Sunday, 11 March 2012

11 March 1942–Fashion & McArthur escapes


The cover of American Vogue, March 1942.

Very patriotic in red, white and blue, and I can imagine the outfit with these lovely but practical wartime shoes.

By early March 1942 the Japanese Navy had the island of  Corregidor in the Philippines surrounded. General Douglas MacArthur and his entourage are there.  Japanese patrols are heavy and the Japanese believe that MacArthur will be captured within a month. Some US Navy officers give MacArthur only a one-in-five chance of escaping.  On 9 March President Roosevelt instructs MacArthur to leave Corregidor.  He agrees to leave by 15 March.

On 1 March 1942 MacArthur, his wife and young son, their Chinese nursemaid and military entourage of 13 officers, two naval officers and a technical sergeant travel on four decrepit Boats to Del Monte airfield on Mindanaoon.  From there they board a B-17 Flying Fortress, sent from Batchelor Airfield in the Northern Territory, and fly to Australia.

Mrs Jean MacArthur, 4 year old son Arthur MacArthur and General Douglas MacArthur 

The party then fly to Alice Springs and board the Ghan train to the tiny railway town of Terowie in South Australia.  There MacArthur speaks to troops and townspeople, ending his speech by proclaiming:  "I came out of Bataan and I shall return."

The railway no longer goes through Terowie, but there is a plaque on the platform amidst the remnants of the original railway station.
Terawie Plaque

MacArthur came to Australia with an obsession to return to the Philippines as a hero. Unfortunately this meant that he would neglect the northern defences of Australia and almost hand the Japanese a victory on the Kokoda Track.

Deb xxx

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