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DUKW

I was chasing up a report of an Australian Army DUKW being lost. In the filing cabinet I found a report which said that one was lost at sea on 30 January 1944.

I also found one from the US 532nd Engineer Boat and Shore Regiment, which reported:
on February 15, thirteen Australian soldiers were rescued from the water about three miles offshore near Vincke Point by a Co ‘A’ boat mission. The men had been riding in a DUKW that had swamped in the heavy seas and were nearly exhausted at the time of rescue.

However, the there were only eight DUKWs operating in this area and only one was lost up to the date that the report was written in March 1944. Another ran aground, was washed onto rocks and broke up on 27 April 1944.

I checked the War Diary of the 39th Independent Transport Platoon, the unit which operated the DUKWs and all it had to say was that a DUKW sank in heavy seas on 30 January 1944 with 11 persons on board, ten of whom were saved. One, Corporal S. Latham, drowned.

I keyed his name into the computer at the war memorial and got this. It sadly records that he came from Sydney and that his body was never recovered. It has his unit wrong, due to a typo. It should be the 241st Supply Depot Platoon.

I now have to decide whether the crew were rescued by the American amphibian engineers (who do have the location right).

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