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Confused Commanders

  • Yorick Smaal
Chapter
Part of the Genders and Sexualities in History book series (GSX)

Abstract

Christmas 1943 brought an unwelcome surprise for Lieutenant-General Sir Leslie Morshead, the Commander of New Guinea Force. He received a memo from his chief provost Major Norman Cooper, alerting him to the possibility that a significant number of Australian soldiers under his command were queer. Morshead had just received his first indication of what Eric, the 21-year old Australian soldier and self-identified girl, and his kind were up to. Cooper explained that two men had already confessed to perverted practices; and more were on the way.

Keywords

Personality Type Psychiatric Assessment Disciplinary Action Civilian Court Genuine Case 
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Notes

  1. 6.
    Yorick Smaal and Graham Willett, ‘Eliminate the “Females”: The New Guinea Affair and Medical Approaches to Homosexuality in the Australian Army in the Second World War’, in Legacies of the Pacific: Aftermaths, Remembrance and Culture, eds Christina Twomey and Ernest Koh (London: Routledge, 2015), 233–49.Google Scholar
  2. 7.
    A. G. Butler, The Australian Army Medical Services in the War of 1914–1918, vol. III (Canberra: The Australian War Memorial, 1943), 137.Google Scholar
  3. 20.
    See Russel Ward, The Australian Legend (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1958), 126, 130–33;Google Scholar
  4. Richard White, Inventing Australia: Images and Identity, 1688–1980 (Sydney, Allen and Unwin, 1981), 126;Google Scholar
  5. Dennis Altman, ‘The Myth of Mateship’, Meanjin, 46, 2 (1987), 165; also see articles by Stephen Garton, Linzie Murrie and Clive Moore’s introduction in Australian Masculinities: Men and Their Histories, Special Issue, Journal of Australian Studies, 56 (1998), eds Clive Moore and Kay Saunders.Google Scholar
  6. 29.
    Australian Military Forces, Judge Advocate-General’s Circulars (comprising Nos 1, 2, 3, 4) (Canberra: L. F. Johnston, Government Printer, 1942), 42.Google Scholar
  7. 33.
    The law featured significantly in Canadian responses although discharge from the services with accompanying medical advice was the preferred approach of the British; Paul Jackson, One of the Boys: Homosexuality in the Military during World War II (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2004), 22, 54–55;Google Scholar
  8. Emma Vickers, Queen and Country: Same-Sex Desire in the British Armed Forces, 1939–45 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2013), 132.Google Scholar
  9. Also see Allan Bérubé, Coming Out under Fire: The History of Gay Men and Women in World War Two (New York: Free Press, 1990), 128–48.Google Scholar
  10. 44.
    Garry Wotherspoon, ‘Comrades-in-Arms’, in Gender and War: Australians at War in the Twentieth Century, eds Joy Damousi and Marilyn Lake (Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 212; French, Camping by a Billabong, 76. Although these scholars were given limited access to the file at the time they were writing; Robert French, email to the author (3 January 2008); Garry Wotherspoon, email to the author (4 January 2008).Google Scholar
  11. 48.
    Ibid., Maj.-Gen. S. R. Burston DGMS, Homosexual Males (minute paper) (January 1944). Also see Allan S. Walker, Australia in the War of 1939–1945. Series 5 (Medical), vol. 1, Clinical Problems of War (Canberra: Australian War Memorial, 1962), 667.Google Scholar
  12. 64.
    Lewis H. Loeser, ‘The Sexual Psychopath in the Military Service’, American Journal of Psychiatry, 102 (1945), 96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 69.
    As promulgated under the provisions of the Air Force (Constitution) Act 1917 (7 & 8 Geo. C. 51) (UK) which applied under the Air Force Act 1939 (No. 74 of 1939), Section 6, and as long as the UK provisions were not inconsistent with the Defence Act 1903; see Frank Healy, ‘The Military Justice System in Australia’, Air Force Law Review, 52 (2002), 95–96.Google Scholar
  14. 76.
    Army Act 1881, Section 40; Naval Discipline Act 1866, Section 43. For historical discussion see Wing Commander D. B. Nicholas, ‘The Devil’s Article’, Military Law Review, 22 (1963), 111–36.Google Scholar
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    I have applied this figure to the combined numbers of Army and RAAF enlistments provided in Joan Beaumont’s Australian Defence: Sources and Statistics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 120, 218–19.Google Scholar
  16. 85.
    Peter Stanley, Bad Characters: Sex, Crime, Mutiny, Murder and the Australian Imperial Force (Sydney: Pier 9, 2010), 141.Google Scholar
  17. 86.
    Mark Johnston, At the Frontline: Experiences of Australian Soldiers in World War II (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 172.Google Scholar
  18. 92.
    Hadrian, ‘Homosexuality in the Forces’, Camp Ink, 3, 3 (1993), 4.Google Scholar
  19. 95.
    Australian Military Forces, Judge Advocate-General’s Circular No. 8 (Canberra: L. F. Johnston, Government Printer, 1944), 15.Google Scholar
  20. 108.
    NARA, RG495, Records of HQ US Armed Forces, Western Pacific, Entry 363-A, A-G Formerly Classified General Classified Correspondence 1942–44, Box 992, 333.5, Investigation of the Conduct and Control of Negro Troops in Leave Areas (16 April 1944), 8. For a discussion on the racialisation of sex crimes in the segregated US forces see Mary Louise Roberts, What Soldiers Do: Sex and the American GI in World War II France (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2013), 199–213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 114.
    Colonel Myron L. Birnbauam, USAF (Ret.), ‘Military Law at Port Moresby 1943’, Reporter, 8 (1983–1984), 8.Google Scholar
  22. 121.
    Australian Military Forces, Judge Advocate-General’s Circulars (Comprising Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4) (Canberra: L. F. Johnston, Government Printer, 1942), 42.Google Scholar
  23. 123.
    Ibid., 6. Also see ALGA, Bill and Louis interviewed by Geoffrey Stewardson (9 July 2001), 7; Dino Hodge, Did You Meet Any Malagas? A Homosexual History of Australia’s Tropical Capital (Nightcliff: Little Gem, 1993), 29.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Yorick Smaal 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yorick Smaal
    • 1
  1. 1.Griffith UniversityAustralia

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