected. These are placed in footnotes. The majority of operations covered in this series were conducted by Special Operations Australia (SOA) also known by its cover name the Allied intelligence Bureau (AIB). A number of people interviewed make reference to Z Special Unit as being an operational unit which deployed personnel on operations. This is incorrect as Z Special Unit was one of a number of administrative units which provided support to SOA. This is confirmed by the Z Special Unit Routine Orders1
and also in the History of Special Operations Australia2. Z Special Unit Association was however the popular name for the Ex-Service Organisations of many members who served in SOA/AIB in the Service Reconnaissance Department (SRD) and supporting units such as 200 Flight.
Therefore, throughout the interviews where Z Special Unit has been mentioned the transcript of the respective interview reflects the actual operational unit in accordance with the War Diaries and the Official Records contained within the National Archives.
AUSTRALIAN COMMANDO ASSOCIATION - VICTORIA
Transcription funded by Victorian Veterans Council - Victoria Remembers Minor Grant 2020
Transcripts have also been edited to provide additional information for the reader. The transcription has been time coded to assist.
This project would not have been able to be undertaken without the significant work undertaken Steve Pilmore (TVP Consulting Pty Ltd) and staff from the 1st Commando Regiment Special Warfare Detachment who together were largely responsible for initial oral history interviews conducted in the early 1990s.
These interviews were digitised in 2020-2021 and transcripts undertaken as part of a grant generously provided by the Victorian Veterans Council to the Australian Commando Association Victoria.